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34 Weeks, and I’m a Pin!

     This week, I’m going to touch on a subject that everyone, military and non military, knows in some personal way: Divorce. I’m going to talk military here, because it’s what I know, but know that it’s really meant for all people. Since becoming an Army wife in 2004, I’ve seen several of our close friends end their marriages due to the stresses and pressures of this lifestyle. I have my own opinions on these reasons, but I’ll set those aside for some facts for a minute. Here are a few Military divorce statistics:

In 2001, there were 2.5 divorces for every 100 marriages.

In 2011, that number jumped to 3.9

Currently, the divorce rate military-wide is the highest it’s been since 1999.

30,000 marriages ended in divorce, by the end of the fiscal year in 2011.

Roughly, one in every 27 married troops got a divorce in 2011.

Researchers say that about 32 percent of service members surveyed admitted to having extramarital affairs. This is almost double the rate among the general population, which has a rate of just 16.8 percent.

Now, back to personal experience and opinions here…Of all of our friends that divorced, every single one had to do with infidelity. Every. Single. One. I know this from seeing it with my own eyes, and there’s a reason they make TV shows and movies about it. It really does happen. And it happens a lot too. It’s almost as common as filling up your tank with gas. There are the obvious reasons for this though:

– The constant separation takes a toll. Most military couples spend more time apart than physically with their spouse the first half of their marriages.

– The service member deals with a completely different type of stress than the spouse who stays at home or works in the civilian world.

– The service member gets sucked into their black and white world during a deployment or extended training time or the spouse loses sight of who they were before they entered into the military lifestyle as a quasi-insider.

    Then there are your not-so-obvious reasons:

– The rank system in the military carries over into the home.

-The hours that the service member works are just not the same as the spouse

-The service member is required to maintain a certain level of physical fitness, but the spouse is not.

-Military pay totally does not match up with the cost of living. ever. And this is especially difficult when there are children involved, and one spouse has to stay home because of the effects of deployment and random FTX’s.

    It’s so difficult to say exactly why the straying happens or where it starts, but I think all military couples should be on guard for their marriages. Every single military couple is going to face temptation from an outsider. And by outsider, I mean any person who is neither the husband nor the wife. This can be friends, buddies, ladies from the FRG giving you cruddy advice, or the upper ranking soldier across the street who jumped your car when your husband couldn’t come home because he had a 1300 formation, the guy at the airport who gave you his seat, the doctor at the children’s clinic who knows your child’s favorite things, because he sees them more often than your husband gets to. These are just outside forces that are wonderful blessings, but can turn into terrible diseases if given more than a single thought for what they’re worth. Infidelity doesn’t just happen in a blink. It’s a cut that turns into a scab, which becomes infected and breeds disease. It festers, blisters, and oozes disgust, regret, lies, and can never been seen as beautiful. That tiny cut, that started out as just a deployment needs to be cared for, cleaned, bandaged, aired out, and properly maintained. There will be a scar when it’s done, but scars can be cool. Trust me, I’m the queen of scars. My entire abdomen tells a story on its own. Every mark is a surgery, and every surgery is a memory of the pain. But, it’s also a memory of the people that cared for my children during my recovery and brought meals to my family. I have incredible, lifelong memories of friends laughing hysterically at my ridiculous comments after coming out of anesthesia. My surgery scars are cool things to have and to flaunt. Military and Marriage scars are no different. I get to say, “That right there is from a night when my husband and I almost called it quits,” “This one is from an 18 hour road trip where we talked through every single fault, flaw, and problem,” “Oh, that one? I can’t tell you about that one. It’s way too special. Something only for my husband and me,”  “That one a ways back…Iraq, 2006. We’ll have to sit if we’re gonna talk about that one,” and “This cut right here? Yeah, it’s not quite healed yet, but at least it’s not oozing. So, that’s gotta be a good sign, right? It’s Afghanistan, 2012.”

Activity #34: Become a Pin on Pinterest!

   So, as I was scrolling through pinterest one night, and I saw pin after pin after pin of delicious recipes. I thought to myself, “Self, you can be a pinterest recipe too!” So I gathered my ingredients and put together 2 delicious mouth-watering Fall recipes. I basically have one huge rule that I’ve made in my kitchen, and I might as well cross-stitch it onto a pillow:

Butter and Lemon can travel alone, but Garlic always takes them along for a stroll.

-Write that down.

You can find this recipe and another bonus fall recipe on my new recipes page to the right under “Jump Around”.  Yay! I’m a Pin on Pinterest!!!

Until next week, send your crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway!

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33 Weeks and Picking a Lock

    See? There’s a reason why I keep busy. I decided to have a lazy week, since last week was so hectic, and now I’m paying for it. I keep thinking to myself, “This really freakin sucks,” over and over again. There was no particular incident that happened to bring on the tears, but they just kept piling up throughout the week, and I kept trying to use my lamas breathing to suck them back in, but I’ve finally been defeated. I hate crying. It always clogs my nose up, so I have to breath out of my mouth. Then, it dries up my lips, and makes my eyes really sore, swollen, and puffy the next day. I’ve heard it said that a good cry cleanses the soul of impurities…can’t I just drink castor oil? Doesn’t that do the same thing? (Ew…potty humor….she’s so nasty. ) There’s nothing specifically wrong either. I mean, the bills are paid, the lawn is mowed, the car is running, and I didn’t wreck my husband’s bike any of the 3 times I took it out this week. The house is clean, laundry done, I’m stocked up on fresh food from the farmers’ market, and I’ve increased my running distance twice. I’ve had some heart-to-hearts with some great friends, and I’ve enjoyed some cuddles and laughs from my boys. Like I said, nothing went wrong…it just isn’t right without sharing all of these things with my best friend. Last week, I was physically beat, and this week I’m emotionally exhausted. I just can’t win. I’ve been mumbling, “His strength is made perfect in my weakness…” all week, and God keeps on reminding me that His strength is shining through me. He’s not allowing me to walk this alone. He’s sent messengers and helpers along the way, and they’ve always come just when I needed them. I’m so grateful for the blessings that He’s constantly showering me with in order to make the burden a little easier to carry. But, it hurts in my heart and in my stomach to be missing my husband so much.

   You never know the power of holding hands until you don’t have a hand to hold anymore. I think that if anyone was to hold my hand, at this point (to pray, to play red rover, to help them get their balance while attempting to recreate a scene from the Olympics), I would probably break out into a full-on, fetal position sob-session. Holding someone’s hand says, “We’re about to do this together,” “I’m not letting go until we’ve made it,” and “1, 2, 3, go.” Without his hand to hold, I just can’t jump into cold lakes or come to a smooth landing when climbing down from the counter-top. (Sometimes, I like to  stand on the counters in my kitchen to get a better view of my stay-at-home-mom world. It makes me feel powerful…okay, so I can’t reach the top shelf to get light bulbs. Don’t judge me.) He’s also been going through some tough stuff over there, and it kills me that I can’t do anything to help him, to ease the burden, or to just give him a foot rub at the end of his 36 hour shift -not a typo…they worked him for 36 hours in a row with no break to catch up on sleep. Grrrrr… Of course, my husband being the humble soldier that he is, didn’t complain even once.

   I’ve tried to be honest with people about how he’s doing and how I’m doing, but I think it actually makes them uncomfortable. I guess it’s sorta like when a friend loses someone close to them. You don’t really know what to say, how to respond, or if a hug will really do any good. So you sorta just pat them on the back in a ‘there-there’ fashion, followed by that slow nod, and ending with a deep sigh. It seems like when I talk about how things are going beyond a surface level, people clam up, and I swear I hear crickets in the day time. I’m not sure if it’s the same for people who lose a loved one (someone let me know please), but for me a hug really does help most of the time. 🙂 It says so much when you don’t know what to say. I’m grateful that I’m blessed with friends who have totally earned their Great Hugger badge! …one week at a time…I can do this.

Activity #33: Learn how to pick a lock

     I had the opportunity to sit down with a lock-picking expert (stemmed from lessons taught by his dad and some good practice in his childhood) this week to learn the art of the wiggling, jiggling, lifting, and turning picks in order to stand up to locksmiths all over who charge ridiculous fees for 2 minute jobs! I really wasn’t sure if I’d get it, but you never know until you try. Please be advised that if you do this on someone else’s property, the charge is punishable for anywhere between 2-15 years in prison, depending on your record. Even if you’re a squeaky clean stay-at-home-mom, you can face a minimum of 2 years imprisonment. That’s totally not worth it, if you ask me. So, please, if you try to do this, stick to bum locks from the pawn shop (great advice from my lock-picking mentor) or save it for emergencies on your own home. Here’s my 2nd time picking a lock, captured on film for your learning and enjoyment! It also comes with 8 free random facts to store in the back of your brain for empty moments in conversation when you’re trapped in an elevator or on an awkward first date!

^haha…I look like I’m grossed out by the “play”button ^

All in all, I didn’t have a bad week…just a missing my husband week. Although, according to my Pastor, I should be having a BAD week (Be A Disciple). By the way, I’m not just a Christian. I’m a Disciple of Jesus. *wink

Please leave your love in the comments below and add your quirky suggestions to the box on the right! I love knowing that I have homies going through this with me! So, until next week, send your crazy to me since I’m going there anyway!