July 4th- My Holiday Trifecta

Looking back, I can see how God has prepared me throughout my entire life for becoming a military wife. I was the little girl that cried singing the national anthem. I was the teenager that loved all things red, white, and blue. I was the young mama that volunteered with the Red Cross on 9/11. And today I’m the wife of a wounded warrior, trying my best to raise 5 young patriots.

I love America.

But it wasn’t until this year that I realized the emotional trifecta that is this important holiday for me.

My Country

I was a Midwest girl raised by southern standards. We believe in “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am”, sweet tea, and apple pie. We wave the flag, we wear the flag, we honor the flag.

We say the Pledge of Allegiance loudly and proudly. We grow up playing with sparklers and catching lightening bugs and always eating BBQ on the 4th of July. It’s just what we do.

We take long road trips, winding our way across this great land, from sea to shining sea. We stop at battlefields and read up on national monuments. We teach our kids to memorize the Preamble of the Constitution and the names of all 45 US presidents, in order.

We love America. We are America. We are raising America.

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My Faith

I also grew up going to church every Sunday, memorizing all the verses to America the Beautiful, and proudly embracing my Christian heritage. I know the faith of the pilgrims, the sacrifice of the Revolutionary soldiers, and the importance of religious freedom.

I make it a habit to pray for our military, to thank God for our freedoms in this nation, and to teach my kids of the great heroes of our faith. I pray for our leaders, vote my conscious, and encourage others to do the same. I back candidates that support biblical principles and take my right to vote for godly leaders very seriously.

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My Man

However, the one single factor that binds my heart most tightly with the love of our great country is my husband. He is my hero. He is a patriot, a warrior, and a Veteran. He embodies the attributes of every great soldier- leadership, duty, responsibility, selfless-service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.

I thank God that he lived through battles that others did not. I thank God that he is here.  I thank God for making heroes like him who willingly run towards the things the rest of us run away from.

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So, this 4th of July, while I wave my little flag, watch my children draw pictures in the air with their sparklers, and “oooh” and “ahhhh” over the fireworks above, I will thank God once again for this country. I will thank Him for freedom. I will thank Him for our rich history as a blessed nation. And I will thank Him for the countless men and women who have sacrificed so much for me to even be able to pen these words.

I thank God for America.

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His Blue Card, My Beige

When I started this blog, I intended to write about being a military wife. I wanted to connect to other mil spouses. I wanted to share our experiences to civilians and encourage those among the ranks. I wanted to share my heart about a variety of issues and how that relates to my role as a military wife. Yet, lately, I’ve found myself drifting farther and farther from the “military community” as my husband and I find our places among the “wounded warrior community”.

While we have come to love and respect so many members of the wounded warrior community, this isn’t a club we ever planned to join. But I guess we do have that in common with every other member in the club. Nobody plans to be here. We signed up to be military members and military spouses. We signed up for deployments and drill weekends and dirty ACUs on the laundry room floor. Not VA appointments and PTSD classes and Caregiver workshops. But when we said “I do” we knew it was for better or for worse and you won’t find many of us in the “wounded warrior community” that would trade anything in the world for the love we still share with our spouses. The fact remains, though, that we weren’t planning on being here.

Now that we’re here, we realize more and more every day that we’re not where we once were. Sure, we still consider ourselves a military family. That never leaves you. But one conversation with your “active duty” friends reminds you that you’re not in the same world. When you hear about Privates throwing up “stress cards” and talk of the new “green” bullets, you start to hear words like “old school” describe your and your spouse’s time of service. Yet, your heart still pounds when you see a black sedan pull in front of the house. You still have a stack of MREs in the pantry. You still carry his dog tag on your key chain. Some things don’t change.

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It’s a strange transition.

I’ll never forget the day that my husband, now officially medically retired, went to get his new military ID. The lady smiled as she pulled up his file and said, “Ooooooh. I see you get the coveted blue card. Congratulations.”

Yes. My husband gets the card that enlisted and officers alike dream of. He gets the great medical insurance. I get to shop at the commissary. We get to fly Space-A and utilize the military rate at hotels. His new blue card. My new beige card. We’re living the dream.

This is not what we signed up for.

My soldier is no longer a soldier. He was a man first and he will be a man last and what I married was a man, not a career. The courage, discipline, duty, honor, and loyalty of the man I married are because HE is all of those things. The Army didn’t give them to him. They’re his. They’ve always been his and they will always be his. And he will always be mine.

His Blue Card My Beige

His blue card. My beige card.

It’s a strange transition.

I’m just glad we’re in it together. I’m glad we’re more than a career. I’m glad we’re more than numbers on a laminated card. I’m glad we’re in it for the long haul. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. Til death do us part. I’m glad that I met a soldier. I’m forever grateful that a godly man loved me.

I’m glad some things never change.