Humbled

I woke up to several posts on my Facebook wall thanking McDaddy for his service to our country. I was humbled to think that several of those posts came from blog readers I have never met.

If you knew McDaddy in real life, you would know that recognition or attention is the last thing that he desires. But he is certainly appreciative of each of you who took the time to think of him, and thank him. And I am, too!

Our lovely little church has been planning a Veteran’s Day service for a number of months. I knew it would be the kind of service that would make me regret putting mascara on because I get all emotional and sappy about stuff.

As it turns out, I was right.

I was humbled to escort McDaddy into the service. My mascara lasted approximately 3.4 minutes.

We were seated near a World War II Veteran who worked for months in a 7,000 bed POW hospital.

Two other World War II veterans were honored for their long-standing serving overseas.

Another Veteran was credited (and honored!) for saving a comrade’s life.

I didn’t feel worthy of sharing a pew with these men. They had served for years in foreign countries. Witnessed horrific events. True American heroes.

When McDaddy first told me about this upcoming deployment, I acted like a brat. OHYESIDID.

I slammed stuff. I cried. I said “I TOLD YOU SO.” I questioned. I cried some more, and then I got quiet. It was like I had hopped on a roller-coaster and couldn’t get off.

But here’s the thing; I am so freakin’ proud of McDaddy. And I support him. It’s just that I know how tough these six months are going to be. When the kids go to bed, it is sooo quiet in the house. When I’m cheering for the boys at a ballgame, and I think about McDaddy being alone in a foreign country, it’s almost more than I can bear. He’ll miss holidays. And both of our 40th birthdays. School activities. Important events. You name it. He’ll miss it.

Deployment is not easy. In fact, it was the hardest time of my life. But, when McDaddy took the oath to uphold the constitution, and protect this country against all enemies – foreign and domestic – he meant it.

He meant it with every ounce of his being, because that’s who he is.

And when I took a vow to be his wife, guess what?

I vowed to support him – for better or for worse – in this endeavor.

And I sometimes need reminded of that.

So, as I sat and listened about the sacrifices of these true American heroes, (one received FOUR purple hearts, AND SAVED A LIFE!) a tear ran down my cheek. And when McDaddy presented a World War II Veteran with a plaque and saluted him, I cried the ugly cry because I could tell McDaddy was holding back a tidal wave of emotions.

It was enough to give me the swift kick I needed to get a grip on this thing.

And believe me, I needed one.

I was humbled and honored to participate in the Veteran’s Day service today. Political affiliations and beliefs aside, we are all citizens of this great nation, and we, as responsible adults should be praying for our leaders to make sound decisions, and for every single service member to make it home safely to their families.

And, remember that any day is a great day to thank a Veteran for his service.

There are some pretty special Veterans in my life (my father-in-law, my cousin, and two great uncles) and I’d like to thank them for their brave service and sacrifice. Words could never properly express my gratitude.

And to the most important Veteran in my life, I would like to say that the boys and I love you and support you. We are a team, and we will get through this. The boys are so fortunate to have such a wonderful, selfless example as their most important role model. You are my hero.

 

 

 

The Crazy Is About To Get Crazier

From Inmates To Playdates went live in November, 2008. With a limited knowledge of HTML (which is code for crazy computer language – so really it should be called CCL) and a flair for the dramatic, I had hoped that I’d be able to make a go of this bloggy thing. With a little bit of luck I thought that I might have a handful of readers who would stop in here every few days for a daily (or every three days) dose of crazy.

As luck would have it, I did get the handful of readers.

And then another handful.

And finally, another handful.

And that first handful started leaving sporadic comments.

I’m not real sure when or how it happened, but somewhere between the giveaways, the reviews and the blog carnivals, y’all showed up here. Who would have thought that this boring stay-at-home-mom (who rarely stays at home) from West Virginia (who uses way too many commas) could write anything that would motivate people to read my daily ramblings, because let’s face it, there are at least two of you out there who think that every West Virginian woman is barefoot, pregnant and toothless in the kitchen.

Or on the porch.

[And you might as well go ahead and include run-on sentences to that list, too!]

But alas, that is not the case.

I mean, I AM a head case. But I am not a barefoot, pregnant, toothless head-case.

Because if I were pregnant (who cares about those other two?), I’d be over in the corner somewhere rocking back and forth, wondering how long my mental stability would stick around now that I was facing deployment and pregnancy. BUT JUST TO BE CLEAR, I AM NOT PREGNANT.

Late Friday evening (and after I cleared the specifics with The Pentagon) I wrote the post about the impending deployment

It wasn’t long after hitting publish on that post that I began receiving comments and e-mails and Facebook messages and phone calls letting me know that you all – my loyal blog fans (LBF’s for short) – would commit to praying for my family as we prepare for this time of separation.

*Excuse me while I wipe tears.*

And as I sit here pecking out words on this screen, I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate every single message you all left for us. And I know McDaddy does too!  I read each one with tear-filled eyes and mascara running down my face because I was doing the ugly cry.

So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving on us and leaving such beautiful words of comfort, encouragement, and concern. You will never know how much it means to us here at the McResidence.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And another thank you for anyone I might have missed.

It’s going to be a long, several months, but fear not! I will be here every step of the way documenting as much as the journey as I am permitted by law and the Department of Defense.

Folks, the crazy is about to get crazier.

And me and my flair for the dramatic would love it if you’d come along for the ride.

The Bearer Of Bad News

If you’ve spent any amount of time around here this week, you’ve probably noticed a somber tone in my writing. While I try to keep things light around here (because let’s face it, people have enough of their own drama without coming here and reading about mine!) honestly, that’s just not possible all the time.

While I’ve danced around this subject for the past two weeks here on the blog, what I really want to say scream from the top of my lungs is OUR LITTLE FAMILY HAS BEEN HIT WITH DEPLOYMENT AGAIN AND I AM NOT ONE BIT HAPPY ABOUT IT.

Phew.

That felt good.

While we knew there was a chance he might have to serve another sentence assignment, the news was still hard to stomach. There were tears at first. And then anger. And then more tears. And then OH MY GOSH WE HAVE TO TELL THE BOYS.

Oh, and our boys?

They are troopers.

They responded to the news by getting the globe and finding the location. And then, they talked about what all they would do for daddy while he was gone.

We each have different ways of working through the news, and I can honestly say that our boys, our sweet boys, handled the news better than I did. And if I’m being honest, I haven’t completely worked through the news because it is still like a fresh, open, raw wound. It is tough to work through news like this. There are little minor details that need to be worked out, like who will change the air conditioning filter while he’s gone, and then there are the biggies, like updating the power of attorney, and figuring out how McDaddy can balance the checkbook from half-way around the world so that me and my mad math skills don’t land us in the poor house. 

Deployment feels a little different this time around because we have been through it once already, but when he delivered the news, it was as if he dropped a bomb in my lap. I was not expecting it, and just like the first time I felt angry and scared. I was angry because it feels like he just returned from Guantanamo Bay yesterday, and I was scared because, well, these are perilous times we live in. Over the past few months, McDaddy and I have talked extensively about his military career. He joined the WV Air National Guard when we were juniors in high school and so this is all we have ever known. Still, it is like unchartered waters because he is not going back to Cuba. And, unlike last time, we will not be able to visit half-way through.

That means for six L-O-N-G painful months, we will be apart. And as I sit at my keyboard with tears streaming down my cheeks, I am scared.

I’m scared about our boys getting sick or having an accident, because he is always the voice of reason.

I am scared for his safety.

I am scared because our boys need him to check their homework if they stand a chance at passing math.

And I’m scared that my emotional stability may not be up to this challenge.

And I’m angry.

I’m angry because our country is in a mess making this deployment necessary.

And if I’m being honest, I’m angry because there are servicemen who have never been deployed, yet, here we are for our second go-round in three years.

I know that probably sounds selfish.

And I’m sad.

I’m sad that my boys have to go through this pain again.

And mostly I’m sad that this man, this man I love with every fiber of my being will be all alone and away from everybody and everything that is familiar to him.

And that makes my heart hurt in a way that I cannot describe.

So, on behalf of our family, would you commit to praying for us? First, that God would prepare our hearts and our minds for this difficult time of separation. (Because honestly? I need it badly.) And secondly, and most importantly, please pray specifically for McDaddy’s safety while he is away from us.

I know that in times like this I have to trust.

But man, it is so tough when the mountain is so tall and you seem so small.

And so it begins…..

Happy Thoughts

Our little family has had a stressful weekend. I am trying to occupy my mind with happy thoughts.

Like my sweet, handsome fellas.

Happy times in the Jeep.

Beautiful sunsets on the beach.

Knowing that this man comes home to me after a long day week at work.

Happy reunions.

World travels.

Crazy, happy times.

 And remembering how proud of this guy I am for his dedication and sacrifice.

I am blessed to share his life.

And right now, that is what I am focusing on.

Happy thoughts.

 

Something To Smile About

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from my bloggy friend, Allison, inviting me to be a guest blogger over at her place. We met virtually through our mutual blog designer, and hit it off once we discovered a mutual love for Dr. Pepper. (Anybody that loves Dr. Pepper has to be a great person, right?) When McDaddy was deployed, I was suprised to receive a goody box filled with items from the Dr. Pepper museum in Texas (where she lives) to cheer me up (and it worked!). I was humbled that she took the time to let me know she was thinking of us. Each year, we exchange Christmas cards (and pictures and letters) and if I am ever in Texas again, meeting Allison is on my list.

Each year Allison hosts a project on her blog benefitting two charities that are near and dear to her heart. You see, she and her son Will have both had cleft-palate surgery. This year, I am honored to be a part of her annual Project Smile.

Twenty years ago, I received a new smile too, and I would love it if you’d go over and read my post, and then share about something that makes you smile. Your comment will cost you nothing, but will help a child get a new smile.

 

Here’s how Project Smile works:

Go over to her blog, Leave a comment on my post (AND any posts dated May 24 through June 24, 2012, the first anniversary of her son, Will’s cleft palate surgery). For every comment received, (you may only leave one comment per post!) Allison will personally donate $1.00 to both Operation Smile and Smile Train. It costs you nothing yet gives something that is priceless! Feel free to spread the word, share the link on FB, tell your friends, and by doing so, you are sharing a smile, literally and figuratively!

Now, what are you waiting for? Get over there!

Saturday Evening Post

I don’t usually post on the weekends, but writing a post sounded like more fun than finishing up my laundry, so just for fun, I thought I’d write a really long run-on sentence share some facts about this here blog.

For starters, I giggled when I typed this post title.

I love writing fun games! This post is the one most visited by Google visitors and gets at least two or three hits each day.

Searching for information on kisses, this post was the one most recently visited (thirty-three minutes ago) by a random person on Google.

Nederland, Texas is the home of the last reader that visited From Inmates To Playdates. And while we’re talking about Playdates, you’d be shocked at the number of people who show up here searching for ‘From Inmates To Playmates’.

I am always shocked when someone out there searches for the information included in this post. It also happens to be one of my favorites.

If this post doesn’t prove I’m crazy, I don’t know which one does.

Hoping to be ever mindful of the thousands of families dealing with this beast, I read this post often myself.

As of 10:51 PM EST, I’ve had 165,406 visitors to this blog. Folks, that is A LOT of crazy people.

One of my most controversial posts was this one. Not sure how there is SO much information out there I know NOTHING about.

And finally, one of MY MOST FAVORITE posts of all time. I’m hoping to have a follow-up post called HOW I ROLL very soon.

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name.  Isaiah 51:15

You Capture – Inspiring

What inspires me?

I’ve discovered this week that finding things that inspire me isn’t nearly as easy I thought it would be. When I think of the word inspire, I think of three things, really. My hubby and my boys. They inspire me to be a better person. A better wife. A better mom. Instead of flooding you with pictures of my fellas though, I tried to think of things that inspire me.

Here’s what I came up with:

Before the deployment, I pledged allegiance to the flag, but it never really moved me. After deployment though? The flag means something totally different. There was a huge flag that flew on a mountain top on Guantanamo Bay. I remember riding around in McDaddy’s military vehicle and seeing that flag and thinking that our family was visiting a place that most Americans will never see because 18 years prior to that McDaddy made a commitment to the United States of America to protect our freedoms. And at that moment, we were visiting McDaddy on a naval station full of history and intrigue. I felt blessed to be there with McDaddy. I felt blessed to be visiting such a beautiful place. And I felt blessed to be an American. I will never look at a flag and not remember what it stands for.

This cross hangs in our church. It is a symbol made of wood, yet it inspires me in so many ways. For non-believers this is nothing more than two pieces of wood. For me though? It is so much more than that. The cross has a story to tell and if it could talk, you would hear a heart-wrenching horror story that seemingly ended in death. But then. THEN!, you would hear the beautiful account of the triumphant and glorious day three days later. The cross inspires me because it means that eternity is all that matters and that things and situations of this world are temporary. And THAT inspires me.

That’s all I’ve got unless you count the Saturn Sky and it just didn’t feel right adding it this week to these two very important inspiring things in my life. I’ll just say that the Saturn Sky inspires me to keep asking and maybe, just maybe, I’ll have one some day.

Check out other things that inspire over at You Capture.

365 Days

I am sitting in my big, blue, bloggy chair watching Big Brother. It has been a long day spent mostly on the road from South Carolina to our home in West Virginia. I spent the day thinking about what I was doing one year ago today. There was the little matter of deployment and on this day one year ago, McDaddy returned home from his stint in Cuba.

This summer has been so much different than last summer. And I am thrilled that we’ve been able to spend so much time together. What a difference a year makes.

We have been home approximately six hours and in that six hours, I have showered, bathed the boys, went to evening service at our church, washed and folded clothes, unpacked and repacked. In a matter of eight hours, I will again take my place in the ghettovan, er, Caravan passenger seat and in the words of Willie Nelson, I’ll be “On The Road Again.”

The boys and I are accompanying McDaddy on a short business trip and if I had any sense whatsoever, I would’ve done our last bit of  laundry before leaving Florida.

And speaking of Florida, ohmyword! I miss Florida. I miss the chaos. I miss McDaddy’s family. And the pool.

McDaddy is the oldest of five kids and all of us (the siblings and their spouses) are close friends.

I feel blessed to be a part of their big, honkin’ family and I enjoyed spending the week with them.

And just look at this view.

We have plans to return next year, but as we all know, a  lot can change in a year.

Happy Monday, y’all! And don’t forget to link up to What I Learned This Week tomorrow!