Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Moments That Take Your Breath Away

Last night, as I was driving, I heard George Strait's "The Breath You Take" and I was brought to tears. It's not the first time I've heard the song based off the quote but after the hardships of this year, it struck a chord. I remember when I first heard the quote, before the song, I assumed it was talking about the good times. That in our living we should be focused on those beautiful moments in our lives, our wedding day, the birth of our children, certain milestones, good memories and while those sentiments are true there are equally bad moments that take our breath away. That thought clicked in my mind as the song came through my radio. The struggle has been real and while the birth of a child nearly 9 months ago was breathtaking in a beautiful, miraculous way, the loss of a child three months ago was breathtaking too, in the gut wrenching, heartbreaking way. Both moments have equal value in my life. One good, one bad. Both moments shape and define my life, who I am and who I'll be in the future. Yes, breathing indicates life. If we weren't breathing we'd be dead. But the proof that you're truly alive is in the moments that define us, however breathtaking they may be.

In the midst of grief, it is hard to see the good. And I for one, am annoyed when people gloss over your pain with trivial statements, however well meaning they may be. Yes, life goes on. Yes, you will get through it. Yes, you can try for another baby. But when your breath has been taken away by pain and loss, those words can seem heartless and cruel. In these moments in life, people just need a listening ear, a good deed,  an assurance that they are not alone in their suffering. When the burden begins to lighten and they begin to breathe again the memory of that pain won't be an oppressive darkness. There will be light there and in times of remembering that pain, they will see that they didn't walk alone. And that breathtaking moment won't be so hard to bear.

I find myself in this place. I realized recently that had my baby been able to live, I would know the sex, possibly have a name picked out. I would be planning and buying and rejoicing. But those things aren't happening. Yes, it's incredibly sad. There are days when grief sneaks up and slaps me around but I can look back on that breathtaking moment and know that I'm alive and I didn't walk alone and that gives me joy amidst the pain.

My life won't be defined by how long I live but how well I lived, through the good and the bad.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Whole 30: Week 2 Review

Week two of the Whole 30 is under my belt and I've moved into week three!!!

Excuse the exclamation points. I'm really excited! :)

The physical results that I'm seeing are wonderful. It's tough not knowing what the scale says but feeling and seeing the results are just as good. Clothes that were fitting tightly and were almost unwearable a couple of weeks ago fit well or are loose now. While my stomach has a LONG way to go before it's truly flat, it is much flatter today. My skin looks great. I've always had pretty good skin, on my face at least, but over the past couple of months I had been having pimples and patches of dry skin near my mouth and chin. This was something I've never really experienced before. As a teenager, I had the occasional pimple but nothing when any sort of regularity. I'm pretty confident this was due to the poor eating habits I was following.

The sleep is amazing! I'm a person who constantly battles insomnia or if I do fall asleep quickly, I have a problem staying asleep. I either wake up a dozen times during the night or wake up and stay awake for a couple hours before being able to fall back asleep again. Not so since I started the Whole 30. It's amazing that foods can affect your sleep patterns so much. I never would have guessed. I'm sleepy by 9 PM and fall asleep quickly. I was strictly a 11 to 12 PM girl, every night. I still wake up once, but it's usually not long after I've fallen asleep. I'm not sure why I'm doing this but it happens almost every night. I have no problem going back to sleep and then I'm dead weight until morning or the baby cries. The sleep just might be my favorite change so far.

The second week was much easier than the first. The first was hard because I was just learning what things to eat and trying to figure out how to make meals that didn't include dairy or beans or grains. I had bad detox headaches and struggled to eat enough some days. We are enjoying all the meals we eat. We are eating good foods. It seems hard to cut out so many things that are staples in much of our diet but once you get the hang of it, you find yourself not missing them. Well at least not too bad. For example I made Paleo chili last night for supper. My normal chili includes lots of beans and then is topped with cheese and sour cream. We eat Doritos along with our chili. I was unsure of how I was going to like this chili as it had no beans and I couldn't include my favorite toppings. Holy cow! It was amazing and I've found a new favorite chili topping...diced avocado! Seriously, it's so good! I will say that of everything I can't eat, I still miss cheese the most.

I have to restart week 2 of C25K as I did not finish it this week. I'm disappointed but there were several things that happened out of my control, one of which was a thunderstorm during my normal run time. I don't want to do what I normally do and give up all together, so I'm hoping for a better week and being able to get my runs in like I'm supposed to. I enjoy running in the evening by myself, I absolutely HATE using the jogging stroller but I may have to switch to mornings after my oldest gets on the bus. The jogging stroller needs some work done, so I need to get the hubby on that.

Speaking of the hubby, he cheated! Last week he had...PIZZA!!! I literally wanted to cry when he told me. Not because I was upset that he hadn't been able to truly finish the Whole 30 but I was jealous! Ha! I love pizza! Like, I could eat it three times a week and not get tired of it. In his defense, with his job there are times he is unable to come home for lunch and he had already had to compromise for breakfast because he was busy. I normally make us eggs of some sort but because he wasn't able to wait for me to make them he had a Larabar and almonds that morning. No one he works with was able to leave for lunch and someone ordered pizzas for everyone. I kid him that he could have scraped the toppings off and not eaten the bread and cheese. He's not beating himself up about it because he was really doing this to support me. He isn't starting over as the Whole 30 says you should but he is continuing to eat the way I eat and trying his best to not have to cheat again.

The one thing that I forgot to do that I wish I had of done at the beginning was to take my measurements. I had every intention of doing them and just forgot but just looking at the way my body is now, I know the measurements would show a pretty good loss. So, if you are thinking about doing the Whole 30 yourself, please take your measurements on day one, you're going to want to know the difference.

Has the Whole 30 been hard? Yes. It takes a lot of preparation both physically and mentally. It does get easier and it's so worth it.

"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there."

Move out of your comfort zone and see what grows...or in this case, shrinks!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Whole 30: Week 1 Review

I honestly can't believe that it's already been 7 days since I officially started my journey. You know sometimes, how  you start a diet, and it's horrible and you're miserable and time just seems to drag on? Well, the Whole 30 is not like that. You are filling your body with good food, with good fuel, and it feels good. The first week went by so fast!

Yesterday was the last day of my Jillian Michaels detox drink. The combination of the Whole 30 with the drink was great for my body. I can already notice some subtle changes and I like it. Today is the first day of just drinking plain water and I actually miss the detox drink. I think I'm going to continue to add a bit of the pure cranberry juice and lemon juice to my daily water. I really liked that.

My husband "cheated" and weighed himself yesterday. In one week he was down 7.5 pounds. I thought that was pretty awesome. I'm not going to lie, the scales tempt me. They are in our downstairs bathroom and I have to see them multiple times a day. I should take my friends advice and just lock them in a closet. I came very close to weighing today. I know I can see and feel results but I want a number! Ha!

I also finished week one of C25K and started week two yesterday. Last night's run was hard. Mainly because at 8 PM it was still 93 degrees outside. Also because the amount of running increased with the new week. I saw today that there is going to be a 5K at Fort Polk the beginning of September. I'm thinking about signing up even though I won't be completely finished with the C25K program. I'll run what I can and walk the rest.

The week went by fast but not without some challenges. Number one was the detox headache. Pretty much since I started on the Whole 30, I've woken up each morning with a pounding headache. It usually lasts for a few hours. About day 3, I had a terrible headache that lasted all day. At one point, I went outside and couldn't hold my eyes open because the pain was so bad. I'm honestly not sure if the morning headaches are due to detox or because I am sleeping incredibly hard at night. I've been going to sleep a bit earlier at night, not by much, but earlier is earlier, right? Normally, I can't fall asleep and once I do, I can't stay asleep. This week, however, once I'm asleep, I'm practically dead! That's how hard I'm sleeping at night. Love the sleep, not the headache so much.

Secondly, I found it hard to eat enough some days. There were a couple of days where I ate really small amounts and just felt like I was full and just had no desire to eat. I'm not sure if that's a mental block I was putting up or what was going on but I know to get the most out of the Whole 30 I need to eat and eat well.

Lastly, I took my daughter to a birthday party last night. It didn't start until 5 PM and since that's close to dinner time, I figured that it would be better to cook our dinner meal earlier in day. I had planned a steak dinner for us that night, so we instead had a late steak lunch. I figured I'd cook up a quick meal of scrambled eggs or something for dinner when we got home. I took a baggie of raw cashews with me in case I got hungry and so I would have some sort of defense against all the foods I knew would be there and would derail my progress. As soon as we walked in the door, the smell hit me. I knew it was going to be hard but I also knew that I hadn't done all this work for nothing. Luckily the mom is a friend and knew from my Facebook that I was doing a "diet" of some sort. I was glad for that because I felt like I would be offending her by not eating any of the food she had taken the time to prepare. I actually felt strong up until it was cake time. Birthday cake is my absolute favorite. I love regular birthday cake and vanilla ice cream! But the kicker wasn't the birthday cake. After the cake was brought out and the candles blown out and happy birthday sang, I heard these words, "hand me the other cake." WHAT? There were two cakes???? This one was chocolate with chocolate icing and what looked to be chocolate ganache. OH. MY. GOTCH! I quickly texted my BFF and was like, "There are TWO cakes!!! I need to get out of here!" I also told her that I really wanted to put my face in that cake and wallow around in it for a bit! Hilarity by text ensued and I got a few weird looks, especially when I snorted really loud. Oh well! Thank you Stephanie for helping me keep my sanity and my diet in tact! I love you!

That was the first time I felt a real craving or temptation during the week. I felt awesome sticking to my plan and not getting derailed when I so easily could have. We didn't get home until 7:30. I was hungry even though I ate my cashews. I also hadn't done my run for the day. I can't eat after I run. Even an hour and a half later is pushing it. I almost lost my supper a few nights ago doing that. I knew that if I didn't go run first, I wouldn't run at all. Begrudgingly, I changed clothes and headed out. I was glad I did. After a quick shower, I made a fast egg salad thanks to my hubby boiling some eggs for me while we were at the party. I basically mashed up three eggs, added a bit of salt, pepper, smoked paprika, hot sauce, and mustard. I scarfed it down along with the last of my detox water and crashed on the couch.

Tomorrow starts week two. I'm excited. I did my grocery shopping yesterday and I feel prepared for the week. Abigail goes back to school on Tuesday and so starts the getting up early. I am not a morning person, so please be kind to me if you see me this week. I will probably be struggling!

I'm off to bake some kale chips for the week.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Getting Started

It feels good to be focusing on myself again.

I've started trying to make a few small changes leading up to tomorrow when I officially start day one of my Whole30 challenge. The last few days have been filled with research, planning, grocery shopping, prepping, writing out my goals etc. For the past week, I've been eating smaller meals, not necessarily focusing on nutrition, but portion size. So from the get go, I'm already down a few pounds. Yesterday, I started day one of the Couch to 5K running plan. For those of you who have been following my blog for the last few years will know that this is not my first time doing the plan. I have successfully completed it twice and have stopped and started it several other times. I wish I could say that I've been a constant runner since finishing the program but for some reason, I haven't stuck with running at all. But I am a believer in it, because I know it works. This time, I downloaded the free C25K app which still tells me when to start and stop running but allows me to access my own playlists on my phone. I won't be blogging much about the running since I've already done that in the past. I will say this though...man, is it ever disappointing to struggle at doing something that your body used to be able to accomplish with no problem. I felt like I was dying yesterday doing day one. I wanted to beat myself up mentally because of it but negative self talk wont help me in any way so I'm just going to let it go and continue on.

Today, I'm implementing one other part of my Project Me plan...the Jillian Michaels Detox Drink. The purpose of the drink is to help you shed extra water weight which we all know means more frequent trips to the bathroom. From what I've read, you can lose up to five pounds in the seven days. My initial plan was to do this drink last week, a week before I started the Whole30 but because one of the ingredients is a little hard to find and I ended up having to order it online, I didn't receive it in the mail until Friday. Since I had already bought the stuff, I figured I would do it anyway. You are not supposed to weigh in after the first day of the Whole30 until it's over, so I won't be able to tell you if I lost the 5 pounds the first week or not but I'm sure I'll be able to tell you more about how it worked for me and what it was like. I posted a picture of my jug of water over on Facebook this morning and have already had several of you ask for the recipe so here it is...

Jillian Micahels Detox Drink

64 oz purified water
1 bag of dandelion root tea
1 tbs pure cranberry juice
2 tbs lemon juice

The dandelion root tea was the ingredient that was hard to find. I'm sure if you have a local health food store or a nice supermarket you may not have the problem I did finding it. I ordered mine from Amazon. To make the drink, fix your tea according to the package. Once it has cooled pour it in your container. Add the cranberry and lemon juice and top with remaining water. I made my drink last night so that it had time to be completely cool before consuming it today. That's it. Now, you drink one 64 oz container of your drink every day for seven days. I made two jugs last night and my hubby and I are both drinking on them today.  He's along for the ride too. He's supposed to let me post his results at the end of the 30 days as well.

You may be wondering how it tastes. It tastes like tangy lemon water to me. Not bad at all. You don't have to be on a restrictive "diet" to do the detox drink but it makes sense to eat as well as you can and to exercise along with it to get the most out of it. 

Tomorrow starts my "official" journey. I'm excited to be focusing on not just losing weight but my health again as well. You'll find me here on my blog for most of the 30 days, staying accountable and letting you all know how it's going. Join me?

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Back Burner

I am a giver by nature. My mom used to say, that I'd give someone my last dollar and she's right. I totally would. If you're family or friend, you've probably at some point, been the recipient of a gift that didn't come on your birthday or holiday. I most likely saw something that reminded me of you and couldn't resist buying it. Giving in a tangible sense, hasn't always been an option due to our financial circumstances at times, but when it is, I seriously cannot help myself. It drives my husband nuts but it's part of who I am. But I'm not someone who just gives presents, I like to think that I give my time and "talents" when I can. I often put other people first before myself. It's not that I think that I don't matter but I just naturally find myself concerned for the well-being and care of others and like to do what I can when I can. As wonderful as this all is, it means that I put myself on a back burner many of times. I don't even realize that I'm doing it. Mostly that's because I truly receive more of a blessing as a giver. The thing about back burners is that they are hardly used and when they are it's for the less important part of the meal or for something that doesn't need much attention. It's often forgotten and when it's finally remembered, the results aren't always pleasant. I've been on the back burner too long.

Sometimes being on that back burner is intentional. It comes from a place of not wanting to be noticed or not wanting to deal with things in your life. That's why I've been there lately. It's mostly been survival mode. If I can say one thing about 2014, is that it's been full of some hard times. It's been much easier to focus on other things and other people than myself. If you've read my blog at all in the last few months you'll know what I'm talking about. From being alone with two kids waiting for my husband to return from Afghanistan to essentially having to abort my child due to an ectopic pregnancy, things have not been easy. I've had to deal with the emotions that come from these hard times. The easiest way to feel some sort of normalcy was to eat my feelings. I found myself slipping back into old eating habits that I thought I had finally conquered. One of the worst being waiting till my family was all in bed to indulge in junk food without having to feel guilty, at least for the time being. Guilt from over-indulging always comes. I blogged for a while after my surgery but I could never get over this nagging feeling that people just wanted me to suck it up and get over it already. So I tried that. I didn't really get over it. I'm still not over it. I just pretend to be. The truth is, I've got so many dang emotions bottled up inside right now, that I hope no one lights my fuse because it won't be pretty. But I'm trying to deal.

In the midst of all of this, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Of course, I see myself at some point, in a mirror everyday but that doesn't mean I'm always really looking and when I am, I put on my denial glasses or I say that I'll deal with it later. Well, later came in the glimpse and it was like a sucker punch to the gut. The disgusting, over-sized gut that hadn't been there just a couple months ago. The heartbreaking truth was that I had done it to myself, again. I had no one else to blame. I had put myself on the back burner, intentional or not, it was the way that I have survived the last couple of months. It's the way I survived most of last year. By putting everyone else above myself. Because, if I thought of me, I'd have to deal with the heartbreak of my husband being overseas, of being alone when my daughter arrived by c-section, of moving back to a place with no friends or family, of having my baby and part of myself taken from me. Dealing with me meant truly dealing with all of the hardness of life of late and it was easier to focus on everyone else than to do that. But that glimpse made me focus in on myself and I didn't like what I saw. The last few days have been especially hard as I've had to take a close look at myself, deal with the pains of life, and try to put things behind me so that I can move on and become a better me. I have a lot of work to do physically but it's not just that. I have a lot of work to do mentally and spiritually for myself as well.

I'm taking back control of my life. At least the parts that I have control over. I'm moving myself to the front burner. Don't get me wrong. It's OK to be on the back burner every now and then, as long as your mindful of the pot, keep it stirred, and take it off when it needs to be moved. It's not OK to put yourself on the back burner and leave yourself there until you no longer recognize who you are. That's where I feel like I've been so I'm moving myself forward. The rest of this year is about a better me and taking care of myself so that I can continue to be there for my family and those in my life. Today, I wrote down my goals and a game plan to achieve them. I'll write more about those later.

If you're struggling with being on the back burner or life has been hard lately, take a glimpse whether that be physically, mentally, or spiritually. Really take the time to look at yourself. Have you lost control? Have you allowed your circumstances to define you instead of dealing with them? There's always time for a change. Give it all to God and make a plan. Start small. Do the things you know to do and do them well. We can do this.

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." - Maya Angelo

Peace, Love, & Healthy Living,


Monday, July 28, 2014

Emptiness and Project Me


That's the word I would use to describe how I feel right now.

For the past few weeks my home has been filled with people I love. As our friends were packing for their move, the kitchen was one of the first things to be put away. Once I discovered they planned on eating sandwiches for their remaining time, I was having none of it. There was no way that I was going to toss out food on a regular basis while they ate poorly for a few weeks.

 It was decided that I would cook each evening and they would come have dinner with us. What was designed to be a blessing to them turned out to be the greater blessing for me. I enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed the planning and cooking. I enjoyed the conversations over dinner. I enjoyed it when they lingered after dinner was finished and the kitchen was clean and we played games or goofed around. I enjoyed having my home filled with love and laughter.

Everything seems so quiet now. So empty. The rest of my family seems to be taking it pretty well but I'm struggling. Much more so than I ever imagined. It actually feels a lot like grief. I look around and see things left behind or things that remind me of them and the tears come unbidden. Yesterday morning as we drove to church, we passed by their old apartment, only a few away from ours. My heart was sad. I felt alone. You don't realize how much you need other people in your life. I was used to being alone and not having any friends. Now it sucks going back to that. My husband has people that he works with. After lunch he went out with a few to shoot his bow. I'm glad for him but it makes my loneliness feel sharper.  I think the thing that bothers me the most is the feeling of being alone. Of course I have my own family but knowing that there were others who would be there for you, to have your back, made living here away from our own families much, much easier.  I know it's part of life, especially military life, but as  I've said before, knowing something and actually experiencing it are two totally different things.

I know it will get easier. Abigail starts back to school in a few weeks and our lives will be back on a routine. Once they are settled I fully expect FaceTime to be a huge part of our lives. And we are planning a trip to see them just after Christmas. Five months feels like a really long time but life has away of passing by in a hurry so it will be here before we know it.

One of the best ways of getting over things is to immerse yourself into a project. This time the project is me. I've neglected myself long enough. Since my hubby has been home and I lost the baby, I've slipped back into some really old and bad habits, mostly emotional eating which equals weight gain. I'm thoroughly disgusted with myself. I worked so hard to lose weight and get my life on track only to allow circumstances to control me instead of the other way around. So today, I'm getting back to the basics. I'm setting goals and writing them down. Starting with the larger goals and then smaller ones to help me attain the bigger ones. It's time to find myself again, to feel better. My posts will most likely be more frequent and more about weight loss and healthy living again. Those posts are more for me than anything else. I find that I need that accountability to stay on track. I hope you'll join me on my journey. Either by starting one of your own or by reading through mine.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What They Don't Tell You

There's a lot of things they don't tell you about military life when your spouse is being recruited. They give you the highlight reel and tell you that having watched Army Wives on tv doesn't matter because it's nothing like that. And about that they are right.

People will tell you that every post is different. Every unit is different. And your personal experience with the military really depends on where you land. Everyone's experience is not the same.

Disappointed is not strong enough a word to describe my feelings when I learned that we were headed back to the state of Louisiana for Ryan's first duty station. I mean when you join the military you imagine getting to go places you've never been. We had just spent the last two years living and mostly being miserable in Louisiana. And as I researched Fort Polk it was very hard to find anyone who said anything good about it. But getting my husband back after being gone to training most of the year, I would have went to Timbuktu, gladly.

So, we found ourselves in a new place surrounded by new people being newbies to the army life. The unit my husband was stationed with had been rumored to be deploying later that year and my worst fear was confirmed. We spent the majority of our first six months here with my husband being in the field, working late nights, and rarely seeing him except for the weekends. I remember being angry because I distinctly remember the recruiter stressing that "family" was a main priority for the army. As far as I could see, it wasn't. They didn't care that I had cooked dinner and kept it warm for over two hours. They didn't care that my husband had only been home a few minutes before being called back in to work. It was all very frustrating. Add in the fact that I didn't know anyone and it could be pretty miserable.

They also tell you how many friends you'll make. Maybe things were different in the military of yesteryear but most people aren't very nice or friendly. I seriously have a neighbor whom I always smile and speak to when I see her and all I get are icy glares and a mumbled reply. I've never had a full conversation with her so I can't imagine why she's like that. In those first 6 months, I was utterly alone.

It wasn't until I returned to Fort Polk in anticipation of my husbands return from Afghanistan that I made any friends. You can read more about that here. They aren't the only ones but they are my closest and dearest friends here. In the words of my six year old, "they're are our friends but more like family." It's a running joke about how quickly and how closely Stephanie and I became friends but there are just some people you click with, some people you are just meant to be friends with.  These are my people.

So let me tell you one other thing they don't tell you about in their highlight reel...how hard saying goodbye is.

This is their last week here. I'm an emotional being. I feel everything in a big way no matter what the emotion. So, today, I find myself on the verge of tears. I'm not ready to say goodbye. It's so completely selfish. They've done their time in this hole and they are getting to go to a place closer to home. It's a good move. So I really just feel sorry for myself. It's hard to imagine people taking up so much room in your heart when you haven't known them that long but it's just the way it is.

Military life may not be everything I imagined it would be but for the most part it's been a blessing. Had we not gotten those orders to Fort Polk, I would have missed out on making some lifelong friends. So in the words of Winnie the Pooh...

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Million Dollar Question

They say that time heals all wounds. It's not true. Time may make the wound less painful but it's still there.

It's been a couple of months since my surgery for the removal of my tube including my baby. I haven't updated lately because there really hasn't been much to say. It's taken this long for me to begin to feel like myself again, to feel the dark cloud of anger and depression begin to lift.

The thing with grief is that it can suck you back in at any time, without any warning. Today has been one of those days. Maybe it's the fact that I haven't felt well all week or maybe it's because I finally had the last part of this madness done this week but I've felt overwhelmed today. I've felt anxious, tired, and emotional. I've caught myself thinking about our baby and how far along I should be. I've been over thinking about over thinking. It's a vicious cycle.

The last part of the madness was my HSG test. Basically a catheter was inserted into my cervix and dye was ran through my remaining tube to check for any blockages or problems that could cause infertility or another ectopic pregnancy. I was nervous and alone for this test. I was prepared for intense pain and bad results. But astonishingly enough there was neither. I haven't heard official word from my OBGYN yet but according to the doctor that did my test, my remaining tube is clear and I am good to go if we want to try for another baby.

That's the million dollar question. Do we want to try again? Part of me says no. Part of me doesn't want to risk the heart ache and grief a second time. Part of me just wants to move on. The other part of me, the one that's always wanted three kids says yes. Go for it. I'm not sure which part will win out. Only time will tell.

I know that I will live with this wound the rest of my life. It's a part of me. It's a part of who I am now. I'm still struggling to reconcile the person I was before the surgery with the person I am now. I know that somewhere there is a happy medium. One that will allow me to love and miss the baby that is no longer with us but not be a person tied down to her grief and pain. Someone who can live life to the fullest even when her arms are empty of a life she thought would be there.

Friday, June 13, 2014


This week has been one of the better ones that I've had in a month. Some of the weight I've been carrying around has felt like its been lifted or at least lightened a little. Until today. Today, I have felt irritated and angry. The slightest things set me off. I recognize that these emotions are irrational but I cannot seem to control them. I began to wonder, "why today?" And then I remembered that tomorrow I have my post-op follow up appointment. Tomorrow, I have to relive one of the worst days of my life. Tomorrow, I have to look at pictures from my surgery and ask questions that I need answers to because I was too groggy from anesthesia when the doctor came in and talked to me after surgery. Tomorrow, I have to discuss further testing and my body's ability to carry future children. I'm angry today because I wonder if my world will come crashing down again tomorrow.

Technically, it's already tomorrow. I have a lot to do before my appointment. First of which is sleep! I'm going to keep my mind occupied until then and no matter the outcome, I'm going to spend tomorrow evening with my family and friends, being thankful for the life I have even if it's not the life I imagined a month ago.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Words on a Screen

Every night I go to bed with a pit in my stomach, a deep, dark abyss of anxiety mixed with grief and depression and every morning I wake up to the same thing. During the day, when my mind and attention is focused on something else I don't notice it as much but it's still there. It's a physical ache constantly reminding me of all that I've lost, all that I've been through. I feel at war with my emotions. I wish the pit would go away but I don't want to forget.

I wonder. I wonder what gender my baby would have been. I wonder if this might have been the baby that looked a little more like me and a little less like Ryan. I wonder what we would have named him or her. I wonder what Christmas would have been like with me being only a couple of days away from a c-section. I wonder what the new year would have looked like being a family of five. I wonder who this child would have grown up to be. I wonder.

I had a bad day today. I had a bad day yesterday. Neither incident had anything to do with my ectopic pregnancy or surgery. It's just that once something really awful happens to you, even minor inconveniences seem like major problems. I don't want to keep score but I find myself counting the crappy things that have happened to me since my surgery. I could list five right now. I know what your thinking. Jessica, count your blessings. Don't focus on the negative, focus on the positive. You have so much to be thankful for. You want the truth? All I hear is blah, blah, blah. Literally, right now, the thought of someone saying that to me is making my heart race and I want to hit something. It's not that you're wrong. I do have so much to be thankful for and I probably should be counting my blessings. I just can't. Not right now, not in this moment, anyway.

What kid on the planet isn't obsessed with Frozen right now? I know that my Abigail is. I hear a rendition of "Let it Go" several times a day. She sings it with such conviction. I want to be Elsa. I want to freaking let it go but I can't. Maybe it's because it's too soon or maybe it's because I'm stubborn. I don't know. There isn't really a step by step guide on how to go about this. I just know that I want to shake the oppression but I'm not really ready to let go of it, just yet. I don't want to feel bad anymore but I don't know how to feel anything else right now.

Writing/blogging let's me breathe. It helps me to deal with and better understand what I'm feeling. I'm usually unaware of what I'm going to say. It's when I feel "heavy" emotionally that I turn to the computer and my fingers fly across the keyboard. When I'm finished, I feel a little lighter and I sleep a little better. Maybe one day, you'll come to my blog and find a recipe or a more uplifting post but for the time being, I can't promise anything more than what I've been giving you. This is real. This is me. This is who I am at this moment in time. I'm surviving only by the grace of God and my words on a screen.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

People Are Important

I've never been what you would call a people person. Even in high school I preferred to stay at home, put on my pj's, and watch TV rather than going to the movies or dinner with friends. I'm not saying that I didn't do those things but there were just as many times as I turned down offers as times that I accepted them. I thought of myself as an extrovert but the older I get the more introverted I realize that I am.

Being a stay at home mom has only made it worse. My oldest is going to be 7 later this year. Once I had her, I stayed home and pretty much had no social life. My husband worked weird hours so it was mostly me and Abba all the time. When the opportunity to be in a social situation arose, I found it hard to communicate with others. My brain felt mushy and I realized that I didn't have a lot in common with most of the people I found myself around. These awkward situations, pushed me further into my shell, so to speak, and it truly became difficult to make friends. The amount of effort it required to make a friend and be a friend just wasn't worth it in my opinion and I wasn't a people person.

As a teenager and young adult, I was self-confident. I felt like I knew who I was and I was OK with that person. I honestly didn't care about what people thought of me. Now, at 31, I feel more insecure than ever. I still feel awkward in most social situations, I still find it difficult to make and maintain friendships, and I have to fight hard against the urge to stay cooped up at home and never go anywhere other than the grocery store. I find myself wondering what people think of me and actually caring. I'm no longer sure if I like me.

I constantly feel like a failure as a mother. That feeling is exacerbated by my ectopic pregnancy. I struggle with feeling like I failed the child that was taken from me. Rationally, I realize that I can't control everything that happens in my body but a lot of our feelings are irrational, right? People keep telling me to grieve. But how can I? I have two other children who depend on me and are always around. My husband works a job where I may only see him a couple hours total during the day. I'm responsible for everything and everyone in my house. If I cry, my oldest constantly asks if I'm crying and why I'm crying. It's just a rough situation all around. These last two weeks have felt like hell and it doesn't seem like that feeling is going to let up anytime soon.

Before my husband returned from deployment and I moved back to Fort Polk he suggested that I send a Facebook friend request to the wife of another soldier in his unit that lived on our street. I had only met her once before and while she seemed nice, I didn't really know her. Being the introverted, non-people person that I am, I cringed at the thought. It would be so weird, right? To receive a friend request from someone you met once and probably don't even remember. He had to convince me to do it but I did. I typed a short message to go along with it, trying to be as un-weird (is that a word?) as possible. I felt sick. Why are things like that so hard for me? Anyway, being the nice person that she was, she accepted my request and sent a nice message back. Whew! Maybe she didn't think I was as creepery as I felt.

What I didn't know or even expect was that friend request would change my life. We hit it off after a few awkward moments when we first met in person. Our husbands came back from deployment and I figured that it would kind of be the end of things. Maybe we'd get together once in a while on our own but I doubted that the husbands would be involved. Truth is, it's very rare for Ryan and I to actually like the same people. Ha. I know that sounds bad but it is what it is. I was wrong and I'm really glad. I'm thankful for all the texts, Facebook messages, and so forth that I've received from family and friends since my surgery but nothing beats having a physical presence in your life that helps you out, comforts you, lets you sob uncontrollably on your living room sofa without judgement, and after seeing you ugly cry, still wants to be your friend! I can't imagine having gone through this without the extra support and care of our friends.

Whether you're a people person or not, one thing that I've learned is, people are important. You may not always like everyone you meet. There are some people out there that make me want to stay in my shell and not take the chance. But without taking a chance on people, you risk never having your life changed by others. No matter where life takes us or where we end up, I will never be able to reflect upon this time in my life without thinking about the friends who made it easier. I'm sure they don't even realize they are doing it. Half the time when my heart is hurting and I'm feeling sorry for myself, my phone goes off with a text to see how I'm feeling, or a funny picture that makes me laugh, or a well-timed friendly "insult". And most evenings, four lounge chairs at the end of a driveway are healing my heart and nobody knows it but me.

And now all of you! Ha ha!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beneath the Waves

Have you ever been robbed?

I remember when I was in first grade, maybe kindergarten, my best friends house was robbed. I went home with her after school to spend the night and when we walked into her house it was immediately evident that someone had broken in and stolen things. I remember being so scared. It wasn't my house or my things but I still felt a sense of discomfort and paranoia. Their privacy had been invaded and even as a small child it felt gross and shameful. Not that they had anything to be shameful about but it just felt wrong.

I feel those same feelings today. Except it isn't my home that's been invaded it's my body. It's my heart. I wish that I would have had a miscarriage. That I could've understood. It would have been hard and painful and I'm sure I would be feeling some of the same things that I'm feeling right now. But this, this feels wrong, and shameful. I was forced to do something I would have never done under other circumstances. My body didn't reject my baby and dispel of it. I was robbed. My baby was taken from me. Stolen. At least it feels that way. I know that my baby couldn't survive in my Fallopian tube and I know had the pregnancy continued much further then I may not have survived either but the whole situation just feels wrong.

The pain comes in waves. I think I'm doing fine and out of know where I'm drowning or it feels that way. One summer when I was a kid, my family rented some motel rooms or something on Tybee Island. I grew up in a small town about an hour south west of there. My dad had rented us some "boogie boards" and he would push us off on a wave and my brother and I would ride the wave to the shore and then swim back out with our boards to meet my dad for another round. We had been at it for a while and the waves were getting bigger. My dad said this was the last wave for the day. I don't remember being pushed into the wave by my dad but I do remember the wave overtaking me and me and my board tumbling over and over beneath the water. I desperately wanted air. I needed to reach the surface. I began to panic and then my face made contact with the ocean floor. I was now in shallow water near the shore. My mouth and nose were filled with sand and I was bleeding mostly from scratches from the sand and probably my face hitting so hard. That was the end of that beach day for us. I don't remember a lot else about that vacation, just some snippets here and there but I remember that moment like it was yesterday.

The grief and pain over this unexpected loss is much like that. Most days I'm coasting the waves but on others I'm tumbling beneath the surface unable to breath. Unlike the bloody face and the sand in my mouth and nose, I have no physical evidence of my loss, at least not by outward appearance. I don't go around with my stomach hanging out so very few have seen my physical scars. It's a very private pain. People ask how I'm doing and I say I'm fine or I'm ok because I don't think people really want to hear that I feel like I'm drowning on dry land. I mean, life goes on right? Should I be over this by now? I don't know how I'll ever really get over it. I know one day the pain will lessen, I just don't know when that day will come.

My mind constantly feels like it's moving in a hundred different directions at once. It makes it hard to sleep at night. And it's at night, when I'm completely alone with my thoughts that it hurts the worst. Even thought my pregnancy was still in the beginning stages, between 7 and 8 weeks, plans had already began to form in my mind and heart. It's hard thinking about Christmas to come when just a couple of weeks ago, I thought we'd be getting ready for a new arrival by then. Then I begin to blame myself. Is it because I wasn't excited enough when I found out? It was a complete shock after it taking so long to get pregnant with our two girls. I had only been not pregnant for 5 months.

So I lay here, wrestling with these thoughts and my grief unable to sleep. I wonder if I'll ever feel like myself again?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yesterday, I had one of the worst days of my life.

It started out like any Saturday morning with Charlotte playing and making noises and me not wanting to get up yet. A quick trip to the bathroom and the beginning of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day began. Anyone remember that book? Well the title definitely fits.

What most of you wont know is that about 3 weeks ago I found out that I was pregnant. It came as a shock considering that Charlotte is only 5 months old and it took me significant amounts of time to get pregnant with both girls. I never expected it to happen so fast. It took me a few days to get over my shock but we were happy and hoping for a boy this go around considering that I was planning on having my tubes tied after the c-section with this baby. Having two sections so close together and it being my third, I figured that my body couldn't handle much more.

At this point, I'd only had blood work at the hospital lab to confirm the pregnancy. I hadn't seen a doctor yet as the military has their own way of doing things. So when I noticed blood while I was in the bathroom I woke up my husband to take me to the emergency room and called my friend to watch our girls.

After the girls were taken care of, off we went. The ER doctor explained that the bleeding could be cause by numerous things including miscarriage but at that point it would be hard to tell and most likely I would be sent home and come back on Monday to have repeat blood work to test my hormone levels. They needed to do several test there though including an ultrasound to rule out ectopic pregnancy. I had this done with Charlotte due to intense pain in my left ovary region which turned out to be a pretty large cyst on my ovary that went away by 20 weeks. So, I was sure that because I was having no pain that ectopic was most likely not the cause.

The ultrasound took much longer than I anticipated and the only info the tech gave me was very cryptic in nature. I knew then that something was wrong. Once I was back in my room the nurse came in to recheck my vitals and I could tell by the way she acted that it wasn't good news.

Finally the ER doctor came in and confirmed my fears. It did indeed look like there was a mass near my right ovary and there was no evidence of anything in my uterus. They were calling the OB on call to come in and confirm and I would most likely be having surgery to remove my tube and my baby. The news was devastating and heart breaking. I never expected for my world to be rocked and turned upside down that Saturday morning.

As a side note, I want to say that I am so thankful for the friendships in my life but this weekend confirmed for me that, it isn't who you've known the longest or how long you've even known someone at all, there are just some people you meet that invest in your life and love you from the get-go. I've only known Stephanie since February of this year and didn't know her husband until Ryan's unit came back from Afghanistan but these two are the best friends a girl could have. They took my girls in like their own and when things went south Stephanie left the kids in Bart's hands and came and sat with me and Ryan until they took me back for surgery. They cooked us dinner and kept my girls overnight. I'm not one to usually make friends quickly much less trust someone besides family to take care of my girls overnight but they love my girls like their own and I couldn't ask for more. Thank you Stephanie and Bart. You made my horrible day a little less sucky and I'll never forget that.

The surgery went well, I guess you can say. The doctor came in and talked to me after I woke up in recovery but I don't remember much. I should be having a follow up on Monday and I need to have another test since there seemed to be scarring on my left tube. We do not want a repeat of what happened yesterday.

So I'm resting and dealing the best I can. Right now everything seems surreal and I haven really felt the depth of what has happened to me. I'm sure when that day comes it won't be very pleasant. In the meantime my husband is taking good care of me and my friends are filling in for the family who can't be here. At this point, our friends are our family and I'm so grateful.

We ask for your prayers as I recover and we mourn the loss of our third child. Love to you all!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Hero, My Friend

I love my husband!

In June, we will have been married for 11 years! What? It doesn't seem possible when I think about it. I was a baby when I got married. I was only 20 years old and full of preconceived notions and fairytale dreams about marriage and what it was like. It didn't matter how many marriage books my parent's made me read or how many times my dad told me that "love is blind but marriage is an eye opener," I still went in to marriage with the wrong idea, that somehow it was easy. The, "and they lived happily ever after," is a big pile of cow manure if you ask me. I'm sure there is not one married couple out there that will say they've been happy every day that they've been married. If they do, I say they are lying and you can't change my mind. Ha!

Our marriage has had it's fair share of dark days. Days where I wondered if it was really worth it at all. I'm sure he would tell you the same thing. I am not an easy person to live with. I'll admit it. I can be negative and moody. I speak without thinking. I'm selfish and think only of my own needs and wants. I'm not proud of it. I'm ashamed really. In the last couple of years, I have really begun to see and try and change the negative things in my life. I'm not saying I've figured it out completely but half the battle is recognizing it, right?

Marriage is hard and if you really want it to work, you have to WORK! It's not in our nature to put other people's needs above our own. We are born with an innate ability to look out for number one. Some people are better at it than others, I guess, but I'm not one of those people. It's sinful and shameful but it's the truth. One sure fire way to turn things around in a marriage that is lacking is to start putting your spouse above yourself. Sometimes that means doing things that you do not want to do. At first, it will be hard and you may find yourself bitter about the situation but I promise, if you keep WORKING at it, one day you'll find yourself doing something that you used to hate and realize that you are enjoying it. Not because it's your thing but because you are doing it with your spouse and making them happy makes you happy. Funny how that works. Once you have the hang of that, you'll find yourself looking for ways to make your spouse happy and can I just say, happy spouse, happy marriage. And my friends, they will reciprocate. Maybe not at first. They may wonder what you're up to in the beginning! If things have been difficult, you've been difficult, they may be gun-shy but you keep it up, they'll come around. Trust me, I know.

In the beginning, when my husband joined the Army, people asked me all the time how I felt about it or why now? He was 30 after all. If you graduated from a Christian college designed to prepare you for ministry and you join the military and not as a chaplain, you get weird looks and awkward silences. At first, it was hard to answer. It caught most people by surprise but the truth is, we'd fought about him joining the military for years. It was just a mostly private war that few people knew about. I was completely against it. You can read all about my thoughts on him joining the Army and me becoming and Army wife here. But in the end, it was the right thing for him and the right thing for us. I know I've posted a lot lately about my anxiety and depression over the last month waiting for him to come home from deployment. Yes, this past month has been particularly tough but I will still tell you that this was the right decision for our family. I have had more peace, more stability, more love for my husband in this season of life than any previously before. I came across this quote on Pinterest a while back and it sums up how I feel about him being in the Army, "you know you've made the right decision when there is peace in your heart."

Peace? Really? Isn't your husband in a war zone where people want to kill him? Yes, yes he is but that still hasn't erased the peace in my heart. I may be a mess right now but it's not so much worry about him but just the all consuming need for him to be home and for our family to be whole again. Because you see, right now, this is not a dark day of marriage. The sun is shining, I'm a better person, my husband is loving what he does, and we are truly best friends. It's taken a lot of work to get us to this place and it will continue to take work, really hard work. But it's worth it. It is SO WORTH IT! I want to enjoy this season of our marriage together, not apart.

I love my husband! My hero. My friend.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait

At the end of this week, I'll have been back in Louisiana for a month. On the days where both girls are crying, I'm tired, and there are a million things to get done, I feel like I've been here forever. I feel like there is no end in sight. On other days when the sun is shining (a rare thing since we've been back), everything is quiet, my girls are smiling and happy, and I feel OK, I'm amazed at the length of time that has passed. I'm amazed that I've done it on my own. I knew coming back without my husband being home would be hard but there was just really no good time to come home and get our lives on a schedule before he comes back so we bit the bullet and just did it. It's been good for us. I've gotten things done and the house mostly in order. Abigail has gotten acclimated in a new school and Charlotte is finally comfortable in a new place and on a good routine. So now we are just waiting. Waiting is truly the hard part.

Nearly three years ago, when we were in a different situation, we were in a waiting period and I was having a hard time. You can read about that here. Waiting has never been my strong suit. I get frustrated, irritated, and upset. I just want what I want and I want it now. It's not a very Godly attitude and it's something I constantly have to work on and pray about. I try and distract myself or find something else to do when the wait seems excessive. But when you are a stay at home mom (which I wouldn't trade for the world) there is only so much cleaning, cooking, diaper changing you can do. So, I find myself sometimes with empty moments and in those moments my mind and heart are at war with each other. My mind tells me the facts, things I know to be true but my heart, it likes to ignore my mind and tell me something completely different. It makes me worry and feel frustrated. It reminds me that I'm lonely and anxious. I then try and remind myself of the facts and let my mind be in charge but it's easier said than done. I'm ready, beyond ready, for this season of life to be over. I'm ready for the elephant to get off my chest and for the rock in my stomach to disappear. I know, that we may find ourselves in a similar season again and maybe next time I'll be stronger and more ready for what's to come but for now, the end is near and I am extremely glad.

One of the things that I've been waiting on recently finally happened. I had thought all along, once this one things happens, I'll feel better for sure. But I don't. Not really. Now, I just have a new set of things to worry about and stress over. I guess in life, there are always things, no matter what your situation, that can drag you down, make you worry, fill mind and heart with stress and it's what you do in those situations that matter. I'm not proud of all my moments. There are times when I let it all control me instead of surrendering it and letting it go. But today, today is a new day. Today is a new chance to let it go and focus on the good.

There is an old adage that when I'm in the middle of letting the stress and anxiety control me, irritates me to no end but when I'm thinking clearly, it's a good reminder that better things are still to come..."This too shall pass." And it shall. There will come a moment in time, when deployment will be officially over. My husband will be home and our family will be whole again. Maybe then, I'll be able to look back over this time and see some good in it, instead of all the heartache, loneliness, sleepless nights, and anxiety that come at me from all sides now. So, for now, on this day, I'm choosing to breathe deeply, finish my coffee, and focus on the good. Like the beautiful baby sleeping away in her swing.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

It Is What It Is

Today, I am sitting here, wishing my hubby would get online so I could talk with him. I really, honestly, do not know how wives did it back in the day when the only form of communication was handwritten letters. I cannot imagine, going weeks without hearing anything from my husband. I would have gone crazy! Well, crazier than I already am. Ha! Say what you will about technology, but I, for one, am extremely grateful for how far it's come. Earlier this week, when I made my first post, I was feeling really down and anxious but after being able to Skype with my husband, see his face, and hear his voice, I felt refreshed and restored. I felt like I could make it through the rest of this deployment, however long we may still have.

I never knew that the end of deployment would feel worse than the beginning. Yes, the beginning was heartbreaking. I remember sobbing in my vehicle as we drove away from him and Fort Polk, headed to spend deployment with my family. It was so hard to get myself under control but I knew that for mine and Abigail's safety that it was necessary. I would be fine for an hour or so and then my mind would take me back to that moment, of walking away, not knowing when or if I'd see him again and my heart would break all over and the tears would come. Also, the dumb radio stations I was listening to kept playing songs like "American Solider" and "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" which did NOT help matters. It was probably because it was only a few days away from the fourth of July but it felt like torture.

Here we are, nearing the end, and I feel worse than in the beginning. Not so much sad as anxious, irritated, and stressed out. I met with a photographer yesterday, who is a fellow Army wife, and she said it's always the same with her. The beginning sucks but you're figuring out how to live your life without your spouse and there is so much to be responsible for and take care of and so you do it. The end is different. The anticipation is suffocating. You are just ready for it to be over. It's so close you can almost taste it but yet it's still so far because there are so many Army protocols and rules and regulations. All there to protect you and your solider, of course, but infuriating none the less.

Did I mention the photographer? She's amazing and she's going to be taking pictures at the homecoming ceremony! I am beyond EXCITED!!! I really wanted to have someone else be in charge of the picture taking, because, well, I want to be in the moment! I haven't physically touched my husband in almost 8 months! Abigail has not hugged her daddy in almost 8 months! We have an almost 3 month old that has never been held by her daddy. I want to BE in that moment but I want the pictures, the proof that the moment happened, raw emotions and all. I am so thankful that she is going to be there to record this amazing moment in our lives.

Today, I'm going shopping for a homecoming outfit. I know that my husband could probably care less what I'm wearing and probably won't even notice but it matters to me. As I'm sure it's mattered to all military wives who've been in this situation. I sort of had an idea in mind with some clothes I already had but when I actually tried the combo on together, it didn't work out how I imagined so now I'm back at square one. At least the kids outfits are taken care of.

Last week we bought materials for Abigail to make a sign to hold at the ceremony. So, this weekend we'll work on that to help us pass the time and hopefully keep me from dwelling on what's to come and stressing myself out.

It's funny how I never really felt the need to blog this whole time but now, I'm so full of emotions and words that I just need to get them out. Thanks for listening. Thanks for caring. I leave you with the motto that I've said to myself over and over this whole deployment and will continue to say because it's the truth...

"It is what it is!" I know that. So, when I feel myself stressing or being overly anxious, I have to remind myself of that and remember that worrying won't change anything.

"25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?" Luke 12:25-26

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Elephant On My Chest

The last few days, I've found my emotions full to the brim and nearly spilling over. I am weighed down by them. Just when I think I have things under control, the giant elephant of emotions flops down on my chest again and I can barely breathe.

So much has happened since I last blogged back in August of last year. My husband had been gone to war for a little over a month. I was getting adjusted to living with my parents, my kid going to kindergarten, and being pregnant. The months sort of flew by. I am incredibly thankful for that. It seemed there was something to look forward to each month, which kept my mind off the fact that my husband was a million miles away and I had no clue when I'd see him again. With the passing of time came November, Abigail turned six and our sweet Charlotte was born. The anxiety I felt then was huge. How was I going to go through a c-section without my husband physically there to hold my hand? I had a lot of "what ifs" that ran through my mind the last few days leading up to her birth. Thankfully, technology, saved the day and with my mother by my side holding my iPad, I got to look into my handsome husband's face, on the other side of the world, while my doctor and her team, took care of Charlotte. Being able to see and talk to him, calmed me greater than any of the medication they pumped into my IV.

After a few days in the hospital, it was Thanksgiving day and time to bring Charlotte home. But really, it wasn't her home. Our home was sitting empty in Louisiana. I am so thankful for my parent's and all they have done for me during this deployment. Being there for us leading up to and after Charlotte's birth is something I'll never be able to repay. We celebrated Thanksgiving and then looked forward to Christmas. In the month between Charlotte's birth and Christmas, I experienced some health issues. None of them super major but they left me feeling like I'd never be the same again. We traveled to Georgia for Christmas and while it was a joy to be with my extended family, I never felt more alone than I did on Christmas day.

I held it together most days. There was the occasional day that my emotions would sneak up on me, leaving me in tears, with no explanation other than, I was pregnant and I missed my husband. I didn't break down during the birth of my daughter or the days afterward. I kept my mind on her and what she needed but Christmas day wore me down and knocked me out. That morning we were able to Skype with Ryan but instead of it bringing me joy, it made the pain I kept pushed down even more real. All of the emotions and realities of what we were going through came to the surface. I was miserable. I tried to control it the best I could during the call because I knew it wasn't fair to him for me to break down and fall apart but once the call was over, I did. I never could muster much enthusiasm for the rest of the day.

Once Christmas was over and we were back in Florida, time sped up again. Plans began to be made for the girls and I to return to Louisiana. Deployment was going to be over soon. Sooner than I'd anticipated. Thankful that my husband would be returning soon but sad to leave behind my parent's and my support system, we loaded up a u-haul with the things we had brought with us and the things we had accumulated over the past 8 months and made our way back to Fort Polk. But not on the day we had planned. The freak ice storm the day before left I-10 closed for more than 24 hours. But soon we were on the road and on the way home. Because of our delay, my parent's were unable to stay and help us get settled. My dad helped me unload the u-haul while my mom kept the girls occupied. The next morning, after breakfast and grocery shopping, they were on their way back to Florida and I once again found myself alone. Alone, with not one but two children. Solely responsible for their well-being. I had much to do to get my house in order so I focused on that and willed the tears to stay put. A day or so later, I had one of my health issues reoccur sending me to the emergency room, with two kids, alone. I struggled greatly with my emotions. But my mom reminded me that I am strong and that God is still in control. So I forged ahead taking care of the things that needed to be done.

We've been back nearly a month now and things have not been easy. Actually, it seems like it's one thing after another that leaves me feeling broken, run down, tired, anxious, and lonely. I am so amazed at the military wives who have done it all alone the entire time. You, my friends, are some seriously strong and courageous people! You deserve a medal! I am in awe of you. Because, if you've felt like this these last 8 months then I don't know how you are holding it all together. I feel on the verge of breaking down at least twice a day. That's where the elephant comes in. I know my husband is coming home soon. There is nothing else to look forward to, other than that, and the anticipation of it feels like it might kill me. I'm not kidding. My chest is tight, tears are constantly in the corners of my eyes. I feel anxious, nervous, excited all at once. I just wish he could be home now because even though I know it's close it still feels like it's never really going to happen.

I know you mean well and I thank you for your words but saying, "it's almost over. Hang in there. You can do this," actually does not help. Because until you've actually walked in my shoes, you don't know how I feel and telling me things that I already know only makes it feel worse. I'm sorry if that seems mean or cruel but I need you to know. And yes, we chose this life, we knew deployment would be a part of our journey, but saying that doesn't help either. You don't really have to say anything just pray for me. I'm only keeping it together by the grace of God and He's the only one who can calm my heart and steady my emotions. Just because we chose this journey doesn't mean I'm not ready for this part to be over. Part of me is missing and I won't feel whole until I have him back, safe, in my arms again!

Just typing it all out has relieved some of the weight of my emotions. Thank you for listening. Please pray for me, our girls, and my husbands safe return. Love to you all!