Cammo Style Love: June 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dear Spouse Who Pretends Not To Know....

I couldn't really think of a good title for this, mostly because I think I was too irritated to narrow it down to one quippy line.  I stumbled upon the post on Facebook of coure, via a very irate friend.  She's amazing and has amazing things to say and that's how I first saw it.  Instead of linking you directly (to make myself feel better) you can find it on my blog's facebook page, along with my initial reaction.

At this point I've had several hours to process what's happening.  At first I was outraged and barely read it before I was seething.  Then I felt bad for her.  Maybe she doesn't get it, maybe she doesn't understand.  People say, "well she is the wife of a reservist, she just doesn't know!" No way! We may get the short end of the stick when it comes to programs or support but no, we know.  Finally after some much needed twitter therapy with my fellow Millies I settled in the "I fully believe she knew what she was doing, she's not an idiot and she and her hubby are not newbies" camp.  Her husband is a Captain - or a Major, apparently the author is unclear on her husband's rank - and yes they aren't active duty, but she's been through deployments and she no stranger to the military life.  So her bogus "update"....yeah, I'm not buying it.  I basically almost never discuss Mr. Air Force's schedule, for more reasons then just OPSEC.  He prefers that I don't, and I think it's the best idea for us, and to avoid any of the comparison/my life is harder then your life issues.  People who know me, know what my life is like.  Let's just say we've experienced it all - geo-bachelorhood while I finished school because my college credits wouldn't transfer, deployment, extended duty, shift work, frequent but relatively short term travel.  I wouldn't even want to think about adding up cumulative time and all that he's missed.  The amount of time he's been gone this year alone makes me want to cry.  There's been times that I (and I know its horrid) have wished for a regular deployment.  But only because it has a beginning and an end.  I've done it all, while raising three kids, being Active, Activated and traditional Guard.  So, I get it.

That being said, its not a deployment, its not even training or field work, or working on the planes and having lots of air time.  It's nothing that she can't avoid.  And while I'm sorry you are going to be separated from him, and your children will not have him around, but it was your choice.  The way you presented it in your article wasn't that way.  You took advantage of military spouses, the civilians who read BABBLE and preyed upon emotions and the poor usage of words to get people to feel sorry for you.  And while I'm not going to judge your reasons, whether it be becuase you already have support there, you don't want to rent your house, or you just don't like Kansas, it's still your choice.  Very few of us have that kind of control.  If people want to be supportive you let it come from them, but shameless and not-so-subtling trying to garner it is shameful.  And if the article was supposed to be about how to prepare children for that you should have talked about it more, and less about yourself and the fact that your husband is awesome for getting the opportunity.  Frankly it cheapens the honor, an honor that I full understand.  I even liked the paragraph where you talked about not holding each other back and him letting you go off to travel abroad or write your book.  I know lots of other military spouses who have that midset, some who have been geo-baching it for years because of their careers.  It was nice, but it was lost in all the other stuff.

I'm sure it works for you, and that I can appreciate.  But here's where my anger comes from.  It wasn't the word you used, it was the whole package and way you conveyed your message.  And I can tell you whoever you were trying to get through to it wasn't fellow military spouses, at least the ones I know, the ones that comment on my facebook and twitter pages and here on the blog.  They tried to offer bits of understanding, but in the end they couldn't.  It came across haughty and elitist.  I just can't believe you didn't know what you were doing.  I do understand that kids realm of understand can be almost like tunnel-vision.  When Daddy's gone it must be a deployment.  Believe me, that I get.  That happens in my household and my kids frequently confuse all the times and reasons daddy is gone.  But I would never claim that word if it wasn't true, just as I would never claim that my time is harder than anyone elses.  But you did both, literally and figuratively and I don't believe that you didn't understand that fully.  But I'm not a totally horrible person, so if by some chance you did then you should never write for Babble because clearly they don't check things or just plain like drama.  I want to support you like I do other MilSpouses that I know that have done this very thing. Because it's not necessarily the choice you are making that I disagree with.


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Friday, June 20, 2014

40 Day Deployment Dare - Halfway Mark

Hi all, I realize the blog has been really quiet.  Sorry about that, lots going on here.  Today I am recovery from wrenching my back last night.  Whoa people it was serious.  As I was laying on the floor in the playroom I said, "well, okay I have two choices.  I can lay here forever or I can seriously bite the bullet (or the inside of my mouth as it were)."  I got up, with tears, found some ice and meds and made it to bed.  The movie Austenland (I'll talk about that later) kept me pre-occupied until my back sort of calmed down. Today it isn't too bad.  I've been alternating ice and heat so hopefully it will continue to get better.  Did I also mention I had strep throat?!  Yeeeepppp, thanks murphy!



If you've been reading my posts about this (you can find them here, and here) you know that part of the reason I wanted to talk about this on the blog is become communication during separation is probably the number one topic that military spouses (especially newer ones) want to talk about.  And its not just the spouses - the girlfriend, boyfriends and fiance's definitely want to talk about it as well.  It is a very difficult side effect of the military life; and it doesn't matter whether or not you've been together a month, a year or fifteen years (as is our case).  What I've found to be universally true (with few exception) is that the sadness of the separation and the stress of the person who has left and the one at home, is the true cause of the negative communication.  Many times I don't deal with my actual sadness about him being gone becuase I feel like I have to buck up and deal.  I choose to be in a relationship with someone who is in the Air Force.  That doesn't mean that I can't be sad.  And for reals peeps, dealing with three kids alone isn't a walk in the park!  This is especially true when you don't have family close.  It costs us an arm and a leg to be near our families.

All of that being said, doing this with an open mind and heart helped me deal with all of those feelings.  Doing this at the front end of a separation is the key I believe.  And trying out this little dare with or without your partner or for whatever length you are parted is great.  It doesn't matter whether they are gone a weekend, two weeks or for a lengthy deployment.

Halfway through the dare (or 27 days as it were) you will see a huge effect on your relationship during the separation.  There have been some hard questions, both asked of yourself and your partner.  Some serious looking at yourself and identifying key issues for both of you.  So not only does this challenge you to have loving conversations and take note of your negativity, but it also grows and strengthens your relationship no matter what stage it is at.

Day 27: During Deployment "Love Encourages" was a fantastic day.  Here's one of my favorite paragraphs of the day:

What is it that you want married life to be? Do you want to feel secure, free to be yourself even if/when you fail? Your spouse wants that, too. The bottom line is that it is a choice to live by encouragement rather than by expectations. Towards your spouse you are to be encouraging—pouring in to them words and actions which allow them the freedom to be themselves, feeling loved. Towards yourself you are to take responsibility for your own words and actions in order to improve yourself, rather than demanding more from others.


Isn't that amazing? Your marriage is only what you make of it, and if you are saying to yourself, "this isn't what I thought it was going to be," start by looking at yourself first and then proceed from there.  That initially acknowledgement will go along way with your spouse and for your own personally healing.  There is one particular issue within our marriage, that has been an issue from very early on.  What it is isn't important, but it is something that I firmly belived would drive a real and permanent wedge between us.  It was bad.  It occassionaly has reared its ugly head and for various reasons it hasn't been handled ever the way that I had hoped it would be.  First of all, I didn't handle it.  I wanted to put it all on him.  He's Mr. Air Force for crying out loud, my husband, shield and protector.  In my eyes he wasn't doing any of those things.  But my anger was just as much a contributer to the situation between he and I.  Accepting responsibility for my role is crucial.  And while it has had an effect, I can choose to let it be the master of my marriage or I can let God be the master. I'm human, and I realize that I have many shortcomings.  Despite all my best intentions I know that this issue will still be there and will cause problems. But I have to rise above and choose a different path, not only for me, but for us.

Have you ever done the love dare?  Have you tried the deployment version?  I want to hear about it.  And if you have questions or want to talk I'm here for that too!
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rhe's Bookshelf: A Mother's Secret


 


Summary:
 
Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. But will the errors of her past destroy this dream forever? Carolyn Lapp longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she lives on her brother’s farm with her parents and her 15-year old son, Benjamin. Carolyn has never revealed the identity of Benjamin’s father and lives daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion. Her brother simply will not forgive her. His answer is to arrange a practical marriage for Carolyn to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn isn’t convinced that Saul really loves her and believes he is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter. When Benjamin causes trouble at a local horse auction, horse breeder Joshua Glick decides that he must be taught a lesson. Carolyn and Joshua are unmistakably drawn to each other, but Joshua mistakenly assumes that Benjamin is Carolyn’s brother. Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth, her past will destroy their budding romance. After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. But which of them will give her the family - and the unconditional love - she’s longed for?

Review:

This is my first Amy Clipson book, but I'm officially an Amish book lover.  I'm a succor for a sweet romance story, along the lines of the Harlequin Love Inspired books (which I also love by the way).  You get your romance and your strong story.  Ms Clip does an extrodinary job combining sweet romance and story - and the Amish life.  She includes quite a controversial subject, which was kind of interesting to me.  I've not read another Amish book that touched on it before.  I really liked how she handled it, discussing God's love and forgiveness and how pride can get in the way of that.  There were so many underlying stories of God's grace and love, of forgiveness and honesty.  The one part that I didn't care for in the book, also happened to be a cool part.  I know, I know, that is completely ridiculous sounding.  There was a lot of Amish words thrown in.  Most of the Amish books I've read do this, but this one was heavy on the Amish words.  There was a glossery and they were easy enough to infer from the sentence.  However, it was just enough to trip you up in your head when you were on a roll reading.  But, it was kind of cool learning a lot of the words that I had not previously heard. This is the second book within this series and I'm interested to read the next one. I may or may not move backward and find the first one to read.

overall I would give it 4.5 stars.  I would definitely recommend this to someone who appreciated this genre of book, but maybe not for an Amish newbie.

**I was provided this book in partnership with BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way.  As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Friday, June 13, 2014

Rhe's Bookshelf: The Global War on Christians






Summary: One of the most respected journalists in the United States and the bestselling author of The Future Church uses his unparalleled knowledge of world affairs and religious insight to investigate the troubling worldwide persecution of Christians.

From Iraq and Egypt to Sudan and Nigeria, from Indonesia to the Indian subcontinent, Christians in the early 21st century are the world's most persecuted religious group. According to the secular International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of violations of religious freedom in the world today are directed against Christians. In effect, our era is witnessing the rise of a new generation of martyrs. Underlying the global war on Christians is the demographic reality that more than two-thirds of the world's 2.3 billion Christians now live outside the West, often as a beleaguered minority up against a hostile majority-- whether it's Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, Hindu radicalism in India, or state-imposed atheism in China and North Korea. In Europe and North America, Christians face political and legal challenges to religious freedom. Allen exposes the deadly threats and offers investigative insight into what is and can be done to stop these atrocities.

Review:  Make no mistake, this is a rather intense book on a rather intense subject. It is not one that I would normally pick up, but the title intrigued me.  John L. Allen Jr is an associate editor with the Boston Globe.  He specializes in the Catholic Church and stories along those lines.  He has also written several other books.  I've always been intrigued in issues of Christian persecution.  Its' something that happens frequently all over our country (and world), but not something I feel gets discussed in the open or by the media.  While I realize this is not only a heavy topic, but a slightly controversial one to be discussed on my blog, it is none the less a very good book.  It is well researched, well written and thoughtfully presented.  Whether you agree with the topic at hand or not, it is still a very good book and one that, if added to your knowledge base, could further your education on religious issues in the world - and not just the persecution of Christians.

4 out of 5 Stars



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Monday, June 9, 2014

Last Minute Father's Day Gifts: Shave Smarter with ShaveMob


I know there are last minute people out there.  I mean, sometimes that's me, so I know you're out there.  Sometimes I'm looking for something extra to add to the gift, sometimes we are celebrating Father's Day without Mr. Air Force so we have a couple options.  You can do, you can do via Skype, or you can have a post-reunion holiday catch up (which is always fun!).

This particular last minute gift is perfect for all those categories, however with Father's  Day quickly approaching it would be the perfect last minute addition to your day.


It's simple and here's how it works:  Choose your razor - you can choose a 3, 4 or 6 blade razor.  The 6 blade is their most popular one.  Next you can choose with a trimmer or without a trimmer.  This is for your sculpted beard, goatee, mustache type man; or it's also perfect for your stylish side burn creator. What's awesome about ShaveMob is that you can then choose your supply.  You can choose a two month supply if you aren't quite sure which blade you want to try or are just plain skeptical about the razor.  I would put my husband in the skeptical shaver category. He's an every day, has been known to shave twice a day, kind of dude.  Shaving is a big deal in the CSL house.


Shave Mob videos are hilarous!


This razor passed with flying colors and made it into his rotation of razors.  Hubby actually will go old school with straight razor every now and again (I Know, I live in an episode of Mad Men sometimes).  Now, truth be told, I actually stole the razor to test it out myself.  But never fear ladies, ShaveMob isn't just for men.  So after you decide to grab some of these for the hubby you can head over to the lady's razors section.  This razor is amazing!  Seriously, it cuts so close without a single cut!  I'm not a picky razor kinda gal, but this was good.  We have the 4 blade, middle of the road variety.

For more info you can find ShaveMob on twitter and facebook - see for yourself what others are saying.
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Monday, June 2, 2014

40 Day Deployment Dare - Week 1

It's been a week since I started this 40 Day Deployment Dare.  Mostly I wanted to do this because I knew it would be such valuable information to not only military spouses, but anyone that spends time away from their spouse.  You can do this "Love Dare" at any time, for any type of separation or without one at all.  That's what I love about it.  I also wanted to include some ideas on how to mold this dare to fit your needs, say if your spouse is at boot camp or MOS/Tech School.

Perhaps one of the hardest days of the first week was Day 5.  First of all I'm doing this on the down-low, mostly for me.  I wanted to have a change of heart from the normal times my husband is gone.  I wanted to start on the right foot and try not to fall into old patterns.  So day five was to ask your spouse three things that bothers or "irritates" them.  I was nervous about what he'd say and how I would receive it, with humility hopefully.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, 
by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. - James 3:13



I was so happy that when the text finally came with his answers that I received it as I did.  It was God working for sure.  Normally I would be plagued with worry, sadness, and consumed by self-imposed guilt.  That or pushing something on him that he does that angers me.  But nothing!!!  And I didn't come back at him with anything.  That is what I love about doing this dare one-sided, even though that is not how it isn't intended to be.  I received a special blessing after.  He followed that up with three things that I do well and that he loves about me.  How awesome is that?

I have never felt better about being away from my man, happier in my relationship and proud of myself (If I'm being totally honest).  I'm excited for where the next week will take me, and us for that matter.  And on a funnier note, it is clear that hubby doesn't regularly read my blog huh?!  He's not a social technology kinda guy - and THAT is one of things that I love about him.

Now, tips for the week for Boot Camp/MOS/TECH school separations.  These types of separations are commonly plagued by irregular communication, and very little of it when you do get it.  So how do you do the days when you can't talk every day?  Take the time time to write a small paragraph ( a mini daily diary entry as it were) about each of the days, and mail it out once a week.  I would suggest doing the dare as I am, on the down-low.  When they are gone and in training like that it is typically a high-stress environment and thinking about you in the context of the dare might be near impossible.  Setting them up to fail doesn't help anyone.  And like me, I think it will tremendously help you on your journey through this time as well.  I remember it clearly even after 12 years.  It was hard, but I think having this would have been so wonderful for me.   So here''s a break down of ideas for the first week's dares:

day 1: maybe the first time you speak to them after they leave (or the next time you are able to have a phone conversation) - be positive and loving and try not to say anything negative at all.  If you are writing about something that day, try not to include anything negative.  This would be a good dare to carry on with you through the entire separation.  It will only cause you undo stress because they are typically not capable of handling anything.

day 2: today you specifically compliment your spouse.  Tell them how proud you are of them, recount a story in your letter of something wonderful they did and how you love them for it.

day 3: today is the buy something special for them day, but I would suggest including a picture of you or you and them.  make it a small one....a wallet size would be ideal.  

day 4: make this day all about them.  don't talk about what you did today.  since you can't ask them directly (and if you do get a phone call make this day that day wherever it falls in the line-up) talk about how you hope they doing well, that you wish you could be there for them more or help them in some way.  talk about things you might do to help him when he gets home; or things you love to do to help him when he is.

day 5: this will be hard, especially for those in boot camp.  this isn't the time or place to really ask them to come up with three things that you do that bothers them, and it really really isn't the time to tell them anything about them.  I would suggest using this day as personal reflection about things you could work on in your relationship.  Pick three things about yourself.  Maybe you can recall some arguments you may have had and look at your part in it.  In your letter today think about three things that are really wonderful about them and tell them.

day 6: is also a day of reflection.  for me I really confronted my feelings of sadness and anxiety about the fact that he is gone and how that comes out in every other emotion but the ones I'm actually feeling.  It's okay to be sad!  Let yourself feel those emotions.  Tell them how much you miss them and say even though you sometimes have days that your struggle you are trying to be brave and strong for them.  you don't necessarily want to pretend its all sunshine and rainbows.  Find loving and sensitive ways to tell your s/o your feelings without causing them to be worried or stressed.

Day 7: today's dare requires you write down things you love about your partner as well as negative things.  Today is day 7 for me, and I also read that I'm to save these lists as they are used further down the road.  It's important to be honest in relationships, with your partner and with yourself.  This dare when done together would also mean your partner is writing positive and negative things about you as well.  It's some food for thought at least.

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