I found this blog post while on Pinterest, looking for pins about Disney. I am by no means a religious person, but I felt compelled to share. It’s a beautiful, heart-breaking story. I suggest grabbing a box of tissues – the whole box.
I just wanted to pop in and share with you all my absolute favorite pin I’ve seen so far.
My life in a nutshell. 🙂
I’ve been a very neglectful blogger. But I have a good
Baby EK has arrived! Actually she arrived on October 24, but like I said, I’ve been slacking on the blogfront.
So the past two weeks have been full of bonding with the wee one, helping Little J adjust to having another little person in the house, hanging with the ‘rents and taking TONS of pictures.
I finally signed up for The Sketchbook Project, and my sketchbook arrived in the mail yesterday. I’m wicked pumped to start working on it, and I will update here as I go along. I promise! 🙂 I picked a random theme and got “Fears and tears”, which is going to be a bit of a challenge but a fun one!
One of the first concepts I was introduced to when we came out to Washington was OPSEC (Operational Security). When J was in Bahrain, there wasn’t really a need to worry too much about OPSEC. He was in the middle of the desert in Bahrain. If he’d told me the region he was in or a nearby town, it wouldn’t have meant much to me anyhow. I honestly don’t remember even hearing of Bahrain before he was stationed there.
With a ship, it’s different. A deployed ship’s movements is closely guarded in the military. It may seem kind of silly – ships, especially an aircraft carrier like the Stennis, are massive – but no matter how large a ship is, the Pacific is a whole heck of a lot bigger, and ships are equipped with plenty of equipment and technology to keep them hidden.
For a civilian associated with the military, OPSEC is pretty cut and dry: Keep your mouth shut. With Facebook, Twitter, and email, however, it’s a lot more complicated to keep information under wraps than back when all that was required was a black marker and a careful eye on a letter. And, trust me, nothing is more frustrating than seeing a comment on a photo or a post on a ship’s page that says, “Hey, does anyone know when the next port call/return date is?”
The best piece of advice I read was, “Never assume the enemy isn’t collecting information.” Posting a month can give someone that one last bit of information they needed to track down the ship. It sounds dramatic, but it’s really true.
The other problem is you never know what information being circulated is actually true. Spouses often create codes between themselves to give information to each other securely, but you never know when the code can be misinterpreted. One of the wives shared a return date for the deployment J is currently on, and when – several months later – J got a return date from a source on the ship, it was completely different.
Frankly for me having a specific return date doesn’t affect things that much. It’s still months away, and I’ve been planning for their return since before they left. Until I need to be on that pier with the kids, waiting on the ship to arrive, the return date is secondary. Okay, actually until I need to have my and the kids’ outfits picked out, and the house picked up, and all the “Welcome home!” festivities ready (AKA The Second Christmas) and be on the pier, it’s secondary. Until then, I have outfits to pick out and a house to clean (Let’s not lie, that’ll be the last thing to be done.) and The Second Christmas to plan. 🙂
You might start to notice some posts on here about my Stampin’ Up! business and different projects. I’m currently working on launching a blog specifically for my Stampin’ Up! stuff (and have been since last January – Holy procrastination!), but I still haven’t gotten it to the level I want yet. There are some super-cute products out right now though, and I’m really excited to share them, so I thought I’d post here when I feel something pops up that needs to be shared.
I’m also starting a few online art journaling classes in October and have oodles of journals to share with y’all soon! Now if I could just get this excited about my schoolwork, I’d be in business! 🙂
This week I attended my first FRG meeting. The FRG (Family Readiness Group) is a volunteer group that helps support the families of a particular unit (or whatever the Navy equivalent is) before, during and after deployments. They have monthly meetings, parties, fundraisers, all sorts of fun stuff.
I wasn’t positive what to expect from the meeting, and to be honest, I was a little nervous. Why, I have no idea. We started out with the Pledge of Allegiance, which gave me an “Army Wives” moment, but other than that, it was pretty low-key, and all I had to do was listen. They answered questions from the previous meeting, talked about fundraising ideas and had speakers from both COMPASS, a Navy 101 course for spouses that I’m hoping to take in November, and Fleet Family & Readiness.
The FFR is pretty awesome, too. They offer information on things to do around the area and classes on everything from financial management to improving your resume. They also have fitness classes through the gyms on base and offer swimming lessons for anyone from preschoolers to adults. I’m hoping to get Little J into swimming lessons this winter!
On another note, Sunday will be two months down! Whoo! I still feel like this deployment is dragging, but I’m starting to think it won’t be as depressingly long as I’ve been anticipating. At the FRG meeting, they mentioned the halfway party, and J has mentioned that on the ship they’re already working on logistics for homecoming. I’ve decided to put my energy into planning vacations for when J gets home. We may not be able to go on any of them, but it gives me something fun to plan, and planning is one of my favorite things to do. I know, it’s weird…
I haven’t felt much like writing about the military lately.
I tend to have a delayed reaction to emotional events, and with Little J and me hitting the road for the East Coast so shortly after the Stennis deployed, it allowed for even more of a delay in dealing with J leaving. As a result, I think I’m just now fully entering into that emotional disorganization phase.
And it sucks.
Everyone knows that military life is hard. The constant moving, the separation, the crazy work hours, etc, etc. But I’m learning more and more every day that knowing it doesn’t mean you’re prepared for it.
What’s the most frustrating for me is this isn’t the longest separation we’ve been through. Last year we saw J three weeks out of the entire year. He was gone over eleven months, nine of which were consecutive. Compared to that, seven should be manageable.
I’m proud of what my husband does. He has a career that most people would never even dream of considering, and I can’t blame them for that. While I considered the military in passing back in the day, I never would’ve cut it. I certainly never would’ve been able to be a lifer. This is as close as I’ll come to wearing a uniform. I’m thankful for the opportunities the military has afforded us and will afford us before J retires.
But to be honest, these days the price for those opportunities seems awfully high.