Thursday, August 25, 2016


Day 4 memoir prompt.  You can find it here.

I love adventure.  I love going to new places.  I especially love taking my kids. Most of the time they don't appreciate it, but I take them anyway.

As a military family, we move a lot.  We have lived in Heidelberg, Germany, San Antonio, Texas, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Yelm, Washington, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and now the island of Oahu Hawaii.  Moving this much is in of itself an adventure.  But that is never enough for me.

Honestly, I usually take my kids all on my own.  Rarely is my husband along for the ride.  He is usually unable to take time off, or he's gone somewhere.  Deployment, training, something.  So I pack up my kids and we go.

On his last deployment, we had some adventures.  The benefit of living in the middle of the United States is you can drive almost anywhere within about two days. That was our summer of our first trip to Chicago.

When I was growing up, there were a lot of kids.  And not a lot of money.  The first time I had ever stayed in a motel was when I was in eighth grade.  My kids have been going to hotels since they were born.  We've lived in hotels.  So, being able to give my kids experiences that I only dreamed of as a kid, has been awesome.  So far, they don't like it.  They complain.  They don't like moving.  I force them to visit places like Mount Rushmore, and I force them to go to the beach here in Hawaii. I really really hope that eventually they will appreciate it.  That they will also force their kids to try new things and explore new places.

I love adventure.  I love not knowing what will happen or what we'll find.  (like the awesome rest stop in Iowa) or finding cool places to stop.  Trying new foods, or figuring out that something isn't as scary as we thought it was.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Day 3 of the memoir prompt can be found here.

I grew up near Los Angeles, and crazy billboards, advertising all kinds of things, were very familiar to me.  There was a certain part of the drive to my grandparents house that had billboards advertising strip clubs.  I think I remember that because we drove past them so often.  But then a new freeway opened, and no more strip club billboards.

When I got to France, as a missionary, the billboards were pretty surprising.  They had these nifty ones that would shift every thirty seconds or so, to advertise something new.  But there was this one.  Right down the road from our apartment.  We would have to ride our bikes past it at least once daily, if we were headed to centreville.  It was a picture of a beautiful man. Oh so beautiful.  He was shiny, not a bit of hair was visible anywhere.  Not on his chest, or arms, or head, or face.  And the picture went down as far as it could without showing everything.  I remember the cut of his hips, and the outline of his muscles.  I have no idea what it was advertising.  Maybe cologne??  All I know, it was right by the closest bridge that went across the Loire river.  And I told myself I could only look once.  That was it.  And then I would have to focus on something else.  I don't recall if it ever changed the entire 6 months that I lived in that apartment.  My companion and I would occasionally talk about it.  Like 'did you see that???' and then talk about how beautiful that man was.  But we would remember we were missionaries, and that while it's human to look,and perfectly find to appreciate an amazing body, we weren't here to talk about that all the time.  So, I just kept giving myself that one look.  Every time we passed by.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I don't remember

Day 2 of memoir prompts.  You can find the prompt here.

I don't remember a time when I wasn't the tallest kid or one of the tallest kids in class.  From Kindergarten, all the way up until I graduated from High School.  Always the tall one.

It didn't bother me for a while.  Then I hit middle school.  I started at five feet, two inches.  I ended at five feet ten inches.  I had an insane growth spurt, where my big toe would make a hole through the top of my shoe because I was growing so fast.  I hated it.  I felt awkward.  Kids (because it's middle school and kids are dumb) would make fun of me.  I remember hearing the comment 'why does she wear her pants up so high??' Um, because that is where my waist is, idiot. 

My legs were incredibly long.  Still are.  At the ripe age of 38, I'm to the point where my height is an asset (yay for intimidation!).  I can find, and thankfully, afford pants and skirts that are long enough and fit appropriately.  I can find shoes big enough, that don't look like boys shoes.  

My height was difficult in high school.  Especially when I was 16.  I was ready to date.  And.....more than half the boys were shorter than I was.  Many barely caught up by the time we all graduated.  I had a silly rule that I wouldn't date anyone shorter than me.  Well, significantly shorter.  Which was dumb. Why would I eliminate all those possibilities?  

My kids are following in my genetic footsteps.  My 12 year old son has feet bigger than mine, my 10 year old daughter has legs that don't stop, and my youngest son, at 4 years old, looks like he is six.  It's a constant struggle finding pants, shoes, and shirts that fit.  Thank goodness for the internet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I remember when

**This is part of a 3 times a week memoir writing group.  You write for 8 minutes. You can find the prompt here. **

A little over 13 years ago, I was pregnant with our first kid.  We had bought a house.  My husbands job was not turning out like we had hoped.  We had no health insurance to cover the cost of bringing this baby into the world.  I was teaching piano lessons at the time, which was bringing in some money, but not enough.

One night, after we'd gone to bed, my husband said "what if I joined the military?"

The me of back then would never have cussed, but I though the equivalent of HELL NO.

I knew no one in the military, of any kind.  It was completely foreign to me.  The only person that I had known to have served was my grandpa, and he had been drafted in 1952, to fight in Korea.  I was so far removed from that whole world.

He said he had felt inspired to try it.  He has motion/sea sickness, so the Navy and Marines and Coast Guard were out.  That left the Army and the Air Force.  He went to the recruiters and talked to them.  We talked more.

I remember the night I called my parents to say "Matt is joining the Army".  My dad was not happy about it. He encouraged us NOT to do it.  Yet.  Matt felt so strongly that this was the right thing for our family.

He took the ASVAB.  He signed papers.  We went to the downtown Los Angeles location where they give you a list of job options.  He had enough college credits that we didn't start at rock bottom, but we were just a few steps above.  But at that point, any regular income was amazing to me.  He went to a hotel, where they waited to hop on a plane, and go to basic training.  At seven months pregnant, it was excruciating to be separated.  I moved in with my parents, we put our stuff into storage, and he was headed to Fort Benning.

The blessings have not stopped.  The most immediate was financial.  Like most young couples we had made our share of poor financial decisions.  But thanks to the Soldier Sailor Relief Act, we were able to cut down on our debt.  When we got orders for Germany, we were able to turn in a leased vehicle without any fees.  We got a regular income.  I ended up with an emergency c-section and was so grateful that we didn't have to pay out of pocket for that.

After a few years in the military, we discovered all the schools that you could apply for.  Matt applied for PA school with zero medical background and got in.  Passed everything the first time around.  And we have no school debt.  We have been able to give a good life (maybe not what they think is good but whatever) to our kids, and give them experiences I only dreamed about.

We've lived all over the United States, and beyond.  Our life is the Army.  We go where they tell us.  We make the best of where we are at, and I'm forever grateful that I trusted my husband to do this.

At the time, many people thought we were crazy.  Many thought he had joined without telling me first.  (which, with his track record, wouldn't be too unlikely, but thankfully, that wasn't the case here) We were both in agreement.

We've been in 13 years.  Two deployments, multiple total years apart.  Many video chats done on computer and phone.  Many frustrations.  Many moves to the unknown.