Monday, April 1, 2013

No. 2

I am reaching a saturation point with friends announcing their pregnancies.  I want to announce my pregnancy!  My desire however remains the same - I want to be genuinely happy for others.  Anything less would only poison myself.  Please God, answer our prayers again.  Amen. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Today in church it seemed every meeting was chalk full of wisdom and knowledge I needed imparted onto me. The one that spoke loudest to me was the lesson in Relief Society about forgiveness. There are several people in my life who I haven't addressed forgiveness with; some that I should and want to forgive willingly, and some who I don't want to forgive but feel compelled to do so simply out of obedience to The Lord.

One person I've felt a genuine desire to forgive is my own father. He destroyed any semblance of a loving, cohesive father/daughter relationship growing up. To forgive him requires a couple things. First, I need to quit visiting the past. In all truth doing so means I'm harboring that pain. Second, I need to work toward having a relationship with him as two adults. Emotions make it far more complex and entangled than it sounds, but I want to get there. To that place where I feel the peace associated with true forgiveness.

A pair that I part have a true desire to forgive, part feel compelled out of obedience is my sister's in-laws. Sounds funny that I'd have any contentious feelings toward them, but I do for things that happened in the past. I'm working to get there; to finish crossing the bridge from having to, to wanting to.

Another pair are some women I used to be friends with. I have no desire to forgive them other than to obey my Heavenly Father. The wounds are deep and I feel righteous in my anger. I don't presently have the humility to reach out, but know that I must. Neither were raised in the Christian way I was, so these principles weren't taught to them. They know the world's way, not His way. What the catch there is for me is they're less accountable than I because I do know better through the teachings of the gospel. Dang it! I hate being so accountable sometimes!

I remember a while back I was in my bishop's office repenting of some sins in my past. I told him that even though the sins I was repenting of were years and years old, I had felt so strongly that I needed to address them in order to progress in my life spiritually the way that I, and my HF, wanted me to. He likened sin unto large rocks in a river. You see the largest, most obvious stones first. They're huge, jutting out of the water, and the ones that demand your attention. As the river lowers you see more stones, smaller stones, all the way down until you finally get to the pebbles and sediment that rests on the river bed. That's the refiner's fire. He compels us to first address the largest stones, or sins, then he lowers the river to reveal the next stones, and then the next until you finally reach that fine sediment. For me, personally, I feel like I still have SO much work to do. I am motivated however by His forgiveness toward me. What would I do without it? I'd be damned, with no hope for my soul. I depend on His mercy and grace to learn by my mistakes, be forgiven of them and be allowed to move forward. I MUST do the same towards others.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Do you ever have that moment of clarity in your life when you recognize you're on the cusp of an opportunity, and you desperately don't want to mess it up?  Well, that's me.  As my company continues to grow I'm faced with the opportunity to be promoted to my team's manager.  My team has already experienced change recently as we've realigned again to another division of the company, and with it has come a new boss.  Change looms again, as it always does, but this time it's personal.  

It isn't just the promotion that I don't want to mess up (and subsequently lose before it has even officially been made mine), it's the actions that I know are expected of me and are under close review from my new chain of command.  For example, I have an employee who has been with us for 60 days, and is performing poorly.  It is expected that I council this employee, and if in 30 days they do not show dramatic improvement, it is expected that I let this person go.  How I handle this will set in my senior team's mind the expectation that I can either perform the functions of a manager or I cannot.  That is on one hand.  On the other hand this employee is a person, a human being, and one I wish to be compassionate towards and offer every opportunity for improvement.  I must please the master and the beast, if you will.

For all intents and purposes, I already perform the job.  In fact, the tempo of my current daily work life is at a higher pace than what it will be after we hire 1 - 2 more head count, and I settle into actually managing the team.  I am exhausted.  I keep trying to remind myself that this is temporary, and as with most things it gets harder before it gets easier.  

My hope for myself is to remain humble and compassionate in an otherwise cold, corporate world.  I have been shown great professional compassion in my career, and if I'm wise I will emulate that in my new role.  Yes, I know I am not about to become the leader of the free world, but that doesn't matter.  My role, and how I perform in it, affects not only myself but the members of my team.  I care about how each individual feels at the end of the day - so for that fact alone I strive to be an excellent leader. 

Well, it's late, and another long work day shortly awaits me.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I suppose many of us could look at our lives and think of one persistent thing that has plagued us for years, or perhaps even our whole life.  The decision then is whether you allow the unhappiness of it to fester, or accept it for what it is and move forward.  I am trying to choose the latter.

As a lot of people know, Bill was injured in Baghdad in 2005.  Not to over-simplify, but while in convoy an Iraqi water truck t-boned their humvee knocking it out of line by approximately 8 feet and briefly knocking the occupants unconscious.  They came to, discovered their vehicle was still working, and hustled back to base.  That is the moment that has stayed with us to this point, and been with us our entire life as a couple.

The accident happened right at the beginning of an 18 month deployment.  They were checked out, released back to duty, but Bill didn't say anything about the injuries that were plaguing him.  Numbness, headaches, insomnia...  Eventually he was medi-vacced to Germany then back to the states where he waited in the Wounded Warrior program until his unit returned.

Fast forward to 2009 and we're back in WA with Bill doing the OWT program at JBLM.  It's supposed to be a 1 year gig with a 1 year extension.  At approximately 6 months into it, they informed him they wouldn't allow him a 2nd year.  Medical issues from the 2005 accident were becoming aggravated as a result of the daily PT, and they didn't want any broken Soldiers in their command, so they cut him.  That's when we started the process for the medical review board (MEB).  

Most recently, as he's traveled to San Antonio for the MEB, talked more with the DAV and has finally after years and years worked his way closer to the tail end of the board, we've finally faced the reality that I don't think either of us wanted to recognize or admit.  Bill's injuries, such as degenerative disc disorder, traumatic brain injury (from having his head knocked around inside that humvee like a coconut) along with other major issues says one thing: disabled veteran.  So much so that the likelihood of him every returning to law enforcement is slim.  It's actually probably none, but I say slim to ease that pain.  He'll never do firefighting again, and lastly, he'll never be a Soldier again.  The Army has said his back does not make him fit for service.  

So we wait.  We wait for a disability rating of 30% or higher because if it's below 30% he won't be medically retired.  After 17+ years of service, if he got a rating of less than 30%, he'd just be put out.  I cannot explain the depth of our emotions over all of this.  Bill feels as though he's a burden to me and the family.  I'm fearful of having a disabled husband and what that will demand of me.  I am exhausted by this process, and it is again confirmed to me that I HATE the Army.  

Bill isn't the first Soldier I knew.  My dad was.  My dad was also the first disabled veteran I ever knew.  In fact, my association with the military started at birth, and was never positive.  Always associated with a time of war, I have a Vietnam veteran for a father, and an Iraqi veteran for a husband.  For a brief time between ages 16 - 19 military guys were fun.  Go to work,come home, look cute in a uniform.  I'd trained myself to forget about my dad, the abuse, his horrendous PTSD, and focused on the young, hot guys at different Army and Marine bases.  Then 9/11 happened.  It wasn't so fun and carefree anymore.  People were deploying.  I met Bill, and two months later he was gone.  Then shortly after that he was in his accident in Baghdad.  

Seven years later, I find us nearing the end of a long tunnel, waiting to hear our fate.  What will his rating be?  If it's too high, will they label him as unable to work in the civilian work force?  Will they rob him like they've done these past years and give him less than 30%, then we'll have to deal with all that entails?  I don't know.  This fight has made us both weary.  That said, I don't pray for its quick execution if it isn't done correctly.  I will accept what comes to us only if the findings are accurate and fair.  Otherwise, somehow, I will muster more fight. 

Friday, September 7, 2012


I've fought myself these last several days, debating whether or not to say anything, but the writer in me demands I just come out with it already.  I recently discovered a former friend of mine got married.  Under normal circumstances it's no biggie; however, this person has apparently managed to meet, date, become engaged and eventually married to a guy within approximately 5 months' time.  Fast much?  And while I understand my criticism and judgement only affects me, I think given the years we did spend as friends gives me a certain amount of rights to share my thoughts on it.  Even if no one else reads this but me.

First, I think of the company she now keeps.  The company she replaced me with.  Company that she once shared she was jealous of specifically and jealous of the general friendship.  Company that she utterly hated and judged for many years, only to become the superficial definition of BFFs and giving each other pet names.  Company who's on her third marriage herself, albeit only one of them genuine, the other two contractual and purely for the sake of receiving benefits reserved for the wife of a service member.  Be careful the company you keep.

How'd I find out?  Well, it wasn't by snooping.  It was out of doing a favor for my mother that I unearthed this gem of knowledge.  I wonder, when her second marriage ends in divorce, if she'll point all fingers to the ex-husband again.  If she'll point to the fact that no one knew her pain, that he really wasn't that great of a guy, that, that, that...  I'm exhausted by females who play up the soul mate factor to justify hasty and idiotic decisions only to tear that wall down later to expose the real truth.  That they were never happy.  That no one knew their plight as his wife.  Gag me.  I feel more sorry for the male who was married to a fake individual from the get-go.

I also marvel at the fact that mere months ago she was broke, living at home, in debt, sometimes barely able to put gas in her vehicle, to hosting a wedding and vacationing in wine country.  Makes me wonder if haste wasn't monetarily motivated.  Why not?  Catches her up to her peers, or where she thinks her peers are or should be by this age.  Puts her back in the 'responsible adult' category of life making her legitimate again as a 30-something.  These thoughts by the way are being turned around on her.  They are hers.  Thoughts she shared with me on why she felt uncomfortable meeting with old friends of ours because she didn't want to discuss life since she was divorced and living with her parents vs. married and living as an independent adult.  

If the foundation isn't laid, how can you build upon it?  Her dysfunction comes out in relationships.  Without nitpicking, the ultimate result in most relationships - parents, friends, ex-husband - is her unwillingness to dig in and work for it.  If it becomes uncomfortable for her, she won't address it.  Avoidance is her super power.  She wrote me off before her first marriage.  I found out the reason for the break in our friendship after, when she was broaching divorce, because she needed me again.  I may not be the most exciting friend or acquaintance she has, but I'm the most reliable, and most constant.  I am the tortoise.  She is now, along with her new company, the hare.  Flash in the pan, sparkle for a night, one trick pony...hare.  An opportunist at best, her fair weather approach to relationships will leave her sad, lonely and regretful.  I asked her, right before she pulled the plug on us the first time, if 15 years of friendship meant nothing to her.  Her reply was no, it didn't.  Keep that in mind, new husband, and re-kindled company.  Although, this relationship methodology has become a game well played by said company, so that could quickly become a who-beats-who to the punch type game.

In the meantime I will go on, slowly and unexcitedly, with my life which includes my husband of many years, my sweet 2-year-old baby girl, dogs and whatever children are to come.  I'll work my same job, drive my same car, wear my same clothes but one thing has changed.  I am no longer the sanity touchstone.  When friends go off thinking they can do better, befriend better, they'd better be certain.  I am no longer available to them.  Ava changed all that.  If I spend any time and energy on anyone, it'll be on my family.  Friends are second.  Always will be.  Thanks for the chuckle.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Inspired Change

There are many things that can spur change in our lives.  Some motivators are more mysterious while others are more obvious.  I have recently felt the need to do a financial cleanse on our family's budget.  I was frustrated with finances, particularly the amount going out vs. the amount coming in.  Since I couldn't affect change on the amount coming in, at least not immediately, I decided to affect change on the amount going out.  My first draft on this change was refinancing our truck.  Doing so saved us over $200/month.  Awesome!  Several months passed and I decided more change needed to be made, so I cancelled a superfluous insurance, dropped cable, transferred a credit card balance to a secure line of credit and finally, we traded-in the truck.  Before the trade-in, but after the other changes, I think I counted over $550 saved/monthly.  WOW!  We had that much in unnecessary funds going out?!  

Now, the new vehicle raised our payment by $100/month, but not all change has to do with money.  It's V6 engine will sip instead of guzzle the gas like our 5.7 liter V8 Hemi engine did, but it's more than that.  It is a SUV that fits our family.  I researched vehicles for two months, had countless dealers appraise our truck, and finally ended up going with a 2012 Chevrolet Traverse.  We were considering a Dodge Durango and a Ford Explorer, but the Explorer was all flash and no function and the Durango was nearly the same.  The Traverse is roomy, comfortable and a great value.  SUVs are expensive by nature, but with different rebates and incentives plus a pretty good APR on the loan, I feel we got a good deal.  Yes, there was negative equity from the truck, but we got the new vehicle for $1000 below invoice.  Yeah buddy! 

So I'm excited about the new vehicle, obviously, new cars are always fun.  So why did I cry when we drove out of the dealership in it?  I turned around and looked at the truck as we pulled away and that's what did it.  It's a truck.  Why. Am. I. Crying?  Grr, Kristen.  Well, here's why.  It was the first vehicle Bill and I ever purchased together.  It moved us from Kansas to Washington, and brought home our first child.  I took care to customize it some as a gift for Bill after he returned from his last deployment.  Other than guzzling gas, which is what she was made to do, she never gave us a fit.  I cried because I don't transition well with change, even change I evoked, but also because I felt like we were leaving behind a piece of our family.  Yes, I know it's a truck.  But she's got 64,000 miles of our life on her.  Thanks, girl xo

So now we need to come up with a name for the new truck, which is a Gold Mist Metallic.  Color always inspires a name.  I want Charlotte because it sounds grown up and sophisticated, like the new vehicle.  Bill isn't sure.  He suggested Carrie, after my favorite Sex and the City character.  I giggle at the fact that we're both thinking of SATC in relation to the vehicle.  So I cried driving it the other day.  Well, more like just had tears well up in my eyes.  Because I looked back at Ava and she had room.  She looked so comfortable.  I knew if she were to fall asleep she couldn't have to do so nearly upright, but reclined and more relaxed.  This change was clearly inspired by and happened because of Him.  He new I was trying to make a better life for my family and His grace made it happen.  Thank you, Father.  Now on to the next 64,000 miles and beyond.