3 months in bullet points & photos

Seeing that it’s been like 3 months since I’ve actually written something on my own, I suppose it’s time for a life update.  I have a tendency to be wordy, and since A LOT has happened between June and now thanks to the good ole Navy, I’ll spare you by trying to do this in bullet points & photos.

  • We bought a house in Maryland that Clint had never seen.  Talk about trust!  We are now the proud owners of this little gem.


  • I quit my job with nothing else lined up… Scary!


  • Our cute little condo was packed up into an array of boxes and shipped across the country.


  • I said “see you later!” (it’s not goodbye!) to many of my closest friends and family.


  • We took 6 days to drive to our new home in Maryland.  Some stops worth mentioning were WSU, Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Wall Drug.


  • We moved into the aforementioned little gem and started making into a home of our very own.

  • Clint left for San Diego, via Washington State (I can’t just say Washington anymore!), to learn about H-60 helicopters.  He just finished his first school where he was consistently a top performer with the highest scores in class.  Yes…I’m bragging.  πŸ™‚  He’s been able to enjoy In-n-Out (lucky jerkface), Whidbey friends, and most importantly – see his parents!


  • I’ve been here in Maryland, just decorating and getting to know the area.  It’s not ideal to be alone in a new place, but luckily I’m rather independent so it hasn’t really been an issue!  I’ve joined a yoga studio and practice about 3-4x a week.  I also work the front desk 2-3x a week as part of a work-trade program, so that’s been a nice way to get out of the house and talk to people.  I know a few people in the area so it’s been great visiting with them from time to time.  I think church will help too, I’ve already gotten to know a few people that way.



  • I went to Michigan for my cousin’s wedding.  It was a lovely weekend and better yet, I was able to see my parents and many other family members I haven’t seen in a while.  It was especially great reconnecting with my cousin who lives in Washington DC!


  • I’m trying to find a job, more on that later.


  • Soon, I’ll be jetsetting off to meet Clint and we will be doing ONE MORE cross-country road trip.  Can’t wait for that!

Overall, the past few months has been awesome and I am so happy that we were able to get stationed here!  Of course it will be better when Clint and I are FINALLY living under the same roof, but so far we both have a really great feeling about Pax!  We can see a great life ahead of us in this location.  It is luciously green, there is so much water, lots of outdoor activities, SUNSHINE, local produce galore, delicious food, and everyone has been so friendly and welcoming.  Who knows… we might decide to stay East Coasters for good!



feel good friday – a love story in 22 pictures

If you’re friends with me on Facebook you may have already seen this, so apologies if it’s a rerun for you!  I was so moved by this series of photos that I just had to share it as part of “Feel Good Friday.” 

I first heard of Taylor Morris the other day when the Joining Forces Facebook page shared his photo and a link to more pictures.  I’ve included some of the photos below, but before I get to that I want to tell you a bit more about his story.

Taylor is a Navy EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Technician from Iowa.  The danger of his job is quite self-explanatory through its title, but he quickly found it to be his passion and began training in 2008.  In May 2012 during his first tour in Afghanistan, he stepped on an IED while leading a team of Army Special Forces and was severely wounded.  He lost both legs, his left arm from the bicep down, and his right hand.  Thank God, Taylor is doing well & recovering, and has had an amazing woman, Danielle, by his side through it all.  Their story is one of true, selfless, unfailing love.  In a difficult time when many would be tempted to walk away, Danielle never waivered.   The positive attitude they both have is clearly evidenced through photos and the writings of their friends & family.

Here are some of the photos…

http://www.buzzfeed.com/txblacklabel/true-love-in-pictures-only-28m7?sub=1774427_587180http://www.buzzfeed.com/txblacklabel/true-love-in-pictures-only-28m7?sub=1774427_587184http://www.buzzfeed.com/txblacklabel/true-love-in-pictures-only-28m7?sub=1774427_587188http://www.buzzfeed.com/txblacklabel/true-love-in-pictures-only-28m7?sub=1774427_587196I strongly encourage you to see the rest of the BuzzFeed series here.  You can also learn more about his story, and help support his recovery by visiting the Taylor Morris Community Support Facebook page, the Taylor Morris website, the Tim Dodd Photography – Taylor Morris section, theChive, and numerous more websites.

Thank you Taylor for proudly serving your country, your dedication and sacrifice is immeasurable.  And thank you Danielle for being such an amazing support to him.  The positive attitude you both have towards life, and the love between you, is truly inspiring.


The 0.45%

Do I still have any readers out there??  Haha.  If I do, I’m baaaaack!  πŸ™‚

I saw this essay on Facebook today and felt very inclined to share it with more people.  I think it is an important message that probably reflects a lot of how our veterans feel.  It has been incorrectly attributed to General David Patraeus, but I found out it was in fact written by Nick Palmisciano.

The 0.45%

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point.

My mom actually showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of class. She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my admission letter. She wasn’t crying because it had been her dream for me to go there. She was crying because she knew how hard I’d worked to get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry officer. I was going to get that opportunity.

That same day two of my teachers took me aside and essentially told me the following: “Nick, you’re a smart guy. You don’t have to join the military. You should go to college, instead.”

I could easily write a tome defending West Pont and the military as I did that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won’t.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four years. In Vietnam, 4.3% served in 12 years. Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror. These are unbelievable statistics.

Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse. Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military. Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts.

The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation. You.

You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand. And you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand. They don’t understand suffering. They don’t understand sacrifice. They don’t understand that bad people exist. They look at you like you’re a machine – like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one – not them. When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can’t understand the “macro” issues they gathered from books with your bias. You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more.

But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you’ve given up. You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them. Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform. But you do it anyway. You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775 – YOU SERVED. Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.

Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.

You are the 0.45%.

He’s home! He’s home!

Since saying “I Do” in October 2010, Clint and I have spent approximately 15 of the past 18 months apart.  Needless to say, it’s been a pretty craptastic way to start off our marriage! 

But today that all changes! 

This afternoon the love of my life returned home to me!  What makes this even more monumental is the fact that he isn’t deploying again for another few years!  Yay for shore duty!  Oh how the thought of this makes me grin ear to ear!

Ahh, today is a great day.

the end is in sight!!!!!



Today the USS Carl Vinson officially arrived in the good ole US of A.  Clint finally called around 8:45pm, and I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of joy that came over me when I saw his picture and phone # pop up on caller ID!  He is almost home!  I can call him!  I can text him!  Soon I will be back in his arms, and won’t be that “married yet single lady” anymore!  Ahhh… the end is in sight! 

I hope this next little while FLIES by!!  I’m starting to get so impatient!  Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!


he will be home so soon!!!!!

that’s all  πŸ™‚

oh, actually one more thing – we need some serious prayers/positive thoughts/good juju that our official orders for shore duty come in soon, and come in as expected!  please send some our way!  thank you!

The Navy Spouse

Today I received the following letter, written by one of the carrier’s chaplains.  I couldn’t help but tear up as I read it (surprise surprise) and I just thought I’d share.

Thank you for staying true, and for all you do.

We are on the way home.  With that comes varied emotions and attitudes
about what is to come, as things have changed.
They have changed for you, and they have changed for your Sailor.  It
has been an even longer deployment for some of you,
as you never really experienced time with your Sailor at home in
between deployments.  But you persevered.  I have
experienced four deployments away from my family, and each one takes
its toll.  I cannot imagine doing this without my bride
at home, carrying on with the mundane things of life while I either
ride the raging mane or endure boots on the ground.

This letter is to thank her and you, who continue to stand by your
spouse during this high operational time.  That’s our Navy way
of saying, “You will have to do without your spouse for more months
than seems bearable.”  It has not been easy for you, but you
have kept the home fires burning.
 Not because you knew the cost when
you married your Sailor or they joined, but because you’re
.  You have endured countless days with no communication,
wondering about your Sailor, but you never gave up hope.
You never stopped writing, or answering the phone.  You acted as
mother and father
to little children, who did not always understand
what was going on; You endured the questions that teenagers
only seem to ask when your Sailor is away, and the broken bones and
illnesses that always seem to wait for those times of separation.  You
put your career and education on hold, or somehow managed
to make it all work in spite of the hours required.  You held fast
during times of uncertainty
when you didn’t feel the love anymore,
because you know that love is something more than just a twitter of
emotion or butterflies in the stomach―it is a commitment to
something bigger than both of you

You could have quit so many times, but you didn’t.  While other
families celebrated birthdays and holidays, your Sailor was across the
world making it safe for their parties.  There is no medal for what
you have sacrificed
, no ticker tape parade.  Yours is the quiet pain of
the Navy Spouse whose Sailor stands the watch.  You wear the suffering
required for freedom, in ways that words cannot describe
.  The
media will use your pain, while others don’t understand.  “How does
she do it?”  “How does he stand the many days away?”  Yours is the
quiet satisfaction of knowing what they do not, that freedom is not free.
You are the heroes who wait dutifully for your sea warrior to return,
who bear the burdens that some with you share.  You are my heroes, because
without you we could not stand the watch.  Without you our Nation
would have fallen many decades ago.  Without you there will be no
children who understand the need and sacrifice, a lineage of honor,
courage, and commitment.  You are the backbone of our Nation, and its future.
On behalf of your Sailors who stand the watch, thank you my wife and
you Spouses for never forsaking the watch.



Like a ton of bricks

It’s finally hitting me.  Hard.  Like a ton of bricks to the face. 

Tonight it really hit me that…

  • My husband and best friend is almost home from the 6th deployment in his 8 year career, and 4th deployment in our 4.5 year relationship.
  • Finally ending sea duty to start a new adventure at our next duty station is no longer “that thing” in the far future we dream about.  Shore duty is literally around the corner.
  • For the first time in our relationship I will get to spend more than 47 consecutive days with the love of my life.
  • I don’t have to feel like a celebate nun anymore.
  • Clint will finally get to be my emergency contact on forms.
  • I will get a 3-4 year break from having to endure the sadness, lonliness, and sheer emotional exhaustion that comes with deployments.
  • Clint will finally be home for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and any other important event that may arise.
  • Everday I will be able to fall asleep and wake up in his arms.
  • I won’t need to wait anxiously by my phone hoping for a call or email notification.  If I want to talk to Clint, I can call him and better yet – talk to him face to face.
  • Important people in my life will finally be able to meet the man I’ve raved about all these years.
  • I won’t be dateless to weddings.
  • Most importantly – I get to start watching Dexter again.  πŸ™‚

Thinking about this evergrowing list makes me so happy I could cry!  Who am I kidding – I did cry!  I sobbed hysterically as I watched homecoming videos, listened to “I’m Already There” by Lonestar, emailed Clint, and wrote this post.

AHHHH!  So close!!!