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The Family

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

A Lifestyle of Kindness

In the past week I have pondered on the Sandy Hook tragedy, as I am sure many of you have. How could something so horrific happen? How can we as a nation not feel moved to do something? I spent the entire day with tears running down my face. I do not know these people, I have never met them. However, in my heart and in the hearts of people around the world, we are them. There were three thoughts that stood out above the many running through my head and on those I chose to ponder. The first came from a seven hour conversation on Facebook with my siblings. As we went to hair appointments, made dinner, went shopping we discussed how do they tell their children who are around the ages of those killed. We discussed because they live in Connecticut and New Hampshire they would hear about it and how it would be best explained by loving parents. Then it came to the question, "Why is it affecting us all so very deeply?" My sister who had once deemed the Ice Queen spent the day crying and hugging her 8 month old daughter. It comes down to this: When you send you child to school you expect them to come home. Sure they may fall and scrape their knee, get in trouble, or get sick, but you have no reason to expect them to not come home alive. As a parent, when you purchase a Christmas present for your kindergartener you expect them to be alive to open it. It almost seems like these are rights, that our children should be alive, that no one has the right to take their lives for selfish means. Finally, it affected us so very deeply because we are all parents and we are so very thankful at the same time our hearts are breaking as we imagine the horror that those parents are living through. Next came the thought that my husband has sacrificed in service to his country for 24 years, only to have evil come from one of us. An American thought it was ok to kill 26 of our own. I began to wonder if all those years of sacrifice should have been focused on the enemy within. I quickly snapped out of that thought when I realized if not for the service of the military members, instead of 26 lives lost on American soil the numbers could be much higher without the military to protect all that we hold near and dear. So, the next time you feel a little out of joint because he has duty, has to work, or is deployed shake yourself with the thought that his service is protecting all of the kindergarteners of America. What an incredible responsibility the men and women of our military hold. As I continue to process this horrific tragedy one simple thought sticks out...how do we as Americans make sure that these young lives are memorialized forever in our hearts. Not only at a statue or memorial site, but in our daily lives. I for one am way more conscious of how I send my children off to school. Every mother can attest to the fact that when you have one who its still getting dressed and another one who can't find their book bag two minutes before the bus comes, that you are not always spouting off sentiments of love and peace. I have heard many people claim that they will complete 26 acts of kindness to honor the lives of these victims. While this is admirable, why not make it a life style of acts of kindness. Be kind to those in need, those hurting, those who do not have the strength or courage to ask for help. We will never erase the fear and heart break that we feel in our hearts over this tragedy, but we can change the way we live and live a lifestyle of kindness. I pray for all the families that lost someone, for all the first responders who had to give the news that no parent ever wants to hear, I pray for those who work to piece this tragedy together to have it make sense, I pray for this community. I also pray fro the rest of us, that we allow this tragedy to change our lives in a way that will honor those who we lost.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Be Thankful and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!

Today is Thanksgiving in Guam and I made sure to get up early enough that I would have time for a quiet cup of coffee and time to blog. I'm not really sure what will flow from my caffein jump started mind through my fingers today, but I knew without a doubt I am being nudged to write today. This is not my first holiday away from family, as my husband has been active duty for over 23 years and we spent 22 of those years stationed in Hawaii. It is however, my second Thanksgiving without my mom to call and ask about baking a turkey, which to be honest maybe a little more difficult that the first because a year ago I was still in shock from her passing. I think the hardest thing for me this year will be it is the first time one of my children is not with me for the holiday's...yup that's going to be the hardest thing. These two items complied with the fact that there was a tragedy yesterday in the community we lived in while in Hawaii, involving children my own children went to school with, one of which I taught his sister and brother has given me so perspective on this Thanksgiving Day. This past year loosing my mom and moving to Guam has taught me some very valuable lessons. The first being not to sweat the small stuff. But in order to not sweat the small stuff you have to remember that its small stuff. I am going to dive deep (pun most certainly intended) and talk about being a submariners wife today:-) While it is something I enjoy being and has become part of who I am, there have been (and still are) days I wonder first if I will maintain my sanity, and second why life can't be fair:-) As I ponder what to write the thought that I should buy every wife on board a dry erase calendar so that she can rearrange and erase what she writes in those little squares a hundred times and still give off the appearance of order:-) The schedule on any submarine is at best fluid (pun not intended) Its hard to nail down and shifts constantly. However, as this is our second tour on the mighty Chicago I can say hers is down right flowing like the ocean she serves in. I could lie and say it does not frustrate me, but I won't:-) I have however learned to live at peace with it, and not sweat the small stuff. After all, this means I get surprise homecomings and a peace in knowing my husband has a job he finds rewarding which pays the bills:-) Then there is the whole Guam thing! After 22 years in Hawaii, Guam was not on my radar, Connecticut or Washington sure...Guam...not so much. I could be angry, frustrated, and in a state of discontent (which I have to admit occasionally happens when I can't find something I am looking for here and have to search the internet to find someone who will ship it to Guam) But when I look at the big picture it's really one of the small things in life, that is reaping benefits for my family. My younger two are being given opportunities they would not have had somewhere else. They have both traveled to Japan to participate in DOD school sports competitions, trips where we were only responsible for minimal lodging expenses and spending money. The DOD school system is amazing and provides excellent education and opportunities. They have met friends and people that have become important the them. Me the stress level at my job is so low compared to what it was in Hawaii (and they are paying me the same!!!) that I feel like I am on vacation. Because we are not living in our house in Hawaii, but renting it someone else is paying my mortgage and I am not paying a $600 electric bill. Additionally, because we save so much money living in quarters when we leave Guam we will have paid off both brand new cars and my student loans. My husband has a job, that pays very well and benefits that are out of this world, where many in America are looking for jobs. Above all of this my family is alive, healthy, and has a great relationship. This goes for my immediate family here in Guam and Hawaii, but my Dad, brother, sisters, and their families, as well. My husband says my family gets along so well we are abnormal. This is a gift in todays world. So my submarine sisters, if your husband has to go into the boat today, has duty today, or is deployed, while it sucks...and it does...in the big picture....its one of the things we would call small stuff. Don't think I don't understand because I do...at this moment there is a conversation my husband is having on his cell phone that is making me question whether he will be present at our family dinner today...so I get it. But in the big picture of life this moment today of being separated, or being stationed in Guam really is one of the small things that you or I should not sweat. Because when you look at the big picture you are healthy, your family is healthy, we have a blessed life in the submarine community, and this moment too shall one day be a memory. So I have convinced myself, and ask you to do the same that no matter what seems to be a huge disappointment today, like my daughter not being here, really is one of the small things that I should not sweat, but instead I should enjoy the gift of being able to be with my husband and other three children and our boat family today. In perspective we don't know what tomorrow holds, so don't live life today in a manner which will cause you the regret it tomorrow. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff....after all Kelly Clarkson says whatever doesn't kill us will make us stronger:-) Happy Thanksgiving my sisters!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Encouragement

I borrowed the following story from the MCPON Michael Stevens Facebook page
Please enjoy this wonderful personal story from Chief Arnold. Thank you for sharing Chief. -- MC2 ROSPRIM I don’t typically post about Naval matters, and I may never again, but today I had to share as it has consumed my thoughts all day. About 8 hours ago I rushed into the commissary on-board Newport to get a few items and realized I had forgotten my wallet at check out. I hurried out the door to retrieve it and as I exited I observed the crisp new Ensign and his family getting out of their crowded old car as they had clearly just left OCS graduation. I contemplated the obstacle and considered taking the long way around to my Jeep and then thought, ”oh, hell just go past and give him his salute, he’ll probably love it as he has probably had all of 3 since commissioned”. I approached and rendered one of my finest salutes to set a good example for this new young Naval Officer. He was kind of at an awkward angle and I said proudly, “good afternoon sir”. He fumbled clumsily around, returned my salute and stated, “good afternoon Sir!” I laughed a little on the inside and thought, “Sir? It’s ok, he’ll figure it out”. As I moved toward my Jeep I could feel him advancing me from behind, I hadn’t covered much distance and his family was still close enough to us to hear our conversation. He walked up to me with a sense of pride in his smile that I didn’t think existed much anymore and stuck his hand out. I shook his hand and he handed me a One Dollar coin, at this point I realized what was happening. I thought, “this is great, but I wish it had been a junior Sailor so they could have experienced this moment”. He said, “Chief, I graduated OCS today and you gave me my first salute”. For a moment time seemed to stand still and I really began to absorb some of the finer details. I looked at the car they were crammed into and it wasn’t worth much. I looked at the clothes his family wore and they were far from designer quality. I smelled not a hint of arrogance or self-entitlement. No, what his family was was a strong foundation and humble. I imagined that they probably never had much and that his mother probably struggled to raise these kids and put this young man through college. I thought they probably didn’t have much money, but they were not going to miss this special day for anything. As things came back into focus he said, “I’m very proud” and I said to him, “I’m very proud of you”. I was no longer in a rush and as a symbol of respect I put my hands behind my back in that way that we do to show him that he is the superior and that even though I’m the Chief he’s the Naval Officer and this is the way it is. This young man exuded humility, respect, and a rooted sense of humble that spoke volumes of who he was and the type of officer he is probably going to be. I was in my most professional posture and a heightened sense of articulation flowed naturally. I told his mother she should be very proud of him and she nodded her head as if almost speechless to what she felt inside. Her and I exchanged a look and her eyes said thank you almost as if she understood I could have owned the situation as the old salt but I let him have this moment as his own. He thanked me and I looked him right in the eyes and said, “no, thank you Ensign. You may not realize it now or even understand it, but this moment is one of the best in my 19 year Navy career”. He looked at me a little confused and I said, “the look in your eyes right now tells me everything I need to know about you and the sense of pride you demeanor projects gives me hope that our Navy is in good hands with officers like you and this coin will be in my shadow box when I retire”. If I had a camera for the look on his face. Oddly, I think he understood. And I don’t think he’ll ever forget… Why is Jamis Chief Arnold sharing this? Because it is in these critical infancy moments of a young Sailors career every moment counts. If my demeanor or professionalism had said to him ahhhh what ever or a shrug off waste of time, my actions could have changed the dynamics of his whole career. Officers relationships with enlisted Sailors is dictated by our actions in every moment. Sure, I could have said said, “Ensign, I’m a Chief and work for a living so don’t call me Sir” in any tone I wanted I wanted to use, but what lesson does he really learn from that? None. I would have stolen his moment, cheated him out of his first salute and showed his family the professionalism the Navy “really” has. Worst case scenario, he carried his grudge into his senior officer years for that one moment and it creates a difficult working environment when you are trying to lead your junior Sailors. The ball is always in your court, set the right example.
We should all strive to treat those we have been charged to mentor with such respect and encouragement. As Navy spouses, particularly Submarine spouses, we have a very small tight knit community, as I have often said that what is the real world six degrees of separation is more like one and half degrees of separation in the sub world. As we begin our journey as a Navy spouse, we often look to those who have been in the community longer than we have for clues on this lifestyle and how to manage it, as we get some more time under our belt we become those who the new spouses are looking at for guidance. I think we should all strive to celebrate each other regardless of rank in those achievements that we all held in high regard at that stage of life. We should celebrate with the spouse who is excited because her husband got his Dolphins, even though it was many moons ago that our spouses got their dolphins. As those spouses who we mentor sailors get promoted and add that crow and more stripes, we should celebrate them and go out of our way to encourage them. You should never forget where you came from and the work it took to get you where you are today. You should never slight or minimize their accomplishments, as they were once yours. Instead seek to congratulate, support,and encourage those you are called to mentor. It could make a greater impact than you think. HONORCOURAGECOMMITMENT

Happy Veterans Day

Today is Friday, the first day of a holiday weekend that holiday being Veteran's Day. While many are excited about the three day weekend (and I have to admit I am grateful for the time off) several things happened today that made me stop and take a look at the lifestyle which I am privileged to lead. I was off of work today so I had the morning to cruise around on Facebook. Deciding that it was fitting of the Veteran's Day weekend to post several pictures of my husband and his past and present shipmates, brothers, and friends I got to work. As I posted the pictures of him in his uniform with people who are near and dear to our hearts I ran across the pictures from his last re-enlistment in Hawaii. For this particular re-enlistment site my husband chose the Chief's Quarters of the USS Missouri in honor of my father who was visiting. He also asked my Dad to hold the Bible while he was being sworn in. As I looked at the pictures and the emotions on my Dad's face I was stuck with the thought that the things that may have become the norm for me as a military spouse are quite often amazing to those who do not live this lifestyle every day. Next, I went to a Barbecue on the pier for the boat. It wasn't the food that was the draw or the rainy weather, but the photo we had taken for a project that we are working on. It was a photo of the crew and their families holding the USS Chicago brow banner. How many people have the privilege of being on the pier standing next to a submarine, never mind have their photo taken? Finally, as I was watching a movie this afternoon I began to hear the horns of the boats in the Harbor welcoming the USS Key West home, as they entered the harbor on the last stretch of their change of homeport to Guam. My house is so close to the pier not only could I hear the horns, but I could hear the cheers of the families on the pier as they saw her come into sight. The horns usually get my tears flowing, but those cheers did me in this afternoon. Back when my husband was an E-3 we used to call those who had been in forever Dig-its...because they really dug being in the Navy. I have officially become a Dig-it. I am blessed to be a part of such an amazing community, and I have the privilege of being a part of some amazing traditions and ceremonies. However, these traditions and ceremonies are symbolic of the sacrifices and trials of those who have gone before us and are being carried on by the current generation of leaders to be passed on to those who will follow us. Let us reflect this weekend on those sacrifices and the privileged life we lead. HONORCOURAGECOMMITMENT

Friday, October 19, 2012

On the Homefront

So, things have been quiet around here since Rick came home...a week early with less than a three hour notice:-) Those of you seasoned Sub Wives know that this is a common occurance and occurs more often than not. I remember two such incidents over the years that stick out. The first one being on Thanksgiving, the year Zachary turned 2. Because Rick wasn't going to be home, I was not cooking, instead the kids and I were going to eat some easy meal, spend the day at the beach,and go see Elmo in Grouchland in the evening. So, early Wednesday afternoon, I found out from less than official channels that they would be home the next day. So of course I dropped everything and went to the grocery store in search of a turkey...the night before Thanksgiving. The closest thing I could find was a small little turkey breast. So I took it home and cooked it, picked Rick up, we ate, and then we went to the movies. Elmo in Grouchland was Zachary's first movie and ended up being his favorite movie for many years. To this day my entire family quotes lines from that movie. The second incident of little notice of how or where they were coming home was when Rick came home for our daughters high school graduation. Up until the day he arrived, I wasn't sure when or where he was coming in via a transition out in the Harbor. I received an email the day he came home telling me that he would call me and let me know. Two hours before my daughters best friend graduated from another high school I received a telephone call that he was at the ferry landing at Iroquois Point ready to be picked up...in the middle of no where. He made it home 24 hours before his oldest daughter graduated.... I'm saying this because this last time the boat pulled in there was a great deal of complaining about the fact there wasn't enough notice given about the boat coming in. Last time I checked the United States Navy really did not owe us the curteousy of telling us anything about their mission and when they were coming or going. I'm just saying. I would think that the fact that your husband was going home would out weight any frustration in the regular inconsistent nature of the submarine force communication. As a Sub Wife there are many things that are required of you, but the most valuable one is flexibility and the ability to roll with the schedule. Had I chose to be frustrated that Thanksgiving or for my daughters graduation I would have taken from the time that my family did have together. Remaining flexible on the Homefront will give your submariner the peace of knowing that no matter how the schedule or orders change, that you as his MAIN SUPPORT SYSTEM will be able to take a deep breath, and roll with it. He needs you to no matter how you feel about it, pull up your boot straps and make it happen, without making him feel like dirt for loving both you and his country. You may be saying...you don't know what happened to our orders, or our change of homeport:-) Believe me...I have survived two changes of homeports...and God knows that after 22 years in Hawaii orders to Guam were something I never imagined. But in order for Rick to be successful in this tour...I need to be on board and support him. Things are not awful for me here...I have a job I love...I have decent house...my kids are in a school that they like and have a family of supporters in Guam...I have made some good friends that will be lifelong ones...I have to daily make the choice to have a good attitude, focus on the good things...to make sure when he does come home it is to a place where he wants to be...where the time he spends here is not full of frustration. HONORCOURAGECOMMITMENT

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Never Judge a Book By It's Cover

Never judge a book by its cover. This statement pertains to much more than a book and its contents. I know myself when I am shopping for a book I have learned that creator of the cover is most often not the writer of the story, so why would I confuse the gift of illustrating or packaging with the art of writing? You have to really know the author or be willing to take a chance on a new author and completely overlook the cover. How many times in your life have you allowed what you thought or heard about another individual to determine how you react to that person or whether or not you chose to invite that person into your life? We have all done it. It may have been because you trusted the person who delivered their opinion about the other person and you assumed that your experience would mirror theirs? Maybe the situation was a bad one and no matter who was involved your friend would have negative feelings toward them. Or your reaction may be initiated by a past experience with someone like them. Or maybe something they said or did rubbed you the wrong way the first time you met them. Whatever the reason we have all met a person for the first time and have brought past knowledge or experience into the decision making process of how we feel about that person. Do you and your friends have the same exact taste in music, books, or movies? Have you ever not read a book because someone you respected said it was awful? Only to read it later and love it? Have you went to a movie that got bad reviews, only to really like it? The same thing can happen with people. Just because your current acquaintance A had a negative experience with person B, does not mean that your experience will be the same. Think of all the good books and movies you would have missed out on if you had not taken a chance and decided to find out whether or not you liked it for yourself? In my opinion if you are willing to take a chance on something that will have a small impact on your life like a movie, while don't we take the same approach with people. Why allow some else's opinion guide our relationships with others? Take a chance of people and get to know them for your self, it could mean that you find a blockbuster or New York Bestselling friend! What I am telling you is this...just because someone you know doesn't like a certain person in the command, for what ever reason. Take the time to get to know the person for yourself, form your own opinion and then decide for yourself. If you don't you may miss out on an experience of a life time. HONORCOURAGECOMMITMENT

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Put Your Big Girl Panties on and Deal With It

This has always been one of my favorite sayings...not just to say to others...but to encourage myself. There are times in life that the situations that you find yourself in totally sucks and the only way to make it through those situations is faith and a whole lot of humor..or tears. Since I do not enjoy crying and it usually leaves you feeling heavy and drained, I most often opt for laughing instead of crying. It is those situations that I encourage myself by saying...Put your big girl panties on and deal with it. So, I have decided to give out the Big Girl Pantie Award (if there is enough interest that is) This is how it will work...nominations will be taken via comment on this post. A vote will then be conducted to determine who the winner of the Big Girl Panty Award. The winner of this award will receive the above magnet and a coffee cup. If there is interest and we can keep this going I will conduct nominations and votes monthly. Nominations can be made of Navy Wives near and far who you think deserve the Big Girl Pantie Award...it could be someone who is really struggling and may need some love from her sisters, or someone who has made it through a tough situation by relying on humor and a good nature. So ladies...invite your friends to follow this contest and leave your nominations for someone (even yourself) who deserves the Big Girl Pantie Award! ***Once you leave a comment I will have to approve it for publishing. So if it doesn't show up immediately, give it some time and check back later!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Character

Last night at the Guam Region Khaki Ball retired Command Master Chief Luis Cruz made this powerful statement, "Character makes trust possible and trust makes leadership possible." As a human being your character should be important to you, because it really is how people see you. However, as a Navy spouse your character is how the world see's not only you, but your husband and often his command. What does this mean for your husbands career? Well, if your character is one of honor courage and commitment, then the command and others will begin to factor your character into your husbands character factor, breeding trust, which in return will cause individuals to begin to give your husband more and more responsibility, preparing him for more leadership roles. However, should your character be one that causes others to doubt his character, because of your words or actions, then they will be less reluctant to trust him with responsibility and leadership. Now, I'm not saying he will not ever get ahead, but why would you as his spouse work against him and cause him to work twice as hard? This doesn't mean you need to be this super involved, all knowing spouse. For many years I was not involved with any command activities because we had four small children and I have always worked full time. Even if you chose not to become involved your support of your husband and the command is seen as a positive character trait. This can be done in simple ways like making sure that he has what he needs to succeed at work like a clean uniform, a good diet, flexibility and understanding of the ships demanding schedule, the freedom of not having to worry about you causing trouble in the FRG or among the wives, making sure your finances are taken are of, taking care of your children and educating them on daddy's sacrifices, and being there when he needs you. And while it sounds like a simple plan...I promise you it often requires more than you think you have to give some days:-) It wasn't until my husband's twenty-one year mark that I became a more active part of his career by supporting the command and speaking at spouse symposiums. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret....I am not comfortable meeting new people...once I get to know you it's all good...but that initial let me introduce myself gives me a stomach ache. So moving to Guam and becoming even more active in his career has been very difficult for me. After living in Hawaii for twenty-two years I was very comfortable in my role and knowing those around me, so taking a leap and moving to where I knew exactly four people...two of which I had never met in person was quite the challenge for me. I'm still stumbling through introducing myself and getting to know people and very much out of my comfort zone. However, I am working to put my big girl panties on and get over it, to ensure that this tour is a success not only for my husband and his career, but for my own personal growth and development. What does your character say about you, your husband and his career? When you ask yourself this question...can you answer with confidence that your character is an asset to his career? HONORCOURAGECOMMITMENT!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Are you the Wife of a Chief Petty Officer or an E-7?

So, while on Facebook I stumbled across a video the Hawaii Navy Region 2010 CPO Selectees made titled, "Like A Chief" Unlike the previous spoof on the Chief, this video and song puts a positive spin on being the Chief. If you'd like to see it, you will have to access my Facebook page. Towards the end of the song, I heard something that made me stop and say, "Ah ha! That will be my blog title for today! The line of today's inspiration asks the difference between a Chief Petty Officer and an E-7. So my question today is...will you be the wife of a Chief Petty Officer or an E7? Those of you who have to ask the difference are already heading in the wrong direction... The wife of a Chief Petty Officer does not enjoy Sea Duty , but she has a game plan to make deployments successful, she sets goals and she makes plans. She bites her tongue and only gives out positive vibes. The wife of an E-7 walks around talking about how much she hates sea duty. The wife of a Chief Petty Officer does all that she can to ensure that he is ready to go when the brow is lifted. The wife of an E7 looks for ways to get her husband out of going underway, The wife of a Chief Petty Officer does not complain when he comes home four hours later than anticipated, she just keeps his dinner warm and remains flexible. The wife of an E-7 shows everybody whose in charge, by calling the command ranting and raving, and putting her frustration all over Facebook. The wife of a Chief Petty Officer understands when the ships schedule changes or the 100th time in one week, and keeps her plan flexible, remaining calm. The wife of an E-7 insists that the command stick to their previous schedule because she has plans, and proceeds to run her mouth up the chain of command making a fool of herself...embarrassing her husband (his words, not, mine) and herself. The wife of a Chief Petty Officer is able to step in and make peace, guiding those who may not know better, advising them to avoid gossip and the rumors than can pose as a distraction to the real mission...the NAVY!!! The wife of an E-7 spends all her time texting and posting on Facebook all the gossip and rumors that come her way. The wife of a Chief Petty Officer understands that while a situation may appear one way, she doesn't have all the information, so she should reserve judgment. The wife of an E-7 takes any tidbit of information, blows it out of proportion and spreads it like wild fire. So, let me ask you again...Are you the wife of a Chief Petty Officer or an E-7? Some people may tell you what you do does not affect your husbands career...well I'm here to tell you that it's a crock. Should you chose the noble road of being the wife of a Chief Petty Officer, your mentoring, guidance and support of the spouses around you will make a positive impact on his career. However, should you chose the low road of being the wife of an E-7 you will have a negative impact on his career...TRUTH! What's it going to be? HONORCOURAGECOMMITTMENT

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sub Wife...on Murphy's Law

Please let me begin with a disclaimer...No grammar, spelling, or other errors of this post can be credited to me the writer of this post. All errors will be the sole responsibility of the pain killers I was given this afternoon...for a kidney stone. You see there is regular people Murphy's Law and then there is the Sub Wife Murphy's Law. It is similar to Murphy's Law in that when the boat leaves whatever can go wrong will go wrong. The boat left this week and within several hours I was sure I had a kidney stone. While he was still here I thought it was the flu...once he left in became apparent that it was a kidney stone. It always happens like this. For example within 30 days of a 6 month deployment I usually find myself in the Emergency Room with one of more children. The shortest time was three days at the beginning of the 2002, 9 1/2 month deployment on the USS Louisville...and we all know how that ended up. The one prior to this one was two weeks into a deployment, on a new boat, at a new job...with Joshua's broken nose. I have found that it is much easier to accept the Sub Wife version of Murphy's Law rather than fight it. After all in the words of Kelly Clarkson...Whatever doesn't kill me will make me stronger!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Please check it out and consider making a purchase to support the Football Team of Guam High School...I already did...using my gifts as an Olympic shopper:-)
So here is a picture of my freshman and senior at Guam High School. A year ago this photo with these uniforms would not have been something we imagined. But it is what it is and I have to say I am proud of them. They both dug in and got plugged into the school and community, making the best of the situation. When we first got here they told Becaa she would not be able to be a Senior because she lacked credits. Since then they have made arrangements for her to complete one class online and then she will be an eligible senior. She graduates June 7, 2013. She jumped in and made friends, tried out for the cheerleading team and made it. She is still missing her friends and her senior year as a Na'Alii, but she is mature enough to know you have to make the best of every situation! Zachary jumped in and is now nicknamed the Governor at the Teen Center and is part of the football program. I say part of because there is no Junior Varsity and he is too small to play Varsity. So the coach has made him a trainer and he works out with the team and supports the coaches. Again, not the best of situations but he has accepted that it is what it is and is making the best of it. Wondering how many adults need to adapt my children's life skills and make the best of every situation? I'm just saying! HONORCOURAGECOMMITTMENT

Two Degrees of Separation

Things I have learned as a sub wife.... While the rest of the world generally operates under the 6 degrees of separation rule ... The sub force I have found operates under the no less than 2 degrees of separation rule.

USN and the Anchor

Things I have learned as a Sub Wife.... The fouled anchor is a Naval symbol of an anchor with a chain wrapped around it or "fouled" (an "unfouled anchor" would be one that is not entangled in its chain). The fouled anchor has long been the symbol of the Chief Petty Officer. In terms of the Chief, the fouled anchor symbolizes the trials and tribulations that every Chief Petty Officer must endure on a daily basis. The "USN" on the fouled anchor stands for Unity, Service and Navigation, symbolizing the Unity of the CPO Mess, the undaunted Service to God and country of each and every Chief Petty Officer and the Navigation that the Chief is expected to provide to each Sailor, each Navy ship and the entire Navy. As a Chiefs wife Unity is evident in the way I support The Mess by presenting a united front when representing the command. Whether I agree with or like the schedule the boat has, the working hours they keep, or the policies in place as a Chiefs wife I am responsible for setting the example for those wives who are searching for the right path to follow. Complaining, making my displeasure known, or fighting the system is not representing myself or my husband well. Instead my goal should be to support the command and educate those who don't understand the sacrifices of the submarine service. Service is seen in the many ways I support my husband in his career. Understanding that in order for him to serve his country, I must serve him. Serving him looks like this: making sure I take care of our lives when he's gone, supporting him when he is gone but would rather be home, making life easier for him in any way I can, remembering this is a life we chose together and we both will be expected to make sacrifices. While he endures the trials and tribulations of being a Chief Petty Officer it is my job to provide a home that is not only a physical haven, but an emotional and mental haven at the end of the day. Navigation is evident in the many situations I find myself in. Whether it be a flat tire, broken washing machine, a child who misses their dad, or my attitude about being left behind with all of the situations mentioned above, I have a choice in the path I chose to navigate. I can complain and have unrealistic expectations and make myself and all those around me miserable or I can take a deep breath...eat a bag of Reese's peanut butter cups for dinner, pick the wedgie my big girl panties are giving me, slap a smile on my face and choose the path of.....anchoring up!!! In order to support your husband and keep your sanity you need to make a choice daily to portray...unity...service...navigation while supporting your anchor! Honorcouragecommittment

To Whom Much is Given Much is Required

Things I have learned as a Sub Wife.... As a Sub Wife I enjoy some pretty awesome benefits: medical, commissary, exchange, travel, access to places that many Americans will never see. I get to participate in traditions like the CPO pinning, the Tolling of the Boats, Re-enlistment ceremonies, POW table and blessing, Colors, and, retirement ceremonies. I am blessed to be able to watch fireworks from the top of the CPO building on Historical Pearl Harbor, watch the YOC morning run and the retiring of the colors on the Mighty Mo the same Day. I am blessed to have opportunities like this, ones that many in our country will never experience. However, the price for these opportunities is paid in understanding. Understanding that there will be times that my husband will not be home for those treasured events, and even though he said he would be home in time, he just couldn't make it. Understanding that there really are more important things in the world than me and what I would like. Understanding that every plan I make needs to have a plan A,B,and, C. Understanding that nothing is written in stone when it comes to the submarine world and the plan changes more than my teenage boys change their underwear. Understanding that there will be times that I will have to pick up my life and start over. Understanding that I will have to put my big girl panties on and deal with in...even when I don't want to and they give me a wedgie!!! However, the two most important things I need to understand are: 1. That I made a CHOICE to love a submariner 2. It was the best CHOICE I have ever made! Honorcouragecommittment

Homecomings

Things I have learned as a sub wife.... Some things are worth the sacrifice....like homecoming:-) There are so many things that are unpredictable in the submarine world and many challenges arise. As we deal with broken washing machines, sick children, PCSing, and many other challenges it can be easy to forget why we do what we do. However, when you get the first view of that submarine coming down the channel it often all clicks into place.....We do it because we have the privilege of loving a man who has chosen to serve. Honorcouragecomittment

Sub Wife Friendships

Things I have learned as a Sub Wife.... The Sub Lifestyle has given me the privilege of having some amazing friends. We have survived multiple WESTPAC's, NORPAC's,RIMPAC's, Local OP's, and changes of homeports together. We have carried each other through pregnancies, miscarriages, births, deaths, hurricanes, 9-11, Shock and Awe, and the Shipyard:-) First days of Preschool, Kindergarten, High School, and High School Graduations! I have friends that were with me at the beginning like, Tina Adkins and Heather Tester... friends that I have NEVER met in person: Hope Calcutt Trujillo, Emily Alley, Vickie Cotie Schultz, Jill Harris Schultz, Joni Lukasko Blakely, and Shari Neisler Owings. And Lea Guess who I may have seen in person maybe twice...but they have all made my life brighter by being there for me. Then there are those SUB wives who will always be with me and hold a piece of my heart, not all of them for the length of the friendship but the quality like Keisha Bolden, Melanie Blair, Mechele Braff Minyard, Vivian Dannelly Alcott, Carolyn Haughey, Darla Weisen, Charlene Rivera, Donna Porter, Beth Hundley, and Sharon Hughley I promise you that the majority of your non-submarine friends will NEVER understand what you live on a day to day basis and will look at you like you have three heads when you talk sometimes. But these women get me...sometimes I don't even have to say how I feel, they just understand. So I encourage you to go out and connect with some SUB wives that you will be able to look back in 20 years and say how blessed you were to have known them

Its Not About Me...

It's not about me.... 23 years ago we made a collective decision to make the Navy a career. When I did this I understood that there would be times when I would have to sacrifice and understand that at that moment it wasn't about me. In the last seven years I have received two degrees that I wasn't able to walk for because my husband was gone, Sunday I will finish my masters and I will not be traveling to walk for that either, because my husband will be gone. And I will be completely honest, I am ok with that. While, I would love to be able to wear my cap and gown, the fact that my husband and children supported me as I reached my goals far out weighs any ceremony. We made a decision as a married couple that we would be committed to his career and I completely understood what that meant for me as an individual. I understood that there were times that I would have to sacrifice what I wanted, understand that the boat schedule is what it is, that I would have little to no information as to the location or the possible return date of my husband, and back in the day I understood that I was only allowed 12 Family Grams per a six month deployment, never mind expecting an email daily:-) Now, let me tell you my husband is exceptionally good to me and ensures that I am very well taken care of, because I simply understand......It's not about me. Honorcouragecommittment

Hafa Adai

The Title of this post means more than the typical Chamarro greeting. You see I have spent the last twenty two years stationed in beautiful Hawaii. I gave birth to four children there and managed to raise them to be the ages of 13,16,18, and 21. I own a house in Hawaii, I have an amazing church family in Hawaii. I was blessed with a job I loved and co-workers I can truly call friends. So three months ago my greeting would have been Aloha! But you see Uncle Sam or should I say Uncle Submarine force had a different idea where we would ride out our Chief of the Boat tour. After so long in Hawaii we were not concerned with orders to any where but magical Hawaii. The submarine force in Hawaii is a Camelot of sorts...it is a magical and special place. In January we received orders to Guam. I want to go many places in life, however, Guam has need been one of those:-) The announcement came on the heels of my mothers passing and a very emotional holiday season. At this point we have a 20 year old who works full time for Child and Youth Services in Hawaii and going to school full time, a senior getting ready to graduate, a junior in high school, and one child getting reedy to start high school. They all had big plans, Britt was going to finish school while living with mom and dad, Joshua was going to graduate and go into the military, Becca would finish her senior year with her friends, and Zachary was going to move on to be a freshman and play junior variety foot ball as he has always dreamed of following in his brothers footsteps. Me, I was going to finish going through NAEYC accreditation with my TEAM and move my center back to its home. Rick would fulfill his tour as the COB on one of Pearl's boats. However, this all changed in a matter of a week. We now had to make a decision whether to rent or sell our home...and then get it ready, as we were in the middle of several renovation projects. We had to complete overseas screenings, do a mother ton of paper work, prepare our children and home to move across the ocean,and figure out what to do with 100 different details. All this was done in the midst of mourning my mothers passing and saying good bye to people we had spent the last twenty years with. Rick's best friend from kindergarten has been stationed in Hawaii for almost ten years and leaving Mike and Carolyn almost broke my heart. The irony in leaving them was that right before we received our orders to the mighty USS Chicago, Mike transferred off the Chicago as the Doc...if only we had known! So fast forward to May, when it takes three days and 15 crates to pack my house, we spend every waking moment painting, putting in floors, cleaning, and packing, going to six going away parties, my dad arriving for Joshua's graduation, living in three hotels, selling a car, shipping a car, and flying out. We spent two weeks in Newport going to Command Leadership School, and one week with our family. Then we boarded the plane for the longest trip in the history of the world. We arrive in Guam ay 1140 pm to be greeted by people of whom I can only name two of to this day. We are given a rental van that we will not find out has great similarity to the Dream Machine from Scooby Doo until the sun rises, and drive through the dark dark night to the Navy Lodge where we all pass out. The next day we awake to find that we are in fact driving the Dream Machine and we must go in search of housing and food. To make a long story short, while my house is nice, it is not the house meant for me...and my neighbors are pretty sure of that fact every time I tell them to get their crap off my lawn. Thats all I am going to say about my house...right now! We get everything almost taken care of...and Rick leaves and I start a new job...on the same day...while we are still living in a hotel. The movers arrange to come on Thursday...they show up on Wednesday...while I am at work. The furniture delivery people bring me someone else's bedroom set and it takes them three times to get it right. At this point I realize I am not in Camelot anymore...I'm thinking more like Shrek's swamp! However, through all of this I remain calm...not to say there wasn't any tears. I believe I spent all day Mother's Day crying and painting the doors in the upstairs hall way of the house. I know I cried when I hugged my nieces, nephews, dad, brothers, sisters, brother and sister in laws. As a matter of fact I am pretty sure I cried from Connecticut to Rhode Island the day we flew out. And the day we flew out of Hawaii, I know I left part of my heart with my daughter, who I left crying in Carolyn's arms. I have said all of this to come to this fact....serving in the US Navy, on Submarines was a choice we made many years ago. We accepted the challenges, sacrifices,and the many hardships that come with the submarine service. We have served on 8 submarines, the USS Chicago twice, we have done three changes of homeport (that have never gone according to plan...nobody's fault people...just the way it is),one geo bachelor tour, countless WESTPACS, NORPACS, RIMPACS, local ops, a nine and half month underway, and at one point 8 1/2 years of straight sea duty. At no point did I ever threaten to leave my husband because of sea duty, nor did I ever think it was acceptable to speak to anyone in his chain of command with anything but respect. This is not the life for someone who only enjoys it on the 1st and the 15th of every month. This lifestyle is for those who understand that this is almost a calling...that it is not about you...and that you spend a great deal of time putting your big girl panties on and dealing with it!