18 December 2013

Military Retirement Cuts?

As hubby gets closer to retirement we are a little wary at how much we will actually get after 20+ years of service.
Morning Joe had a good conversation on this topic.

19 November 2013

What to Expect

They tell me that the flags on top of the fire hydrants are to let the Fire Dept know where the hydrants are when we're in the middle of all the snow that comes.  I guess it hasn't really hit me yet on just what to expect this winter.  Are we really going to get that much snow?

11 November 2013

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Veteran's Day Special

Veteran's Day video

This was a really cool video sent to Hubby.

Veteran's Day 2013

A friend of mine recently posted about Veteran's Day.
We Salute You

04 November 2013

Casualty Notification

Hubby got a call this morning and was asked to go make a casualty notification. We are the closest active duty to the family. He's only done this once before and that time it was by accident. He was asked to o to the airport to pick up a family member of an airman who had passed away. He didn't know this brother hadn't been told why he was coming out, and had to explain to the brother in the middle of the airport. Hubby was a little upset no one had told him that the brother didn't know. 

Anyway... He came home today to change into his dress blues. It's a sad thing to do. But hubby has had to meet with individuals before in his church service as a bishop so he's a little prepared. There's no active duty chaplain on campus here- just a guard chaplain. So he and a Capt. from the office are going together. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to this family.

08 October 2013

New Addition

We had an initial meeting with new psychiatrist and were introduced to a Bernese Mountain Dog that was used for pet therapy (unfortunately for younger kids with ADHD and autism spectrum disorders). We fell in love. It was so gentle and calm. We did some research and decided we'd get a dog anyway to do our own pet therapy at home.
We found a Bernese about an hour away and can't wait to bring her home. Am I crazy? :)

04 October 2013

Special Needs in the Military

I think I've posted previously about our special needs child- Aspergers/ADHD/Anxiety Disorder. It's been such confusion over the last 8 years with a few scattered moments of clarity.
I've come to the conclusion that things are so much more difficult for special needs kids in the military than kids like them who aren't in the military. 

Once we get a psychiatrist who has done all the necessary testing and evaluations (which take months at a time) and start getting into a therapy (both medicinal and behavioral) routine its time to pack up and move again to the next base and start all over again. 

Our Aspie was diagnosed an Aspie by one clinician and according to another they didn't fit all the criteria for autism spectrum. Now we're in another new place and ADHD and Asperger diagnosis is back (not so much the anxiety). But now our Aspie is too old for pet therapy- which we still think would be fabulous to help with social skills training. 

Moving around every two years isn't easy and very frustrating. 

24 September 2013

Some of you remember how amazingly quick Hubby was able to leave AFG to get to see his Dad- who had congestive heart disease but was recently diagnosed with cancer. It's still up and down and he's going through another round of chemo after finding newer and more aggressive tumors. The AF has been so good to us- to send us to an assignment close to Hubby's dad so he can help with chemo appts and just spend time with him. Every moment has been so very special to our family and especially to Hubby. As congestive heart disease patient lives moment to moment and surgeries to explore tumors and other biopsies are scary because you have to come off all medications. I thought this was a great video and reaffirmed our decision to ask to be close to family at this time. It's definitely not a place we would have ever asked to go, but we're making it work and trying to find the good things about our new place.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

16 September 2013

Quiet time

Things have died down a bit around here. ONE and THREE are in school. TWO is taking a bit of a break from homeschool at the moment. I finally have some quiet time!

I need to carve out a regular time to blog more. It seems like forever ago when I last posted.

We've transferred to a whole new world-New England. This will be our first "winter" in three years- having just come from the desert of Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. Not only is our environment totally different but we're living in a very small "village", total rural life- we're stacking wood for the winter to use as a supplement heat source, no fast food in town (which is a good thing in my opinion), the public library is very small, and everyone knows everyone. Much like Andy Griffith's Mayberry. 
But we're making things fun by getting out and exploring the area- found a couple good farmers markets, have been to the fair (where we saw the biggest ox ever- taller than hibby and I), and will start exploring some of the local retailers in next few weeks. We did find out the local ski resorts allow military free lift tickets, so we're trying to get the lids hyped about that. TWO wants nothing to do with the snow. It will make life pretty miserable if theres nothing of interest to do for all of winter. Im going to have to work on that. 

We also need to start looking into getting everyone outfitted for the colder weather. We have hats- thanks to all the crocheting I did while hubby was deployed. But we'll need actual cold weather gear suitable to withstand the harsh New England winters. We don't have anything heavier than sweatshirts/pants from our time in Vegas.

PCSing across the country isn't cheap by any means. Setting up a new house in new area where you have no utility history is expensive- we had to put down several deposits for water, power, and heating options out here are limited to oil, electric, and wood- no natural gas lines out where we are. We've had to buy wood for the winter an pre buy oil for the year. Crazy expensive. I don't know how the enlisted folks make it financially. 

On an up note: hubby received his second Bronze Star this week in front of all the cadets. It was pretty cool.

Anyway... my quiet time is no longer and its back to being Mom, referee, cook, nursemaid, and counselor. I'll post again sooner than last time. 

07 July 2013


I guess a Military Family isn't always settled, but things are starting to shape together.  My kitchen remodel is done and I love it!

The kids each have their own rooms set up the way they want, the office still needs some time to get things set up the way I want, but that's going to come piece by piece as I find some antique furnishings for that room.  There's an extra room on the 3rd floor that needs some pieces, as well as a new bed.  We ordered a new bed for THREE from WalMart.  We bought a memory foam mattress and it is lovely!  I've been going in there after folding and putting clothes away to just lay down on the mattress.

Anyway... I guess I haven't told you about our new house. It's a four story (if you include the basement) Victorian on a hill. We have a fabulous view from the big front porch and the big windows in the living room. 

We are so glad tone away from the heat in Vegas. About a week after we left an oppressive heat wave rolled in. 129• last week! Even with the pool out back we would've been miserable!  
It's been raining the first couple of weeks here but yesterday was beautifully sunny!!

Little by little we're making a home. 

05 June 2013

Culture and geographic 180•

We're moving from one extreme to another. I did this when I was an Army brat and I didn't like it and was miserable. I'm really going to have to find ways to make this move and our stay at new place fun and happy. 
Weather where we are now:

Weather where we're moving to:

Going from a metropolis to a town of 6000 (a # which includes the university students) Yikes! 

There is no fast food- which is a good thing.  There's no movie theatre, no Walmart, no orthodontist in town- those are a couple towns over.  Closest base is 2.5 hours away so no more bimonthly commissary trips, maybe once a month if we're going out that way to take advantage of any kind of civilization. :)

The kids may not be the only ones who will have a hard time. 

28 May 2013

PCS food give away

I gave most if my condiments away today. My cupboards are bare.

ONE came home and went right to the pantry and said "MOM!!! The food is gone! Where's all the food?"

This is my kind of Mom

25 May 2013

Memorial Day BBQ recipes

This Memorial Day will be spent with my parents and kids. Hubby cant get back, needs to save leave for our move.  So it'll be quiet- no entertaining, but we'll probably keep a lot of our recipe traditions anyway.  We'll still play in the pool, set up the camp chairs, turn on the palm trees, and fire up the grill.

Here's my post from last year.

We had a great time and everyone pitched in to make some sides while our family took care of the meats and drinks. We had BBQ chicken- thighs and drumsticks, steak tips, and natural casing hot dogs and bratwursts.
In the summer months we try to grill as much as possible to help cut down on the heat that comes from the oven making the AC work harder.  If you do have to cook, do it in the morning or in a crock pot.

BBQ chicken is so easy to make!  I learned a few tricks to making the chicken really moist and fabulous tasting.

Memorial Day Craft Ideas

Kids love crafts!  They love to make things with their hands- whether it's finger painting or making paper mache or simply cutting out pictures.  We've always had great success incorporating crafts into our family BBQs.  Having crafts gives parents a bit of a break to have adult conversation, and a chance to grab some munchies without little ones vying for a spot on Mom's lap.

Memorial Day Tribute

Memorial Day has always been about remembering Soldiers who have died in service to our country. It originally began as a day to recognize fallen Union and Confederate Soldiers.  And it has expanded with each subsequent war the US has become involved in. It’s not about patriotism, it’s not a time for fireworks and celebrations; it’s a time of remembrance. It’s a time to pay tribute.

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our country. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers. 

During the first national celebration, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there. This event was inspired by local observances of the day that had taken place in several towns throughout America in the three years since the Civil War. By the late 1800s, many more cities and communities had begun to observe Memorial Day, and after World War I, it became an occasion for honoring those who had died in all America’s wars.

Since the late 1950's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd United States Army Infantry Regiment place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones and about 7,300 niches at Arlington National Cemetery's columbarium. Another 13,500 flags are placed at the Soldier's and Airmen's Home National Cemetery.  They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.  Most other National Cemeteries have followed suit.

To help Americans re-educate and remind them of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed in December, 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to "Taps" .

When I think of Memorial Day, my first thoughts are to my own father.  My dad is a military guy- in fact he and 5 of his brothers all served in the military.  My Dad grew up in the sugar cane fields on the southern coast of Puerto Rico.  When he was about 10 years old he immigrated to New Jersey where his father and mother made a better life for their children.  My Dad grew up listening to NY Mets games on the radio, listening to his father tell him what a great country this was.

My father continued those same values in his own family of 7 kids.  I am the eldest and I cannot remember a time when my father didn't express his great love of country.  He was in the US Army 82nd AirBorne Division.  I remember being on base and hearing the bugle in the afternoon and my dad teaching us to stop and place our hands on our hearts as we listened to the National Anthem.  I remember having great BBQs where my dad would invite everyone and anyone to come and celebrate with us on the 4th of July.  I remember when he retired that he kept that same love of country as he flew both the US flag as well as the 82nd flag.  I married an AF guy and he now flies an AF flag.  My brother in law is a retired Army Ranger so he flies the Army flag, too.  My father loves his country!

Every year, since I was a little girl, he watches the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS.  Now we continue that tradition in our home.  We have a nice BBQ but we always remember to speak with our children about the great freedoms they enjoy and the great land in which they live, that these freedoms didn't come easily, in fact came a great sacrifice of both blood and treasure.  But not to simply remember but to honor them.  They need to be treated with the respect they deserve from those whose freedoms they fought and often died for.

Here are a few ways we've celebrated Memorial Day.  Perhaps there are a few you'd like to share as well.
  • visit cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
  • visit memorials.
  • fly the U.S. Flag if you don't already
  • fly the 'POW/MIA Flag'
  • participate in the "National Moment of Remembrance": at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day
  • renew your pledge to find a way to give back to the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the disabled veterans and their families
I call upon all Americans to come alongside these valiant men and women to offer them the healing balm of friendship. Don’t be reluctant to reach out and offer tangible aid and support to the sons and daughters of America who are returning home from the battlefields to our neighborhoods. While our government can and must facilitate their rehabilitation, you can play a crucial role in bringing about a recovery of the soul which comes through individual acts of kindness and friendship. Recognizing our wounded Americans for their service alone is not enough! We must walk with them on the path to wholeness of body, mind and spirit. Let us devote ourselves to being there for them each step of the way. Anointing them with friendship blesses and supports each of them in ways that make for a better America.
— General Colin L. Powell

24 April 2013

One step closer to PCSing

Movers are coming today to evaluate our household stuff. One step closer too moving day. The kids are in a bit of a melancholy state. I'm sad for them. I grew up an Army Brat and didn't like moving either and it was especially hard moving between sophomore and junior years of HS as my son will.
I look back and am grateful for the opportunities moving around have me to put myself out there, introduce myself, make new friends, enjoy new places.

But it's not hard and every event that brings moving day closer is hard. Which is why I treated them to Krispy Kreme donuts.

ONE had a lax game down south where the KK store is. We don't often get around that way so when we do we make a point of stopping and getting the double dozen deal. The lax game was a tough loss. But ONE was able to get another hat trick (three goals).

Anyway... PCSing is hard. So I try when I can to make things fun and memorable.

17 April 2013

Military in our Blood

Does military service run in the family?

Flash Back to a time when my Dad was in 82nd Airborne, stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC.

I married an AF Officer, and now ONE hopes to one day serve.


Finding the actual TMO office on base was harder than scheduling the dates I wanted.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.  The staff were very helpful in estimating my household weight- does anyone really know who much household weight they have?

Anyway... not much else I can do except pick up medical records but don't want to do that until a lot closer to move date- after school gets out.  Finally got EFMP paperwork complete and we are officially cleared for travel. Crazy how that whole process works- we're only going stateside.

13 April 2013

MilSpouse Friends Every Military Spouse Needs


07 April 2013

Another Hero

Soldier recovering from TBI receives Silver Star then re-enlists.


06 April 2013


I apologize. It's been a while since I had time to post. And since hubby is back there haven't been any weekly updates from AFG either.
So let's catch up...

Hubby received a Red Cross notification of his dads poor health. The dr recommended the servicemember return home as soon as possible. The initial diagnosis was pancreatic cancer.
Hubby wasn't sure what to do. He was coming out for r&r anyway in a few days and wasn't sure whether he should skip the trip with the family to the beach for spring break or simply take his R&R to see his dad.

Side Note: Our follow on assignment (after this deployment was a humanitarian to be close to hubby's dad bc we knew his heart wasn't doing well).

He knew by the time he got back to AFG there would only be 3 months left so he asked a out a curtailment. OSI was happy to help out and worked to get him orders home. The ISAF staff was also very helpful. But there was still the question about whether he needed to wait for a replacement or could leave right away. And when was the next flight out etc.. Thanks to his boss who happened to be a 2 Star- a confusing situation became less so by simply making a call and telling someone to "make it happen". Hubby was met and given the red carpet treatment all along the way home.

He was able to get home to start the process for new RNLT date and orders to new assignment, then went out to see his dad for 10 days.

After what I have no doubt was due to power of prayers by many on his behalf, his dads condition improved and the dr were able to regulate his heart as well as get his symptom properly treated and diagnosed. He is now diagnosed with lymphoma and his heart is now stable, albeit still at a low functioning percent.

Hubby was able to return to have spring break with us at the beach on Coronado and is now geo-batch'ing it at his new assignment until we catch up with him when school let's out. We were finally able to get our EFMP clearance (which was a nightmare in and of itself) and WE HAVE ORDERS!!

So in the next couple of weeks I get to set up household pack out dates and look around for new drs and dentists.

Much thanks goes out to the many who helped move things quickly in at a pace I've never seen the military move. And to the many who said prayers on our behalf over the last 8 months.

Even though he's not here with us, we are grateful to a safe return of husband and father. We still pray for the safety of all those still serving in all areas of Afganistan and Iraq today.

20 March 2013

Return from Afghanistan

This is about a week old. I apologize for not blogging sooner. Things were a bit crazy for a while an still are as I try to get paperwork moving though EFMP channels to get orders for hubby.
Here is his last update. I will update as things move along and we prepare for a new PCS.
(There are a lot of XXX's. Being an OSI wife for so long OPSEC is never too far from the mind.)

I got back from Afghanistan Friday before last.  The circumstances were a bit unexpected, but it is all working out.I received a red cross notification indicating that my father was not well and advising I should return immediately.  From communication with my brother, it appeared to be pancreatic cancer. 
I was a bit worried about trying to get out and there was a long delay while my leadership there tried to haggle with the Air Force to get a replacement lined up. I wasn't really all that interested in that debate, but finally prayers broke the barriers down and I quickly got permission to return, had my assignment to XXX moved up to April and headed out on a flight.  Every step of the way I was met by folks who got me exactly where I needed to be and after a little more than a day of traveling I made it back to XXXX.  As I was being picked up by Mrs L, I got an email from my brother saying it looked to be lymphoma, a much more treatable form of cancer.  I am so thankful for a safe return and while the circumstances are not ideal, I have seen many blessings poured out through prayers on my behalf.
I flew out last Tuesday to be with my Dad.  I'll return for Spring Break with the kids, head back for a house hunting trip XXX with Mrs L, then plan on staying out there to work and visit with my Dad and family on weekends to see how I can help.  I'll come back in June when school is out to help Mrs L and the kids drive out to XXXX.
Warmest Regards

26 February 2013

Missing Dad

THREE has a father and son Cub Scout activity tonight- cake decorating contest for annual Blue&Gold Banquet. A good friend is going to fill in and help him decorate. It's the little things that make deployments hard on kids. THREE was a little emotional last night and didn't want to go bc he was going to be the only one without a Dad there. But I knew I had good men I could call on anytime from church and this time was no exception. I even have a second lines up in case the first gets caught up at work.

24 February 2013

Week 33 from Afghanistan

Hope this find you well. 
Things are fine here.  Another descent week.  We got a new boss in as the J2 (Director for Intelligence) and he comes from a similar background as the community I come from.  We brought him around to see some of our units, and he pointed out a lot of the issues I have been talking about since I got here.  Looks like I will now have the political top cover to get some things fixed.  It may be a bit late in coming, but we have to set up for the enduring presence, and frankly, any doctrinal gains we make now will only help us in the next conflict we find ourselves. 
I continue to look forward to vacation in a few weeks and a move a few months after that.  I can appreciate what it was that was said in Ether about faith that giveth us a hope for a better world and maketh an anchor to the souls of men.  Of course he was also talking about the difficulty of hanging onto that which is just and true in the face of war and political machinations of his day.  Like the starving people who are so preoccupied with survival that the Gospel seems ethereal ("will that bible buy me any bread")--those who spend weeks upon weeks in situations they cannot control, and whose fate is determined by others (to include many whom do not have altruistic motives), can be challenged in feeling after spiritual things.  The immediate stressors and challenges can overcome our spiritual natures.  But with hope for a better world, we can hang on.  Fortunately for me, it is not much longer.  I can appreciate the difficulties of others who are stuck in situation for which they see no end to, which will last far longer, and whose hope is for the eternities--but even there, by clinging to faith and hope, we can separate ourselves out from the silliness around us. 
I am thankful for the quiet assurance of the spirit that I can feel, that assures me all is well.  When struggling I remember the fate of Joseph.  When he was being carted off by Arabian traders as a slave--things couldn't have looked very good.  Promises must have appeared dashed.  When fleeing from the wife of Potiphar and thrown into jail--things could not have looked any better.  Yet with all that, the way was provided not only for his escape, but the salvation of the family of Israel.  Like Joseph, we cling on to the hope of promised blessings, put our head down and trudge on--but we can move forward with assurance of the spirit that all promised blessings will be provided.  We may not be able to see it.  It may look pretty dark. But we will feel it.  Like Joseph, in the end, all things will turn to our good.
That said--it is nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

17 February 2013

Week 32 from AFG

Hope this finds you well.  Lots of good milestones this week.  At 32 weeks I have right around 20 weeks to go, which sounds pretty good to me.  In 28 days I depart for R&R, arriving just before the kids' Spring Break.  So that is right around the corner.  With the President's announcement of a drawdown of 34K troops over the next year, we can finally start planning retrograde operations with better assumptions.  All that planning will keep us pretty busy throughout most of the rest of my time here.  Its busy work, moving things around and making sure we have adequate protection for our troops.  So it was a good week all around.

Today as I walked out of my room, I was met by a beautiful day.  Normally there is so much smog and dirt and filth in the air that you can't see very far, but this morning it was pretty clear, and there were great views of snow capped mountains. It struck me that those mountains stood as a witness of God and a promise of better things if people were willing to reach out and accept it.  The snow there, if captured, represents the promise of agriculture and plenty--no reason they need to live in the dust bowl they live in.  It seemed to suggest peace.  It was a warm day as well, and spring was in the air--my mind turned to the great symbols God has given us of death in Winter and rebirth in Spring.  New opportunities for life and hope.  Truly nature witnesses that there is a God in heaven.

I am not much of a photographer, but one of my favorite pictures is one I took at the Garden of Gethsemane.  Among the ancient olive trees, well dunged, sprang a single purple flower--as if to say that out of the greatness of the mother tree, and richness of its soil, a small but significant life arises.  All life is dependent on the light and atonement of our Savior.  I had that picture turned into a large print which I have hung in my office.  No one has ever asked me what it is, but I feel like it represents my testimony to any who would look upon it.
All of nature is a witness of truth.  I had a roommate in college that was a Geology major.  He was a fun guy to go hiking with, because he could point out all the various rock formations and explain the history behind them.  He was also a die hard atheist, as if there are any other kind.  We went on a backpacking trip once, and got to a glorious place--tall trees, a large cliff, a waterfall, on a low ridgeline, but high enough to see across a small valley.  We stopped and he told me about the cliff and we talked about how amazing that location was.  I asked him to stop for a moment and look around.  After a minute or so, I asked him if he could really believe among all the order he could see that this was all just an accident of nature.  He didn't have much to say about that, and so I took a chance to testify that I knew and that he could know from how he felt, that the things of nature testified there was a God.  We walked off, and he didn't say much, but I know that in that moment, he felt it was true as well. 

I hope that in some of the Afghan hearts today, and days like it, people will look up and see the glory of nature, and know not only that there is a God, but that he is a God of peace, who desires our happiness.  That such a vision might inspire peace, charity, order, stewardship and community is my hope and prayer.

Have a great week,

14 February 2013


V Day 2013

I love my kids! Each one is so very different from the others and each one has their own challenges in life. I'm proud of how they are constantly working hard to make the best of life especially a military life. They're awesome!

10 February 2013

Week 31 from Afghanistan

Hope all is well.  I depart for R&R in 35 days! Pretty excited about that.

By the time I come back I will be under 90 days left. It is good to see some light at the end of the tunnel. We are getting pretty excited about the move. There are several properties in the area that have some acreage and outbuildings and I'd like to have a mini farm. Mrs. L and I will head out at the end of my leave to look at houses. We may find it easier to buy something in town where the university is, but if we can swing something nearby but with some land to have some animals and a good sized garden, that would be pretty great.

My grandmother had a small hobby farm when I was growing up. How many animals she had varied, and she gradually downsized to nothing so she could travel, but when I was younger she had pretty much a little of everything. Some chickens, rabbits, hogs, a goat, cows, sheep, horses. Her garden wasn't very big, but it was sufficient, and I remember going out to find something fresh for dinner. She never had very good luck with fruit trees, but there were wild berries all over the area and we'd go out for raspberries or blueberries. My parents kept up that tradition for many years, maintaining a large vegetable garden. It was fun to work and see where your food came from.

I look forward to being someplace where we can be part of a community for the long term, and especially a place so environmentally conscious. It will be great learn to be a steward over a small patch of earth and see how things can grow.

As Brigham Young said:

“Fields and mountains, trees and flowers, and all that fly, swim or move upon the ground are lessons for study in the great school of our Heavenly Father, . . . [in what] is open before us in good books and in the great laboratory of nature.”

03 February 2013

Week 30 from AFG

Hope this finds you well. Things have finally started picking up again here, so it has been a much better week. Everyone wants to feel productive--but especially when everyone here and at home is making such a sacrifice. We want to see that these sacrifices are for some greater good. I can't yet say that this is the case--beyond loyalty to our oath of office--but we at least have had more impactful work. I expect that will continue through the rest of my time, so the doldrums of the slow Dec-Jan are past us.

27 January 2013

Week 29 from Afghanistan

It was another frustrating week here.  I'm sure it is the same for anyone in a situation where you are trying to wind-up a war--decisions are made for pragmatic reasons and short term gains, and the ultimate values that we hold dear are sacrificed to the practical.  It is a tough thing for people of high moral standards...the "why" doesn't make sense.
I had a conversation with my deputy tonight about this.  She is an Air Force Academy grad, and is of the mind that we should pull everyone out as fast as possible.  Her rationale is "why should we ask my friends to fight and die for something that just isn't worth it."  I think this is a common mantra over the decades of conflict since the second world war.  My answer to that is that we don't swear our allegiance to a conflict or policy, but to the constitution.  Under our constitutional framework, congress has a powerful role in conflict--both declaring war and funding it.  The people also have a significant role, as they can vote out Presidents with bad policy records.  Unfortunately, Congress has abdicated its role, and except for the War Powers Act and a couple of funding red lines in Vietnam and Iraq, have done little to debate and sanction or limit our conflicts.  The people likewise, are more disconnected than ever to our military, and it will be more so in the future--in 30 years or so, when the Vietnam generation has passed and is passing, there will be nothing left but the volunteer veterans of the growing warrior class.  57% of currently serving active duty military had a parent who served in some branch of service.  
It is sad and probably unsustainable.  I'm not sure how morally or ethically correct it is to send men and women into conflict without having a real stake in their fortunes.  It will be more and more difficult to answer these young captains when they ask why their friends should die, when the principals that provide strength to our constitution--an engaged public and Congress--give way to partisan interests, pragmatic political solutions, apathy and comfort.
I think her view is fairly consistent with what the majority of our young leaders believe.  It is the more senior folks who toe the line.  There are many reasons for this--certainly we have some good leaders--but there are also many seeking promotion, or profiting from the conflict, with less altruistic motivations.
In the sunset of my career, all I can think to do is to pray for our leaders, try to educate our people, and to inculcate the coming generation with a sense of duty and care for more than their personal and localized interests.
Fortunately, through faith, we have a surety of hope for a better world, and while this is concerning, I have plenty of peace in my own life, having a confirmation of good things to come.  I am thankful for the prayers for our family, for a Church family who serve and pray for us, for those in temples who remember our men and women in uniform, and our family specifically.  We are blessed.
Hope all is well.  Warmest regards.

21 January 2013

Thinking Valentines

V Day is coming up again.  Looking for more ideas for my kids.  Last year I had more time to make homemade crafts.  This year I'm thinking of getting some help from Oriental Trading or Terrys Village.

I might try and trick them into thinking I didn't do anything and then put the decorations up while they're at school.  When they come home they'll have a nice surprise.  Maybe I'll even get them each a doz Krispy Kreme.  They'll love me forever just for the doughnuts.:)

20 January 2013

Week 28 from Afghanistan

We are slogging through out here. We were hoping President Obama would announce some hard numbers of troop size, but absent that, we are muddling through the best we can, under the best assumptions we can. I have now seen the art of war at tactical, operational levels. While the politics of DC are disturbing, the confusion of coalition warfare is more so. I'm glad the folks at the tactical level don't worry about it too much and just get out and execute, or we'd be in a lot of trouble. Anyway, hopefully the can doesn't get kicked too far down the road.

All else is well. Looking forward to [Spring] and my R&R.

13 January 2013

Healthy Care Packages

I've been watching to see how long our packages take to get to hubby in Afghanistan. If I use the APO Priority boxes they take on average less than 10 days. So we decided to experiment. Hubby is on a NATO base and the chef there is Dutch. He says the food is aweful. And made a resolution to eat better this year. We've been sending tuna packets and crackers, but this time we sent peanut butter and honey and a loaf of bread. It was the high fiber kind. It got there in 8 days and in great condition! I was afraid the delivery time would be too long and the bread would start to go bad. The weather probably helped along with the cold weather in cargo hold at high altitude.
Hubby just emailed:
"They made it! Bread looks great. I had a peanut butter and honey sandwich--it was awesome!"

So don't be afraid to try and send healthy foods in your packages (healthy breads, peanut butter & honey, nuts, protein mix, balance bars, tuna, etc.), along with the comfort foods of cookies and candies.

06 January 2013

Week 26 from Afghanistan

Its great to write "Week 26"- halfway done and it is all downhill from here!  I appreciate the prayers and letters that help as I've moved through this journey.  I can now set my sites on my R&R, scheduled for spring--then, by the time I return from that, I'll only have a few months left.

It's been deathly slow here in Afghanistan.  With the holidays, even though we had some pressing business to attend to, it becomes challenging, because the folks at CENTCOM and in DC are all on vacation.  Hopefully we will be back in the swing of thing this week.  We are all hoping that the President's meeting with President Karzai this week will yield some decisions about our force posture here.  There is a lot in stand-by mode while we wait for a decision.  

Anyway, its been really quiet.  The gym tends to be the best thing about my day.

Hope all is well.  Warm regards