SMW Syndrome

It’s time for another confession! After my Hubby Honey leaving on the 11th, I found myself struggling more and more with…something. A nagging urge that grew day by day told me that I had a billion things to do, and the more I thought about it, the longer my lists became. And the longer my lists because, the more stressed I grew over getting it all done. I didn’t know what to attribute this problem to until reading an article by Anita Tedaldi on Milspouse.com.

“(Super Military Wife Syndrome) often lies dormant until triggered by a major stressor, namely a husband’s deployment.  The primary symptom is a nagging urge to bite off more than you can chew.”
-Anita Tedaldi

From Personal Experience

I have all the time in the world. I work from home and have no kids. Surely, nothing will hinder me from filling my plate with stuff. Tasks.

  • I want to research RV-buying and how to live in an RV, including the cost.
  • I want to research vegan diets, knowing that Hubby would probably be interested in trying one out when he gets home if I can figure out how to make it work and how to cook in vegan recipes.
  • I want to make curtains for the house!
  • I want to draw my best buddy’s portrait as a wedding gift!
  • I want to finish my novel!
  • I want to have an immaculate house!
  • I want to find a new doctor and dentist.
  • I want to finish potty training my cat.
  • I want to read a billion books and finish a million videogames.
  • I want to scrapbook that box of stuff I’ve been saving.
  • I want to blog and vlog every day.
  • I want to start practicing drawing more so that I can consider selling some artwork.
  • I want to visit my friends that are two hours away every weekend, while spending the week visiting with my local friends as much as possible.
  • I want to attend 3 different churches.
  • I want to go clubbing, go to church, and run away to Florida, all at once.
  • I want to go back to school, which means finding funding and the right school.
  • I want to pay off all our debts.
  • I want to work out every day and lose 60-100 lbs before my hubby comes home.
  • I want to babysit for my friend so I can help her out, spend time with kids (which I love), and get a little tiny bit more income for the debts and the schools.
  • Oh, and I want to be available 24/7 in case Hubby has free time to contact me.

I want, I want, I want! I need to do so many things! I don’t have enough time!

I’ve worked myself into a corner, and now I face the process of slowly working myself out. My main goal at this point is to remember that I’m not super woman, but that I do indeed have all the time I need. There’s no need to stress. Breathe, drink some soothing tea, and just do a little bit every day while being proud of each thing you accomplish.

If you need some encouragement, I would highly recommend reading both Anita’s original post and the comments that followed. Remember, you aren’t alone. We’re going through the same things!

 

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Trust – Staying Sane in the Military

(Note: My posts usually are not this long! Sorry!)

I wonder how many Christians really trust God. Depending on where I am when I think about this, I end up with different answers. I can be in one setting where I feel most Christians must find this easy, while in other settings it seems there are more people having trouble with it than mastering it. Trust.

It’s a hard concept, even when applied to family and close friends, but when applied to an invisible God, it becomes just that much harder. Even within churches, the amount of trust you find may vary constantly. It’s important for all Christians to work on building up their trust in God, but lately I’ve been thinking about how crucial it is for those of us who are also in or associated with the military.may2 016

My Lessons In Trust

The truth is that I strayed from God for several years during my teenage-hood, but even before that, I had never firmly placed my trust in God. Faith, yes. Trust, no. It was after I came back from what I call my time of wandering that God began teaching me to lean on him in ways I never had before. Here are two lessons combined together: the couch and the job.

In wanting, praying for, and seeking a clerical job, I put in resumes at almost all the doctors’ offices in my city, and within days I was hired at an office looking only for part-time summer help. I’ll take it! I did take it. But the pay was low, and they weren’t planning to keep me for long.

Two or three months later, I got a call from another office at which I’d applied, and they asked me (months later) whether I was still looking for a job. Telling God I gave him full credit for this amazing opportunity, I went to the interview and took the job. They started me as part time, so as not to interfere with my current job, and they paid me as much as my current job while promising to bump me up to full time and higher pay within a very short time frame. I thanked God profusely, maybe truly meaning my thanks for one of the first times in my life. This, I thought, was surely not coincidence. This was God providing for me! I knew it.

Excited about my new, high-paying job, I started thinking about the possibilities for moving out of my parents’ house. This was something on my mind constantly at that time. It was on my mind partially because I wanted to be independent but mostly because my parents were planning to move out of state as soon as their house sold, and if it sold while I was still unable to afford living alone, I would have to go with them. I ended up going with my co-worker and friend Kellie to Goodwill during a lunch break at my original clerical job, and while I was there I spotted the perfect couch. It was cheap, it was comfy, it didn’t smell like cigarettes, and I wanted it! I called my mom, and she agreed to meet me at the store after work to look at it and decide whether I could keep it at their house until I moved out.

Mom came, and we looked at the couch again. While she agreed that it was nice, she suggested that instead of buying it right away, with money I knew I would have in the future but did not have yet, I should go home and pray about it for a day. At home, I waited a few hours, then asked her again what she thought.

Had I prayed about it? No, Mom, I hadn’t prayed about it yet (said with a sigh). I went back to my room, laid on my bed, and asked God what to do. I hadn’t prayed – really prayed – in years, though I had begun going back to church not too far prior to all of this. Not only that, but it was the first time I remembered just asking God what to do without asking for the result I wanted.

Guess what happened.

He didn’t answer me. He didn’t speak into my head or give me a strong feeling of what he wanted. I got up from my prayer time just as confused and hopeful as before.

The next day I actually forgot all about the couch until my Mom called me at work. She asked whether I would like for my step dad and her to come with me after work to pick up the couch, and I said sure. When we got to Goodwill, though, the couch had already been sold. Normally this would have disappointed me, but for once I recognized it for what it was – God’s answer to my question. Should I get this couch? No? Okay, then.

First day on the job. I hated it.

High pace, high stress office with rude co-workers. I did not even meet the doctor I was working for, and got very little training before being left almost on my own. I was given no breaks throughout the day. I went home feeling very let down, and as I had a day or two off before I would be going back to that office, I began to wonder whether it would be okay to just quit. But no. I had told myself it was an opportunity from God. How could I simply quit and throw it away without giving it a real chance? I determined to stick with it and see what God had for me there, and so, on my second day, after sitting in the car for a few minutes dreading what I had to do, I took a deep breath and headed in to work.

I made it about half the day (just as rotten as the first) before I was called to the back to speak with my office manager and direct supervisor. They told me that I displayed a poor attitude and poor customer service, or something like that, and they said that I could go. Stunned, insulted, but far from disappointed, I took my check for the hours worked and went home. I didn’t understand what had happened aside from the fact that God had given me an opportunity, I had trusted him to show me his purpose in it, and then he took it away.

It was within the next week or two that my office manager at the original job told me that they liked me so much, they wanted me to stay beyond the summer. They upped my pay and hours, and they hired me as a permanent employee. I stayed at this job for two more years, until I married and moved away, and I loved it almost every day. 🙂

How Great He Is

I’m not saying I’ve arrived or that I never have trouble trusting. I still question God, and I still try to push for my desires whether or not they are in his plan. But I can say that over the course of the last three years, he has brought me to trust in him more than I ever have before. More than I’ve ever trusted another human being. Above all, I know that he intends only good for me and that all good things come from above, from his hand. Verses that were only nice words now have meaning to me.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
James 1:17 (NIV)

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way…”
Psalm 37:23 (ESV)

Staying Sane in the Military

More than ever before, more than during any other trial in my life, I have a need for this trust as I face day to day life in the military. While trying to make plans for our lives, for family time, for traveling, for where we live, I must constantly remember that God knows what he is doing.

When I got married, I didn’t know that Hubby’s deployment would be moved up, but God knew. Hubby and I didn’t know it would be so difficult to get into Warrant Officer school; there were problems we didn’t foresee, dumb things that are irritating and annoying because they’re ruining our plans. But all along, God knew these things would come up. He didn’t tell us they were coming, but he planned for them being there – they aren’t a surprise to him. We trust him, every day, to get us through, to show us the path we sometimes cannot see that will lead to our planned destination. We also trust him if he decides to say, “Hey, that destination isn’t exactly what I had planned. Keep following me, though, and I’ll take you some place better.”

It hurts me sometimes that I can’t pass on this same peaceful trust to others! Sometimes I have a hard time understanding (or rather remembering, since I, too, stood in that place), how people can doubt. Don’t they know God’s way is better than their way? Don’t they trust him to take care of them? I can’t force anyone to believe, but I can continue praying for them.

Please, do share your thoughts in the comments! Was there a period in your life that you’re aware of God bringing you to a better trust in him? Are you still waiting for him to teach you how? I was there, too. For a long time, I wanted to believe, but I just didn’t, not quite.

Sorry for the crazy long post!!!

Milspouse Blog Hop

imageRiding the Roller Coaster recently started a blog ring for Military Spouses. As I begin to write this post, there are two hundred blogs included! I found out about it through two blogs that I read frequently: Jesstagirl and Her Officer & The Albrecht Squad. In hopes of meeting more great people like them, I’ve decided to jump in on the Milspouse Blog Hop!

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RE-Introduction

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Michelle, or Michy. I got married in October to my best friend of 9+ years, who also happens to be in the US Army. He has served for five years, has been deployed to Iraq twice, and is my hero for that as well as for the things he does every day to make my life so much fuller. We don’t have any children yet, and I find that makes me kind of an oddball in the military. It seems that most couples have children very soon after marrying, if not before.

I am a housewife, problogger, Avon lady, aspiring novelist, artist, and more. Most importantly, I’m a Christian, and so is Hubby. We trust God to take care of and provide for us as we face trials. I write about a variety of things on this blog, as you can see from the category list on the left, but all of them are topics that I know personally.

Hubby and I also have a newly created vlog on YouTube.com/ocipura, which we’d love for you to check out. For more information about me, visit the About section of this website. And if you want to keep in touch, please, feel free to subscribe, follow me on Twitter, or visit my Facebook page!

Vlogging: The What, Why, and Where

We started a vlog! I may not have gone through with it if it weren’t for the fact that my husband turned out to be just as interested in the project as I am! So, we’re starting/have started a joint vlog!

What & Why?

We’re vlogging about life. I don’t promise that there will be a video for every day, but I do promise that the vlogs will chronicle our days. They won’t be super fancy, but hopefully they will be entertaining. You’ll see a lot more of me than of him, as he’s gone a lot for Army business. I want to give a feel of every day life in our shoes (as soldier and Army wife) as we go through crazy training schedules, friends getting married, selling Avon, deployments, and potty-training (you’ll just have to watch to find out what that’s all about!)

Where?

We’re posting the videos on YouTube, on my channel: www.youtube.com/ocipura. You can see that there are already several uploaded! As yet, there is no regular posting schedule.

Help Me Out!

You can really help me out by encouraging me and showing your interest, both here and on YouTube, for one thing. For another, give me some feedback about whether you think I should include videos in my blog posts, as in embedded, or not. I was thinking that I should just include a link to the most recent vlog at the bottom on my blog posts! What do you think?

Do you have a vlog, about Army life or something else?

Five for Friday I

As far as I know, this trend started with the blog His Birdie’s Nest, but it’s growing more popular in Army wife blogs across the board. I decided I really wanted to jump on this bandwagon. So here are this Friday’s Five things I love about my husband!

1. I love that you call me “Love.”

2. I love that you offered to help me with some Avon stuff when you get home.

3. I love your idea for making the camp appear flooded by bringing dixie cups full of water from the creek.

4. I love that you need to hear my voice when we’re apart.

5. I love the workspace you set up for me in the newly cleaned Junk Room.

🙂

Info For New Army Wives

Whether you’re just getting married to a soldier, or whether you’re already married to a man who is just becoming a soldier, you’ll be a new Army wife. There are a few things, from one new Army wife to another, that I’d like to share. I don’t know it all, by any means, but I’ve probably got a leg up on you. If not, maybe you can share your advice in the comments section.

The Army Owns Him

I heard my husband say this before we were married, and I think I vaguely understood the idea. But not really. What it boils down to is that the Army can do anything they want with their soldiers. The soldiers don’t have to be allowed to sleep or eat for what we might see as unreasonable amounts of time. The soldiers obviously have to be in very good physical shape, and they can be punished for falling short of standards.

In fact, they can be punished for anything their command doesn’t like, even if it’s not in the rules! The Army can jerk the soldiers around every which way and change plans at the last possible minute, and there is not really any system to hold them accountable because, well…

I think the reason is that whoever is in charge is only worried about the greater goals and accomplishments, and they aren’t concerned with who is stepped on to get there. Anyone who is low enough in the chain of command to care usually doesn’t have any power to change things.

Will you be owned by the Army when you marry in? Personally, I don’t think so, and I don’t consider myself to be owned by the Army. But I might as well be. Everything the Army does that affects my husband, affects me as well. They can mess up my plans by messing up his and affect my quality of life by affecting his. It seems unfair because, truly, it is. Life is unfair, Army life even more so.

There is Compensation

Before you start getting down or thinking that it’s all bad, I would remind you that there is compensation for the crap. You may or may not think that it is enough compensation.

  • Money – His paycheck comes on the same days of each month, without fail. The amount is plenty for us to live on if we’re smart about our spending. It will not be different from month to month because he is on salary, and no matter how much or how little he works in a given pay-period, his pay will be the same. Even though it can seem upsetting that he doesn’t get paid extra for working late (every day for the past two months…), I see this as a good thing. If he gets sick and cannot work, if we take a vacation, or if there are a number of holidays close together, the outcome is the same, and so is his pay.
  • Time Off – Admittedly, it is a hassle sometimes to get leave scheduled. As I mentioned in another post, sometimes leave packets get lost. Sometimes they get denied for silly reasons, too. But overall, it is, I think, easier to get extended periods of time off with the Army than with a civilian job. At least, it is for enlisted soldiers. I have no idea how it works for NCOs and Officers. If a civilian job would hesitate to let you take a week or two of paid vacation because there might be no one else to do your job for that time, the Army doesn’t seem to mind letting soldiers go because, well, there are several more guys in his squad that can usually cover any slack. If they’re not busy or doing training, that is.
  • Health Care – My husband and I will always get the healthcare we need. The system is not perfect by any means, and the waits are sometimes long for non-emergency medical situations, but that does not change the fact that whatever we need will be provided at little to no cost. After spending about four years of my adult life without medical insurance, this has meant a lot to me. It gives you peace of mind to know that you can get the medical care that you need.

Commonalities

As you go to FRG meetings and meet your husband’s friends along with their wives, you will find that you have a lot in common with the other military families.

Maybe, in another life, you wouldn’t have become friends with that other Army wife. Maybe your differences would have separated you. But in this life, you’re brought together by what you have in common. And there is a lot to have in common when your day-to-day life is in the hands of the Army. I have found that it doesn’t even matter if you’re shy, or if you have a hard time making friends. That camaraderie is still there. You can even tap into the support network through online communities and blogs, if you’re having trouble meeting people.

Support

Support your soldier! I’m grateful that my husband told me flat-out how much he covets my support as a wife. Not all men can speak their needs in such a way, but it meant a lot to hear that come directly from the horse’s mouth. If your husband doesn’t know how to say it, I’ll say it for him. He needs your support. Remember that the scheduling (and other) issues are not his fault, so make sure that you face the problems with him.

Take his side. Encourage him through the rough patches. Remember that his job is very, very important for our country.

I would suggest that you become familiar with his reasons for joining the military. You can use this knowledge to try to find the best ways to encourage and support him. It will help you understand him, and sometimes you may have to remind him of those reasons.

What You’ve Already Heard

You probably already know that you should memorize your husband’s social security number, as you will need it frequently. You may have figured out how common acronyms are in the military. I’ve only used two in this post. That probably goes to show how new I am! FRG stands for Family Readiness Group, and NCO stands for Non-Commissioned Officer. There are many, many more acronyms that you will, in time, become familiar with.

As this is not a comprehensive list, I’d be very happy to hear what else you think should be included. What other information would you give to a new Army wife?

Flexibility And The Army

Yeah, you probably all already know this, but what can I say? It’s on my mind, and I must log it on the webs. You can’t – simply can’t! – do the Army without flexibility. Patience? Yes, it’s a very good thing. It’s very helpful to have in dealings with the Army, but it’s not quite a necessity. Believe me, please, because I’ve been working on building up my patience, with God’s help, for the last couple years, but I definitely haven’t arrived yet. I cannot yet call myself a patient person, however much I try. Thus I conclude: Patience is good, but you can survive without it. Flexibility on the other hand, is a must.

As a civilian with no close relatives in the service (other than a cousin I never knew very well), I never would have guessed how poorly organized the Army can be, at times. No, scratch that. Almost always the Army is annoyingly disorganized. I’ve heard people make fun of the government, but by marrying into the Army my eyes have really been opened to how bad it can get. I thought, of all things “government,” the military would be one thing well-handled. By that line of thinking, I’m pretty worried about the other aspects of government by now.

I’ve had to be flexible, if not patient, quite a bit. My husband, of course, has had to deal with about a hundred more instances of disorganization. Anyway, here are a few that have annoyed me:

  • Our wedding. His leave package did not get approved until almost a week before the wedding! We had made all kinds of payments on the wedding, the wedding night hotel, the flight and resort for the honeymoon, and a week before the wedding we still weren’t even positive that he’d be allowed to leave base! They lost his packet three times before it was finally reviewed, and then if I remember correctly he had to make some changes to it at their request, very last minute. I was sure they were going to treat him as if he’d only just submitted it for the first time and deny it because it was too short of notice.
  • The return from his second deployment. We military folk all understand that though the government is great about getting our soldiers to the battlefield quickly (wherever that may be), coming home is another issue. Dates and times for homecoming are almost never certain until a few hours before arrival. They can’t seem to get it organized! And when I went to his homecoming, I wasn’t yet married to or even dating him, and I had no idea what I was getting into. My now-in-laws and I bonded during those days of waiting, though.
  • Tuesday. We sat in the car together for about three hours waiting to figure out why he had not been called back to work, where his ride was, when his ride would be arriving, and whether or not we could leave and go home for a bite to eat before his ride arrived. Ugh!

Those are just the biggies. Flexibility is an every day thing for us, though. Whether it’s changes in the training schedule or just changes in the daily release time, meetings announced at the last minute, or even surprise off-days, we have to be constantly ready to take what we get and make the best of it. Roll with it.

Are any of you associated with the military – do you have any examples you’d like to share?