July 20, 2010

You Asked, I Answered!

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions! :) I have to say, these were more serious than the last batch. This turned out really long, so if you actually read the whole thing, well, kudos to you! You are a special person!

stefanie asked: How did your transition from being a non-military spouse to a military spouse go?

Well, in some ways I think it's still going. After all, we're still pretty new to the military. (In case you haven't read our story, you can read it here.) Overall, other than the whole random-homesick-pangs, I think I'm doing fairly well. I mean, we're rolling with the punches and just taking it one day at a time. What else can you do, right? Right now, the only major difference - other than moving - is getting to meet a lot of great new people. :) So I can't complain there!

Elizabeth asked: What has been the best and worst experience you've had being a MilSpouse?

Hmm...again, my experience is pretty limited. And everything is relative. So it's a little difficult to answer. I love the new friends I've made, here at IBOLC and on the blogs. Oh, the blogs. Yeah, that's the best part. The fabulous BBs I've met, several of whom have become great friends even though we've never been in the same room. (One day!!) Without the Army, I never would have met any of you. So I can be thankful for that.

The worst? Well, I can't lie, it hasn't been a walk in the park, but I try not to dwell on the negative. (Isn't that obvious from my recent posts? :p) Probably fighting the homesickness. When my brother turned 16 last month, that was hard. SoldierMan was gone and I was depressed all week. Feeling like I'm missing out on life back there, that's the worst. But like I say, I try not to think about it. There's so much good going on that it's not worth it to think about the bad.

Jordan asked: What is the most hectic part about being a military spouse?

Ha! Writing everything in pencil. :) I had no idea how much of a planner I was until the Army. Actually, I'm not really a planner. Being a firstborn, I like for there to be a plan, but I don't need to be the one to plan it. Living life without any plan at all (at least for right now) really stretches me. As of right now, we have no idea how long we'll be here, or where we'll be going next. So it makes for short-term thinking. :)

Lisa asked two questions: What's the best advice you've gotten as a milspouse? Where would you like SoldierMan to be stationed next?

A retired Infantry Lt. Col.'s wife told me that there was no way she could have done "it" - being married to the Infantry and raising 5 kids (3 of whom adopted as a sibling set, not infants) - without having a relationship with the Lord. I've tried to keep that on my mind and am always working on making that more of a priority in my life.

As far as where we want to go next...I try not to think about it :) I don't want to get my hopes up about where, or when, and then be disappointed. Obviously, we have pie-in-the-sky dream locations (Hawaii {Sarah!}, Italy, Germany....) and others that are more likely that would be good (At this point I'd take just about anywhere in Texas, it's the closest to home we'll get, or want to get, since the only thing closer is Ft. Sill. No thank you.) and then the "Please, God, no!" list, which has very few locations on it but again, try not to dwell. So, yeah, right now if I could pick anywhere in the world it would be Hawaii, because even though we've never hung out, I miss Sarah. But since I know that's as likely as....something not very likely....I try not to get my hopes up. (Although, Sarah, you'll laugh at me - this afternoon I was practicing my phone call to tell you we were coming there, just in case ;)).

Expat Girl asked: If I visit your apartment block (which I plan on doing to see old neighbours in October) can we be friends?!!

Um, yes please! I am so excited you are coming down! We are definitely going to have a Brewster's date! :)

Jamie asked: I hope you haven't told this story already but when did you get interested in politics?

I don't think I have, but I should! :) In case you don't know, I've been involved in politics - working on campaigns and in the local political scene - for nearly 20 years. It's both a long and short story, so I hope you're up for this. The short answer is: I was raised in it. But not how most people would think. When I was...maybe 6? Our state representative came to my parents' house and introduced herself (she later became a good friend) and asked them if they voted regularly. My mother said, "Oh yes, we vote every single election." And she said, "Really?" And pulled out a binder she had with the voting record for every registered voter in her district. (FYI, your voting record - whether you were present or absent - is public record. They do not record HOW you vote - that's sacred and protected. But it is possible to go back and research your - or someone else's - voter history. Just so you know.) Anyway, she pulled out this binder and showed my mom that, yes, they had voted in November elections, but had missed multiple mid-season elections and bond issue votes. Now, my parents always considered themselves informed, concerned citizens - believing that part of being a Christian is being a good citizen (Ecc. 9:10; Romans 13) - but this was like a Road to Damascus experience for them. And they jumped in head-first, joining the local County party and Republican Women's group and getting involved. The news was always on. I remember listening to Rush Limbaugh on the way home from kindergarten.

When I was about 8, my dad became County Party Chairman. Our front livingroom became the county party headquarters. We learned how to answer the official Party phone line. My birthday is October 30th (so only days before November elections), and that's always taken precedence. My 10th birthday party was turned into a mass mailout, with all my little friends folding flyers, stuffing, sealing and stamping envelopes (against my objections that this "wasn't fun" and was "ruining my birthday." Now, of course, it's pretty much symbolic of my childhood.) Former Congressman JC Watts will tell you that my dad was instrumental in his decision to run for Congress. (No, really, he came and spoke at my school and told the omelet (sp? that's what blogger says is correct. doesn't look right to me.) story in front of my whole class. I was so embarrassed. And if you want to know comment - with a reply-to email - and ask and I'll tell you. This is going to be long as it is!) When my dad was elected, our county had a majority democrat voter registration, all democrat judges and mostly democrat representatives. By the time he left 2 years later, we were a majority Republican county, had all but 1 Republican judge (out of those up for election) and had complete Republican representation at the State Capitol. People to this day talk about Jack Dake and how he changed Cleveland County. (Now if we can just keep the young people from screwing it up, but I digress...)

Anyway, with an upbringing like that, it's probably unavoidable that the political world would be a passion of mine. However, it wasn't always that way. When I was in college, the Terri Schiavo incident happened. I was 19. I remember being glued to the TV and internet, soaking in every detail. I saw how she was alive, responsive and how much her family loved her. I thought, there is no way this woman can be killed, there is no way a judge could sentence her to death. And then, he did. She was killed, not because of a TBI complication or because she had a living will or a DNR - she was murdered by court order. Murdered by the government, in my mind, because the Governor of Florida refused to use the executive branch power of check-and-balance to save this woman's life. And I gave up. I turned off the news, avoided Drudge and any and all things political. I was done. What was the point?

It took a year for me to realize - that is the point. We can't afford not to care, not to be involved and not to be vocal, not if we want to save any future Terri Schiavos. So now, when I get fatigued or beleaguered by the process, by ambitious political science majors (seriously, like Washington and Jefferson would have wanted people to go to college to study to be a lifelong politician :p) or by a failure of both the public and of elected officials to protect something as precious as a human life - I remember the difference my dad made. A state-wide difference in just two years. I remember Terri, and how we need people to be in the fray, fighting so that that never happens again.

And I remember that I was born in America for a reason, that God chose for me to be born here and now, not just as a human or as a female, but as an American citizen. And that it would be foolish of me to take both the rights and the responsibility that come with that citizenship lightly.

Also, because she wrote it first and said it so beautifully, read this piece by former SNL star Victoria Jackson. It says it all for me: I'm Mad at Christians.

ae asked: What is your biggest political pet peeve? And would you ever consider running for any type of office?

Oy, just one?! :) Well, I guess the most prominent one I have right now is the whole "political science major" thing. These people who otherwise would channel their unfettered egos and ambition into something like business (which might actually help the world i.e. Steve Jobs) instead decide to try and make a name for themselves in politics. They inevitably go on to get law degrees, fueled by the flawed thinking that being trained in manipulating existing law for their own benefit will better enable them to create new law (as though we need new laws, we've got about 5,000,000,000,000 on the books now). Then, now being the ripe old age of 27, they figure they have enough life experience and know-how to run for office, and not a little local office where they could learn the ropes. No, sir! They have big things to accomplish! So they run for a statewide or even federal level position, cutting deals with anyone they think will be an asset along the way, making deals with devils they don't even know exist. And then, if they do have the misfortune of actually getting elected, find themselves either A) bound to the special political interests threatening to unseat them unless they goosestep the way their lobbysists want, or B) are so high on the new office that they are impervious to guidance from the "old guard" who have been there and done that and actually know what's going on. I see more and more of that on the local and state levels of politics and it just puts me through the ringer. And that's how we get "dynasties" in America - something completely antithetical to the American identity. We get true career "polticians" - not people who are re-elected because they are doing a good job (and there are a good number of them out there) - but people who have wanted to do nothing else with their life than be "Congressman" or "Congresswoman So-and-so" - totally contrary to the vision of the founders. America couldn't beg Washington to stay President, try though it did! Shame more people today don't follow that lead.

As far as whether or not I would run myself, I like to take a page from Rush Limbaugh's book: "Why would I take the pay cut?" Obviously, for me, that's not the issue. But I think that, personally, I'd be more effective helping 5 good people get elected to various positions than just running for one position myself. Besides, I've lived that life. It's not an easy one. And with the Army in our lives now, being having a high visibility politically isn't necessarily a great idea. :)


Wow! Enough of that, eh? :) Are you burned out? How about some fun questions?

Wiley (& Mrs. S.) asked: When did you know SoldierMan was the one (and when did he know)?

Ha, well, the short answer is - pretty much right away. We met on a jr. high church choir trip (we were 13) and the next day I told my friends I was going to marry him. :) For more on us, you can click the links on the right-hand column under "My Story." It's got all the details. :)

Wiley asked: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and why (ok, that sounds like a question for the Miss Universe contestants...)

Oh gosh, one thing in the world. I think I would get rid of all the spiders. I know what my dad always said about them being important to the planet for controlling the insect population and all that, but I don't care. We have Raid now.

Mrs. S. asked: What would you do with a million dollars?

Well, today my answer is, I'd invest in a retirement property at Walt Disney World's new community, Golden Oak. :) Although SoldierMan said we had to win a much bigger lottery for that to happen. But I still think that's the best idea! Talk about a dream come true! :)

Jessica asked: What has been your favorite thing about living in Georgia so far? What do you miss the most about Oklahoma?

Favorite thing about Georgia? I am loving the sun. Oklahoma hasn't really seen the sun this summer (what with the freak tornadoes, 500 year flood and 3 week long thunderstorms) so I'm really enjoying the chance to lay out by the pool any old morning I feel like it.

What do I miss most? I assume you mean other than all the family and friends :) Mostly - food! Good Italian food, major restaurants (BJs!!) and REALLY good Mexican food. None of which are to be found here in Georgia, at least not yet by us. But we're adapting.

Honey Bee asked: What's the first thing you pack when you move? What's the first thing you UNPACK when you move?

The first thing I packed when we moved was....wow, that was a long time ago. When we moved out of our house and into my parents' house, I think the first thing I packed was all the knickknacks. We had these huge built-ins in the living room that I had filled up with...stuff. And I knew I wouldn't be needing those at my parents'.

The first thing I unpack...I don't know. :) We have only made this one move, and if you recall, I wasn't able to help with the unpacking. SoldierMan did all of that, bless him. But I think he started with the kitchen. Everything else daily-use-wise, we carried with us in our car.
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Well, thanks everyone for your questions! I hope that wasn't too terribly boring for you! :)

11 comments:

  1. I have enjoyed reading your answers :)

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  2. Oh my gosh!!!! I am still reading all the other answers (I'm at work and busy, it's election season after all!) but I love your answer about growing up with politics. I would love to hear more about JC Watts. My favorite (only conservative and consequently fair) prof in undergrad worked for him in DC! Oh and I'm with you on majoring in political science and being in it for the politics. I chose the field of public administration because I actually want to DO something- not smile, wave, and cut ribbons which is all most local politicians do.

    Soooo refreshing and just plain awesome to see someone care so much about what's going on in the world and doing something about it! I love it!

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  3. I loved reading this. I got to learn so much more about you :)

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  4. I enjoyed reading your answers. You are a very honest and thourough person

    I liked your politics answer. That is pretty awesome how you were raised around politics and now you have such a strong passion for it. WE may have very different beliefs but I am one of those people that respect everyone who is knowledgable about politics and takes a stand for whatever their opinion/belief is

    :)

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  5. Loved reading your answers...especially those about politics! The main reason I majored in PoliSci was because I have always loved learning about politics and how gov'ts actually work. But I definitely do not want to be a career politician!

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  6. So, I TOTALLY laughed when you wrote about practicing your phone call to me!!! That is so freakin' great! =D If I see your name pop up on my caller ID, I'm totally gonna freak out. LOL! And, for the record, I miss you too! Weird since we've never really met, huh? One day! =)

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  7. Welcome to the club! I am a wife of an Army CPT who has been in for 10 years. He is Army EVERYTHING and our life revolves around it! So much so that i joined! lol. I have to admit, it is a lot easier being IN the military than it is to be a military wife...by the way, do not join, because once you do, than you can wash his uniforms too cause now you know the "proper way to wash ACUs" lol. Anyway, yes and no it does and doesn't get easier. My husband has been deployed twice in our relationship, and now he is in a unit that is gone at LEAST one whol week out of the month. At least when he is in schools I know he is safe. I will all depend on what his job is and where he is stationed. The separation is hard, but it will will make you stronger as a couple...my favorite quote that I had engraved on a dog tag before he deployed last time is "Absence does to love what wind does to a flame. It extinguishes the weak and it feeds the strong." We military wives are a different breed, and only the strong survive.
    For the getting closer to God: trust me, if it is going slow now, on his first deployment God will become your best friend...you will find yourself talking to him more than anyone.
    The funniest advice I ever got was from a General's wife: "When he gets home, he still thinks he is in charge, because it is "yes sir" this and "yes sir" that all day from his soldiers. Make sure that he is aware that he may be an officer in the Army, but you are the Commander in Chief of the house,AKA "Household 6" (ask your hubby, he MAY be able to explain this to you already). I have taken this to heart, and I have told my husband to "leave the military at the stop sign as you turn into our neighborhood, you are coming home, and it is you and I".
    Anyway, sorry for the long message...lol. But once again welcome, and if you need to ask any questions as you embark on this exciting journey:-) some of us are seasoned vets, and love to help:)

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  8. Welcome to the club! I am a wife of an Army CPT who has been in for 10 years. He is Army EVERYTHING and our life revolves around it! So much so that i joined! lol. I have to admit, it is a lot easier being IN the military than it is to be a military wife...by the way, do not join, because once you do, than you can wash his uniforms too cause now you know the "proper way to wash ACUs" lol. Anyway, yes and no it does and doesn't get easier. My husband has been deployed twice in our relationship, and now he is in a unit that is gone at LEAST one whol week out of the month. At least when he is in schools I know he is safe. I will all depend on what his job is and where he is stationed. The separation is hard, but it will will make you stronger as a couple...my favorite quote that I had engraved on a dog tag before he deployed last time is "Absence does to love what wind does to a flame. It extinguishes the weak and it feeds the strong." We military wives are a different breed, and only the strong survive.
    For the getting closer to God: trust me, if it is going slow now, on his first deployment God will become your best friend...you will find yourself talking to him more than anyone.
    The funniest advice I ever got was from a General's wife: "When he gets home, he still thinks he is in charge, because it is "yes sir" this and "yes sir" that all day from his soldiers. Make sure that he is aware that he may be an officer in the Army, but you are the Commander in Chief of the house,AKA "Household 6" (ask your hubby, he MAY be able to explain this to you already). I have taken this to heart, and I have told my husband to "leave the military at the stop sign as you turn into our neighborhood, you are coming home, and it is you and I".
    Anyway, sorry for the long message...lol. But once again welcome, and if you need to ask any questions as you embark on this exciting journey:-) some of us are seasoned vets, and love to help:)

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  9. Everything is pencil is a hard one for me too!! I don't think that will ever get easier. And a relationship with the Lord does have to be the most crucial...it is what gives us our hope where others have none, it is what makes possible the seemingly impossible. Great answers!!

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  10. What's so bad about Fort Sill?!?! I know everyone seems to hate that place, which could really work to our advantage since we are looking forward to being home! ;-)

    And funny you mention political science majors - I was one for about 2 weeks! Freshman year of college and I needed to enroll for the next semester and knew I wanted to change my major but just wasn't sure to what. To enroll you have to have a counselor sign off and enroll you and I was only taking basic classes so I changed to political science because I was taking a required class with a professor in that department who was a quack and I knew he would sign off on anything I wanted to take with a simple office visit! It worked!! A few weeks later I changed to business and dropped the political science classes I threw in there to make my story look better ;-)

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