Monday, May 30, 2011

Keep Their Memories Alive

"For love of country they accepted death..."  ~James A. Garfield

Memorial Day... What does it mean to you? What are the thoughts that go through your mind as you think of this day? For many, it is a day off work and a day of cooking out with a few drinks. In our world, the military world, it is complete opposite. It is a time that we remember the ones that have been lost in combat. Not that there is a day that goes by that we don't think of them or keep their memories alive, but on this specific day, we hope that everyone will take the time to remember and honor those that have been lost while serving our country. In no way am I saying that people should sit at home and do nothing during their day off, I am just simply stating that I wish people would not take the day for granted and remember the meaning behind this day. While you are starting your day or in the middle of your day, take just a moment and remember those that we have lost and remember those left behind picking up the pieces. Widows/widowers, children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brother, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and so on that have been left behind are remembering their loved ones with every day that passes, take time on this Memorial Day to remember all of them as well.

When deployment time comes, no matter how many you have been through, you try to prepare yourself for the possibilities that could and more than likely will occur. However, no matter how much preparation you do, you can never prepare yourself for deaths. No matter how many times as a spouse I have received the dreaded phone calls or have had to make the calls to other spouses, it never gets easier and we never forget. The service members we have lost hold a special place in all of our hearts as do their families. We take things from these men and women in the words and lessons they have left behind and we try to keep their memory alive.

The first loss I was faced with from OIF was in 2004 when a friend of mine from high school lost his life due to a RPG. My mom called me as I was getting ready for work to inform me of his death in Iraq. My husband was in AIT at the time. I felt myself become sick and just broke into tears. At the time I knew he was married with a daughter, but had no idea until recently that he had actually married a friend of mine from high school. Whenever I make the trip to GA, getting off the interstate we cross over a bridge to head to my moms house. There is a sign that dedicates the bridge to Antoine Holt. Every single time we drive over it, I still tear up if not cry.

In between the years of Kevin being in the army, we have been faced with many other losses. In 2006/2007's deployment to Mosul, his unit lost 31 guys. There is no way to express the sadness that swept over everyone or the memories that we all hold close to us. One of the soldiers that was KIA was LT Daily who touched many of us. He left behind an amazing woman that he had married. She is an inspiration to many and does not even know it. We think about Mark all the time and I will never forget how he was one of the few Officers that was truly concerned for his troops and their families. It wasn't about training and the deployment as it was about the soldiers. When I first met him, he walked up to me, introduced himself and asked me many questions about my health. He then told me that he needed to know what all was going on because he wasn't one to put a soldier on the line when they had other things at home to worry about, major things like their families health putting their family in danger. He said it's better to let the soldier take care of their family for a temporary issue than it is to have them run a mission, not focused and many lose their lives. Because of LT Daily, my husband was able to remain on Rear D with me for two of the fourteen months they were deployed. I was unable to drive, on bedrest, and living with an extremely high risk pregnancy. We weren't even sure if our child would make it or not at that point and we had two toddlers that had to be cared for through all of this. I couldn't do it without my husband. LT Daily gave us those couple of months in order for us to have our son then for Kevin to go straight over. Our son was a preemie. During this time, we received the awful news that a true hero had been KIA and it was LT Mark Daily. Our lives were forever changed. We feel blessed to have known this man and for him to have impacted us the way he did. Mrs. Daily, your husband has never been forgotten and never will be. You will always remain in our prayers.

A friend of mine lost her husband in Iraq a few years ago. The day of his death was also the day of their son's birthday. Every year when Quentin's birthday rolls around, there is one thing on his mind... the anniversary of his father's death while serving our country. I believe it was last year that Quentin was one of twenty five boys that was invited to a week long camp for boys that have lost their dads due to this war. They had a week full of fun activities and time to connect with others that understand what they are going through. They were able to connect and talk. In the short film that has been released it shows some of the activities, but it also shows some of the boys talking about their dads. Quentin was the first one that really spoke up about his loss. He has two sisters that have been left behind as well. My heart goes out to the Mendez family and every other family that has been left behind. May their loved ones never be forgotten today, tomorrow, or any day in the future.   ~ To view this video, follow this link:

As you all wake up tomorrow and face this Memorial Day, be thankful for all you have been blessed with. Even on your worst days, you have the world at your fingertips. Say a prayer and think about the heroes that we were blessed to know and lost. Never let their memories die. Keep them alive in the way you live life, the way you treat others, the lessons that you teach, and the memories you make.

~Brittney Biddle
FOV Community Blog Coordinator

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gone, But Never Forgotten

I keep searching for the right words today, yet here I am, unable to find them. This time, three years ago (almost exactly this time), Kevin and I were watching television when my phone rang with the worst news possible....My cousin, Scott, had been hit head on while driving and didn't survive. Within time, we came to learn that the other driver was more than two times over the legal limit when he crossed the yellow line. Scott died on impact.

Three years later and the pain just doesn't go away. I think about him all the time and the tears just flow. Growing up, Scott and I spent a lot of time around each other. In 1997 he moved to Mena, AR and I wasn't able to see him often. Thankfully, in 2007 I drove out to GA to see our family with the kids while Kevin was deployed, then headed to Mena to see my Grandmother and Aunt Jeanette. While I was there, he came out and stayed the night. For the first time, we were able to sit and talk, exchange stories as adults and catch up on missed time. It is a time that I will never forget and always hold close.

A couple weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch trying to relax, when Kevin called out to me. He said that Caitlin needed to ask me something and knew that it was something more in my area than his. Yes, we have certain areas that each of us handle better than the other. Caitlin walked over to me and out of nowhere, she told me that she wanted to tell Scott that she loves him but didn't know how. I had to bite the inside of my cheek in hopes of not shedding tears in front of her. I kept my composure and explained to her that if she talked to him like she does God when she prays, he would hear her. I didn't know what else to say and that seemed to be the right thing for her. I told her that he is always watching over us. As she walked away, I had to get up and walk outside because I couldn't keep the tears from coming. My heart ached, yet I was so proud of her for thinking about him and asking me this.

As you read this, please throw in a special prayer for Scott's parents, my Aunt and Uncle. Not only are they having to take on this day, but on May 27 we are all faced with Scott's 29th birthday. Two days after his accident he would have been 26. We could all use a special prayer this week.

*** Scott, not a day goes by that I don't think of you. The tears flow so easily and have everyday since the day we lost you. My heart aches knowing that you have been taken from us, especially when it comes to your parents. Please, keep watching over them.... We all love you and miss you more than words could ever say.***

Monday, May 23, 2011

All Smiles

Last Thursday we received a package from my dad and Barb, full of goodies for the kids and my birthday gift. Let's just say the kids had a blast opening everything in the box! Everything was a big hit. Nic slept with his ball and even decided to sneak his bubbles into his room. The snake slept by his head. The girls instantly put their glass dolls on their dresser for safe keeping and placed their bracelets and headbands right next to their clothes for school the next day. Of course, Friday afternoon, all three sat in the middle of the floor and spent time together coloring and painting.

Thank you so much, Dad (Grandpa), Barb (Grandma Barb), (Uncle) Josh, and (Aunt) Katie for everything! We miss you all very much and love you even more!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

At a Loss

I should be working on a test right now for a course that I have a little over a week to complete, yet here I am, unable to focus any attention of what I should be doing. Instead, I am thoughts, worries, fears, and pure anger are taking over tonight. I want to cry. I want to throw things. I want to shout at the world that life just doesn't seem fair and that this woman that stands at barely 5'3" and weighs a little over 115 pounds just can't take on anything else. Yet, here I am. As much as I just want to break... I won't. I don't really know how. 

As grateful as I am when it comes to all I have in life and I much as I cherish the smallest things, I don't understand why I cannot just catch a break from upsetting things. I don't even know where to go from here or how long this will be. So, please forgive me should this go astray. I am just at a loss right now. There is just so much going on and even more to accept as I take it all on. 

Kevin just went through a surgical procedure to remove another cancerous spot from his face. The good news is that the surgeon did an excellent job in the procedure and his scar looks AMAZING! I am so happy over this. He was stressed and worried due to having his cheek cut open and because of the fact his arms already make his subconscious enough. In case you are not aware, in 2007 he was hit during a mission and thrown from the turret out into open ground. During this he was knocked unconscious and suffered from TBI, a broken elbow, and severe nerve damage. In 2009 he was sent home a little past midway during another deployment. He was unable to do certain things and could not function properly. It was to the point he had no feeling in either hand and was considered paralyzed. He had to undergo two surgeries, one on each arm to cut nerves, replace things, and move nerves around. Over time he was able to open and close his hands again and slowly regain feeling. However, his right arm and hand didn't heal properly and it is falling back to how it was before the surgery. He has no strength in his hand and struggles at time. He still does not have the feeling back. With this being said, the scars on each arm take up the majority of the arm. We were just informed this past week that he will more than likely have to under go another surgery on his right arm. We should find out more soon. He is also being scheduled for his disk replacement in his neck within the next few weeks. I am trying not to worry to much about this surgery, but it's not working. He can't turn his head to the left very far and is in constant pain. He neck started to show too much curvature in 2007 during the deployment in Mosul and has gradually gotten a lot worse. After injections, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiro appointments, the only option is the surgery. He is very ready for it to happen and ready to get past the recovery. They say the first few days will be difficult and after that it is more about the muscles in that area re-adjusting to his neck being in a better condition. Within a couple months he will go from being sore and pain to out of nowhere, able to move better than he has in years. It will just happen. I can't wait for him to be out of pain and able to move his head better!

I am still waiting to be scheduled for the surgery on my lower spine/tail bone region. They have to remove a piece of my spine from where I fell and broke my tail bone a couple years back. It never healed and is causing terrible inflammation and pain throughout my lower spine. They may also have to readjust it all while they are in there. We won't know to what extent until after the surgery. The recovery will take about a year, the first month being the most difficult.

On Friday I was informed that I have to undergo ANOTHER abdominal surgery sometime soon. Yes, you read that right...another one. There have been way too many! This one is to remove my cervix. Hell, everything else has been removed, so maybe this will take care of the issues. Who knows though. When I had to go through the oopherectomy in August (removal of ovaries), they were unable to get to my cervix because of the endometreosis and adhesions (which now I have some sort of adhesion disease?). My cervix is wrapped up and connected to other organs and my abdominal wall. To do this surgery is a very high risk thing and takes a highly qualified surgeon to perform. There is a chance of bowel and intestinal damages, but without the surgery I will get a lot worse. We really have no other option at this point. I have been referred to a GYN oncologist who is very qualified to perform this and is not a military doctor. As most of you know, I almost lost my life last year because of an incompetent surgical team at a military hospital. You can read more about this situation here

I am also scheduled for another colonoscopy this coming Thursday due to many issues. In November I was admitted back into the hospital for a week due to kidney failure (again) and found out that I had multiple kidney stones and colitis. Since I was diagnosed with colitis I had to go through a colonoscopy. During this time, they found out that I had ulcers that were bleeding and a tumor. With this, I have had some issues since then, ones that I don't care to go into right now, and have to go through the procedure again. The doc is concerned that there may be more to it than originally thought. Of course, following the procedure on Thursday I will know more. 

So, aside from the many procedures I have had to undergo, this coming surgery makes ten surgeries overall and the back will make eleven....

This will be the: 
8th surgery on my stomach since 2001
5th full open abdominal incision (3 were c-sections)(since 2001)
3rd since August 2010 (the other two were laparoscopy's)

They say this one will be difficult in every aspect, even recovery. More so than the others because of what all has to be done and because of the pure fact I will now be cut open five times in the same spot. This is a high risk and major surgery. 

Needless to say... No, I am not doing okay with any of it. I am tired of being cut open. I am tired of crappy health. I am tired of surgeries. I am tired of doctors. I hate it all. I just want health like the majority of others my age. I want to feel good and live a normal life. I am so damn tired of things being taken from me and it pisses me off that I cannot live in ways that a 28 year old should be able to. I am angry over the fact that my life was almost cut short last year and from that I am now limited to so many things. It's not fair. 

No, I am not being rude or ungrateful. To know me, you would know that I am one of the most appreciative people around. But, you know what... I am allowed and entitled to feel as I do. Until you walk in my shoes, please refrain from judging me, my feeling, or things I say. Please don't preach to me on the fact that I am still alive. I know this and am very aware of it all. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for allowing me to stay here. I have a good life with my husband and kids! There is not a single day I take for granted. I never have. Life is a gift and I cherish and enjoy every part of it... even times like now. Yet, that doesn't make any of this right.

It's not right that right now, I need people to be here and to let me cry and vent. Right now I need my family and friends. Right now, once again, I am learning that it's easier for people to brush this off rather than to pick up the phone and call. I am learning again that even with the severity of my husbands PTSD and other issues, he is my main support in life. I don't think I could get through any of this without him by my side... My kids, Kevin, and a few other people keep me going and pushing. We all know that none of this will keep me down for long, because I won't let it. But, right now, in this moment, I feel weaker than I normally do and I don't know what to do. The ones I thought I could turn to, that I have always been here for, have obviously turn the other way. I guess when it is easier to be there for someone when they are going through good things in life and not so much when things get difficult. Though, I have heard quite a few times that if I weren't so far away they could be here for me. Hmmm.... not exactly sure why or how distance can make such a difference. I have never let distance become the reason of not being here for someone that I love and care about. I suppose that is just me though. Distance should never be an obstacle on things in life. I guess I would rather learn this now, than later though. 

Kev's PTSD and TBI leaves us with good days, but it has us facing many difficult days. Seems lately he has been having many bad moments throughout the day and nightmares again. I have learned the signs and the triggers, not all of course, but many. I now know how to handle the kids should one strike and how to handle him. Still, it doesn't make it easier to see him face these battles.... To see us face them, I should say. It angers me to see how lightly many people take combat injuries. It's like it you can't physically see the injury on a person, then it didn't occur. Not even close to the truth... El Paso is breaking him down more and more by the day. There are too many things about this city and the people that leave him fighting flashbacks and hard times. I hate this city because of the struggles I see first hand. I cannot wait to get him and our children away from here and into the quiet little town that we have decided on. It can't come soon enough. 

I just feel at a loss in the moment that I am in and pray for strength to get through it all. I have to and with a smile on my face. Thank you to the ones that have remained by my side every step of the way. There are a couple of you that stay by my side, good or bad. I cannot thank you enough. I am sure I will update more in the next few days. I know I have neglected writing the past few days, but I have had a lot to take in. 

As always, thank you for reading and feel free to comment or email!

                                                                                                                       ~♥~  Britt

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sunday Funday ~ Re-cap

This past Sunday we spent the day at home, just relaxing and enjoying each other's company. I was able to spend some time on a new Real Estate Course that I am testing out for a school, which was needed! The kids played and cleaned their rooms. Kev found comfort in doing absolutely nothing until later in the afternoon. 

Once late afternoon hit and the sun wasn't too bad, we all headed to the backyard. The kids and Kevin played football for awhile... until Bre kicked it over the back wall and I had to go get it. Which, by the way, is about a nine foot drop into the storm drain area. Since we are over 100 days into this drought of no rain, of course it is more than dry back there. Once over the wall though, I had to walk the long way back home. I was excited because I was able to capture some really good moments while they were all playing.

Once the kids had the football back, they continued playing in the backyard while we cooked dinner. The girls stayed on the side of the yard that was dry, while Nic played in the section of the sprinklers and ended up soaked. Of course, when the sections changed, so did the kids. Following dinner and baths, we took the monsters into the backyard again, this time to make smores. They had a blast! Sunday was a great way to end our weekend!

*** Update on Kevin***
Kevin's face looks absolutely amazing from the surgery to remove a cancerous spot! The incision site healed very nicely and the scar really isn't noticeable! The surgeon did a fantastic job. Thanks to everyone for the prayers during this time! 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Need I even say more to this one? I have been incredibly blessed with these four!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Closing Another Chapter in Life

The time has come to close one chapter in my life, yet I now have the opportunity to open a new one while looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead of me and my family. What a year 27 was! It left me on many emotional roller coasters, fighting for my life, praying for my husbands health, going through the ups and downs of raising kids and so much more.  There are no words that I can possibly use to narrow it down to one word in order to describe this past year, other than grateful. With saying that, grateful would be an understatement.

Nine months ago today, I went in for a common ~ but not so common, abdominal surgery. This surgery was to help take control of a lot of female problems I have had for years and put me in a place of enjoying life again. I had to have a hysterectomy in October of 2008, yet my ovaries were not removed. Needless to say, things got worse with my health and the only option I had was to have my ovaries removed. So at the age of 27, I was sent into surgical menopause, which for those who don't know, if by far a lot worse than going through menopause naturally. It doesn't slowly come on, instead, menopause hits immediately and it hits in full swing. Due to complications and incompetence of the surgical team, four days after the surgery I was admitted into a civilian hospital due to internal bleeding and kidney failure from the sites not being cauterized. I layed in a hospital bed, looking death in the face, and praying harder than I had ever prayed before. The only thing I could process was, I have three kids at home and a husband holding me that all need me. It's not my time. I begged God to just spare my life and to let me keep living. At first the doctors could not even guarantee an outcome and kept telling us that I should be dead. They told me many times that any other person would have not made it as long as I did and they were amazed that I was still alive. Talk about an eyeopener. Following a second surgery (emergency) in six days (six abdominal incision sites) and sent home with a JP drain, I swore to never again take life or anything for granted. Not even three months later I was readmitted for another bout of kidney failure and spent another week praying for my life. My life has changed is such drastic ways and I can no longer do things that I use to, which I have come to accept. I tire very quickly and have many "days" that leave me very limited to what I can and can't do. Yet, being able to celebrate not only my birthday, but Mother's Day (yesterday) as well, I am left feeling blessed and knowing that God has plans for me and my family. There is a reason I am still here, though we may never know the reason.

Aside from my surgeries, I am still faced with my other health issues that of course have me life dependent on medications. Those too have seen many roller coaster type days and weeks.

As if my problems were not enough for our family to take on, we were also faced with the MEB (Medical Evaluation Board) process coming into play. Due to PTSD, TBI, and other combat related injuries, Kevin's doctors started to process to have him medically discharged (retired) from the Army. Talk about an unexpected change to our future plans. As I write this, all we know is that he will be out of the army by the end of the year. Past that, keep following on here in hopes of a date! NO DATE OR INFO YET! Sorry, that's all that I can tell you at this point. Kev was also diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a skin cancer. Which he has been fighting since it was discovered and has undergone multiple procedures, from chemo to laser therapy and the most recent, surgery. Which, by the way, the incision site looks AMAZING! He has also had battles with Degenerative Disc Disease, bone spurs, crushed vertebrae, nerve damage....and I could go on and on. This is just not the post to give all the details in. Soon, though! Very soon.

So, here I am, now 28 and one day away from my second colonoscopy in six months because of the colitis I developed in November when my kidneys failed the second time, at which a tumor was discovered. After testing, we found out that it is benign. Tomorrow, around lunch time, I have to be back at the hospital in order to go through this all over again to see what has happened with the tumor over the months that have passed, as well the doctor discover what else is going on with the intestinal area. There is still a lot more going on with me medically, just none of which I want to share until I know further and definite details.

Let's all pray for a better year as I gracefully have decided to welcome 28 into my life. Not that I had too much of a choice on it's arrival or not. But, I'm 28 and have been through hell, learned a lot in my life, and have a lot to be forever grateful over. I have learned how short life can truly be and how to cherish the good and amazing times, take the bad and make the most out of it. There is still a lot I have to work through and a lot that I pray turns out to be okay. But, as always, I will continue to push through it all, at times stronger than others.

Thank you to everyone that has made turning 28 such an amazing thing!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day of 2011

Happy Mother's Day 
to all of our
Family & Friends

Today was spent pretty much like every other day. Nothing too exciting took place as we spent the day at home. For the most part the kids have been amazingly well behaved, which has been the highlight of my day! Can't complain when all three of the little ones manage to get along and do as they are told. Perfect Mother's Day gift! 

This morning the girls gave me the gifts they made for me at school over the past week. Very creative! They were both so excited to finally give them to me this morning. Seems that since Friday they have been trying their hardest to not spoil their surprises!

Caitlin made me a book with her picture on the outside and the sweetest letter on the inside. She drew me a few pictures at school, including a real good one of Arthur. She did a wonderful job drawing and coloring him! Once home, she borrowed my stapler so that she could add more pages to it with more drawings and some more that she wrote. Of course, Nic was beyond excited when she gave it to me and said, "Look Mom. Look at what we made you." How cute! Caitlin was awesome with not telling him that she made it. She let him enjoy his moment, which made me very proud of her. 

Breanna ended up making a few things in class for me. Her teacher had some great ideas for them! She made me a magnet with her photo inside of it and a little keepsake box, both out of Popsicle sticks. The box has marbles on the bottom, as legs, and the top has a marble on top in order to take the cover piece on and off. She also cut out a tea pitcher and inside of it, she wrote me a sweet note and included a Cinnamon Flavored Tea Packet.    

We hope each and every mother out there had an amazing Mother's Day! Remember the moms that are serving overseas right now, as they are away from their children and families on this day! May they always remain in our hearts and in our prayers. Praying they all come home safely! ~Britt

El Paso Sandstorms

We had some terrible sand storms the week of the traumatic tornadoes that hit so much of our country, which is why I did not say anything about our sand storms. We had winds that were up to 75mph, and sadly, it's something that we tend to be use to in El Paso. It doesn't happen all the time, but often enough that most of us know how to handle them. Driving in the winds is terrible and there is no going outside. It gets so bad, Breanna will call me on the bus to ask me to pick them up at the bus stop.

Kevin managed to take some pictures from his phone while sitting in his car on post. Thankfully, our houses out here are made for this kind of weather. About the only thing they are made for! We learned in February that El Paso houses are not made for the cold! lol. When we have the real windy days, everyone stays inside and limits all outdoor activities. Bre has to really watch out because those days put her asthma into full swing. When I say sandstorms, I mean the wind is so strong you can't see but a couple feel in front of you. The sand hurts and burns when it slams into your skin and you find sand in places that you never thought sand could land! 

The biggest downside to it, is that it kicks Kev's PTSD into full swing. It brings the flashbacks from Iraq. They had sandstorms all the time. El Paso is the worst place to be for these guys returning from war! It really angers me that they allow them to come here after living the hell they lived over there. There are too many things in El Paso that remind our troops of being deployed! However, I will save that topic for another blog! Probably on my other site.

Friday, May 6, 2011

March Monster Jam in El Paso

Early March, Kevin and I had our first date night in quite awhile. Monster Jam was in town and for the first time ever, we were able to go. It was held at UTEP's stadium. This was the first one for both of us to attend, which was of course a lot better than watching it on TV as we typically do. The only down part was the crowd was hard on Kevin. which made us rush out of the stadium as soon as it was over. Overall though, it was just nice to be out with Kevin for once. Next date night that happens, I can already tell you, will NOT take place in a stadium or anywhere with a lot of people. I felt terrible for even wanting to go and even worse for us going. Especially since I know that the main reason he agreed to attend was for me. 

Of course, we watched Grave Digger do his thing and as always, he did an awesome job!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Right From Wrong in the Death of Bin Laden

As a society, we tend to teach our kids right from wrong and instill proper morals, as well as character in order for our children to grow into responsible and well mannered adults. We teach our children that murder is wrong, as are other sins. We strive to teach our children to follow the laws and rules of life and to be the best they can in all they do. We teach them that our military is is full of selfless people that are willing to put their life on the line in order to keep our country safe. We have lived through and shown them the way our country was destroyed and torn apart on September 11, 2001 when we were faced with and had to endure our country's worse terrorist attack on our own soil. We watched as planes flew into the Twin Towers, The Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania and we watched the Towers come crumbling down. Sadly, we all watched as thousands of innocent Americans became victims in the latest terrorist attack that Al Qaeda had set out for against the United States and managed to accomplish. The rest of the world watched us, as we fell apart, just as they have watched as we have managed to rebuild ourselves. I won't say overcome what happened, because, in all reality, I really am not sure if we can really ever just overcome this type of terrorist attack. We saw our country come together as one and show more patriotism than Americans had ever shown before. Within time, we saw many selfless, young Americans stand at a recruiting office and sign their name over to our military, knowing that in due time, they would be face to face with war, all the while never knowing what the ended outcome would be or what the future would hold. For years now, we have not  known who will return from war or what families will be greeted by that dreadful knock and the conversation that starts with "On behalf of the United States Army (or whatever branch they were apart of)....." before hitting their floor because their whole world has just come crashing down.

As Americans scrambled and fought to hold together, Muslim nations across the world condemned the attacks, Iran had over 60,000 Spectators gathered with candles, observing a moment of silence. Al Qaeda was the one of the few that cheered for this attack, one that we refused to let hold us down. Yet, here we are rejoicing over the death of Bin Laden in ways that we shouldn't be. What happened to us being better people? In no way am I saying that it is wrong that this demon is dead. What is wrong are the ones standing in the streets yelling, screaming, and chanting over a death, as though they were taking place in a World Championship win, Superbowl Win, or the win of their favorite baseball team win as they win the World Series. This is not how patriotism is supposed to work. I do firmly believe in an eye for an eye, but I don't believe in the response that I have seen. How can we preach things to our kids and to society, yet we act in different ways. I am not against the war, because yes, I do believe that our goal and mission in this War on Terrorism was to capture Osama bin Laden and to take down Al Qaeda. We have accomplished one of our goals, but the other one, I am not sure will ever happen. There will always be terrorists out to seek some form of attack on different nations. At this point, I can't help but to wonder if  the near future we will undergo another attack on either our soil or against the Americans we have willingly and selflessly serving overseas. Justice may have been served in a sense and the monster may be dead, but the war is far from being over. Al Qaeda is now going to want to seek revenge and retaliation is now religiously on their minds. Think about it, when we were attacked, we set out to seek revenge, just as they will. The snake may be dead, but this snake is one with many heads.

In many ways, I find that we are showing double standards to our younger generation in how many have responded to the news that the world came to know in a matter of moments. Children are not understanding why so many adults are celebrating in the ways that they are over Bin Laden's death. What morals are the children now being taught to see many jump up and down, yell, and chant over an outright kill? How are children now supposed to comprehend the difference between justice and revenge? Or, is there even a difference under these circumstances?

At this point, I pray for comfort and peace. I pray that retaliation will not be brought upon our country and our people in another attack. I also hope that Americans and people across the world, are alert and fully aware of the unknown acts of revenge that could be lurking around as I write this. I hope that as parents, we are capable of explaining to our children how the world is better off without this dangerous and disturbing demon. Osama Bin Laden does not in any way deserve a place on earth, after all the destruction he has caused, the amount of bloodshed he inspired and had Al Qaeda carry out, and the lives and families he has forever disrupted. As many people may think that the past ten years is the extent of the time he has caused such things, I hope they are capable of further educating themselves that Bin Laden has brought grief and heartache to millions of people for far more than fifteen years. I also hope that people realize and understand that Al Qaeda is just one of many terrorist groups and extremists around the world.

In ending, I hope this brings some closure to the victims of 9/11 and their families. You will never be forgotten, and just as many people, my heart goes out to you all. Just as it does to our military and military families.

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." —Martin Luther King Jr

Adventures in Haircutting

Last week was a personal catch up day for a couple of kids in the house. On Thursday I had to take Bre and Nic to the salon for haircuts, as you can tell in the pictures they were in much need on one! Breanna has decided to get more of a girl cut and get rid of the stringy hair that has been driving me crazy! She never wanted to take time to style it, so it was literally hanging in her face and just looked a mess! I LOVE her new cut and how she carries the style now. 

Nic was beginning to look real shaggy and close to like he had no home, so he was also in need of a cut. He did great through his time in the chair. Normally, Kev shaves his head, but this time we had to get it cut somewhere else. The picture of his final cut is as he was sitting in the chair and the stylist was trying to add gel to make it look cute. His hair was just not in an agreeing mood this day. (The cuts were on April 28, not 29).

Out in El Paso ~ Day & Night

Last month we decided to just get out and drive one Sunday afternoon. Nothing out of the ordinary for our family. While out, we drove through downtown since traffic was close to non-existent and everything was pretty much closed for the day. During our short lived journey from home, we found a parking deck downtown and decided to drive to the top in hopes of an amazing view... which we were able to see. Of course, most of you know by now, that downtown is right on the border, so we were able to see much of Mexico while we were there.

Needless to say, after seeing the city from the parking deck during the day, we decided to head back out on a Friday night to check it out at night. The kids enjoyed the night view better than the day on the previous parking deck adventure.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Our Decision on Moving Has Been Made.......

A couple months ago, after serious thinking, Kevin and I made the final decision on where we are going to move to following his medical retirement. We have picked a town that Kev fell in love with right away, a small town that has a population of around 5600 people, located away from big cities. A beautiful little town that is surrounded by mountains.... Somewhere perfect to raise our kids and somewhere perfect for Kev and his PTSD and TBI. We need to be somewhere that we can focus on us and away from the chaotic life we have come to know a little too well.

We are moving to........................

You read right, Mena, AR. We absolutely love it there and cannot wait to start a new chapter in our lives. Mena is located in Polk County, near the Oklahoma border. It's about 55 miles from Fort Smith, AR; 144 miles from Tulsa, OK; 150 miles from Little Rock, OK; 192 miles from Dallas, TX; and of course Atlanta...We will be 660 miles away from Atlanta. Which, as we all know, is a lot closer and an easier drive than we have had in eight years now! The drive to Atlanta will take around eleven hours.

Sites to check out on Mena:

Everything is still the same as far as Kev's retirement goes. We are still waiting on Fort Bliss, Fort Lewis, and everyone else that is involved. The military is a little behind. As of now, he will be done with the army sometime late this year and at some point following this, we will be headed to Mena. We have no summer plans on coming out to GA, however, our house is always open to family and friends that want to visit, nor do we have plans or any idea as to when the next trip out there will be. Sorry we cannot give you any more information than that. We just have a lot going on here and are focusing on our family. 

There are still a lot of health battles that are taking place as I write this. Tomorrow morning Kevin has to undergo a surgery to remove another cancer spot from his face. Once we are moved and settled, he will have to undergo another surgery for disc replacement in his neck. I have another colonoscopy scheduled for next week due to intestinal issues I keep having. I am still waiting to hear on a surgery date for my lower spine and coccyx. There is more going on past what I have mentioned and will write about is as I know more. 

We hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!