Two weeks ago we were cleaning our house in Mena, loading the last bit of our belongings into the moving trailer, and preparing the dreaded "See you soon's". We were preparing ourselves for an all night drive from Mena to Macon and praying it all went as planned, which thankfully it did. We left Mena around 6:30 in the evening and made it to Macon the following morning around 11:30. The weather from Mena to Hot Springs was not the best at all, but we managed to make it through. We drove through a couple areas of construction from Little Rock to Birmingham. We ate brunch at Waffle House - which of course was the PERFECT way to start our new lives back in Georgia!
As we pulled onto our new street, camera men from CNN were at our house and filming every move from us parking, to getting out of our vehicles, to us walking through the house. At the end, they did a brief interview with us, the kids, Andrea with OFH, and Rusty with Chase. It was a bit overwhelming in a sense being that we had been awake for so many hours and were exhausted. Honestly, I could not even pull my words together for the interview because I could not think things through. It was hard to process exactly what I was thinking because I was still trying to process our new house! Okay, I would be lying if I said I am still not trying to process it all!!! Kevin was a bit apprehensive about things and was having a hard time with questions and with cameras. It was a bit difficult for him, but just like many people, we want society to see good things happening to veterans and their families. Too often we are all overloaded with the negative things in life and with war. I just wish I had the interview to do over when I can actually think clearly and process things more.
When we pulled up, to say emotions flew everywhere would be an understatement. Our house is bigger than it looks in photos. It is GORGEOUS inside and out! We finally all have room to live and be ourselves. Our girls have their own rooms!!! That alone is AMAZING.
As soon as we pulled up to our house, I instantly felt overpowered by emotions and became very shaky as I got out of the car and walked to the yard. Of course, as soon as I was standing in front of our house I started with some tears. I actually did very well in containing myself as we walked through. Maybe it's because I was so exhausted! For me, it has been a LONG week with conference in Atlanta, driving back to Mena, then moving...not to mention all the cleaning and packing before and after conference. We talked outside for a few minutes then entered our house for the tour... WOW! As we entered the house, there was a plant in the foyer (yes, I have actually been watering it!), our dining room on the right, what is now my office on the left. It should be the formal living room, but it's not. The steps are on the right, past the dining room. Past that, is the family room with a fireplace on the left, the kitchen, eat-in kitchen, pantry, and then half bath all on the right. The coat closet is on the backside of where the steps are and in the small hall/entry from the kitchen to our dining room. The backyard is fully enclosed by a 6ft privacy fence, is flat and perfect for the kids to play in. The downstairs is all tile. As we walked up the stairs, Andrea grabbed my hand and told us we had to close our eyes because we would love what is at the top of the steps. When she told us to open them, we were in awe. Our bedroom greets anyone that goes upstairs with french doors and a big room. (I know y'all are all just dying to see the photos now!!! Soon...) We walked into our room and just stood there in shock. To the left is our bathroom, which we BOTH have a separate sink and our own walk in closet! Yay! We also have a large bathtub and separate shower, which has plenty of room to stand in. From there we looked at the kids rooms, which they had already claimed. Nic's room is at the top of the stairs and to the right, beside ours. As we walked past the staircase, we looked in our linen closet, the hall bathroom (which also has an entrance into Caitlin's room), Caitlin's room - all on the right side. Directly across from our bedroom on the opposite side of the hall is our laundry room - YES, it is upstairs!!! How wonderful and perfect is that? Across from Caitlin's room is Bre's bedroom and our bonus room, which has now become the kids room. This is their area set up with a couch, TV, game station, and movies.
|Us with Andrea|
Some of our furniture came from American Signature in Lithonia, GA. If ANY GA friends/family are in need of furniture, I encourage you to go there. Ask for the manager, Joe Lane and tell him we sent you. No, we do not get any type of reward/incentive for sending you. We just REALLY love the store and the people in it. We could not have asked for a better company and people!
When we walked into the store the day following our arrival in GA, we were warmly greeted by a group of people that work there and were expecting us. Joe walked out with flowers, which are still on my dining room table! They led us to the office area, where there was a table set up with fruits, juice, coffee, and breakfast type pastries. American Signature sent us a voucher to furnish some of our house. Following the time in the office, we all headed out to look at the furniture. I think everyone took off in different directions during this time! Joe headed out with me and helped me find things that fit our house perfectly! During this time, my dad and brother, Josh met us there and then headed back to our house after we shopped around. We managed to find all that we need to fill our house and absolutely LOVE every piece of furniture.
|All of us with Joe|
This whole experience has been above and beyond amazing. Quite honestly, it still a bit surreal and we are trying to process things and adjust. Andrea from Operation Homefront and every from OHF, Rusty from Chase and all of Chase, Joe and American Signature, Tim McGraw, our contractors and everyone else that has been involved in this amazing experience, we cannot say Thank You enough. Truthfully, saying thank you doesn't seem sufficient enough. There is no way to repay all that we have been blessed with.
From the bottom our of hearts, we thank each and everyone of you that have played a part in this journey and made dreams come true. You all are changing lives everyday in ways that many could not even fathom. You are bringing hope back to combat veterans and their families and giving them a "reason" again. You are enabling us and families like us to give back in ways that we couldn't before without the stresses that many of us face. Not only can we now give back more, but this also gives us the opportunity to focus more on Kevin's injuries and find more stability in life for him, it allows each of us to have better medical care. It allows Kevin and I to do more for and with our children that before we couldn't. Such as taking a day and allowing them to see the ocean for the very first time just days after moving in. It allows us to find who we are now in life and for that one thing and everything else we are forever grateful for this. For the first time I feel like a weight has been lifted off of us and that things are finally beginning to look up. For years now, we have had so many obstacles thrown our way and we have fought so many battles to overcome them, together. With this positive turn, we can now look forward to our future.
Thank you family and friends for supporting us and standing beside us before the move, during, and now as we slowly transition.
If you do not have our new address/phone numbers, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can give this info to you!
If you would like to donate to Operation Homefront's Homes on the Homefront Program, please click HERE to learn more and donate.