December 20, 2011

A thrill of hope...

Christmas, among many things, is a season of hope. God’s people waited in hope for thousands of years for their “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). When Jesus was finally born, the Magi followed a star in hope of finding their King (Matthew 2:2). Those that were hoping for their Savior’s arrival carried with them a “thrill of hope” at the thought of seeing God’s promise fulfilled.

That hope is the same spirit we all carry with us during the Christmas season. If we really get to the root of it, all of the preparations, cheeriness, and the universal realization that it is a wonderful life are really just representative of the hope for the inevitable birth of our Savior. This hope is compacted into a dense 4-week period of Christmas cheer. We, as Christians, feel the hope of the coming of Jesus every day, but at Christmas that hope comes alive with each lighting of our Christmas tree, each gift we pick out for a loved one, and each ring of a Salvation Army bell.

As my husband and I are still aching from the loss of our second child before we ever had the chance to hold her, I am finding the hope of this Christmas season especially comforting. The sparkling Christmas lights are like my star in the east, guiding me to Jesus. The reverberating gospel message found in Christmas songs follow me everywhere, reminding me that God’s love for me never fails. My son’s face lights up with joy when he sees the colorful decorations of the season, and I am reminded that God is faithful to fulfill His promises. A “new and glorious morn” will break for this weary soul.

May “a thrill of hope” be with you during the Christmas season and throughout the new year.

“And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God…And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:2,5).

December 14, 2011


PCS number six too many has ended!

So long...
(Actual Sign on Base: "Farm Machinery Xing")


December 12, 2011

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted...

As military wives, we are destined to experience an abnormal amount of heartache. Long separations and deployments leave us with a heart broken by the absence of our husbands and the temporary splitting up of our families. Long days, lonely nights, single-parenting, a solo life, and constantly pushing the “what if” thoughts away can make for a bleak life that yearns for a whole heart amidst the brokenness.

That’s when the Lord calls out to us, the brokenhearted military wives, “[I] am close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

But just saying this isn’t enough sometimes. I need to feel God’s closeness. And as I try to feel Him, He reveals Himself, and I know for sure that He is, in fact, right there with me.

When I heave a big sigh after uncontrollable sobbing and sink into an exhausting peace, that’s when God is pressing my head to His chest, peacefully shushing me.

When I get a phone call, email, or card from friends or family offering an encouraging word or prayer, I know God has spoken to their heart to offer me that simple, yet profound, support.

When I get a wave of hopefulness in the midst of my despair and hopelessness, I know the Lord is near and encouraging me to carry on.

When I can still get out of bed in the morning and rejoice in the blessing of my son, I know God is highlighting His beautiful creation.

The Lord is near the brokenhearted. And I believe He has a special place in His heart for the hurting military wife. Whenever you feel down, take a minute to reflect on how the Lord is making His presence known to you. If you’re like me, you’ll see just how close He is.

December 9, 2011

Top 5 ways you know you're a military wife at Christmas...

  1. You treasure every moment of Christmastime because Hubby might not be home next year. 
  2. Your whole house is decorated in red and gold, not because it's traditional, but because those are the colors of the Marine Corps. 
  3. You try to put a toy in each Toys for Tots box around town to help the Marine standing there from getting bored (and to help the kids, of course!). 
  4. You feel an insatiable desire to send care packages to every young Marine, sailor, soldier, and airman that is away from his mama. 
  5. Your heart aches for friends whose families are not together due to deployments, training, etc.

December 8, 2011

The best non-material gift...EVER...

I'll cut to the chase.  The best non-material gift I ever received was/is the love of my husband.  Before you let out a groan of disappointment at this predictable answer, read on.  It's sweet (and more).  I promise.

Just a few months after Hubby and I started dating in college, his family (whom I had never met and lived far, far away) invited me to their home for Christmas.  I eagerly accepted, not knowing at the time that this was deemed "weird" and "forward" by my friends.  They were soooo wrong! ;)

While there, Hubby told me that he loved me.  Wow.  Other than some crazy guy I dated right before college (who doesn't count), no one had ever told me this before.  I certainly hadn't said it to anyone.  I only wanted to say it to one person and only when I knew for sure that he would be the only person I would ever say it to. 

Cue the awkward pause of young love.  He happened to say it for the first time in an elevator.  And I'm pretty sure I just smiled at him and didn't say anything.  And then the elevator dinged to let us out at our floor.  And then the moment was over.  But that didn't deter him.  Once he said it the first time, the words just kept coming the whole time we were together. 

It wasn't until I was on the plane flying home by myself and listening to cheesy love songs that I knew beyond any doubt that Hubby was THE one.  I called him as soon as I landed and told him the same words he had told me: "I love you." 

Hubby's love is an incredible example of selflessness, courage, strength, humility, patience, encouragement, and any other good attribute you can possibly think of. 

So if you still think that my idea of the best non-material gift ever is totally cliche and cheesy, I'll close with these parting (and sincere) thoughts: He completes me.  He makes me want to be a better person.  I love him more than life itself.  He is the wind beneath my wings.  Annnd he makes me want to listen to Marvin Gaye.  (Yes, I said it!) ;)

December 6, 2011

Yummy Christmas dessert...

My favorite Christmas dessert is the simplest of simple Christmas cookies.  They are world-famous around our family, and last year I was blessed with my very own cookie press to make these tiny pieces of deliciousness.

You can find a recipe for the cookies here!


December 5, 2011

Christmas movie favs...

Every year, Hubby and I pull all of our Christmas movies from our movie collection, place them in a neat stack by the TV, and excitedly watch each of them as we get more and more into the Christmas spirit.  Many of these movies are ones that I watched as a kid, and each year I find myself watching them in the same childlike manner as I did 20 (YIKES!) years ago.

Remember Home Alone?  (How could you not??)  Then Home Alone 2?  And of course Christmas Vacation, the Christmas movie classic in our family.

As ridiculous as these movies are, I love watching them because it brings an extra dose of nostalgia to Christmas.  The movies are something simple that evokes the feeling of "home" when I am so far away from my extended family and hometown.  

December 1, 2011

What to wear to a military Christmas party...

Military Christmas Party

Military Christmas Party by semperwifey featuring black evening dresses

#1 is a bit more trendy.
#2 is a bit more formal.
#3 is a bit more casual.

Which is your favorite in this set?  Or what would you pick to wear?

More Semper Stylish Posts.

November 18, 2011

CLOSED: Shabby Apple giveaway...

The winner is #5: Allie! I will email you soon! Congratulations!

Shabby Apple, an online boutique of women's dresses, has some simply fantastic pieces!  Shabby Apple is generously offering to give one Semper Wifey reader their Bacciami dress, which sells for $88!  Cruising for the holidays?  You can wear this dress.  Going to a warm, exotic place to get away from the cold for the holidays?  You can wear this dress!  Staying home for a traditional Christmas celebration?  You can wear this dress!!!  Yes, it is that fabulous and versatile. 

It makes me want to frolic around Italy, as well.

All you have to do for your chance to win this dress is like Shabby Apple on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me that you did.  (I would also appreciate it if you are a Semper Wifey follower.)  The winner will be selected and notified on November 23.  Buona fortuna!  (That's Italian for "good luck!")

November 16, 2011

God in our military lives, by me...

I thought it was only fair that since I asked other women to share what God has been doing in their lives, that I share, as well. To be honest, I was planning on writing a light-hearted, rah-rah essay. But the Lord really put it on my heart to share my recent struggles, despite my argument with Him that I don’t get personal on my blog and that it’s just not pleasant to discuss. So with that, what has God been doing in my military family?

This season in my life has been the hardest I have ever faced. I have had the persistent sensation of drowning-- as one issue eased, another swelled to top the last…and on, and on, never allowing me to fully catch my breath.

Family conflict slowly resolved just as I began to experience  postpartum depression. As the postpartum depression began to stabilize, and just when I thought I would be able to take a breath amidst the crashing waves around me, I became aware of the betrayal of a number of friends. The hurt from the betrayal began to ease, just as growing pains in my marriage started to develop.  Gasping for breath as I rose to the surface for an instant, we found out that the military orders we had for months might be changed and our time at our current duty station was extended indefinitely. I was completely covered in water at that point, ready to succumb to the inevitable, when we found out that we lost our second child before we ever got a chance to hold her or watch her grow.

Sinking further into the depths, I felt life slowly slipping away.

That was when all my being cried out, “Praise the Lord, O my soul!” (Psalm 146:1) Reading this before, I always read it as an exclamation, as praise erupting from the psalmist’s heart. Lately, I have been reading it as an urging for my soul. Come on, soul. Praise the Lord. And even as I urge my soul to “praise the Lord,” I can feel God slowly lifting me out of the water and into His warm, loving, comforting arms.

What is God doing in my life? I really have no idea. But I do know that He allowed it all to happen for a reason. Not the cliché “everything happens for a reason” line, but the ultimate faith and trust that God is directing my life out of His love for me and for His glory. Everything happens for God and His perfect plan. I will probably never understand His reasons for such trials. And that’s ok.

It’s during times of pain that I feel the smallest, which allows me to see God as the Biggest. And here I am glorifying Him in the midst of my broken heart. O my soul, praise the Lord.

God in our military lives, by Reflections from a Christian Mommy Writer...

Sometimes it seems like Christian military wives are few and far between, so I decided to highlight a few wives who are bold in their faith. I recently contacted a few Christian military wife bloggers to guest post on Semper Wifey about how they have seen God working in and through their military families. Their responses are amazing and so inspiring, all in different ways.

I hope that you are blessed by the words of these faithful women. Please show them support for sharing their hearts by commenting here or visiting their blog and connecting with them there.

Today's post is from Reflections from a Christian Mommy Writer, who shares how God has financially provided for her family.

“The Pathway to Financial Peace”
By Tonya Nash

When I was in college, I had high aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder and achieving great success in my career field. I planned on making lots of money and finally becoming free from the bondage of student loans and credit card debt. I knew that I wanted to have a family, but I never had any intentions of being a stay-at-home mom. Then I fell in love with a man in the military. I didn’t know it at the time, but God was getting ready to make some major revisions to my plans!

My husband and I have been married for 8 years. I worked full time in the field of public health for the first five years of our marriage and thoroughly enjoyed it. While we had a good household income, we also had a good bit of debt. It wasn’t a major concern at the time because we could make the monthly payments for all of our bills.

When my husband received orders to move, we assumed that I would just get another good paying job at our new duty station. However, we were presented with a situation that would change our family forever.

Our son started having problems meeting some of his developmental milestones. His social and communication skills were significantly delayed. As a result, we made the decision for me to stay at home with our son to ensure that he receives all of the therapy and interventions he needs to be successful. The needs of our child took precedence over my career aspirations.

Transitioning to a one-income household took some adjusting. We cut back big time on entertainment and eating out. I started couponing and looking for discounts on everything we purchased.

My husband soon received orders to deploy to the Middle East. While deployed, he heard about a program being offered on base to help people get out of debt. It was called Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. My husband signed up for the classes and eagerly told me about things he learned that could help us get out of debt once and for all. He was so excited that he asked me to order the home study program so that we could do it together once he returned home from the deployment.

We signed up for the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University program in January 2010. Before starting the program, we prayed to God, telling him about our desires to become debt free. We then committed to a strict budget and used the snowball method to pay off our debt. We took no vacations. Any extra income was applied to our debt. By November 2010, we were totally debt free!

I would love to take the credit for our success with this program, but I can’t. God started opening up the windows of heaven and providing income in ways that we didn’t even expect. As a matter of fact, God blessed us to get out of debt six months earlier than projected.

It’s ironic that we tried for many years as a dual income household to get out of debt, but was unsuccessful. We never thought we could become debt free on one income. But God showed us in this instance that nothing is too hard for Him and that our financial standing is not dependent on Uncle Sam or my employment status. It’s dependent upon Him. God always provides for his children.

Please know that being in good financial standing is not based upon how much money you make, but on the choices you make with the money you have. If you are having problems in your finances, ask God to help you find a path to debt free living that will bless your family. He will answer your prayer!

November 15, 2011

God in our military lives, by Marine Wife Unplugged...

Sometimes it seems like Christian military wives are few and far between, so I decided to highlight a few wives who are bold in their faith. I recently contacted a few Christian military wife bloggers to guest post on Semper Wifey about how they have seen God working in and through their military families.  Their responses are amazing and so inspiring, all in different ways.

I hope that you are blessed by the words of these faithful women.  Please show them support for sharing their hearts by commenting here or visiting their blog and connecting with them there.     

First up is Marine Wife Unplugged, who gives God the glory for everything that has happened in her life.  Her faith in God's plan is incredible.   

"What an honor it is to be able to share with you, Semper Wifey, and your readers, a bit about how God has worked (and continues to) in my military family! My story is a bit crazy, and it might even sound like I'm being over-dramatic, but please believe me when I say that I have no intent to exaggerate. I know it sounds funny to start a guest post with a disclosure, but in this case, I deem it completely necessary. My story is a bit hard to believe due to its intensity. I hope that what I write, if you are a believer and follower of the Savior Jesus Christ, will encourage you, build your faith, and leave you wanting more of the Lord. If you are not a follower of the true Messiah, I hope that my story intrigues you and causes you to seek answers about God from the Bible. Jesus is the author and finisher of my faith and the faith of my family, and everything I'm about to say is as truthful as it can be!

A bit of background: I am close with my family (my mother's side), who all live in New York and Connecticut, all Italians, none of whom know the Lord Jesus. From the time I was about 3 years old until now, I have been through unemployment, homelessness, fatherlessness, abandonment, homosexuality, rejection, self-hatred, eating disorders, rebellion, fears, anxieties, hopelessness, sexual immorality, idolatry, fornication, abuse, molest, rape, some occult participation, some portrayals of fake faith in Christ, and a lot of other things. Before I was 17, no one had even told me in the churches I went to that salvation does not exist without Christ. I just heard Bible stories and the Beattitudes (Matthew 5). I sang in the church choirs and never even had a sense that the people who led the church knew the Lord. The minister tried to have an affair with my mother, and later, another pastor from the home church I was even saved in molested me. All of these things were part of my background before I married my Marine, except that none of them were counted against me because I was saved by God. We all have a past. Mine isn't pretty at all.

But.... Jesus restored me, taught me how to love Him, healed me, taught me how to love others, stopped counting my sins against me for future judgment, taught me how to both accept and release forgiveness, taught me how to teach others about Him, guided me through confusion, led me out of darkness into light, and did all of this according to the will of the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. I was shown mercy and grace, lovingkindness, and value. I was adopted into the Body of Christ through His blood, and become whole.

While I am not elaborating on the specifics of my testimony here (it's not the reason I was invited to write), I need to say that I am fully convinced of the power of God in the lives of those who repent of their sins daily, and believe, trust in, and rely on the Lord Jesus who was sent to earth to save us from the wrath of God for the remission of our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead in bodily form to bear witness to those who were with Him before He died, so that all might have assurance that He really was who He said He was, and always will be. If I was not convinced of Christ, writing about how God has worked in my family would be of no use. Faith means nothing to me if it does not honor God. That means faith in people, faith in feelings, faith in philosophy, faith in science, faith in the military, or faith in even myself; none of those things honor God without Christ at the center. This truth is what shapes both myself and my military family. My family abides in the love of God, knowing that only because of what Jesus did on the cross, nothing can separate us from Him. Because of Jesus, we've been able to get through all obstacles we've been given, praising God for all of it. We have learned to be content in whatever circumstances we have, knowing that all of what we go through is garbage and meaningless vanity compared to knowing Christ.

My husband and I became pen pals in May of 2007, and just days after we began to write, the Lord showed us that marriage was His will for us. Two months after we began writing, we met, and 13 hours later, on his 22nd birthday, July 9th 2007, we married in the middle of the woods. Seven days later, he deployed to Iraq, and I moved across the country to live with his family while he served his second tour. My family was terrified of my decisions and did not support my marriage. Yet I know God was behind this and could not shake the peace He kept presenting to me as I prayed that His will would be done and that no matter WHAT the outcome, no matter what persecution I might face (and I faced a lot), He would prepare my heart. Knowing little of the military but growing in sincere devotion and respect toward everyone, I did as I was told by my husband, keeping my eyes and ears away from the media, growing in faith. As an infantryman who tasted death every day, he needed my prayer support. He deployed to Fallujah and the Al-Anbar Province with the 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Charlie Company, United States Marine Corps.

Pride was not a big enough word to cover my sentiments toward my new husband, but with my pride came crippling fear of the unknown. I had already been urged by God at this point to be my husband's main intercessor, and during his deployment while I searched for employment in the new state I was in, Idaho, intercede was exactly what I did. Day in, day out. I was told specific things to pray for. I was told specific things to write about and send him. I dreamt dreams of situations and circumstances that blew my mind. I'd wake up, write them down, and mail them to my husband, hoping that somehow, I could let him know that I was in a small way, connected to his battle. I was fighting in the Spirit. Sometimes after reading a letter, he'd call me via satellite phone and ask, “How could you possibly have known that that's what was going on at that certain time?” It was obvious every day that God was allowing me to understand my husband's battle in a way that without His aid, I could never have done. The tears I cried, the agony of feeling helpless, weary and exceptionally lonely would have ripped me apart if it hadn't been for Christ. But all of this was just preparation for the future. I got through that stuff. Now, looking back, it was incredibly difficult, but nowhere near as difficult as what followed. Faith in the Lord is not easy. Nothing about Christianity is easy. Nothing about having spiritual discernment or knowledge or wisdom is easy. With all of it, however, the Holy Spirit helps. And through all of it, God is glorified.

My husband was injured. At first, they didn't know what happened. They found someone praying in a canal in Arabic, and found out it was my husband through voice recognition. His memory was gone. None of his unit knew how he even got over there. Something very traumatic happened while he was on a patrol in a house and the next thing he knew, he was not there. He was sent to be evaluated through the Division Psychiatrist, and they immediately quarantined him in Headquarters, diagnosing him with Combat Stress. They weren't right, though. He snapped on them, causing them to believe he was harmful not only to everyone around him, but to himself, so he was drug-induced. Tying him to the stretcher, they shipped him off to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. They thought he had a brain tumor. There, he was found unfit for service, and tested and diagnosed with severe PTSD, a TBI, diagnosed with Psychosis, and the tumor was actually a blood clot in the left temporal lobe of his brain, too large to operate on. He stood a 20% chance of living. What?!?!? All he wanted to do was go back to his unit and fight with his battle brothers, but his dreams slipped through the IV bag with each drop. He was he going to tell his wife? What did he even remember about his wife?
I journeyed with his parents in his truck and a small moving truck from Idaho down to Camp Pendleton without any relief in the horizon, having to drug myself with Tylenol PM in order to fall asleep for just a couple hours in the back seat. I couldn't even pray. I had nothing left. On base, I set up an apartment on Mainside with the Special Power of Attorney I had and waited the extra day for the government to send home my injured and disoriented hero. I noticed that when I didn't feel strong, God's strength was with me. It didn't feel different. It actually felt hollow sometimes, reminding me that God's love doesn't even feel like I thought it maybe should have. I had depended feelings of familiarity before, whereas not only was this a new season of my life, but I was about to learn a lot more about marriage, a lot more about my husband, and a lot more about God. I realized that love had nothing to do with feelings. I was now in a real position to show love where I might not “feel” any at all. You'd think a deployment might have been enough to show me that, but I did feel my husband's love before he was injured. Once he was intoxicated with morphine and who knows what else, I could not expect anything to be the same. His brain wasn't the same, and from that point on, people in the Corps acted as if they believed he should be treated as an object of shame, rather than a Warrior worthy of admiration. To them, PTSD meant he was weak and worthless. He was “broken.” No one knew that God was going to prove everyone wrong.

I stuck by him. I stayed home, woke up with him at 0530, made him breakfast, and had the house cleaning done by 0730. I spent time witnessing to other wives in the area, counseling as I was able to (many wives were much younger than I was, even though I was only 21 at the time), trying to be a comfort for them because I knew how much I wanted comfort when my husband was gone. Still, in a very real sense, he was gone. I needed comfort just as much as my neighbors. My husband and I were in the hospital every single day for hours through appointments, tests, brain-picking, brain-washing, and trials and errors of pills that did nothing, made him worse, or put him in a fog. He suffered random black-outs, incapacitating migraines, sever dizziness, outbursts of rage, bed-wetting, couldn't finish sentences he started, and even had two heart attacks. Every symptom of PTSD, and TBI in the books was acting in our lives, but then there was the blood clot and the psychosis to deal with, too. The doctors wanted him to be able to sleep, to regain focus, to be “content” with life even though he was sent away from his battle brothers. They tried to drug the audio hallucinations away. And by fogging his memory, perhaps he could deal with the past in small doses, they hoped. Healing takes time, after all. What he needed was good, solid Christian counseling, but this was not offered to him. The pills made him more aggressive, and the feelings of fear, worthlessness, and failure as a Marine nearly ruined him. I spent time studying symptoms of PTSD, TBI, and psychosis while through prayer and God's mercy, his blood clot drained.

His chances of living were now increased, though mentally, we had no idea where he'd end up. Although it was not his MOS, he used to do some work for Intelligence. Would his memory be that sharp and fast ever again? God reminded me during this time that my faith was only going to increase as it was tested, just like how everyone's faith was tested in Scripture (Hebrews 11), and that sacrificial and selfless love is the only kind, and it never fails. John 15 became my favorite chapter in the Bible, as I attempted to lay down my expectations and preconceived notions of what I thought my husband should have been like.

Even in the midst of the craziness, God used my husband. He began to pray in tongues, he prayed through my fear of people and my fear of cooking, prayed for healing while I dealt with migraines from the stress of it all, and though his memory was lost and his speech was slurred and his balance was that of an 18 month old when he walked, I grew to respect him in many ways, and I remained thankful for what I had. Even the guys who remained behind during that deployment were ministered to by him, even when he was at such a low point in his life. In March of 2008, four months after he returned from Iraq, I became pregnant, blessing us with another reason to visit the hospital every day.

As a Marine wife, strength was not just a suggestion given to me. It was part of the unwritten “military wife code” that sat right next to integrity, respect, and honor. I refused to become a marriage statistic even with how fast we were married, and knew the only way we'd get through anything together was through Christ. Both of us experienced shakiness of faith, both of us saw the demonic manifest itself, and with fear and trembling, both of us sought the Lord.

A year after my husband returned from his deployment, almost to the very day, my husband was forced into a temporary retirement with an honorable discharge. Our best option, better than sleeping in the truck, was to shack up in his parents' house, as we hunted for a job and our own home, eating the effects of having our dreams shattered in front of us. We had new challenges ahead of us, much harder than before. Family tension presented itself with the influx of PTSD and TBI symptoms and father-son friction, to the point that we were more comfortable being hermits in the bedroom than even walking to the kitchen. Depression hit us, and it hit us hard. Our son was born two weeks post-discharge. None of us wanted to talk to anyone, seek help, or even go out of the house. Two weeks after our son was born, I went to church with him, and I hated it. On top of that, watching my husband's countenance reflect his newly-unemployed, broken, living-in-the-parents'-house-with-a-wife-and-a-newborn status was horrible!!

I had postpartum hormonal trouble, and realized my new job was not only to be a mother and to support my husband, but also to teach all of his family about how to respond to him, how to show love to him in a way he could receive it, and especially how not to. I was fighting intense feelings of failure, but refused to take anti-depressants. We couldn't see how God would use this time, but of course He did. His words never return void. He never leaves nor forsakes His own.

People we thought were our military friends turned their backs on us, making up rumors and spreading them in ignorance. We became everyone's enemies. We battled again lies and confusion, we could not easily hear the voice of the Lord, and we were consumed by sorrow. Then the VA made a paperwork error and began to rob my husband of what disability income he was due. The VA Hospital was not treating him like a human. He couldn't find a job anywhere, especially not with the PTSD stigma. We couch-hopped for 7 months, and no one would help me at all with counsel that I desperately sought out because I was not the veteran. I did not want to go through a church because I knew that a normal church counselor could not speak to the specifics of military life. I could not leave my son home and work because my husband could not care for him.

But even there, God was speaking. We got to witness the arms and legs of Christ coming to our aid. Our pride was crushed day after day as people always gave us just what we needed, whether it was food, gas money to apply for a job, or a hug (even from strangers). Most of the people who asked us how things were going turned their backs on us or walked away because they did not know what to say, so the people who showed the love of Christ during this time stuck out to us greatly.

People took us in, and despite the VA's discouraging words to my husband about his broken brain, he passed the ACT with above-average scores, and was accepted to a university as a Criminal Justice major. He couldn't find a job, but he could go to school. This went great because even though the VA was robbing us, the school had married-student housing, so we would not be homeless anymore and could live within the boundaries of necessity with a BAH monthly stipend. My husband learned to communicate with civilians again, and learned how to communicate with me better, too. To help his hand-eye coordination, he began building and painting mini-models for Warhammer 40,000 and met other veterans in the area who offered some solace. He felt like he could be understood just a bit.

This was a great and challenging uphill-climb as I began to grow in optimism, though I still prayed more than I spoke. But shortly after we began marriage counseling through the school, the counselor started talking down to my husband. And then he had to have a combat-related shoulder surgery. He had weaned himself off of all his medication (he had taken 12 pills multiple times a day for a long time), so the drugs the hospital gave him during sedation and recovery really messed with his system.

After his surgery, he snapped on me violently. Terrified, I fled, and took the baby with me. God had to take over. He did. With His guidance, I gave my husband the most painful ultimatum I'd ever given anyone in my life. “Either get counseling or lose your family.” I ran to the Vet Center here, demanding attention, since my husband hadn't gone before on his own (much to everyone's dismay). There, I found out that the VA never recorded his brain injury in the computer system , and so they prescribed him pain killers that caused his brain to rewire and snap. Even though my husband had registered with the VA when we got to Idaho, had brought his medical records and DD-214 which stated the specifics, they recorded that he only had PTSD.

My husband had some intervention from friends and family while we were separated, and by the leading of the Holy Spirit, I picked a certain time with certain words to prayerfully share my desires for a family and for his health and leadership and love. Through hours of tears, he agreed to seek counsel through the Vet Center in our area. The first person who talked to him was the worst person for him to talk to, but the second was the answer to years of prayers. Amazingly, progress happened relatively fast, which I count as a miracle. Relapses ceased and while he had his down days, he had a grip on himself that he didn't have in the past. God was healing his outlook on life and softening his hardened heart. God enabled my husband to be able to talk through his experiences with his counselor and eventually with me on deeper levels, too.

My husband continued going to counseling on his own, and as he did this, I prayed that God would help ME to be a better wife and woman. I knew that if I held resentment toward my husband and kept dogging on him for things that were sinful, I was the same as everyone else. It wasn't that I avoided bringing things up or that I did not ever hold him accountable, because I did, but I was finding new ways to speak with gentleness and humility, whereas before, my words always bounced off of him as if I had not said them. I had given him permission to persecute (mock, slander, reject, demean, etc) me and I responded with love while I was also trying to honor the Lord. With grace and understanding that only God could have given to me to give out, I submitted myself to my husband and chose to seek out every respectable thing I could find in him, even if it was something as simple as “thank you for coming home for dinner.”

In plain speech, I searched for praise-worthy attributes in my husband every time I wanted to press charges toward him for sinful behavior. Philippians 4 was hard Scripture for me, as was Colossians 3, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 5, and Hebrews 11. Psalm 69 was my heart cry. Proverbs 31 was too hard to read because I never thought my husband would recognize my devotion to him, knowing that my responses to his behavior were no better than what he was doing. The more I repented of my sinful thoughts, body language, and especially the contemptuous tone of my voice, the more I saw changes in my husband. I began to cherish him again. As I sought God's heart on the matter, submission to my husband no longer sounded like a curse or and unobtainable goal. God saved me. Therefore, I could be what I was called to be. In this, my husband loved me more, as Christ loves the church. We were fulfilling our Biblical roles, and neither of us were being walked on by one another or ridiculed for falling short. We saw good fruit in each other, finally.

His school pursuit did not continue beyond the first year due to complications with the GI Bill, but he learned things, and God grew his heart and helped him to deal with civilians again. God sent us some people who would end up being the very encouragement my husband needed spiritually. A certain man in particular was very instrumental in honing in all the knowledge my husband had acquired and giving it solid definitions. My husband dove headfirst into Christian Apologetics, desiring to know more and preach more. His memory began to increase I saw him recover some of the languages (Gaelic, German, Arabic, Russian, etc) he had lost in when he was injured. We found a new normal after everything fell apart, but a big part of me believed that our “new normal” was going to be even better than what our normal was before his was injured. God increased my faith and there was no stopping it. My Marine showed a desire to be a better husband, and by the grace of God, our son's unhealthy fear of him disappeared. As their relationship grew, I called them blessed and my countenance reflected my gratitude.

Then, my husband found employment!! It was as if God was saying “Now I release you because you have proven yourself worthy of being able to do more. I have been with you this whole time and I will not leave you.” He witnessed to others about salvation in Christ alone, leading other injured veterans with PTSD to the Lord. He started witnessing to Catholics, and to Mormons and to motorcycle gang members. His boss ended up hiring more veterans with PTSD because of my husband's work ethic. Both of us grew in our relationship with one another and learned how to be honest about our bottled up feelings. We could finally focus on helping other people, ministering to the needs of others as we were able to, and we could focus on parenting. Another chapter in our lives was opened.

Really, if I share much more with you than this, I might sound like I am bragging. I know how radical this all sounds and I know the statistics. I'm friends with other military wives, and never ever desire to stir up envy, jealousy, or dissension, which is why I am slow to proclaim my own story, but very quick to proclaim Christ Jesus. I am either made out to be a liar, a lunatic, or a true believer, but I know that God cannot be mocked. The last three appointments my husband had with his VA doctor left his doctors completely amazed. He's been titled as a “Medical Anomaly.” They see no need to prescribe him any medication, and no longer see a need to refer him to the Mental Health Department. He has been transformed by the renewing of his mind. (Romans 12:1-2) Our little family is blessed to be a blessing, and our son is the cultivation of many many prayers. He emanates the faith my husband and I both share, and confirms that God is indeed with us through his own spiritual growth.

Currently speaking, we've been waiting for a Periodic Physical Evaluation, which will determine whether or not my husband can serve in the military again. His goal is to go back into the military and preach the gospel in the Corps. Realistically however, serving is what matters, and so his back-up career goal is Law Enforcement, which he is currently in pursuit of. I am a domestic engineer, and on the side, I am a writer, an amateur photographer with “I see You photography” (on Facebook), and a singer. Our son will be three in December. The VA is still robbing us of money and won't own up to their error, refusing to document things or just avoiding the issue completely. Even after extensive research in the matter between the Wounded Warrior Regiment, the Vet Center, and other individuals, (I have even written the Senator), nothing has changed. We have what we need, praise God. We don't always get what we want.
So... with a story like this, why haven't we gone to the news? It's simple, really. The world hates Jesus, and He's the one accredited with my family's healing. People would not put this story on the news even if we went to them with it. We don't want to draw attention to ourselves anyway, but rather, to the cross. What we'd rather do is preach the gospel as Jesus commanded us to do, make disciples, teaching them to obey all that He taught, baptizing them in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. While we still have struggles every day and still war against the world, the darkness, and our own sinful natures, we take joy in whatever God does through us, whether in famine or in plenty, in sickness or in health, in wealth or in poverty, laying up treasure for ourselves in Heaven. Our contentment is in the risen Lord. Our joy is in His salvation. We boldly witness because we know the boldness of the Lord. It is written in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”"

November 12, 2011


Thanks to everyone who participated in the Marine Birthday Bash!  I had a blast, and I hope you did, too! :)

The winners for the contests are:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3


Day 4

I will email each of you soon!  

November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day...

Nothing to say except a deep and sincere "thank you" to all of our Veterans.

Thank you. 

November 10, 2011

Marine Birthday Bash, Day 4...

Welcome to the Marine Birthday Bash! 

Semper Wifey
Day 3's winner is Beth at Simply B!  I will contact all winners at the end of the week. 

This is a week long celebration in honor of the Marine Corps' 236th birthday.  I invite you to link up your relevant blog post each day for a chance to win some great prizes, get blog exposure, and have fun!!!  You do not have to be affiliated with the Marines or military to participate.  Everyone is welcome to link up!

For Day 4, share a post about what you wore/will wear to the Birthday Ball! Or, if you'd rather, share a post about dressing up for a very special occasion (date night, wedding, birthday party--whenever you thought you looked especially good!). Just link up your post, old or new. Your link up enters you for a chance to win a Target gift card! Remember, to be eligible to win, you must have a Marine Birthday Bash button (you can find them on my sidebar) in your post or on your sidebar.  And don't forget to visit the other blogs that link up and give them some love, too!

Oooo-rah! ;)

This is what I wore to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball this year:

No, only kidding! :)

  This is what I actually wore.  Hubby bought this dress for me for our anniversary a few years ago.  He's got great taste, huh?

Now link up your own beautiful outfits! :)

November 9, 2011

Marine Birthday Bash, Day 3...

Welcome to the Marine Birthday Bash! 

Semper Wifey

Day 2's winner is Dandelions and Daffodils!  I will contact all winners at the end of the week.

This is a week long celebration in honor of the Marine Corps' 236th birthday.  I invite you to link up your relevant blog post each day for a chance to win some great prizes, get blog exposure, and have fun!!!  You do not have to be affiliated with the Marines or military to participate.  Everyone is welcome to link up!

For Day 3, share your happy birthday message to the USMC!
Just link up your post, old or new. Your link up enters you for a chance to win a nametape bracelet from Little Moncai Designs! Remember, to be eligible to win, you must have a Marine Birthday Bash button (you can find them on my sidebar) in your post or on your sidebar.  And don't forget to visit the other blogs that link up and give them some love, too!

Oooo-rah! ;)

Here's my post for the day...Birthday Haikus!

I love the Marines.
Even for being this old,
they still look darn good.

Celebrate good times!
Happy birthday, Devil Dogs!
Semper Fi, yut yut!

They're still going strong--
Two hundred thirty six years
of pure awesomeness.

The Marines were formed
over beer at Tun Tavern.
Some things never change.

Happy birthday, Marines!!!

November 8, 2011

Marine Birthday Bash, Day 2...

Welcome to the Marine Birthday Bash!

Semper Wifey

Day 1's winner was Jen and Her Marine!  I will contact all winners at the end of the week.

This is a week long celebration in honor of the Marine Corps' 236th birthday.  I invite you to link up your relevant blog post each day for a chance to win some great prizes, get blog exposure, and have fun!!! You do NOT have to be affiliated with the Marines or military to participate.  Everyone is welcome to link up!

For Day 2, share a post about a Marine Corps/military/patriotic project/craft you've made/put together/photographed (ie. craft, birthday cake, recipe, outfit, poem, essay, etc.)!  Just link up any post, old or new.  Your link up enters you to win a set of note cards from the Semper Wifey Shop!  Remember, to be eligible to win, you must have a Marine Birthday Bash button (you can find them on my sidebar) in your post or on your sidebar.  And don't forget to visit the other blogs that link up and give them some love, too!
Oooo-rah! ;)

Here is my post for the day...Fab Hand Painted Shirt!

My supplies for this short project included a tank (clearance from Old Navy, plus the military discount), contact paper (finding this proved to be the hardest part of this project), fabric paint ($.50 with a Michael's coupon), X-acto knife, paint brush, and an EGA picture printed from the internet.  All together, this project cost me about $10 and 30 minutes (plus drying time).

I traced the EGA picture onto the contact paper, then used the knife to cut it out.  Then I placed the cutout outline on the shirt.

A coat of gold metallic fabric paint and...

Tra-la!  Custom (adorable) EGA tank!

If you're trying to link up after the link has closed, just leave a comment with your post and it will be entered into the contest! :)

November 7, 2011

Marine Birthday Bash, Day 1...

Welcome to the Marine Birthday Bash! 

Semper Wifey

This is a week long celebration in honor of the Marine Corps' 236th birthday.  I invite you to link up your relevant blog post each day for a chance to win some great prizes, get blog exposure, and have fun!!!  You do not have to be affiliated with the Marines or military to participate.  Everyone is welcome to link up!

The theme for today is "Land of the Free."  Let's kick this party off BIG!!!  Just link up any post, old or new.  Your link up enters you to win a Starbucks gift card!  Remember, to be eligible to win, you must have a Marine Birthday Bash button (you can find them on my sidebar) in your post or on your sidebar.  And don't forget to visit the other blogs that link up and give them some love, too!

Oooo-rah! ;)

October 21, 2011

CLOSED: The Forever Moments Review and GIVEAWAY...

The giveaway winner is Jane!  Congratulations! :)

I am so excited to tell you about a new company called The Forever Moments that specializes in "custom, premade scrapbook layouts to express the unique personality of your family."  These wonderful mom-preneurs hand-cut their scrapbook layouts into beautifully constructed photo keepsakes that are fully personalized with your picture and your name(s).  Honestly, this company provides a fantastic product (especially for someone likes me who hates scrapbooking, but loves the look of scrapbooks).      

All you do is select the layout you like (from categories such as Military, Holidays, or Sports), enter your personalization, upload a picture, select a frame (or not), and you have an adorable scrapbook page to insert in your own scrapbook or to proudly display on a wall.

The Forever Moments was gracious enough to send me the "My Hero Wears Combat Boots" layout in the "Country White" frame.   I LOVE it!

I was blown away when I saw the detail of the scrapbook page.  The creativity and quality of the page is phenomenal!  I thought the product might just be a giant digital scrapbook page printed on photo paper.  Oh, no it was NOT!  Real scrapbook paper that looks like something I only wish I could make myself.  Take a closer's amazing.   

AND (get ready for this)...more shopping and philanthropy!  For every military layout that is sold, The Forever Moments donates $1 to Blue Star Families, whose mission is to "support, connect, and empower military families." 

The Forever Moments wants to offer one reader their own personalized scrapbook layout page!  There are three ways to earn entries to this giveaway.  Please note that the FIRST TWO are MANDATORY.  Leave a *separate* comment for each entry. 
  1. Follow Semper Wifey via Google Friend Connect (click on the link on the sidebar).
  2. Head on over to The Forever Moments shop, look around, and tell me which layout is your favorite.
  3. "Like" The Forever Moments on Facebook AND write on their wall which layout is your favorite.
The giveaway will close and a winner will be selected and contacted on November 4.  Good luck!!! :)

Semper Shop

Join us for the Marine Birthday Bash November 8-11!

Semper Wifey


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