Wordless Wednesday: Why I garden...

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Dreaming about Retirement

Hubs and I are MANY years away from retirement.  But isn't it fun to dream?

This weekend we spent a wonderful weekend on Kelleys Island in Lake Erie.  It is such a fun little island, very touristy, but you can see smacklings of locals all around.  You have to take a ferry from Ohio to the island during the spring, summer, and fall.  Then when the lake freezes over during the winter the only means of transport is /small/ aircraft.  The pace of the island is slow.  The gardens around the homes are beautiful.  Golf carts and bikes are abundant.  The water is never far away.  The sunsets were glorious.  And the soft serve ice cream at Papa T's was to die for. 

We decided it would be a wonderful place to retire.  It was a lot of fun touring the island thinking about how life will be in 10, 20, 40 years.  I love to dream, especially with the one I love more then life itself.  The very soul that is a part of mine.  The very person who I get to spend these young-family years with and then the years beyond.  The years when it will be just him and me.  Where will we live? What will we enjoy doing? How will we have grown even closer together?

How about you?  What do you think about when you think of retiring?  Isn't it fun to dream?

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Cyberspace – The Bears and Packers? The offense and defense from the LandWarNet conference – DoD Roundtable

The use of computers, smart phones, satellite tv, cable, networks, wifi, email, Facebook, Twitter, immediate communications, long distance communications ++ has become so routine we expect them to be available. When we wake up and find our wifi or other electronics not working it is not a good start to the day. Imagine losing these capabilities when we have a cyber attack?  Last week I had the privilege to speak with two electronic engineers who have compared cyber war to a football game.

US Cyber Command Logo
It was a great conversation but a bit over the head of this non geek. Yes, I remember taking a carburetor apart on my car before electronics took over. But those electronics are now key to our lives and to the troops fighting our wars! Giorgio Bertoli and Stephen Lucas were attending the LandWarNet conference and brought the discussion about cyberspace to the roundtable during the conference. Bertoli is the offensive coordinator and Lucas is the defense for research and development of technology within CERDEC, (Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center).  The new US Cyber Command which stood up less than a year ago is up and running to be involved in defending these critical information resources.

Listening to them discuss why we need a Department of Defense roadmap for the future so we can measure cyber successes and strengths brought back memories of discussions that I had participated in while on active duty. We must always be thinking of the next move to stay ahead of an adversary. Why is that important to you? Go back to paragraph one and see what we could lose without a coordinated defense of these systems. The engineers said we need a common architecture and baseline for the future military cyberspace to be able to respond to the threat. Currently, the defensive systems (networks) are stove piped (do not allow sharing of information and security) and are simply reactive to the challenges received from adversaries. Giorgio said we need to be more proactive.

Giorgio Bertoli, senior engineer for the Information and Networks Operation division, CERDEC's Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate
How about our social media?

3 Doors Down Says “Thank You for Everything You Do” to Military Community

3 Doors Down and Kelly Cafferelli,
Home Depot Foundation President

Have you ever been excited about talking to someone who you respect? Yesterday I had the privilege of interviewing Chris Henderson of the platinum rock band 3 Doors Down. I am not the type to swoon over “star” personalities but this “rock star” came in the form of a veteran helping other veterans! Chris has served his country for 12 years in the Navy, Army and Navy Reserves. On this day the band was working with the Home Depot Foundation, The Mission Continues and local volunteers at the New Directions in Los Angeles. They were refurbishing the exterior grounds of New Directions, a nonprofit organization, which runs a residential program on the campus of the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center. Chris was really excited about the effort and how hard everyone was working when I talked to him during their lunch break.

Chris Henderson, left w/ band
The band has a long history of supporting the military community including Navy MWR (morale, welfare and recreation) tours and music videos with a military theme. Chris said the band “really believed in the US military” and recognized their “sacrifices” and wanted the military families to know they cared. The message he wanted to send? “Thank you for everything you do”. He said they will always be there for the military community! See why I was impressed?

3 Doors Down has also visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda Navy Medical Center (which are now joint) and other veteran facilities to encourage and support our wounded heroes. Their efforts in LA were to kickoff the Home Depot Foundations “Celebration of Service” to honor US military veterans. Chris said the Home Depot volunteers were extremely hard working and making the facility comfortable for veterans and guests was the goal of the day. The area will also include some playground type of equipment for children. Fred Wellman, of ScoutComms, who introduced me to Chris spoke highly of Chris and his work efforts too! So I had to ask if he had any blisters? He laughed and said yes.

I just need to talk

Who do you call when you just need to talk,
that someone that puts down what they are doing to be there for you,
when you need subtle advice and a listening ear?

I'm grappling with the start of the school year.  My tender-loving, easy-going, very-pleasing six-year old is going to be starting first grade.  He flows like the tides of the ocean, and oh how I love the water.  He *wants* to learn.  When he does learn he lights up.  He lights up like no other.  Sometimes it is getting him to that point where he has learned though that can be a challenge, for a mom or a teacher.

So last night when I was talking to another mom at my older son's Open House I found out her now third grader /had/ *C*'s teacher back in first grade ... and she is a challenge for a child that doesn't follow the letter of the law.  Quite honestly she would have been perfect for my now third grader, *E*; my rule follower, my line keeper, my eye on the prize boy.  So what do I do?  I can't even begin to process this conversation I just had; wanting the very best for *C* after a rough year of kindergarten.  My heart, my hope, my prayers felt as if they were going out with the tide.

Energy Independence and the US Navy - DoD Bloggers Roundtable

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus (Official Photo).

It will “make us better warfighters”

Are we improving our national security by demanding that the Department of Defense use biofuels?

Are we experimenting with our ability to fight a war by requiring that by the year 2020, 50 percent of our Navy’s shore based energy requirement be supported by alternative sources other than fossil fuels?

According to the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, the answer is a big yes and no! The DoD Bloggers Roundtable met with SECNAV yesterday to discuss his energy goals and how they interfaced with joint initiatives with the Department of Energy and Department of Energy. The interagency effort includes spending $510 Million over the next three years to jump start the American industry effort to produce biofuels that are financially competitive, are drop in fuel (no change to equipment is required, do not reduce food supplies and lower the carbon footprint for military units. A White House initiative to give the industry a push, create jobs in agricultural areas and reduce the dependence on foreign oil the Navy will bring about $170 Million for the program over the next 3 years.

Mabus said, it will “make us better warfighters” and that the proposal for the Great Green Fleet is moving ahead with a demonstration in 2012 and will go active in 2016. Not without controversy from some such as a RAND study claiming there would be no benefit seen, the Great Green Fleet has been “received enthusiastically” by Navy operators according to the Secretary. Of course, which Naval officer would voice concerns about a White House program endorsed the Secretary? However, his advocacy for an energy independent Navy is clearly strategic and tactically minded!

He said the use of alternative fuels reduces our transportation needs during combat operations in Afghanistan now and our future operations as well! Relying less on gasoline and diesel that must be convoyed into locations in the combat zone reduces the risk for our service members. He said that for every 50 convoys conducted by the Navy/Marine team, one Marine is killed. By using solar and other resources the number of petroleum convoys is reduced, saving combat losses – a Marine with a family!

Congratulations to our Winners

We had well over 200 entries in our "One Thousand Posts - Let's Celebrate!" Giveaway which made it so very exciting to pick our winners.  All of our winners have been contacted, prizes mailed and I even have received some wonderful "Thank Yous" in return.  This has to be one of the most fun projects I have worked on here at MilitaryAvenue.com!

So once again, congratulations to our winners!

$250 Visa Gift Card from USAA - Jennifer of Texas

$250 Visa Gift Card from USAA- April of Texas

A beautiful Pendent from USAA.com/jewelry - Stephanie of Virginia

$100 Visa Gift Card from Homes for Heroes - Aprille of Kentucky

$100 Sears Gift Card from Sears - Cindy of Arizona

$100 Home Depot Gift Card from Home Depot - Maureen stationed overseas

$50 Visa Gift Card from Dee Ramsay Burnett of Prudential Network Realty - Michelle stationed overseas

$20 Visa Gift Card from Sitter City - Christine of Virginia

$20 Visa Gift Card from Sitter City - Nicole of Alabama

$20 Visa Gift Card from Sitter City - Michelle of Wisconsin

$20 Visa Gift Card from Sitter City - Erika of Maryland

$20 Visa Gift Card from Sitter City - Heather of Washington

Army Wife Network Prize Package from AWN - Dana of Kentucky

We hope to do this again - sooner then later - so stay tuned for more awesome giveaways from the community that supports you, the military family!

- Leanne and the entire MilitaryAvenue.com Team

The Grocery Bill

The grocery bill: One of the big chunks of our family budget and probably our largest 'discretianary' item in the list of many family expenses.  How do you save?  I enjoyed this article in the Times, "Millions of coupons: Military shoppers score savings on base".  It got me thinking about how we, you and me, can chunk down the amount we each spend on our weekly trips.  It isn't always about coupons but they sure can help! 

Clip, cut and organize
The latest rave is coupons.  I hear all about TLC's Extreme Couponing, although I have to admit I've never watched it.  Are you an 'extreme-couponer'? My husband is the Sunday-morning newspaper coupon clipping addict. Every Sunday morning he is the first one up, grabbing the newspaper off the front sidewalk and the first thing he goes for is the coupons.  He cuts what we use, clips what we might need, and puts them in our coupon organizer so that we can be ready to hit the grocery store at a moment's notice.  His goal is to save over 30% in coupons on the grocery bill.  That isn't /extreme/ like some of the gals on TLC but it is still significant.  It is still money that remains in our wallets instead of our local grocery store's profits.

If you are looking for some resources for coupons, beyond the Sunday paper, read through Tara Crook's piece, "Are you "Coupon" Extreme?" at USAA's Military Spouse Community.  She has some additional points to think about as well as outside resources.

One Year with Cancer – My Caregiver Rocks

Enjoying Grant Park in Chicago
One Year with Cancer – My Caregiver Rocks

This week I celebrated life. Yes, it is that easy but maybe not so with memories of surgery and left over scars, a bit of discomfort, medications, interruptions to plans, etc. But medical decisions that left me with my leg certainly are to be appreciated and the skills of highly trained surgeons are near the top of my list for thank you!

Growing Older in Mom's Arms

A journey is coming to an end as a new one begins for this mom.  Baby Boy *L* is a year old.  It is amazing the transition that comes at about this age; from sleep deprived confusion full of unknowns -to- frenzied chaos as I try to stay just one step ahead oh him.

So I sit here in this stage of reflection (well... quite honestly I don't do much sitting lately).  I am holding dear what I loved about the baby-boy and now watching him turn into a toddler.  Remembering the sleepless nights as I now enjoy the 7AM wake-ups.  Cherished are the sleepy cuddles, breastfeeding moments and the 'drunk-baby' look as he drifted off to sleep.

Getting Veteran Care in New England through the Home Base program

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking with Tracy West of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base program, concerning their veteran support efforts with the “Ride for Our Heroes” in New England on September 24th.  If you missed it, please take the time to read about this wonderful opportunity to help with public awareness of veteran issues and their families as well! 


I promised to continue with an article on the Red Sox and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base program today.  For a good reason, the program is a completely free assistance effort according to Tracy.  It is open to all veterans in the New England area with needs for traumatic brain injury treatment or combat related stress.  Home Base kicked off in September 2009 and has treated 500 veterans and family members and is collaborative with many federal (including VA), state and local programs.  The program has employed four veterans as “outreach coordinators” to make the New England military community, civic leaders, medical community, clergy, teachers, plus… more aware of the program.  


"Ride for Our Heroes" in New England

Steven Tyler, Aerosmith and
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox on Dirico Bike

“A True Motorcycle Enthusiast Event” 

Now this looks like my kind of fun: A motorcycle ride in the New England fall to honor and support our veterans ending with a family style barbecue with entertainment from the James Montgomery Band! Better yet, the purpose of the ride is to raise public awareness for our veterans, in particular those dealing with post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury, and their families! Supported by the Boston Red Sox Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program the event will raise funds for veteran support programs.

Screen Capture of Ride Start Locations!
Click on image to go to website.
According to Tracy West, director of signature programs for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base program, this inaugural "Ride for Our Heroes" has six starting locations with patriotic kick offs and recognition followed by a rendezvous in Manchester, New Hampshire for the barbecue! The Red Sox will provide their two recent World Series trophies for the barbecue for fan pictures, etc too! Plus a baseball themed Dirico Motorcycle is being raffled off to benefit the Home Base Program. The bike features a patriotic and baseball paint scheme and combines the talents and efforts of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame and master inventor Mark Dirico. An authentic autograph by Tyler will be featured on the bike!

Blind Pigeons

Names for food are fascinating.  The Poles call them Halubky, Betty Crocker titled them Stuffed Cabbage, as a child growing up in an ethnically rich area: NYC suburbs we heard other names, but Blind Pigeons stuck. 
By any name, as cabbage is coming out of the gardens, and cole slaws have sided many dinner plates, give the cabbage a front row ticket.  The tomato sauce tops off the colors with red highlights... oh so fashionable!

Halubky or Blind Pigeons
1 head cabbage, large
1 c cooked and cooled long grain rice
2 lb ground beef
1 small onion chopped fine
2 eggs
1/2 t salt
pepper to taste
1 large can pureed tomatoes
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 c water
Remove core of cabbage, then put into boiling water.   Boil 5 minutes or until leaves are limp.  Thoroughly mix the beef, onion, eggs, rice, salt and pepper.  Place approximately 1/4 c meat mixture on each cabbage leaf; fold the two opposite sides and roll starting with the thick edge.  In the bottom of a large pan, place some extra cabbage leaves, add cabbage rolls and cover with the remaining leaves.  Combine water with tomatoes and soup.  Pour over the top of the cabbage rolls.  Loosely cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 for 2 hours.

Those First Day of School Anxieties

I will never forget my first day of 4th grade at a brand new school.  We had PCSed from Reese AFB, Lubbock, Texas to Scott AFB, Illinois and once again I was the new kid.  I am not sure when exactly Spelling class was that day and I can't remember the teacher's name anymore but there I sat at my new desk, amongst all new faces and I started to cry.  I was dying. So overwhelmed. So embarrassed.  Unacknowledged. Feeling friendless.  It was an awful feeling.

I can take myself back to that moment instantly and have empathy for /any/ student that is starting a new school.  I even remind my own boys to take the time to get to know new faces because the new students /need/ friends; "Your mom was one of those new faces so very often."

What do you do to help your child in a new school?   My 8 year old will soon be starting a new school in the same school district.  So the same friends but it is a new school to him and he is very nervous.  Nervous enough to have actually thrown up a couple of times these past two weeks.  I listen to his fears and don't treat him like they are unfounded.  They are real feelings.  Real anxieties.  We remain positive though and talk about meeting new friends, seeing old friends, all the excitement that this new school-year will unfold.

Fall Projects and MilitaryAvenue's 1,000th Blog Post Celebration

MilAve's Deborah hard at work on an outdoor project!
The end of summer for most military families is rapidly approaching as the kids get ready to go back to school and the summer PCS cycle ends. Summer leaves are quickly coming to an end but the home improvement projects never seem to end! How about the new home projects after a PCS or moving next year; need to get the house ready to rent or sell?

$100 Gift Card
We are losing a group of trees to the ash bore around our house! Sadly, a huge tree holding a swing and a feature of our front yard is one of them. This tree is so big the branches are like normal sized trees. So we have decided to have a Labor Day Weekend get together to cut it down and make some firewood. It is going to be an all day project with lots of help from the family! I have a chainsaw but it is only 18 inches long so we are probably going to purchase a bigger one to make it easier. So we will be heading off to one of our home improvement stores to make purchases!

For your projects the MilitaryAvenue's Celebration of 1,000 Blog Posts and Giveaway Extravaganza can help reduce some of the costs! We have two gift cards that you could use specifically for home improvement. The gift cards are $100 each from Home Depot and Sears. How do you win them? Easy as commenting on a blog! Go to our Celebration blog and tell us who you are (must be military or military family member) in a comment on the blog and you are entered! Hurry though; as the entry deadline is tomorrow night at 8 PM Eastern!  Over $1,000 in giveaways be sure to take a look today - in fact, do it right now!

$100 Gift Card
Good luck with those fall projects and the Celebration Giveaway!

Back to School & the Budget (oh and maybe the mention of some Visa Gift Cards you may be eligible to win)

It is back to school season in Ohio.  All the ads in Sunday's paper were about the latest and greatest sales. All my emails from stores like Old Navy, Target, etc etc remind me how we /need/ new shoes, clothes, backpacks, lunch boxes. If you don't start the new school year off with everything brand new ... well you of course are destined to make social outcasts of your children.  Of course?! We are money conscious in this Army Household though and I try my hardest not to buy into the hype.

It isn't all bad though.  It can be a great time of year to stock up!  Some stores sell boxes of crayons for a penny right now, just as an example.  They want to grab your attention, pull you in.  "Buy the Crayons and everything else on your list at our store".  We do buy a few more boxes of crayons then we need according to our list but then we move onto the next store for their five-cent filler paper or 25-cent folders... and then after about a week of slow and steady shopping I get to restock our supply closet at home.

USAA Jewelry's Gift for You at MilitaryAvenue's Giveaway Extravaganza

This beautiful pendant from USAA.com/jewelry is worth over $500 and could be yours!  The best part is that it is easy to enter and there are no forms to fill out. Just go to One Thousand Posts Let's Celebrate and comment on the blog. Identify yourself as a military community member and you are in the giveaway chase.

PS:  Contest closes Thursday, August 11th, at 8 PM Eastern so do not delay. Do it now before you forget.

Tasty Tuesday Blackberry Scones

Blackberry Scones.   Right there, I am drooling!
Warm, wet and wonderful hot out of the oven; berries popping out the sides of blackberry scones.  From start to finish, these are ready to eat within the hour using everyday shelf items: with the exception of those juicy berries.

We have berries growing and thriving and multiplying like 60.

Dale picks them, I clean them; we eat them.  Simple!   Today we had oatmeal with blackberries for breakfast, a 10 o'clock snack was a blackberry muffin from last night and lunch will be a garden fresh tossed salad topped with... Yep!  Blackberries, plump purple and delicious.

The scone idea is new.  Neighbors are coming over and I thought it would be appropriate to have something from the oven, smelling delicious and easy to eat.  These treats beckon a hungry guest to come a little bit closer to the plate, especially with the crumbled butter and confectioner's sugar on top.

I know I will be dreaming of other berry perfections, as the freezer is filling.  I have lots of time and lots of company coming!

Week in Review: July 31 - August 6, 2011 (Military News)

Popular Military Family Articles for the week of July 31 - August 6 on


Military Widow Reaches Out to Survivors After her husband was killed in Iraq in May 2007, Taryn Davis didn’t know where to turn. The 21-year-old didn't live near a military installation, and while her family and friends were supportive, she yearned for the support of other military widows who could relate to her struggles. So one night on a whim, Davis turned to the Internet and "Googled" the word "widow." The search engine suggested she try searching for "window" instead. That moment sparked a desire in Davis to offer the type of support to other young military widows that she so desperately craved. ...

A Reason to Go Back! Thank You Gazelle Sports! Sifting through my mail I was shocked to find a post card from Gazelle Sports! I just had a great experience with a business! I will be going back!How do you get your customers to return? How do your customers find you? Have you targeted the military community around your post, base, station, camp lately! Do they feel welcome? Appreciated? First, I am a cancer survivor with a foot that has had two surgeries and a leg that had one surgery. Both have special requirements: shoes for the foot and bike type shorts for the leg. ...

Emergency Preparedness: ... All of this has me thinking about how my own family is prepared for a natural disaster. Are you prepared? An Emergency Kit - or more like 5 Gallon Emergency Tub - Here are some things that http://www.ready.gov/ suggests you have in your basic Emergency Kit: ...

Stepping Out with Faith on a PCS: While moving books from one book shelf to another, there in the shadow of much larger tomes was a beloved book that I read and reread decades ago: Psalms of My Life by Joseph Bayly. The binding is broken and pages are yellow. This little book traveled with me from college days to the present. How fitting that when I took the book marker out, it was on #18, A Psalm on moving to take a new job. My goodness, Dale and I did that 18 times. And 18 times I needed this page! ...

Male Spouses Face Unique Challenges: A former military boss of mine was married to a civilian. When she found out her next assignment was in Turkey, he walked away from a good job, his family and friends to follow her overseas. I admired the sacrifice he made back then, and didn’t think twice about the fact that he was a male spouse. It didn’t occur to me, until now, that he might have faced a few additional challenges due not to his status as a military spouse, but his gender.  I recently learned that just 5 percent of active duty service members’ spouses are male. ...

Thankful Thursday: Happy 1st Birthday, *L*: You have reminded me about - sleepless nights; - fussy days; - messy faces, hands, and hair; - baby gurgles and baby talk; - baby fingers and toes; - the joys of milestones; - how easily my heart wraps around someone so small. With you I have relaxed.  I have been given the gift of breastfeeding - I made my own baby food, - I have given you baths in the kitchen sink, - I love watching you play with your brothers, they are heroes in your little eyes.  I have treasured this past year, - Enjoyed the moments, - Look so very forward to your future. ...

Programs Helps Disabled Vets Become Entrepreneurs: Retired Army 1st Sgt. Renee Floyd wasn’t about to let a disability stop her from realizing her dream of having her own business. Applying 21 years of experience as an Army mechanic, she launched BRF Mobile Lube Service in Phenix City, Ala., in 2009 and began traveling to people’s homes and businesses to provide convenient oil changes and maintenance services. But her big break came last month, she said, when she attended the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities at Florida State University. ...

PCS from Iraq! Good Stewards of American Taxpayer Dollars - DoD Blogger Roundtable:  1 million pieces of US Government owned equipment still in Iraq! Imagine the most difficult PCS you ever faced? I remember one that was so complex it makes my head hurt! We had most of our household goods going into temporary storage and some into long term storage (3 years) and a small amount being flown to the overseas PCS location. We had to have family travel stuff and I was going to school and had personal items and professional goods being shipped to that location. ...

Put a Face on Your Ad! Fall Kickoff and Back To School Special for MilitaryAvenue Partners: We are excited! We are featuring a Giveaway Extravaganza for our military community after posting 1,000 blogs for them! Gifts worth $$$$ to the military community from our friends - that includes you! Now we are returning the favor to you! Remember we are all about discounts! We want you to reach out to the military community with a Fall Kickoff, Back to School Special with a reduced price for upgrades to your ads! Put a face to your ad to the new folks in your neighborhood! ...

Preparing for a Natural Disaster: Natural disasters, manmade ones, too, can happen anywhere, anytime, with or without warning. There are many considerations when preparing for a natural disaster. One of the first things to take care of, long before an emergency hits, is making sure household goods are insured. Whether renting or owning, it is important to have good insurance in place to protect both the home and the personal belongings inside of it. Once insured, families can also create a personal inventory of all items within the home including brand names, date purchased, price at time of purchase, and serial number if possible. ...

More Great MilitaryAvenue.com content:
Find Military Discounts in your community

You have Questions? We have MilitaryAvenue Answers!

Our Letters to You, MilitaryAvenue.com's Military Family Blog

Subscribe to MilitaryAvenue Alerts, monthly military-discounts and incentives right to your email box: Manage Subscriptions

The Reading Room, full of relevant news related to the military family

Moving Tools, Our Moving and Relocation Tools for Military Families

Military Family Giveaway: ANOTHER $100 Visa Cash Card

We are in the final days of our Giveaway Extravaganza and we have an exciting new prize to add!  Thank you to MilitaryAvenue Partner, Homes for Heroes for donating a $100 Visa Gift Card:

PS: Don't forget to sign up for our Military-Family Newsletter and Military Alerts,  http://www.militaryavenue.com/Answers/Signup.aspx.  That is two additional entries if you let me know in a comment at the official contest.


Disappointment... we all face them.  A promised PCS to a base close to 'home' changed at the last minute to clear across the country.  R&R or Homecoming pushed back days or even weeks.  A savings account depleted to pay for unexpected household expenses.  The question is how do you handle them?

Yesterday, my 8 year old, *E*, was asked to go to a semi-professional baseball game with a mutual friend of my 6 year old, *C*.  Talk about disappointment for *C*.  There was much heartache.  A few tears.  A longing to be with his brother and friend and her family.  How did we handle the disappointment?  First we talked about the fact that it is ok to be disappointed and yet happy for our brother at the same time.  We talked about how throwing a temper tantrum isn't the best way to handle our emotions. (Although sometimes a good temper tantrum cry sure does a good job of letting all the emotion out!  But I digress...) 

Thankful Thursday: Happy 1st Birthday, *L*

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy *L*!

You have reminded me about
sleepless nights;
fussy days;
messy faces, hands, and hair;
baby gurgles and baby talk;
baby fingers and toes;
the joys of milestones;
how easily my heart wraps around someone so small.

PCS from Iraq! Good Stewards of American Taxpayer Dollars - DoD Blogger Roundtable

1 million pieces of US Government owned equipment still in Iraq!

Imagine the most difficult PCS you ever faced? I remember one that was so complex it makes my head hurt! We had most of our household goods going into temporary storage and some into long term storage (3 years) and a small amount being flown to the overseas PCS location.  We had to have family travel stuff and I was going to school and had personal items and professional goods being shipped to that location. I am sure my director of logistics (my bride who experienced 18 PCS moves) would have more details but then I took off to school!  She rented the house, did the move , found temporary living quarters and met me later at our assignment! 

Vision a 20 20 Deal and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Vision with age is supposed to diminish.  Yet, life hones, shapes and directs vision by allowing light in, fracturing those simple rays.  Prisms are laid out complete with memories of faces, places, smells and sounds.

Vision for the future crescendos with strength of the past, desires of present but can be walled in by anxieties unseen.  Vision takes 'challenge' and uses it like a battering ramp against the walls of prejudice, loneliness, touches of arthritis and other cob webs!

Life requires so much work to be able to see.  On our own we can be spooked by the moonlight and blinded by the sun.

Grasshoppers can still be giants.  That ugly mole hill can be that mountain.

Stepping Out with Faith on a PCS

While moving books from one book shelf to another, there in the shadow of much larger tomes was a beloved book that I read and reread decades ago:  Psalms of My Life by Joseph Bayly.  The binding is broken and pages are yellow.  This little book traveled with me from college days to the present.  How fitting that when I took the book marker out, it was on #18, A Psalm on moving to take a new job. 
My goodness, Dale and I did that 18 times.  And 18 times I needed this page!
A Psalm on moving to take a new job  by Joseph Bayly

I take this step
in faith.
Faith that You
have confronted me
with this opening
Faith that You
have led me to accept
Faith that this change
will be a means
to greater holiness
and love
to You
for me
my wife
our children
that You will make me
able for this new work
so that I may add
in every way
to what You
are already doing
where I go
that You will care
for mother sister
friends needy ones
we leave behind
Faith that you will make me
creative in my work
and in the exercise
of other gifts
Faith that by this change
you will make
life and self we share
my wife's and mine
and ours together
more real
more full
than it has been to now
Faith that this change
will bring much blessing
to each of our children
Faith in your promise
that when You put forth
Your own sheep
You go before them.
Lord I will not go
unless You do this.

Have You Had a Great Shopping Experience Lately?

Good shopping experience?  Great shopping experience?  Never happen!  Hey! I am a guy after all!  But recently I had the opportunity to enjoy a shopping experience that was quick, helpful and I walked out with the right products to help me be comfortable!  Yep, it was a sports store but it was nevertheless a shopping experience I was not looking forward too. 

Have you had a great experience lately?  Tell us about it in the comments section and share it with others!  Read about mine below as I tell our MilitaryAvenue partners how to reach out to you:

Sifting through my mail I was shocked to find a post card from Gazelle Sports!

I just had a great experience with a business! I will be going back!

Thank You Card Received by the Author
How do you get your customers to return? How do your customers find you? Have you targeted the military community around your post, base, station, camp lately! Do they feel welcome? Appreciated?

First, I am a cancer survivor with a foot that has had two surgeries and a leg that had one surgery. Both have special requirements: shoes for the foot and bike type shorts for the leg. So one of my doctors recommended Gazelle Sports in Grand Rapids and I took his recommendation. I felt appreciated and cared about at this company!

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