Meet Christine!

Yes, I know the 31 Days series is over, but I still have one more Chaplain’s wife that I want to introduce.

Meet Christine!

(Christine is another Army Chaplain’s wife who was one of the first people I met after we moved here to Fort Hood. Her husband just finished the program that my guy is in the middle of right now! She is one energetic ball of encouragement wrapped in a great sense of humor. And, we both have a love of the central California coast, Monterey specifically. What’s not to love about her?!)

 
What branch of the service are you in, and how long have you been in?

Army, for 10 years

 

Can you tell us a little about your family?

We have two girls, Emily and Samantha, 17 and 14.

 

If you get free time as a family, what do you enjoy doing?

Laughing! We also like to watch movies and attend sporting events or concerts.

 

What is the best place you’ve lived (or visited) and why?

Every place has its positives and negatives. I’ve met some great people at every duty station and seen some amazing things all over this country—and world! I did enjoy Fort Drum, New York, since this California girl had never experienced real seasons!

 

What do you enjoy the most about being a Chaplain’s wife?

It’s an easy conversation starter. It’s easy to talk to someone about God because they expect it! :) I like the idea of serving God and Country at the same time, and I like the experiences we’ve had by living in all sorts of different places.

 

What do you like the least about being a Chaplain’s wife?

Even though I’ve enjoyed the experiences we’ve had in different places, the process of moving to all those places is not something I like! I don’t appreciate the stereotypes I’ve run into either.

 

What is that ONE thing you wish you could tell civilians about life in the military, or about being a military spouse?

We’re NOT heroes. We love our husbands and country and do what we need to do to make this life work, but we’re just like everyone else. We do, however, make huge sacrifices—moving away from family and friends, kids changing schools, being separated from our husbands. My suggestion, when talking to military spouses, is to just say, “Thank you!” without being sappy.

 

What are some of your personal hobbies and interests?

I like to sew and fix things. I’m handy with power tools! I love PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) and teaching. I also love spending time with my girls and their friends.

 

Thank you, Christine, for sharing your life and thoughts with us today.
 

The Army Side of Things

The Army Side of Things

The Army Side of Things

 

My husband questioned me the other day about the “branding” of my blog. It went something like this:

“Why is it called The Army Chap’s Wife when you really don’t write much about the Army, the Chaplaincy, or being a Chaplain’s wife?”

Valid question–and after I got past the (slight) defensiveness that rose up in me, I honestly had to consider it. And, as you may have noticed as well, he was right, and I have some possible re-focusing to do.

I know that one of the reasons I’ve not focused on the military side of our lives is because as a Reserve Chaplain, the Army doesn’t influence much of our day-to-day existence. That is all about to change. In fact, there’s a lot that’s about to change.

I haven’t been comfortable sharing here yet, because we didn’t have official orders, but we finally got those today. So now I can tell you that we are going to be an active duty Army family for at least the next 15 months…and we’ll be that, not in Indiana, but in Texas!

That’s right. In less than a month from today, we will be heading to the big state of Texas. Reactions around here have been varied, to say the least. My own emotions and thoughts are all over the place. I swing from excitement for what this opportunity means for my husband to sadness over leaving friends to anxiety over how all the details are going to work out.

This is all going to be new to the females in our home. We’ve never really lived the Army life. Thankfully, my husband has! Even though he’s been Reserves since I have known him, he was active duty for many years before we met. He understands the system and the way things work. That’s been a huge comfort for me–’cause I’m pretty much clueless! (I think I know about 5 of the tens of thousands of acronyms.)

Here’s one of the acronyms I do know: PCS. Stands for Permanent Change of Station and means that this will be the first time I’ve ever moved that I don’t do any packing. That’s strange, and probably one of the reasons that the move doesn’t exactly feel “real” right now. Having movers come and do all the packing is going to be an entirely new and weird experience for this girl!

So stay tuned, I guess I’ll have more Army stuff to blog about! :)

 

 

 

 

Reintegration

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We lived through a year-long deployment. Yes, it was 3 1/2 years ago, but the memories are still fresh.

It was a difficult, growing, stretching, bittersweet time for us as a family. However, one of the most stressful aspects of deployment came, not in the “during” but in the “after”–the back-together phase. Here’s what I wrote about that time:

 

By the time we got to CA to pack our things up, we were somewhat frazzled. We realized reintegrating our lives would be a process. After being apart for so long, you get used to doing things a certain way. The girls struggled with processing some emotions, and Ron and I struggled with figuring out how to be together again. It sounds strange that that would have to be done, but it did.

It actually took us the whole next year to work through residual issues from the deployment. I had become somewhat independent, the girls had to get used to Dad being around again, Ron had some emotional issues surrounding what he experienced while deployed, and we dealt with a lot of anger. I think what made it harder is that all this kind of took us by surprise. Nobody told us to expect this kind of stuff or that it would take so long to work through things. There were times during that year when I wondered if we would survive. It’s sad, but it is no longer a surprise to me that marriages don’t survive deployments.

 

Like I said then, what made it harder was that it took us so much by surprise. (Side note: if there’s one thing I could share with all military couples, it would be that even in the strongest marriages, there will most likely be post-deployment struggles.)

 

Flash forward to now.

Even though not deployed overseas, my husband just returned home from an assignment he had been away for since June. Once again we find ourselves in adjustment mode, though not nearly on the same scale as post-deployment.

So, I want to put into practice the lessons we learned during that time! I also want to share a few of those lessons here, because I believe they can be applicable anytime you might find yourself in a period of adjustment and change.

 

    • Lesson #1:  Acknowledge that adjusting to change is a PROCESS. Don’t expect too much too soon. Celebrate the small, along-the-way victories. Pray through the process.

 

    • Lesson #2:  Talk about everything! The trap I got caught in was one of false guilt. I would tell myself I “shouldn’t” be feeling a certain way, and would therefore keep what was going on my heart and head to myself. Bad idea, trust me. And truthfully, this is not a lesson learned–it’s a lesson still being learned!

 

    • Lesson #3:  Be aware of expectations you may have. Don’t assume things. I assumed that after deployment we would be so happy to be together again (and we were!) there would be no problems (which there were!)

 

    • Lesson #4:  Give grace, grace, and more grace. Give it to yourself, your spouse, your kids, your friends. In whatever changing circumstance you find yourself, remember that change means new. New means nobody really knows what they’re doing.

 

(I also know that my Chaplain husband would want me to mention that during times of uncertainty, unsettledness, and readjustment, serious issues can show up. Please, please do not be afraid to seek help from a Chaplain or counselor!)

What lessons have you learned during times of change or uncertainty?