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Friday, June 14, 2013

Kindness of Others

Feeling very thankful today. A lady from my last ward dropped off two unopened packages of canning jars for me to use in our wedding party. She said she would a few months ago but we both got busy and forgot. Its like Christmas. I have still never met her before, but she saw my ad on a page asking for used jars and she saved the day with new ones.  So blessed!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dear and loving friend, Morgan


So it’s been a few weeks and I think that I am finally able to put into words what I am feeling.  Here goes.

     I understand that one day we will all be taken from this world.  We all know this is the truth.  Some people wonder why the Lord takes people so young.  How is it fair?  A lot of people get angry by this.  Most of us just sit stunned and shocked… sad. 

     Most of us Army friends were able to attend the memorial service or the funeral for our dear sweet friend Morgan.  I was able to attend her funeral since I am stationed in California.  I was amazed as her last commander got up and shared almost all of my personal thoughts and feelings as if she was in my head.  They were the same feelings that we all seemed to share about our great friend. 
     I always told her she was like an Amazon: this tall gorgeous woman that could beat you up.  And she really was and she really could.  She was the kind of person that could roll out of bed in sweats and pull her hair back in a messy ponytail and still be gorgeous.   That still bugs me LOL 

      She made a record in the Army for being the first Military Intelligence branch female to become a level 4 Modern Army Combatives Program instructor.  After hearing her stories of the level 3 and 4 training, I decided not to do more than level 2 J (I’m currently only level 1).
     She loved everyone and never thought of payment for her kindness.  That was just the way she was.  She didn’t do the things she did for recognition, she just did them because she cared.  When I first met Morgan, I was a Specialist and she was a Sergeant.  I had just started having medical problems with the nerves in my arms.  She overheard my conversation and tactfully pulled me aside.  She apologized for “putting herself in my business” but gave me some great advice.  It made me feel good, though I was a little confused that someone who didn’t really know me was concerned for my well being.  She remembered ever detail of everyone that she talked with.  Every time I saw her she would ask about my arms and my son, etc.

     She would encourage me in all things I tried or wanted to try.  I did my first half marathon in November 2010.   I was excited that she was going to do it with me.  Unfortunately, she got in a car accident the night before and decided sleeping off the aches was the best decision for her.  But she encouraged me to do my best and that she was happy for me.   She helped me with running in my PT test.  We ran and she rambled for 18 minutes about every book that she had read in the month or two.   She distracted me enough that I did a great run. J

     She taught me, and many others, in combatives.  She invited a few of us from the class over for lunch.  She never took “no” for an answer. J She had concocted these amazing cheese stuffed pork chops.  She always laughed at me that I couldn’t eat a ton of food, but she never stopped trying to stuff me full: yogurt, apple, pork chops, drink… “hey you want ice cream?” No.  No I don’t want ice cream. J We would take turns making cookies, cupcakes and even leftovers.  And she would never turn down my homemade spicy pickles.  She said they tasted like her grandma’s.

     My friends all know that I had a very difficult marriage and divorce with my first husband, my son’s biological father.  There were many times that I called him to ask if he would pick up our son at the daycare because I was stuck in a training that I couldn’t get away from.  I wouldn’t be able to pick up our son in time.   He would dodge and dodge and whine… eventually, I decided I wouldn’t ask him anymore.   I mentioned it to Morgan in my frustration.  She said that I could put her name down on the pickup list for the daycare.  Not only did she say it, but she meant it.  I called her office one day, last minute and she, without hesitation, agitation or question, said she would go get him after work.  Her only concern was that he might not like the pink car seat she had.  LOL Of course, he didn’t mind since he actually likes pink.

     She volunteered to watch him while I had an all night CQ shift.  She collected him from me at CQ and took him home.  She fed him, let him sleep in her bed, and bug her sweet dog (Graham).  She even took him with her to the early morning pregnancy PT that she led and dropped him off at school.  She would never let me pay her.  She just loved children that much.   

     The only way I could pay her was, of course, with dinner and conversatoin.  We loved Italian and Indian food.  She, of course, critiqued the Italian food and never stopped searching for the most authentic ones in the area. J  I loved that we could just sit and talk.  We talked about everything: our hopes and dreams of being the best sister, daughter and friend, the similarities and differences of our religions (Latter-day Saint and Roman Catholic), the guys that we liked at the time, our loving family members (our sisters, her nephew, my son, her want for children), our divorces, her recent paintings (for her mom) and everything else under the sun.  We laughed, cried, and then laughed at the fact we were crying.  There was never any judgment between us when we talked so we just put it all on the table.   

     She was the ideal friend.  We did not talk every week, but that’s how it is sometimes in the military.  We would get busy with our jobs and side lives.  But whenever we talked, we always picked up right where we left off, as if it were the day before.  She was the ideal Noncommissioned Officer, who truly lived and breathed the Army values.  It became a part of who she was.   She is an example for us all.  Morgan will truly be missed and we celebrate her life and good memory.  She will never be forgotten.  I certainly love you, Morgan.  Thank you for all you did and still do, even with your passing.  You will make a great angel.

Ashley

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

White, that's right!

     No I'm not being racist! I'm talking about teeth here. 
     I hadn't realized just how yellow my teeth were getting over the last few years.  I haven't whitened my teeth since before my boy was born (he's 3 1/2).  So, I was talking to my husband about getting some whitening strips when he told me he had some already.
     I use to use the cheaper Crest White strips... You know, the ones that only really work after the 14 days is done?  By like day 5 I forgot to wear them and never went back... or did them every other day or something to that effect.  I hated those.  You wear them twice a day for two weeks.  Everytime you swallow your spit, while wearing them, you taste the whitening gel.  It's really unpleasant. 
     This time, I used the Crest 3D White strips.  Holy wow!! The gel on the strips is more like a solid.  You don't taste it at all.  After the first use (for 30 minutes) I could see a HUGE improvement!! I have used them for three days now and I'm soooo pleased and thankful!!  They do make your teeth a little sensitive, but that is to be expected when whitening your teeth. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Behind Every Good Man"

     Recently, I recieved this book ("Behind Every Good Man" By John Bythway) from my former mother in law.  At first, I was a little offended.  Why did she give this to me?  A good friend of mine and I pondered and laughed at it.  She was relieved that it was for me and not her. LOL I wondered, tho: Was it a jab at me for the fact that I divorced her son?  Does she think I needed this before (with him)?  That I wasn't a good enough wife?  Did she think I wasn't already trying to do this in my life (especially since I got divorced)?
     Then it hit me... it doesn't matter WHY she gave it to me.  I don't care if those were her reasons, even if well sugar- coated.  The author is one of my absolute favorite speakers.   So, I read the book. I'm so very glad i did. I found that I do a lot of the things that the book suggests: writing notes of praise and encouragement to my husband, not nagging as much and such.  There are also some things I want to be better at.
     It is about 130 pages and very easy to read.  I read the book seamlessly and quickly (about an hour and a half).  After I was done, I wrote a quick, very much a heartfelt letter of thanks and praise to my husband. He truly is a blessing to my life.  Maybe I realize it so much more because of the challenges and disappointments of my first marriage.   I can see the vast differences between the two.  So again, it didn't matter why she gave it to me... the message of the book is what matters. 
     Let us all praise the good in our husbands.  This will make them want to strive to be better and continue to recieve the praise.  Try to balance out 1 negative (can you fix this) with 5 praises (man you make a mean pancake hun).  :)  This is the wonderful cycle of a good (or improving) marriage. 
     I love my husband and I am going to continue to try and show him more praise and rewards (as they put it inthe book).  I hope you will do the same for yours.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Divorce

     I've been seeing this one quote on Facebook a lot about how this couple stayed married for a LONG time: "we came from a time where if something was broken we fixed it, not threw it away."  It really got me thinking. 
     We see a lot of negative hype against marriage.  People think "oh you gave up on your marriage."  You get a lot of bad looks from people that have no idea about the situation or reasons behind the divorce.  I have been there.  I was that single mom that people stared at, glared at and judged.  Let me tell you a few things about divorce.
     My divorce has been one of the most important and difficult decisions I have ever made in my entire life.  You see, most people saw us (my ex and myself) as a seemingly nice couple/family.  They saw me smile when I talked to other people.  They saw me happily, and sometimes unhappily, tend to my infant son.  They saw my ex's arm around my shoulders at Church.  What they didn't see was the anxiety I had at the thought of going home after work.  They didn't see me being the sole provider for my son and tending to all the household chores, dog, etc while my husband was distracted with other things while being at home.  They didn't see the verbal and emotional abuse I endured. They didn't see my son beg for attention from his father.   
     It is unfair for strangers to judge divorcees for any reason.  You never know if that smiling woman at church is being beat at night... or if she is made to be lesser than her husband at home.  You do not know if there is infedility or any other possible issue going on in that home that you simply do not see.
     I did not throw my marriage away.  I begged for us to go to counselling... civilian or church related many many times.  I had hope for our future.  I was told "no.  I don't want to. We don't have any issues."  When we did go to counselling, nothing was really accomplished.  Anyone can check the block in front of a doc and go home and put that list of "ways to improve" in the trash. 
     I worked extremely hard to FIX my marriage.  One key thing that others need to see is that you can not fix a relationship of two people with only one person working.  It has to be a team effort.  You have to make sure that both people are working their hardest for that relationship.  One person can not do it alone. 
     The saying is true to an extent that things are easily thrown away in our day and time, but that is not always the case.  We should break the stigma of all divorces indicating that they just gave up and threw it away.  Sometimes, you become a victim of circumstances that you can not control. Please be nice and not judge.
     I am so thankful for my divorce.  It stopped me from continually being the victim of verbal and emotional abuse and separation.  It helped me to raise my son in a healthy environment.  It opened the door of opportunity to meet my current husband and to know real love.  I know that getting a divorce was also one of the best decisions I made in my life.

Disclaimer: This was not intended for anyone in specific, it was just on my mind.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spiritual Guidance

      On Sunday our Bishop gave us these 10 suggestions that will greatly improve our lives.
  1. Take time to be Holy
  2. Remember the blessings you have been given and remember the Lord, every day.
  3. Have prayer where you really communicate with our Heavenly Father.
  4. Study the Scriptures.  Even if it is only a few verses.  Keep a study journal to help you really ponder what you are reading.
  5. Study the Words of the Living Prophets
  6. Read and Ponder our Patriarchal Blessings, Regularly.
  7. Fulfilling our callings.  Do not do them halfway.
  8. Serve others and serve them often.
  9. Keep the commandments in your daily lives.
  10. Go to the Temple often.
     I personally love these and will be trying to implement them in my life.  These are things to be thankful for as well.  I'm thankful that I have a loving Heavenly Father.  I'm thankful that I can pray to him ,in the good times and bad.  I'm thankful for the scriptures that can be a guide and provide relief and bring calm to my heart and soul.  I'm Thankful for our living prophet that helps in guiding us.  Maybe, they could help you too?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Army Life

     Today, I heard a soldier being corrected for saying he hated the Army.  That was followed by another Non Commissioned Officer saying the reasons why the Army has been good to him... No, I'm not saying I absolutely LOVE the Army or that nothing bad has happened to me b/c of this job! But here are the reasons why I am thankful for my job in the Army:

1. Pays for my college 100%
2. Paid for my vehicle 100%
3. Paid for the prenatal and birthing of my child 100%
4. Paid leave.
5. Specialized training.
6. Opportunites that I'd never have had other wise.
7. Chances to excell based on MY determination (or lack thereof).
8. I have met some GREAT people because of it.
9. I get to shape the lives of junior soldiers and help them through hard times because of my previous experiences.

     Yes, the birth experience with my son was awful... but at least I did not have to pay a huge medical bill. :)  With my bonus, and some personal savings, I paid off my car in a little over 2 years.  I am truly thankful for this job.  It may be hard and not always fun, but no job really is.  In our economy, I'm thankful to have a job at all.  Count your blessings.
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