Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I am so happy that Adam is home every day!!!! Life just isn't the same without him! Even though we sometimes make each other crazy. . . I absolutely HATE when he is gone.

I think the worst part of this year (2012) so far was February. It was like a deployment flashback! Adam was gone for almost a whole MONTH training as an over the road truck driver.

Meanwhile, the owners of my salon had purchased another store.

I don't like to talk about work stress on the internet, but it's relevant to this situation. Basically my job of managing a salon had it's stresses hugely magnified over that month, not really anyone's fault, just a result of the situation so I'll explain it the best I can:

Graciously, the owners re-hired every single employee who worked at their newly purchased salon under the previous owners. Unfortunately, most decided to leave their employment less than 2 weeks later- leaving only 2 stylists on staff.

With 200+ hours/week on the schedule to divvy up, obviously 2 people cannot run a store. But, if the store reduced it's hours, or even closed temporarily our owners are put on "restriction" and cannot open or purchase another store for 12 months. Since they plan to keep growing, we had to make sure this didn't happen!

So over the course of 90 minutes I took my staff- who all awesomely volunteered to work over time and travel to the new store- and the 2 remaining stylists and I re-wrote both schedules, stretching everything out to cover BOTH stores. It was a huge mental exercise that took almost all my brain power! (Sad but true!) it was like putting a puzzle together.

And from there, the rest of the month was chaos and a blur. Basically, one staff was keeping 2 salons open. Most of us were working 50+ hours each week, trying to keep up with the "bucking bronco" (which my store is known as due to it's ability to completely throw you as it grows and becomes insanely busy) AND get the new store back up on it's feet. Meanwhile, we were interviewing stylists nearly every day, watching them cut hair on models and mannequins and not finding anyone we could hire. It was true insanity!

While all of this was going on, My hubby was gone, I was still trying to balance motherhood/working, and going home to an empty bed just magnified my stress.

Without Adam around, I became so lonely and depressed. It was absolutely awful!

I guess it just confirmed the fact that we are meant to live out lives together- NOT apart.

(The work situation has since smoothed out and both stores are operating well now, just FYI!)

Now it's summertime here in Sacramento (well, by my definition anyway) and with Adam and I both working full time- the days are just flying past. We're typically off together during the week since we both work weekends and. . . life is GREAT! I love that it's hot outside, that we get to see each other every day, AND get days off together! Awesome, awesome, awesome!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Changes. . .

Sorry this isn't much related to deployment "stuff" but I wanted to talk about it anyway.

I've been thinking a lot about how different I am and how much has changed. Primarily how my thinking has changed. How my attitude has changed.

What I believe, my concept of life in general, how to relate to other people, how to deal with difficult situations, how I feel when someone does something "crazy"- perhaps even BAD- and how it affects me. This has all changed a GREAT DEAL since I was a prudish teenager who thought that you had to be living by Bill Gothards principles and teachings in order to be a "real" christian and I dealt with people and situations in the way that he promoted.

(If you would like to learn more about Bill Gothard and the extensive damage he has caused in Christian communities, please go to recovering grace where you can read more about his methods, how they ACTUALLY line up to the Bible and the many stories of the harm he has perpetrated. I urge you to visit this website so you can understand what I am saying here)

By living life HIS way, I not only incurred a lot of hurt and pain on myself- but on others. Even my friends. I am SO sad and ashamed by this! I know everyone is responsible for their own actions, but I didn't know any better! I thought this was the only way to live! I was a prisoner to these teachings!

As a result, I was often very- VERY unhappy by trying to live an impossible life. As a result of THAT unfortunately some relationships between myself and others were damaged to the point where they might never be repaired. I am very sorry for this and I'm sure I don't even KNOW of all the people I may have hurt and this breaks my heart. I can honestly say that I didn't know any better :(

I am happy to report that I am in a much better place now- mentally more than ever. I FEEL so much better about life. I FEEL so much happier. I can handle unpleasant situations (ha, mostly anyway!) and STILL feel happy and STILL enjoy life! FINALLY I am at a point where I feel like life is just so wonderful and enjoyable- I am seriously loving it!

Even though I am not "where I want to be in life" (yet), although finances are still a huge source of stress and worry for me, although I am far from having a lot of my goals achieved, I have made the conscious decision to fully enjoy each day for what it's worth, and to enjoy each good thing that I can right now! After all, it's not going to last forever! And why waste it being miserable?!

I'm young, I'm in good shape, I have a beautiful daughter, I have a young, (mostly) healthy husband and we all love each other VERY much. Sure we live in a small apartment. . . can't keep up with our chores. . . not sure how we'll ever buy a house or afford retirement. . . not sure how the whole health insurance plan is going to work out. . . not really sure how we're going to make life "work" longterm. . . But hey, we'll figure it out! For now I just want to really enjoy EVERYTHING that I have and absolutely LOVE living life!

Also when I see people- their lives- their choices. . . instead of harshly judging by holding them to the impossible "godly" standard set forth by Bill Gothard (which ironically and hypocritically I also never attained) I find it is MUCH easier to just accept them for who they are and realize- THAT'S OK!

I firmly believe that if God wanted all of us to live EXACTLY the same and to think EXACTLY the same and believe EXACTLY the same. . . he would have made us EXACTLY THE SAME. (This is the "gist" of it. But basically unless someone is intentionally hurting their self or others I really don't have a problem with them.)

There I said it. And let me tell you. . . what a RELIEF it is to be able to see people make decisions that perhaps *I* wouldn't make. . . or that the *typical christian* SHOULDN'T make. . . to see people think, act, believe, and be different than *I* am. . . and to know THAT IS PERFECTLY OK! Instead of criticizing differences, I celebrate them! How wonderful that we can all be so unique? Why on earth would we expect ourselves to be identical? It just doesn't make sense. . .

And again, I am a MUCH HAPPIER PERSON for this! And life is much more enjoyable! What a great thing???!!!

Honestly I haven't felt comfortable sharing these thoughts on the internet for fear or being attacked or having people change their feelings about me (I should know because I used to be one of these people). And the sad thing is, I haven't even gone into detail about the multitude of things I have changed my mind about! I have seriously gone through a HUGE "core" transition.

And since it has produced a happier, healthier me? Well. God can be my judge ;)

What caused all of this change?

Well it started over 6 years ago when I started becoming friends with a boy. His name is Adam John Valsler. That was when I experienced the greatest love- ok I'll be a sap and call it TRUE LOVE.

It was because of him and OUR relationship that conflicted with Bill Gothard and his "formulas" that I finally arrived at the conclusion- BILL GOTHARD IS NOT GOD, HIS BOOKS AND TEACHINGS ARE NOT THE BIBLE. . . therefore even as a devout fundamentalist christian (as I was at that time anyway) I came to the revelation that I did NOT need to align myself with his teachings.

That was my first step toward true freedom and to get where I am now has been 6 years of painful babysteps! But I have finally arrived at a point where life is happy and enjoyable, and not because of my circumstances, but because my thought processes have changed and this has allowed me to decide to BE happy and to ENJOY life! And to think. . . I still have decades of learning and growing to go through! ;)

Isn't it amazing how LOVE can change us? (after all. . . God is love, right?)

So I want to spend more time LOVING. . . and less time judging and feeling miserable.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A few things. . .

Ok here we are 6 months post deployment and here are a few of my major thoughts:

1. The military REALLY needs to do a better job figuring how to handle soldiers EXITING the military. Here's a few pleasures we've had recently:

Adam waiting for 7.5 hours at the VA emergency room since he was unable to get an appointment to deal with his potential TBI (traumatic brain injury) and also major joint pain (sometimes he literally cannot drive because his right knee is in so much pain. Both of his knees crack and pop and cause him extreme discomfort from time to time <---- this is thanks to jumping all around Afghanistan with 100 pounds of gear.  Pretty sad for a 24 year old guy to be suffering with knees that think they are 70 or 80 already).

Tricare dental can't seem to make up their mind about what to do with us- doesn't help that with United Concordia losing the contract to MetLife there has been more than enough confusion for everyone. Basically we just paid $300 for 4 months of dental coverage that we never got to use because they dropped us before I could go to my dental appointment next week. The person I spoke to with MetLife had NO CLUE whatsoever what was going on- TOLD me I was covered, and then called back 2 hours later to tell me that she was WRONG and that it was United Concordia's fault, something about my husbands change in  status blah blah blah (which is interesting because I had talked to United Concordia previously who told me that we had the option to be covered until 2014 and it was THAT option I was enrolled in.) So. . . I'd kind of like that $300 back I paid for covered that I never got to use- OR they could figure out the mess and update our coverage! After my phone callS with MetLife yesterday the possibility of anyone figuring out anything is looking hopeless. Thanks Military!

On the bright side the PTSD people seem to have their act together- of course they are completely separate from the actual military OR the VA.


Now onto other interpersonal issues. . . very tender subject but I want to get it off my chest and also make others aware ESPECIALLY if you have a friend or family member on a deployment!

I've come to the conclusion after so many months post-deployment. . . that everyone gets wrapped up in the actual deployment- everyone wants to send care packages, write letters, help take care of the poor lonely spouse. . . everyone wants to be there for all of that. And it's great! It's wonderful! The support is unwavering!

However afterwards most seem to drop off the face of the earth. I don't know if it's because they think everything goes back to "perfect" and "normal" once the soldier comes home. . . or if it's just not as exciting to be supporting someone on a deployment- or even if there's a solid reason at all.

All I know is that in the months after the soldier comes home- the family needs love and support more than ever! I feel like NOW I find myself looking around going "Wait, where did everyone go?" I certainly don't think anyone has meant to forget- but I definitely get the feeling that people are more willing to "be there for you" during the deployment. Is it more glamorous and therefore a more attractive and enticing time for supportees to make their way out of the woodwork? It's definitely easier to notice "Hey this person needs help, I should do something!" But it's much less easier to notice months afterwards.

I urge any of you with friends and family deployed- don't forget about them once the soldier comes home! You have no idea what a difficult journey lies ahead for them! The first month or two might seem angelic, but there are some struggles ahead where your love and support will be direly needed!

I am so thankful that I have great friends and wonderful family who've been there with me through everything. I certainly have never noticed a difference in your love and support! Thank you thank you thank you! 

My heart breaks for military families who don't have this luxury. . . I can't even imagine how they can handle everything alone. Please please please make sure this doesn't happen to someone you know and love!