Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bring on 15

Goodbye 2014! You have been one of the most difficult years of my life. You brought me more tears and struggles then I can remember in previous years. However since this is your last day, I would like to part with positive thoughts between us.

Thank you for teaching me so much about my instincts. You have shown me what a true friend is and exactly what a snake in the grass looks like more than once.

Thank you for testing my faith. You truly pushed me to the edge a few times, but I never let go of my faith that it will all turn out just fine. I am not sure if that was the result you wanted, but that's the one that won. With just a quick glance at 2015's calendar shows me the hard work, pain and suffering in 2014 will make 2015 amazing.

Thank you for all the success with my job. It was a very stressful year for me trying to make everything work out between my job and my family. Somehow we made it work and boy did our YRF team bless a lot of people through our work. You also showed me how to balance work and family and I will take that into 2015 and the future years.

Thank you for showing me what exhaustion feels like. This was a very important lesson for me to learn. I need to be exhausted to learn how to take better care of me so I can take better care of my family. Just one note, you could have kept that number of complete exhaustion times to a single digit number, it's all good though.

Thank you for bringing Stitch into our lives. That little furball is a sweetheart and fits perfectly into our family.

Thank you for our construction crew for our forever home. They are all working so hard for our family. Some of them have even become like family. Thank you for bringing the skills and passion to our team and helping us build this house.

Thank you for the random people you placed along our path. From the amazing woman at the San Antonio airport who has blessed us beyond belief to YRF donor who loved one of our ideas so much she brought it to life herself and blessed so many to my super cute Girl Scouts that I have the privilege to lead, you have brought several wonderful people into our lives this year that are wonderful blessings for us.

Thank you for #badass van. Chaz needed that upgrade more than we realized. Thank you for Help Our Military Heroes and this blessing they gave our family. 

Thank you for the people who joined our team to help me fight for our home. I could not have fought alone. They all gave me the courage to stand up and voice my opinion and get this house under construction.

Thank you for every donor who has donated to help us build this home. So many have given money, products and/or their time. We are thankful for each one of them and we cannot wait to celebrate our teamwork together in just a few months.

Thank you for people just wanting to help. We heard so many no's this year from so many non-profits. They had so many reasons to tell us no. It was heartbreaking to be told you "aren't injured enough" or "you aren't insolvent" or "your wife has a job you can afford it" again and again. Just when we gave up hope you brought new friends to our team. Thank you to 9line, America's Fund, Independence Fund and CPT Kyle Comfort Foundation for helping without strings or criteria. You all just wanted to help us get to the new home and we are so thankful for your contributions to our home.

Thank you for the Chase for Chaz. Our friends worked so hard to get that race together for our family. It was wonderful that day to look and see all the people who came together to help bring us home.

Thank you for all of the judgmental people who deemed themselves experts on our situation with such little education. I am thankful for their comments because it has shown me the fight is far from over for our wounded and America needs a serious education.

Thank you for our care team. We love our FRC. We love our team at the Murfreesboro VA. From our AW2 rep to our nurse case manager to Chaz's medical staff to our VA Caregiver Program team we are one of the VA success stories and we are proud to sing their praises. (It may be that they all realize they have to deal with me one way or the other, but hey whatever works right?!)

Thank you for backing me into a corner and make me cry too many times to count. Each tear filled me with more energy to get things done. Each tear made me fight harder. Each tear made me seek the positivity rather than letting the negative take root.

Thank you 2014 for all of these important lessons, plus the ones my lowly caffeinated brain cannot bring forward right now. I hope that we can share these lessons with others and make 2015 our best year ever.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Judgement & Helplessness

This past week we have watched a few friends and even ourselves being judged by the public. I totally understand that when you put yourself out there, you should expect the backlash. Chaz and I learned that lesson a very long time ago. We always say anytime you walk out front be ready for the hits, because they will be coming. We always just pray it's a low number. And we pray for the strength to let the hits roll off our backs easily.

I have to admit I would rather us take the beating any day than to watch our friends go through it again. This week we had to just stand by and watch car loads of crazy come at our friends from a never ending train of stupid. And oh my word, it got ridiculous.

I understand everyone gets a little bit braver behind a keyboard. What I don't understand is why can't we combine the keyboard with the mouse and get a lot more educated?

Can you imagine what could happen if we combined that little bit of bravery with a lot more education? We could really change the world.

But no instead we choose to take what the media or hearsay gives us, which are always just snips and sound bites of things, and we let the partial truths determine our judgements. We can do better.

We have all learned the hard way at some point that the snips and sound bites only give you the cover to the book.We have to read the entire book before truly making our judgement. It amazes me that we have all learned that lesson again and again, but somehow we forget it so quickly and cast our judgement as easily as we breathe.

I have had the honor of meeting hundreds of families that need help healing from war. This help comes in all forms. Some are like us, they need safe homes built for them. Some need financial assistance. Some need mental health. The list of needs is very long. When I am dealing with these families I always remember there are at least three sides to every story and one of those is hopefully the truth. I usually have to take the different stories and analyze them before making my judgement and determine how to help them. And sometimes I cannot help them enough and I have to sit back and somehow find contentment in my helplessness. I have fully accepted that one of my weaknesses is that I cannot help everyone, no matter how much I want to, as my mom says it, "Heal the world."

It's the helplessness that haunts me. It's the helplessness that keeps me up at night. I know I cannot help everyone. I know I cannot solve everyone's problems. I feel I just cannot stand by helpless and watching people we know be judged by others who only know the cover of the story, but this is where I sit for now. I sit in the valley of judgement and helplessness. I sit and I pray that time passes and our friends will find healing from the harsh words of those who choose to not get the full story.

I know that engaging in cyber word warfare will not win any battles. I can't tell you how many times I walk away from the computer to keep myself from a word war. These are such a waste of our time. We are all humans and we are all full of flaws. We all have our minds made up about the things we read or watch.

I believe we can do better. I believe we must all try to educate ourselves on the differences of others. And most importantly we have to remember that all of these people are people. They are reading and hearing all of the nasty comments that are being made about them. We need to all just take a moment and think about their feelings. We also need to take a minute and think about what their families have been through thanks to what our country has asked of them. Our friends have served and sacrificed so much and they deserve our compassion and caring, not our quick judgements on the snips of information we have been presented. This doesn't just apply to our wounded, ill and injured friends, I think we all can identify with being in the valley of helplessness and judgement at some point.

I truly think we all need to take time to remember what Thumper said, "If you can't say nothing nice, don't say nothing at all."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


It's Giving Tuesday!!!

I just wanted to publish another list of great non-profits!! These organizations have either supported our family on our journey or I have worked with them in some capacity through my job at Yellow Ribbon Fund. They are all military based. Unfortunately I do not have a lot of experience with civilian non-profits. ;)

Here's our 2014 Giving Tuesday list!! You can click on the link to easily learn more about each non-profit.

  1. Yellow Ribbon Fund 
  2. Fisher House Foundation
  3. Elizabeth Dole Foundation
  4. America's Fund
  5. Operation Ward 57
  6. Independence Fund
  7. Help Our Military Heroes
  8. Nine Line Foundation
  9. The General's Kids
  10. Team Overwatch
  11. Operation Enduring Warrior
  12. Quality of Life Foundation
  13. CPT Kyle Comfort Foundation
  14. Our Military Kids
  15. Operation Second Chance
  16. 101st Association
  17. Semper Fi Fund
  18. Aleethia Foundation
  19. Blue Star Families
  20. MOAA
  21. Luke's Wings
  22. National Military Family Association
  23. Code of Support
  24. AUSA
  25. Operation Homefront
  26. USO
  27. Cause
  28. Veterans Airlift Command
  29. Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
  30. Luke's Wings 
  31. Freedom Alliance
Please note: This list is not a ranking list. This list is simply a list of great non-profits that all popped into my head when I started thinking about who we would love to give donations to during this holiday season if we could give. Since our funds are all tied up in savings for our new home, the very least we can do is provide a list of who we would help if we could!

Please consider giving to this great charities this holiday season! They do put their donated dollars where they count! Thank you!!!