Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today has circled around my role in leadership and what I do. In times of both struggle and triumph, I often turn to the beautiful words of Rudyard Kipling.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Purple Heart Day!!!

In 1782, the Continental Congress took a cost cutting measure preventing the awarding of rank for valorous service. Up until this time, individual achievements in battle were generally awarded with a promotion. In response, 2 military awards were created for servicemen. The first award authorized a chevron to be worn on the left sleeve for every 3 years of service given to the Continental Army. These chevrons are still in use today in all branches of the military on dress uniforms.

On August 7, 1782 in Newburgh, NY General George Washington commissioned the first badge of honor for valorous action in battle. I was designed by M. Pierre Charles L'Enfant who later designed the Nation's Capital City, Washington, DC. It was a piece of heart shaped purple cloth most often made of silk or cotton. It was edged in very narrow lace and contained white embroidery. The center featured a single word, "Merit". It was awarded for "any singularly meritorious action" and was named the Badge of Military Merit. This was the first time enlisted and non-commissioned officers could earn a badge of distinction.

Awards for service to any person serving in the military for valor disappeared after the American Revolution until the Civil War when the Medal of Honor was created.

On January 7, 1931 a new award was to be created in honor of the bicentennial of President George Washington's birth. Ms. Elizabeth Will, an Army heraldic specialist in the Office of the Quarter designed a sketch based on Washington's Badge of Military Merit. It consisted of an enameled heart of purple edged in gold. George Washington's profile is in the center of the medal and it hangs from a purple ribbon edged in white. The back of the medal says "For Military Merit" and is usually engraved with the soldier's rank, name, and service branch.

Officially authorized on February 22, 1932 by President Herbert Hoover, the following General Order was issued:

"By order of the President of the United States, The Purple Heart established by General George Washington at Newburgh, August 7, 1782, during the war of the Revolution, is hereby revived out of respect to his memory and military achievements.

The decoration is authorized to be awarded to persons who, while serving in the army of the United States, perform any singularly Meritorious act of extraordinary fidelity or essential service. A wound received in action may be construed as resulting from such an act."

It is one of the most recognized military medals in the world and is frequently considered to be one of the most beautiful.

For more information on the Purple Heart and the Badge of Military Merit, visit:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Need a Hobby...

I'm really good at giving advice. In fact, many of you have begun to listen to VOW Talk Radio which I took over hosting 3 weeks ago. My how the time flies!

One of the first things I tell PTSD/TBI Caregiver wives is to find something they love and be certain they take the time to spend doing it. Whatever that love might be for them they need to indulge in enjoying it. Reading, writing, photography, crafts, sewing, painting, whatever! I don't care WHAT you do - I care that you DO IT.

However, as with most people who are really good at giving advice and helping others, I'm horrible at taking it - my own or someone else's. Like the paramedic who drives himself to the ER and walks in with his arm falling off going "No, no, I'm fine. Help him first!" I triage my life in similar aspects. Family of a Vet needs a new article or something for publishing. VOW Talk Radio needs shows scheduled and interviews booked. People like you need help.

I'm a Mom. I'm a wife. I'm a full time 60+ hour a week advocate for veterans and their families.

But I need a hobby.

Strike that. I need a NEW hobby. I have plenty of current ones that sit on the shelf abandoned because someone was in their hour of need and I just never got back to them.

Among my already developed or partially developed hobbies are:

Singing (who has the time?)
Instruments (piano, most woodwinds, trying to relearn guitar)
Acting (lots of time to do that - just not in the way I'd prefer ;) lol)
Knitting (what a disaster that was - please protect me from yarn!!)
Storytelling (useful at bedtime, but not really otherwise)
Writing music (yeah - again - who has the time?!?!)

and so forth.

I dedicate, aside from bedtime, less than an hour a month to these pursuits - in total. I can't get to my piano because it's covered in antique trains. My guitar is buried behind toolboxes and I haven't seen any of my woodwind instruments since a month or two after we moved here. We won't discuss the last time I managed to FINISH a crafting project.

So here I sit with lots of hobbies but not one single one I feel I can truly dedicate time to...because when I do so, I'm taking time away from my family.

(*Please note - this is a classic sign of caregiver stress and being overwhelmed. Sadly it is also very true.*)

So if you have a suggestion of a new hobby I could take on that might not impart as much guilt, I'd greatly appreciate it. FOV has become my hobby and my life - but somewhere in there I need to start learning to recharge my batteries...and one of you may have just the key that I need. :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Just Ill

I'm so done right now.

Family is visiting for the 4th and family birthdays. DH is off the cuff upset at me, them, everyone.

They're piling the guilt on me. He's piling the guilt on me.

I've had 4 hours of sleep because I'm so torn up by this - I hate to see how tonight goes.

Now he's in full PTSD blow out and saying he's moving out.

I give up.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Caught in Nature's Crosshairs

So I'm wanting to begin a walking routine. I waited until Spring finally arrived and then for the flooding to recede. Now I'm stuck with another pair of problems that are not very practical and will not resolve themselves until late fall.

If I walk north, which is my normal preference, I am faced with the likely possibility of meeting up with a coyote or wolf. If I walk south, I am faced with the even more likely possibility of a close encounter with a rattlesnake.

There is no way to go east or west.

So I am trapped in the middle. Wanting very much to go out for a walk. Stuck and afraid to go out to the yard to garden much the less leave the property. I suppose I could walk the "safe" area in circles...but walking up and down the same road makes one look a bit like a potential case for Bellevue...and that's generally an impression I strive to avoid whenever possible.

So now with rising gas prices I'm stuck between get a gym membership and drive 30 min. to town just to be able to walk OR save up and purchase something I can easily walk on at home with the $$ that would have gone to the gym membership. I'm thinking the latter will be the better choice in the long run. *sigh*

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

It's painful sometimes for our family to get through these days. To remember the friends we have lost - those who gave their all so that my husband could come home. I am eternally grateful to them for their sacrifices.

I have cried and more funerals and memorial services than I would care to remember and this day always brings that back to the forefront of my mind...especially the last one. Holding my husband's hand while he stood on crutches in the front pew of the chapel for the man who literally took his place.

I celebrate his memory. I celebrate the gift he gave me in having a father for our infant son, a husband to love.

I celebrate the memory of the man who threw himself on a grenade for my grandfather in the Pacific during World War II so that I would have precious memories of an amazing man who taught me how to ride a bike and build a small engine block.

I celebrate their willingness and the willingness of millions of others to fulfill John 15:13 on a very intimate level. "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. "

Sunday, January 2, 2011

30 Days of Truth - Day 4

Apologies for that sabbatical. My computer tried to explode. Actually, someone gave it a very nasty virus and unlike me, that cannot be cured with herbals and sleep.

Moving forward.

Day 04 – Something you have to forgive someone for.

Oy. Umm... Originally I had said I don't have anything I can think of that I need to forgive someone for...but sadly, in the past few days, I do.

Time away from the computer when you live in the sticks means LOTS of time to contemplate your life, where you stand, what you're doing, and what you need to change. Sometimes with change people are inevitably hurt. When someone passes through a depression phase, many suffer. Some don't suffer quietly, one in particular.

I need to apologize to my wonderful husband. I love him so much and what follows is my unending forgiveness.

I forgive you for having an awful month. I forgive you for being, quite frankly, overbearing and nearly impossible to live with. I know it was beyond your control in some ways due to the PTSD and TBI and I know my horrid attitude didn't help. I forgive you for all the things that went wrong and I'm so immensely grateful that you have turned so quick to salvaging the situation.

I love you. I will ALWAYS love you. That will NEVER CHANGE...NO MATTER WHAT.