Memorial Day 2010

Men of 5/2, we'll never forget your sacrifice

This Memorial Day will be the one I remember differently. It’s something I don’t take for granted anymore; not now that I’ve lived it as the wife of a soldier who is at war.

These are the names of the men we have lost this year:

SGT Tom
PFC Yanney
CPT Hallett
CPT Jenkins
SFC Sawyer
SPC Williams
SPC Welch
SPC Walshe
PFC Brochu
SPC Graham
SPC Dahl
SPC Coumas
SSG Gonzalez
SGT Delarosa
SGT Griffin
SGT Jackson
SGT Williamson
SPC Stanker
PFC Walz
SPC Aamot
SPC Gooch
SGT Paci
SSG Blanchette

Please stop and pray for these families real quick.

Thank you for supporting me and my children in our journey this year. Thank you for your encouragement and your strong arms. Thanks for letting me vent and crab and cry when I feel alone. Thanks for praying for my husband and for his friends.  Thanks for playing with my children; for wrestling with my son and throwing him around a bit. Thanks for being there for me, for them, and for us.

We love you and we will never forget.

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Hawaii!

This time last year, Jeremy and I were grasping for every moment together. We wanted to soak it up. So, in one of our starry-eyed conversations, we discussed a family vacation after he got back from deployment. Mmmmm….wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe an Alaskan cruise, or a trip down the coast to California?

We love to travel, but we are get-up-and-go-play kind of people. We “play” every weekend. We literally have not been on a vacation-like a real vacation-since our honeymoon.

That was almost 8 years ago.

That’s really sad.

The more I started thinking about this over the past year, the more I thought, “why spend $1000+ on going to St. Louis when Jeremy gets home, when we could spend $1,000+ on airfare to like…Hawaii?”

I knew it would be a tough sell, because hey, me and the boys aren’t the only ones who have missed, cried over, prayed for and really wanted to just hug Jeremy for a whole flippin’ year! But I decided it was time to pray about it.

And I did.

Then I told Jeremy about my idea (he said I was crazy) and I said, “hey, let’s just pray about it for a bit and see how we feel about it in a couple weeks”.

And we did.

Then, Jeremy agreed I was in fact, not crazy, and we decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! We knew our family and friends loved us and would forgive us for not stopping into the Lou right when Jer gets home. We have the money (thank you Uncle Sam for holding our extra cash for us for a bit), we have the time, we are on the west coast so we don’t have to fly all the way across the lower 48 to get there, our future is TOTALLY uncertain, but most likely we’ll be broke, homeless and unemployed (kidding…kinda). So we decided to do it.

We prayed about it a lot. I asked the Lord to give me peace/permission/the freedom to spend a giant (well, to us it’s giant) stack of change that could go into savings. We started the process of looking at places to stay in late March.

By April, we had found an amazing deal. But we were concerned that Jeremy’s leave dates weren’t very solid yet. We didn’t want to put all this money down on a place and buy airline tickets only to find out that leave dates had been changed. So, we lost the really good deal.

For a while we were really down about it and thought, “maybe we shouldn’t do this. Maybe this is overboard”. Then we prayed SOME MORE about it. That it would be clear and in our budget.

Literally that day, we found a place in Maui that was in our budget. We contacted the timeshare owner and asked for a steal of a deal. And – she gave it to us! AH! It is on Maui not too far from the Kaanapali Beach. It’s an Outrigger Resort called Aina Nalu and it looks so pretty! We got a 2 bdrm, 1 bath condo for 7 days!

Then, as contact continued, we found out that this gal is a Christian and she lives here in WA…up in Ana Cortes!

The next step was booking our flights. Tickets were looking pretty expensive. At least $600.00 per person! Then, I saw a deal through Trip Advisor (for Hawaiian Airlines) that sounded really good ($197 per person per leg!). The flights were non-stop and they were at awesome times of the day. I called my best friend and “Hawaiian Expert Traveler,” Crystal, and she was shocked. She said she has never seen tickets that cheap. Never.

So, I bought them.

🙂 AHHHH! Girl scream!

I sit here typing this with an immensely grateful heart. This is crazy. It’s hard for me to feel awesome about spending such a huge chunk of change on a vacation. It seems really frivolous. But I feel like in all this, it will be a chance for us as a family to reconnect.  A chance for us to build up some new and wonderful family memories and stories.

Jeremy has been at war for 12 months. He has seen and heard (and smelled) terrible things. He needs to experience peace, beauty, rest, and joy. And I need to relish my children loving and breathing in their Daddy. (Not to mention time in the hot tub with that hottie!)

I’m so excited about this tremendous blessing. I cannot believe we are getting to do this. A lot of people I’ve talked with in passing have said to me, we deserve this trip.  I know they mean nothing but kindness in the sentiment, but I don’t feel like we “deserve” it so much as I feel like we have been richly blessed by it.  A lot could’ve have happened to make this impossible. But I truly believed the Lord orchestrated it.

And I am so grateful He did! Mahalo!