Hi! Welcome to my blog!I am so glad you stopped by for a visit, and I hope you find the posts to be either entertaining or at the very least informative. Being a military wife is as crazy as can be! It is full of joy and pain, ups and downs, and constant change. I will say my life is never boring, and despite all of the unique challenges that being a military family holds, I wouldn't trade my life for anything! While juggling the roles of mom, military wife, teacher, and artist, I just hope that there is enough laughter, love, grace, and mercy to forgive me those times when I drop a ball in the process of doing too much.
To Our Military Members, their Famiies, and especially my fellow Military Wives and Spouses- I wish to say to each of you: Thank you for your service and the sacrifices you make as you serve our country. God Keep and Bless You!
This Thanksgiving, take time to remember our Deployed Troops and their families! Not all service members will be home for the holidays; even with the return of the troops from Iraq, we do, we will, and we are going to have deployed military members spending the holidays far from home, in combat zones.
Join with me and my family as we pause to remember those who are missed and their loved ones who are missing them!
Participation in the 2011 Thanksgiving Place of Remembrace is easy! All you have to do is set an empty Place of Remembrace at your table, and when your guests gather to eat, explain it significance.
I never wore the uniform, no medals on my chest The band, it doesn't play for me, I am not among the Best. I do not march in cadence, I do not rate salute. I stand among the silent ranks, our devotion absolute.
If you've not worn my shoes, you do not know my story. I live a life of sacrifice, my reward a private glory. I've wept many silent nights away, I've kept the home fires burning. I've worried and I've waited, as world events were churning.
I've moved more times than you could fathom, left more people than you known. I've planted gardens round the world- very few that I've seen grown. I've grieved with new-made widows, and had my share of scares- when a ship or plane or man was down- and all I had were prayers.
I am not asking for your sympathy. (although appreciation would be nice) I did it quite on purpose though- I chose to sacrifice. I'll tell you a secret now, one you'd never guess. About the glory that is mine, it's just enough, no more, no less.
When you and I stand together as our national anthem plays. I'll fill with reminiscences of how I spent those days. I'll know the pain and joys again, I'll know freedom isn't free I'll know I've helped to pay the price
and that the anthem plays for me.
- Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer Wife of a United Stated Marine
Photography is a lesson in patience, timing, and opportunity. My tulip and butterfly shots are perfect examples of making the most of a brief moment. The first occured late in the afternoon, when for a period of twenty to forty minutes, the sunlight was natural, filtered, soft, and dappled. It is my most favorite lighting to shoot in and to work with. The drawback is, that when the light is like this, I have to work fast, because it doesn't last. I had to arrange and rearrange the flowers, shift the background, and read the lighting, all within a short period of time. When trying to create a gorgeous composition, each second and split-decision matters. Shooting the butterfly was all about observation and timing. The plants over which the butterflies were hovering weren't beautiful. They were simple garden weeds, lying at the base of paddock fences. Gardners would rip these flowers from their beds and most passing by wouldn't notice them. To photograph the butterfly, I had to choose an area with lots of flowers and wait, and wait, and wait. In my first attempts, I moved from clump to clump. I quickly learned that, as soon I moved from one clump to another,sure enough, a butterfly would land on the one I had walked away from in impatience. Impatience cost me an opportunity or what would have been a great piece. Waiting and observation seemed to be the recipe, in this set-up, for getting a great shot. It is said that life often imitates art; I find this especially relevent to my life. My current circumstances require me to be patient, observant, and open to opportunity. A friend of my recently shared with me that she was amazed how cheerful I am, despite facing deployment, a move, and relocation. She said that she sees that I just celebrate and live in the moment. She shared that I was inspiring her and challenging her to find joy in the everyday. I was deeply touched, but a little taken aback, because I don't view myself in those terms. Cheerful? Me? I think maybe a more appropriate sentiment would be pratical. I thanked my friend, but I confessed that any strength, patience, or cheerfulness came not from me, but from God above. You see, I am not patient by nature; I am an A-line personality who wants things done yesterday and done well and done properly. I know my personal weaknesses and my flaws; I just work everyday to overcome them. More importantly, I have a set of young eyes that are looking to me as a role model, absorbing my cues and my emotional vibes. Truth? I am not overly thrilled with any of my circumstances. If I could change any of them, from my husband's leaving for deployment, to moving, to being without family, I would. But, the facts are that I can't change my circumstances; what I can control is how I respond to the situations. Yes, I've cried; I've been anxious and worried and down. And, I own those feelings of sadness; I would be a heartless wretch if I didn't have them. However, I refuse to let the dark clouds hover for too long. I have my cry, take a deep breath, and move on with the tasks at hand. I choose to be cheerful, cheerfully resigned, perhaps, but positive none-the-less. For I know, just as when working with filtered light or photographing butterflies, I have to make the most of each opportunity as it comes. I haven't always been so accepting or so patient; I have my regrets, made plenty mistakes, and burned too many bridges. But, like a butterfly, I hope I've evolved and grown as I've matured. So, I choose to celebrate today. I also choose to make my move as positive and as fun of an adventure as it can be for myself and my child. When friends and family ask me how will we live in a home with no belongings? Or, what will I do, if, when my husband comes home, and our house hasn't sold? I respond, "I don't know- I'm not there yet." What I do know is that the yesterday can't be replayed, tommorrow isn't here yet, and today is what needs tending to and needs my attention. And, I also know, that whatever happens, God's timing, the moment, the opportunity will be just what I need. All I need is to be patient, aware, and cheerfully resigned.
To ALL Military Spouses Dealing with their First Deployment!
Oprah is creating a new documentary and is looking for military families to participate! Read the invite below for the qualifications and contact information!
The Oprah Winfrey Network will be creating a segment centered around military veterans. Currently, they are looking for men and women whose spouse or child is about to return home from Iraq or Afghanistan for the first time! If you would like to speak more with us about this, please contact Liz Lo via email at email@example.com or call Liz directly at 917-291-0538
Good Luck and Happy Homecoming!!!
A Very Special Wish
Hi! I received this very special wish from a young lady whose dad is deployed. She is asking for much needed items to send to her dad's unit. I know that many of us are already stretched financially, but I am asking you, would you considering sending her a few of the items on her list?
The following items are needed:
hygiene items, art supplies, adult compact games (like cards, dominoes, or board games) calling cards, cross-word puzzles, Sudiko books, Mad magazine (or other magazines) , hangers, coffee, and socks.
Alocohol, tobacco products, and X-rated, adult content material are all prohibited items and cannot be sent to the troops.
If you would like to help Alexandria, contact me to receive instructions on how to donate. Thank You!
Thanks to all who supported Alexandria's Dad during the holidays! The unit received over 80 boxes- making a memorable Christmas for our homesick soldiers!
Help a Military Family In Need!
Received the following request from a soldier on behalf of a military family who lost everything in house fire yesterday.
The family is physically fine, but they are left with only the clothes they were wearing! If you would like to help this single dad and his daughter, than please contact me via email.
Donations, clothes, household items, books, and toys would be greatly appreciated.
If you have always wanted to help a military family and soldier in need- this would be an excellent place to start!
Please Read Shawna's Story! She is a military wife, and due to childhood illnesses, she had to have both legs amputated. She does not have family near, and she has few friends to help her when her spouse, Alex, deploys. Her only source of transportation is her wheel-chair, but she is dreaming of a day when she can be more mobile. She is trying to save money to buy a specially adpated mini-van- with a hefty $30,000 price tag. The family lives on one income, and Shawna is hoping to raise the funds through donations. So far, she has received $900. If you would like to help Shawna or learn more about her, please visit the family, please visit Shawna's website at
If you would like to Wish Our Wounded Well, send them a get-well card, or Wish Them a Merry Christmas, than look no further! There is a wonderful angel who delivers cards year-round to our Wounded Warriors, and she would be happy to place your card in the hands of a recovering military member!
Please send all cards addressed to the following:
P.O. Box 122037
Covington, KY 41012-2037
All Cards MUST be addressed to her, because the post office cannot deliver general cards addressed to "Wounded Warrior", "Any Soldier" for security reasons! This is not a scam! Robin and the amazing support she provides our Wounded Warriors is real! Thank You Robin, for making our wounded warriors' days a little brighter!
Sweet Treats (September)
It's September, which means only one thing! Summer is drawing to a close and fall is right around the corner! I can almost smell the cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin spice, and nutmeg that will be filling the air! In anticipation of fall: The Recipe of the Month is posted below:
Spiced Apple Cider
This delicious warm drink is as refreshing and crisp as a cool September day, sure to delight any looking for something yummy to sip on a chilly day!
1 Quart of either Apple Juice or Apple Cider 1 Cup of Orange Juice 8-12 oz. of Pomegrant Juice 3 TBS honey 1 TBS cinnamon 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/8 tsp cloves or allspice 1/8 tsp ginger
Stove Top: Using a heavy duty, large saucepan, mix all liquid ingredients together. Add spices. Warm over low heat, until the cider barely simmers. Do not Boil! Divide into 6-8 mugs, Serve Immed. and Enjoy!
Kirsten's Cleaning Tip of the Month:
To clean the coffee pot: Add 2 Tbls of white wine vinegar to one full pot of clean water. Brew as though making your coffee. Empty pot of hot water. Refill the carafe with cold, clean water and brew again (this time without the vinegar)/ Repeat once more! Now your coffee pot should be disenfected and sparkling clean!
Do you have any useful cleaning tips, advice, or solutions? Send a suggestion and you may see your tip posted on the blog!
From My Home: Silly Bits of Nothing
Daughter- Mom, I want to buy a website for my school project. It's only five dollars a month, and I will cancel it after the first month." Me: Great! Give me $5 and I will order you your website! Daughter: But, I don't want to pay for it!