A good way to start off 2006

Soldiers' Angels

Through my affiliation with Project Valour-IT, I became enamoured with Soldiers' Angels. It is a wonderful organization and one that I could easily support wholeheartedly. I became a HUGE fan of theirs after Hurricane Katrina hit and they turned their efforts toward helping out servicemembers who were affected. The more I learned about Soldiers' Angels, the more I wanted to get involved.

Now, I am not one to make resolutions. But becoming a Soldiers' Angel was definitely something I wanted to put on my "TO DO" list for 2006.

And now I can check it off! I signed up this evening to become a Soldiers' Angel. I'm currently waiting to hear back on my application and find out who my Soldier will be. I realize that doing this is not a big deal to many but it's what I can do and I plan to do it well. My BIL will be wrapping up his deployment in a few months and it will be a few months after that before MacGyver makes his way over to that part of the world. So this is perfect timing.

Compassion's OK, But Please Hold the Pity

by Emily J. Bari

I was perusing the National Military Family Association's website and came across this piece:

The fact that my husband is on military deployment in Iraq does not make me unfortunate. I don't enjoy being the poster child for pity.

When my husband, Dan, left for a deployment to Iraq with the Minnesota Army National Guard 10 weeks ago, I became a bit of a celebrity. As the wife of a deployed soldier, I experienced an outpouring of handshakes, hugs, e-mails and phone calls.

Yet as the first couple of weeks passed, I felt physically drained as I was emotionally adjusting to Dan not being around. My fatigue forced me to slow down the pace of life, and my senses heightened as my mind began to relax. I would write to Dan about every drop in temperature; the multiple shades of red, orange, and gold that appeared with autumn; and my delight in the season's first tasty cup of rich hot chocolate. But there was something else I noticed.


If you've ever been through tough circumstances, perhaps you've also noticed that compassion and pity are two emotions that evoke very different facial expressions, motivations and actions.

Although my closest friends, family members, and brothers and sisters at church continue to support me as they always have, it's become apparent that some people relate to me as if I were a crippled wife and an unfortunate woman.

When people ask me how I'm doing, some expect a conversation dripping with despair. They even seem disappointed when, instead of sharing depressing stories of unimaginable loneliness, I simply tell them I made two big pancakes for dinner last night and I figured out how to fix the squeaky dryer.

A military deployment is indeed a very difficult lifestyle adjustment. I cried my heart out when I realized the bed sheets no longer smelt like Dan. I turn on radios and televisions in multiple rooms because sometimes it's too heartbreaking to listen to the silence. Without my husband next to me, I often feel exposed.

Yet there is a misconception that having my husband away on a military deployment makes me unfortunate. Please do not consider me unfortunate! Consider, just for a moment, that I might be incredibly blessed.

First, I married a man with extraordinary courage and dedication, a man who loves me so well while so far away, and a man I can wholeheartedly flaunt to my future children as a hero.

Secondly, personal character is tested in mediocre amounts when driving in rush hour or waiting in the urgent care clinic lobby. While every circumstance is a test of character, my situation has thrown me into the deep end of the character pool. I'm on a journey that is unveiling a beautiful level of self-confidence. I believe that I am at a time in my life where God has my full attention to teach me what he feels I need to learn.

So do not pity me. Have compassion for me, encourage me and help me if you want. I will do the same for you. My circumstances may be demanding from time to time, yet I have never fallen from grace into a forgotten, subpar state of being. I, most definitely, am not unfortunate.

What a wonderful piece. We are getting ready to experience our first deployment and sometimes I worry that I am going to fall to pieces in the beginning (and I might...who knows?). But I also know that, once I get past that first awful stage and start getting my family into a routine that will sustain us through the year, things will be ok (for the most part...). I don't know that I could handle pity. I suspect I will be having enough of my OWN pity parties...I doubt I'll need anyone else's help.

In other news...

We found out today that MacGyver's brother will be going in for surgery on the 20th. I'm not sure what lesion/mass/tumor they will be "addressing" at that point but prayers are always welcome. He looked wonderful while we were there over the holidays and he was recovering from the last round of chemo really well (as far as we could see). It was a wonderful visit and I'm really glad we made the decision to go.

Seems that our travelling curse (see HERE ) is still hanging around. MacGyver has come down with both the viral infection that the kids had as well as the Pink Eye that Little Man STILL has. The man doesn't get sick often but when he does...good grief! I'm hoping and praying that I will somehow AVOID this plague but I'm not holding my breath (though maybe I should be...).

That's about it for now.


- hfs

p.s. Thanks D for the spell check!

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