Author: crazdwriter

Strength Not Included

Strength Not Included

Walking down the aisle can change the life of any woman who decides to marry the love of her life. But what if that also meant moving to a new state in order to live, marry, and be a part of the military life? I was still in love with my high school sweetheart, even after we went our separate ways once we had graduated from HS back in 2001. And it seemed that fate had plans for us to be together even while I lived in California working and going to college to get my BA in Liberal Studies and Ryan was stationed out in Florida since he was a part of the Navy. We dated long distance, only communicating on the phone or through e-mails and on messenger. We had our ups and downs in our relationship but we wouldn’t let a thing like distance stop us from being together. We knew in our hearts that we belonged together. Before I graduated college, Ryan flew out to surprise me, my parents having been in on the plan the entire time and having tricked me into believing that we had to pick up my godparents at the airport. Apparently on one of his prior visits, he had asked my parents if he could ask for my hand in marriage, which I believe to be a romantic gesture. When I aw that we were picking up Ryan from the airport and not my godparents, I was truly excited to see him and a bit annoyed at my parents for having keeping this a secret from me. But the next day, he took me to his favorite spot in La Jolla on the beach, sat me down on a rock not too close to the crashing waves but close enough to make it beautiful, got down on one knee as he spoke of always wanting me in his life and always loving me, pulled out the box, and popped the question. I told him yes, kissed him deeply after he had placed the ring on my finger, and couldn’t be happier.

Ryan Gordon is a smart, loving man and I couldn’t wait to become Mrs. Gordon. What I didn’t know and was a bit nervous about was would I be strong enough to not only be his wife but a part of the military life? All I had ever known was my life in Poway, California and living with my parents while working at a Preschool and attending to college. I had never lived on my own, never dealt with bills or having to buy my own furniture or anything like that. Now here I was graduating from college and not only stepping out into the real world but also moving the day before my birthday in July of 2007 to be with him.

I wasn’t just moving out of my parents’ house either, I was moving across the ocean to live on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawai’i. Nervous was the understatement of the year of how I was feeling when I said my last good bye to my crying parents and stepped through the metal detectors at the airport. I took in a deep breath, wiped away my own tears, and made my way to my gate with my shoulders back and my head held high. I had made my choice and I was going to go through with it no matter how scared I was or how uncomfortable flying made me because waiting for me was a very special guy. I remember watching planes landing or taking off and growing more and more scared mixed with excitement until it was time to board. My heart began to hammer inside my chest but I walked onto the plane, took my seat, and clung to the armrest.

I was finally on my way to not only my new life but my new world, the world of moving from state to state with a smile on my face and support and love in my heart for my busy military husband. Ryan picked me up at the bustling airport and once I laid eyes on him, I couldn’t help myself. Buckets of tears spilled from my eyes and all he did was hold me close, kiss the top of my head, and told me that no matter what happens in our life together, he will always be by my side. We made our way through the unfamiliar streets of Oahu, though I had been there once before with my parents but that had been back in 2001 after I had graduated high school, and then a second time in order to visit Ryan before he popped the question, and went to our first apartment together. Ryan had already made plans to rent a house in another part of Oahu so that we would have more room but it was a nice apartment at the time. I moved my things in, unpacked since we would live there until we married in September, and I plopped down on the couch, staring around at me quite flustered since I still wasn’t sure I was ready for such a huge step at the age of 23, the next day turning 24. The biggest decision I had ever made was going to college in order to become a teacher and now I was in a new state with my future husband, jobless, and scared.

I began to send out my resume right away because not even two weeks after I moved and settled into my new life, Ryan had to go out on the ship that he was attached to for training. When he told me this, my heart felt as if it were going to stop completely and kill me right then and there. But I took in a deep breath and told myself, ‘I can do this. He will only be gone for a little over a month, more like a month and a half but you can still do this. Just concentrate on your writing and finding a job.’

For my birthday, we had gone to the humane society and we adopted our first kitten together, a sweet tortoiseshell named Sasha. She would keep me company while he was deployed and I couldn’t be any happier. I adopted another kitten later in our marriage that I named Shadow before he came home form deployment in July/August 2008 after I had emailed him and asked of course. I didn’t want to do anything without Ryan’s consent first because I wanted him to be happy and in the know as well even if he was so far away.

September 22, 2007 was such a beautiful day! Not many clouds in the stunning blue sky and the beach that we were on was so peaceful that I couldn’t believe that we were on Oahu. My parents, brother, his friend Brandon, and my godparents flew out to help us celebrate our day. Then once the festivities had finished and they had left, a few months later, right after thanksgiving actually, he was deployed again though this time it was for 7 long months. I remember him asking if I would want to go back to California but I said no, that I wanted to stay there. I had just accepted a teaching job and I wasn’t going to let my loneliness or the fear of being by myself with just Sasha, and later Shadow, get the best of me. The day I had to say good-bye to my brand new husband I could feel myself change inside more. My heart pounded in my chest again, tears welled up in my eyes, but I felt different, stronger and I knew then that I was ready to face this challenge head on.

First, I had to leave my parents and friends behind, and then I had to stay behind to work and live on an island with no friends and a few family members that I had never met before and barely knew but I was going to take on this life head on with flames in my eyes and confidence in my heart. The 7 months rolled by, not as fast as I would have liked, but he came home and we could live together happily. We moved after that, back to California and were stationed more up north since he was working in Long Beach. We lived first in Anaheim then moved down to Oceanside since he would be taking orders down in San Diego after Long Beach. Originally we were going to have to move to Illinois but those orders fell through so in California we stayed.

It’s not easy moving and finding work but I did it with the help of my wonderful husband. Then while living in California, heartache and sadness came into our lives as we decided to try to start our family. We wanted our happy two to become an even happier three. But it was very hard, and I mean heart crushing hard, as I battled to carry a baby full term. Before the military doctors stepped in to help we had to try for a year and we did, suffering with two miscarriages. I felt my strength that I had been collecting over the years slowly slipping away along with my hope of ever becoming a mother. We talked to the infertility doctor finally and I was put on shots that I had to give myself at home as well as taking Clomid in order to help me but it wasn’t working the way I had hoped. I was considered a mystery infertile as the doctors had branded it since they had no answers as to why I couldn’t carry full term. After the third attempt on the medication and IUI, I did become pregnant but it ended in another miscarriage. THREE miscarriages that I couldn’t control nor could my heart or his heart take but even through it all Ryan kept up hope.

Everyone was distraught for me and I just wanted to give up; my strength was deflating fast. But Ryan wouldn’t allow it and a couple of months after my third miscarriage; we found out that I was pregnant again. I feared for the worse since I had already lost three other babies but on December 28, 2013 we gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Kierra.

After picking new orders, we sold the condo we had bought a few years before in Oceanside, and made our trek across country to Ryan’s new duty station in Virginia Beach, Virginia. And when I said we made our trek cross country, I meant it. We drove from California to Virginia, only stopping to eat, use the restroom, sleep, and to sometimes comfort our not even 1-year-old daughter when she became upset. We rented a house in Virginia, that didn’t turn out so well so we rented a different house with a new better manager, and truthfully even with the cold weather and snow, all three of us loved it out there. Kierra was able to grow into a social butterfly thanks to her going to MyGym as well as staying in childcare whenever Ryan and I attended Military events or functions. We lived there for three years and enjoyed every minute of it, doing new things, hiking more, and having a great time as a family. We made a few friends with those who worked with Ryan and we still chat on Facebook but I definitely miss being able to see them in person. And truthfully I miss taking our daughter to Ryan’s work where she can run around and chatted with the other people working, making them smile and have a better day. Before we left for new orders, we had tried again for another baby but that ended in a fourth miscarriage, more talk with infertility, and a plan to just wait since we didn’t want to go through the treatments right before we had to move for new orders.

But then the time came for new orders to be picked and we are back in California, back close to our family and friends, and we even welcomed our second miracle rainbow baby, another daughter we named Cara. We may be sleep deprived but we are making it work and we love that our little three is now a family of four. Even Kierra is excited to have a little sister and has been such a big helper for us.

My life has been quite a roller coaster, still is with me getting back into writing my stories and pushing forward with getting published, but I wouldn’t have my life any other way because I have at my side the kindest, gentlest, most wonderfully loving man as my husband and father to my children. I may want to change a few things and had done some things differently but the one thing I would never change is getting back together with Ryan and marrying him. He is my love, my friend, and my strength and I hope that I can return that favor in being his strength whenever he needs it. Life isn’t easy and never will be easy but that challenge I face head on with my own strength that I had never known I had before I married Ryan and the strength from my husband and my family and friends.

When we are born as babies, strength for hardship isn’t included; we only come equipped with the strength to live. We have to grow up and gather that strength for the hardships to come and let it mix with the strength to live in order to make life worth living. My life is worth living because of my family and friends but even more so because of my best friend, my husband, Ryan. I love him with my whole entire being and soul and wouldn’t be where I am without him. I will continue my trek in the world of writing and getting published even though I am afraid but knowing that I have Ryan beside me, readily giving me strength, I won’t give up until I can see my published books on shelves in bookstores and for sale on Amazon. And I can’t wait to see where else life takes us as we walk hand in hand together with not just each other now but also with our two beautiful daughters.

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Mermaid Crystal Cove

Mermaid Crystal Cove

Thin clouds slowly march across the yellow, orange, red, and slowly deepening blue sky as a lone figure steps out of a small cottage that sits high on a cliff. The light spring breeze pushes back on the figure’s midnight blue cloak and brushes back some long auburn hair from a pale slender face. A pair of sea foam green eyes peers down the cliff as the young woman steps close to the edge of the cliff, staring down into the angry waves below. Water sprays upwards at her, beckoning her to jump, to join the water, and to disappear underneath the cold ocean.

She can hear a voice behind her, a slight smile playing across her lips as she hears a male voice telling her to be careful near the edge. She turns away from the cliff, the breeze pushing her hair out from under her cloak and across her face as she watches a young man with shaggy brown hair pull on a deep forest green cloak over his shoulders, shielding himself from the growing night breeze, covering his crème colored shirt and dark brown pants. He waves at her to wait for him before she does anything crazy. She laughs, the laugh twinkling lightly like bells mixing with the crashing waves below her. She waits for the man to join her on the edge before she slips off her cloak and hands it to her beaux. He kisses her cheek as he takes the cloak and takes a step backwards in order to give her some room.

The woman turns on her bare heels to face the edge of the cliff, spreads her arms up high over her head, whispers a few words to the goddess of the waves, and leaps forward off of the cliff, making sure to push herself far away from the rocks that are jutting out on the cliff’s side. The man glows proudly as the woman plunges into the dark swirling waters below, the ocean engulfing her body completely. She rises above the surface moments later from the curling waves and looks up to see her love staring down at her with a smile on his face. She waves to him then points to the left of him where a path will lead him down to a small cove that is protected from the ocean yet is fed by ocean water and where the water sparkles like crystals under the pale glowing moon. He acknowledges her with a short wave then heads off down the path, her cloak swinging over his arm with the movements.

Once he reaches the end of the path, he slips his cloak off and places his and hers on a low dry tree branch from one of the few trees that scatter around the cove so that they wouldn’t get wet while he and his love sits in the cove. He walks to the nearest boulder that is next to the crystal blue water and sits down, his deep brown eyes watching the still surface as he waits. Soon a head emerges and two sea foam green eyes beam up at him, her long hair fanning out behind her on the water’s surface. He chuckles as she swims closer, lifting her nude body up out of the water until she is leaning on a rock that is slightly submerged below his seat. She pulls her hair over her shoulders and gently runs her fingers through it as she looks back towards the mouth of the cove that enters the crazy ocean beyond it. The water’s surface ripples again and more faces appear, swimming over to the rocks in the water in order to sit down, slipping up out of the water to sit on the still sunned warm rocks while others stay floating in the water, their colorful eyes on the man and woman. The moon beams dances along blue, green, red, purple, turquois, and orange tails as the mermaids and mermen of beyond the Crystal Cove settle in for their nightly story.

The man nods to his friends and pulls out a well-worn notebook, and flips it open to the page where they had left off the night before. He clears his throat and continues to read the fantasy story he has written himself about far off places where humans live in tall buildings and get around by driving strange things called vehicles. The mermaids and mermen listen to every word, as the stars seem to lean in closer to also hear the incredible story. Soon the moon nudges those below as he rises higher in the sky, and the man finishes his story, promising to write the next day a new story about humans and how they have learned how to fly in giant metal birds in his made up world. He says his goodbyes as he stands, shoves his story into his back pocket, and then leans down to pick up his mermaid from the waters, her lavender tail swishing back and forth as he carries her back to the path. The woman grabs their cloaks as they pass the tree where they still hang and the couple retreats home for another night, the cove behind them growing still after the last mermaid swims back into the sleepy ocean to return to their underwater kingdom for the rest of the night.

Driving Cross Country Series- #2

Driving Cross Country Series- #2

Well now that you have everything from your lists taken care of, what do you do now? What my husband and I did was sit down and Google all of the places that we wished to see along the way on our drive from Virginia to California. And yes we even made a list of the places we wished to see so that we could pick and choose which ones to do on this trip and what places to save for another time. We finalized our list of places to drive to along the way for a nice family trip, allowed our daughter put in her two cents since it made her feel like she was apart of the planning experience, and we were ready for the day to come when we would hit the dusty trails. We had a blow up mattress and a blow up couch from Wal-Mart that we used until we had to pack the car and leave. We said our good byes to where my husband used to work and to the friends we had made, piled into our van, and headed out of Virginia Beach with a car full of bags and other materials that we had to keep for cleaning the house we were renting. Our daughter had her own bags up front by her car seat where she could grab them and play with her iPad, read some books, play with the mess free coloring books, and her stuffed toy friends that she had picked to take with her as her entertainment. We had a cooler and bags of snacks behind the passenger seat so that we can easily have access to drinks and food along the way. My husband and I would make sure to take turns driving and napping so that we didn’t wear ourselves out with just one of us driving all day long. Always make sure that you share the responsibility in the driving. It will make the trip a lot more fun and enjoyable. Also as the passenger, make sure that you have the camera ready at hand and take pictures. The pictures might not seem like much or might be boring to some but to you and your family, they will mean something because you took them while in the car and outside of the car when stopped at one of your destinations that will remind you of the great adventure that you all went on together as a family. Capturing memories as they say.

Another important factor to make this road trip a good one besides having fun destinations and a camera is to make pit stops. Even if you don’t feel that you need one, other people in the car may need it and whether you think you do or not, you definitely need a stop and stretch your legs. It may make the trip seem longer but it will help you especially if you have kids who have to sit trapped in a car seat for hours on end. Their little legs are just dangling there, they may need to go potty, and yes they will get bored so a bit of distraction like getting out of the car will help them readjust to being back in the car for a bit longer. And of course make sure you always stop for gas and/or snacks and drinks when needed. Have an envelope in your car where you can store your receipts if you are military because it makes it so much easier on you or your SO, whichever is in the military, to turn everything in so that you can be reimbursed at the end of your trip.

To entertain yourself as the driver as well as your passenger, pick out some good long audiobooks in genres that you both like. An audiobook can definitely help the time go by if someone is napping in the car or if you two just wish to listen to something other than music from the radio or from Pandora or whatever else you listen to for music. Make sure you’re listening to something child appropriate or have your little one wear headphones and play on their iPad. Our daughter loved playing ABCMouse.com or PBS kids on her iPad, both great learning tools, while my husband and I would listen to our audiobooks or music or just chat. It was so much easier that she had so much to do in order to keep her entertained. Though there were times when she would complain about being bored or wanting to get out of the car and it’s those moments you find a rest stop or another place to stop, pull off the road, and let her out so she can stretch and get some fresh air. Then she was ready to jump back into the car and go, go, go.

Do what you can to make the trip as pleasant as you can for yourself as well as for the others you are traveling with so then the trip can go smoothly and without too many things going wrong or hopefully with nothing going wrong at all.

Remember- have a camera, take lots of pictures even if they might not seem remarkable to anyone but you and your family, have music and audiobooks to listen to, have plenty of games and other items for your child or children to play with so that they can stay entertained, have food and drinks close at hand in the car, make pit stops even if you don’t feel like you need them since someone else might need them especially your kid(s), and have an envelope in order to store all of your receipts that you collect while on the trip.

Driving Cross Country Series- #1

Driving Cross Country Series- #1

Imagine this! You’re a military family, having lived in a place for nearly three years, and it’s time for new orders. So what do you do? Well after you have decided together hopefully where you wish to go for your next duty question, that’s when you should whip out the notebook and begin to make lists. Yes you did read that right; I did say to make lists. Lists about what to have packed by the movers, lists about what you will need to keep out until you are ready to leave the house you are renting or own, lists about realtors if you plan on selling your house and who can help get your place sold quickly or if you decide to rent which property managers you would talk to about renting out your home, lists about what you wish to sell online or in your garage sale if you decide to have one, lists about what clothes to keep out for yourself, your SO, and if you have a kid or kids, what you will keep out for them. Lists about what you have in the house including your household items might always be a good idea since we know even in the military our belongings get stolen quite often or somehow “misplaced” from the truck to the warehouse where they are stored until you have found a new place to live at your new duty station. Lists about what needs to be cleaned in the house, who to call for cleaning your floors (especially if you are in a rental), and what might need to be repaired before you can sell/rent/leave your rental house, condo, or apartment. Even have lists about what you wish to pack in order to keep yourself entertained on either the flight or driving (we chose to drive cross-country but more about that later) as well as what you wish to take to keep the kiddies entertained. And last but not least, make sure that you have a list of snacks that you, your SO, and your kids like so that when you do a little food shopping you can stock up on those oh so important snacks that everyone will enjoy, on a car trip. If you are flying, then you might not need to remember this list.

So now that you have your lists in hand, you can begin to go through your clothes and your other items to decide what should go and what will stay. Broken things go in the trashcan, items that need mending maybe put off to the side so you can finally get them mended, and just keep going for those next several days, getting rid of items, making sure that your items to be packed are ready to go for once the overs get there, and your clothes and other items you will be taking in the car or on the plane with you maybe stashed off to the side so that you can easily pack them up once the time comes. The best way to be prepared is to make lists, have a plan, and execute said plan in the days to come until you have to say adios to the state or country that you are currently living in and hello to the new state or country you have decided to make your new home for two, three, four, several years.

Making lists have always helped me because when I didn’t make lists, I would think of everything that we had to do before we left and I became way too overwhelmed and couldn’t function right. It also helps my husband to see what has been done and what still needed to be done so that he can pitch in to help out. Our four-year old daughter, who was three years old when we decided to drive cross-country from Virginia to California just last year, helped as much as she could. She would grab things she wanted to keep for the car trip out and we would have her little bags where she could pack everything inside. She actually was a good little helper for her mommy as her mommy buzzed around the house getting things ready. I also liked having lists in hand because then it was a motivator for me to not wait and to not procrastinate until the last-minute to get something important done like selling certain items we didn’t need any longer but worked great or cancelling our daughter’s MyGym class ASAP. So I have come to rely on lists for the military life as well as other aspects in my life. I even have a list for this blog series I am about to write about our trip from VA to CA. Of course, we did the same trip three years ago last October from CA to VA and our daughter wasn’t even one yet but I decided to do this trip because we didn’t stop in many places on the first trip since my husband needed to get back to work as soon as we were moved into our rental house in Virginia Beach so there wasn’t much time for us to make any stops except for at night and to sleep and for pit stops during the day. This second trip across country was more eventful and quite fun for all of us because we had decided to slow down, take in some sights along the way, and actually enjoy the car trip.

So remember whether you are military or aren’t military but planning a trip for vacation or moving, make your lists so you can check everything off as you go! Lists are quite fun to make and helps keep you on track with time crunches, packing, and anything else you might need to add to said lists for your vacation or move to go smoothly and hopefully help iron out any hiccups that might happen, since we all know that those happen from time to time.

As I had said earlier, this blog is just the first of many in a series that I will write that will include strategies for driving cross-country, especially with a little one, and talking about the places/states that we have stopped in along the way as well as with reviews of said places that we had stopped to enjoyed and reviews on the places where we stayed in at night (hotels and motels a like). So sit back, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and enjoy the cross-country trip of this military family as we make plenty of stops along the way from Virginia Beach, VA to San Diego, CA.