Hello, Goodbye

On september 18th, I set a reminder in my iPhone calendar for two days after Andrew’s deployment began. Time, 7PM-8PM. Alert, ‘At Time Of Event’.

“Blogging this deployment – memory about sitting on the floor of the Tijuana Airport eating pizza Pringles at 12:24 am..blog the deployment and everything you did on the trip'”.

I suppose as I thumbed this event into my phone, I surmised that detailing the events of our last hurrah in Cancun before ‘D’ day and seamlessly beginning a new wave of consistent bloggery would be good for my mental health. I sat on the floor of the Tijuana airport with Andrew, waiting for our 1:23am flight to the Yucatan, eating the aforementioned Pizza Pringles, promising myself that I would blog it up in the near future.

Well, here we are 3 months later with my first post since August 2016 (yikes). You know what though? I’m happy that I didn’t feel the need to start writing immediately after Andrew’s departure – and whether I felt the need or not, I haven’t really been afforded the time. I am so thankful for that. The weekend after the hubs sailed away, I had some college friends come out and visit (what up Evan and Katie!) which really couldn’t have been timed better, and then it was a balance between launching a huge product, and flying all over the country for it. Pepper in some holidays and before I knew it, Christmas was right around the corner.

With work being as busy at it has been lately, I knew that if I were going to make it to a port call, it was going to have to be over Christmastime. As you can see, the Good Lord shined down on me and I was able to receive some very favorable dates in the Christmas time-frame (in code of course) from Andrew. Since the holiday season is a time of love, peace, and joy – naturally the airlines like to take this opportunity to hurt your finances as much as possible. Anytime between December 14th and January 12th the flights were almost exactly double. As I started to search through flights online, I was getting more and more certain that I would in fact be Andrew’s Christmas present and any ‘sugar plums’ dancing in Andrew’s head as he dreamt would have to wait. After convincing a friend from work, Lindsey, to come with me on the trip (her hubs is deployed on the same ship!) we started to framework out a plan to make it happen.

Long story short, we opted for a time frame that put us in the middle east a day before we expected them, and two days after – as we are both well aware, things rarely stay consistent with the good ole Navy. (Navy spouses, can I get an Amen?!) We booked flights, and planned excursions, doing our best not to get too excited that it would actually work out.

At 7:00PM Thursday December 21st, we left San Diego to drive up to Los Angeles for our 12:05 am flight. What followed was a greuling 31 hours of travel.

Step 1. Drive to ValuePark LAX

Step 2. Take Shuttle to Bradley International Terminal

Step 3. Check-in and security

Step 4. Take 15 hour flight to Shanghai

Step 5. Take 12 hour flight to Dubai

Here’s where it gets interesting. After arriving in Shanghai, we assumed (since our boarding pass LITERALLY said Shanghai to Dubai on it) that we would go through the international terminals and board our flight to Dubai. We walked over to the international terminal and were stopped by airport security who told us to “go outside”. We asked why we would do that since we were going to Dubai, and he told us that we needed to go to the domestic terminal. I am no geography major, and my cartography skills are sub par, but last I checked Dubai UAE, is not a part of the People’s Republic of China. After 2 more broken English exchanges with notably the least helpful airport personnel I’ve personally experienced, we took matters into our own hands and discovered that we would in fact be flying to Kunming, China before eventually going to Dubai. Sweeeeet.

Step 5. Take 12 hour flight to Dubai

Step 5. Take 4 hour flight to Kunming

Step 6. Take 8 hour flight to Dubai

Step 7. Die of exhaustion

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.49.25 AM.png

Finally, we arrived in Dubai,  got into our hotel and both, naturally, passed out.

December 24th, today is the DAY! Heavy fog delayed the ship coming in (thanks water vapor), so we walked around the world’s largest mall, which surprisingly, was completely decked out for Christmas. Funny enough, I was wished Merry Christmas more times in the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim country, than I have been in the past few years in the United States. It felt odd, I have to admit.

Finally, the time came to head down to the Jebel Ali shipyard. We took the metro for about an hour South, passing out of the big and glamorous city, into a much more archaic land. The skyscrapers were replaced by humble buildings, the fountains replaced by empty desert. We got off the metro and found a taxi driver who took us the rest of the way to the pier. We drove through multiple security gates, showing our military IDs and passports, not sure of who the authority figures were. Finally we reached a shipyard with large shipping containers, and no signs. We got out of the cab and approached a white door a crowd was standing around. All the people told us to go in front of them, and enter in – what was on the other side was anyone’s guess at this point.

We opened the door, walked through, and I immediately saw a man in blue Navy MWUs. Relieved, I spoke with him to learn the process to get out to the pier. I’m not a huge fan of carrying a purse, so my Canon DSLR camera was slung over my shoulder in its gargantuan glory. It quickly caught the eye of security who were apprehensive about letting me into the USO with it, but somewhere in my eyes them must have seen that it had taken us a VERY long time to get here, and they let me pass. We walked through into what the locals call “the Oasis”.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.33.54 AMA square of shipping containers all surrounding black asphalt, covered with tents, which picnic tables and Andrea Bocelli Christmas music blaring. There was a decorated Christmas tree with two stray cats sleeping under it, and a red carpet for everyone getting off the ship to walk onto.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.34.55 AMIt actually made me a bit emotional, thinking about all the servicemen and women who would be spending Christmas in the Middle East without family and loved ones. Although the USO did an incredible job decorating, and making the best of it, it’s just not the same. We walked inside of one of the ‘offices’ and found a Filipino-American woman named Hazel inside. Sheepishly, I asked that since we were technically on a US military base, if we could hug and kiss our husbands once they got off the ship. (PDA is absolutely not allowed in the UAE, in fact couples have been jailed for it). Obviously we wanted to be respectful and mindful of the country’s laws, so when she started to giggle, we knew right then we’d get to give our Navy boys the greeting we had hoped for.

“You come all this way to Dubai to NOT kiss your husbands? Of COURSE you can hug and kiss them, go nuts! But only here.”

She continued on, “Out there? Not in public. Here, good..there (motioning with her hands) BAD!”

We were told the ship still had some time to prepare to let people off of it, but we could see the carrier had pulled in. A couple thousand feet away from me, buried beneath some metal walkway somewhere, was Andrew! I started to get butterflies in anticipation of seeing him. We waited on the benches for about an hour, and struck up a conversation with an EOD tech who had helped to clear the way for the ship to come in earlier that day. As we were sitting there, looking at the 8 or so stray cats, Hazel came up to us once again, shocked that we were not down on the pier. When we told her that the security office told us we had to stay in the Oasis, she laughed it off, exclaiming that we had made much too long of a trip to be sitting on the sidelines.

We walked over to the pier, and suddenly things got a lot more real. Carriers look big from afar. They look especially daunting when you’re about 100 feet away from them, and they are loaded up for war. You could see Helicopters, Jets, C2s, E2s, and gear all over the flight deck. The ship abuzz with life – every person with a unique and important function.

Now I’m getting pumped. This is happening. I have permission to lay a big wet one on him too! Yes!

We waited down on the pier for some time, and Lindsey saw her husband come off the ship, naturally ran over to him and embraced. Of course I was running from behind with her iPhone, thumb pressing the shutter button with great fervor. Another 20 minutes went by, and I was able to greet and hug a handful of other people I knew from flight school in Texas and Florida, other friends from different squadrons, as well as other Battlecats. Finally, I saw the face I’d been anticipating, adorned with a bushy mustache walking cautiously down the slick exiting ramp. Dodging a a truck that was backing up on the pier, I ran over to the base of the staircase and received the best hug I’ve had to date. I proceeded to kiss that mustached face, experiencing a bristly tickle I didn’t much care for.IMG_3155

The next 4 days were spent exploring Dubai, riding camels, dune bashing in a 1948 land rover, ascending to the top of the world’s tallest building and simply spending time together.

Our goodbye was quick, and unfortunately rushed (traffic in Dubai is no joke) and we risked a public hug and kiss in the street (thankfully no authorities were called!). It truly was bittersweet, but so much more sweet than bitter. What an awesome adventure.  It was the best Christmas present I could have asked for, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have been able to meet Andrew on a port call.

Thanks for reading, this one got a bit long-winded. Oh yeah, and Happy New Year! Cheers to all 2018 will bring.

Watch our adventure here!

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Salty 

Salt
There’s something uniquely humbling about vacationing in a place where laundry is done in river canals, streets are run amuck by crime and potholes, and 18 karat gold smiles greet you around every humid, sticky corner. 
It would be an understatement to say that as Americans, we are living a privileged life. This revelation was especially prevalent after seeing a country badly damaged by a major hurricane; the first to touch land in a decade. Interestingly enough, from Belize City to Dangriga Town, I have seen consistent gold and scattered teeth smiles, and bright grinning, joyous faces in a place where poverty is an overwhelming normalcy. I often hear stateside, “money doesn’t buy happiness”, yet greed is at the forefront of our culture. It is so easy to get caught in that deep tenacious longing for more money/materials-a stockpile of items to seemingly provide your worth. Talk to a local, or one of the boat captains of a small fishing vessel, they’ll describe a simple, life; one filled with smiles, joy and an uncompromising faith that everything will be alright.

 

How wretched am I to not behold consistent peace and thanksgiving in my privileged, more than comfortable American life. I am disgusted at the things that have upset me, I am ashamed for the ways I have reacted to minor situations. I am so thankful for the stories of peace and contentment found in the lives of Thelma, a hardworking mother of 8, or captain Eric Vasquez, a single father who trusts his 10 year old son will make it safely to the island he lives on 30 miles off the coast on weekends and holidays. Or perhaps Bol, the sweet tall teddy bear of a man, and the manager of Tobacco Caye Paradise who gave us the password to a less than reliable wifi signal and encouraged us to read the passage it correlated to-Proverbs 3:1. 
This trip was nothing less than a spectacular and at time terrifying adventure. Steph and I arrived separately, hours apart into Belize City, after waiting out Hurricane Earl in our respective airport terminals, mine Houston, hers Atlanta. I left San Diego at 7:30pm on Wednesday evening, flew to the Phoenix airport, and then onto Houston-arriving at 2:34am. I spent early Thursday morning wandering about and dozing in and out of consciousness on uncomfortable airport chairs. I eventually walked to my terminal where I befriended a Canadian girl, Mercades, and a girl from Oxford, UK, Evelyn, or Evie for short. After spending 14.5 hours in the Houston airport, Evie and I boarded our flight and went on our way to Belize. Steph had boarded her plane, and was about to leave when she informed me there was another issue (no captain) and left a little over an hour later. Evie and I began to plan what our game plan would be as originally we had both planned to head south that day, her to Placencia, Steph and I to Dangriga, and ultimately onto the Bocawina rainforest. 

After making it though customs, Evie and I began to formulate a plan, which eventually began to feel more and more bleak. The guy sitting next to us in the thick, hot and humid air asked us what our plans were for accommodations for the night, as no more planes were going out for the evening, and the busses had stopped running as well. Jacob became a part of our three person crew and we began to call hotels and inns nearby. We were warned by the locals to stay as far away from Belize City as possible, especially at night due to high rates of murder and crime. Jacob, Evie and I began to worry. Jacob was awaiting the arrival of his father, and I was awaiting Steph, and after they deplaned, we began to discuss our options. We settled on trying an inn down the street called Global Village. We grabbed a cab, along with a local man Jacob’s father, Seth had met on the plane. We began what was the sketchiest car ride I have ever had the pleasure of taking, dodging stray animals, fallen trees and an abundance of potholes. We aggressively passed several cars, including a police officer, which shocked all of us quite a bit. We pulled up to the Inn and there must have been 15-30 people sitting outside in the dirt parking lot and on the steps. They all looked at us as we drove in, and people rushed the car immediately to tell us there was absolutely no vacancy. Morale was low, and I could tell that we were all beginning to worry. Just then, the local man in the front seat told us he was a Belizean surgeon, who was the part owner in a hospital in Belize City. He then very matter of factory said, “No problem you will sleep in the hospital tonight. I’ll go there right now and speak to the charge nurse and get it all sorted out for you”. Next thing I know, after nearly being hit by 3-4 cars (our cab driver was dishonest, and terrible at driving) and overpaying for a cab ride, we are in a Belizean hospital ICU, using newborn baby swaddling cloths to dry ourselves after a very cold shower. Seth and Jacob took a room, and Evie Steph and I made it work between one hospital bed, a small pleather couch, and some cloth couch cushions strewn on the floor. Before having a terrifying thought that my organs would be harvested from me during the night, I locked the door and fell asleep, only to be awoken by an early alarm set to get us up and to the airport for the next step in our journey. 
We got to the airport and boarded an 8 person plane to Dangriga town, said our goodbyes to our traveling “family” and began a 25 mile car trek into the Bocawina jungle. After waterfall hikes, plenty of bugs, many laughs and incredible zip lining, we said our goodbyes to the jungle and headed to the reef. We boarded a very structurally questionable fishing vessel and went full speed into the open ocean for 25-30 minutes until we came upon the gorgeously secluded Tobacco Caye island. Hand shucked fresh coconut, delicious Belizean fare and clear warm salty water greeted us at every angle, at every hour. 
As I am sitting on a plane leaving the beautiful land of Belize with the politest and nicest people I’ve ever met I am filled with so much gratitude for the opportunity to be able to see other parts of the world and meet extraordinary people. Many, many blessings. Lord you took care of us and protected us so well, thank you thank you. 

fifty percent 

Half. 
Typically that number gets me pretty pumped; a percentage of how much I get to save on a cute top, or the amount of fries I steal from Andrew before he reminds me they’re ‘his’ (keep dreamin’ babe).
In this particular instance, half makes me wholly sad. Fifty percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. In school, that’s an F. And I agree, we are failing. The crazy part to me in particular, is this number includes Christian couples; people actively living by and believing in a God who gave us a Holy Book that tells us divorce is a sin and totally bums Him out. 
I’ve been trying to figure out why this number is so high, especially in this niche market of saints. Why are so many Christians contributing to that percentage when we’re supposed to be in a community that encourages and supports us?

I’ve boiled it down to two huge components: comparison and venerability.

When I first got married, I did a lot of comparing. A LOT. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I still occasionally do, but I’ve really toned it down. I compared myself to other married couples; some I had personal relationships with, others not. I began to build up resentment in my heart for my husband and my marriage because we didn’t have the picture perfect Instagram life, of the perfect ‘Christian” marriage.

I looked at the pastor and his wife, or other couples with 15, 20, 30 years of marriage between them and I compared. Why weren’t we doing this, or that, or whatever is was. How come we don’t have it together like _________&_________ do?! Eventually I figured out that it was stupid to compare myself to any other married couple, ESPECIALLY those with years and years more time married than I. Eventually I figured out that we are in a great place, and that I need to have more grace.

Ever notice that every Christian couple is ‘perfect’? They have perfect family lives, never fight, and completely have it together. Apparently. Because I’m yet to hear otherwise.

That, is a HUGE problem.

Why are we so afraid to be venerable with one another? We’re all going through life, never admitting that anything is less than perfect, seeing other people doing the same as well. Then, when we argue, and things are blowing up in our face, we think we are the only ones, and decide that we just weren’t meant to be together, and many separate because they believe they are alone. Well, you’re not!

I want to encourage you – single people, dating couples, engaged couples, married couples: life is SO much messier, chaotic, better, worse, happier, sadder than what most of us put out there. We have so much control of the perception we allow people to see (thanks Facebook and Instagram). However I want to make something clear. Andrew and I fight with each other, and we fight for each other. We’ve had days that felt hopeless, and days that have felt like pure bliss. That’s marriage! It’s a freaking roller coaster, but I’m happy to be on the ride.

If you ever need anybody to talk to, or listen I’m here. I will promise you one thing, I’ll be real, and I think that’s all that’s necessary.

Triangular Pieces in Circular Places

You know those toys you used to use as a kid? The one where you’d take a shape and insert it into the corresponding hole, notched into cheap white pine?

I’m pretty sure I only played with the “shape hole toy” when I was at the Dr.’s office as a child. I remember how gross those toys were, but especially this one. The laquer would wear off in certain places and a gray sticky resin would replace it. Yuck. This is not my point, so I digress.

This system of placing the shape in the wrong corresponding place has been a pattern in my life lately.

Married life: great.
Social life: great.
Work life: …

I checked all the boxes. Went to school, got a job, got another job, got another job.

I put all the right shapes in all the right places, so why am I feeling so unfufilled?

My friend Jen put it simply, “23 is a weird age to be.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

I keep seeing the people I know just in love with their jobs. Or in grad school. Or in Med school. Or in PT school. Or somewhere doing something following their passion.

Is medical sales really my passion? No. It’s not.

So what is driving my reason behind being here?
Well, the money is good, and the schedule is good, and it didn’t take any extra schooling to get here. There are days that I life with this tremendous regret that I never pursued my dream as a kid to become a Dr. And i know technically it’s “not too late”…but it kindof is.

There’s a lot of moving parts that would contribute to making Med school a reality for me; parts that would cause me to sacrifice greatly in areas of my life I’m not sure I can afford to.

23 is weird. I feel like I should have done more, should be accomplishing more, should be helping people more, should be contributing more.

This big old world has a lot going on, and I just wish I could find my place to best thrive in it.

_______________________________________________________________________________

I wrote the above on August 4th at 11:33 pm.

Praise The Lord, I am in such a different place!

Recently in my small group, we’ve been talking focusing on the things that unify people, and not the things that drive people apart. In a very similar sense, I’ve been given clarity about my vocation, and what God wants me to do with it. The truth of the matter is this: there’s a great big world before me, and there are square holes, triangular holes, heck maybe a few octogons here and there.

God has me in exactly the shape he wants me in. There is purpose to where I am within my job, and outside of it. What a great feeling! I prayed for clarity, and an understanding of a bigger picture and I’m getting it more and more. For this I am so very thankful. I’m especially thankful to be able to look at posts like the one above, and see the ways the Big Man upstairs has delivered me.

Finding purpose in the mundane 

I heard something the other day that just rocked my world.

When I was there, I just knew: this is where I’m supposed to be. This is where God wants me to be…

Something like this can stir up your emotion on a regular day, but after you have been questioning your career choices, and ambitions, this can really hit you hard. 

Even before I started college, I had given up on my dreams. I let doubt creep into my life, and convince me that I could never make it into med school. It would be too hard, it would cost too much, it would take all my time, I wasn’t smart enough etc. 

I sit here almost 5 years later thinking, what an idiot. My job entails me working with Doctors and medical professionals on a daily basis. Every time I walk into one of these places, I just feel this feeling of regret, and shame. I just sell things to the Doctors; I’m not a provider, I don’t make a real difference. 

My career ambitions in life have been fuled almost primarily by money. What I’m sadly, just now beginning to realize how unbelievably empty that is. 

I desire fulfillment and joy and passion, but I’ve traded it in for a paycheck with more zeros. You know what zeros are? They’re empty. 

I know and I’ve learned that Paul says in the New Testament, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10. But I’m not sure what this means for me right now. Should I be content with my career path, although I know it’s not my calling? Or should I go to a place that I can truly experience passion in my vocation? Who can know for sure. Not I! 

My prayer is for discernment in my opportunities, and strength to find job and purpose wherever it is the Lord has me. I’m listening, where do you want me to go? 

Screening Your Life Away

Recently I went to the Del Mar Fair and it was awesome. $2.00 got me exclusive access to see a really big horse (worth it), I had a gooey delicious cinnamon roll, and then got to see Switchfoot live in concert. It’s absolutely amazing to me that such complex rides, exhibits and games can all congregate and function in such a short period of time. Sure, the rims on the basketball hoops are so bent they’re impossible to make, and most of the rides should require signing a waiver before partaking, but there’s something truly magical about the fair.

It’s been a couple years since I’ve been to the fairgrounds, but something this year was distinctly different. There were tons of extra lights, but they weren’t coming from the food trucks, rides or exhibits; they were coming from everyone’s hands.

Everywhere I looked, there were bright little phones. Recording videos, SnapChatting, Facebooking, Instagramming: insert popular app here.

The human eye is undoubtedly one of the most amazing of God’s creations; able to visualize the world in a more complex way than technology will ever be able to, yet repeatedly I saw a conscious choice made in favor of a 4.7 inch screen.

It makes me wonder about my own ambitions behind going places and doing things. I love being active, and going to fun places, but if I don’t get a picture while I’m there, and post it to some platform, I almost feel like I didn’t complete the experience.

Why Is that? To me it seems like a deep human need for others to recognize us. In the past, this attention was received and exchanged via face to face experiences, we now have a larger platform to promote ourselves. We have handfuls of mediums to upload our experiences and be praised by people we haven’t seen since high school, or interacted with since sophomore year of college.

Did you go backpacking through Switzerland to experience another part of the world, or did you go to get some serious Instagram likes? It sounds ridiculous, I know. Of course you went somewhere great to experience it, but it almost seems like there’s such an effort to get that perfect picture uploaded that it distracts from the reality of where you are. Did you go there just to brag that you went there..or did you go there to educate yourself and create lifelong memories?

I AM SO GUILTY OF THIS IT SICKENS ME.

I don’t think it’s bad to take pictures. I do however think it’s unfortunate when I don’t take the time to stop and allow myself to be fully immersed in the moment. It’s a heart issue when I have an ambition to prove I was somewhere rather than appreciate the opportunity to be there.

It’s funny, immediately after I finish writing this, I’m going to post it on social media. How hypocritical! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to completely stop the love affair I’m in with technology, but I’m certainly going to take more responsibility for my internal motives behind why I post what I post.

Major Communication Error

I was a Business Communication major in college, meaning I’m an amazing businesswoman and communicator, right?

Wrong. Kind of. 

Professionally, I’d like to think I excel in these areas. I’ve had some career successes that I can completely attribute to my business communication savvy, but on a personal level, I’m starting to figure some areas of improvement.

Andrew impresses the heck out of me. The fact that he can go operate a 42.5 million dollar aircraft without killing himself or anyone else absolutely astounds me (also holy smokes that’s expensive). The amount of fun things he doesn’t get to do because he has to study emergency procedures, engine systems, and piloty stuff takes so much discipline, and he amazes me for it. I view him as this well oiled machine, a no-maintanence-required, brick wall of efficiency. 

Naturally, I’ve been assuming for some time that a person like that doesn’t really need too much emotionally. Certainly Andrew doesn’t need encouragement or help from me; he’s got it all together. Wrong!

Recently I’ve come to find out that I couldn’t be less correct, and there is a sad truth that men are being told from the time they are little. 

Being a pilot is hard. Probably. Obviously I don’t know from experience, but there’s so many buttons and gauges and knobs in a cockpit that each have a function, and they know what they all do! It blows my mind and it totally freaks me out. Anyway, it’s stressful and it comes home with you even after you leave the airstation. This, I do know from experience because I witness it on a daily basis. 

What I’ve learned recently is two huge things.

1. Just because somebody is strong, and modivated doesn’t mean encouragement, extra consideration and affirmation is not required. Andrew is great, but he’s not a robot. He’s a human that needs to know his wife thinks he’s super cool! As a partial communication major, often I haven’t been the greatest at expressing that sentiment. 

2. A lot of men are taught from an early age that being sensitive, emotional or asking for help means they aren’t masculine and they’re weak. To me, this is honestly one of the stupidest things that you could tell a man. Sometimes I think that some men are violent and abusive because they feel like they can’t vent and say what they need to say!  (Obviously that’s not the only reason, nor is it an excuse!). However, I’ve never been told I shouldn’t express myself, so you’re damn right I vent! It’s healthy! 

If you’re anything like me, you’re often thinking that nice stuff about your guy, but not saying it to him. Recently I’ve learned that’s not a good route if you want him to know how you honestly feel about him. He may not admit it, but that kind of affirmation is so crucial to his spirit. 
If you’re anything like My hubs, you’re just going to go through life without ever telling  me you want to know this kind of stuff! Why is it bad to ask for what you need? It’s not bad, it’s healthy! 

Marriage is so unique because there’s constant growth and change. Honestly I’d get bored if I had it all perfectly figured out. 

The Struggle & The Plan 

I had a great lead for a great job over the last two weeks. Boston Scientific Spinal Medical Sales. Pretty much exactly the route I wanted to take to start up my professional career in San Diego. 

I had two interviews, and was lead to beleive that I had the job “in the bag”. 

I got a call today from the hiring manager, and they gave the job to somebody else before I could have my final interview. 

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m now very frustrated, disappointed and stressed. I’ve been out of a job since the beginning of March, and it’s really starting to get to me.  

The house is clean, the dogs are walked, the laundry is folded, and I’m running out of things to do. 

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

This scripture comes to mind during these times where I’m struggling to find purpose, a position and hope for my future.

I need to have faith in God’s plan. Faith that the right opportunity will come at the right time. My hope for myself is that I can completely trust God during this time and beleive in the good that is coming for me. 

HOWEVER THIS IS REALLY FREAKING HARD AND I FEEL VERY INSIGNIFICANT RIGHT NOW. 

Ugh. One day at a time. 

Also, I am beyond happy to be in San Diego again. As much as it’s been frustrating to be out of a job, I’ve been able to once again appreciate the beauty of this place. I’ve been able to revisit the spots I spent as a child, an adolescent, and now as an an adult. I’m truly so lucky to be here, and I truly hope I don’t come off as unappreciative. 

I think I just honestly feel insignificant and purposeless without a job. It’s something I put my worth into, and maybe that’s why God isn’t giving me one right now. 

Woah, truth. That insight even shocked me. There’s no point in this blog unless I’m honest, so there it is. I feel like a loser without a job. 

But, He still thinks I’m important, and significant, and wonderful..and that’s what I need to grasp. 

Homeward Bound

Early this week Andrew and I decided that I would begin the long journey across the Southern United States Thursday, and he would head out Friday. Getting a head start on housing is a must! Although reluctant at first to be going alone, I was excited at the chance to get to San Diego as soon as possible. 

I set my alarm for 4:18, and went to sleep.

Andrew woke me up at 5:45 AM.

  “Brookie, it’s 5:45”

       “Ughhhh”

Turns out I set my alarm for 4:30 PM, rookie mistake. We woke up the dogs, dragged them into the backseat of my car (a real puppy paradise adorned with a soft bed and fresh bones) and went on our way.

When I left Florida at 6:00 AM, it was 70 degrees and humid. Naturally I decided to dress for the occasion. Jean shorts, a tee and a light jacket packed just in case. 

At the first gas station stop, I got out of the car to be ripped into by Antarctic sub zero, (I’m being dramatic, it was 37 degrees) bone chilling winds. The dogs jumped out of the car before I could even think, and thus began the first doggie disaster spectacular. 

I can only imagine what this must have looked like from the outside perspective.

9:00 AM tall pale girl, jean shorts and a white tee running around a parking lot chasing a beagle and a blue Heeler in 37 degrees and the rain in Mississippi.

After coercing the dogs back into the car, I scrambled into the trunk shaking from the cold, my face and hands numb, scouring for the first sign of warmth. I grabbed some rolled up sweat pants and threw them on over my shorts. 

I took the dogs over to the garbage ridden 6×6 patch of suicidal grass adjacent to the Kangaroo Gas Station and attempted to encourage the dogs to relieve themselves. Lots of smelling, not much peeing. Onto the next!

The first 6 of the 12 hours driving today it was raining. That was fun. No, actually no. It was not fun at all.

At the next gas stop I found another post-apocalyptic grass patch which seemed to entice peeing. But not without some, let’s call it encouragement. The outside perspective on This one was me in sweat pants at 12:00PM 43 degrees, yelling “PLEASE GO POTTY” while simultaneously spinning in circles and attempting to untangle myself from the two retractable leashes.

Also. uh hi..HAS ANYONE EVER HEARD OF CRUISE CONTROL!? I almost had some major road rage after I got cut off by just about every trucker on the road today, not to mention one truck wheel threw a hubcap right at me (swerving in the rain and no accident, thank you God!).

12 hours total and we made it to San Antonio! After a $75.00 non-refundable pet deposit (robbed) I got into the hotel room and fed the pups.

The hotel had a lot of nice grassy areas, even a designated grassy area just for the dogs! So naturally, Max walked right past that dog designated area and pooped in the freshly planted floral arrangements, right in the front of the hotel. Well done Max, well done.

After slipping in the only mud patch in the hotel’s outside vicinity, I got a hummus plate and a Naked Juice from the hotel and re-fueled a little.

 I think my hotel neighbors think I’m a really strict mother or overly aggressive wife. 

“NO, you can’t have my food!”

“Sit down!”

“You’re not allowed on the couch, or the bed!”

“QUIET!”

So, that was day one. Not a dull moment. I’m appreciative of all the little crazy things, the nutty dogs, and the adventures. Tomorrow we’ll do it all over again. 

reality, grace & fortunes

I have been afraid to post anything on this blog for a couple reasons. Since I clearly don’t know what my boundaries with the internet are, let’s just put it all out there.

Posting on my blog would will both acknowledge and confirm that:

1. I quit my job.

2. My homecoming to Andrew was not near as glorious as I thought it was going to be.

3. This Navy thing is about to get real, and fast.

As I have been taught throughout my elementary, and collegiate education, let’s start chronologically.

1. I quit my job.

Um, hi, hello what? Yes who am I?

Parties and interactions with other human beings typically begin fun and ice-breakingly superficial. Then we brush past the small talk and then, THE QUESTION.  “So, Brooke, what do you do?”

NO! No no no no no!

That question used to be so easy. Admittedly, I had a lot of pride in my answer. I have wanted to be a medical sales rep since I was a sophomore in high school, and I actually did it! My first year out of college, I got a job I was COMPLETELY under-qualified for because my boss took a chance on me (thank you, by the way). I nailed my dream job at 21 years old, and I was proud of that! So proud in fact, that I wore it like an identity. Now strip that away and I’m akin to the Discovery Channel series “Naked and Afraid”.

So what do I say? Reality is coming at me like a freight train and I’m standing still. It hits me, like a two ton zoo animal. What do I say? My mind races as I try to defend my honor as a motivated, strong person. I can not be revered as a Navy Dependopotomus (if you don’t know what this is go back to my first post).

Well, when I first got here, I made it clear, (probably painfully) at times that I had just quit my job, and was formerly a rep. As the weeks have gone on, I have begun to notice the importance in another job I’ve had since October 4th, 2013, one I haven’t given enough clout. Being Andy’s wife! I’m so bad at remembering how important this is, and I’m not going to pretend like I’m a pro, but I’m certainly trying. Now that it’s my one and only job, I have to admit I’m doing a pretty darn good job. (BTW Andrew, if you say differently, I’ll kick your butt/try to at least).

So there’s the abridged job thing. I could go on, but in the words of the beloved Fat Amy, “Eh, better not”. (If you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect yet, stop what you are doing and go watch it, NOW).

2. The glorious arrival

Yeah, it wasn’t glorious, like at all! There was no dramatic running scene, I did not jump into his arms, perfectly timed music did not play, and there were no fireworks.

Don’t get me wrong, that first hug was so wonderful; warm and promising. It was grand to not have to catch a plane and be tasked with another goodbye. It was great to be with my husband and feel like a real wife again. However, we had some jagged edges that needed the power of a professional grade belt sander.

I’m going to go ahead and take on most of the blame for this one. About 76.5% of the rough edges were mine.

If you’re like me, being vulnerable isn’t your favorite. Well, while Andrew and I were in this long distance marriage, I put up some walls. It’s stupid, and it’s probably unhealthy but it was easier for me. Not letting myself feel the fullness of how much I missed him was the only survivable way to get through the 3/4 of the year we were going to spend without each other. So I was loving, and caring, but at a safe distance.

As you can imagine, the walls didn’t come crashing down the day I pulled up in the driveway with a packed car.

I was sarcastic, distant, and tough to love. And the worst part was I was completely aware of how I was being, but I couldn’t just change it.

Thankfully, I have a husband who is ready to grab a pickaxe and chip away at me when I mortar the brick. Thankfully I love and serve a God that gives me grace, and encourages my husband to do the same. For that I am thankful, and for that I am equally undeserving.

3. Fortune Teller Tuesday

Selection is on Tuesday. The fate of our next 3-4 years will be decided on Monday and divulged on Tuesday. Nervous and anxious pale in comparison to the right words to describe my current state of mind.

I have home on the line. The chance to live once again in America’s finest city, to see my family, friends, Chargers, surf breaks, all of it.

Remember Brooke, God has a plan and it is good. God is good. San Diego is good. GOD PLEASE LET US GO TO SAN DIEGO!

Regardless, to Him all the glory, wherever we end up.

If you’re a praying person, and you’re not too busy, send a couple up for us?