The Recruiter

Today this all becomes real.

Today is the day my youngest son heads to the recruiter’s office to talk to them about signing up for the United States Marine Corps.

Am I nervous, you bet.

Am I scared, you bet.

Did I sleep last night? Not a wink.

Now, I have been here before with my oldest son, as many of you may remember from my last post entitled “A Marine’s Story.” However, this is my youngest, my baby.

I have mentioned before how proud I am of him, and I still am. However, it does not make this any easier. I am waiting here on pins and needles for him to call and tell me what all the recruiter said.

Now, some of you are may be asking why I did not go with him. Well for many reasons: One, he is 24 years old. He does not need his mom holding his hand at the recruiting station. Two, I wanted him to know I trust him and his decision. Finally, he made this decision so he needs to stand on his own and do what he needs to do. He is a man now, and he has been taking care of himself for a while, as he so promptly reminded me at dinner last night.

Please wish him well and pray that God keeps him safe.

Semper Fi.



A few days ago I was out with a new friend, and she asked me why I started writing my blog. I told her that I began blogging, to deal with all of the feelings I had surrounding the death of my mom, and all of the guilt I felt about the kind of relationship we had. I also told her that I blog to make and meet new friends.

What occurred to me, that I did not answer, is why I continue to blog. I continue to blog, after two years, because I feel like it is an outlet for me. It gives me a way to express things and deal with things. Things like, my son going off to war, my family members that have committed suicide, or my surviving domestic violence.

In living through these things, I also feel that I have something important to give to others. Sharing of my experiences may allow someone else to understand it, or better yet know that it can be survived.

I  write for the victims of domestic violence. I write to give them a voice. I write to bring awareness to the stigma that is domestic violence. I write to make people aware that the laws are still sided for the offender not the victim. I write to make people see that this is still an epidemic even today.

I guess you can say that I write for all of those that can’t.

Writing is a powerful outlet. It allows you to be creative, expressive, dramatic, open, or many of the things you might not be able to be in person. Writing can be therapeutic. I know this was the case for me after my mother died. My blogs became a journal of sorts. I guess they are still are, but I hope that I am helping others as well. Helping others is my real goal.

If you are struggling to write, as I often do. I encourage you to write from the heart, not when others say you have to. You often hear a lot about “blogging schedules.” I say write when you something important to say, I do.


A Marine’s Story

Many of you know that my oldest son is a Marine. He joined the United States Marine Corps right out of high school. He comes from a military family, I served in the Air National Guard, and many of his family members are long term Air Force service members.

So, I was not surprised when he told me he was going to be a Marine. At the time, the United States had just gone to war with Iraq. So, I knew it meant immediate deployment. He was supposed to get three weeks leave between basic training and his deployment. Well, we all know that the military is famous for changing its mind. He called me the night before he was supposed to come home, and said, “Mom, I can’t come home they are shipping me out Friday.” Now, Friday meant Valentine’s Day, I will never forget that.

I cried myself to sleep just about every night for the next week.

The following months became the longest 18 months of my life.

I eventually got myself into a routine of writing to him, sending him care packages, and waiting for the once a week Tuesday phone call. That phone call was my lifeline. I held onto it like it was the last living link to my son. I prayed every Sunday, that God would let that phone ring on Tuesday, and I would hear my son’s voice.

I will never forget the day the phone calls stopped.

I was very busy this particular Tuesday at work, it was chaos. I had noticed that my son had not called. Everyone at work knew he called on Tuesday, they knew when he called because, I dropped everything to talk to him. Now, I was in my car headed home, and I received a call from his father, who lives in Baltimore. He asked where I was, and I told him I was driving, it was pouring down rain. He said, “Pull over.” I asked him why, and he said again, “Pull over.”

So, I managed to find a spot in the dark, in the rain, and pulled over. He then proceeded to tell me that my son had been injured in an explosion. No, we did not know the extent of his injuries, but he was alive, and we would know more in a week, a WEEK!!

Now, you can imagine my hysteria, at first being told my son was injured, alive, and I would not know more about his condition, or the extent of his injuries for a week!

I managed to drive myself home, don’t ask me how. My mind racing with all the possibilities of what kind of injuries her could have, the quality of healthcare he could receive in the desert, how long had he lain there before help arrived, etc…

Once I got home, I started calling anyone and everyone I knew in the military, to find out as much information as I could, about my son’s condition. I even tried calling the Pentagon! Well, to say the least I did not get anywhere.

Well about seven days later, I got another phone call that said my said, my son was not critically injured, but he would be in the hospital in Germany for a few weeks. My next question was when can I see my son and I was told “not now.”

Now, you can imagine this did not set well with me at all. Another round of phone calls ensued. He eventually came home, and when he did, he came home with a horrible case of PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He is now on disability, and no longer in the Marine Corps. Now, we know the saying, “Once a marine always a Marine”, well I guess this is true.

I know you all remember the commercial, where the young man comes in, and tells his parents he has something important to tell them. He wants to join the military.

The reason I am telling you this, is that I lived it, on July 4th, 2012.  I received some news that I am just now being able to talk about.

My youngest son told me he is joining the United States Marine Corps.

My first thought was, “Are you crazy!” Then it was, “Here we go again.” But, my son said that he has been wanting to do this for six years, and he has thought it through completely.

He said he watched me go through having his older brother in Iraq, and all he sleepless nights, waiting on the phone to ring, the agony after his brother’s injuries, and that is why he took so long to tell me.

I explained to him that I understood his decision, and that I was behind him every step of the way. I understood that he felt like he had to do this, and that he was called to do this.

I told him I was proud of him, I am proud of him.

As a previous service member, I served in the Air National Guard, I can understand his desire to do this, but the mom in me is having a really hard time.

I will say that I have prayed that he will change his mind. The thought of having to go through this again, does not fill me with joy. I thought that once my oldest son came home I was done with Iraq/Afghanistan, that we were one of the lucky ones. My son came home – broken – but home.

I will be praying as he starts his journey towards signing and basic training. I will be praying the Lord keeps him safe.

Please say a prayer for my son as he will need them all.

Semper Fi.


Empty Nest Syndrome

This week has been a very tough week for me. I guess you could say I have been feeling ungrateful, depressed, or left out, this is unusual for me.

I am always grateful for the many blessings I have in my life, and I thank God every day for my health, my family, my education, my home, etc..

But, this week I began to feel like my children no longer needed me as a parent.

According to Wikipedia, “Empty nest syndrome is a general feeling of grief and loneliness, parents or guardians may feel when their children leave home to live on their own for the first time. For parents, this can result in depression, as well as a loss of purpose.”

The symptoms of empty nest syndrome, according to Wikipedia, are, but not included to:

  • Depression
  • Loss of purpose
  • Worry, stress, or anxiety over the welfare of the child
  • Feelings of rejection

You see, I did not suffer the empty nest syndrome most parents exhibit when their children leave home. I knew as a parent that my children were meant to leave home and I was ready for them to do so.

I have three grown sons. My oldest joined the Marines right out of high school. My middle child did not leave home until he was 24, and my youngest until 22. So, I guess I was blessed they hung around that long.

Now, they are all healthy, happy, independent, young men, with busy lives. I don’t hear from them often, as they work long hours, and have children. One lives out of state.

However, at the time they left home I was busy with my graduate studies pursuing my Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, and I had my hands full studying, and writing my thesis. However, The last 3 years, have been different. I have been unemployed twice, and not much else as far as school, or hobby to keep me busy.

I guess I am just now going through the empty nest syndrome I suppose. I don’t feel needed on a daily basis, I don’t see my sons as often as I would like, and I don’t speak to them on a daily basis.

My youngest son says that, “If they were girls that would be different, I would hear from them more often.” Moms with girls is that so? I have three boys…………

As a parent I was very involved in my kids lives, PTO, team mom, wife to head coach for baseball, carpool, I never missed a game etc…

So, now to have so little contact with them on a daily basis, I guess I don’t feel needed. I must add that I am very proud of all three of my sons. I am proud of what they have accomplished, and who they have become. I know that should bring me some comfort, and happiness.

Parents that have grown children, did you go through this? I would love your input.

I guess like every other parent I will adjust to my new role as a parent. I guess it will just take time.

If you have experienced the “empty nest” syndrome and care to share your story please let me know. I would like to know I am not alone, of course I know I am not, but it would help.


The definitions enclosed are excerpts from






Blog Anniversary

Well today is my two year blog anniversary! It seems appropriate considering that Blogher’12 was just completed yesterday in New York City. I have learned a great deal in these past two years.

I began blogging after the death of my mother to try and put the pieces together and to honor her work that she did with domestic violence survivors. My mother was an avid volunteer at a domestic violence shelter, and she also served on the board of one as well.

I began Ramblings of The Geek Wife as a mix of daily life stuff, and my domestic violence work. But, then after a while I realized that the domestic violence work was so important, that it needed its own space, and hence my other blog, Hushed Voices, Secrets Untold was born.

I have learned many things in the past two years, such as, not every one is going to agree with your opinion. However, they are just that, opinions.

I have also learned that I am not just writing for me. I am writing to help other people. I am writing to give those a voice that may not have one.

I am writing to lend a hand to those that need it the most.

This past weekend I did not go to New York City, I attended BlogHer At Home. This was a unique opportunity, for those of us that could not attend, to participate from home. I learned a great deal about using many web based features to increase site exposure.

BlogHer At Home also allowed me to participate in discussions, although from a distance, through the #BlogHer12 hashtag.

So, as I move into year three of blogging, I will take the tools I learned, put them to good use, and continue to network towards my cause of domestic violence.

I will continue to strive to help put an end to domestic violence, and bring attention to the victims, and give them a voice, one day at a time.

Here is to another productive year!


Ham Radio: Hobby AND Service!

My husband is a ham radio operator and a member of the disaster response team. That may come as a surprise to many. But, many people actually enjoy the field of ham radio. It becomes an important function in time of disaster such as after Hurricane Katrina and more currently with tropical storm Debby bearing down on Florida. Sometimes, in a disaster there is no other means of communication, but ham radio operators are still able to dispatch emergency crews to where they are needed and maintain some semblance of communications. The ham radio operators can also join Disaster Response Teams. These teams are dispatched in times of disaster for rescue, recovery and assistance to first responders.

During the recent Colorado wildfires, the ham radio operators provided a crucial service. According to an article written by the Denver Post, “The hams have been doing such things as setting up portable radio repeaters and relaying messages between the fire lines and command posts. About 40 operators have volunteered to help provide communications support.” So, as you can see, ham radio operators are very important in times of disaster. More about this story and the article can be found on the National Association for Amateur Radio website.

Yes, ham radio is a hobby, but more importantly it is a service to the community in which the ham radio operators live. For example, anytime the weather becomes ugly, or an severe weather alert is issued by the National Weather Service, something called a weather net is broadcast. All ham operators are asked to check in, become accounted for,  and announce any and all weather in their area. This allows weather spotters and disasters response teams, and first responders, to respond in times of need.

Each year, every Amateur Radio club sponsors what is called Field Day. It is a time of fellowship, competition and learning. Every available operator comes out for 24 hours, and sets up their station(s) in a field. They then learn from each other, compare equipment, and try to make as many contacts as possible. This is also considered training time for disasters such as mentioned above. This year’s Field Day took place in many cities all over the country. Our local Amateur radio club held their Field Day 2012 on June 23rd and 24th.

My husband took his gear and was gone all weekend. He said he learned a great deal and enjoyed the time with the other hams, as they are called. I have included some pictures here of Field Day 2012. The pictures below are from our local club Field Day set-up.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Amateur Radio Operator, or to learn more about Field Day, please visit the National Association for Amateur Radio for more information. This is a great way to have fun, meet people and provide a service to your community.


Center of the Universe: Me

This past Sunday at Grace Christian Church things were a little different. This month, we have guest ministers giving our sermons on Sunday. This past Sunday, Phyllis Kirk our Music Minister, had her opportunity to deliver the sermon.

Now, we have only been members of this church for about 2 1/2 years. Therefore, I have never heard Phyllis speak on Sunday, so I did not know what to expect.

The sermon was entitled “Center of the Universe: Me.” I was intrigued just by the title. Rather than try and post the entire sermon, I have enclosed an edited portion for you here. There is a very important message in this sermon. I hope you discover what it is.

Center of the Universe: Me

Who saw the movie “Beaches?” Two women, CC Bloom (Bette Midler) and Hillary Whitney (Barbara Hershey), met under boardwalk at the beach, became close friends, then went their separate ways. CC went into entertainment, Hillary was a lawyer in New York. Hillary went to see a play (CC was the star) they went for coffee, CC talked for 10 minutes about herself. Then she said to Hillary, “Now let’s talk about you, how did you like my acting in the play?”

Selfishness goes against everything that Jesus taught, but we are currently living in the most self-conscious society that has ever existed. People are more concerned about themselves and their happiness than at any point in history.

You’ve heard about the “Me” generation? – that’s what we’re living right now. Looking at our society as a whole, we are seeing an entire generation, an entire culture, that puts the needs of the individual first. It doesn’t understand the concept of duty or sacrifice before self – the focus is all on “Me”. We are the “I” generation- iPhones, iPods, even the Army had the slogan a few years ago, “An Army of One”, and guess who the “One” was? Right, me, it’s all about “I” and “me” and “mine”.

Just walk into any bookstore and look at the New York Times Bestseller List and see what’s flying off the shelves. See what people are reading today. What you’ll find is that everyone is obsessed with self. One of the largest sections you’ll find now is the “self-improvement” section. Look at the magazines and see how many are focused on self-health and self-improvement and self-growth. There’s even a magazine simply called, “Self”.

One of the most popular websites in the country is called, “Self-growth” which touts itself as the comprehensive self-improvement encyclopedia for the web. We are a culture focused on ourselves, a selfish generation.

In the past 10 years, we have had this proliferation of social networking sites. It started out with a site called “MySpace” and from there it’s gone to Facebook and other sites where the focus is on self. You create a homepage that’s all about you: what you like, what you are doing, and what is important to you. In a classic example of Narcissism, you expect people to just come, and view your site because you are that important. You are so important that people just need to know what you are doing and what you think.

The newest thing to hit the technological scene is “Twitter.” It’s becoming the hottest thing in the country, and according to the Twitter website, “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate, and stay through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: “What are you doing?”

The Bible teaches that you can’t be selfish and loving at the same time, and if the focus of your relationship is “you” rather than the other person, it is doomed for failure. Rick Warren says that, “Selfishness is a poison to relationships.” When you focus on “Me” and “I” you are telling the world and those that you love that you are greater or more important than them.

Right now, our country is in the midst of one of the worst economic crises that we have ever faced. It seems that it was caused by nothing more than selfishness by greed, by people wanting to get rich, and to meet their own needs, wants, and desires at the expense of others.

Our Government’s response has been similar. Rather than going to Washington to serve the people, to put sacrifice and duty above self, we have politicians who are exalting themselves, and promoting their own self-interests, and pork-barrel projects at the expense of those around them

Can you imagine what our country would be like if we turned from an “I” and a “Me” generation to a “You” generation? Can you imagine what a difference it would make if we would just follow Jesus’ words, if we would just follow His example? If we would just let ourselves decrease in importance in our eyes and live to serve others, in all of our relationships, in all of our business dealings?

Can you imagine what our churches could do if we truly lived out Christ’s call to deny ourselves and follow Him down this path?

Our relationships, and our whole lives have been poisoned by the seed of selfishness, and it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit because, they selfishly desired to be greater than they should have been. And, ever since then, selfishness has been like a disease running rampant through our bodies and minds.

The first antidote to selfishness is to build strong relationships with other people. Love gets the focus off you and on someone else. Remember being “in love”, that’s when our entire focus is on the other person. Instead of our wants, our needs, our desires, the focus is on them, and what we can do for them.

This needs to be the standard model for all our relationships. We need to build relationships, so our focus is on others, and the best place to do that is in the church, among people who are also trying to live out Christ’s commands to put others above self. It’s all about focusing on others.

The second antidote to selfishness is to give yourself away. As Jesus told His disciples, you do this through ministry, by becoming servant and slaves of others. Service to others helps you quit thinking about yourself, and start thinking about those around you. Jesus is calling us to the place where we give ourselves away for the benefit of others. We never find fulfillment in living for ourselves, only in giving our life away.

Ephesians 2:10 says that we were created in Christ to do good works – we were created to serve others – to give ourselves away and to spend our lives in helping others.

The third Antidote to selfishness is to practice self-denial. This runs counter to all the culture is telling us, to promote ourselves, improve ourselves, help ourselves, focus on ourselves.

Jesus says we should deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him. The Bible teaches that true love is unselfish.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son”. God put aside His wants and desires and wishes and he who knew no sin became sin for us and died on the cross in our place. He denied Himself so that we might experience His love in our lives.

There is the story about this little boy and his sister who were riding a rocking horse together. Finally, the boy said, “If one of us would get off this rocking horse there would be more room for me.” That is the definition of selfishness. That is the way of the world and the current focus of our “Me” generation.

Finally, let me encourage you to choose a different way – a better way – instead of saying, like the little boy, “If one of us would get off this rocking horse, there would be more room for me”, let us make a conscious effort this week to say, Let me deny myself, let me got off so there’ll be more room for you.”

God calls us all to serve. Take time in your busy schedule to volunteer and help others. In your local communities there are many agencies just asking for help. Let’s try to change the “Me” generation and move towards a “You” generation.

If you would like to hear more sermons like these, or learn more about our church please visit us at Grace Christian Church. We would love to have you come and experience our church first hand.

God Bless You All







The Man Beside Me


As I was laying in bed the other night, I looked over, smiled at my husband, and I thought to myself, for the first time in my life I am truly content. I have an amazing husband, three wonderful sons, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and my education. The man laying beside me, is a large part of that contentment. This is for him:


The Man Beside Me

The man beside me makes sure that I know that I am loved every day.

He works hard to provide a home full of warmth and love.

The man beside me loves me for me, not someone he wants me to be.

He gives everything to me, never asking for anything in return.

The man beside me is tender-hearted, sweet, loving and kind.

He has more love to give than most people I know.

The man beside me is a man of strength and honor,

never faltering in his beliefs or his integrity.

The man beside me is my home, my safety, my shelter from the storm, and my


The man beside me, has been there in sickness and in health,

in riches and in poor, and has never faltered.

The man beside me will forever be the love of my life, the man I married,

the man I cherish. I love him more than I can possibly say.

Happy second anniversary my love! I look forward to growing old with you!


Lemon Butter Chicken Pasta

One night my husband was out of town and I was craving pasta from a local restaurant. As I sat there I thought to myself, I have not gotten creative in the kitchen in a very long time. So, I start pulling vegetables out of the refrigerator and pasta from the pantry and this is what happened. Yum! (Confession: I am not a recipe writer, so please forgive the confusion……)

Lemon Butter Chicken Pasta

3/4 stick butter

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons brown mustard (or more to taste)

Garlic powder



Olive oil

1 bag of Arugula

1 container of cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 big onion cut into wedges or small strips

1 large bag of frozen or pre-cooked fajita style strip chicken

3/4 box of angel hair pasta

Place a large pot of water on the stove on HIGH. Salt the water well. This gives the pasta flavor. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. Then cook until al dente, 7-8 minutes. Once it is done strain in a colander and place in a large serving bowl.

To prepare the vegetables and meat:

Place a dash of olive oil in the bottom of a large skillet. I use a wok, but use what you have. You will be adding a dash garlic powder, salt and pepper to flavor each layer. The amount of garlic powder, salt and pepper you use for each layer is a matter of taste.

Cook on no more than about medium heat. Place the onions in the skillet, garlic, salt and pepper it and cook until they heated through but still a little crunchy. Then place the chicken in with the onions, garlic, salt and pepper it, then just heat through. Then place the arugula or spinach, whichever you chose, in with the rest, garlic, salt and pepper it, just so it wilts. Then place the tomatoes in with it all and remove from the heat.


Put the 3/4 stick butter and the 1/4  cup lemon juice, in a microwaveable dish and heat just until the butter is melted. Whisk in the brown mustard, and a dash of olive oil.


Pour the sauce over the pasta and add the vegetable and meat mixture. Mix well! Serve in a large bowl and serve hot. Enjoy!

**You can modify this recipe many ways. I have substituted shrimp for the chicken, or spinach for the arugula, and it tastes just as great.**



The Price of Freedom


Yesterday was Independence Day, the Fourth of July. A day when we all gathered with friends and family to grill good food and watch beautiful fireworks.

But, the 4th of July is about so much more than that. It is a day to celebrate our freedom. It is a day to remember that we are proud to be Americans, and live in a land where we are free to choose how we live.

We have men and women that fight every day to protect those freedoms, the men and women of our United States military. These men and women are willing to die to protect our freedom.

I saw a movie recently that had a profund effect on me. That movie was “Act of Valor.”

See, I am ex-military. I did not serve until retirement. But, I will say this, if I could have stayed and completed my 20+ years and retired I would have.

This movie made me proud to call myself an American, and a previous service member. These men and many like them lay their lives on the line every day for what we call freedom.

The men in the movie were part of the military called the Navy Seals. A very tight, close-knit, secretive part of the military. Sometimes will never know a man is a SEAL until after they have retired. Certain divisions of the SEALS keep their identities secret to keep them and their families safe.

They do not speak of their missions as they are highly classified and dangerous. As was shown in the movie, they depend on each other to stay alive. They are often sent to some of the most dangerous parts of the world, to weed out some of the most heinous criminals in the world, those that a pose threat to the world, and its freedoms.

These men belief that our protection, and freedom is the ultimate sacrifice. They do what they do, so that we can continue to be safe, and enjoy the freedoms we all enjoy every day.

The movie shows the men on various missions, and reveals their strengths and weaknesses.  It also shows the sacrifices they all pay, in their quest for protection, and freedom. We get so wrapped up in the action, and then the writers never let us forget, that these are just, men. Plain and simple.

Yes, they are heroes but they are men with families. Men that live and breathe as you and I. Men that die as you and I.

If you have not seen this movie, please do. Then, the next time you see a service member in uniform, or if you know someone who is in service, thank them for all the sacrifices they make.

We are at war now, and have been for a very long time. There are many soldiers who never came home to their families as in this film. They shared the same heartbreak, and the same broken dreams. We need to make sure every day, that we remember them, and keep them in our prayers for their sacrifices.

This film will make you proud to be an American, proud to say we have the best fighting force in all the world, and proud to say we have men protecting our freedoms every day.

I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day!

God Bless America