Monday, August 01, 2011


Our family celebrated a couple of pretty great milestones on July 16th this year...

1. The 16th was our 5th wedding anniversary! (I shall blog about the highlights soon. This post is more about #2.)

2. The 16th was Andrew's last day as a Soldier.

Yes. After 8 years of service in the U.S. Army, my husband hung up his dog tags and became a civilian. Here are some highlights of our time in service:
(click the highlighted words for the flashbacks)
  • He joined up in May of 2003.
  • Went to basic training that September.
  • 3 years & 5 duty stations later, he courted me, proposed to me, and married me.
  • I moved to Georgia with him.
  • 2 weeks later, he had to attend field training for 3 weeks.
  • He passed the board and was promoted to Corporal.
  • 3 months after that, he deployed to Iraq for 12 (actually-we're-extending-it-to-15) months. 1 year and 3 months, folks.
  • R&R 8 months into the deployment.
  • April 3rd of 2008, he came home to me!
  • He was promoted to Sergeant.
  • When it was time to decide about re-enlistment at his 5-year mark, we went with whatever would keep him home since we had a baby on the way!
  • So instead of re-enlisting in the regular Army, he joined the Oregon National Guard and we moved across the country to be near my family as we started ours.
  • In 2010, he was offered a contracting job in Georgia, so we moved again. This time with baby #2 on the way.
  • He transferred to the Georgia National Guard and drilled and trained with them for the last year.
  • Until July 16th.

I've laundered my last uniform and he's had his last military-issue haircut. It's an amazing feeling, not to be owned by anyone, anymore! We're honestly not sure what to do with ourselves, but that's also the beautiful part -- anything we want.

Some have asked us why we wouldn't just stay in and go career since it would be just 12 more years? It's a good question, and we do have some answers. The main one happens to be "because this is the way God directed us and this is the way we are wired." But we know full well that what's right for us might not be what's right for others.

Back in 2003, Andrew was confident that there was nothing God wanted him to do more than join the military. And at this time, we are equally sure that God didn't want us to stay in! We aren't even halfway through to the 20 years for retirement, anyway. In 12 more years our girls would be 15 and 13, and how many deployments would they have to miss their daddy for? And he them!

Life is unsure, it's true. But it's even more unsure as a military family. And, honestly, we knew we needed to be done. Some wives are wired differently than me. Some husbands are wired differently than Andrew. And for some, career military is definitely a life calling. We were called to the Army for a while. I joined Andrew in his calling when I married him. And now we're ready - we believe God's ready - to move us on. And I know we're pretty fortunate to have only had 1 deployment (monstrously long though it was!) to deal with.

And so, as we close the military chapter of our lives, we look back in awe and wonder at what God brought us through and how He refined us and shaped us through it all.

To Him be all glory.
Daddy with SweetP, fall 2009

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 
How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 
For 'who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?' 
or 'Who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?' 
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. 
To Him be the glory forever. Amen." 
Romans 11:33-36

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