Friday, May 18, 2012

It's all a matter of perspective

Join the "community" at The Gypsy Mama here. {Really you should...go on...I'll wait...}

Perspective

It's all a matter of perspective.


I have found myself saying this a lot lately. Perspective can change everything.

One of my very favorite quotations is from Harper Lee's Great American Novel To Kill a Mockingbird (which in my view is the best novel to come out of America ever--you can not change my perspective on this!). Atticus Finch tells his daughter Scout:
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
This is so true. And this has become one of my guiding principles as a military wife, particularly when it comes to separations. I no longer feel smug or criticize my civilian friends for complaining when their husbands are away on job business for one or two nights. Just as I would hope other military wives would not criticize me for being upset for a 3-week TDY or a 6-month deployment, when their husbands are gone for 6 months at a stretch on a 12-month deployment. Gone is gone. 


Another perspective is weather. Having lived on the West Coast, the Midwest, the Northern Plains, South Central Texas, and now South Central Alaska--I think you'll agree I have had plenty of weather-related change. I always try to preface weather posts on Facebook with "this is normal" or "this is strange even for the locals," just to add...perspective.

I hope that I never forget to consider things from others' points of view.

And that's my 5 minutes!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Tour: Wish You Were Here

Welcome to the blog tour for Beth Vogt's Wish You Were Here.

About the Book:

Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Still, kissing the groom's brother in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison's life is nothing but mistakes at this point. And pulling a "Runaway Bride" complete with stealing, er, borrowing her best friend's car doesn't seem to solve her problems. Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Maybe she just needs to stop orchestrating everything. Allison prefers being the one in control, and giving it up is not going to be easy. But to find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her and find the strength to let Him lead.

About the Author:

Beth K. Vogt provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God's lavish grace. She's a non-fiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she'd never marry a doctor-or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. Beth has discovered that God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." She writes contemporary romance because she believes there's more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University and met her husband Rob when he knocked her down at a karate studio. They've been married for 31 years. They have four children, ranging in ages from 28, 25, 23 and - thanks to a funny thing happening on their way to the empty nest-a 10-year-old. The Vogt Team, which now includes a "daughter-in-love" and "son-in-love," enjoys hiking and camping in Colorado. Read more about Beth at her website: http://bethvogt.com

Pattie's Review:

Once in a while, I come across a book or movie that goes against the expected grain. This is one of those books. I wonder how many women find themselves knowing right before the wedding, even up to the moment of saying "I do," that the marriage is a mistake? A bad idea gone totally wrong? Feeling trapped and alone, caught up in their own bad decision and knowing that they should do the wrong thing and break their engagement promise and stop a wedding that would begin a marriage that would be so very unhappy?

This book explores some of those questions, and more. I am happy to recommend this book as a light (but by no means fluffy) atypical romance with a lot of heart and spiritual growth--a great best friend and a spunky heroine.

 Win an iPad2 from @BethVogt! 

Celebrate with Beth by entering her Wish You Were Here Giveaway!




One "happy" winner will receive:

  • A brand new iPad with Wi-Fi (The must-have, do-everything gadget!)
  • Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt (Swoon worthy.)
  • $15 iTunes Gift Card (Music, books, apps, & more.)
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 6/4/12. The winner will be announced 6/6/12 on Beth's website!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Beth's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.


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Read what others are saying about this book on the rest of the tour here!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Identity

Join the "community" at The Gypsy Mama here. {Really you should...some of these amazing folks write eloquently and beautifully in those five minutes--more than just this 5-minute freewrite here...}

Identity.

Today, my identity is in my husband's job. It's military spouse appreciation day, and so on this Friday before Mother's Day, I find myself in the camp of milspouses everywhere. Women--and men--married to the military. We join forces and band together as family in the locations where we may not have chosen to raise our children, but here we are anyway.

Forever, my identity is that I'm a mom. That's a HUGE part of who I am. But it's not all I am.

Sometimes my identity has been in my job. My desk right now has stacks of final exams and a fine-line red pen with which to mark them. (And a Coke. Also red.) I can get so wrapped up in my students' work that I somehow lose my own writing voice as I hammer home the rules of the comma splice and the semicolon, giving credit where credit is due, and all those numbers that total up into a grade.

I remember one time telling a pastor search committee interviewing me alongside my husband, asking what I did. I said I was a teacher and a writer. One woman said, "Oh, good, you can take over the greeting card ministry." One of many clues that the church was not a good fit for me.

The hardest part is figuring out my identity in Christ. Chosen. Loved beyond all reason. Purposed. Knit together. Daughter of a King. I'll never understand why I was chosen and why He loves me so, but I'm ever, ever grateful.

**and that's the end of my 5 minutes!**

Why I Love Being a Military Wife

Welcome! I'm Pattie, and as my blog title says, I'm a chaplain's wife. I've been married to my wonderful husband for the past 20 years and 51 weeks, and we have two daughters, a teen and a tween. We currently make our home in Alaska, and it's been a wild and crazy 9 months here so far!

I often refer to myself as a reluctant military wife. It took me a while to warm up to the idea of my husband going into active duty service. He decided to join the Air Force Reserves after he finished his Doctorate of Ministry, while he was still a small-church pastor--we joke it's because I said no to another degree, so he joined the Air Force so they could send him to school! He's a man who enjoys a good challenge, and this seemed like a good ministry opportunity. In the middle of his application process, our country was devastated by 9/11. He proudly swore into the military on Valentine's Day 2002. I told the story about how he decided to go active in 2006 in the book Faith Deployed...Again; I won't lie--it was a struggle for me, in my heart, to relinquish the control I held over my life. However, I can tell you with absolute certainty today that I've never regretted that choice since.

From four years in North Dakota, to one in San Antonio, Texas, and finally now in Alaska--it's been a great ride. The military chapel community has been immeasurably supportive of my service, in whatever form it's taken over the years (and I've had a range of very active to not so much). That kind of support is uncommon for civilian pastor's wives. {If you happen to be a pastor's wife reading this, I have been there. God sees all that you do and it is a fragrant offering to Him. Even if not one person in the church has a kind word for you, God does. He sees. He knows. He is there. And I believe you've got a crown in heaven with your name on it!}

My husband continues to work hard wherever the Lord sends him, and he likes his job. (That's a very big deal.) I think that might be one of my most favorite things about being a military wife: seeing him love his job. Even when it takes him far, far away.

Our girls have gotten to see and do things through our travels that many people never get to experience.  That is something else that I appreciate about being a family in the service.

I have met so many women at each duty station--but even more than that, I've met many online too, through Wives of Faith. Sara Horn formed an online branch to her in-person support group of women, and it has grown exponentially over the past five years. I am honored to serve alongside a wonderful team of leaders, using my spiritual gifts of proofreading and posting. (I joke that I'm saving the world, one comma at a time. You never know, right?)

I have also just finished a year back in the college classroom, and I sit before the screen today exhausted in mind and body, but refreshed in spirit that the Lord redeemed my teacher self, the one who burned out and got a bit lost six years ago.

So, that's me. Always busy, always grateful, and so glad to "meet" you!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

What about MY dream sheet?



Day #2 : The Dream Sheet--you can click here to go to the blog and all the other comments from other military wives!

Image courtesy of JASNA.org, the online home of the Jane Austen Society of North America (I was a member for several years, actually).

I have always wanted to go to England, for a very long time. I think I was more excited about seeing London when my French teacher was selling the trip to France, than I was about seeing Paris. (The point was moot--my parents couldn't afford a trip to Europe in any case.)

Most military wives know that the dream sheet is just that: a dream. The one time in a chaplain's career that his wishes are taken into account personally is after the CPE year, which was last year for us. My husband told the assignments chaplain that he was truly willing to go anywhere, but his first choice was Alaska. Surprisingly (because again, the dream sheet is a dream!) and happily, we are now in Alaska.

I tell people jokingly that Chaplain Hubby got the assignment at the top of his dream sheet--but England is at the top of mine. And it's true. Perhaps we'll get over there one day, or perhaps I'll just visit.

So I can see Jane Austen's house above, or Shakespeare's tomb, or even just ride a double-decker bus. I'll be happy regardless.

I peeked at several other wives' blog posts for today, and so many of them have said that they make it a point to be happy wherever they go. That is a conclusion I came to when my husband went active duty and his first assignment was North Dakota. That's why Joshua 1:9 is my military wife life verse.

Make no mistake--I am very happy with my family right now in Alaska. I have appreciated no spring more than this one, after our record-breaking snowfall finally melted away and the trees' buds are actually beginning to unfurl into leaves right now. I am enjoying every moment of every sunny day and marveling at the changes in the sunlight.

But someday? Someday I'd love to visit the United Kingdom. Cheers!

You know you're a military wife...


Today's topic: You Know You're a Military Wife When...

  • There's more than one kind of camo in the closet.
  • You know your spouse's social security number and can say it faster than your own.
  • You begin speaking in acronyms. On purpose!
  • You feel the need to sort through and downsize your household every spring.
  • You really, really want to hang on to your cell phone number from two duty stations ago, for the good memories.
  • You may not like your husband's excitement about his upcoming TDY or deployment, but you understand it.
Just a few ways I have learned to embrace the military wife life! Join us this week at the Wives of Faith blog for more blog carnival fun!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Overwhelmed...again

In the interest of full disclosure of reality in my little corner of the world (a.k.a. my office in the northwest corner of our home), I'm dashing off a little slice of written life. Keeping it real, as it were.

I'm overwhelmed. Again.

I have too much on my plate. Again.

My job and my volunteer jobs all converge on this first weekend in May to conspire to snow me under with paperwork and self-appointed duties. Combine the end of the semester, finals, research papers needing graded, our annual military spouse blog carnival at Wives of Faith, and my husband preparing for his deployment, and I'm just about done in before it even begins.

Ten days from now, it will all be over and we'll be headed full-speed-ahead into recital week (they call it "showcase" here but it's really dance recital as far as I'm concerned). On its heels will be some traveling.

All this to say, I am shoring up for a busy time, and I'm determined to finish well rather than finish frazzled.

3rd annual milspouse appreciation blog carnival

It's coming...

Real

Join the "community" at The Gypsy Mama here. {Really you should...some of these amazing folks write eloquently and beautifully in those five minutes--more than just this 5-minute freewrite here...}

Real.

____


Being real is hard work.


Having chosen a life in ministry by marrying my minister husband right out of college, I have struggled with being real my entire adult life. It's tough. Where do I draw the line with complete and total honesty, manners begone, or polite mannerly lying and sweetness and light?


I don't want to be that woman, the one no one wants to talk to because simply asking "how are you" garners you a litany of woes.


I don't want to be the fake "perfect pastor's wife Pattie" anymore, either (thankfully, my husband's ministry has changed, and the chapel is kinder to its chaplain's wives than some small churches have been with their single-staff-pastor's wives).


So what is the answer? The real answer?


I'm still learning. Trying to be real in the meantime, honest about my struggles without being too detailed, learning to listen, gauging the atmosphere and the situation, and mostly just doing the best that I can.


____

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Baroness Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Susan May Warren's latest book, Baroness.

About the book:

Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the family empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But following their dreams -- from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers -- will take all their courage.  And if they find love, will they choose freedom or happily ever after?

Pattie's Review:

The few reviews I saw of this book recommended reading the first book in the series (Heiress) for background. I tend to agree. Reading both books right in a row was terrific--the characters lived and loved and stayed fresh in my mind, which gave the books that great epic feel.

Heiress tells the story of sisters Esme and Jinx, their coming of age and adventures in New York's Golden Age (think Edith Wharton, but with a spiritual component). Thoroughly engrossing tale of two sisters who are continually seeking something just outside their grasp, finally finding God.

Baroness continues their story with their daughters, Lilly and Rosie, who come of age during the Roaring Twenties. From Paris to New York and back again, with flappers and pilots, mobsters and expatriates, we see that truly, some things in womanhood never change--yet it's such an adventure to read how these characters yearn to break free from the expectations placed upon them, both by family and by society. Nothing in this novel goes as I expected.

Susan May Warren's novels just keep getting better and better.

I feel compelled to note, however, in typical 2nd-book-out-of-3 form, the ending of Baroness leaves the reader hanging, gasping "What?!" and saying a prayer that the author will be able to finish book 3 in a hurry! Duchess will be the third installment. I can't wait.

Write like the wind, Susie!





Find out what the other reviewers on the tour are saying here!



Celebrate with Susan by entering her Roaring 20's Giveaway!



One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Signed copies of Baroness and Heiress by Susan May Warren

But hurry, the giveaway ends on 5/7/12. The winner will be announced on 5/9/12 on Susan’s blog, Scribbles!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.
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All We Ever Wanted: A Review

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin My rating: 5 of 5 stars All We Ever Wanted is worthy of the buzz it's receiving this summer. I h...