Wednesday, May 24, 2017

On Going Back


This particular blogpost requires some backstory. 

In September of 2003, I arrived at my first duty station – Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Fifteen (HM-15) which was located at the time onboard Naval Air Station Corpus Christi (it has since moved to Norfolk.)


This is when I was a Yeoman Third Class. HM-15 admin office.



I would spend a total of three years at this squadron.  The first two, I resided in the barracks on NAS. The last year I spent in an apartment alone off-base.

Those three years were the most formative of my life.  I’ll explain.

For one, I met my husband while I was there. He was not assigned to HM-15, but to base security there on NAS.  I blogged about our beginning earlier this year. You can find that story here. http://myonedayisnow.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-love-story.html


I also joined the Catholic Church while I was there. (Again, I’ve blogged about this experience before too. Link for that one is here. http://myonedayisnow.blogspot.com/2016/04/its-been-lesson-in-love.html )

I worked with and for the best Sailors one could ask to work with.  The friends that I worked with, and shared barracks with, became like my family – there was a bond, and a trust, there that was unparalleled to any other friendships I’d known.  Those friendships were like something out of a corny coming-to-age movie or something. A mix-up of 'Real World' meets ‘Friends’ on steroids, Navy style.  We were all in our early twenties . . . well, almost all of us (calling you out now, Dennis) and we could have fun doing anything.
My Navy girls. We're at the beach in Corpus here.


We often spent weekends at country bars in Corpus (I even sang some pretty terrible karaoke a few times), organized occasional bonfire parties at the beach, but most frequently – we just sat outside of our barracks rooms, joking all night about our work and the Navy, our pasts and our relationships.  We drank beer together, ate the unhealthiest foods, played Twister.  We laughed.  A LOT.  More than normal people, I think.
Halloween 2004. We're outside of our barracks here.


We knew then, as it was happening, that it was good.  We also knew that it was temporary.  We knew we would all eventually transfer and be separated.  But I’m not sure we allowed ourselves to process that thought at the time.  I can speak for myself, anyway, when I say that I’m glad I didn’t. If I focused too much on the temporary, perhaps then I would have held back a bit, shielded myself from becoming too close to those I’d have to say good-bye to.  I’m truly glad that I allowed this group of Sailors to become my family.

If I’m being honest – when I allow myself to look back at that time, looking through old photos and such – it’s bittersweet.  Sometimes it aches a bit because I know I can’t have that magical time back.

But.

I kind of did go back. Well, not exactly. I wasn’t in the physical location.  However . . . there was an Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) reunion this past weekend in Panama City Beach, Florida.  I attended with three of my best Navy girls.  We all live in different areas now, but met up in Houston and road-tripped it all the way there.

We hadn’t all been together in a decade. Yep. A decade.  And you know the honest truth? It was as if we hadn’t skipped a beat.  Oh, you should have seen us at first, all four crying tears of joy as we saw each other.  I’m smiling thinking of it now.
My Navy girls, together and acting as if no time had passed.


We went on our trip and met up with past Sailors of the AMCM community and it felt just like the old days.  The laughter, the reminiscing, the drinking (as Sailors do, of course) – in a strange way it felt like I was back in 2004 again. It really did.  I had a blast, we all did.  It was incredible. I’ll remember this weekend forever.
The full group from the AMCM reunion, 2017


In a flash the reunion was over and we parted ways again.  I was sad to leave my girls but happy, and ready, to get home to my husband and kids.  This life of wife+mom is my adventure now. It’s one I know is fleeing fast as well, as all of our time does.

All I can say after this weekend is that I’m filled with gratitude for those times. And I’m filled with gratitude for my current times. Life is a gift, such a sweet gift.  And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you can go back and revisit some of those sweet times.



Until next time . . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A love story


Once upon a time, a 20-year-old female sailor was almost arrested for violating article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  What was she doing, you ask?  Well, she was conducting in a nature that would bring discredit to the Navy.  More specifically?  She was drinking under the age of 21.  Even more specifically?  She was drinking a bottle of Bud Light, with approximately 8-10 other young sailors, in a friend’s barracks room.

This young girl knew she shouldn’t have been drinking underage.  But she wasn’t very bright, and was not thinking of the consequences of her actions if she were to be caught, so she did it anyway.

That evening, a young male sailor on duty (he was a master-at-arms in the Navy, in other words-military police) was patrolling the barracks.  He’ll tell you now, if you ask him, that he was bored and looking for something to do.

Well, he found something.  He found the aforementioned girl and her friends, drinking beer at the barracks, door wide open and music blaring. It didn’t seem she was even trying to hide her drinking (I mentioned already – not so bright.)

Moving along. He told that girl to show her military ID. To prove she was of drinking age, of course.  She told him then – “it’s not on me, it’s in my room down the hall, I can go and get it.”  She began walking that direction, but thought to herself, as soon as I get it and he reads it he will see that I’m not 21 yet, what am I doing?

She turned back around. “I’m not 21 yet,” she said to him. Then she began to cry. “But I’ve never been in trouble before . . . could you please just let me go?”

The young master-at-arms lectured the girl. He’s kind of a jerk, she thought, as she continued to cry.  He lectured her some more. But then, to her pleasant surprise, he actually let her go. WHEW! Lucky break!

Fast forward a couple of months.  Base security, the place where that boy worked, needed more females to work with them.  The young girl he had almost arrested, she was asked if she would be willing to be temporarily detached from the helicopter squadron she was assigned to for six months to help them out.  She thought – why not? And said yes.

Her first day at base security, who would walk by, of course, but the guy who had nearly arrested her?  Ah. But this time – he caught her eye differently.  Huh.  She thought.  Turns out he’s kind of cute.

They began to work together.  She got to know him, and couldn’t help but be attracted to him.  But there were some stumbling blocks.  He was dating a girl in the Coast Guard.  She herself, she met and dated a Cowboy for a couple of months.  During this time they developed somewhat of a friendship.  The more she got to know him, the more she developed feelings for him.

Those security shifts – they were 12 hours long.  The shifts were divided into four blocks of watches.  So you might patrol a certain zone of the base for the first three hours, then move to the North Gate of the base and check ID’s of people coming in for another three, et cetera.  That young girl, she looked at her schedule one day and saw that she and that boy who almost arrested her, they were assigned to the same zone for one of those watches.  She couldn’t help but smile.  She’d be in a car patrolling with him for three straight hours, just the two of them! They could really talk a lot.  This excited her more than anything had for a long while.  She waited in anticipation that day for that specific watch.  And then, when it was finally time, he didn’t show.  The security officer had needed him elsewhere, she was told.  She’d have the watch alone.  She was so disappointed.  She had really been looking forward to that time with him, and now she wouldn’t have it.

Time moved forward still.  The relationship the girl had with the cowboy, it didn’t work out.  And then the relationship the boy had with the Coast Guard girl, that one didn’t work out either.

An opportunity arose then for something more than friendship between those two, and the girl knew she needed to be brave.  So, she asked him out on a date.  And he said yes.

That was their beginning.  That boy and that girl, they would fall in love. 

A year into their relationship, the boy would get orders to Cuba and they would be separated for an entire year.  They would stay together still.  The girl, she would get assigned to El Paso, Texas, and after leaving Cuba and finishing his time in the Navy, he would follow her there, so that they could stay together still.

They would marry the year she would complete her contract with the Navy. That same year they would settle in his hometown.  That same year they would buy a home.  That same year he would begin the Austin Police Academy.  That same year that girl would become pregnant with the first of their SIX children.

This is our story (but you knew that already, I’m sure.)

I want to go back in time and tell that girl who was pouting on watch one night all because she wanted three hours with that boy that – guess what – you’ll get a whole life with him.  You’ll get his last name.  You’ll carry his children.  You’ll create a home with him with six little people who are a beautiful combination of you both.  You’ll spend every Sunday wrangling those kids in Mass and thanking Jesus for this incredible life you’ve been given.

Ah. I feel I need to pinch myself sometimes – how amazing is it that I got to marry that boy that I so desperately wanted to spend time with?

It isn’t your average fairy tale.  We certainly have a real marriage and it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.  It can be hard sometimes.  We can irritate each other, wrong each other at times too.

But.  It’s good.  It’s really good.

I’m a blessed woman, in love with her husband.

We started out as this pair of kids – one a young military cop, one a young dumb girl drinking underage at the barracks – who’d have guessed we’d come this far?




Us, our first year together


Our wedding day - April 12, 2008


Austin Police Academy Graduation - January 2009


Our family today.

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Top 3 reasons I LOVE my publisher


Hello, January! Hello 2017! I don’t normally make New Year’s Resolutions, but I DO want to be better about seeing and acknowledging the things in my life I am grateful for.  I’m starting now with a blog post explaining the reasons why I am grateful for my publisher, eLectio Publishing.  (I know what you’re thinking – ‘you love them because they said yes to your manuscripts!’ – but actually, there is more . . . )

1.        They’re faith-based.  As directly stated on their website (www.electiopublishing.com) they are “First and foremost a Christian publisher.”  Does this mean that they only accept manuscripts from Christian authors? No, it doesn’t! Does this mean that they only accept manuscripts that are Christian works? Again, no. It DOES mean that they are a Christian company that seeks to put God first and seeks to put out wholesome books.  You won’t find a garbage book from this publisher.  It’s refreshing to be associated with a press whose CEO and COO have unwavering values.

2.       They’re a small press – so it’s personal.  I shared a blog post a long while ago with the benefits of a publishing house such as eLectio - http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/the-pros-and-cons-of-publishing-with-a-small-publisher - and I have to tell you my own experience has been nice, to say the very least. Last March, eLectio held their first author’s conference. At the time I still had a nursing baby and thought there was no way a baby would be permitted at an author’s conference, therefore there was no way I was going to attend.  I mustered up the courage to ask if I could bring her, and to my pleasant surprise, the CEO said YES.  My 7-month-old was in tow as I sat listening to the speakers, and as I talked with other authors in our small-group activities.  Even better than that – she was welcomed. The COO gave her the title of ‘future eLectio author’ and everyone in attendance at the conference was so sweet to my baby.  That experience really made me feel like I was more than just an author at a conference. It made me feel like I was a part of a family, the eLectio family.

3.       They publish books that I love! I have collected some books put out by eLectio. 
What you cannot see in this photo are the titles in my Kindle from eLectio authors, which include works from Parker J. Cole, Kathleen Hewitt, Chad Thomas Johnston, Maddy Lederman and Amanda Romine Lynch.  I’m going to tell you something now that you may not believe, but something that is genuinely true: I have enjoyed each and every title that I’ve read in this group.  I really have! I trust that when eLectio releases a new book, it’s going to be a good, quality read.  I can’t tell you what it means to be included in this group and to have authors I respect as my peers. It’s a blessing, one I thank God for.  One I thank eLectio for.  And one that I am grateful for!

Until next time . . .

Monday, November 14, 2016

Meet Allison, the protagonist who tends to be her own antagonist.


Allison Clark is a girl who is accustomed to getting what she wants.  An only child to two parents who give her everything, she drives the car she wants, goes to the college she wants, and even gets the pure-bred puppy she wants after she graduates from nursing school.

What she doesn’t want is a jealous, controlling boyfriend – so when she finds herself in a relationship with one, she ends it.  She doesn’t need a relationship, she thinks.  She has a comfortable life without one.  Until she meets Jeremiah, the new guy in the apartment next to hers.  He’s perfect.  She can’t keep away from him.  The attraction between them is unlike anything Allison has experienced before, and in what feels like a whirlwind, the two of them are engaged to be married.

Allison’s relationship with Jeremiah had the potential to be a fairy-tale.  But Allison, with her self-regard a little too high, doesn't quite realize the damage she is capable of when putting her own selfish desires before the love of her life.  Find out just how much damage she causes, in the Consequence, available November 29th!
Until next time . . .

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Meet Jeremiah - the husband.


Jeremiah is married to Allison, the main character in The Consequence.

He is attractive in a subtle way – his sandy blond hair isn’t long, but is just long enough to peek out from underneath the ball cap he wears when he isn’t working.  He has a tiny dimple on one cheek – when he smiles, and the dimple is revealed, it’s impossible not to smile back at him.

Before meeting Allison, he leaves his parents and three brothers behind in Minnesota for an accounting firm and the promise of more sun in Dallas, Texas.  He’s an accountant because he likes numbers, but what he loves is working with his hands, building, so he volunteers for Habitat for Humanity to satisfy that passion.

He meets Allison after moving into the apartment next door to hers.  He sees her getting out of her car one day, wearing scrubs.  He can't help but take interest in this nurse who is literally the girl next door.  They marry, and have what he believes to be a good marriage.  Life is turning out to be everything he could have hoped for.

Then something happens . . . something that turns everything upside down.

A secret is told – one of betrayal – that was kept hidden for years.

At a time, Allison and Jeremiah’s marriage was one to be envied, but this secret permanently stains the relationship.

Just how damaging will this betrayal be?  Find out how it changes everything for Jeremiah, in The Consequence. 



Until next time . . .

Friday, September 30, 2016

Meet Courtney - the best friend


Courtney is the best friend to Allison, the main character in The Consequence.

She is a girl’s girl.  She has a bubbly personality, is a lot of fun and also (mostly) a responsible one.  She enjoys a good time, and enjoys a good party with her friends.  At the start of this story she dates casually, never being one to shy away from a cute guy but also never getting too serious with any of them, until of course she meets one guy that she just can’t seem to say good-bye to. 

Courtney has a good heart, and believes that every person has good in them too. 

She is sad and disappointed upon learning that there is infidelity in her best friend’s relationship.  She believes that the unfaithfulness needs to be brought into the light, rather than hidden.

Of course, it isn’t her place to shine light on this secret.  Or is it?  Can she let it go?  Can she keep quiet, let Allison’s relationship be Allison’s relationship and stay out of it?  Or is it her responsibility to tell this big secret that only she knows?



Until next time . . .

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Consequence character intro - Meet Billy, the ex.


Billy Stone tends to command the attention of any room he enters.  It isn’t intentional on his part, necessarily.  But he’s good-looking.  For one, the guy is fit.  He looks like a walking, talking cover of Men’s Health Magazine.  But that isn’t even the main thing.  The main thing is, he has these piercing, ice-blue eyes that contrast with his jet black hair in the best possible way.

He could have any girl he wanted, and he did, for a while.  He played the game, dated around, avoiding serious relationships. Until Allison.

Allison was different.  She wasn’t as insecure as the girls he normally dated.  She seemed sure of what she wanted, and though she wanted Billy, she surely didn’t need him.

He began to need her.  And after he had her, he wanted her to himself, unwilling even to accept her friendships with other males.

His jealousy got out of control, and ended their relationship.  But he couldn’t stay away for too long . . .

Until next time . . .