Tragedy At Home

{ Monday, February 27, 2012 }
Today a horrific act was committed. A student opened fire at a local high school killing one and injuring four more students. Read the story here.

This school... Chardon High less than ten minutes from my high school and childhood home. I can't count how many times I've been there for sports events, July 4th fireworks, everything. I have multitudes of friends who went to Chardon and know several families who still have children there.

This incident shook me to my very core. I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. You literally couldn't trip without someone hearing about it less than a minute later. Chardon is considered a city population wise (as of like a year or two ago), however it's a small community too. Chardon was the center of the rural county I grew up in, and therefore considered a very intricate part of our community. I have close knit connections to that town and the high school. Everyone in Geauga County is hurt and mourning this terrible act. In fact my Twitter and Facebook have been blowing up from my childhood friends and classmates feeling so much pain over what happened.

I am in a state of shock.

The news has literally been saying all day "This could happen anywhere." And that the students saying"I would never thought this would happen in Chardon" is just an indictative statment of teenagers. What they don't understand is just how TRUE that is.

First, watch the video in the article I posted. Everyone in the press conference is on the verge of tears and hurting. The entire community is in shock and sadness. Second, violence DOES NOT happen in our community. My parents chose our town because of it's low crime rates and great school scores. The entire county of Geauga is like that. It's a rural community, most of it's economy is based on agriculture or small factories. Geauga County holds the 3rd largest Amish population in the country, just to give you an idea. The majority of the county is related by blood to someone else, there is hardly anyone (with perhaps the exception of my family) that didn't grow up in Geauga County and has generations of family all over the county. Chances are if you were to throw three stones, two of them would hit people who are related to each other.

Maple Festival, "Downtown" Chardon
 Everyone cares for everyone. Everyone knows everyone. I know a lot of families who don't lock their doors while they are at home. What's the point? You'd probably know the person who walked into your house anyway. Most families have acres of land, so it's nearly impossible to imagine someone walking through all that to just steal something.

Violence is not common. In fact, you rarely hear about someone hurting someone else. The last great tragedy we had as a community is a family that lost a son in a terrible work accident. People just don't go around shooting each other. People don't hurt each other. It just doesn't happen.

The fact is, something was wrong with this young teenager who felt his only option was to hurt people. Even in small communities like ours, bullying is commonplace. But that does not condone these terrible acts. The world can be a harsh place, and knowing the difference between the right and wrong way to deal with it is something parents should teach their children everyday.

I am thinking constantly of the families of the victims which I have many connections to. I ask that you all hug the people you love today. Especially if you have children. Teach them what to do in situations like these. Teach them right from wrong. Making sure your kids know you love them can really make all the difference.

And send that deployed significant other an 'I love you' via email or whatever. You never know what life is gonna give and take from you.

My Dog

{ Saturday, February 18, 2012 }
I'm currently at my parents house watching my beautiful doggie dog, Maggie. She's incredibly old and pathetic for the most part, she can barely walk and it takes her about twenty minutes to stand up. And I'm pretty sure she has Doggie Alzheimer's... today for whatever reason, instead of eating her food she decided to rub her nose against the carpet. She rubbed her nose so much and so hard she ripped a good chunk of skin off her nose and she bled everywhere. She still wouldn't eat and my mom told me to give her one of her pills...Which she just gobbled up oddly. I don't know what the pills are but she went larthargic after that and fell asleep.

Maggie this past summer.
Naturally, I bawled like a baby cleaning up her blood and cleaning her nose. I couldn't help thinking about how I was losing her. Slowly, but surely. She'll be 14 this summer, so I've had her for the good majority of my life. So not only is she my best doggie friend, she represents a lot for me. My life here in Ohio. My struggles as a teenager, breakups and the like. Everything. It breaks my heart to think about losing her because I can't imagine life without her. How on earth can I do anything hard ever again without her?

This of course could potentially make deployment a little harder for me. She's been a stand-up support system for me. Every hard obstacle I've had in my life she's been there with her goofy smile and a small lick on the hand. She's not quite the same as she used to be, but dogs are so healing regardless of their mental states. They love you unconditionally and hate to see you hurt. Losing her during this deployment might destroy me.

But when all's said and done, I'm grateful for her. She makes me smile when I need it most. I'm always excited to come to my parent's house to see her. (Yea, I guess to see my parents too. haha) I definately need to get my own dog at home, especially once I lose Maggie. But for now, I have the bestest friend in the world.

Army, Guard, Coastie, WHATEVER

{ Friday, February 10, 2012 }
Okay. I'm super upset. I read this on Spousebuzz today. Guard Spouses Aren't Real Army Wives

Now, I'm going to keep this "short" because I feel like if I get going I'm going to hurt my boyfriend, just like this woman has seemingly hurt her husband. (See here) But I just have a couple things I would like to say.

My boyfriend is currently deployed with another unit...but his original unit deployed to Vermont back in September to help with the devastation of Hurricane Irene. Now I'm unsure if this woman happened to be there during Irene, but the devastation (shown here and in the picture below) was awful. People were without power for days. The flooding of businesses and houses was over 7 inches. An entire bridge was swept away.

My boyfriends NATIONAL GUARD unit brought food. Helped to save stranded and missing people. They worked their butts off for 30 days trying to help erase some of the awful devastation that state encountered. They stood side by side with Vermont Guard and those from other states, police, firemen, etc. bringing back some of what was destroyed, especially peace of mind.

Now, Velle wasn't there because they had him all ready going overseas. But I just have one question for this Vermont woman: DID ANYONE YOU KNEW OR LOVED RECIEVE HELP FROM THE NATIONAL GUARD AFTER IRENE? DID YOU?

I wonder. Because to me, this is the single incredible thing that the guard (or any military branch for that matter) does.

Help the citizens of the United States.

It's amazing what our military does overseas, protecting our freedom and the freedom of others. But when it comes down to it, their job is simply this: Protect and Serve the United States of America at home or away.

I find nothing more incredible than watching someone in the military help a civilian, whether it be on the homefront or overseas. In fact, this is thing I'm most proud of. Take the Coast Guard. They are the most under rated, under appreciated group of the military. In fact, most people don't even know they are military. But they are. I have the utmost respect for these MILITARY men and women who risk their lives everyday, even when there isn't a war being fought. Now, tell me...are you going to tell their wives their husbands aren't military next?

Coast Guard is on the bottom, the Army National Guard is a PART of the army.
Which brings me back to the National Guard. They are always, no matter what, "on call" to help and risk their lives. Which makes them no different from active duty soldiers. This woman mentioned in her blog that it's four years between deployments for Guardsmen. Yes, overseas. But everytime a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or any other diaster happens in the United States the Guard is there. Regardless of their wedding plans, their vacations, etc. They have be one of the most flexible branch of military because tomorrow if buildings started to fall, guardsmen would have to put those ACU's on and help even if it's their daughter's birthday.

So, in the case of Velle's unit. They were deployed to Vermont. But what if a diaster happened here at home at Ohio right after they returned? You think they get to wait four years before they have to help again? Don't think so. One weekend a month? Whatever.

I'm going to stop here cause there is so much more to be said, including her incredibly disrespectful comments about PTSD and the fact that ARMY National Guard is part of the ARMY, oh and my boyfriend worked full-time on his base... But my point is, I don't care what branch of the military your spouse is. The military itself is its own family.

Disrespect for one branch of the military is disrespect for all of the military. Period. My boyfriend works next to Marines, Air Force, etc everyday. And although all branches poke fun at each other, they all respect and protect each other...Shouldn't you respect and protect your fellow military spouse?

Valentine's Day Care Package

{ Sunday, February 5, 2012 }
I sent my boy a few days ago his Valentine's Day gifts. I'm super excited for him to get this care package...because I'm awesome.

I got him a bunch of Valentine's candy, including Skittles that came in a container shaped like a heart! I got him some mini gatorades to drink. A cute Valentine's Day card...nothing too mushy....Then my favorite! His actual gift...THUNDERCATS!

It's the new version, the re-make, that was on Cartoon Network over the past summer. As we were getting ready for his deployment, his brother left for Basic, and just about everything else in the world...we only actually watched one episode. My boyfriend was extremely excited about the show coming on and always complained we didn't have DVR so he could record it. So, basically, I'm awesome.

I'm super excited about him getting it. In the mean time I'm working on a care package for him because he's been asking me for certain things. I just had to make sure the Valentine's stuff got out in time for him.

I'm super excited about Valentine's Day. Even though I won't be spending it with my boy...I just love the day. Everyone getting flowers and stuff. It makes me smile!

I Wake Up To Your Sunset...

{ Thursday, February 2, 2012 }

Story of my life I think...