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How to Avoid Becoming Bitter in Life – For Military & Civilians

Bitterness.

I’m not really one to post things on the weekend. Typically weekends are all about Blair and me time, however the last few weeks have been different due to Blair’s squadron being on lockdown while out in the field… I originally wrote this post last Monday. I had just gotten home from school and was taking a much needed break – and this is what I wrote.

The second I got home today, I just sat on the couch thinking about life.

What exactly is bitterness?

Past memories, emotions, thoughts, feelings, actions and more flooded through my mind. And the more I thought about everything, the more bitterness started to seep into my veins and go start to my heart. It was at that point that I knew I had to stop myself from thinking such negative thoughts. In the matter of minutes, I had gone from being ecstatic about the “A” I had just gotten on my nursing test to feeling like I was stuck in the deepest of dark places…

Now, there are a lot of things that have happened in my life and relationships with others that made me become bitter at times. I’m by no means perfect… We all have been there or even are there at the moment.

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Seriously, it is time to stop bitterness from taking over our lives!

And this is what I’m going to tell you: It is time to stop bitterness from taking over our lives.

From Facebook, to Instagram, to Blogs, to School, and sadly even to Church, we, as women (and men), are constantly trying to one up each other. – Relationships, Engagements, Weddings, & Babies, Clothes, Hair, Makeup, Body Shapes, & even Cars – We are constantly publicly trying to make our life “seem” better than others’. And we are constantly NOT loving each other as brothers and sisters.

Yet, that is exactly what we need to do – love each other. Help each other. Support each other.

I know it may seem like I am ranting, but please understand I am not! I just want to explain how I got to the point today and how I eased myself out of the pool of bitterness.

So… the reason why I’m going into all of this stems from recent events in the Army. Blair was working out in the field on a “3 days on. 1 day off” ratio. Then something of extreme importance went missing. And that’s when this all started. Blair’s whole squadron was put on lockdown due to the missing item, and are on lockdown till it is found or until all means of finding it are exhausted. As crazy as that seems, I understand why the Army has to do this, and that my husband, as a soldier, has to follow those orders. But it was at the town hall meeting held a couple days later that I truly became bitter.

There were easily 50+ wives at the town hall meeting wanting answers.

When is my husband going to be home? I’m pregnant – what do I do if I go into labor? Why is my husband who works in MICO (Management Information Control Office), stuck out there when he wasn’t even in the field to begin with?

It’s that last question that got me on a roll. I instantly thought, “It’s not like your husband is more important than mine. Your husband has been out in the field all of three days. Mine has been out there for two weeks.”

It was a nasty thought – one I’m greatly saddened by and even embarrassed to admit. But I think it’s important for me to share because it is one vital step to kicking bitterness out of my life.

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“Stop and Smell the Roses” everyday.

So, I’m going to give you some tips to help combat bitterness. Be honest with yourself when reading these. And try applying them to your life. It’s not easy to do – and it shouldn’t be easy. I constantly struggle with bitterness because it is ingrained into who I am as a person. Society has taught us to be like this. Sin makes it habit. And it takes quite awhile to break habits…

Try to:

1. Recognize your expectations of others may be too high.

This is a toughie one. One that requires lots of internal digging and compromise. We all have expectations of others that we feel that they should be or act like. And, honestly, most of the time they are way too high…

2. Question any feelings of jealousy you have.

Stop and open your eyes to what’s important! We all take things for granted and become jealous when someone has something we don’t have, yet most of us have the same things right before us.

3. Be thankful.

We may not have everything, but we all should be grateful for what we do have. From the roof over our heads to even the pictures of past memories we have hanging on the walls, being grateful for the big and little things are vital.

4. Accept your flaws.

When personally attacked, I get bitter. Most of the time I don’t understand why someone might not like me. I try to be nice and friendly, so why don’t they like me? This is a huge flaw of mine and only one of my many flaws I have… Stop and truly examine yourself and the flaws you may have.

5. Pray.

I know all of you don’t pray, and I know I will probably lose a lot of you at this point, but hear me out. Prayer is powerful.

“There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.” ― John Wooden

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” ― Mother Teresa

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

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I love this! I’m thinking this is going to inspire a future craft project!

Below is an audio clip of Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll hitting on the topic of ending bitterness in our lives. It is an amazing audio clip that will definitely get you thinking and even crying. Blair and I heard this months back and it literally changed our lives. It makes you question yourself. I challenge you to go listen to it. Like I said, it is life changing, so be prepared. Here’s the link – Ending Bitterness

Just know that you can pick and choose what you embrace and bring into your life and what you can let go of immediately. Fall back on yourself. Emotions are a normal part of life. You might not be able to control the environment or happenings, but what you have is what you can do with the situation. You have to be strong. And that takes practice and wisdom, my friends…

Lauren

P.S. Blair was finally able to come home on Friday. It was a huge surprise and I was beyond ecstatic! He headed back out to the field today so I will see him in just a few days. I’m grateful I had this weekend with him and am thankful he is safe here in the states. On a different note, I just wanted to say thank you to all of the men and women who are still overseas fighting. And I wanted to tell the spouses that I’m extremely proud of you all! Stay strong! We are all here for you!

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Deployment Communication

Hello again all!

Oh how I am so very excited for this post!! Communication is so important during a deployment. For Taylor and I, we are used to making sure we call and Skype each other as much as we can. So making sure this continued throughout his deployment was not that big of a change for us. However, for those of you who live with your significant other you may have a harder time adjusting. So I hope these helpful tips can make it as easy for you as possible!

communicationOnce your significant other is out of the United States their phone will not work unless they go to their service provider and pay for overseas service. Know that this is expensive and so NOT worth it with the other technology available to us today.

They have access to Wi-Fi overseas, so communicating is not as hard as it may seem. They can use every mean of social media and video chatting available and even play certain app games with you like Words with Friends or Draw Something.

*Understand the Time Difference*

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The flowers I got for Valentines Day and the Skype date we had.

There is quite a big time difference between places overseas and the United States. This is one of the first things I wanted to figure out, so I knew how different our days would be. There is a 12 and a half hour difference between Nevada and Bagram, which was quite the difference. However, it worked out pretty great for us because Taylor would be going to work right as I was getting into bed.

Once you find out where your significant other will be overseas figure out what the time difference is going to be. It will make communicating easier if you know what time it is there in relation to what time it is where you are.

callsHere is where you will need to look at apps before your significant other leaves. The one that I heard is the best is called Viber. However, this app needs to be downloaded in the United States and Taylor and I didn’t find out about it until he was already in Afghanistan. So he downloaded an app called Magic Jack that gave him a new number while he was deployed, which allowed him to call me. I did not need the app for it to work. He would just call my regular phone number from a different number that the app gave him and we would be able to talk on the phone. Because it was a random number I saved it in my contacts as Taylor Desert. He would call me whenever he had a chance. I normally never called him, but that is because I was never sure if he was sleeping or working because of the time difference!

Both of these calling apps are absolutely free and will not affect either of your cell phone bills.

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The first night we were able to Skype!

Whatever your means of video chatting is, it is important to see your airman face to face while they are there—it always made me feel better. I would think that messenger and the calls were enough, but there was nothing like the feeling I would get after seeing him on Skype! For those of you who do not have iPhones with FaceTime there is a Skype app, which is what Taylor and I used because he had a Droid. It was nice to have Skype on the go, so that he could be apart of things he thought he would miss. One night I was at a basketball game with his mom watching his sisters cheer and because I had Skype on my phone he was able to get to see them cheer for a while. It meant a lot to him and even more to his sisters!

Be sure to make time to video chat with your significant other while they are deployed because it will make both of you feel so much better just to see each other’s face!

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Facebook is a great way for family and friends to communicate with your significant other. Taylor’s parents and sisters would write on his wall, along with my family and his friends. Then his grandma would write him a note on his wall every single night. It is a really good way for those who don’t get to talk with him on the phone, to communicate with him. He was busy and when he would get a chance to call it was not for a long period of time, so he would just call me and update me on his day and would message me whenever he would have Wi-Fi. So, for his family and friends who did not have that communication with him his Facebook page was a good place to get a hold of him because he would comment back whenever he would have a chance.

Facebook Messenger: Taylor and I used Facebook messenger as our texting. We both downloaded the messenger app to our phones so we didn’t have to go to Facebook every time we had a message from one another. I would get good morning and good night messages from him and we would message throughout the day about what we were up to and how each other’s days were going. We totally used it just like we do texting and that was our daily means of communication. It was really nice to have because even if we didn’t get a chance to Skype or talk over the phone we were still able to talk to each other through messenger every single day he was deployed. It was really nice to have and something I strongly recommend!

lettersI did not send a lot of letters like I thought I was going to. I bought a notebook and pens with the intention of writing a letter every day, but they took so long to get there.

Taylor’s address was in his deployment packet, so the day he told me he was in Afghanistan I sent a letter. Then the very next day I went to his house and his mom and I put together a care package and sent it. The care package got there a week from the day we sent it and the letter was there 4-5 days later. Because letters took so long to get there I got discouraged and was really bad at sending them. I also felt very spoiled by messenger because I had a way to talk to him everyday making writing letters difficult because I didn’t know what to write that I hadn’t already told him. So, I did not send a lot of letters, but it is still a really personal way to communicate and they are neat to have and keep forever.

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His Birthday Care Package!

Care packages can be anywhere from really basic to really extravagant. Because I was a full time student, whenever I had a chance to send a package I would always try to make it as extravagant as I could.

Care packages took exactly a week if not a day or two less to make it to Afghanistan from Reno, Nevada. The best thing to do to find out how long your packages will take is to go to your local post office and ask them!

Tomorrow will be a post on what you’ll need from the post office, plus some ideas to get you started!

So there you have it! These are the basics to communicating with your significant other while they are deployed and the different ways it is possible. Like I said for those of you who are already in a long distance relationship this will not be too different from what you have already been doing. Don’t get me wrong it is still hard. I was not used to having to wait to get a hold of Tay because he was sleeping while I was up, or because he was on the flight line with no Wi-Fi. It was weird not being able to call or message him at any hour of the day and have him answer or reply right away. Sometimes it would be hours before I would hear back from him, but it is something that I got used to.

If you have been living with your significant other and have been able to see and talk to them everyday then this will definitely be a little more difficult for you to get used to. Just remember that it is not forever, it is just temporary and that if you make sure to communicate as much as possible then the time will fly by and before you know it they will be back in your arms again!

Communication is so important because it really makes you feel less like you are a whole world apart from your airman. It will help you get through everyday if you get those good morning and good night messages from them, hear their voice and see their face. It will also help them! Don’t let the fact that the communication is different stop you from taking advantage of all the great ways of staying connected we have now!

Next week will be my last full post in this series and will be one of my favorites because it is all about the day Taylor came home! I will go over what needs to be done before, the day of and the days after your airman returns home!

Until then!

Kaitlin