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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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Army Wife Opinion: Is the Commissary Worth It?

The Commissary.

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To see promotional items or what’s on sale at your commissary, check out http://www.commissaries.com. It’s an awesome site with helpful tips!

I’ve had several discussions with fellow Army wives on whether the commissary is really worth going to. I’ve heard all of the arguments for shopping there – There’s no tax. The prices are cheaper. The meat is better quality. Literally, I’ve heard them all. Yet, I’m still not completely sold on shopping there…

Since I plan our meals out on a monthly basis, I go grocery shopping once a month. This makes sense for us to do, especially considering the first paycheck of the month goes directly to bills and the second one goes to food, gas and our savings. So planning ahead is seriously the best option, but where exactly is more debatable!

Just so you know, here in Lacey, WA – right outside of Fort Lewis – I have several options on where to go grocery shopping:

  • Safeway
  • WinCo
  • Wal-Mart
  • Costco
  • The Commissary

Now, here are some thoughts on the subject from fellow military wives!

“We’ve tried shopping at both for an extended period of time and overall, we have a lower grocery bill at the commissary. Spices are WAY cheaper at Winco though. We also don’t think the quality of meat we got at Winco was as good as the meat at the commissary.”-Cindi

“I shop for most stuff at Wal Mart. Olympia Seafood Market is the best fresh seafood in the area. Winco tends to be cheaper from what I seen but I do not like there family packs of meat or wilted produce. Try Bountiful Baskets for fresh fruit and veggies and whole grain bread; Michaels meats has good freezer packs. All food is tax free. The commissary charges a percentage on everything you buy. The best deal to me at the commissary is tampons.” –Jennifer

“Winco for food. Walmart for household things.” –Brooke

“I shop at winco or Fred Meyer if I have the coupons and get my meats from Costco and paper products. The money I would spend in gas To post I save shopping here.” –Staci

Personally, I don’t shop at the Commissary unless I’m on base. These are my reasons why:

  1. I’m not a “brand” person. So if I can still get a generic box of pasta for 50 cents less than the brand name box of pasta at the commissary, I’ll keep shopping at WinCo.
  2. Proximity. WinCo is close – like 6 minutes away from our apartment. While Safeway is even closer, we only stop there for our favorite ice cream – otherwise it’s too expensive. And while the base isn’t that far away, I still have to get on the freeway, go through the gate and find a parking space along with the other 500 million people there.
  3. Surcharge. I don’t quite fall for the “There’s No Tax!” phrase. When you go to the commissary, there IS a surcharge. And there is no food tax here in Washington. So even though some things I may pick up at WinCo are taxable, I still would rather save the gas money than drive to post to buy groceries with a surcharge.
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Check them out and see which one works best for you!

Now, don’t think I’m bashing the commissary! It does have some great deals – like their cheese! All I can say is – Just Shop Smartly.

Like the wives above, try out some of the different options first then make a decision which works best for you, your family and your budget.

We shop mostly at WinCo, get bulk items at Costco, and misc. items at Big Lots. That’s what works for us – so find out what works for you! Good luck!

Lauren

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Top 5 Military Apps for Newbie Wives!

Phone Apps.

We live in a world of technology, so why not use it to our advantage? While I did see Blair at his Family Weekend Pass and graduation from OSUT, it wasn’t until we PCS-ed up to Fort Lewis that I actually interacted with other soldiers – including the higher ups. I’m not really one to get intimidated, but it’s super easy to get intimidated as a newbie military wife when you are first getting used to everything. It happens to the best of us…

So to make it a little easier on you, the 5 Phone Apps below were and still are my favorite for getting to know ins and outs of this crazy military world we live in!

1. Military Ranks – you can’t go wrong with this app. Whether your spouse is in the Army, Marines, Navy, etc., it has all the ranks broken down for you so you know who is who!

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2. USAA – this bank is meant for the military, and I LOVE it. They are so helpful and have an awesome mobile app for military families and veterans. Their app also has a Spending Plan and Track Money option to keep you on track with your income!

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3. Mil Traveler – you connect to your “home base” and it gives you everything you would need to know. For example, what building the MWR is in, their number and when they are open. Another thing I love about this app is that it gives you options for things nearby base as well. Ex. Looking for a golf course near Fort Lewis? It tells you there is one right off of Exit 116 on I-5!

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4. Military Money – another great option when creating a savings plan, debt reduction plan and more. Super great for our incomes! There is no reason we shouldn’t be saving money with great apps like these!

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5.  US Army – okay, okay. Now this app will only work for those in the Army, but it is awesome. One part I really love is the uniform section where they break down any uniform. It gives you everything your spouse will need to know to have his uniform in tip-top shape!

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Extra!

6. MilFit FREE – so this one isn’t necessarily for you, but I love understanding and seeing what is expected of our soldiers when it comes to fitness. There are several different fitness “books” you can download on this app that are definitely interesting!

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The best part about all of the apps above is that they are FREE. Plus, they are all things that you can explore and learn new information when you are out and about! They have all been super handy for me!

Lauren