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       Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul, p.1

           Jack Canfield
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Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul


  What People Are Saying About

  Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul . . .

  “This book clearly illustrates the pride and sacrifice of the spouses and their families who support our military personnel. Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul is a touching celebration of military wives everywhere.”

  Edgar Mitchell, Capt., USN (Ret.)

  Apollo 14 astronaut

  “Every woman, military or civilian, will relate to this inspiring collection of true stories. In their own words, the sisterhood of military wives open their hearts and offer a generous helping of their strength, dedication and pride for you to enjoy.”

  Amy J. Fetzer

  author, Tell It to the Marines

  “For generations, military spouses have been the soldiers without recognition, without a chest full of medals and without rank. This book gives a heartfelt salute to those women steadfastly supporting their active-duty military members. Thank you, Chicken Soup, for creating a book for the hundreds of thousands of military spouses worldwide! A true blessing for all of us . . .”

  Babette Maxwell

  cofounder, Military Spouses magazine

  “The memories in Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul are ones that we may have lived and with which we have great empathy. After reading the book, I needed time to recover from all my tears and memories. Thank you for creating this book of inspiring stories and memories for us to read.”

  Martha Didamo

  national president, Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.

  “Chicken Soup has created a wonderful, heartfelt collection of stories by military wives to celebrate the contributions and sacrifices that the spouses make while supporting those who defend our country. Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul is a powerful tool that will be treasured for years to come. I wholeheartedly recommend this book!”

  Rev. Robert A. Schuller

  Crystal Cathedral Ministries

  CHICKEN SOUP

  FOR THE

  MILITARY WIFE’S

  SOUL

  101 Stories to Touch the Heart

  and Rekindle the Spirit

  Jack Canfield

  Mark Victor Hansen

  Cindy Pedersen

  Charles Preston

  Backlist, LLC, a unit of

  Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC

  Cos Cob, CT

  www.chickensoup.com

  Contents

  Introduction

  1. RED, WHITE AND BLUE

  The Commissary Roadblock Paige Anderson Swiney

  God Bless America . . . and Remember Italy, Too!

  Stacy Smith Kirchheiner

  A Quiet Road Sara Rosett

  The Call Home C. Boggs

  Pregnancy Michele Putman

  My Nurse Angel Lisa Cobb

  The Calm During the Storm Kathy Oberhaus

  Miracle Wallet Lisa Cobb

  A Soldier, Someone’s Child Elizabeth Martin, R.N.

  All in a Day’s Work Liz Rae

  2. I MISS YOU SO

  A Navy Wife’s Prayer Sue Groseclose-Combs

  Picture the Waiting Candace Carteen

  Letters of Hope Shelley McEwan

  A Chain of Love Tammy C. Logan

  Deployed Naomi Stanton

  Silent Survivors of the Vietnam War Sally B. Griffis

  The Phone Call Jodie Smith

  Hello, Beautiful Jane Garvey

  Free Mail Jill Cottrell

  Mercy Evangeline Dionisio as told to Shelly Mecum

  Navy Pilot’s Wife Sarah Monagle

  The Unseen Veteran Amanda Legg

  3. RAISING MILITARY BRATS

  The Cost of War in Cheerios Mary C. Chace

  Can’t Let Go Julie Angelo

  Strains of Freedom Tracey L. Sherman

  In the Arms of a Soldier Mary D. Jackson

  Hi Daddy Jessica Blankenbecler

  Doubting Thomas Leah Tucker

  My House Is a War Zone Melissa M. Baumann

  Baby’s First Words Sarah Monagle

  All in a Day’s Duty Tracey L. Sherman

  War Is Not a Game Michael J. Jett

  Daddy’s Angels Tammy Ross

  You Are on Speaker Phone Angela Keane

  4. HOLIDAYS—MILITARY STYLE

  Red, White and Blue Christmas Roxanne Chase

  Our Matchbox Christmas Alice Smith

  Spouse of a Soldier Denise J. Hunnell

  Angels Shop at Wal-Mart Jilleen Kesler

  A Military Family Terry Hurley

  A Simple Act of Kindness Jennifer Minor

  An Extra Chair Susanna H. Bartee

  Christmas—Military-Family Style Marjorie H. Lewis

  The 25 Days of Christmas Chanda Stelter

  5. HONEY, WE’VE GOT ORDERS

  Keep the House Jennifer Oscar

  Honorable Gift Marilyn Pate

  Part of the Navy Means Saying Good-Bye Sarah Smiley

  Discomboobled Military Mate Jan Hornung

  The Difference a Year Makes Megan Armstrong

  Saying Good-Bye Kelli Kirwan

  The Line Ends Back There Bill Blankfield, Col., USAF (Ret.)

  Our National Anthem Gail Gross

  My Home Benjamin Pigsley

  The Angel Book Dianne Collier

  6. NO LIFE LIKE IT

  The Difference Col. Steven A. Arrington

  Wow Amy Hollingsworth

  The Delivery of Finding Strength Kimberly L. Shaffer

  Operation Enduring Freedom Heidi Boortz

  Hair Humor Laura C. Fitch

  Footsteps at the Door Gwen C. Rollings

  Only Joking Vicki A. Vadala-Cummings

  Thank You Kristin Spurlock

  The Cookie Lady Linda Valle

  The Honeymoon Is Over Gary Luerding

  It’ll Be Okay Tom Phillips

  7. UNITED WE STAND

  Sacrifices Amy J. Fetzer

  Dreams and Doubts Sophia Shell, as told to Cindy Shell Pedersen

  Bluegrass Parkway Kim Riley

  Terrorist Brownies Amie Clark

  Destination: Military Wife Bethany Watkins

  Newfound Heroes Carol Howard

  The Angel at the Olive Garden Diane L. Flowers

  You Didn’t Tell Me Donna Porter

  Hooah Theresa Doss

  8. AN OFFICER AT THE DOOR

  His Name Was John Mary Catherine Carwile

  Anticipation Judith Hodge Andrews Dennis as told to Marjorie Kramer

  Accepting the Folded Flag Saundra L. Butts

  A Widow’s Salvation Lora Vivas

  A Little Thing Jodi Chappel

  Somebody Knew Gene Sara Rosett

  The Christmas Tree Joanne Danna

  A Bittersweet Photograph Amy Naegeli

  A Family Like No Other Ann Hail Norris

  War—A Widow’s Weeds, a Widow’s Words Patricia Barbee

  I’ll Be There with You Tracy Atkins

  9. BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY

  Happiness Was Born a Twin Mary E. Dess

  Combat Boots to Keds Debbie Koharik

  Welcome Home! DeEtta Woffinden Anderson

  as told to Dahlynn McKowen

  A Colorful Experience Nancy Hall

  Patriotic Women Bake Cookies Denise J. Hunnell

  Something to Be Proud Of Joyce Stark

  The Wedding Krystee Kott

  Angel in the Air Ramiah Johnson

  It Took a War Jan Hornung

  10. LIVING YOUR DREAM

  Change of Perspective Sonja R. Ragaller

  Identity: A Time of Transition Twink DeWitt

  If I Return Sharon C. Stephens Trippe

  Lollipops Diane
Proulx

  Military Family Shawni Sticca

  Mail Call—God’s Provision for Intimacy Martha Pope Gorris

  Grandma’s Wisdom Rachel E. Twenter

  A Trip to Washington, D.C. Abigail L. Hammond

  Standing Tall Margaret Buchwald

  Who Is Jack Canfield?

  Who Is Mark Victor Hansen?

  Who Is Cindy Pedersen?

  Who Is Charles Preston?

  Contributors

  Permissions

  Introduction

  Virtually every individual has been touched at some time by a relative, friend or coworker serving in the armed forces. Everyone has heard the stories and seen the TV or newspaper coverage of tearful farewells as troops leave for battle, of children missing the daily routine with a parent, or of the lonely spouse keeping the home fire burning. There are currently more than 18 million spouses of the 30 million Americans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. These are the “silent ranks” that also serve as they remain at home nurturing the family.

  Thanks to the high-tech mechanization of military equipment and state-of-the-art military intelligence, how we defend our freedom and fight our wars has changed dramatically in the last century. Instead of marching into battle to engage in hand-to-hand combat, we now utilize unmanned aircraft for surveillance, computer-controlled rockets, heat-sensing missiles and night-vision goggles. Reporters are embedded with the troops, bringing the reality of combat into our living rooms daily with graphic, live coverage from the war zone. These compelling images alternate between reassuring us and generating additional anxiety.

  Methods of communication have also taken a quantum leap forward. Modern devices such as camera cell phones, e-mail, satellite phones, digital cameras and Web cameras enable spouses to remain in frequent contact with each other. Unlike our parents and grandparents who waited several months for a letter to cross the ocean, today’s troops have almost instant access to their families and loved ones. They have the ability to view the birth of their child from the delivery room via the Internet, or participate in a party by singing “Happy Birthday” via satellite phone.

  What remains unchanged is the vast spectrum of human emotions felt by the troops and their families—the faith and fear, the love and loneliness, the pride and perseverance, the courage and camaraderie, the independence and uncertainty that are a part of everyday life.

  The idea of producing Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul was conceived shortly after the horrific events of 9/11. We wanted to recognize and inspire the spouses of the troops who defend our freedom.

  We reached out to the military community and were overwhelmed by the response. Thousands of heartfelt stories poured into our mailbox—stories about overcoming fears, helping other wives adapt to military life and giving back to those less fortunate. As we read each story, we shared the entire spectrum of emotions. We laughed and cried as we experienced their joy and tears, their faith and fear, their courage and strength.

  The sisterhood of military wives portrays an ethos that is the hallmark of the spouses who devote their lives to supporting those who defend our country. We honor and deeply respect each of them.

  We are grateful to all who shared their deepest feelings in order for us to publish stories that will acknowledge and entertain current military spouses and all who have gone before them. These shared feelings will also provide a legacy of experiences to encourage and support all of those who will follow them.

  It is our sincere hope that as you read these stories, each will touch your heart and rekindle your spirit. We invite you to share, with every military spouse you know, this tribute to the pride and honor of those who continuously support our troops.

  God bless America.

  1

  RED,WHITE

  AND BLUE

  In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do.

  Dorothea Dix

  The Commissary Roadblock

  Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.

  Faith Baldwin

  It was just another harried Wednesday afternoon trip to the commissary. My husband was off teaching young men to fly. My daughters went about their daily activities knowing I would return to them at the appointed time, bearing, among other things, their favorite fruit snacks, frozen pizza and all the little extras that never had to be written down on a grocery list. My grocery list, by the way, was in my sixteen-month-old daughter’s mouth, and I was lamenting the fact that the next four aisles of needed items would have to come from memory.

  I was turning onto the hygiene/baby aisle while extracting the last of my list out of my daughter’s mouth when I nearly ran over an old man. He clearly had no appreciation for the fact that I had forty-five minutes left to finish the grocery shopping, pick upmy four-year-old from tumbling class and get to school, where my twelve-year-old and her carpool mates would be waiting.

  The man was standing in front of the soap selection, staring blankly as if he’d never had to choose a bar of soap in his life. I was ready to bark an order at him when I realized there was a tear on his face. Instantly, this grocery-aisle roadblock transformed into a human.

  “Can I help you find something?” I asked. He hesitated, and then told me he was looking for soap.

  “Any one in particular?” I continued.

  “Well, I’m trying to find my wife’s brand of soap.” I was about to lend him my cell phone so he could call her when he said, “She died a year ago, and I just want to smell her again.”

  Chills ran down my spine. I don’t think the twenty-two-thousand pound mother of all bombs could have had the same impact. As tears welled up in my eyes, my half-eaten grocery list didn’t seem so important. Neither did fruit snacks or frozen pizza. I spent the remainder of my time in the commissary that day listening to a man tell the story of how important his wife was to him—and how she took care of their children while he fought for our country.

  My life was forever changed that day.

  Sometimes the monotony of laundry, housecleaning, grocery shopping and taxi driving leave military wives feeling empty—the kind of emptiness that is rarely fulfilled when our husbands don’t want to or can’t talk about work. We need to be reminded, at times, of the important role we fill for our family and for our country. Every time my husband comes home too late or leaves before the crack of dawn, I try to remember the sense of importance I felt in the commissary.

  Even a retired, decorated World War II pilot who served in missions to protect Americans needed the protection of the woman who served him at home.

  Paige Anderson Swiney

  God Bless America . . .

  and Remember Italy, Too!

  Culture is both an intellectual phenomenon and a moral one.

  Raisa Gorbachev

  My husband is in the navy, and, in January 2003, we were transferred to Gaeta, Italy. The culture shock was unbelievable. It took a long time to get used to things, and soon after my husband moved us here, he was shipped out. My four children and I were alone in this strange world. I had to get used to the people, the driving and the food. While I was out having a meal, asking myself if it was all worth it, an old man walked up and asked if he could join me. I agreed, smiling, and he pulled up a chair.

  When he found out that I was an American, he beamed. In his limited English, he said, “Oh! How I love America!” I could barely understand him, but he spoke with such love and emotion that I clung to every word he said, afraid that I might miss something. He told me that he comes to the American base in Gaeta to see the two flags side by side: the Italian flag and Old Glory, flying together. Every time he sees an American flag, he lowers his head and prays, and he always ends his prayer with: “God bless America, and God remember Italy, too!”

  He grew up here in Gaeta, and his family suffered during the war. He told me how the Germans took everything his family had, including their home. They nearly starved to death.
He dug into trash cans to look for food for his family. Some of them were sick, and it seemed as if they would die. My new friend said that he prayed to God to save them—and God sent the American troops. The way he saw it, the troops didn’t come to invade Italy, but to save him and his family.

  The old man trembled as he talked, pausing several times to fight back the tears. I was trying hard to fight back my own tears, but it was a losing battle.

  A young navy doctor saw him digging in the trash and went home with him, bringing food and medicine to his family. “I was much too sick already,” said the old man. “The medicine didn’t help me, and for three days I was in a coma.” When he woke up, his father had told him that the navy doctor had never left his side during those three days. That doctor saved his life. His father wept, saying, “I will always love America, because my son was dead, and America came and brought him back to me.”

  It would be many years before this man even learned the name of the doctor who had saved his life, but he never forgot him, nor did he ever stop loving his beloved America.

  After he grew up and married, he went to visit his beautiful America. He visited Washington, and there he saw some young people burning Old Glory. His voice was shaking. His emotions grew raw. He looked at me with huge tears in his eyes, and told me how it hurt his heart to see that beautiful old flag being burned. He touched his wife’s hand and asked her to stay where she was. This Italian man walked over to the Americans who were burning the flag and asked them, “Why?” They began to explain their protest, and he simply said, “But why must you burn Old Glory? She stands for all that I love, and I owe her my life.” He shared his story with them, and their heads hung down. They extinguished the flames, gave him the burned remains of the flag and walked away.

  By this time my face was soaked with tears. His story bridged the differences I had been seeing in our two worlds. I saw the beauty of the countryside with new eyes. I don’t remember the name of the man who forever changed my heart and touched my spirit, but not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. Every time I drive to our base in Italy, I see our two flags flying, side by side. I bow my head, and I pray, and I always end my prayer with: “God bless America, and God . . . remember Italy, too!”

 
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