Thursday, April 28, 2011

How to eat a cupcake

Over the past couple of years, Americans have gone crazy for cupcakes!  Truthfully, I have always had a soft spot in my stomach (literally!) heart for those miniature cakes. You'll never catch me complaining that shops filled with that sugary goodness are popping up all over the place and catering to my craving. In fact, my friend, Kathryn, and I have embarked on a mission to find the "best" cupcake.  The two of us have tested out nearly all of the cupcakeries in the Washington DC metropolitan area. We've even taken our challenge to other states countries!

In case you are interested, in my opinion, the very best cupcake you can buy can be found at Cupcakes in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The worst cupcake -- London, England. No surprise there. The Brits aren't known for their food. If you are in the DMV, skip the horrendous line at Georgetown Cupcake - it's not worth the rage - and walk down the street to Baked and Wired. You won't have to wait two hours to indulge, you'll get a bigger cupcake (those suckers are huge), and I promise you will not be disappointed!

As much as I like to consider myself a connoisseur of cupcakes, I never really thought there was more than one way to eat them. You peel the paper off and chow down, right? Oh no no...there is a better way! I learned this at Easter dinner and will no longer eat cupcakes any other way.  Check it out:
A delicious red velvet cupcake (sans wrapper)  

 1. Peel the wrapper off of the cupcake.
2. Break the cupcake in two with your fingers (Or, if you are really proper, use a knife)
3. Place the bottom half of the cupcake on top of the top half of the cupcake.
4. Eat like a sandwich or with a fork...whatever floats your boat!

And, ta da! A new way to eat a cupcake!  It is similar to a whoopie pie.

The best part....frosting with every bite! Brilliantly delicious!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter!

Ok, so this post is a little late, but that's because this was probably one of the best Easters to date and I just couldn't pry myself away from the gorgeous weather and family time to write about it.

I understand and appreciate life best when I think about it in analogies.  I am a horrendous artist (I got kicked out of art class in high school...for real!), but I enjoy painting pictures with words.  Picturing an image or comparing one thing to another helps everything come together for me.  The weather on Easter and the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus complimented each other beautifully.  The best way to describe the weather leading up to Easter was crummy.  Rain was prominent in the four day forecast.  It was damp, dark, and rather chilly for the end of April in Virginia.  But, God blessed us with some gorgeous, I mean gorgeous weather on Sunday.  It was 80 degrees, sunny and clear blue skies! Days before Jesus resurrected were dark days.  He hung on a cross, was beaten and pierced to death, and died for my sins and the sins of all those who believe He is the Son of God.  Then after three days of laying in a borrowed tomb, Jesus resurrected, proving that He was not just a man but the Son of God.  His resurrection is the crux of Christianity. It is something to celebrate on Easter and the other 364 days of the year!

My family and I headed off to church for the Easter service. The pews were filled with people in spring color coordinated outfits. The pastor preached on the meaning and importance of Easter; on the character of Jesus. All throughout the service, trumpets blared and the choir belted out the Hallelujah chorus! This was truly a resurrection celebration!

After church, we moved on to the secular symbols associated with Easter -- the Easter basket, of course!  Yes, my mom still fills my Easter basket.  I have had the same one since I was a young child. This year, Zoe even got in on the fun, discovering that she had a new toy and some treats waiting for her.
In the afternoon, my parents and I ventured to Annapolis, MD to enjoy a wonderful dinner with friends who are like family, the Collins'.  Kim was my swimming instructor when I was six years old. We developed a strong bond and I was a junior bridesmaid in her wedding (my first of 10 and counting gigs as a bridesmaid). They have a beautiful house on the water that was the perfect setting for such a beautiful and celebratory holiday.

No doubt, I have a lot to be thankful for this Easter.  For Jesus' resurrection. For the beautiful weather. For the blessing of friends and family. For all of this, I rejoice and give thanks.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Ding

Those of you who know me know that I don't like to be associated with my disability.  It's not that I don't believe it is there. I know it is. I know I walk best with my canes. But, I don't like to think of the limits it places on me.  I don't like to think of it as a problem.  "Glee" coined the term "handicapable" and I really really like that.  I am more capable than I am disabled.
While I am grateful to my physical therapists who worked with me for many years to get me in the physical condition I am in today, I am not a fan of physical therapy. You need a prescription to go to physical therapy. The doctor has to decide that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.  But, PT is not something everyone can go to.  That's the reason I am not a fan of it. I was thrilled the day I "graduated" from physical therapy!
Just because I don't have a doctor's order that specifically discusses the proper course to continue to improve my physical condition, doesn't mean I am excused from physical exercise. Since I am the most unmotivated person you will ever meet if left me to my own devices to work out and since I am not easily able to exercise independently, as much as I was not a fan of PT, I do have to admit that my workout routines are much more effective and beneficial with assistance.
So, now I work out with a personal trainer at Fitness Together in Old Town Alexandria. I.LOVE.IT.  My very first trainer there, Tim, paid no attention to my disability, challenged me just as he did his other clients, and pushed me everyday to walk without my canes. Within four months, I was walking 4 blocks of uneven pavement filled with crooked and broken bricks sans canes! It was so exciting because walking outside without my canes was something I never thought I could do! My dad and I continued to practice (We need to get back to that) and I was doing so well that one day we drove home without my canes. We realized about 30 minutes later that we'd left them in a field. Thankfully, when we returned to the scene, they were still there. Who'd want to steal canes anyway? But, hey, you never know!
Tim left and I felt like a revolving door as I got passed from trainer to trainer until a steady replacement could be found.  Now, I have Chris. I used to think Tim was tough, but then Chris came. Oh boy! And, let me tell you, I can't "hate" Chris because he is so nice and pushes me to continually improve everyday. Chris also has as much patience as an ocean has water! (He calls it stubbornness) Quite often I will shoot Chris a look that says, "Are you CRAZY?!", but secretly inside I am thankful that he has the confidence in my abilities to challenge me in the way he does. He, like Tim, ignores my disability and treats me just like he does his other clients.  I love that about him but it also means my body "hurts so good" the next day.
My workouts are tough. Who would have ever thought I could walk without my canes carrying a 25lb kettle bell in each hand?  I walk sooooooo slowly I almost annoy myself to pieces, but when I reach the goal, I pant and rejoice like someone who just won a marathon! A walk outside without a fall or stumble is chalked up as a success. Lifting and lowering my own body weight using the TRX results in difficulty in lifting my arms above my head the next day.  Chris sets his blackberry to ding 15 minutes prior to my session's end. Many a day, I wait for the ding! That quick, relatively quiet beep sounds like angels singing the Hallelujah chorus in the midst of a workout with Chris! But, I love it. I am being challenged and improving in ways I haven't been for a long time.
Then there's the cardio...This is a necessary evil.  I do not like cardio. It's boring to me. You don't go anywhere. You just keep moving on the same machine with no destination in mind. To distract myself from how much I hate this but how good it is for my love handles and for continued strength and flexibility, I strike up conversations with the other FT members and have made a few good workout buddies. 
For the majority of the day today, my arms were sore and my quads were on fire! But, the hurt is good. The hurt means I am working muscles that are weak. The warmer weather not only signals swimsuit season which should be motivation in itself, but it also means Chris and I get more time outside to practice walking! San canes and without physical therapy, I feel so free!
I do, however, thank my PTs for getting me to where I am today and do hold one phyiscal therapist close to my heart.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Birthday. Er, Happy Homecoming

Today was supposed to be my birthday.  It's not, though.  My birthday is in January. I decided to come into my parents' lives 13 weeks early. Every January 17th, my parents recall the story of my birth and I am reminded of it once again in the middle of April.
My arrival into the world was certainly unexpected.  Nothing was prepared.  The day I decided to enter the world was the coldest day of the year.  It was so cold that the car engine would not start.  Dad had to push the car out of the way in order to get another car to drive my mom to the hospital.  He pushed so hard in the freezing weather that he ended up with frostbite on both of his hands.  The frostbite required medical attention, but my dad was not able to receive treatment at the hospital where I was being delivered.  I was born at Columbia Hospital for Women, so because my dad is not a woman he was refused treatment.  My mom would try to squeeze his hand during her natural labor. She wasn't allowed to have drugs because the doctors were not sure if I would live through the birth and didn't want anything to interfere. My birth caused pain for both of them thanks to the huge blisters covering both of my dad's hands.
I was born at 2:56pm, weighing 2 pounds, was long, skinny and covered in hair all over my body.  I looked so foreign that as soon as the doctors presented me to my parents my mom commented "Oh my God, I gave birth to a monkey!"  My dad had a puzzled look on his face thinking he had NEVER seen a baby that looked like that!  Thankfully, the doctors explained that babies grow hair all over their body while in utero and I hadn't stayed in long enough to lose any of it.  They assured mom and dad though, that if I lived, I would lose it over time.
My parents explain that the day of my birth was not a celebration but a nightmare.  Nobody was sure that I would live and a name had not been picked out for me.  Shortly after my birth, Dad had to rush off to another hospital to be treated for his frostbite.  When he returned, the two of them watched TV trying to distract themselves from the fact that they might not leave the hospital with a live baby.  My parents asked a pastor to come and give me last rights, but he refused.  He had faith that I would make it, so my parents had to name me.  Television played a large role in the two of them coming up with a suitable name.  The news had just reported that Jessica Savage, a reporter, had driven off a cliff, straight to her death.
"Jessica, that's a nice name." they thought.  Following the news, came the comedy "Facts of Life".  One of the main characters was named Blair.  And, voila! There was my name:  Jessica Blair.  I had a name, but the nightmare that was my birth continued for the next 13 weeks.
I spent the majority of my time in an incubator trying to develop, get strong, and fight for life.  My lungs were not developed like they should be and they kept closing. Oxygen became my best friend, but it didn't always keep me out of the woods.  The doctors determined that in order for me to be in stable condition and to keep from "crashing", they had to give me a drug.  If I was not administered the drug, I would surely die.  However, the drug had side effects.  If I showed one sign of distress (like a cry), I would have a bleed in my brain, otherwise known as a stroke in a baby.  I was a baby, so of course, I cried.  My outburst caused me to have a stroke which later resulted in my cerebral palsy.
My parents spent so much time in the hospital that they received the employee discount in the cafeteria. Once there was more certainty that I would live, Dad would leave to go prepare my nursery for me.  Thank goodness I stayed in the hospital for 3 months because my extended stay gave him time to get everything ready for me at home.
My family also became friends with another family of a little boy born early.  His name was Little Ed.  When Ed was born you could see straight through his skin.  Doctors were able to visibly see all of his organs.  Since Ed and I were so small, the hat babies are normally given right after birth to keep them warm did not fit our heads.  Nurses advised Ed's mom to use an egg as model for his cap and a clementine as a model for mine.  She made hats for us so we could keep warm during our "free" time outside of the incubators.  After 13 weeks, I was strong enough and able to go home with my family.
Time out on parole.  No incubator.  Time with Mom and Dad

This didn't scan in the best but I spent the majority of my first three months in this incubator.

Would you please stop checking on me?  WHAT are you looking at?

April 15 was supposed to be my due date, but it is now known as my homecoming.  This is because my due date was the day I was released to enjoy life with my family outside of a sterile environment.  Every January 17 is a bittersweet day for my parents.  If you know me, you know how much I absolutely love birthdays (mine and those of my friends and family)!  I will proudly proclaim starting New Year's Day that my birthday is coming up soon.  There is always a big celebration, but I am always reminded of the underlying nightmare of that day in 1982.  Every January 17, my parents and I reflect and it becomes "Happy Birthday!  Thank God you are ALIVE day!"  It truly is a miracle that I am alive.  It is a day to praise God and to celebrate!  I try to celebrate my homecoming every year, but it has not worked for the last 29 years.  Maybe one day...
Little Ed and I were reunited a few years ago.  We hadn't seen each other since we were babies.  His skin is thick enough to cover all of his organs and you would never know the trauma he went through at birth.  Interestingly enough, he is engaged to a wonderful woman who is in a wheelchair.  She has cerebral palsy.  He is truly an amazing person in the way that he cares for and loves her.  I was thrilled to reunite with Ed and to meet Kelly.

I truly am thankful to be alive.  I think I came 13 weeks early because I was so excited to get a jump start on the adventure that is life!  I have never been one to miss out on the fun.  Not to mention, I am a little claustrophobic so staying in the womb for 40 weeks just wasn't going to work for me. God has blessed me in many ways and I look forward to what the future holds.  Right now,  I am going to eat a cupcake s'mores to celebrate my homecoming!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Waiting for a call from Oprah

Yes, it is true.  I am waiting for a call from Oprah. Oprah Winfrey. Well, at least from the producers of her show.  It all started like this...
Ever since I was young, I have dreamed of starting a non-profit for disabled children.  In fact, this dream is the reason I went to graduate school to get my MBA.  Now that I no longer have to study, I've devoted more energy towards making this dream a reality.  A friend and I were chatting the other day and he casually sneaked a little pep talk into our conversation.  "Be bold, girl.  If this is what you really want, you just have to go for it!" I took his words to heart moreso than I had before, but I wasn't sure what to do with his "A little less talk, a little more action" encouragement.  I do really want this, but it seems daunting. Where do I start?
Just a few hours prior to this conversation, a colleague had pointed out Habakkuk 2:2-3.  This verse says "Write out a vision and make it plain..." So, I had a sense that I was being nudged to actually put some pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and write out what I had envisioned for my non-profit.

Fast forward a few hours

Sitting on the couch, I perused the newsfeed on Facebook.  I stumbled upon an update from "The Oprah Winfrey Show": Last call for Harpo Hookups.  This headline caught my attention.  My first thought is "Oh, Oprah's now a matchmaker! What exactly is a Harpo hookup?"  I clicked on the link and notice that Oprah is not promoting a dating service, but she does want to help people's dreams come true.  I read the description and realized that my dream might fit perfectly with what she was looking for as she searches for her last Harpo hookups.  And, goodness knows, I need help with this non-profit.  Help from Oprah would be um, MONUMENTAL!  I searched for a deadline to submit my story, but couldn't find one anywhere.  So, I quickly but concisely (2000 character maximum is really hard to stick to when you are as passionate as I am about this) articulated my dream and submitted it into cyberspace.  Hopefully, it lands in Oprah's hands and she wants to give me a Harpo hookup.

My favorite pastor at my new church spoke on Sunday.  What did he speak about?  Miracles!  He used the story of the feeding of the 5000 as an example of how God uses what you have in your hand to perform miracles.  Jesus took a little kid's lunch (just fish and loaves) and fed 5000 people.  That truly is a miracle!  If Oprah was to "hook me up" with my non-profit, that would be nothing short of a miracle.  But, God calls us to expect Him to do big things.  He has the ability to combine what I have and my favorite talk show host and perform a miracle. I am praying for it.  If you want to join me, I'd appreciate it!

I posted on Facebook that I took a big step in getting my non-profit going.  My friend had advised me to be bold.  Asking Oprah to help seems like a pretty bold move to me.  My status update prompted others with experience in non-profit startups to offer their advice and assistance.  Thank you to all of you who did that.  I am excited to connect with you and further explore my ideas.  With or without Oprah, I know my dream of helping kids with disabilities will come true.  In the meantime, I am following up with my real life friends who offered to help....and EXPECTING a call from Oprah!

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Been around the world

I decided to start this blog just for me, but I am not gonna lie, it's fun to have followers.  Getting my first comment brought a smile to my face.  As I continue with this blog, I discover more and more people who are reading it.  The fact that my mom sent the link to everyone she knows including people she just chatted up in the elevator (just kidding) might significantly increase the number of readers.  Thanks Mom!  But, I have also been fortunate to travel to a number of places around the world, form friendships and maintain them long after I've left the paradise in which I met my new friends.  So, guess what!  My blog's gone global!  Here are a few of my faithful followers from around the world:
This is my cousin Eric.  My dad is one of ten, so you'd think I'd have a lot of cousins...but I don't.  There are only seven of us.  Eric is the oldest and the only male cousin.  Way to carry on that Bigby name, Eric!  He lives in Germany and before this meeting, I can't remember the last time we got to see each other!  My dad and a couple of my uncles drove down to NC for the day to see Eric and my Aunt Jackie.  We all had a blast.  The day ended with a delicious feast with a whole lotta SOUL graciously cooked by Eric.  I don't think I ate for three days afterward, but I will treasure the memories of that day forever.

Marcel is not a family member by blood, but he is most definitely a part of my family.  We joke that we inherited him when my godfather passed away a number of years ago.  Marcel is from Brussels, Belgium, but he lived in Washington, DC for 40 years working as a hair stylist for all of the "big wigs" of Washington!  One of his clients was Shirley Temple (yes, the REAL Shirley Temple).  They exchange birthday cards.  It's legit.  He has brought us a lot of fun over the years.  We have tons of stories that would make your sides split from laughter.  My family and I are anxiously awaiting his visit this year.  He also has a summer house in St. Tropez, France.  Next summer, we plan to make a third visit to see him there.  My bags are already packed!

I met Jerry and Sandra on my family's trip to Italy in July 2008.  Jerry and Sandra are from Burnaby (Vancouver) British Columbia, Canada.  We had some real characters on our tour, but are forever thankful for Jerry and Sandra and the friendship that has sustained even after we left the land of good food and wine.  Sandra is fluent in Italian and saved our butts numerous times when we would venture off on our own.  Jerry and I were on a gelato tour.  We had to try gelato in each of the 12 cities we visited.  Unfortunately, I am still paying for such an indulgence.  My mom and I were blessed to be able to visit this wonderful couple in Canada last summer.  Dad missed out on the trip, we all had a blast (and even had more gelato), so we will be going again soon!

Gordon and Naomi were my pool buddies on my latest trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  Naomi was so inspirational because she would get up early and go running on the beach.  She and Gordon are both marathoners.  They are from Saskatchewan in Canada where Gordon holds a political office.  He has eaten dinner with Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace.'s true!  He and I regularly exchange emails.  It's always a treat to hear his stories and details of travel for work and pleasure.

Rene, Megi, Elise and Emma kept me entertained on the beach during our trip to Punta Cana.  In a very short period of time, I knew this family was going to be special to me.  They live in Rotterdam, Holland and I wished they lived closer.  Thank goodness for Skype though.  Rene speaks English the best of all four of them, but language barriers did not stop Elise (their 4 yr old daughter) and I from having the best conversations and enjoying each other's company.  We didn't speak the same language, but she still managed to tell me what to do! ;-)  I look forward to seeing all of them sometime soon.  Maybe one day my offer to babysit on vacation will be accepted.

Last but not least is my friend Stef who lives in London.  Stef and I met in college and we are not only good friends but sorority sisters too!  Hot damn Delta Gam!  I have been to London to spend a long weekend with Stef and then recently got to see her again on my family trip to the United Kingdom.  I am also jealous of Stef's adventures all over Europe.  Can't wait to go back  and visit her and Santi.

Whew, almost done!  This is a long post, but I wanted to introduce you to some of my friends around the world.  I know there are readers out there who have yet to reveal themselves.  This would not be nearly as fun without you, so I hope you will join in and let me know who you are.  For those of you I haven't met yet, it's nice to "meet" ya!  Thanks for hanging in there!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cherry Blossoms

One of the best and worst times to live in the Washington, DC area is cherry blossom time.  The thousands of trees gifted to the city from Japan frame the tidal basin, the monuments, and motivate hoards of tourists to invade the city.  Washington, DC is a beautiful city anytime of year, but those pinkish white blossoms add a special touch to the landscape.  Most of the time, I neglect to truly appreciate all that Washington, DC is and what it has to offer because I take for granted the fact that I live here and can go into the city anytime.  This year, I resolved to be a tourist in my own city and experience the city as if I had traveled from afar and would not have the nation's capital readily available to me.  Alas, a trip to see the cherry blossoms was in order!

Annie and I stopped by Panera to grab some food to enjoy a picnic down at the Jefferson Memorial.  When Annie first moved to the DC area (I LOVE that she is here!), we would go down to the Jefferson Memorial and have the most wonderful, thought provoking conversations about life.  Yes, it's weird to have such deep convos in a public place while swarms of tourists try to capture that Kodak moment, but whatever, that's us! A picnic at the Jefferson while enjoying the cherry blossoms seemed like a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Tourists and traffic almost derailed our plans.  I am used to living close to a big city, but I have truly never seen as many people as there were down there today.  People seem to think they are above the law when they are a tourist and they refuse to obey any traffic laws.  Driving around the city was similar to playing a video game.  Dodge the guy with the camera around his neck!  Watch out for the mom with 3 kids and a fanny pack around her waist!  And, oh yeah, keep your eyes peeled for a parking spot. Yeah riiiiight! The roads were so jammed with cars and people, we feared we might have to have our picnic in the car.  As Annie patiently circled the monuments for 45 minutes, canvasing the Mall for a parking spot, we slowly started to enjoy our food. Then thanks to a whole row of handicapped spaces and my pretty blue placard, we were parked and ready to enjoy this beautiful day!
Holy cow!  How many cherry blossom trees total?

Unfortunately, we were parked too far away from our favorite monument to unfold our blanket and enjoy some time together at our usual spot.  But, we did have it in view.
DG love in DC

The two of us sat on our blanket and enjoyed what was left of our food and being with each other.  As we looked straight ahead, the Washington Monument and paddle boats were in our view.  Hey Fentons, y'all want to come visit DC and paddle the tidal basin with me?  Ella Jane would love it and we will all make sure she doesn't touch the water!  

The tourists no longer frustrated us.  They entertained us.  To our left was the family thinking they were taking the perfect Christmas card photo.  Little did they know, the youngest child was shoving pretzels into his mouth while the rest of the family smiled.  The woman on our right attempted to strike a pose with the symbol of the nation's capital in the background. I always wonder if I look as ridiculous as some of the tourists do when I visit a new city.  As much as I don't want to admit it, I am sure the natives of my vacation destinations get as much of a kick out of me as I get out of the visitors to DC!

After a few "touristy" photos and shivers from the wind and below average temperatures, Annie and I wrapped up our Sunday Funday.  Today served as another reminder that I am blessed to live in a beautiful city and have wonderful friends.  The tourists are just a minor annoyance.  Thanks for the fun, Annie. :V


Friday, April 1, 2011

Thank you for serving

My best friend is in Afghanistan.  It is only for 10 days.  Jess travels a lot for her job. (Yes, my bff's name is Jess.  So original, huh?!)  I am accustomed to her jetting off to Serbia, Nicaragua, Mozambique and other obscure places that many of us would not choose as a vacation destination.  Normally, we talk on the phone before she goes and I look forward to the stories and the souvenirs she brings back.  This time she stopped by my parents' house before heading to the airport.  The three of us were waiting by the front door to give her hugs, kisses, and to say our "See ya laters!" Not goodbye.  I am terrible at goodbye. This time it was different.  This time she was going to "hang out with the chickens" in a warzone.

{"Hanging out with the chickens" is how my family and I jokingly refer to Jess's job.  She does wonderful work educating and training third world countries on food safety.  She probably never sees a chicken.  It just started as a joke and has stuck!}

She is excited for the experience.  I am thrilled that she is getting to serve our country in this capacity.  But, I do pray everyday that she comes home safely....I look forward to that day.

Everyday, I work alongside people who have served or are preparing to serve our country in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Some are military; others are civilians who voluntarily deploy.  Curious me eagerly awaits every detail when they get back from their deployments.  My eyes and ears open wide when Jim laments about how he got violently ill from a parasite.  Or when Mack recalls that food was often left out too long and not properly sanitized so many in the camp came down with food poisoning.  Hopefully, Jess will help rectify this problem while she is over there.  Claudette leaned over my cube and bravely recalled the ground attack she experienced.  Not everyone made it into the bunker, but thank goodness nobody was hurt.  On Wednesday, I overheard Leslie communicating with Roger, the guy she is replacing in Afghanistan in a few short months.  Roger warned Leslie to bring a sleeping bag and a flashlight.  Why?  Always check your bedsheets before you decide to retire for the night.  The scorpions, snakes and BIG spiders like to cuddle with you!!

{When I was younger my grandparents used to call me "Killer Jessica".  I would run around my parents' screened in porch with a rolled up piece of newspaper, swatting at all of the bugs I could find.  I doubt this technique would work well on the creatures in the desert.}

Deploying and/or serving our country is a sacrifice.  My colleagues and Jess are not on the front lines.  They have experienced some hardship coupled with some very intriguing stories.  The blessing is they come back to tell the stories.  Some do not return; some return having sacrificed not only their time but their bodies too.  Jess is only over in Afghanistan for 10 days.  That is chump change compared to what military families experience.  This short stint of having her in a foreign, far away, dangerous land has further confirmed the fact that I could not be a military wife.  I owe a debt of gratitude to those who serve and their families, though.

Say a prayer for all of those serving our country overseas.  Thank those who risk their lives to keep us safe.  Say a prayer for America.

Jess is accumulating a lot of frequent flier miles right now.  Maybe she'll want to take a vacation with me when she gets back!  With or without a little jaunt away from DC, our reunion will be sweet.

Hurry home, Jess!  I miss you.

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