What branch of the service are you in, and how long have you been in?
Air Force; three years as a Chaplain Candidate’s wife and 16 years active duty
Can you tell us a little about your family?
Glenn and I have 6 children: Katie–27, Jacob–20, Andrew–18, Ana Elisa–16, Isabel (who died at birth from Trisomy)–18, and Ethan–11.
Katie is a teacher in Nashville; Jacob is an AF crew chief for the C-130s in Wyoming; Andrew is a full-time college student; Ana is a high school senior, and Ethan is in 6th grade. We are currently stationed at Andersen AFB, Guam, and Andrew, Ana, and Ethan are living here with us.
This is our 7th duty station, and our 2nd overseas move since being on active duty.
If you get free time as a family, what do you enjoy doing?
We try to take advantage of each place we move, and discover what is special and wonderful about each place. Here in Guam we are working on our dive certifications; we hike, swim, take advantage of the local festivals and historical places of interest (there are tons of WWII sites on the island), and snorkel–it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!
What is the best place you’ve lived (or visited) and why?
We’ve never had a bad assignment! Florida, Washington DC, the Bay area in California, Germany, South Carolina, Colorado, and now a tropical island in the Pacific…what’s not to love?!
I find the challenge and the reward of moving is to discover what makes each place unique. It’s a great opportunity, but you have to choose to make the most of it.
What do you enjoy the most about being a Chaplain’s wife?
There’s so much that I love about being a Chaplain’s wife! God has richly blessed us through this ministry. We’ve made wonderful friends, explored places we never thought we would visit–much less live in–and most importantly have the opportunity to help men and women who are giving the best of themselves for their country.
I am amazed and humbled by the life God has given us.
What do you like the least about being a Chaplain’s wife?
I think the most difficult thing about military life in general is the hardship that moving so frequently places on the children. Some moves have been harder than others (moves in the middle of the school year are particularly difficult), but they are always fraught with challenges and heartaches as children leave friends and familiar surroundings.
But, God is faithful and He has an incredible sense of humor. One of our children, who felt the moves most keenly and railed the most against military life, has enlisted in the Air Force and is now embarking on his own military career!
What is that ONE thing you wish you could tell civilians about life in the military, or about being a military spouse?
I think the hardest thing for civilians to realize is when your spouse joins the military, it’s not just his job–it’s the entire family’s lifestyle. It is a life of sacrifice, of willingly turning over large areas of independence that most civilians take for granted–where to live, how often we see our spouses, our own careers and aspirations, what schools our children attend, etc–and submitting ourselves very openly to a higher authority.
The parallels with the Christian life are not lost on me!
But, the rewards for the sacrifice and the submission are great: knowing you are contributing to something important and bigger than yourself, increased God-reliance and self-reliance, the knowledge that with God’s help you can handle a lot more than you ever knew, and friendships that run deeper than most because of shared hardships.
We wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
What are some of your personal hobbies and interests?
I make jewelry–mostly hammered, etched, recycled copper pieces. I sew, read, and take lots of opportunities for volunteer work.
Do you have a website, blog, or home business you’d like to share with us?
Yes! I have an Etsy shop. I’ve had to place it on vacation while we’ve made the transition to Guam, but I hope to have it back up again in the next few weeks. You can find it at The Last Link. You can also find me on Facebook at The Last Link Jewelry.
Thank you, Elena, for sharing your life and thoughts with us today.
(Image courtesy of [anankkml] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)