to the most amazing soldiers


I've been wanting to write this post for a while, but I really wanted to do it justice. As people around me-friend's brothers, husbands and sons and my brother in law -have been deployed, I've been thinking about it almost every day, trying to imagine ways that I could really put into words how I feel about my country and the soldiers that have fought and are fighting for it.
Credit: Steve Maciejewski via Flickr
I've realized after 3 weeks that it just isn't going to happen.

There are no words for soldiers who have died.
Credit: Kenny Shackleford via Flickr
There are no words for soldiers who leave their families and their two precious daughters and  beautiful strong wife.

There are no words for soldiers who work day in and day out for a government that wants to cut their pay, as if they were the 9-5 blue collar working man or woman.

There are no words for the men and woman who deal with the after effects of war.
Credit: Mark Howell via Flickr
And there are no words for the anxiety and heartache that the families of soldiers deal with every single day while their husband, son, uncle, cousin, father, or friend are deployed.
Tom Beard via Shay's Facebook
I feel that this just scratches the surface. 

My BIL Tom is deployed to Afghanistan right now. He is in a dangerous place with dangerous people around him. His platoon has dealt with some major hardships lately It's been really hard and them, and really scary for us. 

We pray for them every day, pray that they will be watched over, that he will be brought back safely to us, that his wife and girls will be watched over and comforted. I think about the soldiers around the world risking their lives. I'm amazed, in awe, and tears come to my eyes; I can't help it.

To make matters worse, while we were in Hawaii, we read a book that changed my life. It was awe-inspiring. humbling. amazing. inspiring. spiritual. I could go on an on about that book. As proof of it's amazing-ness, Dale was so interested in it that he made me read the whole 400 page book out loud to him.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.
 It's about a WWII soldier who endures unbelievable hardships; trials; torture; physical, emotional and spiritual pain; everything that you could imagine and more. And he thrives. He forgives. He moves on with his life. Read the book. Please read it. I will pay you.

After reading a particularly hard chapter one day at the beach, we went to our beach house stocked with all kinds of food, after driving a nice rental car down a street filled with sunshine, and I was complaining about something trivial, like how I wanted pizza instead of grilled chicken or something stupid. After cooking our meal, we had a small amount of green beans left. Maybe 1/2 cup. I threw them away. Afterwards, I almost threw up because in the book, that 1/2 cup of green beans could have fed 5 POW's in Japan for their one meal of the day. 

I have been disgusted with the way I live on a daily basis; all the food we waste, all the things we complain about, and everything we take for granted. Reading this book served me some humble pie and reminded me why I have the things I do. Because we live in a free country. Our country is free because of the bravest men and women in our nation. These men and women of the past and present have endured horrific things I can't even begin to imagine in my little sheltered brain. 

I have no words. 
 (ironically this is a freaking long post).

Finally, at young women's tonight, the sweet women and young women I work with wrote some letters to the soldiers in Tom's platoon and different squadrons that need a little reason to smile. Just typing this makes me do the chin-wobble-suck-in-breath-cry because those girls were so sweet.

 From squealing with delight about being able to write to single soldiers because it would be "just like Dear John!!!!!", to the girls who smeared lipstick all over their lips just to kiss the envelopes, and finally to the sweet angelic things they wrote and drew in their letters. Wow I love them. Overwhelmed really.

I'm surrounded my amazing people. Always. 
This post goes out to those brave soldiers, as well as Tom, our family hero. It's also for my amazingly strong and positive SIL Shay, and her two beautiful, amazing, and wonderful little girls. We all look up to you so much and pray for you always.

Dale's family has all ordered paracord products to wear or keep by us at all times so we can remember Tom and those soldiers daily. I stole this from Dale's sister Jannah. Her little boy got a paracord bracelet and never takes it off, except when he showers.

Dale and I have key chains. And I love having it.

If you would like to send packages, letters, or order paracord products to help the soldiers, please let me know. Email me, leave me a comment, anything. Do a service project in your ward or community. Do something.They love to get mail, and some soldiers really don't get a lot. 
You will make someone's week. 
I promise.

I want to end this long post with something one of my young women wrote:

"...You are an angel. It may not help you out in the battlefield risking your life, but what you do means so very much to a small simple girl such as myself...Any friends you lost will have a special place in heaven."

{Sob. Obnoxiously wipe nose with arm. Sniffle}

God Bless America,
Land that I love.


  1. Thank you Elyse for writing that! I have tears in my eyes and a full heart right now. Thank you to your BIL Tom for his service. He and his family will be in my prayers. I too have a special place in my heart for these men and women who serve. Going to read the book too! Love you my friend.

  2. sobbing at my desk. keyboard soaking wet. I can't imagine the strength it takes to let your husband or your son or daughter go to such a scary place. Donna Christensen is my hero right now, both her sons serving. How can we ever show our appreciation to these special families.

  3. I just read that book too. AMAZING and life changing. Awesome post.



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