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Like me, my husband has always felt he has something to say.  Unlike me, he has been pursuing that passion since the day we met. While I longed to write, I disliked being told what to write and how to do so, and became a math major so I could write as little as possible.  Plus, I really like math.  My husband on the other hand was a communications major, learning from the start how to present and get his point across.  Since then he has pursued a career in Army public affairs and continued his education further honing his craft.  The only problem with his current  job is that he is telling the Army’s story and not his own.  He does it well, and I brag on him often.  However, his voice was yet to be heard by the general public.

I got my time in the sun and a chance to tell my story.  That opportunity was due to my husband believing in me and helping me to see my dreams come true.  The irony that the opportunity fell into my lap, I who did nothing to prepare myself for the chance, and not his was never lost on me.

In his recent pursuit of further communication education, my husband has been in the presence of instructors who are pushing him to succeed in new levels.  How he can brand himself, and how he can get his own voice out into the world.  This led him to a personal pursuit of publishing op-eds.

So now I have two sides at war: the side that wants to be supportive of my husband, and the side that relates to the character of Jo Schirra from Astronaut Wives Club.  The Jo side says don’t do anything to rock the boat, do nothing that could remotely disgrace the Navy, or Army in my case.  Not that Chase would do anything to disgrace the Army, but perceptions can be tricky. This risk-adverse side would rather not discover where a general’s line might be the hard way.  Both sides know that my husband is very talented and would do well at this new endeavor.  It didn’t take long for me to decide which side I would plant my flag on.  I really do want my husband to pursue his passions.  If this was his way to be heard and make a name for himself, I was behind him one hundred percent.  I decided to let him be him and God be God.  I didn’t need to control possible outcomes; that is God’s job.  If my husband was going down a road he felt God was leading him on, I would trust both of them.

That was before his op-ed got picked up by the Baltimore Sun and within 24-hours of being published online was linked to the Drudge Report.  It hadn’t even hit the newsstands yet.  This would be seen. Suddenly there was very little chance that those above him would remain oblivious to his name being out in the world attached to his thoughts.

But nothing has changed, not really.  The op-ed was well-written and thoughtful, probably why it was published in the first place.  Nothing he said was controversial, though there are those who will pull controversy out of it because it is in their nature.  There is not a single thing that someone could fault him for.  Plus, God is still in control; it is all still in His hands, and He knows what He is doing.

I am proud of my husband and am excited that the world it getting to read what he has to say.  I eagerly anticipate what is yet to come.

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Before we moved to Alaska my boys loved to watch American Ninja Warrior.  It may not have been their favorite, but they made sure they didn’t miss an episode.

When we finally moved into our new Alaskan home, that got taken away.  For an abundance of reasons we broke ties with Direct TV. (For those of you wondering, it was not that their service was unavailable where we lived, we simply felt that we no longer wanted the service.)

It just so happened, that while Chase was deployed, NBC picked up the show.  (We did pick up some bunny ears to watch TV by.)  The kids and I needed bonding time.  Plus, being able to watch this much enjoyed show added some normal back into their lives.  We had a standing date to watch ANW every Monday night during the summer of 2012.

Being ninjas became the dream of all three children.  The house and yard became ninja warrior courses.  My kids were literally climbing the walls, and I embraced the enthusiasm.  I’m pretty sure that my parents would not have allowed footprints on the door frames and finger prints on the ceiling, but I decided I wasn’t my parents.  Frankly, the kids were so cute and happy doing things that impressed my socks off that I didn’t even want to stop them.

American Ninja Warrior was now fully ingrained in my family culture.

In 2014, I finally decided it was long past time to get my kids involved in some sort of sport.  Knowing the popularity of ANW, I was hoping to find a parkour gym or ninja gym.  Unfortunately, I could not find one at that time, so I enrolled the boys in the next best thing-karate.  In the summer of 2015 I heard rumors of a ninja gym opening in Eagle River.  However, I did not hear these rumors until I had signed a second 12-month contract with the boys’ dojo.

I had forgotten about those rumors when in 2016 my husband and I went to a hear a pro-life speaker in Anchorage.  At the event I could not miss the tall, muscular, bald guy in the audience with us.  This tall man recognized my husband and approached him.  Lee informed us that he was the owner of a parkour gym in Eagle River.  He encouraged the whole family to come by.

When our contract with the dojo ran out we took the family to Pacific Rim Athletics.  The kids were enthralled-bars everywhere, a large tumbling floor, climbing walls, a trampoline, a foam pit, ninja obstacles, and finally a warped wall.  It was what my ninjas had dreamed of and more.  The weird thing was that Lee kept saying the whole family should sign up and take classes.  Not just the kids, not even Chase and the kids, but me too.

Let’s take a second to talk about me at this time.  I had a waist that made people ask the question “When are you due?”  I had not exercised for real in months due to injury.  I felt like the last person someone would want hanging out in their gym.  But as much as I tried to let Lee know it was okay if he didn’t mean me, if he didn’t feel as if I should work out there too, he kept insisting that I would benefit from the gym and that it would be fun.

I decided to put this crazy guy to the test.  I signed up five out of the six of us.  Rory was left out, being too young to listen well in a potentially dangerous environment.  I completely understand their policy of not enrolling children under the age of six.

My first class was tumbling parkour.  I had done gymnastics in the past, so I was familiar with most of the tumbling moves, but with twenty or so years between classes I wasn’t so sure that my body would be up to it.  But I tried.  I did a forward roll.  It was more of a forward flop, and I think I began doing lunges after my first flop.  However, all the moves reminded me of what I used to do, and the fun I used to have.  I kept showing up,  I kept trying, and at some point I could begin to do these crazy things. I could cartwheel and hang from a bar.  I was hooked and determined to get better.  I developed goals for myself.  By January, I would be strong enough to hold a backbend and do a skin-the-cat on the rings.

Suddenly, the Army decided what it wanted to do with my husband and we would be in a new state by January.  I would have to say good-bye to this gym and all the classes I had begun to take.  When we left I was taking Parkour/tumbling, ninja strength, aerial/circus arts, and the Saturday morning conditioning class.  I was stronger than ever and having the time of my life.

Not only was I getting a lot from this gym, most of the family were involved; we were doing this together.  Chase tried all the adult classes his schedule would let him attend.   Xavier excelled at tumbling, ninja strength, and breakdancing/power moves.   Austin went to tumbling and ninja strength classes with other kids his age.  Both boys were able to move up to level two in all of their disciplines.  Clara was amazing at circus art; she was growing in strength, flexibility, and confidence.

Suddenly, all of that was gone for all of us.  We had to leave Alaska, and there was no gym to replace what we had, at least not within a reasonable driving distance and/or with a reasonable schedule for me to shuttle myself and the kids to.

But I now had dreams.  Dreams of what all six of us could do with the chance.  And I did not want to let those dreams go.