December's Winner

SpouseBUZZ was overwhelmed with responses to our December "What's Your Story Contest." The topic was "Surviving Deployment." We received more than 150 entries. The SpouseBUZZ authors were amazed at the number of entries and spent a lot of time trying to choose a winner. It was a very difficult decision.

Before we announce the winner, we wanted to extend our thanks to USAA for donating a high-tech "gadget" to the prize package that our winners receive. I won't give away the surprise, but it's a very nice item. Not only is USAA providing this item to December's winner, they have generously donated twelve, one for each month of 2007. My husband and I are USAA members. When my husband deployed, USAA mailed a nice deployment package which included, among other things, a "Family Reference Guide" to deployment. The deployment guide was a wealth of information. You can download the guide, and find other deployment resources, by clicking here.

Now, onto the winner....

Congratulations to Bridgetta Webb for this uplifting entry:

"The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the most of what comes their way."

I've been sitting here for 30 minutes trying to think up a line to catch the attention of my readers. I still haven't thought of one. I've been wondering if this article is a good thing or not. Don't get me wrong I love to hear stories from other military spouses on how their lives have changed since the deployment, juggling work, kids,the household chores etc., etc.. We have all heard it before, and I am guilty as charged, but sometimes I just can't help but wonder if that's all other military spouses get out of a deployment? I always hear about how hard it is on the spouses and families of a deployed soldier, and it is hard. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done, yet in so many ways it has been the greatest as well.

A part of me died the day my husband left for Iraq. I had never felt so much pain, and I've given birth! Yet somehow through the midst of the rubble that used to be my heart, I could see a small light, very faint, but it was there. I was drawn to it. Amongst the debris, the heartache, the tears, the brokenness, there was a dim light. I could hardly make it out at first. I didn't know if it was something really special, or the thought that there was a piece of pie still left in the fridge. (A large feat when you have a husband who has the appetite of 20 men!) No, no, it wasn't the pie, it had to be something else. Slowly the dust began to settle. I could make out a small figure, small, yet amazingly stoic in its stance. It was wielding what looked to be a large round object. I began digging deeper into my heart trying desperately to find out what this thing inside of me was. The deeper I dug the clearer it became. I found myself scratching and clawing my way towards it a little each day. I was reading my daughter a bedtime story when it hit me.

I had always shown my daughter a picture of her daddy every night before bed, and she would sit there starring at me listening to every word I would say. This night was different though. As I started to hang the picture back on the wall, I heard the infamous word. "Dadda." My daughter was standing in her crib starring at the picture and saying the word dadda repeatedly. My eyes started to well up with tears. Tears of pain and joy. All of a sudden, everything became clear to me. There, standing amongst the rubble of my heart was a woman. Not just any woman, a beautiful woman, who was standing straight and proud, who had eyes filled with love and care, feet that showed signs of long days of walking life's path, and a light of strength that glowed around her. As I got closer, I realized what the round object was I had seen the first night after my husband left. It was the weight of the world. The pressures of things all around her. Life's little twists that were thrown her way, and the hardest of all was just time. Yet, even though the pain seemed unbearable, there she stood, strong and brave. As I looked closer I realized it wasn't just any woman I was looking at, I was looking at myself. That beautiful, strong, loving woman was me.

That night I found a peace within myself that I had never knew existed. I knew I would be able to make it through whatever life threw my way. I can't say truthfully that only bad has come out of my husband's deployment, because it hasn't. I found something that is more precious than all riches. I have found myself and my inner strength. Something I never knew I had. So, if you ever find yourself wondering throughout the day if you are going to be able to make it any longer, take a moment with yourself, look into the mirror and see that beautiful person. Accept the fact that you can't change what the world will throw at you, and realize that no matter how hard,

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." Mother Theresa

Congratulations again, Bridgetta. Great job!

Coincidentally, Bridgetta submitted her entry before we decided to deem January the "Month of Empowerment," but her essay is a perfect example of what we hope to highlight here at SpouseBUZZ this month.

You may remember that we announced November's winner via video. Technical difficulties prevented us from doing so this month, but we hope to be back to normal next month. Tomorrow, we'll announce the topic for January's "What's Your Story" contest. Thanks to everyone who participated in December, and thanks again to USAA for providing a super prize to our winners.

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