Bless Those Who Protect Us

KSP funeral 2Influence and solidarity were demonstrated in their truest and fullest form the past couple days as one of our own Kentucky State Troopers was laid to rest. Trooper Eric Chrisman’s end of watch came 6/23/2015 and he was laid to rest Monday, June 29, 2015. This young man was born and raised in Lawrenceburg, KY and I had the pleasure of knowing him and his family.

Although only 23 years old, Eric’s influence on the lives of those around him left a lasting, positive impact. Fond memories and love resound from his family, friends, KSP family, former co-workers, classmates, and even acquaintances. His influence was reflected in the hundreds of people that turned out to show their respects at his visitation & funeral service. Not only was there a sea of the “Thin Gray Line” on hand to see their brother off, there were representatives from law enforcement agencies from across the state and country on hand to pay their respects as well.

Being a member of the KSP family for the majority of my adult career (since I was about 19 years old) I am not unfamiliar with the solidarity exuded by the agency whenever a member of the agency is in need. They ban together and rally to show support, fulfill a need, or do whatever is necessary to take care of one of their own. However I am still in awe of what I saw unfold in the days leading up to and culminating at the service to memorialize, honor and say goodbye to Trooper Chrisman. To see so many come together, ensuring every detail was seen to, every need of the family was met, every piece and person was in place to orchestrate an exceptional farewell to an exceptional human being, who chose a life of service and sacrifice is one of the most profound examples of solidarity I have seen played out in real life in a very long time.

KSP funeralIt is a reminder to me that nothing is impossible for a people who are united with a common goal, purpose and love of something other than/greater than themselves. I say all of this as a reminder to us all of the importance of being unified to protect our country, our military, our families our values, and our freedoms. Let us not be so consumed by self and selfish ambition that we forget the sacrifice of so many that allow us to have and enjoy the very way of life we hold so dear. God bless the peacemakers, regardless of the type of uniform they wear or the agency they are employed by. Whether military or law enforcement, God bless and protect you. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Equally important to acknowledge is the family of those peacemakers. Thank you for supporting, loving, caring for and holding down the fort of those peacemakers. The part you play is vital as well. All each of you do will not be forgotten or taken for granted.

s/Faith Wells

 

originally posted at comfycouchcommand.com

 

We All Face Challenges

Atop the mountainMy husband doesn’t really enjoy accolades and he’ll tell you that he doesn’t handle compliments very well, to which I respond, “Get over it, because in this family you’re going to get both!” :) This week my husband joined a group of 14 other combat veterans to participate in the Save a Warrior Project hosted here in Kentucky! For those of you who have not heard of this program, in a nutshell it is basically an awesome, tried & proven PTSD Detox program. I dropped my hubby off at the location Sunday and I won’t pick him back up until Friday. Communication during the week is limited, for good and understandable reasons. They have a lot of activities and things to accomplish within a short time and it is necessary to limit distraction and stay on task. I have been able to have a couple of short conversations with him the past couple of evenings, in which, he’s been able to share just a portion of what all he’s doing. Sometime in the future I hope to have the opportunity to share more specifics about the program in hopes it will benefit other warriors out there who may be struggling with PTSD. However for now, I mainly want to express how proud I am of not only my husband, but everyone (combat veteran, veteran spouse or family member) who is facing a fear, personal demons, challenging situation or stepping outside of their comfort zone in whatever form or fashion. Change is never easy. Making a bad situation better is challenging and let’s be honest, plain sucks sometimes. Letting go of the past, relearning a new normal, bettering ourselves, improving relationships with those we care about or developing the ability to reintegrate into and function with others in daily life takes guts.

We all face challenges (whether external or internal) that may seem overwhelming or even impossible, as though you’ll never be able to overcome them, change them or make things better. However today I want to encourage you that as long as you’re breathing, there is hope. If you are willing to try, then things can get better. Ignoring problems or pretending everything is fine won’t make it better or make the problems vanish. Honestly, it will make things worse. It’s sort of like ignoring a leg wound, allowing it to get infected, then being untreated will eventually lead to gangrene, loss of the leg and eventually death. Leaving an issue untreated is dangerous. Face it head on. Fear can’t stop you, only you can stop you. True courage doesn’t mean fear isn’t present, it means you do whatever it is/move forward in spite of the fear.

Admitting there is a problem, recognizing change needs to be made, getting help effecting that change….that’s NOT weakness, instead that is real strength and bravery. Change isn’t for sissies or the faint of heart! It takes some true intestinal fortitude to face a challenge/need to change head on.

My Mom was always encouraging and never short on praise for all my efforts and endeavors not only throughout my childhood, but even today she still tells me how proud she is of me and encourages me. Having that type of support gave me such confidence, because I knew that no matter what, win, lose or draw, my parents would love me and be there for me. Their love for me was not based upon my performance or even if I did what they wanted me to do…. they simply loved me. I share that to say this, I know now not everyone has a family, childhood or support system like that. There are countless adults struggling even now with insecurity and a failure mentality because they never experienced that type of unconditional love. They are still trying to earn approval and love from parents who only gave criticism or manipulation.

Facing your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone is not an easy thing to do and it is virtually impossible to do without help or some type of support system. I don’t care who you are or how tough you are, fear attacks every single person in some form or fashion and we all need someone in our corner, cheering us on, praying for us, encouraging us, being there for us. So I encourage you today, even if you don’t have a family or friend support system, there is a support system out there for you. If you are a veteran, or spouse or family member of a veteran, there are many groups, organizations and individuals who care. There are programs available to help in times of need or challenging situations. Reach out and let someone help you get through to the other side of whatever it is you’re facing.

s/Faith Wells (aka the proud wife of my own personal hero, LCPL Nick Wells)

CHOOSE TO LOVE

Heart LoveLove is a powerful force. Truly, the most powerful force on the planet. It has caused many to do foolish and crazy things, but many others to do heroic, self-less and life changing acts.

There are countless accounts of wartime heroes who save the life or lives of their comrades in arms. Putting their own life in danger to protect or save the life of another. What would cause someone to make such a sacrifice? At the core, love. Love of a brother they’ve been through thick and thin with, trained with, fought with, which forged a bond closer than blood ties or family. What causes the majority of those who enlist in military service to make that choice? In most cases, love of country and wanting to be a part of something greater and bigger than themselves.

The heart of a warrior/solider is a conundrum. It is strong, brave, hardened, fierce, bold, cunning, stoic, subservient, independent, defiant, kind, and last but definitely not least loving. Wow! That’s quite a mixture, but this mixture of qualities uniquely qualifies them to do and accomplish all that is expected of them in service to the United States military. During their service many have their hearts, minds and bodies broken by their experiences. They give all they have to give in service to their Country, keeping every promise and commitment they made. However, when they return home broken and battered many do not receive the care they need and deserve. The system put in place that promises to care for them does not live up to its commitment or promise.

Combat veterans are changed by what they experience. When they return home many times these changes are more than family and friends are prepared for and have a hard time handling/dealing with. Many veterans find themselves alone and spiraling deeper into their own personal hell. They may have survived the external war, but even after leaving the battlefield, the internal war raging within themselves continues. Add that to a system that requires them to navigate through hoops and a maze of red tape to obtain any sort of help, many veterans find themselves overwhelmed, depressed, and ostracized. Even those veterans who have people who care and support them struggle to find their place back in civilian life.

What can help? Love. Loving that veteran spouse or family member thru the most difficult times, sticking it out through the toughest of times, not giving up, being as much of a support system as possible. Volunteering with organizations that support veterans and their families. Raise awareness about the plight of veterans. Provide financial support to organizations that are working to help veterans discover a new normal and navigate civilian life. All those things are a form of showing love. Taking a moment to care about and do something to improve the well being of someone who has sacrificed so much is a powerful act of love that will make a difference in a life. Sometimes those whose actions are the most unlovable (mean, hateful & nasty) are the ones most in need of love. We must allow love to cause us to look past the actions and raging outside of the broken and into the heart of that person. Love can prompt us to action and can heal the brokenhearted.

In closing I want to interject that sometimes true love is tough… it’s being truthful and confrontational, standing up and not approving of self-destructive behavior and telling those we love things they don’t want to hear. Love is more than an emotion, it’s a choice. Today let’s chose to love.

~Faith

 

Originally posted at www.comfycouchcommand.com

The Power of ONE

Don't become wearyDuring challenging moments that discouragement and negativity whisper in my ear, “Why are you doing what you’re doing, it’s not making a difference or doing any good.” God brings this scripture to my mind….. “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NLT)

I realize this is a blog and not a Bible study, so no one get nervous :) This scripture is so pertinent, regardless of your creed, race or religion, to anyone who has or continues to do what I’ve coined, “the right things for the right reasons.” Everyone has a cause (whether it be a person, family, organization, whatever) they try to uphold, support, encourage, and do the right thing in, for and by. Let me elaborate a moment…. Do you work with someone who is just angry, has a nasty attitude and you’d rather take a beating than have to deal with; yet you always strive to be kind to that person, patient with them and not allow their sour mood/attitude to rub off on you? Do you have a organization or entity (like Military Missions, the VA Hospital, MADD, local animal shelter, a humanitarian aide organization, the list goes on and on) that you volunteer your time and/or contribute monetarily to? Do you have a boss or supervisor that is super critical, never acknowledging anything good you do, yet you always do your job to the best of your ability, in excellence? Those are just a few of the many examples of what I mean by doing the right things for the right reasons. We live in a world that the societal norm is generally an attitude of selfish, self-serving, what do I get out of it mentality. It’s a rarity in media to see a feel good, story in which someone has done a selfless act to help someone without having anything to gain from their actions. The news reports and statistics we read (and many times real life around us) are full of death, destruction, mayhem, and catastrophe. Sometimes in those things we support and work hard doing the right things for the right reasons, we may not always see an immediate cause and effect, seeming that our efforts are not even making a dent in the problem. It’s not easy to persevere and continually do what’s right. It can be challenging to keep our promise, be nice or provide support on those days we are tired and feel beat up and run down by life.

So, I want to remind and assure you today, YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!!!!!! What you’re doing, right where you are is changing / impacting / bettering a life. Here’s the cool thing, we don’t have to touch, help or make the difference in the lives of millions for it to count… we just have to make the difference in the life of ONE person. It’s great if we impact millions, but equally as great if we impact ONE. Kindness and positively effected change has a ripple effect, like a pebble in a pond. So even if you only impact ONE that one will impact someone, then that ONE will impact someone and it goes on. ONE person impacted Billy Graham and look at that ripple effect. On the battlefield, a Medic or Corpsman saves ONE life, but that life could’ve been your son, daughter, husband, wife or father. Tell me that ONE didn’t make a huge difference and was a big deal then.

I want to leave you with two quotes to ponder upon today….

#1) “Courage doesn’t always soar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” -Mary Anne Radmacher

#2) “Stay the course, light a star, Change the world where’er you are.” -Richard Le Gallienne

 

s/Faith Wells

 

originally posted at www.comfycouchcommand.com

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

Be a Light“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” – John Wesley

I discovered this quote several years back and it forever marked me, in a positive way. A few years back I got a revelation that being a world changer doesn’t mean you have to do some giant feat that affects thousands of people. The President, Senators, company CEO’s, Preachers with huge ministries are not the only people with influence and the ability to affect change. Grant it, their positions afford them a much farther reach, access to MANY more people, and the authority/ power/ money to affect change on a much larger scale. However, you, me, the neighbor next door, the grocery store clerk all have the ability to make a difference where we are and can positively or negatively impact the lives of those we come in contact with. Everyone can do something to make the world around them better, to make a positive difference in a life.

Give you an example of a “small” thing that’s a big deal. My husband and I spend a lot of time at the Lexington VA. Most times we are there it’s not under pleasant circumstances. In some form or fashion for varying reasons, it’s a painful, trying, stressful time for my husband and myself. When we first started going there we were “boots” so to speak. We had no idea what we were doing, where to go, how things worked or how to navigate the VA beast. Enter in a wonderful VA employee… there is an older gentleman who works the front desk who ALWAYS greets EVERYONE with a smile. On many occasions we’ve had to ask him for directions or had a list of random, probably seemingly stupid questions for him, to which he ALWAYS responded to us with a smile and gladly helped us in anyway we needed. You can watch this gentleman and see that he gives 100%, 100% of the time, with a wonderful attitude. Can I tell you, not everyone at the VA (or any place of employment for that matter) is like that. Now, we know our way around the VA pretty good and usually don’t have many questions, but that doesn’t mean this gentleman’s warm greeting of, “Hello, how are you guys today?” doesn’t makes us smile and add a bright spot to our day.

You may be thinking, that’s not changing the world or something that’s a big deal, but it is a big deal to us and I know it’s a big deal to the countless other folks who walk into the VA lost, confused and frustrated.

We live in a society that is very much dog eat dog. There’s a whole generation(s) coming up that doesn’t understand about honor, commitment, putting the needs of someone or something before your own, having a cause bigger than yourself to support and believe in (i.e. God & country). People are very self absorbed and introspective focus. That’s why people who care, who take time to help those around them, be a light in the darkness if you will, stand out and make such an impact. Why do you think the whole “Pay it forward” moments are made into a big deal… because many people are not used to random (no strings attached) acts of kindness from anyone, much less a stranger. I’m not trying to say we live in a horrible world and all people are selfish jerks. Honestly America is full of MANY kind, giving, people who love our country, our military and all the principles and morals this country was founded on. However, the media and society as a whole chooses to ignore all things good and focus on and perpetuate moral and spiritual rot…. embracing the darkness.

I encourage you today, be a light. Do what you can do, where you are to make a difference and positively impact lives around you. There is nothing to small….. being a light can be simply smiling at someone, buying the breakfast of the car behind you in line at the drive thru, financially supporting a ministry, volunteering at the Military Mission donation drive at Sam’s Club, volunteering to put together care packages for our troops deployed overseas. Darkness is expelled by light. Even the smallest candle burning provides light to see and displaces the darkness. What you have to contribute does matter and can be used to help others. I challenge and encourage you today to DO something, to let your light shine.

~Faith

 

(originally posted at www.comfycouchcommand.com)

We ARE the UNITED States of America

We ARE UnitedWith Memorial Day approaching, my mind is flooded with a jumble of thoughts and emotions….. I’m thankful for our troops, my heart goes out to their families, I want to cry when I think of those Veterans, in desperate need of help, who’ve made it back from combat, but have fallen through the cracks and are still trapped in a personal hell/war. Then I think of anti-American attitude (rage against military, law enforcement, etc) that seems to be spreading throughout the country like a nasty plague.

I will never, ever understand what is going on inside the heads of some so called Americans. Whenever I see or hear a report of an American flag being burned in protest, or a “church” organization protesting a funeral of a fallen solider, I am disgusted, saddened, and infuriated! How can an American citizen or someone proclaiming to be a Christian do such things? Don’t get me wrong I’m not setting myself up as anyone’s judge or jury, but I will denounce such actions and never under any circumstance say it is acceptable for people to behave that way. Is it ok to be upset with the government? Absolutely! Is it okay to peacefully protest and raise awareness of problems and plights and work to make changes where needed? Definitely! Is it okay to desecrate the very symbol of our freedom that men and women have and continue to lay down their life for? NO! Is it acceptable to shout hate and disrespectful speech at those gathered at a FUNERAL to show your protest of the war? NO!! It seems that respect, honor, common sense, courtesy and compassion are in short supply nowadays.

America is the greatest country in the world to live. We have freedoms, blessings and advantages that many people only dream of. The story of this country’s founding is more exciting, captivating, inspiring and heroic than any movie script Hollywood could ever think up. All those people who talk about how terrible America is, I wonder how many of them have ever lived in another country? How many of them have had to spend time in Iraq or Afghanistan or the countless other countries that its citizens (especially women) have little to no rights and there is no proper medical care or clean water available? Would their view of America change if they were forced to experience life as a citizen of another, disadvantaged country?

The irony of it is those who are defaming the nation, its patriots and its military personnel are able to enjoy the freedoms they stomp all over because of the very people they so desperately despise and oppose. I wanna shout, “Wake up people!! We the people ARE the UNITED States of America!!!!”

I want those military personnel (and their families) who have or are currently serving, to know that you, what you do and your sacrifice are not in vain and is appreciated beyond any words I could manage to muster. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I see an American flag being flown in someone’s yard, on their home, or in front of a business. There are so many Americans who love this country. It’s time that we stand up and let our love and support for country and the troops who defend it eclipse the ignorant nay-sayers.

Originally published at comfycouchcommand