November 25, 2013

Army Reservist Love Letters

 Head over to Green Wedding Shoes blog to see this super cute engagement session!

November 18, 2013

{Guest Post} New Beginnings

Valerie Pritt, owner and Event Coordinator of Fleur de Lis Event Consulting is a navy wife who understands the pain when your husband works long hours, unpredictable schedules, long deployments, extended detachments and also gets relocated.Valerie has shared this military wedding, as well as her sailor homecoming bbq, and today she shares her personal experience of uprooting from one place to another for a new beginning.

The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. -Steve Jobs

"Today I want to share a story with you about turning endings into new beginnings. It's a little personal but I feel it's important to share with my fellow military wives and anyone else who has recently found themselves lost in a whirlwind of change. A few months back I relocated from Jacksonville, FL to the Pensacola area and it has been, let's say, interesting. Change is inevitable when you're married to a man in the military. This is sometimes difficult to accept when you have to uproot your life and successful wedding/event planning business to the unknown, especially when your business is built on referrals. The things we do for love! It was bound to happen though, I knew it was only a matter of time, so when the day came I reluctantly packed for Pensacola- dragging my heels all the way. However, this is not the first time my life has been impacted by the military. In fact, a few years ago my mom gave me a hard time after complaining about moving three times in one year, "well, you had to have known what you were getting yourself into when you married a man in the service." If I remember correctly, this comment caused an endless waterfall of tears- because she was right. Mom's are always right. But as right as she was, it can be a hard pill to swallow for an independent woman such as myself. And unfortunately for my husband, he did not marry Suzy Homemaker. Someday I hope to aspire to Suzy's standards but for now it's just not who I am- which, at times, can create some challenging situations. I enjoy working, especially for myself. I have found tremendous satisfaction in building my business and taking pride in my success. I own something that is entirely my own and that completes me. So was I excited to move to Pensacola? I'll be honest, not so much. However, after a hesitant start I contacted a few vendors and started networking. I soon found myself a little excited at the idea of beginning anew. I had the chance to revitalize my business and begin fresh with a lot more experience this time around. Inspiration was all around me and from every new person I met. My commitments are very important to me and even as I continually grow into the area, I'm still traveling to Jacksonville to be there for my current clients and their wedding day. When I make a commitment, nothing stops me! If there's a will, there's a way. So, to the other independent military wives out there- do not fight the inevitable change. Instead, take change as an opportunity to advance yourself, find yourself and rejuvenate yourself."  

Thank you Valerie for sharing this with A Military Story and to our followers. I can totally relate since we moved to Northern New York state last January and I was really happy in Savannah, GA but now we are closer to his family and mine. It's hard though when you do make that sacrifice and follow your hubby. Just remember all the positives!!

So now I turn to you, my followers. Have you encountered challenges with a relocation? Do you have any words of wisdom to share? What has given you strength during these hard times? What has helped you restart your business in a new location?

November 15, 2013

{Engagement} Shelby & Chris

Megan Laine Horry Finn of Phoenix Feather Photography specializes in wedding, engagement and lifestyle photography in the Hilton Head, South Carolina and Savannah, GA areas. She has an adorable engagement session on the blog today that makes me miss Savannah and the South so much. The Spanish moss and oak trees are breathtaking! 
A little about these two love birds: "Our engagement session was at Turkey Hill Plantation in Ridgeland, SC. Chris and I met on a night out with mutual friends in downtown Savannah. It was pretty much love at first sight. I knew Chris was the one when he took me to meet his parents in North Carolina. Chris and his family made me feel so at home I just knew he would be the one I would spend the rest of my life with. Chris is a 3rd class electrician's mate in the US Navy stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. We will have a Roaring 20s themed wedding on Callawassie Island, SC on January 11, 2014." WOW! I can't wait to see photos of their 1920's theme wedding! Thank you Megan for sharing their photos and Shelby for sharing your story <3

November 13, 2013

Supermom and Cancer Survivor

Rachel Smith Photography is back again and she is also a new VENDOR to join A Military Story. These photos Rachel has shared along with Misha's story is absolutely amazing and you must read all of it, so get comfy and be prepared for a story of strength & inspiration! First from Rachel, "I wanted to hear stories from moms who had overcome challenges while staying strong for their children no matter the circumstances. So, I did what I do when I get that heavy heart and offered a contest for supermoms. The stories started coming in and I was overwhelmed with all of the amazing strong mothers. However, there was one supermom who stuck out with such an AMAZING story and I was overwhelmed with emotion while reading her story. Misha Egan was her name and let's just say she touched MANY because she won by a long mile with lots of people voting for her - people who didn't even know her but were touched by her story. Reading her story, having the honor of photographing such a strong woman & mother, was SUCH an inspiration to myself and Briana with Makeup by Briana who donated her services as well by doing the makeup and hair for the shoot. Her story is a good reminder that no matter how bad you think you have it and no matter how much you feel like giving up, you can get through it!"
"Hi there ~ My name is Misha Egan. I am a 28 year old survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma and mommy to two incredible children! I was lucky enough to win a SUPERMOM contest given by the lovely Rachel Smith Photography! My wonderful friend nominated me without my knowledge and to my surprise I won! I wanted to share my story with y'all not just so you can get a little insight of what I went through but so that you may know that you too can get through whatever it is you are going through! Rise above it, overcome it and be the best YOU, you can be! Trust me there were many days that didn't seem possible, but I look back now on what I went through and thankfully its just a distant memory! 
After a bout with pneumonia I went in for what I thought was a routine cat scan to make sure it was gone. When I came out of the scan they told me I needed to see my primary Dr. immediately. I started crying not knowing what was going on. The Radiologist sat me down and showed me the images, he said these are tumors in your chest, if they are cancerous you'll need chemo. Without anything more he had the assistant walk me out to my husband and 4 month old son who were waiting for me. I was terrified with the information I had and went straight to the Dr., where I left again without an answer. A few days later I got a call from the Oncology Department at Balboa Navel Medical Center, they had received my case and I had an appointment. I was lucky enough to have my parents, husband and son at my appointment when the Dr informed me he was 95% sure I had Hodgkin 's Lymphoma. A biopsy to a lymph nod in my neck and a Pet Scan later I was officially diagnosed with Hodgkin 's Lymphoma stage 2B. What they thought was pneumonia was actually two baseball size tumors in my chest.

I started chemo in Jan of 2010 just shy of my 25th birthday. Chemo took it s toll on me. I had almost every side effect you can think of. Body pain and weakness making it almost impossible to get off the floor, sever bone pain, mouth sores making it hard to eat or drink anything. Severe constipation, extremely low white blood count causing me to have to give myself shots, food tasting weird, Hair lose, fatigue. I was on 21 different medications, some chemo but most managing my side affects making me in a somewhat painless state of living.

After 2 months of chemo therapy I receive my 2nd PET scan to see how my cancer was reacting to the chemo. My Dr. called later that night and said he had some good news and some interesting news. Good news is your cancer is responding very well. Interesting news is there was a fetus in your uterus. I was pregnant. Which wasn t good during chemo. He said we are almost positive there wont be a heart beat as we had created an environment a baby cannot survive in. I had to go in the next day to verify the heart beat or lack of a schedule the removal of what they thought would be a lifeless fetus. To their surprise and mine they found a strong heart beat and that i was 15 weeks along. I am now the proud mama of a heathy little girl. I continued on with my chemo and had my last treatment on April 30, 2010, 3 days after my husband deployed to Afghanistan. 

5 months later I had our daughter and a month later started radiation treatment. For me radiation was worse than chemo. The radiation was given to me on my chest and back over some major organs and my esophagus. Causing me to be very weak and tired. Also causing ulcers in my esophagus making it literally impossible to eat of drink anything. This landed me in the hospital several times. Coming home after one for my stays in the hospital during radiation My brother had to help me up the stairs where I had to stop to rest on the landing and sit down at the top to catch my breath before making it into my room. I lay in my bed and thought I was going to die. I was terrified that I was going to die alone that night, never see husband make it home from Afghanistan and leave my children with out a mommy. At that moment I looked inside myself and pulled what little strength I had left out of me and keep living! . But When you have children and those of you who do, know that you don t have a choice but to keep living for them! People always ask how I m so brave and I tell them its not about being brave its about doing what you need to do to win!

I finished my radiation 1 day prior to my husbands homecoming. And I am now in Complete Remission,going on 3 years come March 2014. Ive been living everyday enjoying my son who is now 4, my daughter who is now 3 and my husband. Although I still struggle daily from medical issues that seem to be caused from the chemo and radiation, I ve learned from having cancer, I allowed myself to be a student of life throughout my journey. I challenge you whether you have cancer another sickness, a death in your family, or any other low point in your life to also be a student of life. Look at everything as a lesson. Write a blog or a journal to channel your pain. Surround yourself with those who love you. Share your story with other so they may learn from you and enjoy everything!

Laugh with those you love. Walk barefoot on the beach and dance to the music in 
The grocery store. But most of all never give up! - Misha Egan"

November 8, 2013

Stroia Homecoming

Rachel is back with an emotional homecoming. If you missed her last post click here
No words really needed for this happy young couple, just big smiles!

November 6, 2013

{Engagement} Amber & Will

Rachel Smith Photography week continues with a fabulous engagement session. If you missed her previous post click here. This engagement session had three different wardrobe changes and I think the blue dress and red hot shoes are my favorite! What about you, what is your favorite? 

Amber has shared their story, "Will and I met in high school over spring break where we both worked as lifeguards at the local water park; I being one of his trainers. I'd never met a guy my age that was more mature, responsible, kind or genuine than he was. We were pretty much instantaneous friends, but it was the random act of kindness he showed me later that made him unforgettable from that moment on. 

As my first summer living on my own after high school, it was certainly not without it's obstacles and trying moments; the main one being my '98 Dodge Avenger that loved to give me trouble at the worst possible times. After a long shift at work, I go to leave only to find that my engine wouldn't even turn over. Of all the other things I was dealing with at that point, this just sent me over the edge and I broke down into tears. A mutual friend of ours, Tyler, phoned the only reliable person he could think of to help as everyone else with functioning vehicles was already long gone - you guessed it, it was Will. This man not only went out of his way to pick my stranded self up, but he did so while with his high school sweetheart as they were out on a date. I found this out much later, which in retrospect made sense as to why she seemed so unhappy at the time and I felt absolutely horrible; but I never forgot that feeling of relief or what he did for me out of the kindness of his heart. 

Flash forward a few years to his a-school in Pensacola, and our whirlwind romance begins. I'd messaged him to catch up and see how he was enjoying the military life, and what started as simple friendly conversation before long became this gigantic spark. We were talking, texting and Skyping all the time and soon I found myself wondering what this had become. I had such strong feelings, but I refused to be the one to jump the gun and drop the "L" bomb first even though I knew I loved him deeply. Apparently he was experiencing the same thing though, because on September 10th he asked me what we were. Through fear and joy I told him exactly how I felt, and he then told me that he loved me and accordingly made us "offical". There are few moments in my life that I look back on more fondly than that one. At the time I was living in Lake Charles, Louisiana going through EMT school but I wanted nothing more than to jump across the miles and hug and kiss him until his face turned blue. I got my chance not long after though, because I got to be his date to his first Marine Corps Ball. 

I hated leaving him once that small trip was over, but I knew that we were stronger than any length of distance or time. After many more tearful see-you-laters, FaceTime dates and phone calls, I finished school and drove strait up to Jacksonville, NC to be with him where we are now. The proposal came shortly after our first anniversary, he'd spent all morning cleaning the house and woke me up only to blindfold me and walk me into our living room. The blindfold was removed as I saw a painting that hung on the wall showing one of my favorite quotes "Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.". I turned around to face him where he was already on one knee, and he pointed to the wall to his left where a dream catcher hung; but not just any dream catcher. This dream catcher in particular was my favorite of my collection that had fallen off our wall a few months prior and broken to pieces. He told me he would fix it, and fix it he did. From each web hung words instead of feathers that said "Will you marry me?" and from the center web hung my dream engagement ring from a small anchor charm. I'm sure we of course know my answer, and now we are counting down the days until our wedding next October. 

He's my whole heart and my best friend, and I've never been happier than I've been with him over the last two years. I can only imagine how the rest of our lives together will be, and I only look forward to finding out!"  SWOOOOOOOOOON! Thank you Amber and Rachel for sharing!!