Apr 25, 2013

An Extraordinary Love


I have an extraordinary spouse. D has never been one to stay within the confines of just being "great"...he's always excelled at whatever he does; whether it be duties of the Air Force, school, or courting me, he's always put his best foot forward. When D and I got married at the ripe old ages of 20 (me) and 21 (him), we already had a great foundation. After dating for almost 7 years throughout the most formative years of our lives, I knew exactly how he ticked, and he knew exactly what ticked me off. They say that the first year of marriage can often be the hardest one of all, but that wasn't true for us. Growing up together made our first year utterly blissful. We finally got to experience all the things we'd been dreaming about for so many years as young kids in love. We had the cozy little apartment that we decorated, just the two of us. We had the sweet little puppy that we took care of like a child. We cooked dinner together, hung curtains together, and sat out on our patio mulling over our days with a glass of wine together. All the perfect little things I'd always wanted to do with my soul mate. Little did I know that those sweet simple moments would be just the tip of the iceberg of how wonderful D is to me. How extraordinary of a husband he's been in our almost 6 years of marriage.

There's quite a bit of backstory here (mostly stories no one knows), but hang on, it will all come full circle! When we got orders to Germany in the spring of 2011, we were both ecstatic. We'd been praying for months to be stationed overseas and God was faithful in granting us our heart's desire. I knew moving to Germany would mean my career as a Nutritionist would be put on hold, but that seemed like a small sacrifice to make to follow D around the world for a few years. In fact, it didn't seem like a sacrifice at all. It sounded like a dream! And it has been. But it hasn't always been an easy dream to follow. Stepping back from my career plunged me into a bit of an identity crisis shortly after finally making the move abroad. I was virtually alone here. No job, no routine, no friends (at the time), and no real sense of direction for my life. Yes, we were still adjusting to living in Germany and planning as many trips around Europe as we could stomach, but during the week...when D was at work and I was home, alone, just me and my thoughts...I felt lost. I did a little bit of job searching, but it always proved to be fruitless. Finding a job here within my career field wasn't going to be possible. And working at Burger King didn't seem like a step in the right direction for me either. So, I turned to blogging. I had started my blog almost as soon as we got orders to Germany just to keep my family and friends updated on our move and adventures abroad. I didn't have any aspirations to turn it into a business at the time, nor did I even know anything like that was possible. Blogging was just a hobby to me. Another ho-hum activity that was there to drive away boredom. I felt others viewed my new hobby that way, too.

Do you want to know what my LEAST favorite question in the world was after moving here? "So...what do you do all day long?" Anytime I heard that question, my heart sank into my chest. Before moving to Germany I could have said, "I work everyday from 8-5, then I hit the gym for an hour, go home, make dinner, plan for the next day's work, spend time with D, and hit the hay." Those first few months here in Germany, if I didn't lie to save my pride, my answer would came out panicked and veiled with shame--"I wake up, go to the gym (maybe), clean the house (if I hadn't already made it spotless the day before...I mean, how much can you clean one small apartment?), I'd blog (but not wholeheartedly), then wait around the house mindlessly watching TV or playing on Facebook until D got home and I'd finally get some human interaction." The looks on their faces were either of pity or jealousy. Jealous for the life of leisure; to spend days doing whatever one wanted. Although in my mind, there was nothing to be jealous of. Pity was more the feeling I felt, and it was like a dagger to the heart every time someone else shared those same thoughts about my daily routine. I was living proof that the grass isn't always greener. 

Thankfully, D was always there to rescue me from my self-loathing. All the insecurities I felt about my new roll as a stay at home wife, D was quick to shut down. He appreciated that I kept our home neat and tidy. He didn't care that I'd still be in my pajamas when he arrived home from work. He comforted me as I navigated myself through feelings of worthlessness when all I had done that day was check the mail and put makeup on my face. But in the back of his mind, he knew I wanted more. He knew that to be the best version of myself, he'd have to push me. But he also knew I needed time to search my heart for direction. And so that's what he gave me.

I went back to America for two different weddings just 2 months after moving to Germany. One wedding was for my cousin and the other for my best friend. They were two months apart, so I decided to stay in NC with my family from the middle of August to the beginning of October. All the while, D was still in Germany starting his new job. Alone. D knew I was struggling a bit (silently to the rest of the world), and completely supported my trip home for such a long period of time. He hoped it would allow me to regroup and come back to Germany with a fresh set of eyes, ready to take on my new life abroad. 

During my time at home, I pretty much stopped blogging. I kept telling D during our daily phone conversations that I didn't feel inspired to write anymore. It was fun for a while, but my insecurities were starting to cloud my vision and I wanted to throw in the towel. I'd warped myself into thinking everyone who knew I blogged, thought that it was silly. Just a silly little thing Casey was trying to do to keep herself busy. It's true what they say--whatever you feel about yourself, you convey that to the world, and they start believing it too. I was my own worst enemy. I had changed, my thoughts and love for blogging had changed...but D wasn't going to let me stay that way. That's when he put the bug in my ear that changed the whole blogging game for me. "Make it your business, babe. Build your readership and make it something you look forward to nurturing each day because it's your own. Turn what you love into something you are proud of. No one could fault you for that." Those words struck a cord in me. I could turn this "hobby" into my business. I could create my own income and fill my empty days with the endless opportunities that blogging creates. I needed to squash my insecurities about not contributing to our family in a significant way. And so the passion began stirring again. I got excited...D got excited...and then we prayed. Feverishly. Soon after, we knew the steps I needed to take and we devised a plan to propel me to my new goals as a blogger. The words "blogging" and "hobby" together, were never spoken from my mouth again.

Coming back from the states was going to be the test. All the things we'd prayed over and talked about were going to be put in motion after I stepped off that plane back in Germany. I felt ready, but D wanted to make sure I was ready. This is where I hope my long winded story starts making sense! As I walked back into our half decorated apartment after 2 long months away, D told me to cover my eyes. I thought he had graciously unpacked all the crap that was still in boxes and wanted to surprise me, but the surprise I got was even greater than that. D walked me over to where our living room ends and our sunroom begins. There was a curtain over the sunroom entryway (one we had hung together just months before), and stuck to the curtain with a flimsy piece of tape was a sign that read, "Casey's Office." I peeled back the curtain and before me was a new chair, a desk, and a brand spanking new iMac computer. Taped to the top of the computer monitor was a note that read, "Your dream starts today!" Tears form in my eyes every time I think about it. D created a space for me to blog, to write, and to start feeling good about myself instead of wasting away into the insecure Casey I was becoming. He dressed up the desk with notepads and pencils; anything he could think of to spark my creativity, and more importantly, make me feel valuable again. 

From that moment on, D has been the biggest cheerleader for me and this blog. He sat with me as I cried about blog designs, inspired me through bouts of writer's block, celebrated with me as my readership grew and I made my first ad sale, and talked me off a ledge when I thought about closing up shop in moments of self-doubt. He's my most faithful reader...having read every single post (without me pestering him about it, too!). When I was working towards hitting my 1,000 follower mark, he would call me from work each morning and say "857!" and I knew he was watching my blog grow just as intently as I was. Those are just a few of the many examples of his continuous support in this endeavor he sparked. When I found that quote from Fawn Weaver on Pinterest this morning, I knew I had to share this story about my amazing husband and how this blog really came to be what it is today. To D, I owe this whole creative space. The success, the klout, the passion...all because he cared to take interest in my wellbeing as his wife. To him, my soul mate, I feel the deepest gratitude for his unwavering faith in me, even when I had no faith myself. Once again, he brought me back from turning into the worst version of myself and has continually kept his promise of "for better or for worse." 

Today (in case you were wondering), I embrace my life as a stay at home wife and almost full-time blogger. It took some time to realize, but it's been the greatest gift D's career in the Air Force could ever have given me. I used to feel bitter about being the "dependent," the spouse who's always flailing in the wind, changing their plans for the greater good of the military. But, knowing my husband supports me and wants to see me successful and happy just as much as he loves and fights for his country, makes the struggle to find my purpose all the more worth it. When you have someone walking beside you, encouraging you to be the best version of yourself even amidst so much change, you've got an extraordinary love.

 D is extraordinary in every sense of the word. I'm so blessed and honored to be loved by him. 
To the moon and back, my love! xo

Is your spouse extraordinary? How so? Share your story with me!


37 comments:

  1. He sounds amazingly supportive! My husband, while he jokes about our loss of income, wouldn't have me working if we can avoid it. My job is the home, the kid, and of course, my blogging.

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  2. This is such a sweet story. I got chills reading it. And I am so inspired by your determination (with so much help from your husband)! My husband is my blog's biggest fan, too, and I definitely think I would have thrown in the towel if it weren't for his constant encouragement. He pushes me because he knows I need to write for my sanity, even when I am consumed with self-doubt.

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  3. now that's a great husband : ) i must say that i started blogging and was also half hearted about it. it wasn't until something changed in me that i started to enjoy it, wanted it to grow, not just out of selfish motives but because i loved what i did. the connections, the creativity, everything that goes into it. my husband has been such a great encouragement and has woken me up in the past when i have broken my previous page views or gained new readers. it's so great when our husbands encourage our dreams and strive for us to do well. you're such an encouragement for bloggers casey! i've loved following along and i'm so glad you never threw in the towel!

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  4. Oh my god this brought tears to my eyes! It sounds like a sweet scene from a movie. D sounds like a wonderful guy and you two have something so special together! I'm glad you found happiness in writing your blog. I started mine with similar aspirations and under similar circumstances (not working, needing a creative outlet, etc). It's certainly been a fun ride already. Congrats on the success of your blog! :)

    xoxo
    Melyssa
    http://thenectarcollective.com

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  5. I love your story. :) It makes me smile. Probably because I have a slight connection and sorta know how you feel with being part of the military. Yes...the immediate family is very much a part of it as the actual enlisted!

    My dad has been in for 25 years. There's a lot of sacrifice, time apart, and dedication that living the military life entails. I applaud you being the spouse of a military man! :) My sister chose the same path, except her husband is in the Army.

    The even bigger plus? You get to live in Germany!!!

    I'm so glad your husband is so supportive of you. :) It' s the little things that count eh? You've got a talent for what you do...and I'm so glad you didn't give up.

    -Amanda | Living in Another Language

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  6. Beautiful! Every girl deserves someone that is that supportive!

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  7. You two are so blessed and lucky to have found each other. That kind of support is something we all need sometimes - D is husband of the year in my book!

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  8. That is amazing! Reading this story brought tears to my eyes!

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  9. What a beautiful post! I'm so happy for you that you have such a wonderful husband! That makes all the difference! :)

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  10. what an amazing story and you are so lucky to be with someone who loves you so much and cares for you that way. so happy for y'all!

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  11. Such a beautiful and amazing story!!!!! :)

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  12. oh, this is so sweet. :) I feel like there are a lot of bloggers who are kind of limited by their family lives or by their spouses in terms of how they handle their blogs (understandable, of course), so it's really fun to read how D has thrown himself into this with such gusto. you found yourself quite a hubby!

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    1. I agree Kaity! Most bloggers I read feel restricted and don't post so much about the relationships in their lives. Reading this post reminds me of the vlog Casey and D did together a while back, and he was so enthusiastic about the blog. Love it!!

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  13. This is really one of the sweetest things I've read in a long time! I'm glad that you didn't give up because I really enjoy reading your blog! During the Summer when I'm not occupied with school I often feel like this. I'm hoping now that I blog I can use the free time to really work on things. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  14. This is such a beautiful story, and I even teared up a bit when I read about his surprise for you. My boyfriend is definitely my biggest supporter with all my writing. I know it's hard on him because it cuts into the time we have to skype together (we live two hours apart). Our time together has also recently been reduced even more because I started a second job to get health insurance. But he never complains about it, and he tells me constantly how proud he is of me for working so hard. It truly is a blessing to have someone so loving and supportive by your side.

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  15. This is amazing :) God is faithful in giving us exactly who and what we need :)
    What a blessing He has given you. & how exciting to come back to a brand new computer!!!

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  16. Even though I know the story, my eyes continued to fill. What an amazing story! I feel I haven't told you enough how talented I think you are and how blessed I am to have you as part of my family. If I know D, this brought tears to his eyes too, for I know just how much he adores you. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart....love you!

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  17. My husband is pretty extraordinary if you ask me. We are a dual military couple. We met after I'd already signed my contract to leave for the navy but before I actually shipped out. He was already a Marine. Through every step of this crazy process he's been there for me like no one else ever had. He knows I come with emotional baggage and when I am frustrated or scared because of my past he is there, calming me down and showing me that he's not them. I fell in love with him almost as soon as I met him. I think I knew for sure when he came with me to church the first time and then came back that night to help me teach youth group. He was going out of his way, out of his comfort zone, because he knew that my faith and those kids were important to me.

    We are currently stationed 502 miles apart from each other and I have a ddeployment coming up. Yet I know without a shadow of a doubt when I get back on dry land he'll be there waiting for me and I'll just fall in love with him again.

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  18. That's amazing. What a lucky wife and what a lucky husband!

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  19. I love this! What a good husband you have!

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  20. oh my gosh.... best husband ever! seriously what a thoughtful caring selfless man... i hope i can find one of those one day

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  21. What a BEAUTIFUL relationship you guys have. I can't wait to find that for myself some day. I find your blogging story really interesting too... I have had a similar rough start myself.

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  22. This was such a fantastic post! I found your blog a few weeks ago and love reading it. This one especially hit home for me, as my husband and I will be PCSing to Stuttgart and I've had a lot of anxiety about what it will mean for my career (and identity!). I love hearing about "success stories" like yours- gives me hope!

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  23. That is so sweet! Does he have a brother?! LOL ;) I for one, love reading your blog and seeing all of your beautiful pictures!

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  24. oh, this is so incredibly sweet!!

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  25. I'm so glad that he kept encouraging you to blog, because you are one of my favorite bloggers out there! You two are so sweet, and I look up to your marriage since I'm newly married and my husband is about to deploy. I see the strength you guys share and I hope for the same when my love goes overseas!

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  26. I just skimmed through this story for the second time...And I love it! It is so sweet and it is definitely a great picture of what a marriage should be. I'm glad he encouraged you to keep going, you have great stories and pictures and advice that make your blog a joy to read each morning! Keep it up! It's good to know there are relationships out there that are this "extraordinary" love...I know mine is with my husband. Knowing that and reading this brings all kinds of warm fuzzies :)

    Have a great weekend!

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  27. I loved reading this! I can relate on so many levels. I really hate all the questions about my day and people asking me if I get bored all day. No, I don't thanks. My husband loves that I'm home when he comes home from work and he's 100% supportive about my role as a housewife. I'm glad your man is behind you and his stocking you up with an awesome office is just about the sweetest thing I ever heard.

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  28. Beautiful. As a former military wife I totally understand. It pretty much took me one university and three different technical schools to finish up my education because we kept moving so much with the USAF. I have been constantly restarting my job or a new job, or rebranding because I am in a new location with no clients. It is not easy to find the right job, especially in a different country where qualifications for jobs can differ vastly. I am currently a stay at home mum right now and this is why I blog full time (meaning every day I blog). A year ago I was busy working in the salon and was lucky if I got one blog post out a week. Your post today really hit home with me. I'm not really sure how else to convey that exactly in words but know that I really appreciate what you wrote and it is further reason why I will continue to read your blog.

    Keep up the positivity!

    Bonnie Rose | a Compass Rose

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  29. I loved reading your story because it struck a cord with me as I'm in a similar situation. Despite just starting to blog 2 months ago, my boyfriend was the first one to sign up to follow - reading every single post I published. Makes my heart melt just thinking about it.

    Thanks for sharing this story - loved reading it.
    Ciao / Isabel from Hong Kong
    www.shoebox-living.com

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  30. I love reading this it was so sweet! You did a wonderful job at showing how wonderful the hubby truly is!

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  31. Casey, this is so beautiful! you always hear stories about how bloggers' boyfriends/husbands don't get blogging - mine certainly doesn't - and it's such a blessing when he not only supports you but truly does understand what you're putting into it! there's so much love in this :)

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  32. Such a great store. Thanks for sharing it- it was very uplifting! :)

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  33. I love this story so much and we really are soul twins, hehe, cheesy but so true. I could have swapped out Germany for Maryland and this would have been my story as well...right down to going home for two weddings. So crazy how much our stories overlap and I'm so happy that we both found this passion that we could feel good about while we follow our hubbies all over. And so thankful that we have these wonderful men to cheer us on. :)

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  34. I love this story Casey! You are blessed to have such a wonderful and encouraging husband. I know what it's like to be in Germany, away from family and friends. It is difficult but I'm so happy that you have made this blog what you dreamed it to be. That is very inspiring!

    Neri

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  35. I love the honesty that you share in this post. I started my blog less than a year ago, and I have felt the same way that you had many times before. I am soon to graduate from college and am confronting the "expectations" that friends and family have in regards to how I live my life. My husband and I have had this same conversation over my blogging and he's equally supportive. I know how wonderful it is to have a husband that's so supportive of your dreams and goals. Thanks for the inspiration and I am proud to be part of your readership!

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  36. This is such a sweet story. My husband and I moved to Ireland in January and I have heard that awful question one-billion times! Blah! It makes me as sick and you and feel absolutely worthless. I am in the same boat and just feel aimless at times here. (Still... after 10 months!)

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I appreciate your feedback, friends! I read every comment and try my hardest to respond to each one, but if your email address isn't attached to your blogger profile, you might find my response in the comment thread instead. As always, thanks for reading!

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