A Part, Not Behind

As a law enforcement wife, I have often said that I stand behind the Thin Blue Line, I support the men and women who walk that line and have utmost respect for them. Lately, I’ve changed my way of how I think about that. As a wife, I am not behind that line, I AM a part of it, just as my husband and my children are a part of it. That line doesn’t just affect him, but anyone who is related to it.

Last Friday, my husband and I made the journey across the state to see a 22 year old officer laid to rest. He had only graduated CLEET last July. I’ve said it numerous times on Facebook, this boy was a year older than my twins. He was 2 years younger than my oldest son, and I watched his mother have to do what no mother should ever have to. Stand over his coffin. She is not behind that line. She is a part of it. She will always be a part of it. That line has forever changed her life.

The law enforcement wife is a unique creature. She learns to hear what her officer says with her eyes. I can tell what is really going on with mine by simply watching him. When I ask, “How was your day?”, he may answer “Oh, fine.” Sometimes he means that, a lot of times his body language says, “Today was a day I almost didn’t come home, worked something really bad, and because I love you, I’m willing to put on a smile and lie to you so that I can protect you, and myself.”  Am I angry, shocked an appalled that he will do that? Simply stated, no, I’m not. There are things that I know that he is not going to and never will talk to me about concerning this job, and I don’t want to know everything. I honestly don’t think that I could be the support he needs if I’m dealing with his demons along with him.

Personally, I am the type of wife that is extremely pro-active in support and I guess you could say participation in my husband’s daily law enforcement life. I want to know the in’s and out’s of his job. I ask questions all the time about different situations, laws, legalities, civil vs. municipal, and so on. We talk in 10 codes, I support his reserve academies by acting has his photographer to capture all of the training and put it into a slideshow for the graduation. I LOVE being around officers and training. Do I want to be a cop? Not at all, but being a part of this line, why not know everything I possibly can about it.

Part of my motivation for this particular writing is because we are preparing for a class we are teaching that focuses on Police Families. We are showing the documentary Code 9: Officer Needs Assistance. In the past couple of weeks, there have been around 10 officer suicides. PTSD is a topic that we both take very seriously, and put out information on facing it when we can. My thoughts will stay primarily dead center on the idea of helping even one LE family and putting the tools they need to stand this line every day of their marriage.

I am a LEOW, I am part of the Thin Blue Line, and this family bleeds blue.

 

Day 58: Do Good To Others

Today, was one of those lessons in doing good to our fellow man, helping when we can. 

My mother and I were headed to Pawnee and Tulsa to take care of some things and were on hwy 69 headed out of Muskogee when a car flipped a u-turn and headed back south in the northbound lanes, almost hitting us head on. 

We were able to see that the driver was an older man, and that he flipped yet another u-turn and pulled off on the side of the road. We turned around to check to make sure he was ok, not knowing what would cause him to do so. 

We found out, his wife is in a nursing home and he was trying to go see her. He confused the street name with the name of the town and was reallly struggling to figure out where he was trying to go. 


My mom sat and talked with him for a bit and called the facitlity where his wife is and offered to drive him over to see her, which he thankfully agreed to. She came back and asked me if I minded taking a side trip, to which my response was “of course not.” This man needed our aid, and we were at the right place at the right time in order to help him. How could we selfishly leave him in such a situation? The answers is, we couldn’t. What if this were an member of my family? I can only hope someone would do the same for them. 

As I am putting my thoughts down, we are at the facitlity his wife is in, and he is sitting patiently, waiting to see her. This is not at all how I planned for my day to go, but I wouldn’t change it. We have met a sweet old man, who desperately love his wife, as I know my own husband loves me. Life is precious and helping Carl has been the highlight of my day. 

Day 22: Collections

Human beings are funny creatures. What is the driving force that makes us want to collect things? Throughout my younger years, I collected stickers, unicorns, dragons, and posters of 80’s hair bands. In my adult years, I have collected fairies, but have moved on to things some would consider spooky, along with something else that is so popular, you may even have one or two of your own.

Let’s look at the popular first. Pop! vinyl figures by Funko have taken the nation by storm. There is seriously a figure for just about everything you can imagine. Monty Python and the Holy Grail? I have three from that set myself. Flash Gordon? Emperor Ming looks down upon me menacingly in all his tiny evil glory.   The Walking Dead? Oh yeah, I have them, including black and white Daryl Dixon.

I will be the first to admit that I have a problem when it comes to these little guys. There is just something about them that capture us and demand that we take them home with us. To date, one of the most brilliant things that I have seen done with them, is when a friend of mine went to England on vacation. He took Thor and Jon Snow with him and did several exceptional shots, from the plane to Stonehenge, his two companions created a spectacular photo experience like none I have ever seen.

Taking a look at the Spooky. Well, let me start by saying, I don’t think they are spooky and no, I am not creeped out with Living Dead Dolls watching over me while I sleep.  When my great nephew was 2 years old, and we babysat, he came into my bedroom in search of my cats and when he looked up and saw the dolls, his little mouth hung open and he looked from the dolls to me, back to the dolls and back to me and said, “Babies…..not funny!” Since that day, when he comes to visit, he has to go and check to see if the babies are still there.

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Day 22: Collections Meet Posey 

My first Living Dead Doll was a birthday gift from my husband, and I fell in love with her instantly. Posey has a subtle creepiness about her that is just top drawer and became the foundation of my doll collection. I immediately hit the website looking to see what other dolls existed and to this day, I am still in awe of what they create. When we found the Psycho set, I knew hands down this was a duo I had to own. As I love Mr. Hitchcock’s work, AND they were in black and white, Norman/Mother and Janet would be mine!

My husband’s collection is a little more sensible I guess you would say. When you mash a cop with Peter Pan Syndrome, you get a collection of law enforcement toys. Lego’s, toy cars, police rubber duckies, he has quite the collection of cop toys.

We collect for the pure enjoyment of it, not for any other particular reason. We want to surround ourselves with things that make us happy and are pleasing to us. So, whatever you collect, may it bring you that simple childlike joy every time you gaze upon your collection.

Closed For the Season… Sort Of 

There is one particular time of year that busy is an understatement. Fireworks season. This ear, I have also joined the ranks of Castle Christmas and will be running the Christmas Store in the Garden Room. Because of this, while the 365 Project will continue on Instagram, the coinciding blog posts will be hit and miss if they happen. I hope that you will follow me on Instagram as the photos unfold, because while in Muskogee and at the Castle, interesting pics are bound to happen. 

The best thing about working Christmas for me, is that I get to reunite with my beloved fireworks for sales from Dec 15-31. It will also give me an opportunity to dust the cobwebs off my other blog site:

https://okcastlefireworks.wordpress.com

Yes, we have our own 500 gram heavyweight! Posted originally on my fireworks blog site.


I have one more 365 post headed your way tomorrow, so be sure not to miss that one. Please have a safe and magnificent holiday season, and look for and capture the beauty in each day.

Day 21: I Love the Smell of Gunpowder in the Morning

Day 21: I Love the Smell of Gunpowder in the Morning


Being how I grew up in a hunting family, one would think that I a natural and comfortable around guns. While I’ve never had a problem being around guns, handling them myself was a different matter. Even the thought of holding a gun would make me nervous and kind of queasy. When my husband and I were dating, we were out in the country and he wanted me to shoot his AR. The conversation went something like this.

Him: “Here shoot this, it’s fun.”

Me: “You REALLY don’t want me to shoot your gun.”

Him: ” Go on, I promise you will like this, it’s fun.”

Me: “You don’t understand, you REALLLLLY don’t want me to do this.”

Him: “Here.” (puts gun in my hands)

Me: “…….” (has no clue how to even hold a handgun, let alone an AR)

BANG ….gun hits sandy ground

Him: “WHY DID YOU DROP IT???”

Me: I TOLD YOU THAT YOU DIDN’T WANT ME SHOOTING THIS GUN!!!!”

He never pressed me to shoot a gun again, and still blames me for all the sand he had to clean out of the thing. Did I not tell him that he didn’t want me to shoot it?

It wasn’t until a few years ago, that the thought about learning how to shoot wouldn’t leave me alone. I still was apprehensive and couldn’t get past my own mind that there was no way I could do this.  That was when my husband the instructor showed up. He set up a target and gave me an air soft pistol that shoots the little soft bb’s, and began working with me on how to handle a gun. I have to give him major credit. He never pushed me to learn how to shoot. He never tried to force it on me, he let me make the decision that I was finally ready and showed extreme patience as I learned from the ground up the basics of grip, stance, watching the front site, and so on.

When I finally was comfortable with the air soft, I gathered my courage and picked up a .22 pistol. While the concept is the same, jumping from a plastic air soft, to a real metal gun, with real led bullets was yet another block to overcome. But, with the passage of time, and spending time putting bullets downrange, it has become somewhat addictive and now, I find myself looking forward to the days I can get out and shoot, competing against myself to center my shots better with each trip to the range. I even took the plunge and am the proud owner of a little Walther P.22, and as temperamental as this gun is about ammo, I still love her. With time, I have also taken to shooting my husband’s Shield 9 mil and now I look back to when the thought of even touching a gun made me uneasy, I look proudly at myself and say, “You did it, girl!”

While some may think the point of this particular 365 is about the topic of guns, it’s actually more about overcoming your own fears and mindsets. It took me over 30 years to overcome this one, so the message is this. Don’t let your mind, your doubts, you uneasiness or stubbornness keep you from doing something. Push through and conquer them and find yourself victorious.

 

Day 20: Oklahoma Skies

One of the things I love best about Oklahoma is our skies. We have some of the most breathtaking sunrises (when I’m actually up to see them), sunsets and clouds in the atmosphere. Our skies are one of my favorite subjects to shoot.

Day 20: Oklahoma Skies


While I always thought that there were days that the sky was rather lovely, I never fully appreciated them until I started looking at them from behind the lens, trying to capture the color and cloud formations, the sun at various positions during the day and evening, and there have been times it has been some of my biggest challenge to try to catch with the camera what my eye was seeing.

As I am by no means a morning person, I am apt to capture sunsets in more abundance that I am a sunrise. My most memorable sunrise was on a hiking trip my husband and I took to Greenleaf State Park. We got up well before dawn and made it out to the trails with the hopes of getting to the swinging bridge before sunrise. While we did indeed make it, the location we were at as the sun actually rose was not a good location to capture the rise. It did however allow me to get some lovely shots of the fog across the lake

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We often find ourselves wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life and tend to forget to look at the simplistic beauty around us. Health for our heart that is free of charge. Uplifting for our spirit and doesn’t take any extra time, other than to look up. The skies are filled with wonder. Take some time today and look up and see the beauty that is above you.

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Day 19: Your Badge, My Heart 

Day 19: Your Badge, My Heart

Around this time 10 years ago, you were in weapons block. Doing qualifying rounds in ice and snow. You were a couple of months from graduating the academy. It had been a very rough time emotionally for all of us as we only got to see you a couple of days each week while you chased the dream that would become your passion, that would become an ever changing way of life.

As I sit and think about where we have come from since then, there are so many thoughts, so many memories, so many emotions, so may frustrations, so many joys. This has been a road met with challenges, some from without, a lot from within, but now as I consider all that has happened, I realize you can not come through any situation without going through the fire.

I don’t have to tell you the challenges law enforcement as a whole is currently going through. You live it everyday. We see it everyday. We worry about it everyday. And while I have the moments of not wanting you to give of yourself anymore due to the lack of appreciation and the hatred that seems to run out of control, it is only half of a coin. That half wants me to tell you to cut loose and get out. Why put your life at risk every single day? Why risk yourself for the possibility of the unthinkable? Why deal with the aggravation of being caught between and angry world and a broken system. Why do we have to continue to pay as a family? We sacrifice, we lose out, we are often on the back burner.  ODMP is forever in front of our eyes, and all we can do is grieve with the rest of the thin blue line family. Good, honest cops pay with their lives and somehow they deserve it due to situations they were never involved with. I fear for you. I fear for us. I fear for our kids.

But then, there is the flip side of that coin. The side that screams honor, integrity, pride. The side that shows what you do is not in vain. The side that shows how you listen, hear and try to find resolution to our citizens situations. The side that when I see you in uniform, I know that our county is that much safer because you care and aim to protect and serve.

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Deputy Cross letting the kids check out his cruiser.

Do you know why you are my hero? It isn’t just because of the badge you wear. It isn’t because you helped protect those little girls by making sure the monster that hurt them will spend forever behind bars. It isn’t because you worked with a young lady and even though her life ended tragically, you don’t give up hope in spite of how it haunts you. It isn’t because you are standing for a little boy so viciously attacked by a dog and his parents seeing no legal resolution. It isn’t because you strive to offer the best training possible, or attend community events, or by going out of your way to talk with the kids of our communities or by double checking on our dispatchers to make sure everything is ok. It is because you are my heart, and in spite of all the times I haven’t come first, or a band concert or game or holiday was missed due to job, in your heart we are still first. It shows in your eyes, it is felt in your hug, it is confirmed in the words you speak to our boys. You are my hero because you stand for what is right and you don’t back down from it. You stand for what is lawful and you enforce it. You give me your love so freely and unconditionally. That even when you are so tired and sore and just want to crash, you give of yourself and let us know that we make everything OK for you.

We are 8 months away from 25 years of marriage. You became my hero at “I Do.”

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