I wanted my students to have a pen pal

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“I was a 4th grade teacher in Michigan. I asked the principal if my kids could have a pen pal, and I was thinking they could write to someone in the military. The principal said yes, and gave me the name of her son, a Naval Aviator, and suggested we write to him and his squadron. We sent letters back and forth, and at Christmas he came home to visit his mom, and came to the classroom. In walked this dashing man in a flightsuit. We went out a few times that week and kept in touch. After only 23 days together, spread out over several months, I picked up everything and left my job, family, and everything I’d ever known to move to Florida. I moved there before he came home from deployment and I remember waiting for him at the hangar where they were flying in, thinking ‘Is he going to still love me? Is this going to work?’ And it has. Ten years of marriage, 6 moves, 2 kids, more deployments than we can count, and it’s been a complete adventure.

“Moving from Michigan to Virginia was a big step for me, so when we moved to Japan it was more than I could handle. We had just moved there and the weather was so gloomy, and I had jet lag, and we were so far from home. We found out we wouldn’t be getting a house and that we’d be in a 900 sq ft apartment instead. I was on the floor of the kitchenette in the Navy Lodge in Japan crying because I didn’t want to be there. When we went to see the apartment, I heard a family in the adjacent unit. So I bravely knocked on their door, and it was a family with a son the same age as ours. We got to be very close friends, and later she told me that she and her husband (a chaplain) had been praying for a family like ours to move in. It was really a big ‘aha’ moment for me. That we aren’t in control, and that there is a plan, and even when everything is so gloomy you have to give it up to God.”

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