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My daughter is following her parent’s footsteps by joining the Air Force and is in basic training as I write. Of course, this stirs up some emotions in me, some good, some not so good. Although my husband and I were active duty, she will be in the reserves, but basic training is the same. So, I know what she is going through right now.
It ain’t pretty.
I’m feeling for her, I miss her and it’s killing me to not be able to contact her. And, it brings back those old feelings I had when I was in basic. But it also has made me look back at all of the good it did me.
To be quite honest, I don’t know if I would’ve returned to my roots on the farm if it hadn’t been for the military. I went to college for two years and realized it wasn’t for me at the time. Since my dad was in the Air Force, I decided to give it a try. No one pushed me to join, I was ready. Ready to take on a challenge that I just might be good at.
Here is what it got me:
1. A new appreciation for my family and living on a small farm all my life. I realized how foreign farm life is to some, which made me miss it even more.
2. Through difficult trials in the military, I had to grow up and learn to find my worth in Christ alone, not in man or in what I do(still a working progress). I learned to stay the course, to never give up.
3. My work ethic became stronger and my job as a medic gave me challenging opportunities.
4. I realized that a part of who I am is someone who likes to take physical challenges. I ran the Air Force full marathon, loved the yearly Combat Medical Readiness Training and played basketball on the base teams and three on three tournaments.
5. I learned to respect authority, but I also learned to be courageous and speak up when there is an injustice. I actually got a colonel fired, long story.
6. I have a new-found appreciation for veterans and love to hear their experiences, especially WWII veterans and older generations.
You might be wondering how all of this has helped prepare me for life on a farm. I lived on a small farm all of my life until I joined the Air Force, so the seed was planted before I left. Who knows what would’ve happened if I got my degree. I could’ve been a career woman, living in the city or a neighborhood with a huge house and tiny yard.
But here I am.
Let’s take a look at that list again in order, but this time, let’s look at it in regards to how it prepared me for the homestead:
1. I love this farm and truly appreciate it! I am so thankful my dad planted a seed in me to raise our own meat and grow a big garden, but I am also thankful that being in the Air Force made me realize how truly special this life is.
2. There are many trials on the homestead. By going through some tough times in the military, I know God has strengthened me to be able to tackle the hard times and struggles here on the farm. I have been taught perseverance.
3. Better work ethic is a must on the homestead. No laziness here! Plus, being a medic and EMT in the military has helped in many ways with animal care.
4. I thrive on physical challenges at times. If I get my mind geared up for a challenge on the homestead, boy, look out because there is no stopping me!
5. I respect the government, but I also know that they can overreach into our rights as farmers and homesteaders. The military has taught me to be brave. I have stood up to that overreach and will do so again if the opportunity arises.
6. I love and respect the older generation. Many have helped keep us free and they have so much wisdom. Because of my new-found appreciation of this older generation since being in the military, I have learned a good bit from old folks about simple living and homesteading.
When I sing the national anthem, I can’t help but get a lump in my throat. Sometimes I feel the same way when I look at our farm. I am free, and I’d like to keep it that way.