Army Strong

April 2, 2012

12:24 A.M.

Today my little brother embarks on the beginning of a new life…a new Journey. I am beyond proud of him for becoming a man and not just any man.  He’s a soldier of the United States Army of America. Now he’s my soldier and protecting the lives of millions of Americans that I have never met before. I’m in awe of him and how he has embraced the challenges that life has dealt him—even some of them that were Josh-made. The one thing that separates the losers in life from the winners is how they handle adversity. You can choose to get beat down, say woe is me and wait for someone to drag you out of the valley that you fell into or you can cry, dust yourself and put on the boxing gloves ready to go toe to toe with life.

With that being said, it took my little brother a while—a while to realize that he needed to grow up. I remember him being a baby. I remember him being born. Both and he and my mother almost died when she was giving birth to him. I changed his diapers and fed him. I remember him wanting to wear cowboy boots like his father. I remember when my mother dropped him off at daycare and he wore those boots. He fell in the daycare and hit his head. He could have had a concussion and the incompetent daycare workers let him go to sleep and it infuriated me. But God is good. I remember walking him to class when he started school. He would start to cry when he knew I was about to leave so I would stay as long as I could. Then he grew up and he got into remote-controlled monster trucks that he would race in the middle of the street. He got into WWF on TV and for PlayStation along with Need for Speed. I remember one day my mother was cleaning up the house and under his bed she found a shoe box with holes in it. He had caught numerous lizards and he had put them in the shoe box with leaves for food and punched holes into the box. Needless to say, my mother unknowingly knocked over the box and let them loose. Can you say, OUCH?!  There is nothing like watching a movie in the living room in the dark and getting bit by one of those lizards that is now a full-blown komodo dragon because he feed them too much!!

Then he got older and he began to become his own person. The boy has a way with clippers that is unmatched and he’s a beast with giving a lining so it comes as no surprise that he even cuts the hair of his fellow Army comrades. Then he developed his own swag. Gucci Mane on full blast making me want to pull my hair out…why must the music be so damn loud?! He started rocking a goatee and paying attention to girls and he grew taller and taller until he began to tower over me…the big sister. I went to Phoenix in 2010 and had an epiphany. I could actually hold an intelligent conversation with my brother and he was on some real type ish. I actually watched him give grown man, Think Like a Lady, Act Like A Man type of advice to his older sister truly desiring for her to become a stronger woman for not only herself, but for her child as well. It was a proud moment.

My brother is not perfect, but he’s my brother…so…here’s my open letter to him.

Dear Joshua,

I’m so very proud of you. I know that we don’t always talk as much as we should, but when we do, we go hard. I pray for your happiness and that you discover wonderful things about yourself that you never knew was inside of you. So here are some things that I want you to keep in mind while you are away from home.

  1. Keep God first. Always remember to say your prayers when you wake up in the morning. Your knees should hit the floor before your feet. You should pray before you leave the base for anything. Anytime that you are in a vehicle pray for God and your guardian angels to place hedges of protection around you. Remember to also say your prayers before you go to sleep. Give thanks for God’s grace and mercy and for allowing you to live to see another day.
  2. Follow your instincts. If something tells you not to do something or to go somewhere, heed it.
  3. Believe in yourself. God gave you good sense and a sound mind. You can do whatever you put your mind to. You know that the family will be rooting for you.
  4. Association brings on assimilation.  Be careful who you let into your circle. If someone shows you that they cannot be trusted or does not genuinely have your best interests at heart, then pull out the tools and tighten up the circle. You are the company you keep and because you are in the military even more eyes are on you than normal.
  5. Everything is a test.
  6. Remember that you represent more than the military. You represent us as well. If you think that it will disappoint mama, try not to do it. You’re human so you will make mistakes and we will be there for you regardless of what the case may be.
  7. Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.
  8. Be leery of those who say that you can trust me. If I can trust you, you don’t have to tell me. I should already know.
  9. See through the temptress that will be in abundance over there. Married women in the military are the worst. Marriage isn’t sacred there, but it is grounds for a dishonorable discharge. Steer clear of those females that are off limits…those that you report to, etc. I don’t know all the rules, but I have a few decent guys that I am cool with that are in there. “Don’t come back with no baby. “
  10. Read the news. Just because you are in the military doesn’t mean that you will always know what is going on in the world.

As I write this, I cannot help but to get teary eyed realizing that in less than 24 hours you will be on a plane flying across the world to begin your new life for the next two years. I pray that God keeps you safe. If you need anything, do not hesitate to call, Skype, or write. I’m praying for you—always. I can’t wait to come visit you!!!!!!!!!! I’m so proud of you!

Love always,

Your big sister

God Bless Our Troops!

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10 thoughts on “Army Strong”

  1. I really almost cried reading this. He has grown into quite the man & I’m so very proud of all he has accomplished. As a family we have endured & still follow our dreams. When he comes back Journey will be 6 and Joi 3. Im so happy to know that he is happy & is doing things & seeing places ppl may never see. I love Josh & love u too Lt

  2. Wow!!! This was beautiful! I am glad he has a big sister like you. Best of luck to you and your little brother. Be blessed. Just as you will miss him….I will miss you!!

  3. way to be there for your Brother, by being there for your Brother you’re being there for all of the men and women serving in the Military. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us.

  4. When I first read this I cried. My daughter is a prolific writer, proud sister, and I love you very much. Your words hit home in many respects. I am sure Joshua will always remember your pearls of wisdom. When this was first posted I posted a comment at that time but it did not go through. I have been wanting to do another comment and now I am finally getting around to doing it. This morning I looked at the pics again and tears welled in my eyes knowing that Joshua should be on his way to Afghanistan this morning. He is in God’s hands now and I can only pray for his safer return, whole in body,mind and spirit. I love you all Mom

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