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Countdown to Homecoming (Month 1)

The dreaded "D" word. All military families know that "D" stands for a deployment approaching. Loved ones do not look forward to experiencing deployments as it means distance and separation. It means being without, it means fear of the unknown, and it means praying for the safety of their loved one.

Being a military spouse myself, I have done my fare share of deployments (Ten to be exact!).

I remember my first deployment and the build up of it approaching was unnerving.

We were doing a countdown to something that caused such anxiety and fear. I would ask myself "how am I going to be able to be without my husband for half of a year or more?"

"Why didn't he warn me about this when we were dating?" That's why my heart went out to Shelby when I met her. She told me that her boyfriend Cody was deploying and this is her first time experiencing something like this. Yikes!

Shelby met Cody through a mutual friend in September of 2013. They began talking online and texting each other. Cody at the time was stationed in Charleston, SC where Shelby was born and raised. Things were going well so they decided to finally meet up for their first date. Shelby and Cody met for dinner in downtown Charleston, then they walked and talked through the Memorial Waterfront Park, under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. They hit if off so well they continued to date. They had their first kiss in October that year at Calhoun's Mansion, it was so romantic!

Shelby decided to move to the Hampton Roads area when Cody found out he was being stationed aboard the USS GEORGE H. W. BUSH (CVN 77), an aircraft carrier home ported at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

All she knew in her heart is that she wanted to be with Cody.

To prepare her heart and her mind for this deployment, Shelby came up with the idea for the both of them to read a book together, "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, military edition, geared toward the struggles that many military couples face. They both have a copy and are reading each chapter together. When they get the opportunity to FaceTime each other they discuss all the things they are learning in the book. Shelby wears the bracelet Cody gave her as a gift before he left, she hugs the teddy bear tight and dreams of the day he will return home. She'll be proudly waiting on the pier for his return!

Shelby and I are partnering up to document the countdown of this deployment. Each month we will talk, take photos, and discuss the ups and downs of her experience. Please pray for those deployed, sacrificing their lives to protect our great country. Pray for their safe return home and to their families waiting for them.

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