I’ll Be Seeing You by Gia Cooper

Twelve years ago I met a woman that quickly became one of my dearest friends… though we have never met face to face. We had so much in common including heartbreaking loss, fairy-tale love, history in the military, and a love of creating. Ten years ago she asked me to read a chapter of a book she was thinking about writing.

I did and I was thunderstruck. The depth, my instant emotional connection to the characters… I told her that I KNEW that someday this book would have a place of honor on my little bookshelf. That I would save a space, and I have.

And now it’s here! It’s published! I’ve bought my copy and can’t wait to have it in my hands… I must know, after 10 years, what happened to Pearl!!! Then, and only then, I’ll place this precious piece of literature and consequently a bit of the history of our friendship in the place of honor it’s always deserved.

Here is the book description:

I’ll Be Seeing You by Gia Cooper
“They joined the Army Nurse Corps hoping to find adventure in paradise. Instead, they found love and war on the battlefield. On the heels of their attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Army launches a campaign to overtake U.S. forces on the Philippine islands. Before the bombing raids, Rose and Pearl enjoyed dates with marines and sunny afternoons on the beach. But now, they’re prisoners of war fighting for their lives and the lives of their countrymen. This is their story. A story of the terror and courage that comes with war. A story of friendship, forgiveness and unconditional love. Can they stand courageously in the middle of a war-torn jungle? Will they discover redeeming love amidst the bloodshed? And most importantly, will they survive long enough to see American forces rescue them?”

Please consider buying one for your very own! (You never know… she might write another!) You can purchase your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Seeing-You-Gia-Cooper/dp/1530913551/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464539958&sr=1-1

51xmfrN2FTL

My husband has PTSD, so I’m teaching him to crochet.

It’s been forever since I last sat down to blog.  I’ve missed it, but life has been more for living these past years than for writing about it.  (Read that as, I’m keeping my head above water)

It’s been 4 years since Afghanistan.

HHP-80

Saying farewell for now.

I would like to tell you that I knew, right away, that something was not quite right.  That isn’t true.  There were moments of question, little doubts in the back of my mind, but almost from the moment he stepped off of the plane, life accelerated to light speed.

There were a flurry of emergencies back home in Arizona which resulted in several hurried trips… we didn’t even get reintegration leave.  There was one conversation in which I learned that some of his mental health markers had changed on his return but we were slated to move to Turkey in a matter of months and so it got signed off and pushed aside.  The move was stressful and fraught with theft and then separate travel.  The year in Turkey was dotted with him leaving the country for one sort of business or another, leaving Isaac and I there alone.  The political temperature of that part of the world changed and we were all on heightened alert.  My health problems became too severe to treat in Turkey, and I was sent home, with Isaac, while he returned to Turkey and then went on to another deployment.

934714_10201264417231444_1045524611_n

Saying goodbye again.

In the 22 months between Afghanistan and his return from Qatar and Turkey we lived under the same roof and in a normal home environment for 7 months.

_DSC0527

His final return from Turkey and Qatar in 2014.

 

On his return, there was a sudden death in the family, and his reaction shocked me.  My husband and I were preschool sweethearts.  There isn’t much about him that surprises me… we are old friends.  This reaction was the antithesis of his personality.  I can’t describe to you the horrible panic that settled in my stomach.  Suddenly my world was on it’s head and I knew, without a doubt, that something was horribly wrong, and that I should have seen it sooner.

That night, as we lay in bed in the guest room of my parents house, just two feet from the small bed of our sleeping son, we had a whispered conversation.  The things he told me rocked me to my core.  The things he’d seen, the horrors experienced, his difficulty connecting to his emotions, and how utterly lost he felt. I insisted that the moment we settled in Colorado he seek help.

It’s been two years.  The search for good mental healthcare has been extremely frustrating but he’s finally found a program, a plan that seems to be helping.

Two years of flashbacks, night terrors, walking as calmly as possible out of movie theaters, mediating between him and our son when his patience is gone and his fuse is short, conversations he can’t remember, appointments forgotten, and so many other things.

Two years and we FINALLY have a diagnoses.  My husband has Acute Narcotic/Trauma Induced PTSD.  He has been told that progress will happen but that he will never be whole.  He will never be the same.

Let me explain the Narcotic/Trauma induced. While in Afghanistan he had to take anti malaria medication.  He has a medical allergy that kept him from taking the normal medication so they gave him an alternate.  It is not the commonly used medication because in a certain percentage of people taking it the side effects include but are not limited to night terrors and psychotic breaks.  Unfortunately my husband fell within that percentage.  For the entire six months he was there he suffered horrible night terrors, waking dreams, and a few episodes that were scary.

Everything he remembers did happen, but then was reinforced night after night in horrible nightmares resulting in an severe emotional detachment.  The damage is done.

We will never be the same, those golden carefree days are behind us, we won’t be the fairy tale we once were.  And that’s okay.  We’ll work hard together.  For us. For our son.  We will be a Phoenix rising from ashes… in time.  The road before us is long and perilous.

229530_2102421559101_2169090_n

Our last photo shoot before Afghanistan.

I’ve bought him a very extensive planner so that appointments don’t go forgotten. We have code phrases for use in front of our kiddo so that he is not undermined but doesn’t do damage in turn. I’m teaching him how to crochet because it’s been found to actually heal brain damage.

DSC_0702

@Spin A Yarn 32

He’s learning to chain.  He doesn’t know if he’ll ever get any farther but he’s pretty proud of his nice even tension… it’s the little things.

DSC_0705

@Spin A Yarn 32

I’m so proud of him.  For talking to me, for seeking help, for making changes when he was resistant… I know that, in time, we will settle into a new normal and find our truly happy again.  We have a lifetime to find it.

 

1554597_10202923115017852_1018589621_n

All my love,
Courtney

P.S. If you or a loved one suffer from PTSD or any other mental health issue, please seek help.  There is so much available!

The stigma against mental health issues of all kinds is so damaging.  My husband is no less a man for self reporting, for asking for help remembering something, for seeking a therapy such as fiber arts to heal, for letting his wife share his story… is he? I believe it makes him a better man and one I greatly respect.

A Galaxy Far, Far Away

A Galaxy Far, Far Away

  DSC_0941

Thank you so much for your interest in my blanket! It was a labor of love and a joy to watch take shape. I hope, that if you choose to make one, you enjoy every moment of it and the joy it brings.

What you will need

Size G hook
Tapestry/yarn needle
Scissors
Worsted weight yarn I used 10 colors and it worked out to roughly 7oz of each color.  Now some of these are Vanna’s choice and they don’t come in 7oz so you’ll need two to get the amount. Also gauge and tension will affect it… so you might want to look through the blanket and add a little. For instance you have 4 navy squares, 4 light blue squares, 4 black squares… maybe get two of those. Unfortunately a lot of this was stash yarn for me so I’m guessing a bit at the amount. Maybe err on the side of caution on the bigger colors and use your scraps for something awesome like a Death Star pillow! 🙂 I hope that helps… sorry to be vague! I could just kick myself as this is the one thing I didn’t keep good track of through this process and of course the most asked question!

Colors I Used

Bernat Super Value in:
Hot Blue
True Gray
Peacock
I Love this Yarn in:
Navy
Graphite
Vanna’s Choice in:
Honey
Rust
Toffee
Fern
Olive
Mustard
Red Heart Super Saver in:
Gold
Cherry Red
Black
Red Heart With Love in:
Peacock

GRAPHS

Each graph, both those from the following site and my originals, are 30×30 squares done in single crochet. I personally carry my colors behind and drop them as I finish each section.

This set of five videos is a very good set of tutorials for graphing if you want to see it done.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoruVE2y6O2euOtKWhosQjwUOpTPcXCdA

First and foremost, I got some of the graphs I used from another talented designer. Here is the link to about half of the graphs used in this blanket:

From the following link I am using: Death Star, Stormtrooper, Y-wing, Old Rebublic Logo, R2-D2, Tie Fighter, Millinium Falcon, Boba Fet, Empire’s Insignia, C3P0, Scout Trooper, Rebel Insignia, Jengo Fett and the Incomplete Death Star.

http://www.angelfire.com/space2/swcharts/crochet.html

These are the square that I made with the above graphs.

chartsquares

Original Graphs

Without further ado… here are my own original graphs! Feel free to use them to make your own works of art! Colors are suggested based on a series that we all know and love but have fun with it! I would love to see what you make!

I’m pairing the 30×30 graphs with my pictures of the actual crocheted squares. In order to save and print these graphs, just right click and choose ‘save picture as’ then save and print! I personally print the graphs so that I can mark my lines with a pencil on completion.

AT-AT

1ATAT  DSC_0706

Three Lightsabers

13lightsaber DSC_0476

Crossed Lightsabers

1crossedsabres DSC_0733

Luke Lightsaber

1lukesololightsaber  DSC_0632

Sith Lightsaber

 13lightsaberdarthmaul DSC_0263

Darth Maul

1darthmaul DSC_0645

Darth Vader

1darthvader DSC_0499

Ewok

1ewok  DSC_0341

X-Wing

1x-wing  DSC_0545

Yoda

1yoda  DSC_0362

Jawa (Bonus I did not work this one up)

1jawa

When you have finished each square, tie off and weave in all of your ends. Mark what will be the front of your work.

BORDER FOR EACH SQUARE

Round 1: Using the main color for each square, join in any stitch with a standing single chain. Single chain in each stitch around with a third single chain in each corner. Join with a slip stitch to the top of your standing single chain.

Round 2: Chain 2 (or a standing half double chain) and work a half double crochet in each stitch around, working 3 hdc in each corner stitch. Join with a slip stitch to the top of your chain 2.

Round 3: Chain 3 (or a standing double chain) and front post double crochet in the next stitch. Back post double crochet in the next stitch. *around. Join with a slip stitch to the top of your chain 3.

Round 4: Chain 2 (or a standing half double chain) and half double crochet in each stitch around again working three hdc in each corner stitch. Finish off and weave in your ends.

JOINING METHOD

There are a thousand and one ways to join squares… I’ve tried quite a few of them and none work quite as perfectly as the Zipped Ladder Stitch. You can find the tutorial for this here:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/linda-davies-ravelry-store

BLANKET BORDER

Round 1: Work a row of single crochet around the entire edge of your blanket. In the joins between each square work a s2tg to ensure a nice smooth edge for your blanket.

http://www.crochetme.com/glossary/single-crochet-two-together-sc2tog.aspx Round 2: I delight in using the Giant Granny Patches Border to edge this blanket. I feel that it just sets the whole tone and brings all of the bold colors together. I start with Round 4 of the pattern and continue out until I’m happy with how it looks!

http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/grannie-patches-border-tutorial.html

A road I never thought to be on…

I’m sitting in the waiting room of an Army Post, waiting for Ryan to be done with his procedure.   He’s having a vasectomy today.  

Ten years of infertility and the many heartaches and emotions that go with that… All that is behind me, all that we walked through… and this is never a place I pictured myself.

But here we are.

It’s for all the right reasons, so that I can stay with my family and yet I mourn a little… who am I kidding?  This is devastating… and nobody understands why.

Courtney

image

Home again…

We all are… Ryan is home, safe and sound, and we have traveled to our new home in Colorado Springs.  It is so good to be together again… so good to be whole.  We got our house and get our household goods tomorrow.  I am so looking forward to settling in again.  I’ll be back when things slow down a bit… right now there is so much going on!
Image

Living!!!
Courtney