Pepper’s Bookshelf • 1/30

One of the goals on my 30 for 30 List is to read 30 books this year. I just finished the first one for this year and it was one of the most helpful books I’ve read in a while! If you are an officer in LawEmotionalSurvivalforLawEnforcementBook Enforcement, a spouse of an officer, fiancé, family, or friend of some one who serves in Law Enforcement, Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement by Kevin M. Gilmartin was written for you. It goes beyond the day to day tasks of the law enforcement life and digs deeper to reveal the emotional side and side effects of the job.

I highly recommend this book to new officers and their spouses! While officers are put through rigorous training in order to serve and protect their communities effectively, there are few officers and far fewer spouses and families that are prepared for the emotional side effects of the job. A career in law enforcement is extremely different from the many stereotypical 9 to 5 jobs out there. The long and odd work hours, missed holidays with loved ones, having to face tragedy and lawlessness on a daily basis, along with the necessity of having to wear a bullet proof vest everyday has a profound mental, emotional, and physical impact on the officer themselves, but it also has an impact on their families. As a spouse, this book helped me understand my husband’s world better and how it impacts our family. It also helped me learn how to view the impact with a healthy mindset.

Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement offers practical ways to not get consumed with the job (or letting the job consume you), how to provide balance between the on duty hyper-vigilience and off duty zoning out, ways to take control of your off duty time, tips to maintaining your personal identity, cues to fight isolation and cynicism, staying connected with loved ones along with so many more practical tools to stay emotionally strong in the world of law enforcement!

Overall, learning to bring balance to your life and perspective, learning where the stresses and impacts are coming from, and choosing to take control of your personal time off duty were the points that stood out most to me. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

PeppersBookShelf

To My Neighbor With Blue Porch Lights

Dear neighbor,

I don’t know you…yet. But you made my day when I came home last night and drove past your house. You don’t know what your simple gesture of having a blue light outside your home means to me. It may seem strange to the average person, it may be hard to see your keys to get into your front door at night, you may even have a different reason for choosing blue, but to me, it’s huge!

In light of current events and numerous stories 2014-07-11 14.02.42in the media featuring stories on law enforcement, both negative and positive, it’s clear that there has been a change in some people’s view of the law and those who defend it. These stories are more than just news stories to me. The people protesting on TV and social media are more than just a group of people who seem angry or hateful. The indifference and silence I hear from many around me who say and do nothing, even though I know they believe in good, is deafening. The number of officers who have died in the line of duty is rising, not to mention the impact that loss has on the families connected to each officer. It breaks my heart and wears me down daily as I tell my husband to “be careful” and “I love you,” as he goes on shift, praying for him and his fellow officers to come home safe each night. These men and women see everyone’s worst day as their everyday.  It’s not just news, it’s personal. It’s lonely. It often feels as though we, in the law enforcement community and family, are alone.

BluePorchlightSo your light is incredibly encouraging. It means that I’m not alone in supporting my husband. It means that someone else is proclaiming to the world that they appreciate the sacrifices he makes everyday to serve and protect his community. It tells me that you believe in good and you won’t stand for hate. It tells me that you’ve stepped up to speak out from the silent majority. It tells me that you care. It’s hope. And that means the world to me!

So, thank you. It may seem a strange choice to some. It probably cost you an extra trip to the hardware store and a few dollars. It may seem small in general. You may even have been trying to save energy. Whatever your initial reason, you have no idea how much you’ve blessed and encouraged me.

Thank you so much!

-Your neighbor
a police wife

#SeaOfBlueRibbonCampaign #StepOutInBlue #BlueLivesMatter
#AllLivesMatter #SupportOurPolice #LEOWLife

The Resolution We Kept

With it being January and everyone still making, talking about, or working on their resolutions, I thought I’d share one resolution that I made last year that actually stuck.

This time last year, I was working outside the home full time as a graphic designer for a large arts and crafts company, with an hour commute every morning and evening, 8:30-5:00, five days a week. My husband was going to school part time for his degree and working four 10-hour shifts a week as a police officer. Mind you, he works the evening shift, so he was getting home at 1:30am-ish every night and sleeping in until 10:00am, unless he had class at 8:00am. Our weekends didn’t match up, (mine was Saturday and Sunday, while his were Monday through Wednesday) so we were like ships passing in the night and hardly saw each other. We would mostly see each other asleep or spend a few hours together on each other’s weekends before the other would head out to work. We were both exhausted and it was wearing us thin. Our communication, schedules, and budget seemed all out of whack. We finally decided to do something about it.

We decided to make a point to go on a date once a month, preferably within the first week of the month, to sit down together and go over the upcoming weeks. We tried this for one month, then two, then six, and I’m proud to say that we were able to meet for eleven months last year! We tried to meet in December, but it was just a bit crazy with the holidays.

Now, it’s a date that we look forward to and thankfully is a little easier to schedule, now that I’m home full time. I’m now on his sleep schedule and we see each other a lot more now, but we still look forward to sitting down and making a point to discuss the upcoming month.

PlanningDateWhen we meet, we both bring our planners or calendars. I bring notes on our finances and a laptop. If there’s anything else either of us want to talk about with the other, we bring that too. We will usually go to a coffee shop or some place where we can get some lunch or dinner and stay for a while. We look over our schedules and note any events, appointments, meetings, holidays, birthdays, etc. that may be coming up. We talk through our budget and savings goals so that we both are on the same page with our finances. I am our bookkeeper and manage our bill pay, but it’s important to both be aware of how our money is being spent and agree on mutual goals.

CoffeeShopOur dates also allow us some time away from the house and distractions to really enable us to focus together and talk about what’s going on or what we want to do in the upcoming months. Even though I’m home full time now, there are still so many tasks both at home and with our schedules that we can get busy and caught up in. It’s nice to take a break, relax, and focus together. We still plan on having these monthly planning dates this year!

Since last year, a lot has changed and thankfully we are no longer ships in the night. But we still value making time to spend with one another and work through life together. Our dates have not only helped us get on the same page schedule-wise, but have helped our marriage stay strong. We’re not perfect by any means. This past year has brought a lot of change into our lives and has given us a few bumps in the road. However, by dedicating some time to talk and work together, we are able to take on the curves and bumps in the road a little easier.

What are your favorite things to plan with your spouse?