August 19, 2010

the homefront

When I moved to Montana ten years ago, it took me a while to get up the gumption to make new friends. I'd left some amazing girls behind when we moved, and I must admit to having a bit of an extended pity party over the five hundred mile distance that now separated us.

As is always the case, the pity party bloom eventually came off the pity party rose, and when I finally gave myself a much needed kick in the pity party pants, Tamsen was one of the very first friends I made. She was funny and fun and had an extremely cool name, and even though she was the busiest mom I had ever met, we still found time to form a friendship. Eventually, her oldest and my youngest became buddies as well and along the way, her whole family has become very special to me.

On Friday, Tamsen's family will start a new chapter in their life. A chapter thousands of other American families are writing right along with them, but a challenging new chapter all the same.

Tomorrow, Tamsen's husband Chris leaves for a year long deployment to Afghanistan.

Chris, the soldier, is excited to go. Excited to do the valuable job he's been trained to do. Excited to serve his country.

Chris, the husband and father, will miss his family more and more as each day goes by. Tamsen has awesome family and friends behind her and will do a fine job holding down the homefront while Chris is gone, but there will certainly be difficult days along the way.

We thought it would be fun to do family pictures before Chris leaves. Just a little something for all of them to hold onto during the next year.

By the way, it was hilarious to watch both the building and the tearing down process of the family pyramid. Very entertaining, but quite painful for the participants - don't let their smiles fool you!

Dear Chris, Tamsen, Kayla, Emily, Zachary and Gracie,
You are a snapshot of all the wonderful families that have willingly offered their service to our country. I don't take lightly the sacrifices your family will make over this next year and I want you to know I appreciate it. I know are my friends, but I extend that thanks to all the American families I don't know that are walking in your same shoes. Families like yours are a huge part of what I love about my country.
And Chris, I want you to know I will be doing my part by keeping Tamsen company as she indulges in shopping and girls lunch out therapy to get her through this challenging time. That's just the kind of friend I am.


  1. This post touched my heart.

    You are doing the right thing... shopping and lunches. That's INDEED what friends are for.


  2. Oh how I loved this. May Heaven hold this family close and bless their lives. Women have such a huge capacity to nurture and tend to others' hearts. You are a fine example of that.

  3. I wish all the best to the husband is leaving in Feb for a year, and being "alone" with 2 little girls scares me half to death!

  4. As an AF wife who has had her hubby gone for 2 year remotes to Korea, many trips to Iraq and just getting him home again after his second "vacation" to Afghanistan. Thank your friends family for us. It takes so much to do that tour and it is mostly un-noticed by most. But not to us military folks. I have him in our prayers and her and the kids also.
    It is hard on the military member but maybe a bit more difficult on the ones left behind. It is hard to be on 24/7 with no down time. It is hard to answer the question- why does he have to go when so many of their friends dads do not.
    And it is hard to not have that person to just talk to.
    Be there for her- and by all means take her to many luncheons, shopping trips and whatever gets her through.

  5. Good luck and safe return to Chris... what a wonderful family portrait idea...

  6. ....and I cried with joy that Chris and many thousands more like him are keeping us safe....and with sadness that is has to be this way.

  7. God bless Chris and his family! God bless him for his volunteering to serve for our country!
    Now what a lovely family and your photos are beautiful!!
    Thank you for doing this and I enjoyed your story about meeting Tamsen!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  8. I can hardly type because I have tears in my eyes! Thank you to Chris and his family for serving us all! May God's protection surround him and bring him home safely. Lord give him peace that you will watch over his family and I pray for strength for Tamsen and the kids to endure this temporary separation and all that it will involve.

    Thanks for sharing their story and yours!

  9. How can I not be moved by this families sacrifice. My gratitude has no bounds, and a simple "thank you" could never be enough. Chris~I pray for your protection, wisdom and strengthened faith as you face greater obstacles than I could ever imagine. Tamsen & your beautiful children ~ I pray for courage, peace and confidence knowing that the hand of God is on your father and all of you as well.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful family with the rest of us!

  10. the first photo made me cry...what a perfect example of how it REALLY is..the soldier going out to fight while his family bravely supports him at home! Thank you to Tamsen, Chris and their family for protecting our freedom!

  11. Ben - that first photo got me right in my gut. Speaks volumes. Love it. Love all the photos. Heartfelt thanks to the whole family for their sacrifice. Will keep them in my prayers. Keep that girl busy. Bring her to Indiana with you. : < >

  12. You are a good friend T! I want to thank Chris and his family from the bottom of my heart. Someone who doesn't live the sacrifice every day could never understand, so I don't pretend to. I admire them all for their sacrifices though. My favorite brother-in-law leaves soon for a 6 month tour.

  13. Just beautiful, Benj. I am increasingly humbled and wowed by the sacrifice our troops make for ME.

    You captured this family so well and any gal who has you as a friend is a lucky one, indeed.

    USA!! USA!!

  14. This is quite a tribute to my Brother and family! I'm writing from Beaverton, Oregon as I was told about this website through our sister, Kelli! Beautiful pictures and such deserving words! I want to thank the person who put this together - very well done!......."Be safe, Chris!!!"

  15. Oh, Teresa, you are so very sweet to capture these moments (awesome pics!)...a HUGE thank you to Chris for his services and for the sacrifices this family makes...truly, thank you.

  16. Thank you Teresa for sharing your friends with us. Our love, prayers and good thoughts will be with their family and the other families that are sacraficing for all of us. A BIG THANK YOU to all of the service members and their families.

    Always, Teresa T.

  17. Teresa,
    Thank you for
    this moving
    tribute to a
    humble warrior
    and his beautiful
    family. When we
    talk about our
    troops, THIS is
    what we are speaking
    of: individuals
    who have volunteered
    to protect us and
    our freedoms....and
    the many people who
    are connected to them.
    Gorgeous pictures and
    God bless Chris and
    his family has they
    embark on this new
    xx Suzanne

  18. Oh my what a beautiful tribute. ANd what a beautiful family. Chris (my son's name too) is a real hero. May God watch over him and his family. We owe them the biggest thanks! And thank you for your post.
    My son has chosen to leave grad school and enlist. He feels the same way Chris does. Great men!!!! God bless them all!

  19. what wonderful post and tribute - and as always, wonderful photographs!

  20. I will keep their family in my prayers, as I do all military families. My son in law has done two tours in Afghanistan, and selfishly, I pray he does not have to go back. God bless them all.

  21. Teresa those pictures are fantastic..but that first one is a treasure!!

    THANK YOU to all of the service members and their families. I will keep them in my prayers.

  22. Thank you for this wonderful post! What a blessing Chris and his family are to our country!


  23. You are an extraordinary photographer! And thank you to Chris and family for your sacrifice and caring. Please be safe.

  24. What a wonderful day this had to be for this family! I will keep them all in my prayers and Chris, thank you from the bottom of my heart for protecting me and my family! God Speed!

  25. You will all be in my prayers. I understand all too well. My husband is a retired Marine who served in the first Gulf War. Our only son is a Marine and is scheduled to leave for Afghanistan in April for 13 months.

    God go with you, soldier.

  26. Absolutely Fantastic Memorable family photos; such a treasure. It gave me the idea to gift my son with photos of his family to take with him when he deploys in December. Looking at pictures of loved ones warms the heart. What a powerful journey your family will travel together yet apart. Stay strong and content in your love for each other. Bless you