Happy Saturday to all you beautiful people! The sun is shining this morning and I'm so excited for the weekend to get some stuff done. My little man is with Mooma and Papo's this weekend while the hubs and I stay at home and get lots of outside (weather willing) work done. Have you ever had those projects that seem to progress in taking way longer than you would have ever thought? Well, anyways, I'm so excited to introduce you to our guest for our monthly "Cooped Up Confessions." This beautiful gal's name is Danielle!
Danielle and I have known each other since high school when we first met at the barn in Eaton where they had Cowboy Church. I always remember Danielle as that tough and gorgeous cowgirl. She always was fun and bright but at the same time could kick your butt if you needed to shape up. After a few years in between there we both ended back up at the Cowboy Church where we grew our friendship and really got to know each other more.
Danielle grew up in Loveland, Colorado with her mom and sister in a two bedroom, one bathroom duplex. As she states it, "privacy was few and far between, but we all were very close with each other and living in that smaller home brought us to a new level of closeness." Although it was only her mom and her sister at home, they did have quite the large outside family. Their large family would attend Catholic Mass together where Danielle remembers getting to hear her grandpa sing as she told us he had one of the "best voices." This was a bond between a grandpa and a girl that was strong. Once Danielle got into high school she never wanted to go to church anymore because it felt "repetitive" and she didn't enjoy it anymore. She tells us this story about this one Saturday night and how it changed everything. Danielle was at a party, "I remember like it was yesterday," and while she was intoxicated she struck up a conversation with a guy she had never met before. If you knew Danielle, you would know she has such a bubbly personality and can just about talk to anyone! This gentleman started telling Danielle about Cowboy Church and much to her surprise and her current state of mind, it didn't seem to faze him in talking about God and how amazing this church was. The next day Danielle was discussing her conversation with this young man with her family and the following weekend they went to the Cowboy Church and fell in love with it. Danielle and her family found themselves sitting in a chair, in the dirt, surrounded by people that were of the same norm, jeans and cowboy boots. Their family knew at this point, this is where they were supposed to be! Danielle began to attend church regularly and started having lots of questions about God and wondered if she really needed to be coming to church. She says that one night she was reading her Bible asking God to give her a sign if this church was where He wanted her to be. It was then, that following Sunday, that she was hungover sitting in her chair, in the dirt near the back row trying to hide her shame and the Pastor started reading the exact same verse that she was reading when she had asked God for some kind of sign. Danielle says her heart jumped into her throat and she felt like God had just given her a good slap to the face, that she obviously needed this! This moment made a milestone for Danielle in getting to really know the Lord, to get more involved in church and make long, lasting friendships with some amazing people (she mentions me… your so sweet Danielle, truly!!!.)
Cooped Up: How did you first meet your husband and was he already in the military?
Danielle: I was introduced to Clark by my sister, she was going on a date with his roommate and asked me to come with her for a double date. We all went to Red Robin and I remember that he had no interest in me. I honestly only went for the food and to keep my sister company! We eventually became friends and he made the decision to sign up to join the Navy in which we kept in touch while he was at boot camp and when he returned home after 9 weeks away. We were inseparable for his 2 week break at home before he reported to his duty station in Virginia. Six short months and lots of time back and fourth from Colorado to Virginia he asked me to marry him and 2 days later we went to the court house and made it official.
Cooped Up: We've always heard that rumor about woman being attracted to a "man in uniform," did that apply to your attraction to him? I knew Clark before he decided to join the Navy but I’m extremely proud of him for making the decision to join. The uniform is just a bonus, he always looks very attractive in any of them so I guess you could say yes, it does appeal to me.
Cooped Up: How many times have you moved since you have been married to Clark while he has been serving? What are the positives and negatives of having to move?
Danielle: I moved from Colorado to Virginia in 2009. Clark and I have lived in two different states (Virginia and Maryland) and have moved a total of five times. The positives about moving to a new area is being able to experience different culture, granted we have never lived outside of the States but it was a huge culture shock for me to move from northern Colorado to Hampton, Virginia. The negatives of relocating would be not knowing anyone or what’s in the area.
Cooped Up: Where did you find your faith through it all? Did you struggle when he was gone or how did you pass time, ect? Any advice to other military wives?
Danielle: The best advice I feel I could give to another military wife is to stay busy. Having your spouse being gone is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby…or five. When Clark was gone on his first deployment I was fortunate enough to live at home in Wellington, CO where I had my family, friends, and my church to keep me going. When Clark went to fire school for 3 months I was not as lucky. If I was not at work I was usually alone and to be honest it was difficult the first month to adjust.
Cooped Up: You have always loved barrel racing, are you still able to do that up there on the east coast and how is it different than western culture here in Colorado?
Danielle: In Virginia it’s more dressage than timed events. I was not able to race when we lived there but I think my horse, Jet, enjoyed the break. I was able to get in with a barn here in Maryland that does roping and has barrels for me to practice. Our first open 4D after a 3+ year break we ended up 1st in the 2D. The barrel races are a LOT smaller here than back home but I’m not complaining because at least I get to do it.
Cooped Up: You are very involved with CrossFit now, what attracted you to that and where do you want to go with it or what are your goals? Does Clark participate too?
Danielle: Clark was actually the one that got me into CrossFit when he went to Texas for a training he joined a box! (CrossFit centers are not called gyms, they are called “boxes") . They literally are just warehouses that contain bars, weights, and ropes. This means no TVs, no mirrors, and no cute posters. A box opened up about 5 minutes from my house and I have been going ever since. I think the best part of CrossFit is the community. Everyone cheers everyone on and the person that finishes last always gets the loudest cheers.
My main goal is to get a muscle up but it’s fun to achieve things along the way. I have never taken it too seriously unless I’m in a competition then I go all out because I want to win! With Clark's schedule, he unfortunately is not able to come to the box with me but he is able to continue doing WOD’s (workout of the day) in his free time at work.
Cooped Up: How long will Clark be serving and where do you see yourselves in the next 5 years?
Danielle: Clark plans to retire from the Navy at around 21 years of service; so far he has been in for 8 years. Because there is so much uncertainty with both of our careers I have no way to know where we will be 5 years from now. Although, on one hand it’s exciting because you don’t know where the Navy will take us next, but on the other hand you are not able to settle in anywhere. It’s unfortunate when we get to a place you like and make friends it definitely makes it harder to move away.
Cooped Up: Do you have any stories that you'd like to share about being a militant wife whether it be funny, scary, crazy ect? Danielle: One thing I will always remember is when Clark came home from his first deployment. He had been away for 8 months so my friend Heather and I loaded up in Clark’s mustang and drove from Colorado to Virginia to welcome him home. It was such a memorable experience watching the ship pull into port with the entire flight deck lined with the people he was deployed with in there dress whites. Everyone was cheering, holding signs, flowers and American flags as they were pulling in. Just being able to see the raw emotion of family’s reuniting with their loved ones was truly an amazing experience.
Cooped Up: Taya Kyle in her husbands book, American Sniper, mentioned that she'd have to get to know Chris all over again when he'd return from deployment. Have you & Clark experienced that?
Danielle: Absolutely! When he came back from his first deployment he was different. Clark became very distant and quiet, almost like he didn’t know what to do with me being around and wanting to show him affection. After a few days he was not completely back to what I considered to be "normal," but he was able to eventually adjust. The roles reversed when he left for 3 months to go to Texas for fire school where I became extremely comfortable and use to being alone that when he came back it was me that didn’t know how to react to him being in what had become “my space." It’s never easy to readjust to each other and I know that when he goes back to sea duty we will need to figure it out all over again. With that being said when your spouse returns from deployment they need a person that knows what they need to get acclimated upon return, they don’t need you crying about how lonely you were when they were gone or how hard it was for you. Deployments are harder on them and a majority of the time they are not going to tell you a lot of what is happening because they don’t want you to worry while they are gone. It’s a slow process and you can’t push, they are doing the best they can & you just need to be a support system.
Cooped Up: Share with us what a typical day is for you!
Danielle: My Day usually starts at 5am as we have 2 dogs Wrangler & Gauge. Wrangler usually wakes up with me but then we need to wake Gauge up because he is not a "morning dog" by any means. Then, I’m able to start getting ready for work, walk the dogs, then off to work I go. I’m a Sr. Scheduler for Lockheed Martin, so my day is usually filled with multiple meetings and I never really having a moment to relax. Once off work (if Clark is not on duty) I head to the box to get my workout in usually doing the WOD then fit in some strength work and exercising my social skills of course. Then finally, I’m able to go home where if Clark is home, he usually has dinner ready so I can eat, clean-up and spend the rest of my night with my 2 fur babies and my husband. So short hand, it’s nonstop.
I just want to tell Danielle a big THANK YOU!!! I SO admire you as a person, a friend, a sister in Christ and as an AMAZING WIFE! I am so glad that you got to share a part of your life with us and so many others. I pray that God blesses you in all things, that His hand would bring a refreshing rain to you and your family and that His love would surround you and grow you stronger in Him! You are beautiful and you rock!
Take a look at some of these extra pics of Danielle!
These pictures explain who this gal is. She's got a little of everything being country, a sharp shooter, fit, and has a girly flair to her! I personally love the second and fourth picture here because it show her bubbly personality coming out, which I love about her!
These last pictures are from the last time Danielle was out here in Colorado. We got to enjoy a day of being glammed up by the awesome, Megan Holdren of Livewire Clothing and do a photo shoot! It was such a fun day to just be us!
And yes that's Kody while he was trying to fix his car, we thought it'd be a funny picture! It makes me laugh!
Till next time,
XOXO Cooped Up Cowboys Wife Kirste