Month: June 2016

There’s no place like home: a perfect frame of mind

Christmas in July. It’s about to happen. But first, a story:

Growing up in a large family (I’m the second of six children), every day was loud. That scene in Home Alone where the cousins are all together and no one can find who actually owns the house? That’s the perfect representation of Thanksgiving at my parents’. It’s the best kind of chaos. After college, I couldn’t wait to trade life in KC for a life in DC. I had big dreams of my own high rise condo overlooking the city, oversized sunglasses, high heels, and a fabulous life. Instead, I could barely afford to rent someone’s futon (which I did for five months), and kept all of my shoes in the trunk of my car, along with a plastic dresser I’d visit every morning before walking the few blocks back to that first floor apartment to change clothes (in the pantry no less, while my roommate was in the shower). My sunglasses, while large, were knock-offs I bought from a peddler in Georgetown. I was a hot mess, but I was sort-of living the dream. I never thought when I left home that would be it; I never imagined I wouldn’t somehow end up in Kansas. Rather, I thought I’d do the DC thing for a bit, someday get married and live next door to my older sister where our kids would run between our houses interchangeably. I someday (eight years ago) did get married, and both my sister and I did have kiddos, but instead of next door, we’re over 1000 miles apart. And instead of Kansas, we went to San Diego. And then Guam. And then the East Coast. Dorothy was right on two fronts: we are definitely not in Kansas anymore, and there’s no place like home.

Nobody really knows what they’re getting into when they get married, and I certainly didn’t have any idea what to expect as a military spouse. As a couple, you expect some separation. Although they never get easy, you learn how to handle deployments. But one thing I never quite prepared for was how much I’d miss home. My siblings are all back in Kansas. That sister I planned to live next to? She’s a five minute drive from my parents. With my husband gone again, our house feels too quiet, all the time.

What does this have to do with Christmas in July? Everything. Fitz approached me about a promotional opportunity, and I was instantly interested. When I started writing the Deployment Diary two years ago, I was almost immediately approached to sponsor products, partner with businesses, and help sell things. But here’s the thing: I don’t want to peddle insurance for a company I don’t use. I’m not going to promote a bank I’ve never set foot in. In good faith I don’t feel like I should try to sell you on something I have no interest in buying myself. My primary focus as a writer has always been authenticity. I believe there is great value in vulnerability, and ultimately I want readers to connect with our family’s stories, whether it’s finding hope and encouragement in the difficult times, or discovering something as simple as camaraderie. That said, I have yet to sponsor a product. Until now. Because… I actually think this one is amazing. And, not only did they give me one to test-run, they gave me TEN MORE to GIVE AWAY.


To give away to military families.

I feel like Oprah.

So. Here’s the background on why you want one, and then the info of how to enter.

“Fitz was built to help connect loved ones and families and enable sharing, watching, and re-living memories in a modern and easy way. Fitz Frame is closing the distance between family members and loved ones with simplified, real-time photo sharing. With a WiFi enabled photo frame controlled entirely from a mobile device, you can send photos and videos to a Fitz photo frame from anywhere in the world, instantly.”

Fitz’s digital photo frames are different because of the connectedness they encourage. Anyone with an invitation to your frame (which you send out sooo easily from the free FitzFrame app) can upload pictures directly. When my husband pulls into port in a few days and has WiFi? He can upload a video message for the kids. I was making dinner the other night when a picture of my sister-in-law dancing with my dad at her wedding popped up. Those cousins I long to have running in our front door? Well, they’re scrolling across a screen in my kitchen instead, and my kids are ecstatic. You can have multiple users, from anywhere in the world, all uploading to your frame with the click of a button. It is MAGICAL, and truly the perfect gift for a military family to stay connected with one another, parents, siblings, and grandparents as well.

How to enter? Comment on this post with why your military family wants a Fitz frame by midnight eastern time on July 3. You’ll receive an extra entry if you share this post on Facebook, and another entry if you share on Twitter. Be sure to hashtag #FitzFrame Giveaway wherever you post it, and let me know in your comment that you did, so you’ll get all the credits you deserve! Winners will be selected in a drawing on 4th of July. And if you don’t win? Here’s another another reason to buy a Fitz frame: Fitz offers a 20% discount to all military families on their website:, with the code “MilitaryFam” at checkout.

There might not be any place but home, but a special thanks to Fitz for closing the distance!