I'm still here :)
By jhamilton75
1/11/2010 9:29:53 AM
Hi everyone. It's been a while since I've posted and I thought it'd be good to let you all know I'm still here, still doing okay. I've been reading everyone else's blog posts. I really appreciate everyone sharing their struggles and successes. It helps so much to know that there are others out there going through the same thing.

Work here in Iraq has been busi(er) but not unbearable. Some of my co-workers (other soldiers on my team) are still difficult to deal with, but I'm trying not to let it get to me, too much.

What I've found helps:
- Going to church. There's a great group of LDS guys here, so we do weekly services. There's always a million excuses not to go, but I've been making myself get there every week, and it helps.
- Scripture reading. 'Nuff said.
- Prayer.
- My wonderful wife and children. The phone calls, letters, e-mails, pictures, etc. really keep me going. I'm so blessed to have such a caring, patient, and loving wife.
- Exercise. I ran 7 miles today (yes, running laps around the FOB is boring, but it beats sitting in front of the computer).

What doesn't help:
- Hanging around with "negative" people. Some of the soldiers I work with just want to sit around and gripe. And complain. And gripe some more. I don't hate them, and I'm trying to love them as Jesus would. But it doesn't mean I have to spend my free time with them.
- Focusing on what I can't control. I can't control that I'm not with my wife and kids. I can't change that I've missed my daughters' birthday (twins, BTW) two years in a row. I can't teleport myself not to be in Iraq. And I certainly can't make other soldiers not act like #$#%!'s. And stressing about that doesn't change anything.
- Avoiding temptation in all forms. It's not just about not looking at porn, it's also about avoiding the magazine aisle in the PX and avoiding my teammates' incessant discussions about sex. Staying clean isn't easy, but it'll be worth it.

I haven't been entirely successful on this last point, but I'm trying. It's important to remember that Heavenly Father and Jesus still love me despite my flaws. As imperfect as I am, they still want me. And if I'm good enough for them I'm good enough for me.

Best wishes to everyone,


Thank You    
"J, thank you for serving your country -- your sacrifice is appreciated.

It sounds you are fighting an internal battle too, and that is perhaps even more important for yourself and your family. Hang in there and stay strong, find others who will build you up instead of tearing you down. As you said, it's worth it!"
posted at 12:33:32 on January 11, 2010 by finallyfree
Keep up the great work!    
"It sounds to me like you're doing better now than you were when you first got back to Iraq. Maybe you're just getting used to it, or maybe the Lord is blessing you for being obedient. I guess it could be a little of both. Either way, you inspire me to complain less about my life and to be grateful for what I have.

We're all so proud of you for your service. You're a great example."
posted at 23:27:48 on January 11, 2010 by ETTE
"Those are great tips, just as applicable for us as they are for you.

I just want to say that I think you're amazing. With your current situation your degree of difficulty for keeping clean is raised significantly. Yet you're still trying. The vast majority of men in your situation don't even try. I have the utmost respect for you. Thanks for fighting the good fight, both in Iraq and in your heart."
posted at 10:31:32 on January 12, 2010 by Iwillnot
"One more thing I wanted to add. With your situation the Lord will grant you a little extra help as long as you are always willing to try. An extra boost of heavenly assistance that someone in less challenging circumstances may not see. I know He will."
posted at 10:50:01 on January 12, 2010 by Iwillnot
"Thanks for all the encouragement, guys. It's really great. It helps so much to know that there are other people with the same challenges and, importantly, the same values.
And, being honest, I don't stress too much about the physical dangers here. Yes, there are dangers, but the real stresses are the spiritual dangers. And every one of you out there is facing the same thing every day. So keep up the good fight and stay "safe", all of you.

posted at 11:24:04 on January 12, 2010 by jhamilton75

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"I need not define your specific problem to help you overcome it. It doesn’t matter what it is. If it violates the commandments of the Lord, it comes from Satan, and the Lord can overcome all of Satan’s influence through your application of righteous principles. Please understand that the way back is not as hard as it seems to you now. Satan wants you to think that it is impossible. That is not true. The Savior gave His life so that you can completely overcome the challenges you face. "

— Richard G. Scott

General Conference May 1990