The high optempo lifestyle of the military community includes frequent moves, separation from loved ones, long hours, and deployments. These sacrifices have made pursuing my professional goals a challenge. However, despite not following the traditional academic route, I have gained a unique knowledge base and perspective as a milspouse. So, though I have faced setbacks, positive aspects of being an Army wife have outweighed the negative, bringing more meaning to my life and making the struggles worthwhile. The most valuable aspect of this lifestyle is being part of something bigger than myself and the friendships, hence my title, “Pepper and Bear.”
Pepper is a black lab mix and my friend, Nicki’s* dog, and Bear is my black German Shephard. Pepper and Bear are symbolic of my friendship with Nicki, who I have known since our first duty assignment in Vilseck Germany, as well as for all the people I have met along the way. My work is inspired by the places I have lived, people I have met, being a mother to three boys, and my role as an Army wife, while also reflecting my interests and academic background.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.