When we moved from our house in town to our house 20 minutes from town, my husband and I started a list of all of the out-of-ordinary animals we saw (or evidence of them) around our property.IMG_0846

  • Muskrat
  • Snapping turtle (we named him Franklin and he lived in our pond until the flood)


  • Deer


  • Owls
  • Hawks
  • Eagles
  • Wild Turkey


  • Rats (So. Many. Rats. I HATE rats)
  • Mice
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Elk


  • Bull Snakes
  • Garden Snakes
  • Brown Bear (it knocked over our garbage can and stole bags of garbage one night, then knocked over our grill another)
  • Mountain lion (scat all over by our pond)
  • Rattle Snakes


  • Bobcat (Howard, our dog, treed it and we watched it hiss at him for an hour)
  • Desert centipede


  • Raccoon
  • Skunk
  • Milk Snake (in our house!)


I had no idea what a city girl I was until I came face-to-face with my first rattle snake. Not to mention the rats, the mountain lions, the bears…Early on I realized that life would be different from here on out, and I had to raise my children accordingly. After we moved in, my husband and I set up the “buddy” system. The kids always had to have a buddy at all times when they were out exploring. I found myself constantly saying, “Where’s your buddy? Find your buddy! Don’t leave your buddy alone!” and the boys would run off, rolling their eyes. We found quickly that when we said “buddy” it didn’t have the right ring to it. For three rough-and-tumble boys, “Buddy” sounded far too sissy. But wingmen, now that was something little boys could get excited about. That night we found a really great you tube video of two fighter jets flying side-by-side, and we sat our boys down. We taught them about wingmen and told them of the grave responsibility they had for each other. A wingman never leaves his partner’s side. They help each other, they protect each other, and they warn each other of impending danger. They had graduated from “buddies” to “wingmen,” and it wasn’t a term to use lightly. They had a responsibility as brothers to stick by each other and protect each other, no matter what, no matter where. And it worked. I’m thankful for three boys that stick together, play together, and help each other out. Three wingmen flying side-by-side.


This month I’ve been thinking about the “wingmen” I’ve had over the years in my life. Those that have flown beside me, who have helped me, and who have stuck with me no matter what. My amazing parents, my awesome sister, grandparents, in-laws, teachers, professors, friends, my husband…Those people that have flown by me both when the skies were clear and when the storms arose or bullets flew. More than anything, I’m thankful for a Father in Heaven who flies next to me, guides me, and lifts me up. The ultimate wingman.

This is a month of giving thanks, a month when we think about the amazing blessings we have in our lives. I imagine the things that we hold most dear and cherish more than ever this month are not things at all. They are the wingmen who have been at our side. Sometimes I think about those I love who have passed on. I think about the life they led and the life they left behind. I will always remember many years ago sitting in my grandma’s little living room after her funeral with cousins, aunts and uncles all around. Pictures were strewn across the floor. Pictures of old friends, new friends, family, and those she loved. Album after album of those that flew by her throughout her life. She left this life with very little worldly possessions. And that didn’t matter to any of us. She left behind so many with memories of her love and her influence. She flew by their side, and they flew by hers.

I’m so thankful for the wingmen in my life. Those that flew by me for only a short time, and those that continue to be there. This Thanksgiving let’s remember that our greatest blessings of all are those soaring through the winds of life by our side.

10 Comments on “Wingmen

  1. Welcome to country livin’. 🙂 Except when there is a snake in the house. Then all welcomes are off. Wishing your family a warm and Happy Thanksgiving!


    • It certainly is an adventure! Snakes in the house though, I admit I was almost tempted to pack up and move back in town. 🙂 Warm wishes to you as well, Eric! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


  2. The desert centipede would have been the end of me! But I like this term Wingmen……I have indeed had a very wide variety of wingmen by my side along this road of mine……I had another name for them….angels! (Probably also too sissified for your boys, but just fine for this girl!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • That was the grossest creature I have ever seen. It was SO big! But I hear over there whith the humidity you get pretty big creepy crawly things, is that true? Yes, Angels is certainly a word that describes my “wingmen” as well! In fact, I’d choose to call them Angels over wingmen myself, because that really is what they are. 🙂


  3. Oh my, Chelsi, you are a brave woman!! Seriously, I cannot believe all you have seen! I’m so scared of rattle snakes, I get scared thinking about coming across one. You amaze me! I love what you wrote here. There really is no greater gift than to have people who stick by us through the hard times. For me that has been my family and my Heavenly Father. Unfortunately it seems that even my best friends have left. But, it makes those wingmen who stay by even more special. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder to cherish and give thanks for the wonderful people in our life. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t feel all that brave most days! Rattlesnakes terrify me! Every time we’ve seen one (which is five total now) I’ve had nightmares for weeks following. I’m far more scared of them than bears…or mountain lions, but they come in a very close second. Have you seen 17 Miracles? Such incredible stories! The part where the girls are surrounded by hundreds of rattlesnakes had me in tears (well, the entire movie had me in tears). It’s hard to feel like wingmen that you thought would always be there have left. I certainly can relate to that as well! But family and Heavenly Father are the best there is. I don’t know how I could ever make it through without them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You are one brave girl! I don’t know how I would handle it! I also love that you have chosen wingman! After 8 years of being a Wingman, it is not something to take lightly. Your boys are lucky to have amazing parents and to learn what a Wingman at this age is Awesome!


    • Oh my goodness, Kristen! With all that you’ve seen, done and been through makes YOU brave. You always amaze me, hearing about all that you’ve done and continue to do. From serving in the military to running marathons, raising two adorable girls and missing another who is a sweet angel, living an ocean away from family, to advocating for so many great causes. That’s bravery. 🙂 I’m glad for the approval to use “wingmen” from someone who knows far better than I do what that means!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am a definite city girl. Although some of those on the list would be fun to see, the thought of seeing a rattle snake not at the zoo brings shivers down my spine!

    Such a great reminder! It actually made me think of you in my “blogging” life. You have been a constant wingman, with such support and encouragement.

    Happy thanksgiving and thank you for your friendship! 🙂


    • I totally agree, Sasha! You’ve been my wingman in the blogging world since I started, and I’ve been so thankful to have you with me along the way. It’s funny how just in writing we can make connections with people all around the world and develop friendships. Yours is one I’m so glad to have found. 🙂

      I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving as well! Thank so much for your sweet words!


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