FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- Military Spouse Appreciation Day' Really' I have to admit that I didn't know there was such an occasion. I tend to get a little lost in all of the observances, commemorations and holidays on our calendars now and missed this one.

But I'm glad I found it, because I want to show appreciation for some military spouses I know. I have been a military spouse for more than 13 years and while not every moment of that time has been easy, I am grateful for every moment.

I am immensely proud of my husband and his choice to live a life of service to our wonderful country. I am thrilled that I get to be by his side (most of the time) and serve with him. I am also extremely proud of those around us who have done the same. Being around Soldiers and family members is probably one of the greatest benefits I have found in our military life. I just love them.

Soldiers and spouses inspire me. Spouses like my friend who is pregnant with baby number eight and home-schools her children, but still finds time to host events in her home, invite every new Soldier over for dinner and as I just recently discovered, knows every word to Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice, Baby." I experience grace, fun and fellowship every time I am around her and her family.

Or my friend in the Washington, D.C., area whose husband is in his third deployment in five years. She's amazing and is teaching their two small children about faith, honor and laughter.

Another spouse and friend I met here has taught me so much about kindness, fun, leadership and what an inclusive social group should look like.

I also just learned about a group of spouses at Fort Wainwright who meet every month to share their culinary masterpieces. While theirs is not a formal organization, the themed supper club meetings have become a source of fun and entertainment for spouses who could complain about the weather or other issues, but instead find joy in celebrating each other and the good things in their lives. Now these are women I want to know.

I've met other women like them here; women who run, teach fitness classes, volunteer, work outside the home, care for children, care for other families' children, laugh, cry, bundle up and brave the cold, coat themselves in mosquito repellent and enjoy the warmth, love their Soldiers, and do their very best to be all they can be. I love being in this esteemed group. I love being a military spouse.

But to get here, I had to first love my country and love the Army, which I do. I can't help it; I tear up during the national anthem, love Army ceremonies and tradition and find myself racing my co-workers to the sign-up sheet every time a story involving Soldier training comes down for Alaska Post coverage.

It would be very difficult to enjoy this wonderful life that is so often full of challenges, unpredictable timelines and absences from my husband if I didn't feel this way and also understand why he loves being a Soldier. But I do. This understanding, respect and acceptance is what I also see in so many of the military spouses I admire.

So to all of you amazing, talented, strong, smart and capable military spouses out there, I commend you and your service and I am truly honored to be serving with you. Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!

This is a gift-giving occasion, right' I really can't keep them straight.