Saturday, September 24, 2011

The things kids say

For the past several years I have had the great joy of being greeted each morning with hugs and smiles offered by little tykes. My job has many benefits, but certainly, these small bits of affection are by far the greatest. I often wonder what career could be more wonderful; summers and holidays off, snow days, and all the hugs you could imagine. It's hard to believe a better career could exist. If one does, I'm all ears.

When I first started my job, my aunt had suggested I keep a journal of all the things the children said. I laughed at the idea and gave it little thought. Now, as I look towards a new chapter in my life, I wish I had. With stories such as the ones I will later share, I think I could have had a publishing deal and people around the world could've enjoyed a few laughs at our expense. Though some of the stories I'd share are worthy of a good chuckle, some would draw tears. The kind of tears that make you want to grab your children, squeeze them tight, and linger a little longer after turning out the light. One story in particular, continue to weigh on my heart.

Once, there was a young boy, full of energy and spunk. With a head full of moppy, blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes, this young child was the perfect image of a happy kid. And he was. And still is. His family, I've never met, but I'd like to.

His father, according to the young boy, "Doesn't kill the bad guys. He doesn't even shoot them." But, what he does is important and the sacrifice is great. His father "works on the aircrafts", he tells me with a shrug. As if, him being gone, is just as simple as me stopping by Starbucks every Friday. It's that very reason my heart aches. This young child, is as comfortable with his father being gone, as we are with our every day freedoms. And though I use the word comfortable often, it is only to describe my sweatpants and hoodies. And here he is, comfortable.

"Every night" he tells me, with a smile larger than life. "Every night he calls to tell me he loves me." He knows my husband also serves our country and he asks if I also get calls. I do, but not as frequently. (I want to be positive in this blog, but I also want to be honest. And the truth is, some days I'm actually human. Some days, I'm just a woman who misses being able to share everything, even the mundane. Some days, I want to come home to a card or a letter, even when I know they are practically impossible to receive at this point. And yes, selfish or not, I want this knowing he has little downtime and knowing that the time he does have, needs to be spent sleeping or planning. I know. I know and I still want it.) He hugs me and tells me his dad must love him more. I chuckle, ruffle his hair, and agree. His dad does love him, that's why he's there when he'd rather be here. It's why he misses holidays, birthdays, and the first day of school. It's why he calls every night. He loves his son. He loves our country. And the boy? He loves his father. Not the hero, not the man in uniform, but his father.

Years from now, I will remember these conversations. I will remember the young boy full of energy and spunk. I will remember our military families who are not just fighting for our freedoms, but fighting to show their children they love them more than anything in the world.

The things kids say...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It Just Takes Time

Spouses have a temendous potential and opportunitu to help one another, from simple acts of service, like preparing lunch, to great deeds of encouragement and support, such as helping a mate find the fortitude to leave a secure but unfulfilling job and start a new career.

God gives people various talents, skills, and abilities, which He wants us to use in service to others. Some of these are listed in the Bible as "spiritual gifts." They include serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, showing mercy, having wisdon and possessing faith. These are powerful tools, which the Lord has placed in our hands to help others- and that certainly includes our spouses.

Think of the many proficiencies people exercise- each of which could be used to assist a spouse. Some organize well; others have a good head for business; some are artistic and creative; others communicate well; some have wonderful social skills; others are gifted mechanics; some are fantastic homemakers; others have great physical strength, computer skills, financial aptitudes, mathematical talents, scientific acumen- the list goes on.

Take the time to get to know yourself and what you have to offer, and consider ways in which you could use your gifts to help the one you love.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2

**Taken from "Married for Life"

Friday, August 26, 2011

My mom has a button

There's a round button that sits in my mom's jewelry box. It looks tarnished and worn against her pearl earrings, something you can't help but notice when shuffling through the box full of jewelry. My fingers always find their way to the button, picking it up and turning it slowly. I close my eyes and I remember.

Dressed in my oversized orange t-shirt with the words, "I'm Bored!" across the front, I lie in front of the TV with my head resting in the palm of my hands. I kicked my legs back and forth, excited to be staying up late with my parents and sister. I looked at the TV, eyes wide, grin across my face, and felt happily content with my mom's decision to let us stay up past our normal bedtime.

I was disappointed, however, when my mom turned the channel from one sitcom after another and finally settled on CNN. The screen was mostly black, with certain objects highlighted in green, and anxious voices were quickly relaying one event after another. Glows of green would flash across the screen and you could hear the thunderous booms in the background. We were at war. I was 8.

Immediately questions raced through my mind and I tried hard to understand my mother's answers as she tried best to explain what it was her daughter was watching. I couldn't comprehend the war, but I understood my mom's tears that silently fell as we watched the rest of it in silence.

My mom later wore a button, round with the words "America Supports You" across a yellow ribbon. It was pinned just above her heart each day, becoming a staple item for her work suits and weekend casual wear. In our home, we talked about the war. We talked about our troops. We talked about death.

My family didn't know anyone in the war. We had no ties to military families. We weren't waiting for letters. We were just an American family, watching the war in the safety of our home, mesmerized by the glows of green on our TV. And my mom was proud. Proud of our troops and thankful for their service.

The button still sits in her jewelry box. A small reminder of the years of sacrifices our service members have made.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I've got a bucket, but no list...

Bucket lists are popping up everywhere these days. They're hanging on refrigerators, stuffed in purses, and checked off on blogs. It seems as though everyone has one and if they don't, they've at least considered it. But why?

I started thinking about bucket lists, what they mean and the value they hold, and I couldn't help but wonder if we're so consumed in the ending that we forget to live. Perhaps that's why the bucket list fascinates so many people; knowing the end will eventually come, you prepare by making expansive lists of things you'd like to do, places you'd like to see.

Perhaps it's just me, but lists make me cringe. (Maybe because I'm thinking of the one hanging on my fridge at the moment, detailing everything I must do before this house can be placed on the market.) They're like this evil force, staring me in the face, begging to be marked off and completed. When I think about my dying days, the last thing I'd want to think of is my incomplete list or the far-fetched, lofty ideas I never had a chance to chase. (That trip to Greece, probably never happening.)

So, instead of a bucket list, I'm contemplating just a bucket (and a few sticky notes). As I complete various tasks, visit different places, and enjoy new experiences, I could drop a sticky note in the bucket. At the end, at best, it would be full of things I probably never imagined doing (fixing my leaking toilet on my own-YES!). I could continue to live and as unexpected opportunities take place, log them, and then drop them in the bucket. There's no limitations and no scary list daring me to complete it.

Yes, I think I'll take that bucket... and that sticky note. I just made homemade key lime pie ice cream. Who saw that coming?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Words vs. Pictures

I have rewritten this blog post a hundred times. Though words seem to flow like a river, after reading them, they just don't seem like enough. The words are empty, meaningless. I don't write them to be that way, but they are. At least, that's how it feels.

It happens, not only here, but also at times when I write to my husband. I want him to know how much I love him, but it always seems that the words don't even come close to touching how I feel. They are vague at best.

So today, I am not going to write much. I will just let the pictures speak for themselves. Afterall, pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Deployment Dare

Thanks to the Web site, you don’t have to wait until your husband is home to try the love dare. The people at have adapted the book into 40 online chapters of a “Deployment Dare” — just for military couples during deployment. Suggestions are written for both the deployed member and the spouse at home, so either one can participate, as long as there is Internet access, but it’s not necessary for both to do it at the same time. It may be helpful to also have a copy of Love Dare, but not needed, so don’t let that stop you if you don’t have it!

If you're ready, then let's go! :) Together we will get through some of the most challenging days with the help of our Savior, our significant other, and each other. I'll post the "Deployment Dare" every TWO days to help with any difference in time zones or if your husband/wife has trouble communicating on a daily basis. So, this will take us 80 days to complete! I hope you'll join me!

Below you will see our first Day, with some comments. Please feel free to comment as well below the post. I'll add Day Two's tomorrow. :)

Operation Tank You
Click on the following link and read through Day One's Challenge.

How do you plan to show patience? Was there a piece of scripture that spoke to you? What are your thoughts on the relationship between patience and deployments?

Comment below and let's really show our support for one another. Afterall, we're all in this together.

Lois Arbogast- Love that you're doing this! We did it during Rich's first deployment and then did the 5 Love Languages last deployment and found both a great way to keep connected and focused on God together during our times apart. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did and get some friends to do it with, as well!

Operation Tank You- Looks like we're on the opposite schedule of you. We did 5 Love Languages last year and loved it! It really made us open our eyes and realize some of our little squabbles were simply because we didn't know how to "read" one another. After reading the book we both went "Oh, now THAT makes sense!" We loved reading the same book at the same time and going through it together. We look forward to doing this one together now.

Amber Brewer Stone- I always think of the movie "Bruce Almighty" when I think about asking God for patience. He doesn't give you patience, he gives you oppurtunities to be patient in. God gave me a chance to practice this with Stephen today. We are switching the tags on our Accord from California to Tennessee (our home state) and it was something that he was supposed to do before he left. Instead of getting frustated with him in an email, I decided to do it and not complain to him in an email that he didn't do it before he left. Somedays it's baby steps.:)

Operation Tank You-I love that you said that Amber. My husband also "forgot" to do several things before leaving for his deployment. It left me with a lot of headaches and having to call my mother in for help. I was pretty upset and discouraged, wondering how I was going to get it all done before I had to head back home, but instead of letting it out on him, I thought of it more as me being able to help him, something I don't get to do when we're so far apart. It actually felt good sending the e-mails to him after I started checking items off the list. I even surprised him with a few things he hadn't thought of.

Operation Tank You- Patience. It's not something I have much of when it comes to midnight phone calls, failing internet connections, and missed calls. Often I become quickly frustrated, shut down, and then find myself on the verge of what seems to be endless tears. Although we have more communication now then let's say the Vietnam Era, living in a instantaneous world makes it more difficult during deployments.

Reading Day One's piece on patience really struck home.

Yesterday, my husband tried to Skype with me since I was with his entire family on their yearly vacation trip to the beach. We came back to the house just in time, but of course my internet was down. Once it was up, his was down. It became a back and forth until I finally just opted to receive his Skype call on my cell phone. I would have loved to seen him and shared everything with his family, but instead of becoming angry or frustrated, I opted for an alternative. I guess that's what I have to do with my attitude as well. When I feel the stress building, OPT FOR AN ALTERNATIVE.

After our call, I felt a lot better. I was able to talk to him for a good while and it was nice to relay the information then back to his family. We would've both loved to have seen one another, but we certainly will take what we can get.

I think the littlest tyke in our party said it best when he said, "Don't be angroid". Angroid- The combination of being angry and annoid.

So, I ask you, what attitude will you choose next time?

Monday, July 4, 2011

My kids know who the real heroes are

Below is an article, written by someone else, that said everything I wanted to say. Today, as we celebrate our freedom, let us remember those who have served before us and those that serve today. Thank you!

My kids know who the real heroes are