Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Moment

(Lillie talking to Daddy)
I got in the car this morning to run a few last minute errands. My mind was focused on my list of things to do and the order of the stops in which they were to come. The kids were with my in-laws and the car was empty. This song came on the radio complete with dub-ins of little children's voices. I could barely listen to the first few lines before I had to change it. I know the people who put it together did it to honor our troops, but for those of us walking through this season of military life, it is the most painful thing to listen to. I found the words and could barely read them without crying.

I'm Already There
by Lonestar
He called her on the road from a lonely cold hotel room
Just to hear her say, "I love you one" more time
But when he heard the sound
Of the kids laughin' in the background
He had to wipe away a tear from his eye
A little voice came on the phone
Said, "Daddy when you comin' home?"
He said the first thing that came to his mind

I'm already there
Take a look around
I'm the sunshine in your hair
I'm the shadow on the ground
I'm the whisper in the wind
I'm your imaginary friend
And I know, I'm in your prayers
Oh I'm already there

She got back on the phone
Said, "I really miss you darlin'"
"Don't worry about the kids they'll be alright
Wish I was in your arms, lyin' right there beside you
But I know that I'll be in your dreams tonight
And I'll gently kiss your lips
Touch you with my fingertips
So turn out the light and close your eyes

I'm already there
Don't make a sound
I'm the beat in your heart
I'm the moonlight shinin' down
I'm the whisper in the wind
And I'll be there 'til the end
Can you feel the love that we share?
Oh I'm already there

We may be a thousand miles apart
But I'll be with you wherever you are

I'm already there
Take a look around
I'm the sunshine in your hair
I'm the shadow on the ground
I'm the whisper in the wind
And I'll be there 'til the end
Can you feel the love that we share?
Oh I'm already there
Oh I'm already there

I pulled over and cried. I miss my husband. I am in the midst of this joyous season and I AM joyful. I truly am. I wasn't at the beginning of December. I was carrying around a burden on my own. Two very good friends walked me gently through my moment. Listening and leading but also speaking the Truth that God was trying to use. Through that moment, I still have my minutes of "sad" but I am walking in God's Peace this Christmas.
"For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us: and the government will rest on His Shoulders, and His Name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." ~Isaiah 9:6
This Christmas it is the Prince of Peace I will worship, not the tiny baby but the God man. I needed that name so much this month and believe it or not, it has allowed me to find joy in this season, even with Patrick gone. I know my Savior and this Christmas His Peace runs deep.
God has walked me through this holiday season and I am growing so much, but I have still have my moments of missing the very one God so richly blessed my life with.

Today I had one. I am sad he is missing all of this. I am sad for him. He is the one alone. I complained to him this week about being alone, but I am surrounded by people and family. I was kicking myself for that pity party. He is alone. He is missing his fudge. He is missing opening presents, looking at Christmas lights, reading Christmas stories and watching Charlie Brown's Christmas. He loves the cold and the warm fire. He loves Christmas smells, decorating, and going for walks. He is missing his grandmother's cornbread dressing, poo-poos on Christmas Eve. He is missing kissing his little girls goodnight and wrestling with his boys. He is missing quiet nights on the couch and having people who love him near. He is missing a Christmas tree, presents, and "Christmas in the Stars." I would love to close my hands on his sweet face and tell him how much he is missed. I hope he knows that his family, even though swimming in holiday "stuff," think of him at every turn. A mention of him as we eat his favorite meal, his name when we are looking at lights, commenting how much Daddy would love the weather being cold, and even the tears as we pray for him at night before bed.
I thought of all of this sitting in my car in a random parking lot. I am thankful though. I am peaceful. I am joyful. He and I serve the same great God and I know He is celebrating Christmas, even though thousands of miles apart, in the same way I am. Thankful, so very thankful, for that Baby who became our Savior. The tears stopped, I prayed for the moment, the song was over, and I again focused on my list before me.

And I'm missing him. It was my moment.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I rest...

I entered into the church, already, what I thought, was two steps ahead of what our pastor's wife would be speaking on. I was heading for the Woman's Life Bible study and that day's topic was on rest. "I know I don't get enough sleep," I was already saying to myself, "I know I am burning my candle from both ends." I had already planned to take a nap when we got home, fold my clothes early and get the little things done so I could go to bed an hour earlier, and made a vow to try to do this on a regular basis. I was armed and ready for her teaching this morning and very satisfied that I had it all together. Until she began to speak.

Last study, we had looked at laziness. Through that teaching, I knew I wasn't lazy. I came to the opposite conclusion. I tend to err on the side of move, move, move. Sometimes it is not good busy, but for the most part I am knee deep in the work God has called me to do. I left that topic thankful that I wasn't fighting laziness but looking forward to the topic to come. So as this topic approached, I thought I knew what she would say. I thought she would be giving me the thumbs up to sleep more, to nap in the afternoons, and to put my feet up. I thought I knew what I needed to do to slow my ball from rolling so quickly. Miss Audrey began to look at Biblical rest and what God's design of it was. It was to be a time of recharging, renewing, and reflecting. Her comment that struck me the most was that "empty rest" leads you to dread getting back to what God has called you to do. Such a simple statement, but stopped me in my tracks. I began to think about all my plans to find "rest" that day. When I do take naps, usually I am annoyed when I wake up especially if one of my little ones wakes me up with a startling noise. I am mad at the world and want everyone to stay away until I can regroup. That's not coming back ready and recharged to do what God has called me to do. Even getting more sleep at night rarely leaves me feeling completely ready to get on with my jobs. The more she described activities that bring you true "rest" the more I realized that my running in the early morning hours ARE my rest. I would never have thought that with my frame of mind when the alarm goes off at 5:30...and it's cold...and my bed is so warm...

You see, it's during that hour each morning, once I am underway, that it is quiet, no one needs me, no one is calling my name, and nothing is competing for my attention.

Running for me has not always been that "rest" and maybe that is why I missed what it had become over the past year. I have been running for the better part of 20 years. I have been running for many different reasons over the years and the actual activity has gone through many different seasons of what it looks like. I began running in college with a guy I dated for a very short time my freshman year. I didn't bring much away from that short relationship except the knowledge that I actually could run, I was pretty good at it, and I enjoyed it. My running continued through my years at A&M and I ran in my first road race with my then boyfriend, Patrick. It was a couple race, The Sweetheart Run, and we came in second. In my early marriage, I ran to stay in shape and to keep up with my young, handsome Marine husband (who could run laps around me!). I ran through all of my pregnancies because I truly believed it was good for both myself and the sweet little life in me. I ran after delieveries to lose that extra weight pregnancy always left behind. I ran with different partners. My first was my oldest son in a jog stroller along with another young Marine wife and her little girl. She became my best friend through those many hours and days of running and the months and months of not having our men home. I transitioned to a double jogger with two little boys and lots of pointing things out like fire trucks, dogs, balls, cars, etc. Life changed again, many moves later, different running partners. I now had a double jogger with a boy and a girl and a young boy keeping up on his little black bike. Again life moving forward, more moves, and I now had two little girls in a jogger, a herder-type dog who needed to run, and two rambunctious boys jumping curbs, challenging me to races, and "beating me" on their bikes. Eventually, life changes, as it always does, my boys began to stay home to work on school, I traded back down to a single with a little girl, a faithful dog, and a young lady on a hot pink bike stopping more than riding. With a husband home, my runs became earlier and earlier because I enjoyed the freedom of my morning knowing that my run was behind me and my day was free. A few more running partners scattered over the years, other mothers who felt the same way I did about life and getting exercise out of the way. Thankful for those ladies, they always became my good friends through the hours of being alone and "all ears." We could talk ourselves through an hour run and still not run out of things to say. Through all of those years, there was lots of talking. Lots of people, kids, extra things beside me or for me to push. Slowly they all went away. One by one, I lost running partners through Marine moves, different seasons of life, and children getting older, too old for joggers. My running slowly changed. It became quiet over the past year. I now only have my still very faithful dog but she is a very quiet running partner. In fact she might be the best one yet. She never wants to talk but will always listen to my sometimes whispered words or prayers or songs that escape from my lips, she is always ready even on the coldest days, and doesn't mind my need to be up before the sun. She never misses a day. I don't run with music anymore, my thoughts alone keep me company. I run and it is quiet. I ponder life, I think about my husband (doing that much more these days!), I pray for my children, I organize my day, I reflect on past days, good and bad, I treasure moments I have had that seem to always be remembered on my early morning runs, I enjoy sun rises, I think of things I am thankful for, I admire the creation and praise the Creator, I take my thoughts captive, and it is quiet. Always quiet.

As I sat listening to Miss Audrey, it became so crystal clear. I run to rest. When I have completed my route, and I am standing on my front porch looking in, it is peaceful and I feel ready to open that door. I feel ready to face the children on the other side, the schoolwork, the toilets that demand a scrubbing, the laundry calling from the hampers scattered all throughout the house, the pets begging for loving, the phone that never seems to stop, the errands and groceries that need to be bought, and the life that I cherish. My mind is on the good things and I am not dreading unlocking that door and stepping in. I don't dread the sounds coming from the top floor nor the kitchen that stands ready for the battle ahead. My thoughts are right. My brain is clear. I am ready to do what God has called me to do.

I sat in our sanctuary that Woman's Life in a new understanding. It was all so clear. Some run to train for a race, some to lose weight, some to maintain weight, some for general health, and some for the love of running. I have been through all of those seasons of running, but right now, in this season, I run to rest. Now I do know that I can not go without my physical rest, but it is the "good" rest that I crave and gets me ready and recharged to do all God has called me to do. That's running for me. As crazy as that sounds. My run is my rest. I run to rest.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lil' Fitz Fingerprints
These very little fingerprints on my door brought me to my knees, literally, spiritually, and emotionally. To completely understand, I must first give you some background.

I know you might not be able to tell by looking at me, but I am a really clean and tidy person. I have been all of my life and I climaxed shortly after college when I married Patrick. I liked cleaning our home all at once, in one big whirlwind on Friday and would sit back when it was all done and enjoy that clean. Not only did I need everything picked up and put away, but I needed it CLEAN, clean. I became something of a germ-a-phobe. I can admit it now and I have come a long way since that vicious climax. Ask the very man who lives with me; if he could he would concur. The turn came after the birth of my second son when I was outnumbered and I did not have the luxury of alone time at nap intervals throughout the day. I was picking up more than I was "enjoying" and was cleaning the very things I had just cleaned because of two very busy little boys. I wish I could say I was one of those moms who could just let it go, but at times it consumed every inch of my brain. My crumbling point came shortly after the birth of my fourth at a VBS drop off. I was seriously overwhelmed with four under the age of 7, not in being their Mom but in being the homemaker part of being the Mom. I can remember seeing the face of a fellow four-child mom a little further in her season of four, and the tears came tumbling down. She hugged me, let me sob, heard my every last whank, and then gently pushed away and gave me some of the greatest encouragement, support, and validation that I needed. In my hands later that day she placed the book, Sink Reflections, and my meltdown-homemaker-eyes saw hope. It gave me a starting place for getting my home back in order in a way that would not overwhelm me and in the process, helped me to put that part of my life in perspective. I won't say that I still don't struggle with wanting the blue water in my clean toilets to stay a little longer than the usual 3 mins my children allow, but it rarely brings me to my knees. There, it's out, that's my confession of an obsessed recovering homemaker. That's the background, here's the story.

It was a Monday and Mondays inevitably are long and involved. Mondays we are getting back into our groove, we are learning new concepts in subjects, and coming off the freedom of our weekends. Monday is an early morning running day for me and we have violin and piano on Mondays and dance to boot. I also use that as my mopping my floors day and general pick up day. Just typing that causes me to ponder my Mondays and wonder what can be moved, but for whatever reason, this particular Monday, I was going about my day. I had not had my quiet time for whatever reason and as the day moved forward, I felt the old Amy enter. She's usually not bad to have around at times for she makes me more organized and productive, but on Mondays, she can provoke me to discontent and downright agitation. Today was that day. We had struggled all morning with getting our day started, with school, and a trip to our first violin lesson. Later, when I came home and needed to start lunch, I found air soft bbs under the couch, Wii games not put away, crayons on the stairwell, dirty dishes left at breakfast spots, crumbs on the floor, books on the chair, hairbows on the counter, and kitty litter on the laundry room floor. As I am slowly burning from that old overwhelmed feeling, I feel the tears coming. The pity party was going to happen with or without my consent. As the tears flowed, my discontented mind rested on the wrong things. Why did I have to have children who left things about? Why four of them? Why am I the only one who picks up? Where is my husband in all of this? I am so lonely. I can't do this anymore. I don't want to do this. I don't want to do school. I don't want to teach decimals or diagraphs or make my bed. I don't want to be the mom today. The tears of pity flowed even steadier and I stopped. I saw them. The fingerprints on the door caught my eye and I was done. I walked out that very door with the prints, left my burdens and lot in life inside, and sat in a heap on the top step on our porch and sobbed. I sobbed for my loneliness, for my workload ahead of me that day, for the stuff I wanted to do but would not be able to. I sat and cried. I had not cried that hard in months and truth be told, it felt good. I cried until I really felt like I had not a tear left in me. And then it was still. The noises from inside were faded and muffled. As I looked out on the park, it was good. The birds were singing, the sun was bright and promising of the day to come, a breeze was blowing, and it was still. My thoughts had calmed and it was still. It was the first time in a long time I was still and nothing was going through my head. It was still. No one knew where I was, no one was calling my name, no one was looking for me. Slowly, God's Word showed up. My first thought was Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. My second thought was Jesus going to be alone and crowds following him. I thought of His compassion for those same people at a time in His day He too wanted to be alone, needed to be alone. I thought of Him calming the sea with just His words. That's how my heart felt. He had calmed me. The thoughts came flooding in and it felt good. My mind was resting on good things, right things. God then brought a verse to my head that I held so dear in that stillness of my moment, "Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox." Proverbs 14:4. I could be in a place where there were no children, no pets, no one making a mess, demanding my time, needing me. It would be clean, still, and Southern Living-ish. Everything would be where I last put it, everything would be picked up. But that is not the manger God has placed me in. My manger has children, four of them, pets, friends of those four children, dirt from shoes, Lego pieces underfoot, Polly Pocket shoes in couch cushions, and yes, fingerprints on my front door. This is my ministry right now, my manger. "...much revenue comes by the strength of the ox." Revenue: Yield from investment. I get so much from my "oxen," much yield, much revenue. I get to be in their moments, share in their thoughts, teach them to read and divide fractions, I get to snuggle up at night and share bedtime. I get syrup-y kisses, and flowers picked for my vase. I get handmade colored pictures and giggles from upstairs. I am learning to let go of self and serve my family. I am learning to put others first and treat them as more important then myself. I am investing in their lives and they are sharing their thoughts and struggles with me. As a peace flowed through me and I stood up to face my manger and my oxen, I see those faces from that second picture. And I smiled. I may not always love the fingerprints, but I love the children who make them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The First Last

October 2, 2010

Today was a perfect day outside. The weather couldn't have been more inviting and my children were so content to be outside. We spent the better part of the day riding bikes, having a picnic, chit chatting with neighbors, walking, riding scooters, and playing with friends. In the course of today, Caley practiced riding her two-wheeled bike. (Now what made me decide to do this now, take off her training wheels I mean, I am not quite sure but that is quite possibly a whole 'nother blog post!) She rode up North Eastover and down South Eastover, she swerved back and forth, took short "breathing breaks," waved cheerfully to every passerby, and chattered nonstop up and down those roads. All the while I am bent over running, tripping on my own feet, telling her to keep pedaling, catching her near misses, sweating, shushing her chatter, reminding her to keep her eyes forward, and watching out for oncoming obstacles. My thighs were burning, my fingers were cramping and yet all the while she is as confident as a queen and excited to be "riding a two wheeled bike!" As all this was going on, my mind was in a complete reverse remembering this little girl who once was my sweet K-Bear Baby. I remember so much of her babyhood, I think because we were in flight school and Patrick was home much more. I had time to savor her. I remember her first steps, I remember her waving for the first time, I remember her coming home from the hospital, and I remember watching her crawl. She had a whole cheering section being the baby of four. I think each sibling can remember a first for Caley about something. As those firsts were flashing through my mind, I had a sad thought too. Since she is my last "baby," how many "lasts" had I missed of hers and of her older brothers and sister? A thought occurred to me, I have celebrated every first, but when you don't know it's a last, the moment passes without so much as a glance. When was the last time Logan reached out to grab my hand or ask me to read a picture book at bed, when was the last time Cole sat on my lap or needed me to buckle him getting in the car, when was the last time I had to lift Lillie on a swing or catch her coming down a slide , when was the last time Caley took a bottle or fell asleep in my arms, when was the last time the boys played with their Hot Wheels, or the girls with that soft pink doll? When was the last time I folded a little sleeper sack or burp cloths, pushed each one in a baby jogger, or fixed a sippy cup? When did I buy my last jar of baby food and when did I stop needing a diaper bag? All of those lasts went by unnoticed, not celebrated, or even documented, not because they weren't important, but I didn't take the time to step back and take notice. How much more would we savor a moment if we knew it was a last? Oh, the firsts, those are so much easier to recognize, but those of us with bigger children, how many lasts have we missed? And if we knew it was a last, how much more would we slow down, ponder, treasure that moment? Mary did the same as Jesus entered her life. God made her aware of her Son, who He was, and in a sense, gave her a glimpse of the first lasts to take notice of. She treasured and pondered (Luke 2:19). As I am running hunched over around the park, suddenly my back didn't seem to hurt as much and I was less concerned about her keeping her eyes on the road and waving to all of our neighbors instead of pedaling. God gave me a first last to savor, to document, to anticipate, and to remember. I know it is coming, there will be a last here soon. My last child to teach to ride a two wheeled bike, to run hunched over shouting encouragement, and to cheer on as she pedals away from me for the first time. Just like I saw her first steps coming, so I anticipated them, I watched for them, I carried around my camera to be certain to catch the moment, I will do in the upcoming days with my first last to take notice of. I will continue running around the park but I will be watching, I will be anticipating, and I will be remembering. I will take little snapshots in my mind and I will try to remember small details like her cute ballerina bike helmet and her sparkle shoes she is wearing. I will treasure this moment when it comes, I will carefully let go and watch her ride away, I will ponder the "bigness" of the moment and I won't miss it this time. Hopefully, this is the first of many lasts for me to treasure. I am so thankful that I get to have a first last with my Caley.

*October 5, 2010...She learned to ride. In one big moment, I let go and off she went. As you can see from the picture above, I didn't miss it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

All Rolled into One

In the busy-ness of my day, I caught myself retreating to my own thoughts. The happy "noise" around me stemming from the excitement of a birthday party just a few hours away, makes me smile,... for the most part. How could it not be happy? There are Oreo cupcakes (that alone can make my day), friends from the neighborhood and church plus their families (I love to invite whole families still instead of a "drop off."), presents arriving daily in the mail, cards to boot, the hustle and bustle of picking up last minute items, and just the sheer look of joy on the birthday boy's face. All of it, should make me smile all day. It is the birthdays though, during a deployment, that leave me happy, exhausted, thankful, and sad, all rolled into one.

The happy is the overwhelming feeling. I am happy to be this little boy's momma. I love that he is our exclamation point. I love that he needs love from me; he is my cuddle bug. I love his attention to detail even to the point that it can drive you mad. I love his slowness (at times) and his ability to savor the moment. I love that God placed him perfectly in this family and even through our challenges, at the end of everyday I still think he is the sweetest, most bighearted 9 year old I know.

The exhausted feeling, exhausted with the planning, the organizing, and the logistics. I was always made to feel so special on my birthdays and that is something I so badly want to pass on to my little ones. But with that need to make everything special and "perfect" for that one little person, and with my expectations sometimes a little lofty, it can leave me feeling like I have run a race especially when it's just me...flying solo.

I am thankful on these days for what I have been given and what I have been blessed with. I wouldn't take a "do over" for anything because where I am is exactly where God has me. Everything up to this point has become the life I know and live for today. I am thankful for my husband, for the specialness of this day for the two of us. I still say my most cherished memories with the man I have been given are in the moments just before we deliver a baby. It's just the two of us, how we first started our life together and how we will end our life together. It's our moment, meant for no one else. And in the preciousness of that moment, we welcome a life together. A life we are responsible for, a life that out of God's Grace, we get to keep...for awhile. I am thankful for each one, each precious one has added a dimension to my life that makes me a better wife, mom, and person.

And at the end, there is sadness. Not much, but it's there. Birthdays, when Patrick is away, are the hardest days of all. It is a picture in general of how much he sacrifices for a country we so dearly love. He misses birthdays. Not by choice but because of the obligation he has, because of the honor he carries. People tell me all of the time, "I don't know how you do it," but really I don't know how HE does it, and in such a way of not making us feel second best even when he misses the birthdays. On these days, I am sad for him and for all that he misses, for the two of us as a couple, and for my little ones. But I'm not looking for people to feel sorry for us; it's our life, it's what we know, and it's our "normal."

Birthdays are celebrations of all the little things: little league games, school days, bike rides, camping trips, talks that make up the everday life of this child. It is being happy for what has been and what is to come. It's being able to smile at the future. With him not there, I can amazingly feel so very alone in the midst of 35 people moving about me, through the chorus of voices singing "Happy Birthday," and the laughs and smiles. But I know I am not. I have a God Who has promised to never leave me nor forsake me, and I stand on that. My feelings are what they are, just feelings. I don't make it a habit of letting my train run on feelings, thankfully. But they're there nonetheless. So today you will have to excuse me if when you ask, "How are you doing?" I answer happy, exhausted, thankful, and just a little bit sad...all rolled into one.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Simple Prayer and Wishful Thinking.

"Please God, just one more hug." She kept saying this over and over through her tears and barely audible with all of the jet noise. She broke my heart. I felt so guilty that I just had to stand there and run my fingers through her hair, hold her close and know it was only wishful thinking. I know my God is big. That I am firm in, but her prayer? God was still good, but her Daddy had to go, like so many times before. So many thoughts were running through my head of things I wanted to tell her. Things like, "God has seen us through so many deployments, Ninnie, He is right here," "Daddy has to go, but God is still good," He always promised to walk us through the valley not around it." These were more for my heart at that moment because over the noise and her tears, that conversation would be better had at bedtime when we could snuggle and really talk. As the jets rolled away and eventualy became airborne, I could hear her say one more time to herself, "Just one more hug." My throat ached but I refused to let the tears come. This was the closure I needed her to see; Daddy was gone, God was still good and sometimes doesn't answer our prayers the way we think He should, and now at least our countdown could continue. But it still broke my heart, but never once did I think to pray the same thing. In fact, at that moment, God had answered my prayer. That Patrick's jet would be safe and he would leave without problems to his jet. His safety, that's what I wanted. She wanted a hug. Sweet, but my prayer was more logical.

Fast forward 3 hours. The text came; all 6 jets and the tanker were headed back to Beaufort and he needed a ride home.

She got her one more hug. God made jets come back so my girl could see Him answer a prayer, that to anyone else, would be just wishful thinking.

I learned a small lesson from my 6 year old daughter. I want the faith to pray the Please-God-just-one-more-hug prayers.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Pre-deployment leave. Funny how they call it that. They put the good with the bad. Kind of like when my boys were little and didn't like peas. I would put applesauce on the same spoon with a bite of peas. The good with the bad. Bittersweet.

Two weeks, two whole weeks with my man and my sweet children! Two weeks. We are headed out in the morning to camp as a family in our trailer. We love this time. We play board games, sleep in, eat s'mores, take hikes, swim, fish, ride bikes, talk, laugh, and hang out. We are focused on being a family. I don't have laundry (well, ok, I have it, but I can't do it!), nothing to really clean, no organizing, nothing for school, no phone, no computer, nothing but my man and my sweet children. It is such a precious time. Sweet time.

What follows though is yet another deployment. 6 months, 6 whole months. 6 months without my man and my children's sweet Daddy. He heads out in July. We dread this time. We miss him, email him, celebrate birthdays without him, long for wrestling matches and his silly jokes. We cry, laugh with him on the phone, try to remember events of our day to tell him, send him packages. We are so focused on his return date. I don't have him right there, no hubby to share talks with at night, to snuggle up against, to laugh with, go on dates with. I miss him. My sweet little ones miss him. It is such a hard time. Kind of a bitter time.

Pre-deployment leave. Bitter yet sweet. It is well with my soul.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy Anniversary P

19 years together.
15 years married.
13 moves.
6 deployments.
4 children.
2 pets.
and...only 1 man on this entire earth I would do this for....and willingly do it all over again.
I love you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


A day after Memorial Day. Time is gone to have reflected on all the members of our armed forces, the price that has been paid, and my undying gratitude for their service to our country. All branches, my complete respect. I do believe, after seeing posts on blogs, Facebook, emails, and cards, there needs to be a slight clarification. Don't take this personal. How could you know unless you were a Marine or married to one? You couldn't. In your eyes, they are one in the same...Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines...but, alas, far from it. I am a little biased here, I'll be the first to admit it, but clarification must happen. They are all military, yes, but my husband is not a soldier, an airman, a sailor, nor a guardsman, he is a Marine, a United States Marine. Here are a few ways you can tell the difference (and being in dress uniform does not count here because if you have ever seen a Marine in dress uniform, you would never confuse him with any other branch...I'm just stating the obvious):

1) If you happen to see a military member in the airport in cammies, he is not a Marine.
2) If you see a military member ANYWHERE off base for that matter in cammies, he is not a Marine.
3) If the military member is riding a bike for a Physical Fitness Test, he is not a Marine.
4) If you see a military member home from Boot Camp on leave for Christmas "break," he is not a Marine.
5) If you see a military member in a hotel during TAD and not sleeping in a tent, he is not a Marine.
7) If they have the best gear and best jet parts, they are not Marines.
8) If they have matchy-matchy PT gear complete with winter and summer gear, they are not Marines.
9) If their flight equipment room has plush carpet and wooden flight lockers, they are not Marines.
10) If they come home from survival school weighing more than when they left, they are not Marines.

My list is somewhat short, but I am sure my Marine could add to it. He is not a soldier, not an airman, not a sailor, and not a guardsman. He is a Marine. And will always be a Marine. Hopefully, now you can tell the difference.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Mom of Military "Brats"

brat-(brat)n. An ill-mannered or spoiled child

Not really sure who coined the phrase "military brat," but in the eyes of almost everyone who has heard the phrase, I've got four. In defense of the dictionary I used, the second one states, "A child of a career military person." But the word brat carries with it such a negative connotation. And military brat, even more so. But surrounded by my four "brats" today, it caused me to sit and think on this very phrase. My children look at adults in the eyes when they speak, they speak when spoken to...or we're working on that one with two in particular...they say please, thank you, yes ma'am and no sir. The boys hold doors open and my girls have "kissing knees." They ask left out children to play, they eat with napkins in their laps, they put their hand over their hearts when they play the national anthem, and the boys take off their hats when they sit at a table. They obey their coaches, music teachers, and other adults. They care about feelings and boo-boos of their siblings. They make offers of help, see needs, carry in groceries, and swiffer my floors. They pick up their messes, they pray for people, they sing together, and play hide and go seek. My brats are not ill mannered nor are they spoiled. They let the country borrow their Daddy for months at a time, they give up birthdays with him, holidays, weekends. They don't waste moments with him, they meet him for lunch, they sit in his office when he can't be at home, and they say good night on the phone instead of in person. They have learned to ride bikes and then email him to tell him. They let him miss games, dance recitals, and birthday parties. They know his job does not come first but they also know sometimes it may seem like it. No, spoiled is not the word I would use, nor ill-mannered, nor brat. They are children of a United States Marine. And I am their Mom and couldn't be prouder to have that title.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's more than fishing

I have to admit, I am not a big fan of fishing. It's not that I feel for the fish (although when they swallow the hook I can't watch) it's just that I don't want to do it, I don't get it, I don't find it fun. I like the quietness of it but that's about all. I don't get it. So when asked to go this afternoon, reluctantly I went. I whined in my head and to myself. There was so much I needed to be doing as a new week was staring me down the barrel. I needed to fold clothes, change the calendar, put up new vocabulary words, unpack my church bag, check lesson plans, and just little odds and ends that needed attention before our week began. Ugh. Fishing? Seriously? Why? Why do they want me to go? Usually I just sit on the golf cart cheering for the girls' casts, admiring the boys' fish, and listening to my man's explanations (I think in his noble attempt to get me to like something the whole family seems to...everyone that is, but me). I don't DO anything. Why would they want me there? Tonight, I figured if I sat there long enough and just poopy enough he would release me from my cheerleading duties and I could go home, which is really where I wanted to be. But no. I went. Reluctantly. Feet dragging. Poopy face and all. The boys were at a picnic so we left with just the girls, a container of worms, a Barbie fishing pole, a Hello Kitty one, and three real ones...just in case the boys came home and found our note declaring our whereabouts. As we pulled up to the spot near the small pond, the girls were giddy, jumping around their Daddy's feet, asking questions, sticking their own pink poles in his face, and all the while saying, "Watch us Mommy!" Why? Why did they want me to watch? It's just fishing. I've seen it 100 times, what is going to be so different that I have to watch??? I needed to be changing the calendar for tomorrow, didn't they know that? I watched. I watched them. I saw a three year old cast a line better than I ever could. A Daddy carefully folding his big hands over a small three year old's hands to show her. A little girl proving to herself that she could do something by herself that she had watched her brothers do for so long. I watched. I watched the man I adore explain fishing to his girls but so much more. He was teaching them patience, obedience, a love for the sport. He was praising them, talking to them, watching them and all the while be so patient. My poopy face watched. I watched two boys coming down the hill, so excited to have caught up to us before the adventure was over. I watched my two boys, who used to need so much help, jump right in, changing lures, casting lines, and reeling in fish. I saw my once tiny, first girl pull in her first fish then without blinking, pick it up, show it proudly to me and throw it back in. I watched a Daddy lovingly correct, demonstrate, explain the whys of it all. I watched. I watched my five favorite people laugh, exclaim, explore, talk. I watched a Daddy get all prepared to throw in his own line only to have to stop to bait a hook, untangle a line, or help a little hand reel in a fish. I saw what a great Daddy my Marine is. When he is home, he is home. I saw the fruits of his fishing trips walking down to the pond, I saw how lovingly he shares one of his passions, I saw how much he enjoys this time, and I saw what they will miss in a few short weeks when we embark on our 7th deployment. I saw this all. I saw why God created families the way He did with a Mom and a Dad because they are learning from him, things I could never teach them. I saw what a good man he is. I saw what awesome children God has given me. By God's grace, I watched. He allowed me a moment in my day to watch. My face was no longer poopy. I saw what He wanted me to see. It's more than fishing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Observation of the species

I sit here amazed at this species. They are rowdy and funny. They are loud and competitive. I watch them everything. "I can eat faster than you." "I can get there faster than you." "I bet I can take a bigger bite than you." 5 of them are in my living room. 3 are racing for their life in Mario Cart while 2 of them box, then they switch. They actually fight for the boxing gloves. The noise is often times loud and the sound of punches landing followed by "awwwwwww," make me stare. My husband walks through without so much of a glance, like he is walking down a familiar street. Me on the other hand, stare. I keep staring, like it's a car accident, I just can't make myself look away. They are so different. I stare because I can't fathom even wanting to punch someone...for fun. But as I look, I think of the men they will become. Strong, protective, hunters, gatherers, husbands, fathers, I love this species. I'm off to stare.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

acting and being

Today I am tired. I am tired for so many reasons but at the root of it all, I tried to do this weekend in my own strength. I tried too hard and got nowhere. I can act kind, I can act joyful, I can act at peace, and I can act loving, but it beats me down eventually. I am ready to be kind, to be joyful, to be at peace, and to be loving. It's the Fruit. It's here, it's my choice.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Glad Game

I am so proud of them. The little people in my house rock. The goodbye is over and we are plowing ahead. A few tears, a few sad moments, but for the most part, they choose to see the good in it.
Their list:
1. It is only a short trip, at least it's not a long one.
2. We get to eat at Subway after church.
3. We get to have cupcakes when he gets home.
4. 26 days is not very long.
5. Daddy would not want us to be sad.
6. Daddy always comes home
7. We can go pick him up when his jet comes in.
This is their list. Their glad game. I love these kids.
My list:
1. If I have to be away from my man, at least I have the four coolest kids in the world to do it with!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Dry Run

He is going. Thankfully it is a short one. He leaves tomorrow but is at work today (it's a rainy Saturday!). I'm bummed, but I get it. It's his job. It's what he does, it's what they do. Go, come, go, come. Goodbyes are never easy, not even the short ones. Those are almost harder. You do the worst of a long deployment: the very beginning and the very end. The beginning is always hard. Watching the packing, working extra hours, saying goodbye, trying not to imagine the number of days, staying out of the dumps, it's all hard. The end is always hard. Waiting, waiting, more waiting, it's all hard. With a long deployment, the beginning eventually becomes "your groove." Everyone is in a routine, life is "normal," you're doing it. It's like being on cruise control for a long car trip. Music's on, miles are passing, kids are content. No one is asking, "Are we almost there yet?" "When is the next stop?" "I'm hungry." "I need to use the bathroom." With a short deployment, we never hit cruise. We go straight from beginning to the end. The questions always come. "Why does he have to go?" "How long will he be gone?" "Where is he going?" "How many days is 4 weeks?" "How many more days NOW?" It's hard. Tomorrow is a short trip. I've watched him pack, he is working today, we will say goodbye before church tomorrow, and already I am fending off being in the dumps. It is a short one. June will be a long one. Tomorrow is our dry run. Thankfully it's a short one.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

one in a million

ok, actually it's one in 52,325. It is a statistic I heard recently. How many people do you need before you get one Marine? The answer was Yankee Stadium needed to fill to capacity before you got one Marine. I had to know. What are the odds that my man is a Marine. gave the capacity of 52,325. Wow. I knew he was great, but I would have to search 52,325 people before I found my "one of the few?" As I mulled it over, I wondered how many of those Marines would end up flying? How many of those flying would end up flying a jet? How many of those ending up in a jet, would end up in an f18? Of those in an F18, how many would be in 224? And so my questions went. Until I got the answer of only one. He's my one. My One of the Few. To me, he is one in a Million.

is that him?

It was 9:00pm and the jets were overhead. It was unbelieveably loud and each time I heard one approaching in the distance, I silently willed the girls to stay asleep. Often the jets wake them up when they fly so late and they get scared. I have to go into them and we talk about what the jets are doing and who is up there and why. When Daddy is deployed, it is hard, so very hard to comfort them. BUT when he is home and flying late, we wait and listen and wonder: Is that him? It becomes a game and when we hear a jet, we wonder, if it is Daddy, can he see our house, is he busy, is he going to land soon, is he hungry, did he get the bad guys? The jet noise becomes less scary with each pass and more and more fun as we listen for the roar in the distance. "Here he comes again!" and the game continues. Eventually the jets land, the noise stops, the quiet is still, and it is goodnight time once again. As I leave, I promise the girls I will remind Daddy to come and kiss them. Tonight as I sat there and the girls stayed asleep, I couldn't help but play by myself as I heard one off in the that him?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The One Thing

I just came home from a baby shower. All the usual applied, good food, silly games, and awesome sweets. But as I looked around it was not a "usual" crowd. We were all so different. We were in such different seasons of life, different tastes and ideas, different jobs, different hobbies and talents, different religions, different goals, different ways of doing things, different hometowns, different paths of life, different everything. What struck me though, was the one thing that linked us all. We all married a Marine. All differences aside, we all love dress blues, we all cover our hearts for the national athem, we all have lonely nights and happy homecomings...even those that aren't ours, we love the Marine Corps Hymn, we watch his sea bag come and go, we count down days and make paper chains, we Skype on birthdays, we become Dad when his absence forces it and joyfully step back to "just Mom" when he returns, "Today in Afghanistan..." can stop us dead in our tracks, we love the sound of a bark or an ooo-rah, green shirts overload our washer, and the smell of jet fuel graces our homes. All the "differents" in the world could never break this connection. I love being a Marine wife and so do they. It connects us. Makes us a "usual" group. It's our one thing. And it's enough.

Saturday, January 2, 2010 favorite number

If you ask anyone, usually 96 is not their first response to "what is your favorite number?" But ask a Marine Corps wife and 96 usually will be. You see, 96 means so much to me. It means 4 long, sweet days with my man, late mornings and big breakfasts, talks over coffee and on the computer, long walks with the 6 of us, boxes checked off the "Honey-do" list, renting movies, Outback take out, errands and lunch out, football throwing in the park and silly stories over dinner, a fire in the fireplace, jeans in the laundry and a lack of green t-shirts and black socks, it means he is home and not just "in the states," but home, physically in our home. Home, home. We are coming to the end of two back to back 96s. I love them and am trying to hang on to the remaining 48 hours of one. Just when I feel like I am on a treadmill going two speeds too fast, God sends me a 96 and my man. How cool is that?