Friday, May 31, 2013

Starting Anew

January 2, 2013

This is the first time in 21 years that I have spent New Year's alone.  Jeff and I started dating when I was 13. He was 15. We still hung out some how on New Year's Eve. 

This year was definitely different.

It wasn't all bad.

We were blessed to be able to ring in the new year twice.

The first time Jeff and I were on Skype.  He had been to a little gathering the Soldiers were having.  The maintenance crew even built their own ball to drop. After saying a few words at the request of his Soldiers, Jeff made his way to me on Skype.  At midnight, Afghanistan time, we rang in the new year.  We blew each other kisses through the computer screens. 

Later that night, my boys and I were just about to countdown  and celebrate with horns and Welch's sparking white grape juice, when my cell phone rang.  I was shocked to see it was Jeff calling.  He was going to ring in the new year with us at midnight, Kentucky time.  I put him on speaker phone and let the boys yell "Happy New Year" to him and blow their horns.  The call lasted only minutes, but I will cherish it always.

So this year, I start anew.  Alone for the time being. Another day closer to my husband being home. 

I have vowed to SHINE the light of Jesus in all that I do.  What better way to do that than through a deployment???? 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dreading Next Week

December 29, 2012

Since being on Christmas break, I have to say that I have been spoiled.  It has been nice to bum around the house and be at Jeff's beck and call (aka Skype).  It worked out well that we slept in and then were able to Skype almost daily before Jeff went to bed.


I go back to work on Thursday. That will be the end of that.

I dread that.

We will still be able to Skype some, but not as much.  We will also have texting and email.  However, if you are a military spouse, you know that there is nothing in the world like Skype!

What did the military wives in the past do???? Wonder what they would think of Skype????

So, I guess I will enjoy the next few days of being able to spend time with my husband.  Then it will be back to work :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Different Kind of Christmas

December 27, 2012

Christmas day has come and gone.  Yet, I hope I can "live Christmas" everyday.  This Christmas may help me be able to do that.

I found out Sunday night at church about a conversation Carson had with his Sunday school teacher.  She was worried that she had upset him.  During class, they had a birthday party for Jesus.  They were talking about what gifts they could give to Jesus, and Carson couldn't think of one.  Well, Rene told him that his gift was allowing his daddy to go to Afghanistan.

I never really thought about that.

We didn't allow Jeff to go.  We just supported what God called him to do.

Is that really a gift?  Maybe so.

Jesus came to earth for us. He was born like us. He lived like us (sort of).  He died and rose from the grave for us.  Jesus sacrificed so much for us.

This Christmas we sacrificed for Him.  I never really thought about that.

We could have been bitter. We could have moped around and been miserable.  What good would that have done?

Instead, we put first things first. We put Jesus first. We kept things low key.  We enjoyed being family the best way we knew how. We stayed in pajamas and cuddled. 

One thing I've learned is that my life is not about me.  It is about God.  He created me. He saved me. He loves me and has a plan for me.  I have to live my life for Him. Part of that is being married to an Army Chaplain.  That is just one of the many ways I serve Him.  Whatever God calls Jeff to do, I must be supportive.

Even if that means a deployment to Afghanistan during Christmas.

It certainly wasn't in our plan, but it is comforting to know that it was in God's plan.

No, we don't earn a medal, and we certainly don't boast. Instead, we serve. We do what God has called us to do regardless if we want to or not.

I won't lie.  Christmas was hard. It was hard to shop and go to Christmas services and write out Christmas cards. Alone.  It was hard for Santa to come and open presents. Alone.  I don't wish that on anyone. But that is what God called us to do this Christmas.

It was hard knowing as my children slept, their daddy was in harms way.  While my children were dreaming of gifts and Santa, their mama was up praying for their daddy's safety.  What kind of Christmas gift is it when random rockets fly overhead?  That, my friend, was hard.  What do you do when you realize you have no control? You pray. And pray. And pray some more.  You put your faith and trust in God because He never fails.

So this was a different kind of Christmas. A Christmas where people loved us and cared for us out of the goodness of their hearts.  A Christmas where Skype and texting and email were my best friends!  A Christmas where we sacrificed for our Father. After all, didn't His Son sacrifice for us? 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Christmas Care Package

January 25, 2013

So I just scheduled a post about the Valentine's care package we made for Jeff and realized I never scheduled a post about the Christmas care package.  I know that by the time you read this, it will be May, but I wanted to share it anyway.

To start, I covered the bottom of the box with a green piece of paper. I used Charlie Brown Christmas wrapping paper to cover the sides and flaps.
 My mom had bought the boys a Shrinky Dink Christmas tree, so we created this little masterpiece so that Jeff would have his own Christmas tree while he was away.
 We filled the box with lots of goodies: the Christmas tree, hot chocolate, coffee, Chex Mix, apple cider mix, a fire place scene DVD, oatmeal, a coffee mug, and more.
It was fun putting this together. Jeff really enjoyed it too.

Monday, May 27, 2013

How God Prepares Us

December 20, 2012

I believe that everything happens for a reason.  We may not understand it at the time, but later on, something will happen, and you'll be like, "Ohhh! I see now."

I think that's is what has happened with Jeff traveling.

Here's what I mean.

I have never been comfortable in my own skin.  I have suffered from low self esteem and never really had the confidence to do things on my own.  I somehow became stubbornly independent, not ever asking anyone for anything.

A few months after Colin turned two, Jeff got a job with a Japanese company.  His first job duty - training in Japan.  He would leave the first part of November and return the day before Christmas Eve.  Needless to say, being home alone with a 2 year old was all but uneventful.  Our heat went out (several times) and Colin even locked himself in the bathroom with the bath water running.  There was Christmas shopping to do. Work went on. Programs to attend. And a winter storm (ice and all).  Life in general just didn't stop when he hopped on that plane.

That's the way it began.

Jeff started traveling a lot for work. Japan. Chicago. Los Angeles. Detroit.

Then he joined the Army.  And you know how that goes.  Ft. Jackson. Ft. Bliss. Baltimore. Virginia Beach. Afghanistan.

Time apart became a normal thing for us.

I learned a lot about myself. God provided opportunities for me to grow whether I liked it or not.  At first, it was like being a single mom of one child. Then a single mom of two. Now a single mom of 3.  I had our home responsibilities to take care of. Children to rear. A full time job to work.  I lost a grandparent while Jeff was away.  I had a flat tire out of town. Our electricity messed up in our house.  Our heat and cooling unit messed up. You name it. It probably happened.

I think all of that "stuff" helped pave the way for this deployment.  We've been apart for extended periods of time before. I've had to be the one in charge before.  That has made this transition easier. I wasn't totally out of my element.

But of course all separations are different. They all bring their own challenges.

We are a little over a month into this deployment. Our household has experienced the stomach virus (for two weeks. I lost 7 pounds because of it!). Currently we are (hoping, praying, fingers crossed) getting over the flu/rsv/pneumonia which caused all of the kids to miss their Christmas programs and Christmas parties. We have a leaky roof (that we thought was fixed before Jeff left). Our heating unit continues to mess up (we were told it would until we put in a new one because the other people didn't do it right).

The thing I see is that God prepared me for this in a way I never expected. He knew what needed to happen before this deployment.  He knew how to strengthen me. He knew how to help me gain confidence. He opened my heart on how to bless others when they want to bless me.  I can say, "Yes, I need help."  I can let people do things for me without feeling guilty (its a pride thing).

God works in ways we can not understand.  If you are going through something and you just don't get it, TRUST God.  He is in it.  He is in control of it. He will see you though it.  He is preparing you for something great.  Ok. Deployment isn't great, but you know what I mean!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Today was Hard

December 6, 2012

I have been busy these last two weeks. I have stayed after school every afternoon to work with my Robotics team.  I've gotten home after dark every night.

I hate it.

Today, my students had their STAR reading test and their Dibel winter benchmark.....back to back.

I hate it.

Carter has not been going to bed at a good hour. In fact, I was so exhausted the other night when he finally went to sleep that I totally forgot to set my alarm.  Thankfully, my neighbor aka mother-in-law noticed our lights were not on when she left for work and called me. 

Needless to say after all this, trying to get homework done with two kids that HATE homework, trying to make sure laundry is washed and dried, and we have clean sippy cups, I AM EXHAUSTED. 

Exhausted plus deployment is not a good mix.  In the 21 days (3 weeks) that Jeff has been gone, this has been my worst day. 

I've been trying to email him every morning and every night.  This morning's email was very hard to get through.  I held back tears.  There wasn't anything in particular that had me upset.  I was just emotional.

The loneliness.

The being a single mom of three boys.

The daily responsibilities of working full time.

The daily responsibilities of running a household.

It all just kind of builds up and smacks you in the face.

Its is overwhelming.

I struggled to get through the morning. I was thankful that I have a planning period first thing in the morning. I logged on to Pandora for some Christmas music, shut my door, turned off the lights, and plugged in my Christmas tree. It gave me time to compose myself and shed a few tears. Actually, I didn't have any control over the tears.  They came on their own.

I felt guilty for letting Jeff know through text messaging and email that I was emotional.  I know he has this whole other world to worry about. I didn't want him to worry about me.  But he is my husband, my best friend. If I can't be honest with him, who can I be honest with?  I assured him I was fine. Just in need of a break.  Christmas break was coming up and I just needed to get through the next two weeks.  I had been going nonstop since Jeff had left.

In the grand scheme of things.....laundry and sippy cups don't matter.  I have to take care of myself and my family.  It is hard though when you know there is a clean pair of jeans somewhere in the multiple piles of clothes that you haven't had time to put away.  Its hard when you go nonstop from the time you wake up until the time you finally get your 2 year old in bed at whatever time he decides is good for him.  A messy house is not relaxing.

I need time to get everything back in order, to get back on our regular routine.

It will happen. Eventually.  Until then, I have to realize that I am going to have my moments. I will lose it for no reason at all. And it is ok. It is ok to cry for no particular reason.It is ok to stack the laundry in piles.  It is ok.

God is with me. I feel Him every day. I believe in Him. I have faith that he will see me through this deployment.

Although today was hard, I have to remember that joy comes in the morning! Tomorrow is a new day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Friday, November 30, 2012

Today was really special.  Jeff and I got to talk on the phone.   We were able to text and email each other. AND WE GOT TO SKYPE!  What a great end to my week. 

I was so excited to hear his voice on the other end of the phone.  We almost missed out because I didn't recognize his number from the calling card.  Good thing he is persistent!

I got really emotional on the phone with him. I held back though. I couldn't let myself cry at that point. It was so good just to hear him, to have that connection.

Later in the day, he emailed me some pictures. These were my two favorite ones.

I got them during my Friday meeting and fought back tears.  I was excited to "see" him.  I had to share with everyone in the room.

Before bedtime, we were able to SKYPE. Could the day "spent with Jeff" have been any better?  The boys were so excited to see their daddy, although Jeff got exhausted watching me wrestle with a wild 2 1/2 year old!  But that's our life and he got to be a part of it. 

When I finally went to bed, I held my cell phone and just looked at the picture of my husband.  I cried some tears, but it was ok. I felt very blessed to have spent time with him many times during the day.

I know deployment is hard and we are just getting started.  But I can't help but feel blessed and thankful that we have the means of communication that we do.  For Jeff's job, he is not "with the enemy." He is behind the scenes ministering to Soldiers.  He is with a man he trusts.  We have faith in God that this will be a safe trip for Him and find confidence in that Jeff is doing God's will. 

Yes, I know it is easy to say that now, but I do truly believe it.  I miss my husband. I'd rather have him here with me.  But if he has to be gone, I have to trust in God.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Friday, May 24, 2013

Countdown Jar

Saturday, November 17, 2012

One thing I wanted to be able to do for the boys is to have a visual for them to see that Daddy will be coming home soon.  So we have a Countdown Jar. Actually, it is a clear water bottle filled with M&Ms.

I filled it up with 300 M&Ms first (deployment orders said 276 days so I added a few extra).  It only filled the bottle half way.  Plus they are M&Ms. So I decided to go ahead and fill the bottle. That way if the boys decided they all want to take an M&M each day, they can.  Hopefully this will give them something to look forward to.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Friday, November 16, 2012

That's how this feels. 

We have been separated before.

Ft. Jackson
Ft. Bliss
Virginia Beach

But this time it is different.


Yes, that word, that place just came from my fingertips to the keyboard to the screen.


It doesn't seem real.

I guess because he isn't there yet.  Jeff will be at Ft. Benning before heading overseas.  Maybe that, that he is heading down south to the state of Georgia, maybe that is the reason this doesn't seem real.  He is in Georgia, where my uncle lives.

Not in war torn Afghanistan. Not yet.

Still, I can't believe I am typing those words. 

We were up late last night. Cuddling. Playing with the boys. Taking pictures in front of the Christmas tree. Cuddling some more. Last minute preparations. Him packing. I told him the other day, "I can't believe you are leaving for nine months and you haven't packed a thing!"  Me, I would have packed and unpacked and packed again.  I guess you could say I am an over packer.  Jeff, though, he is efficient. He gets the job done.

The job.

His job for the next nine months (9? I hope it is shorter) will be to minister to our Soldiers. Our men and women in uniform. 

I almost laugh because as I read through my When Duty Calls book, it kept saying to talk with your chaplain for this problem or that.  I thought, "I'm married to the chaplain! Who do we go to?"

The answer....

We go to the Lord. Our Heavenly Father. Our Strong Tower. Our Refuge. Our Strength.

No doubt about it, this deployment will be tough. For all of us. Me. Colin. Carson. Carter. Jeff.  Yes, it will be tough. There is Thanksgiving. There is Christmas. There is winter. There will be birthdays.  It will be tough for all of us.  But God, oh, I know how awesome He is!

He had this whole thing planned from the very beginning. Never did I imagine we would be here, face to face with deployment. But God knew.

Maybe that is why we had all those other separations.

Maybe that is why Jeff's orders were rescinded the first time.

God is in control. I believe that. I know that. I must rely on that.

As I have read through my Tour of Duty Bible study, there are some verses of scripture that touch my heart. One in particular is John 16:33.  "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Regardless of how I am feeling, how frustrated I become, how lonely I get, I can have peace. That peace is found in my Savior Jesus Christ.  Oh, how thankful I am for that!

So, how am I feeling 4 hours after driving away from the airport, not knowing when I will see my husband again?  Well,

I guess you could say I am numb. 

I mentally prepared the best I could.

I read When Duty Calls.

I signed the POA paperwork and Living Will.

I have been praying.

And praying.

And praying some more.

I am numb.

I haven't had "my moment" yet.  It will come.

To spiritually prepare, I have been praying.

I am doing the Tour of Duty Bible study (again).

I've read GodStrong (and will again).

And praying some more!

Nevertheless, you can't be totally prepared for deployment.

I wasn't prepared for how calm I have been.

I wasn't prepared for the sick feeling I got as we loaded up the car.

I wasn't prepared for the difficult breathes I took during the drive.

I wasn't prepared for the tension in my body.  Last night, my body was totally tense. Just the pressure of it all. The holding it together.  My body ached from my head to my toes. I got what if felt like to have an anxiety attack. Seriously, the pressure was worst in my chest and neck. Every breath hurt.

I knew I had to hold myself together these last few days. These last few days have been totally dedicated to doing what I could for my husband. 

I knew I had to hold it together for him. For my children. 

My moment will come.  The numbness will wear off. Surreal will become real.

I will cling to my Father in Heaven. 

For the next 276 days,
I will pray.
I will read scripture.
I will call on the name of the Lord.
I will be the wife my husband needs me to be.
I will be the mother my children need me to be.
I will be totally dedicated to my Savior, my husband, and my family.


I have been keeping a secret from most of you.  But now, I am ready to talk about it.

In November, my husband left for his first deployment.  Yesterday, he came home to us.

Today begins a series of posts I have written the past 7 months, some highlights, some low. Just some things I wanted to share along the way.

I have to say, yesterday was such an emotional, memorable day (more about that later).  I am so proud of my husband and the way he served God and country while he was away.

 Welcome Home, Honey!  I have missed you!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Monday, May 06, 2013

Jeremiah 29:11 Wives of Faith Military Spouse Appreciation Link Up

Today, I am taking part in the Wives of Faith Military Spouse Appreciation Week link up

Today, they want to know
 Which scripture has been a life verse for you on your journey as a military spouse, or what scripture has God used to comfort you on this journey in military life?

The verse that stands out the most to me is Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

For me, that is averse that dwells deep within my soul.  It isn't easy to trust God, especially when he takes you out of your comfort zone.  However, knowing that he is in control and wants the best for me is such an amazing promise.  I am reminded during those difficult times to look back and see how The Lord provided when I stepped out in faith.

What about you? Is there scripture that has comforted you on this journey?  Join us at Wives of Faith to get in on the conversation.  

NIV Military Wives' New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs Giveaway

Thanks to the two wonderful military wives who entered to win the the NIV Military Wives' New Testament with Psalms an Proverbs. I really enjoyed reading your comments you posted as part of your entry. 
I wish I could give both of them a copy.   However, I have to choose one winner. I did so using the random number generator from And the winner is..... Ashley.
 Congratulations, Ashley!  I will be contacting you soon.  

For anyone else who is interested in getting your own copy of this Bible, you can still take advantage of the Buy One Give One offer.

 With every purchase of the NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs, you will receive an additional copy to share with a friend for free!
To get your free copy:
Visit and create an account
Add 2 copies of NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs (9780310421078) to your cart
Enter promo code BD5W11 at checkout
Offer Valid 5/1/2013 through 5/31/2013

Sunday, May 05, 2013

change for awareness

I have changed my background this month to bring awareness to Brain Cancer.  I have a coworker friend who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year.  She has remained strong and faithful to God during this time.

Thank you, Tiffany, for your strong faith in God and your determination to conquer this beast!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Giveaway and Buy One Give One Offer


Don't forget about the Military Wives' New Testament Giveaway.  CLICK HERE to enter. The giveaway ends Sunday, but you can continue to use the Buy One Give One offer.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Catching Up

Yes, that was me that just posted about Carson's birthday....almost a month later.  Friend, I believe you and I have some catching up to do.

Colin went to his regional academic team competition.  He won fourth place in social studies. His team actually took first place.  It was a day of firsts. Colin was the first to place in social studies....ever....for the history of the team.  It was the first time that the team swept the podium in a category.  It was the first time the team had winners in each category they competed in.  It was the first time the team won first place without the quick recall team.  I am so proud of those students for their hard work.

At the end of March, I had the awesome privilege of chaperoning Colin's overnight STLP trip to Rupp Arena in Lexington. Colin participated in the Sumo Bot competition.  Although he didn't win, it was a great learning experience, and we had lots of fun. He competed in two rounds. It was brand new to us.  We spent lots of time in the pool and hanging out.  I was the only adult that braved a swimsuit in front of all those kids.  It was worth it. We had a blast!

That trip was a great start to our spring break.  I say that lightly.  It brought us to Easter which was celebrated quietly at home because Colin had Fifth's Disease. Regardless, we had a great time relaxing at home, watching some new movies and spending lots of time in our pajamas!

During the next two weeks, I had Fifth's Disease. Did you know that a 35 year old mama could get that? Neither did I.  It was NOT fun at all.  At one point, I seriously thought I was dying!  Fever of 101. Head to toe rash. Swelling. Joint tenderness (aka pain!).

For Valentine's Day, I got a great surprise. Roscoe from the Bowling Green Hot Rods visited my classroom and gave me tickets to the the Hot Rods season opener!  So, I got myself a date with a 10 year old, and Colin and I enjoyed our first baseball game of the season.

My boys and I have also enjoyed lots of outdoor time!

My students have the coolest teachers ever.  For our field trip, we took them to a Hot Rods game.  The Hot Rods organization provided us with lesson plans and a great experience.  So many of our students didn't know the Hot Rods were so close. It was a great experience for them. Mr. Neely taught the kids about the game while the other teachers taught Ms. Bourne.  I hung out on crowd control since we were so close to the field.  Our kids were able to get autographs, take part in activities on the field, and one lucky guy even got to throw the first pitch!

 And I couldn't resist getting a picture with Jared Sandberg. 
So, now we are into May. We've started our state assessment. Our family is on countdown in so many ways.  Can't wait to share that with you soon.  Spring has sprung and summer is knocking at the door. Bring it on!