Thursday, June 20, 2013

My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife

I am so excited to be part of Sara Horn's My Wife Life Team that is promoting her new book My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife.

Sara has written some amazing books.  I have read God Strong and Tour of Duty (twice).  I hate to admit that I haven't read My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife, but I am looking forward to reading it soon.

Toward the end of July/first of August, I will be posting a review of Sara's new book.  There will be lots of fun things surrounding the book as well.  If you are excited about this new book, you can go ahead a pre-order an autographed copy at Sara's store.

Did I Shine?

When 2013 began, I made a commitment to SHINE. With the year half over and a deployment under my belt, I have to ask myself, "Did I shine?"

I hope that during the deployment I was the wife my husband needed me to be and the the mother my children needed me to be.

I hope that as I crossed paths with others, that they saw Jesus in me.

I know there were times I was lost, tired, and frustrated.  I know there were times I lost my temper or got caught up in gossip or negative conversation. But over all, did I shine? I tried to be an encouragement to others. I tried to show them that my strength and joy came from Jesus. 

Up until I got fifth's disease, I remained faithful in my daily bible study.  That time knocked me on my butt. I had no energy.  I felt terrible for weeks.  I got majorly behind, but I am still studying.  I also began a journey on becoming more healthy after my bout with a stomach virus in November and December.  I exercised and ate much better up until fifth's disease came along.  I've gained a few pounds back, but I am dedicated to get rid of them again.

I know that people watched me. People asked me, "How do you do it?"  I didn't. God did.  I prayed daily for His blessings, for His strength, for His guidance.  Looking back, I hope I was a blessing to Him.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some Family Time

If you have a Soldier who will be returning home from deployment and would like a banner to display like ours, I have to recommend Build A Sign.  Check out their website.  Our banner was FREE. I only had to pay for the grommets and shipping. I upgraded the shipping to make sure I had the banner the first of May, and it arrived much sooner than expected.  We were very pleased with our final product.

Since Jeff has returned from Afghanistan, we have been having a lot of family time.  He was able to catch Colin's last few ball games.  We were also able to attend a Hot Rods game for their Military Appreciation Night.

It was so great to attend church again as a family.

Jeff and I had a much needed weekend getaway to The Smoky Mountains.

We had a week long family vacation to Panama City Beach too.  We celebrated Jeff's birthday and played LOTS of Goofy Golf.

The big boys are preparing for a camp out, and Colin will be attending Space Camp again this summer.  Me?  I am enjoying having my better half home.  I am working with two amazing teams.  I am writing a Bible study curriculum with a group of super women for Wives of Faith.  I will also be working with Sara Horn and more amazing women to promote Sara's new book....

We are also still praying about going active duty.  Still not sure where God wants us right now.  No rush, but don't want any regrets either.

Hope your summer is in full swing and going well.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Deployment Homecoming Shirts

May 13, 2013

The boys and I made shirts for them to wear when we reunite with Jeff.

Colin and Carson designed their own and put me to work on them.  Carter's shirt is the top pictures. Carson's shirt is in the middle. Colin's shirt is the bottom pictures.  They can't wait to wear them to pick up their daddy!

1:46 AM

May 11, 2013

My cell phone rang at 1:46 AM.  It was the call I had been waiting for.  Jeff was back in the US! 

Although this call only lasted for 1 minute, it caused so much peace to come over me. 

My husband was "home" from Afghanistan.

Technically, he wasn't home, but being in the USA was home to me! 

Jeff apologized for waking me up. He had sent a text moments earlier, but I never heard it.  So, he called me. It was the most precious phone call ever! 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Can you say "emotional roller coaster?"

May 10, 2013

That's exactly how I have felt the last few days.

I guess you could say it started Sunday in church.  Like every other Sunday, I sat on the front pew with my boys.  Colin went to the restroom during meet and greet and decided to sit in the overflow section. Carson decided to go to Children's Church for the first time in over a year.  There I sat. Alone.  I wasn't really alone.  There were the other 200 people in the sanctuary, including Edie and Lauren sitting on my pew.  But I felt alone. I had my Sara Horn moment.  I sat there and fought back tears.

In recent conversations, I knew that Jeff would be leaving Afghanistan in the coming days. I went to the alter at the end of the service to pray for Jeff to have a safe trip back to the states.  With the recent plane crashes, I knew he was a little nervous about flying. I was a little nervous too.  But I also knew that God had been with him each step of the way, and I highly doubted He would let anything happen to Jeff.  But still, I prayed. That's what I do.

When I went back to my pew, my phone lit up.  It was a text message from Jeff saying he was packing up his stuff.  Months of emotions overcame me, but I was comforted by and celebrated with some wonderful people who stayed by my side while Jeff has been gone.  As I left church, I told our pastor the news. He cried and hugged me. 

The following days have been met with constant checking of messages, continued prayer, and rampant emotions.  I've had difficulty making it through the Pledge of Allegiance and the the National Anthem.  And today, I read the back of a substitute teacher's shirt:
Even though I knew a little of her story, I wasn't prepared for that. I felt blessed because my husband would be leaving Afghanistan alive. I felt saddened because her husband didn't leave Iraq alive. I can't imagine the depths of of what she has gone through.  I had to hug her, from one military wife to another.  Because you know....we are not alone. 

When I became a military wife, I wanted to find connections with others.  I didn't want to feel alone.  I was blessed to find Wives of Faith.  I have been blessed by the love and support of my church family. Most of those that have supported me have shared my experience in the past. It has been so beneficial to talk with those at church who were in my position many years ago.  I have been blessed to have a coworker who has been in my position and isn't afraid to speak up for the "wife" when someone asks "is he in a safe place?" She was always quick to say there is no safe place.

No matter how alone I felt, no matter the wide range of emotions that go along with having your husband deployed, God was with me the whole time. The best thing I did during this deployment was to remain faithful to the Lord.  When my nerves were shot, He calmed me.  When I was anxious or frustrated, He gave me peace.  When I needed a kind word, He provided an encourager.  When I worried, He took away my fear.  He provided for my family in so many ways.

Now, the coming days will remain a roller coaster.  There will be more waiting and waiting and waiting.  I am very thankful to walk this path with the Lord by my side. I could not do it without him. 

Saturday, June 08, 2013

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

May 4, 2013

Is that what I see? The light that says this deployment is almost over???? Could it be? Yes! I think it is!

We are so much on the countdown at my house.  It was so nice to "hear" those words, "We may be leaving tomorrow or Monday."  Wow!  Music to my ears.

However, I will not celebrate until my arms are wrapped around my husband.  I will prepare, but not celebrate.

I know that with this life, anything can happen. So, I will continue to wait patiently. I will continue to pray for the safety of my husband.

And when he is home, we will not forgot those that are still in harm's way. We will continue to pray for them as well.

As the light gets brighter and nearer, there is still a decision to duty or not?  We have talked about it, prayed about it, discussed it with children, and friends.  But we've yet to make the decision.  There is nothing in my eyes that is screaming NO! DON'T DO IT!  There are these subtle messages on why we should.  I received this in an email the other day, and it totally reminded me of this decision we have to make.....

You'll Never Be Ready

He [Abraham] did not know where he was going. — Hebrews 11:8 

Go. Set. Ready.

You’ll never be ready.

You’ll never be ready to get married. You’ll never be ready to have kids. You’ll never be ready to start a business or go back to school or move to the mission field. You’ll never be ready financially, emotionally, or spiritually. You’ll never have enough faith, enough cash, or enough courage. And if you are looking for an excuse, you will always find one.

I never have been, and I’m sure I never will be, ready for anything God has called me to do. This doesn’t mean I haven’t prepared myself. I’ve worked hard getting an education, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be ready for anything God has called me to. And that’s OK. God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.

If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life.

The author of Hebrews writes, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

Abraham didn’t know the final destination, but it didn’t keep him from taking the first step in the journey. What’s the first step or next step you need to take in your journey? If you take the first step, God will reveal the second step. The problem is that most of us want the twenty-five-year plan before we’re willing to step out in faith. We want to know exactly where we’re going and exactly when we’ll get there, but God doesn’t operate that way. He gives us just enough revelation, just enough grace, just enough strength. Why? So we will live in daily dependence on Him. He doesn’t want us to rely on the revelation; He wants us to rely on Him.

Without knowing where he was going, Abraham took the first step. And God honored it. There are moments in life when you need to quit a job, make a move, or end a dating relationship. And you need to take that step without knowing what the next step will be. Don’t wait for more revelation; be obedient to the amount of revelation God has given you.

There is an old adage: ready, set, go. And I know it’s predicated on the importance of preparation. But I think it’s backward. You’ll never be ready. You’ll never be set. Sometimes you just need to go for it.

The sequence of faith is this: Go. Set. Ready.

Some people spend their entire lives getting ready for what God wants them to do, but they never end up doing it because they never come to the realization that they’ll never be ready. This is where so many of us get stuck. Our failure to act on what we know God is calling us to do not only breeds doubt and discouragement; it’s a form of disobedience.

Nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus said “Go.” So why do we operate with this red-light mentality? Why are we waiting for the green light we’ve already been given?

As Christ-followers, we are called to take a why not approach to life. It’s an approach to life that dares to dream. It’s an approach that’s bent toward action. And it doesn’t look for excuses not to do something. Don’t get me wrong. It’s awfully difficult to discern the will of God. Even after prayer and fasting, it usually entails making tough decisions. And I’m certainly not advocating a thoughtless or prayerless approach to decision making. We need to know that God is calling us to devote our lives to missions, take the internship offer, quit our job, or make the move.

But I wonder if we’re so afraid of doing the wrong thing that it keeps us from doing the right thing.

Excerpted with permission from Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson (Zondervan, copyright 2012). All rights reserved

Friday, June 07, 2013

Easter/Spring Care Package

March 1, 2013

For Easter, I created Jeff a care package that had some of his favorite things, plus a couple of fun things.

I covered the inside of the box with pastel wrapping paper and put Easter basket grass in the bottom.

 I got a colorful slinky to attach to the box. I added a note that said, "Spring on home to us." I also attached a note to a box of Samoa Girl Scout Cookies that said, "I need Samoa you!"  

 I figured out how Pintrest worked and found a neat idea using a deck of cards.  I called it 52 Things I Love and Miss About You.  Carson got a kick out of some of them.

I also included scripture on some slips of paper and put them inside of plastic eggs. This was a fun package to put together.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Another Flag Presentation

Friday, March 1, 2013

Our (Colin and I) school has been so good to us since Jeffrey has been deployed. Before he even left, I was offered days off to help prepare and spend time with him.  Many classes made Christmas cards that we shipped over to the soldiers.  My coworkers donated money and hand warmers to keep our soldiers warm.

Jeff had a flag flown in Lincoln Elementary's honor.  So, today, Colin and I (with the help of our amazing assistant principal, Mrs. Kummer) presented the flag and certificate to our school.

I was so tickled at the response I got from several students. They thought is was just amazing to have a flag in our school that was had been in Afghanistan.  Some gave me hugs and told me thank you.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Class Presentation

February 12, 2013

Today was pretty awesome.

Last month, Jeff had flag flown over the base in honor of Carson's class.  Before he left for Afghanistan, they held a reception for him, and they also sent a care package at Christmas. So this was his way of saying, "Thank You."

Well, today, Carson's class got to Skype with Jeff while we presented the flag to them.The children waved mini American flags during the presentation. Before I presented the flag and certificate, Jeff was able to talk to the class and thank them for all they have done.  He encouraged them to continue to do well in school.   It was just a really cool experience. 

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

When He Says He's Sorry

February 6, 2013

"I'm sorry I'm not there."

Those are words that break my heart.

A number of times in the last 12 weeks (3 months, 84 days), I have heard those words from my Soldier.  Each time I have told him to stop saying it.

He has missed so much.

New Year's.
Children's activities.
Church functions.
Sick kids.
He's about to miss two of his children's birthdays.

I know he misses home. Home misses him.

But the last thing I want is for him to be sorry.

I am so proud of my husband.

He wears the uniform of those who love and dedicate themselves to our country. He carries his cross to bring honor and glory to our Father in heaven.  He has made the sacrifice to do what God has called him to do.

He has no reason to be sorry.

For us, here at home, our lives go on.  Children continue to grow. Jobs carry on. The same ol' same ol' keeps on keeping on.  Life doesn't stop for us simply because our husbands are serving overseas.

Wives, I cry out to you.  Support your husbands. Love them.  Honor them.  Don't allow them to say they are sorry for doing the work that God and Country have called them to do.

As I am typing this, I am picturing a scene from Titanic where Kathy Bates is portraying Molly Brown. She says to the women,  "I don't understand a one of you. What's the matter with ya? It's your men out there!"

And wives, those are our men out there. Whether they are on the front lines, on guard duty, serving as Chaplains, or even holding down their civilian jobs at home, those are our men.  They need us. They need us to honor, love, and respect them.  They need to know that while they are away, we are remaining totally dedicated to them and our families.  If they have the slightest doubt of our faithfulness, that affects them in such a tremendous way.  Don't do that your men. 

Growing up, I remember having the Golden Rule plastered in every classroom at school: Do Unto Others As You'd Have Done Unto You

Did you know that is also in the Bible? Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12 both tell us to treat others the way we want to be treated. 

I wish so badly that our world would live by that golden rule, those words of God.  And we can. And it can start with us military wives.  We can treat our husbands, our country's Soldiers, the way we want to be treated. 

Let's give our husband's a reason to not say they are sorry they aren't here with us.  Let's allow them be proud of us. Let's honor them by our actions and our words.  Will you do that with me?

Monday, June 03, 2013

I had a dream

February 2, 2013

Normally, when Jeff is gone, I don't sleep well. I have to say though that so far during this deployment, I have slept pretty much "normally." There have been a few nights that I found it difficult to sleep, but for the most part, I have been on my normal sleep schedule (if you know me and my kids, that isn't saying much).

Dreaming doesn't usually happen for me. However, last night I had a dream.

I was trying to get to the computer because I heard the drop everything and get to the computer Skype ring. I didn't make it.  I tried and tried to get Skype to work, but it wouldn't. I turned around and there stood Jeff. I wrapped my arms around him and just held on.  I felt his warm body against mine. 

It was just a dream.


But it felt real. It felt like I actually had my arms around him.  Oh, I am so ready for that day. To see him face to face with no computer screen between us. To actually touch him and hold him instead of
staring at his picture imaging what it will be alike.

I miss my husband. I am so anxious for the day that I get to hold him in my arms again.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Valentine's Day Care Package

January 25, 2013

For Valentine's Day, I decided to put together a care package for Jeff. The big boys and I decided to cut out hearts and decorate the box. Carter helped me decorate. I put a pink and mauve sheet of paper to cover the bottom of the box.
  I wrote Bible verses on slips of colored paper. Each verse is about love or marriage in some way.
I attached each verse onto an treat to place in the box (Sixlets, UK mints, cappuccino  chap stick, mixed nuts, sweethearts, and even a Rocky movie pack). We topped the box off with Valentine's cards, and then I placed a sheet of red scrapbook paper on top before taping it up.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Children and Deployment

January 15, 2013

One of the biggest things I have worried about with this deployment is how it will affect my children.

Will they fail in school?

Will they withdraw from activities?

Will they resent their daddy for serving God and country?

Will the baby remember his daddy?

Will I be the parent I need to be for them?

Will they worry and be scared?

The list goes on.  If you know me, you know how much I love my children, and my biggest fear is that I will screw up big time with them. 

I have to say that two months into this deployment, they are doing well.

Colin is an emotional child. He wears is heart on his sleeve.  He had an extremely hard time at first. So bad, in fact, that he was almost depressed.  We had to have several talks about how it is ok to miss Daddy and be sad, but we can't mope around and let it affect our activities. I explained to him how awful he would feel if he continued with that attitude and how his daddy would feel knowing he was so miserable. I let Colin know to talk to someone, anyone, when he became sad or upset.  He has such a large support system between family, church family, and school.  Our assistant principal has been so good to him through this whole thing and has offered to talk with him anytime.  Colin got out of his funk.  He will let me know when he misses his daddy, and we will talk about it and pray about it. He tried spending the night with a friend one night and called home homesick.  I felt so bad for him.  That is so unlike him.  I was proud of him for being open about his feelings though. 

Carson is SO different than Colin. He does NOT talk about his feelings whatsoever.  I have to watch him carefully.  When Colin was away at Space Camp he became depressed and basically didn't want to do anything but sit at home.  He is a homebody by nature (like his mama), so I have to encourage him to do things. He is involved in scouts, but was sick the last few meetings.  When he misbehaves, I try to remember that he expresses his feelings through his actions.  I have to ask him occasionally how he feels, what's on his mind, things like that. Otherwise he wouldn't talk about it. 

Carter on the other hand is buck wild. Always. He really doesn't know what is going on.  He loves looking at pictures that Jeff sends. He knows the sound of Skype starting on the computer and recognizes the noise from Jeff calling on Skype. He also knows what text messages sound like coming in.  When he hears those noises, Carter immediately wants to know if that is Daddy or he will tell me it is Daddy. 

The kids (and me) love Skype.  Colin likes to take over the laptop.  Carter likes to show off. Carson likes just knowing his daddy is there although he doesn't participate much in the conversations.  He likes to be in the background.  Different personalities means different ways of communication. 

I am proud of my boys. They have continued to do well in school. Colin made Principal's List (all A's) the second quarter of school. Keep in mind this is when we learned Jeff would deploy, then not deploy, then deploy, and he left. This was also the time we were all sick, and we had Thanksgiving and Christmas. It wasn't easy for any of us, but they have done great. Carson is excelling too.  He is continuing do well in school, doing second grade (or higher) work as a first grader.

One thing I have tried to do is keep things consistent.  Being the Sunday school teacher for my class at church has helped with our attendance at church.  Some mornings it would be so easy to stay home, but I know I have that commitment. I also have my commitments as nursery coordinator and worker.  I coached Colin's robotics team which took a lot of time after school.  He has continued with chorus and academic team as well.  Now he is getting involved in STLP.  Carson just likes to hang out.  He wants to be at home doing what he likes to do. He has been going to some scout meetings. We don't have a lot of down time, and I think that is a good thing.  We have our evenings and weekends for homework and family activities.

Being able to communicate with Jeff through Skype, email, and texting has been good for the boys as well.  They have been able to see that he is ok and have some time telling about what all they have been doing.  Christmas break really spoiled us because we were able to Skype EVERDAY for at least an hour or more.  Getting back into our routine was a little rough, but we made it.  The boys used their (and my) Christmas money to purchase an iPad. Colin's email is set up on there so he is able to email Jeff on his own.  We have been very blessed with how much we've been able to "talk" to Jeff. That has helped a lot.

We still have at least 4 more months to go.  Until Jeff walks through the door, the boys (mainly Colin) will continue to countdown the days with their M&M jar.  It started out looking like this...

Now, it is looking like this....
I guess you can say, "An M&M a day brings our Soldier home!"

I am proud of my boys. They are doing well. They are staying focused. They are being (pretty) good. They are praying daily for their Daddy.