Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DD#18 Music

For the past two weeks I've gone back to PWOC and will probably continue to go again. It seems really strange sitting in the pew during Praise and Worship. For two years I was playing guitar and singing with the praise team and then had to step back for a number of reasons. I haven't even picked up my guitar in several months. As I sat and listened today I felt that familiar tug on my heart. I've always known that my calling within the church has been music and it is very difficult for me to stand back and not serve in that area. I keep trying to remind myself that this is a time for me to sit and listen as well as a time to relax and enjoy being in the word. I believe we are all meant to serve in some way, but I'm finding that sometimes we need to be able to say no and be part of the crowd. We are not meant to serve continuously. So this is my time to be ministered to...we'll see where God leads me in a month or two...maybe I'll be back to playing or maybe not...in the mean time I think I'll pick my guitar back up and play a song or two...

Monday, November 29, 2010

DD#17 Draw Me A Map

Sometimes this is how I feel with the deployments and the op tempo...I look forward to getting to know my husband again...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

DD#16 Not So Much

I love Christmas, it's probably my favorite holiday. I can't think of a better reason to celebrate, than the birth of our Lord and Savior. Advent is full of excitement as we prepare our hearts for what is to come. We have never given our kids gifts from Santa because I truly believe it draws attention away from the true meaning of Christmas. I also want my kids to know that Scott and I have given them these gifts because we love them and want them to be happy, not some imaginary man in a red suit because they have been good. I also hate the thought of lying to my kids and making them believe something that isn't real. They can't see Jesus either, but they believe in Him. How are they going to feel when they find out we've been lying about Santa and the Tooth Fairy??

I got off on a tangent there and away from my point...this year, I'm not so excited.  Really, it just seems like one more event or holiday without Scott around. As I was putting his care package together today I found myself becoming angry that I was even having to do it. I don't have these moments often, but this year seems to be a little harder than others. Maybe its just that, at a little over two weeks, its finally starting to sink in that he's not just TDY somewhere and really isn't coming home for awhile. I'm sure it didn't help that one of my kids has been having a rough time with this deployment and I'm already needing a break. Of course, that's not going to happen and I'll just have to push on. I'm sure being back in our routine will help next week, but I'm ready to get out of here and head to my parents house for Christmas. Too bad I have to get through half of December first!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

DD#15 Family

After many years as an Army wife and meeting many, many new people I realize how blessed we are to have a wonderful, supportive family. I've heard stories of the wicked mother-in-law over and over again from so many different women or of selfish parents and siblings. So today I want to take time to write a little about my family.

My family isn't perfect, but we do the best we can. I have a husband who loves me, even though he isn't always here. He's one of the smartest people I've ever known and I wish that I could have a memory like his! Scott is also a great dad and I love to watch him with our kids. When he isn't here, I feel as though something is missing. Its hard to go through each day when you know your best friend is on the other side of the world and you may or may not talk to him. I look forward to the emails he sends everyday. Even from far away he pushes me to exercise and get back into shape. I know he hates being away from his family, but that is the sacrifice that we make as an Army family.

I've talked about two of my daughters, so today its Julia's turn. Julia is such a great little girl. She is sweet, funny, and brilliant. She loves to learn and can often be found curled up with a book. Julia also seemed to get the same incredible memory that her father has. She can tell you the most obscure facts about animals and is already starting to memorize her multiplication tables even though she's only in 1st grade!  I can always count on her for a smile and a hug. She has always been easy going and such a blessing to me.

My parents are wonderful and I love them dearly. I thank God every day that I have parents who brought me up to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. They also taught me the value of education and that we never stop learning no matter how hold we are. From my Mom I have learned how to keep going even through adversity and to look to God in all situations. From my Dad I learned how to listen and have compassion for other people. I miss living close to them and can't wait for Christmas so that I can spend a couple of weeks with them.

My husband's parents are great people as well and I have gotten to know them much better over the last couple of years. I know that they would do anything for us. I have always felt a part of their family and never an outsider. I love having them around because they are so helpful and caring. It would have taken me forever to rake my leaves yesterday, but because they chose to spend Thanksgiving with us this year, I had help and we were done in a couple of hours. My father-in-law was also able to fix the gate that Scott didn't quite get to before he left.

My family is more important to me than anything and I hate living so far away from them. To me that is the hardest part of Army life and having to move all over. Email and social networking sites have made it easier to keep in touch, but I still miss sitting around the table with my family, the great conversations, and the all the card games. I miss getting to see my nieces and nephews grow up and getting to know my bothers and sisters better. I love my family and love to be with them. I can't wait until Christmas!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

DD#12 Thankful Part 2

Continuing yesterday's post about what I'm thankful for...today I'm thankful for my oldest daughter, Megan. She has become such a responsible young lady. She is also very funny, creative, smart, and caring. As I think about having to get the house ready for company, I know that I can count on her to help me and not just make bigger messes! This past Saturday she went to a training course to earn her Program Aide pin so that she can start working with younger Girl Scouts. Sunday afternoon she asked me if she could do an activity with my younger troop the following day. She got everything ready and then successfully did the activity with the girls. The girls had a great time and it ended up taking most of our meeting time. After that she and our other Cadette helper played games with them until it was time to go. The best part of it all is that after we got home and I thanked her for her help, her response was "I have fun working with them, can I do it again?" I became a little teary eyed thinking about what a good mom she'll be someday. She and I are a lot alike and as she gets older it is fun to be able to share things like books, movies, shoes, and sometimes little treats after the younger girls have gone to bed. When she was little she was a lot like Anna in that she was temperamental and threw fits often. I remember thinking how am I going to be able to have more kids if this is how she is going to behave? I praise God that she has outgrown that. Its amazing to see how God has worked in her life so far.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DD#11 Thankful

"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this." Psalm 107:1-2

This verse was posted by Christian Military Wives this morning on Facebook. I needed this reminder this morning as my five year old decided that she had all the time in the world to get ready for school. It was one of those days I was glad to drop them off at school!! Reading this verse though I'm reminded that this is a very minor bump in the road of life and as my mom always says, "This too shall pass."  So as we approach Thanksgiving I thought it would be good to write down some of the many reasons I have to be thankful instead of dwelling on the rough road I'm on right now. 
So to start off, today I'm thankful for AnnaMarie (even on the bad days). She is smart, funny, clever, and probably more like me than I like to admit! Scott always says this is why she and I butt heads so often. Her stubbornness and determination often make my head hurt now, but I know that as she gets older and matures, this will be a great strength for her. She is an amazing little athlete and excels at anything physical. Right now that happens to be gymnastics. We found the perfect sport for a small, muscular, and fearless little girl. It amazes me to watch her on the bars and the rings as she flips around and hangs by her knees. She spends a lot of time coping with her asthma, but it doesn't slow her down. I can't wait to see what God has planned for her life!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

DD#8 Adventures in Kansas City

I had a great time yesterday in Leavenworth, KS and Kansas City with some great friends who all used to be here at Ft.Riley with me. My oldest daughter and her friend went to do Program Aide Training at the Girl Scout Council Headquarters and the little girls went to my friends house and stayed with a babysitter all day. It was a good sanity break for myself!

We started out at Artistic Works by Lu in Leavenworth. Its a great little store with all sorts of fun jewelry and accessories, like hats, sweaters, etc...I was able to pick up Christmas presents for a few people and use my birthday money from my parents. Lu created a necklace called the Deployment/Travelling Prayer. It has a pendant on it that has an Irish wedding ring on it and then on the back it says, “The Lord watch over me and thee while we are absent one from another.” I absolutely love it!!

After we were done there we went over to June's Cottage in Leavenworth so I could satisfy my craving for the chicken salad sandwich she has on the menu! That and some yummy soup was perfect for a chilly afternoon. It was great to be able to catch with my friends. I think we could have talked for hours, but we had other places to be!

Saturday is not a good day to go to Oak Park Mall in KC. After we picked up the big girls we headed over to the mall to go to the American Girl Store. I was ready to leave it after I walked through the door, but the girls were in heaven. I had much more fun going to Barnes and Noble and then to Panera.

It was a long day, but well worth it. Thank you Lord for wonderful friends. They definitely make things like deployments much more bearable!

Friday, November 19, 2010

DD#7 What a day!

Today started out to be such a bad day. I woke up around 3am with a horrible migraine and I felt sick at my stomach. After a couple of trips to the bathroom, I was starting to worry that I had the stomach flu. Somehow the kids managed to get themselves ready for school and I was able to pull some clothes on and drive them down and managed to get there only ten minutes late! Katherine's laid back style was definitely a blessing today. She sat on the end of my bed and watched Dora while I tried to get rid of my headache. I think I even fell asleep for half an hour, but I don't think she moved from her spot on the bed with her blanket. Slowly, but surely the headache started to go away with the help of some Excedrin migraine and a whole lot of water. The cause of all this fun was that I had taken so much cold medicine the day before, but didn't drink enough water with it so I ended up with a massive migraine from dehydration. I ended up staying home from school and resting all day. Live and learn, right?  What's cool though through this whole ordeal is that I had someone praying for me and I didn't  even know it until later in the morning! I love it when God does things like that!

When it was time for piano lessons, my headache had subsided and I was able to enjoy the rest of the night with the girls. Megan has a friend over, so we had pizza and watched a movie. Tomorrow we're all headed to Kansas City so the big girls can go to a Girl Scout Program Aide Training and the little girls can go play at a friends house. Mommy gets some much needed time off with some good friends! I was afraid this morning that I was going to have to cancel our trip if I didn't start feeling better.  So for now its time to go to bed so we can go and have some fun with friends tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DD #5 No Whining Zone

I have declared our a house a no whining zone! It seems like as soon as I pick the kids up from school in the afternoon, the whining commences. It's like clockwork everyday, like a switch that gets flipped. So today I told them we needed to focus more on being thankful for what we have and the good things in our life instead of complaining about what we don't have and everything that went wrong that day.

This isn't completely my kids fault. I know I'm not the most patient and I am easily annoyed at times. I'm not always the best role model for my children. Philippians 4:4-8  4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Why is it that we fall victim to doing the exact opposite of what we're told to do in this passage?? Personally I know its because when I neglect my relationship with the Father, I tend to fall to those little temptations that satan puts before me. Really its a vicious cycle...the less time we spend rejoicing, the more time we spend complaining. Then we forget to go to God in prayer when problems arise. It creates turmoil because we want to be in charge, but things aren't working like you expected. Wouldn't we all be happier if we could just follow these simple instructions?

Tomorrow morning before school I'm going to read this passage with my kids and talk about praying to God when something happens and letting Him take control. Megan and AnnaMarie tend to be my pessimists, so this is something I really hope they can learn to do, especially as we go through the next year. I want them to find peace in God and learn to trust Him in every situation. I will be praying this passage over my children as they deal with Daddy being gone and the upheaval that causes. I can't wait to see the results!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

DD#4 PWOC Sisters

I had a good friend twist my arm today to get me to PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel). I've been on sabatical for a little over a month, but I really have missed my sisters. My best battle buddies have come from the ranks of my PWOC sisters, so I figured it was time to get back into Bible study and Christian fellowship. As much as my family supports me and would do anything to help me, they are hundreds of miles away and don't always completely understand what its like to be a military spouse during a deployment. I've been blessed with a great group of fellow Army wives (and a few Air Force ones too) who will bring me dinner when I'm sick, help with the kids, laugh, cry, and pray with me over the next year.

When I saw (and hugged) all of my PWOC sisters this morning  it reminded me of why as Christians we are not meant to fly solo in our walk with God, but alongside fellow believers. We are meant to encourage, uplift, teach, and pray for each other reflecting Christ's love to each other. I'm guilty of forgetting this or sometimes even running away from it when I felt like I had nothing left to give. Too much time being Martha and not enough time being Mary. One of my goals for this next year is to spend more time at the feet of Jesus so that I can be refreshed and renewed by His word. Being healthy doesn't just refer to your physical health, but also your spiritual health. You can be in the best shape of your life, but still be unhappy if your spiritual health is not being nourished and strengthed.

        Phillipians 4:12-13 (NIV), "12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I       have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

That could easily have been written  by a military spouse. I love this passage and how it applies to life during a deployment. No matter what happens, I know He'll see me through and give me the strength to get through each day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Deployment Day #3 It's the small things..

Shortly after I posted my blog entry yesterday, wondering when my husband was going to get internet, he popped up on Yahoo messenger! It really made my day. I am so thankful for the ability to communicate with him even though he's half a world away. Back in 2003 during OIF I, we were lucky to talk once a month. Those conversations were usually short and filled with static. We were fortunate then that there were Iraqis who would let him use their satellite phones. Now I feel silly when I worry if I don't hear from him for a few days.

I always remind myself that even at once a month, we were fortunate. If you look back through history there have been many, many army wives out there who had it a lot worse. I've heard stories from Vietnam about how slow the mail was. There were soldiers who would send a letter home saying they were coming home, but it wouldn't arrive until after the soldier did. Go back even further to World War I or II when letters were few and far between. Add to that, they were censored. I always think about these courageous women when I'm tempted to complain about the slow internet connection or lack of communication for a few days. Being separated is never easy, but it could always be a lot worse.

Thank you Lord for even the smallest blessings!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Deployment Day #2

One of the greatest disadvantages of being a single mom with four children is that when one of them gets sick, we all end up staying home. I was woken up by my five year old daughter this morning wheezing and coughing. The cold weather has made her asthma flare up. So we ended up staying home and resting. Just one more thing adding to an already stressful weekend.

I've come to the conclusion that although this is our third deployment, what makes this surreal is that it comes so close on the heels on the last deployment. To add to that, with training and other TDYs he was only home for about 10 months, 10 very busy months. I feel like we barely had time to breathe and get used to being around each other again.

Hopefully returning to the routine on Monday will help me break out of this funk I'm finding myself in. Keeping busy always helps because I have little time to think about being lonely. I can't say that I'm ever really alone because of the kids and my wonderful friends, but they can't take the place of my best friend and the absence of him at the table, on the couch, running next to me, and in our bed make me feel lonely. Like most women in my position, the quiet time in the evening after the kids are asleep is bittersweet. I love being able to unwind, have a glass of wine, and watch shows off the DVR, but I miss the adult conversation and being able to share my day with my husband.

I can't wait till he gets internet access in his room...seeing his face and talking to him, even if it is only for a few minutes, helps me get through my days.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Deployment Day #1

Here we are at the beginning of our 3rd deployment. In some ways it really hasn't sunk in yet because it doesn't seem like it should be happening. Only 13 months ago we welcomed him home for a second time. The time in between went by so fast, it seems like a dream when I look back on it now.

Today I spent a few minutes trying to help our two year old understand that daddy isn't just "at work" and getting her to say Iraq and Baghdad. To many people that isn't a word that should be in the vocabulary of a two year old, but its pretty normal in this house. Army kids probably know a little more about middle eastern geography than most. Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching a little girl reuniting with her dad who was home for R&R. I sobbed uncontrollably having just said good-bye to our own soldier and knowing the joy and happiness moments like that cause. These are all parts of the cycle of life on an Army post.

As crazy as this life is, I love it. I couldn't be prouder of my husband and the sacrifice that he makes for our country. My kids are amazingly resilient and have taught me a lot about being strong in the face of adversity. Through it all we've become a stronger family because we cherish every moment we have together knowing that we don't have all the time in the world to make memories. Now its time to sit back and see what this deployment brings...