Homecoming 2014

Homecoming 2014

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


"We are packing the plane", is what I was told tonight on the other end of the line when I asked my husband what time he thought he might be home for the night. Caught off guard by his answer, I asked it again and he said " Honey we are packing the plane to prepare it for leaving for deployment." "Oh ok" was my response because strangely enough it took me by surprise. Not that them getting Marines ready for a deployment is surprising and that he was leaving it was just the words and the tone that took my attention. It wasn't a rude tone or one to dismiss me. It was a serious voice, one of someone taking a leadership role. It was his Marine voice. One that I only hear on a few occasions. It was one letting me know he is preparing his Marines for leaving and that he too is prepared to go. Being that this is going on our 7th deployment, I have noticed the signs they discuss to us in our pre-deployment briefs occurring over the last few weeks, heck the last couple of months. There is never a good time for goodbyes and there is never a good time for change and when combined with the holiday stresses, it can be very overwhelming. However, given these past few days we have been able to spend time together. We have enjoyed ice skating, dinners out, bowling, and other enjoyable things just trying to soak in all of the little moments we can so that when we are lonely for one another we can pull from that memory bank to help get us through our next few moments. We call them around here "mental snapshots" you know those pictures in your mind that no matter how long they are there they are just as clear as the day they first happened. Military families cling to these and we are no exception. So this past week during these times, I have noticed the great care my man has taken in preparing his family for this transition. I can see it in his body language and the things he is doing around the house, with the kids, with me, heck even with our dog Maverick. Not that he is not normally so intricate in our lives, because he is, it is just this time, he is paying more attention to the small details. Ones that most people put off everyday, but he makes a point to do them. He has got our new electronics in working order and has shown me how to use them, he has made a playlist of favorite music for the girls, he has left me with a list of bill names, passwords, etc. so that the things he normally takes care of can now be turned over to me. We have important paper work filled out saying things about what I should do and others should do incase something does not go as planned. He has soaked in longer hugs and sloppy kisses. He has the cars tuned up and ready to go and of course his favorite motorcycle all greased up and shiny looking. So of course, his reply tonight would be it is time to pack the plane.

Something about those green seabags can send any wife a chill down their spine. I have a friend Amy that once described it in her blog as a love hate relationship we have all come to have with it. It is a love relationship because we know as long as they are in our closets, they are home, but when they are out it is almost time for another departure so we generally begin to dislike them. It is a bag only big enough to fit clothes that are necessary and very few personal items and as I hung up the laundry today in our closet I took notice of my man's side of the closet. I could almost pack his seabag for him by now and just by looking on his side I could pretty much tell anyone what would go and what would stay. I could feel my heart sink a little at the thought of the extra hangers that soon would be there in there places. So packing his bag would be the last intricate part of our pre-deployment cycle and then he would be gone.

So although he will most likely be home very late this evening and working on new year's, I will cherish these last moments we have together and gather as many mental snapshots as I can because although the bags are being packed and some sent off, my man is still here, until the call comes for departure.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Storm

I don't know about you, but we are hustling and bustling around here getting prepared for our holiday season. We have had so many parties and celebrations this month to last us for an entire year, yet we keep pressing on. Yesterday was no different. It was a day of planning a party for our friends and children to enjoy. It was a time that was celebrated by all. The only catch, was a conflict that was followed by a misunderstanding. Leading to feelings being hurt, tears being shed, and anger. For me something that was suppose to be a good time turned into something that made me ashamed of how I handled a situation. I said words I usually never say, I did things I normally do not do and in the end when the conflict and misunderstanding was resolved, I was still feeling very disheartened. And to make things even more unsettling, I had my sweet little one sitting next to me talking to me about her daddy's upcoming deployment and how sad she was that he was leaving. I mean really when I say my heart hurt yesterday it did. I felt like my rage about a conflict between friends, his upcoming deployment and my own personal stresses with the holiday season was coming on like a strong storm and I was on for the ride. I literally felt tossed around as if I was being moved by the currant in the sea. If there was ever time I felt like Satan was breathing down my neck it was yesterday. Instead of crying out for help, I lashed out, instead of praying, I yelled and finally when the storm passed, I was left feeling emotionally and spiritually drained. As I laid in my bed last night, I prayed that God would forgive me and to help me handle these next few months more gracefully than I did that day! For I know there will be more days when storms will arise and I must take refuge, but only with him. I also took a moment to be humbled by my own words that I recently had spoken to my sweet little one. I warned her to be careful of what she says because the Lord warns us so many times about the firey tongue that we all have and that words can be a powerful weapon that can leave so many wounds behind. WOW! Thank you Lord for reminding me to follow through on my own teachings!

So just as all storms, they pass and usually leave the new day filled with abundance of sunshine and this morning was no exception. It always reminds me of the bible story Noah's Ark and how after so many days of floods the Lord began the earth in the new. Clearing away all the bad and leaving just the good. And through those days of rain and stormy nights the Lord was still there and kept his promise to Noah that one day the earth would return to dry land and that there would never be another storm like that again. But through those storms there still was growth as the dove brought back the tree branch to him as proof. It is a refreshing reminder that through all storms in life we face, God helps us grow new branches of faith and strength and if we had not experienced the storm, there would not be any new fruit or branches to bare.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Waiting

Well this week can be summed up in one word "healing". Monday my sweet little Caroline had surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids. I knew this would be a week full of popsicles, icecream, pudding and jello, but the one thing I did not think it would be would be days of waiting. For everyday that has passed, my little girl grows stronger and braver. She braves the yucky medicine as she calls it and the eating of more foods. Honestly, she has been stronger than I would be if I were in her shoes. I have to admit, I have a low tolerance for pain, but lucky for me my children take after their father. For most of the time during the day in between popsicles my sweet girl just sleeps snuggled up in our family's favorite blanket. Right before she falls asleep, she always asks for me to sit right beside her. It is here that I find myself waiting. I wait for her to wake up, give more pops, give more meds and again she will drift off to sleep while I continue to sit here and wait. If you know me, this is very difficult for my ADHD personality because I naturally want to be up busily moving around getting housework and other things completed. As I sit here writing this, I stare at a huge mountain of laundry on the table and hair that needs to be swept off the floor, and dishes that need to be unloaded, but instead I sit here and wait as my little girl requested.

While content on my cozy end of the couch, I began to think about my heavenly father and how much waiting does he do for me. I am sure there are days when he would rather be doing other things, instead, he waits for me to come to him. He waits for me to pray, ask him for the help that I need and for me to give him thanks. It also reminded me of how patient he is for us. How easily frustrated I become by sitting still and waiting for my next move. Instead, he waits and when I am ready for him, he takes me right in to his arms. He never tires, gets discouraged, or angry. He just waits. So for the next few days as I wait on my princess, I will use this time in study and prayer because I know he is already there just waiting!

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just One More Day

As I write this post, my hands are currently covered in crayola markers from my turkey drawing expedition with my five year old. I have to admit, drawing is not my most valued gift, but to my little one I am a Van Gogh! We took our handprint as you may have seen and made Turkey's out of them. As I began to trace her little hand I started thinking about how special this moment was for me. Since she has started Kindergarten this year, things have been really busy. We have had family come and visit, trips taken, school activities and other extra curricular activities to do to fill the time. Today was not much different, but Caroline had a dental appointment that required sedation so that meant a day home was in store for us. So after a quiet morning and some cold goodies ordered by the dentist, we decided to make some turkey cards for teachers and Aunts. After the activity was over, I just looked at the tiny hand print left behind and I couldn't help but to think of how fast time is going for my sweet girls. People always say that time will only start going by faster once the kids reach school age, but I never believed it. I mean really, how could they know. Didn't they know I was Just like all other mama's with little ones. My days felt long and seemed to be seamless. There was no way that any day would seem fast to me. I encouraged and pushed my children to hurry up and sleep through the night, take your own bottle or be weened from me, crawl, walk, start preschool, potty train,graduate preschool, tie your own shoes, read to yourself, and our most recent moving out of a carseat. Now I know these things are necessary for them to grow up and become functioning adults, but I also had some selfish motives to get these things accomplished. With being alone most of the time while the girls were little due to a Marine on deployments, I would have mountains of housework to get accomplished, a car that always needed to be cleaned out, a dog that needed a bath and somewhere in the day I just tried to find a little "me" time; always longing for just one day!

Now three years later, we have learned and dealt with being infertile and accepting the fact that these two sweet girls will probably be our last babies, we have accomplished all of the above goals, and now I have plenty moments by myself. Instead of welcoming this new change to my life, I meet it with great resistance. I have been told "embrace your new found freedom and try new things for yourself", but really I only find myself counting down the minutes until I can go pick up my sweet one's from school. Crazy sounding I know, but really the house is too quiet, my day is still filled with the same housework that I always felt overwhelmed with when my babies were home. Only difference now, is the laundry and housework is done and the house has moments when perfection remains, but I find myself missing the little hands that help me fold the wash cloths, someone in the back seat of the van asking me to sing to them, quiet naps where I was invited to stay, trips to the park, bible stories accompanied by our favorite snack, and art are now just fainting moments that I shared with my children. Don't get me wrong, we still engage in so many fun things over the weekend, but these little days during the week are very far and in between times.

So forgive me if my art was not perfect today and I am a marker mess, but now instead of longing for my selfish days, I look forward to days like today that leave me begging for just one more day like this one; a day filled with extra hugs, snuggles, and someone needing my help. A day when instead of my prayer being, "Dear Lord let this day pass by quickly", is now filled with prayers of thanksgiving and pleading "Lord I just need more time"!

Here is a poem I read from a woman named Audri Broggi off her blog "Mothering From The Heart" and she is such an inspirational christian mother that I thought it was something all mom's should have some where in their home to read on a daily basis. My copy is on my note board in my office, so I can see it all the time.


Too Busy
I wrote the following poem many years ago as a note to self:

Today I was busy, too busy to hear
Your laughter, your games, but your voice was so clear.

I worked and I worked, no time to relax
To tell you a story, carry you on my back.

I washed all the clothes, I scrubbed all the floors
I cleaned out your closet and your dresser drawers.

You cleaned up alone, you got yourself dressed
While I kept working and thinking about self.

When you asked me to color, I said, “Not today,
I’m busy, I’m busy, too busy to play.”

I took care of me, I did all my things
I hardly noticed when you started to sing.

I heard you pretend and I heard you play
All the while I kept saying, “I’m busy today.”

When night came along, I said, “Go to bed.”
You paused and I questioned, “Did you hear what I said?”

You got in that bed, you pulled up the covers
You wanted some time, You wanted your mother.

Yet I was too busy to take time with you
I just wanted to finish and get the day through

Consuming my thoughts was to get you in bed
I walked in your room and here’s what you said,

“Mommy, do you think you could stay just a bit?
Tell me a story? Read me a book?”

You asked with such longing, how could I say no?
How could I ignore you, how could I just go?

I felt so ashamed as I looked in your eye
And suddenly I realized the day had flown by.

I stayed for awhile, I read all your books
I held you so tightly, I was glad for your look.

As you said your prayers, my heart felt such tears
For I realized the days were turning into years.

The man you’ll become is shaped at my knee
I mustn’t forget the man that you’ll be.

So tonight little guy, I’m stopping to touch
To pull you real close and love you so much

So tonight I will hold you as long as there’s time
For tomorrow will come when you’re no longer mine.

Yet I have today, I still have some years
I’ll spend them with you as long as you’re here.

When you grow up, you won’t need me the same
But I’ll never be too busy when you call my name.

I love you

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What's That I Hear?

As a true southern girl, I love the ocean and everything about it and when two years ago my husband called me from deployment and told me we were moving to Kansas, I told him he was crazy and that didn't the Army know he was a Marine?!?! Well it was no joke and a couple of months later we were packing up and driving to the midwest. Although, I was not sure of what to expect, I knew that my husband, Marine, and family would be together for our very first non deploying tour and after doing 5 deployments, we met the new adventure with a lot of anticipation. To much of my surprise, the part of Kansas we were living in was very hilly and had lots of character similar to my old faithful town of Beaufort, SC. The only thing missing was the ocean and seafood. I have to admit, it took me a little getting used to, but living there became a new family favorite. We made friends that would last a lifetime and made memories that will forever bring a smile to my face.

It was there in Kansas that I began to understand and appreciate the beauty of Fall. I have always loved the Fall season, but now when I see the trees change colors, I think of a beautiful Army Post and the trees that circulate the ponds there. When I hear my children skipping down a lane, I can hear the pebbles they skipped on those same ponds. For every crisp apple comes the taste of homemade apple butter. Large corn fields full of corn, pumpkin fields with the biggest pumpkins I have ever seen and big green tractors and cowboys that would melt any city girls hearts!

For our family, this small town gave us a gift of family. It was a place where time well needed was spent. If a hand needed to be held it was held. There was time to celebrate and a time for sorrow. It was a place where dates were often, and two parents were at every school/sporting event! The church pew was filled by a complete family. Prayers were lead by the leader of our family every night at the dinner table and at other times. It was a place where we began to understand how much we missed one another and how to realign our priorities. Living there has always been a college joke of "the best year of your life" and with all joking aside, we can now say that was so true! It is a place where a Marine can put down his weapons and pick up his baby girls. It is a place where in November for veterans day patriotism is served better than anywhere else I have ever lived at a little local school called Macarthur Elementary. It is a place where daily chaos is slowed down by the passing of a train. The nights are filled with cool evenings, lightening bugs, and sound of trains passing in the night.

The other day, a friend asked me if I was okay because I seemed a bit quiet. Which if you know me, it is a rare occasion. I later told her that I was dreaming of other places to be and I knew from the outside view that would seem so strange. But, for me it is a place where in these next few months my mind will hold tight to. When we feel alone and need those hugs, we will remember the days we had our Marine there and the kisses he was able to give every night. It was a place where bitterness was lost and since of unity was restored.Every now and then in this big city of San Diego, you can hear an occasional train sound. And recently, this happened while driving home from gymnastics and my girls say, "mama what is that I hear?" and I say it sounds like a train and for a moment a silence filled the car and finally a sigh comes followed by I miss that place and I tell her baby girl we all miss the midwest and that one and only other sound that can soothe our souls better than a ocean wave and that is a howling train!!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Living In A Small Town

Recently, I was thinking about a conversation that my husband and I had about growing up in the same small towns our whole life. We discussed the fact that what were the chances that two people would meet and end up traveling the world together and leave the only hometowns we ever knew. Besides, having college endeavors. We also began to talk about our girls and how sad we thought it would be that no matter how much we get to see in this world as a Marine Corps family that our children will never experience going to the same schools as their neighborhood friends for all of their educational career, how they will never have just one bedroom that was always theirs, or having family at every sporting event and birthday party. Just the thought of this made me pretty sad for them. But, then I started thinking about all of the places God has led the Marine Corps to take us. Although we have not lived in just one small town in the past 13 years, but 4, we have been a part of so many wonderful experiences that only a small town can offer. My children have learned through these life experiences the same core values that C.L. and I learned, but so much more richly. These small towns like our own, has taught them that every community really is a village. Every mama knows your mama so it is best to listen to them. They have learned that local football games are a big deal, friendships are easily made and broken, they have learned that each family has a belief system, but the best place to be is at your local church. They have learned that acceptance in a small community is essential to survival so reaching out to others is a must. We have had and continue to have a storm of children through our house on a daily basis. So I have learned to take each fingerprint as an opportunity to love and nuture and I know my neighbors have and do the same. Being in a small community gives a sense of security, love and pride. It is something that can't be felt in a big city. The feeling gets lost in a rush of people and traffic. The smog wears it down. It is in the small town that people take time to say hello, check on their neighbor, lend a helping hand, or pick up groceries at a local market. It is where you have friends that cheer a family on from the side lines just like a real family would because they are loved so much. It is where children have friends that are as close as cousins could be. These areas and special people have helped us redefine the word family. It is where the "slow" people live. I am thankful to be one of those and happy that my children are becoming a part of such a special group. If being part of this group means the things above, then please count us in. Our small towns may not be fancy and may not have the highest end equipment that the bigger places have, but they do have people who care. People who recognize you when you ride your bike down the road, the "boys" are the local heroes, and everyone has an opportunity to be famous, if only for a second in a small town.

So although we as a Marine Corps family have not been placed in one area forever, we have had an opportunity to be a part of some pretty special places. We have taught our friends our southern traditions, that mason jars make the best glasses, deep fried dishes are a must for comfort food, Saturday morning breakfast is open to everyone, hugs were given when they were needed and a hand was lended when in need. My children have shown me that it is not about how long we have been somewhere that matters, but the imprints that we leave behind.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Say What You Need To Say!

The power of words is something that I have never taken lightly. I have even talked with my children about their mouths and the words that come out of them can be something powerful. So I have preached to them before speaking you need to think, is this something that needs to be told, is it helping anyone, and does it reflect a christ like heart. Sounds easy, right? It should be, but many times It is a lesson we can all learn from.

The idea that words are powerful is not a new concept, but is something to not take for granted. It is a tool that can be used to build people up or tear someone down. Everyday we make a choice in how to use our words. I have often thought about there is always a place and time to say what one is thinking. It is healthy to convey things, to open your heart, but being careful with words is something only God can give someone. So for me, prayer helps guide me when there are things that need to be said. Honestly, there are many times that I have thought I should say things and then after prayer have realized they don't need to be said at all. I guess this is why God warns us of using our tongues. Smart man. But, as a woman there are times I have struggled to keep my opinions to myself and to be more open minded.

On the flip side, due to recent events that have happened in my life, I have learned that there is no better time than now to use your mouth to tell others around you how you feel about them. Of course, I mean in a positive way. Say what needs to be said to those you love. Tell your spouse how much you still love them, tell a friend how blessed you are by having them in your life, forgive someone, hug someone that needs to be hugged and reassured by kind words. Tell your kids they are awesome, pray daily, tell a friend you miss them if you are no longer living close by. Take a moment and do these things. I know it sounds cliche, but it is true, we are never promised tomorrow. So embrace today and all it has to offer.

One of the last lessons I have taught my kids about the words they say, is by doing what they say they will do. I emphasize to them, nothing speaks louder to those around you than doing! Say what needs to be said and act. Keep promises, work for others, show people through actions who you represent and what is in your heart. Be a voice that even angels listen too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"I love You this Big!"

So by now everyone has heard the hit song " I Love You This Big" from the American Idol winner Scotty McCreery. Since I do not watch much t.v. my first time hearing it was when we were home in Florida visiting. I loved it immediately and since then has become a family favorite for my family. Recently, while singing this song I noticed my girls would point to me during the chorus of "I love you this big" and how it made my heart melt. As the song continued, I kept thinking about their first smile, first laugh, first steps, first boo boo, and the first time they rode their bikes without any training wheels, I remembered every moment as if it just happened and now here they are both in school and singing the same words to me that I have told them their whole lives. When the song was over, we quickly took to the next one on my playlist. However, this song filled my head for the rest of the day.

Later that evening, when it was time for bed, it was our time to talk about the day, reflect on the things we had done, and pray. And as we talked, I realized how quickly my little ones are growing up.I love this time of night because I get to talk to my children and pray with them individually. I get to see their perspectives on things and we have some really interesting conversations, but we also have some beautiful quiet moments. I tucked in my sweet Caroline and she prayed for the whole world and hugged me and reassured me again, that I would be fine once she began kindergarten. I just smiled because this is something she has reassured me of everyday since she finished preschool and our reading of the book "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn. Great, but a heart wrenching book! I gave her kisses once more and went to my oldest daughter's room and this was our moment. Being that Grace is my more spirited child these evening conversations can be full of questions and energy but this night, she decided to ask me a very heartfelt question "mommy no matter how big I get, will you still love me no matter what?" I was shocked because I thought by now she knew I would always love her. I have only told her a million times since she was born that I did, but I softly explained to her that of course I did. No matter what! She took me by my hand and said ok just wanted to check. And at that moment she began to pray and I just watched her hands in mine. They were still so tiny like the first time she wrapped her hand around my fingers as a baby. Only this time, her fingers are longer and her palm had more strength and that was the moment that I understood she was still a little girl. Sure she is getting older, talks like an older child and at times there are things she does that I am sure she understands the reasons why, but still she has a young impressionable heart. She still needs my hands to steady hers. Whether it is to help take her first steps, or while learning about life's lessons. She still needs me, her mama, to remind her yes baby girl, " I love you this big!"

Needless to say, before I put myself in bed, this song kept playing over and over in my mind and finally it hit me. This song was on my mind as a reminder to not take for granted the need my children have for me and for myself to not take for granted the need I have for my heavenly father. As I began to pray that evening It was one filled with thanksgiving. One of thanksgiving for my children, husband, and friends and most importantly for a God that still loves me no matter what and will always say to me "I love you this big."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Little Song Bird

I have written a post before about music and the effects it has had on my life, but have come to realize that it has not only moved me, but my children too. From the time they were babies, I would sit and sing to them. Most of the time it would be silly songs or classic lullabies. I remember how much better they would respond to me if I just did it in a natural sing song voice. Then my sweet ones became toddlers and no matter what I did during the day or how great their nap went that day, they always had what we called a "witching" hour before dinner, bath, and bedtime. So just as they were babies I would pick them up, turn on the radio and sing and dance our hearts out in the kitchen and for that brief time period in our life the "witching hour" suddenly became one of the most memorable experiences I have had as a mother with my kids. I remember how singing for them changed their mood and suddenly tears turned to laughter and my anxiety level would go down tremendously. I also remember that usually right before dinner was placed on the table, their daddy would come home, decked out in a flight suit and would join the fun. He would swirl and twirl the girls around before wrapping his arms around me to take the last dance before the song ended. And for those who do not know, boy can my man sing! He would sing the last tune and then it would be time for dinner. Everyone would eat, take their bath, brush teeth, read stories, and finally one last song before prayers. Oh how many days this was our normal routine.

Now that the girls are a little older being 5 and 7 they still continue to love music and songs. Now more than ever I am more mindful of what lyrics they hear because when they repeat them they are saying the actual words to the song verses making words to fit the sounds they were hearing. But still music for them is still soothing. Their voices are maturing, they can carry a tune and now many days it is them singing to me that is so uplifting. Currently, in our neighborhood there are several girls around my girls ages that love to perform and put on productions. So there are often front yard concerts given to any onlookers that are willing to sit and listen and boy can these girls sing a song.

Although the songs they are singing mostly are from current record labels from Sara Evans, Taylor Swift and other household names. Some songs do not change over time. Now that the girls are older they are not pulling at my legs at 5:00 crying for dinner, but they do have long days. Now they asked to be sung to when things have been a rough day or if they cannot fall asleep. So I gladly take my place as I have done so many times and rub their backs and sing to them the classic lullabies, and good southern hymns. My G's favorite being the old rugged cross. I can almost feel the deep sigh she takes every time we get to the part where it says until "my trophies at last I lay down". Oh sweet girl. You are so right.

This tradition is something I hope my sweet girls will do forever and will pass on to their children. If you have not done it in a while you should. Roll down the windows in your car and sing to the top of your voice, sing and dance with your children in the kitchen. Take a moment to enjoy a sweet song before bed. Not only will you feel better, but your kids will too. But you too might discover you have a song bird that can sing!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Going Home

Just recently me and the girls got to take a trip to my hometown of Pensacola, Florida. They love going and visiting my parents also known as GiGi and Granddaddy and their Uncle "B" and cousins while there. It is a place that I use to travel to frequently, but have now had to make it a annual visit since we live so far away here in California. I always know when I have landed home because as soon as I step off the plane I begin to sweat from the humidity and I can feel the stickiness that only a southern raised person can love. Our trip was full of business and we had lots to get accomplished in three weeks and amazingly enough we did it all. We started off with a birthday celebration for my dad and we actually surprised him with a great party, food, and guests. Then we headed to SC to check on our house and meet our new tenants. We also took time to visit with ageless friends and do a little shopping in the downtown Beaufort area. Oh how my heart still loves that place. That is another post all of its own. Then we headed back to Pensacola.

Most people know that my hometown is special because that is where I grew up, but it is also the place where I met my husband while he was in flight school so going home for me is a huge walk down memory lane. It is a place that is familiar, loving, and full of family. It is the place where I can be me, relax and eat the best seafood in the world. It is the place where my southern roots began and where hopefully one day will end. It is this sweet place that never gets old to me and becomes more appreciated by me with my own age. It is a place where my children understand how to fry a fish, eat a crawfish, shell a shrimp, can go wade fishing, and can appreciate the pruning of your fingers from swimming in the ocean all day. It is a place where as my Grace describes as the place with "the best smelling air". That would be the salt she recognizes at 7 that lingers in the air and can be felt on your skin.

Watching my children be at home with our family allowed me to remember me and my brother and cousins growing up. The beach trips we took, how we fished off of the 3 mile bridge with my papa, ate home cooked dinners every night with my mama and daddy, the ball games we went to and celebrated, the vacations taken, the spankings I got, the hugs that were given and reminding of how much I was loved everyday. It reminded me how no matter how old I get my family is always there for me just as they were when I was growing up.

Needless to say leaving home this time was a little more painful. It is funny how that works for me. You can't wait to leave a place when you are young, but count down the days til you can go back when grown. Oh how much I love my sweet home Pensacola!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You Are All My Favorites

Just recently we had a friend visit us from Kansas and it sparked an interesting conversation between me and my oldest child Grace. Now remember she is only 7, but she just kept asking me while my friend was here who is my best friend? Which one is my favorite and what about your other friends? I finally just explained, sweet girl they are all my favorites. I reminded her of one of our favorite books " You Are All My Favorites" by Sam McBratney. The book explains how no matter what the differences are between two siblings that the mother loves them just the same. I used this analogy to explain the love that I have for all of my friends. One things for sure about being a Marine Corps wife is that you get to meet a lot of different people in this world and often times find yourselves with groups of people with no common interest than the fact that you have a Marine as your spouse, but as strange as this may seem, it is really all you need to make long lasting friendships. Then there are your friends you make outside of the military too, that if it were not for moving you would have never met. So as I was explaining how people can have different friends and still love them the same to Grace, I began seeing so many faces in my mind. It left me feeling thankful and so I made a list for my friends. If you are reading this you will probably know exactly where you fit in to this puzzle and I want you to know that I love each of you and that everyone has a special place in my heart, not filled by other people, but by you alone. So here it goes:

I am thankful for my friends that I can call no matter what time of day and discuss important life decisions, whether it is shopping for new items ( carpet in a new house), or to be reassured that no matter how much money we spent, we deserved it!

I am thankful for those friends that have held my hand while having children without having a husband home to welcome our first baby.

I am thankful for my friends most like my spouse. They know exactly how to calm my nerves and they are always uplifting for me. They are my comforters.

I am thankful for the friends in which I can pray with. I am thankful for the ways they understand my heart and motives, even if I do not utter a word.

I am thankful for the friends that encourage my creative side. They tell me I can do things, and even if I flop encourage me to keep trying and give me blogs to read to help me in my endeavors.

I am thankful for friends that although we may not have started out so well, ended up being as close as anyone could be!

I am thankful for my friends near and far and that anytime I am anywhere close to them, they make a special effort to come see me. Those friends are priceless!

I am thankful for the friends that no matter how long it has been since we talked last, we always pick up right where we left off.

I am thankful for my childhood friends that I can keep in contact with especially now with the wonderful age of Facebook. I love watching how we have all grown and how their families are now growing too.

I am thankful for my friends that remind me there is a greater world out there and it is our duty to protect the innocent that live there.

Whew so much to be thankful for and I am sure I left off a couple and will probably remember them later tonight. As I finished naming some of these things to Grace, it also reminded me that over the years, these individuals have become so close to me that they are my "family". I just could not see life without them. So to all of my friends thank you for sharing life with me and my family. We love you and you are "All My Favorites"!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Leap of Faith

How many times in our life do we say we wish we could do something. I know personally there have been so many things that I wished I could do, but decided that maybe a change would be too hard, a risk to the things that I enjoy, or lack the faith to understand that things will work out according to God's purpose. As my christian walk has lengthened, I have found my faith to have grown as well. I have met many people along the way who claim to be believers and that they are faithful followers, however, many of them have never come to a point in their life to have to choose for themselves something out of their comfort zone. Since my move here to california, I have made some new friends. A great group of women. However, I really feel that God brought one friend in particular in my life to help hold me accountable. I have had the privilege to cry with this friend, pray with her, and share in her day to day moments of life. Just recently, this friend made a huge leap of faith by putting her words into action. She has a little boy and little girl in her life that would make any adult smile. They are vibrant, smart, and lovable little children. Her son, has some special concerns that has been placed upon them and unselfishly, my friend has decided not to return to teaching next year. She has put aside her own wants and desires and has placed her full trust in God that he will provide for her and her husband as they need. WOW! What a bold statement. Both working parents have so much more to offer financially to a household, but my friend is showing the strength is takes to stay home, nuture those children and support that sweet boy the best way she can. This leap of faith has been so inspiring to me. I know that God has a special direction he is taking this family and I am so thankful I am here to see it and be a support a long the way. I pray that this leap of faith helps me re-evaluate some things that I have been thinking about doing and actually doing them. For although faith is something that is not seen, it is also an action, it is putting words into movement. It is having that picture/ story " Foot Prints in the Sand" in my mind that when I feel that God has abandoned me that the reason I no longer see him is because he is carrying me. He has promised to never leave nor forsake us. For the prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17)
Faith does not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. (1 Corinthians 2:5)


One night I had a dream--
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
"I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
you should leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
"When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

...Mary Stevenson

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quiet Moments

If anyone knows anything about me, they would know that I love the ocean. I love it so much that I joke with my husband that with all of the blues in our home that surely the ocean will eventually come to us. I love everything about it. I love the smell of it, the sand beneath my toes, the animals that are in it and the feeling of calmness I get the moment that I am in the presence of it. It is not until I sit perfectly still that I notice the wind blowing on my face, how the crashing waves cause my body to be moved, and the birds cawing above me. It is during these quiet moments that I am able to reflect on things that have been on my mind. It is a time for me to pray and let my guard down. Although lately I have not been able to get to the beach as much as I did when we lived back east (pacific water is very cold), I have noticed there are new quiet times that I am appreciating. I love how my children will sit with me in the morning and talk about their dreams. I love how they relish in the bible reading I just did and want to know what I learned. I love how my oldest will still gently reach for my hand as we walk down the street together. I love seeing them say their bed time prayers, sing songs of praise before going to sleep and the soft snuggle I get before they do sleep. Hearing my youngest child read a book for the first time, while I am the spectator. When my husband gives me that reassurring smile, squeeze of the hand to say he loves me or the wink he gives me across the room to still let me know I am his girl are priceless moments to me. These quiet moments, although sometimes not silent, are more powerful to me than any ocean wave. It always amazes me how God teaches us. He has provided us with such an amazing example of his presence. Whether it is while I am at the ocean soaking it all in or hearing my little girl say all of the new testament books of the bible for the first time. It is in these moments that I remember why he reminds us in Psalms 46:10 "to be still and know I am God". The same God that controls a mighty ocean also has power over myself and family. It is through these things that I can feel his presence.

So for this weekend and the following week, I am going to remind myself more of this scripture, and take more notice to what I should be hearing in the quiet moments around me. Hold my tongue when things do not go as I planned or when I think I should speak. I will remember he is in control and allow him to lead me and feel him in my presence.

For the quiet moments is when I find my heart is seeking most.

Psalms 23: 1-3

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul."

Monday, February 7, 2011

When A Southern Woman Gets Mad!

When a southern woman gets mad the following happens:

She calls mama
calls a friend
whips out a wooden spoon
eats comfort food
cleans a house until spotless
drinks sweet tea
takes a run
has retail therapy
Sings songs as loud as possible
drives a car like a nascar driver

and when all of the above doesn't calm her down, you can always find a southern woman on her knees praying!

Friday, February 4, 2011

American Honey!

So I heard this
song today "American Honey" by Lady Antebellum. I could not help but to think about my sweet girls and their friends while listening. Today was the father daughter dance at the girls school and with their daddy gone on a short deployment and our friends daddy just leaving on his 7 month deployment we as mama's decided we would try to make the best out of a bad situation. So instead of feeling sorry for our girls, which we did, we decided we would make lemonade with the lemons we were dealt and we throw our own party! Fondue was the theme for the night and the kids dressed up and had a great time, of course my favorite was the dessert fondue with chocolate and the girls agreed too. As we sat at the table as a group of friends I could not help, but to think that these sweet girls are truly the American Honey. They are what holds us mama's together when we feel like getting mad at the world for doing something that my babies could not participate in. Instead, they put on their happy faces as they do so many other times and faced their peers. They braved the questions of "why can't you come to the dance?" with answers like " my daddy still serves our country, even while our school decides to have a dance." Not being angry about the situation they just simply accepted it, disappointed yes, but always understanding and forgiving. Their love and patriotism is heroic all on it's own. So tonight we celebrated being a family of friends and the common bonds we share and as you can tell from the pictures these sweet girls are sweeter than any honey I have ever tasted and I bet their daddies would agree. As I tucked them to bed tonight, I reminded them how much we love them and we appreciate the sacrifices they make for our country too and the all around reply was " well I like dancing with daddy better in the kitchen anyway." Leaving speechless, the last thought that crossed my mind was I love me some "American Honey"!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting Out of The Boat!

So if you know me and follow me in any of my bible study adventures, you would know that one of my favorite stories in the bible is when Peter walked on water. I have read it a thousand times and never once did it come to life for me until I heard it preached on one Sunday morning by a missionary named Zane Perkins. His passion for the story and being able to apply it to my daily life moved me in a new spiritual direction that I had never taken and it left me saying to myself all week " just get out of the boat.". I am sure that people around me thought I was crazy for hearing me say it to myself and often times out loud. But for me it was a reminder of what powerful things my God is and will do in my life. In case you are not familiar with the story I will give a little synopsis of it. Jesus came to Peter and some men in a boat and called Peter to get out of the boat and follow him. So naturally he did, but as he walked on water he became distracted by the things around him and began to sink. He immediately cried out to the Lord to save him and the Lord reached down and grabbed him and returned him to the boat safe from any harm. Sounds simple right, but I think of the amazing amount of faith that Peter had to have to even step foot out of that boat in the first place and when he began to fall his faith saved him again as he called upon the Lord. For he knew that the Lord would indeed come rescue him. WOW! What an example. Some situations this past week had me reflecting on this story and some of the applications it has in our life. How many times have we prayed to the Lord save me, but we do not receive the answers he has given to us? Why can't we get out of the boat and try new things and have full trust in what the Lord is telling us? Why do we let the little things or even the big things distract us so much that we lose our focus? All of these questions I often ponder and have to answer for myself.

So for me when my boat is full, I am going to get out, and follow him. I am going to look for the lifelines and answers he provides for me. I will pray to him and be more like Peter for I trust that even as I am sinking, all I need to do is call upon the Lord and he will immediately pull me back up and put me back on solid ground! Will you get out of the boat?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Patches and Pockets

My Marine has several different uniforms and all for different occasions or duty assignments. Right now the uniform worn is a flight suit because he is currently on flying orders here at Miramar, California. For anyone that has ever had to wash one of these uniforms knows that it holds a million patches and it has lots of velcro/zippered pockets. Any one that knows my man would know that each one of these pockets is filled with special medallion coins, school supplies such as pens and highlighters, money, i.d.'s. You name it and it is probably in one of those little pockets. So cleaning it out before washing it can be quite a job.

Most of the time I complain about having to empty those pockets, but recently took a moment to really examine it. While giving it a full look over, I realized that this uniform symbolizes a time line in my husband's career. It is very distinct, only his, and although his colleagues sport one just the same, it is still unique just to him. For each one of his patches describes my man, where he has been, what group he is attached to, his rank, schools he has attended, abilities, and some of his personal flying accomplishments. As I began to take each one off, I pulled less rigidly as I had before. I handled them with great care and took a moment to really look at each one closely before laying them on top of the washer. Instead of now thinking this is a chore to be doing, I began to feel privileged to be trusted with such a precious piece of my husband. With each patch pulled off and each pocket emptied I could hear his comments from the past " You know I won't fly forever and I will one day have to decide what I want to be when I grow up." " Got another boyscout patch today." After reflecting on his comments. My heart sank for him. For the first time, I realized he is right. Our time is passing and with each new patch and accomplishment he wears is really a reflection of his years and time spent in the Marine Corps. With each victory has come a new time and I am so thankful I have been here to see him grow from the time he was winged to now. I could not be any prouder. So as I put his old suit in and turned on the washer, I decided I would treasure this sweet moment. Because it really is just a short time in our life. For with this uniform there is a left over jet fuel smell that only an aviators wife can love and a Marine that loves to fly and be covered in it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Can You Guess What I Am Describing?

Tender hearted
A Smile that lights a room
Belly Laughter
Toothless wonder

In case you couldn't guess, I am describing a child. It is no wonder that the bible speaks so firmly about children and how we should be more like them.

Matthew 18:2
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said : " I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Take a moment and enjoy your children today. Let them lead you for a change and follow their example. For if we are more like them, we will find ourselves in the presence of the Lord. And in my opinion, it cannot get any better than that!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Is The Grass Really Greener On The Other Side?

Have you ever caught yourself thinking is the grass really greener on the other side? Today as I went on my run, I could not help but to reflect on all of the beautiful places God has so richly blessed us to live. Being married to a Marine, there have been many places we were told to go to that was not always our first choice, but would find ourselves moving there because we had written orders to be there. With every new place we'd go through the same motions. Finding new housing, looking up schools for our children, and learning to make new friends while trying not to forget about our old ones. All along encouraging one another that the sacrifices that we make as a family for our country are worth it and reminding our children and myself that my husband their daddy is a one of a kind Marine that we love and support through the good times and the bad times. Although some our stations were not our first pick, we have yet to be put somewhere that we just do not like. In fact, we fall in love all over again. Making moving to the next place so much more difficult. The day has finally come that our oldest child will now ask "why do we have to move, why can't daddy serve and then come back to us at this home?". " Why don't my friends have to move and their daddy leave for a long time?". " My life would be better if we were like some of my friends." We knew this day would come and I just gently remind her that the grass is not always greener on the side. Every family has there own struggles and joy and we have our own too. This is the place God has intended for us to be and because we serve him first, we follow where he leads our life. For us that means being a military family that has to move and be flexible.
Sounds good, right? Except at times I find myself questioning our place and having similar feelings. It gets old trying to make every new house a home, not knowing where we are going to retire, making new friends, will my girls get to graduate from the high school they start. Will my husband come home safely from each deployment. The list of questions could go and on, but then I stop and look around like this morning and I appreciate all of the things my God HAS provided me to see and do. The countless friends and memories we have from all over and the endless love that my man has for this great country. Then there is peace.
Some days I sit and dream about the other side of the grass and how it might be greener. We will have our retirement and benefits, our children will be grown, I will have the house that I have dreamed of from southern living, and the permancy of knowing this will be my last earthly resting place. However, in my heart, I know I will long for those days of being busy with my children, watching my husband fly home in an F/A-18, Having sleepovers with best girlfriends and their kids while our husbands were deployed, being able to go to any new base and immediately have a friend from the past, hearing my children's heart felt prayers for God to bring daddy home safely, the dog barking, bike bells ringing, children playing in the street and seeing God's beautiful creation from ocean to ocean, mountain to mountain.
So I ask again, when is the grass greener on the other side? My answer is, the grass is greener in the pastures in which you are living!