Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Silence

We've all heard the saying that "Silence is golden." I would agree with that in certain circumstances...especially when you want to write. At present there isn't much silence around my home. With 3 very active toddlers, my house sounds more like a jet taking off every 5 minutes. Earplugs are a requirement to walk in my door.

The troops are doing great and really adjusting to each other. Moses is making great strides, although we are still fighting to get him into physical therapy. We are all thankful to have the Major back after being gone for 2.5months. He is now home at least until the end of the year.

I hope to get back to my blogging soon, but for now will continue my silence until we get our family into a good rhythm. Until I am able to catch up a bit...I thought you would enjoy seeing pictures from the last 2 months of our Troop and how they are changing.
Enjoy!
Month 1: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=123409&id=643163202&l=9c126724f5
Month 2: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=133118&id=643163202&l=a68a3ad223

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Introductions...

I thought I'd start out my new posts by introducing everyone to our sons.

Togaya is turning 3 at the end of this month. He is our Hunter man-child and full of energy! He loves to jump, run, and throw balls. He's my chatty-Chuck and can talk a blue streak. He's smart as a tac and can learn how to do something after only watching you once. He also loves music and singing and can often be heard around the house belting out his ABC's or Old MacDonald. He loves his siblings and overwhelms them with his hugs and kisses. He is very protective and gets upset if he sees them crying. He loves cuddle time with Mommy and thinks Daddy is the best soldier ever!

Togaya was brought to the orphanage by his mom and left there. His dad had abandoned them when she was 4 months pregnant with him. When she became pregnant his step-sister by another man, she brought Togaya to the orphanage. In Uganda, a man will not raise another man's child. The child either is thrown out of the house or is reduced to the level of a slave. In Togaya's case he was sent to live in the orphanage where we adopted him from. His mom released him to us and we will send her pictures and updates twice a year.

Moses Emmanuel is our little miracle child. He is 18 months, but developmentally has been placed at a 9mon. level. He loves to smile and sucks his thumb when he's tired. He's extremely ticklish and his laughter is infectious. He quite the ham and will start to smile and flirt the minute he sees a camera. His favorite toy is a Fisher Price school bus that he will push all over the house. He giggles with pure joy when he pushed on the swing. He has earned the nickname "Scooter" for the way he scoots on his rear end along the floor.

Our little man was abandoned at birth down a pit latrine. He was heard screaming and rescued from certain death. We know nothing of his mother or her situation. As a result of his time in the latrine and ingesting the refuse, Moses got a serious brain infection that caused seizures and partial paralysis on his left side. We are beginning to work with doctors to restore his mobility. Most think that with proper nutrition and physical therapy he should be fine. We're praying and working towards complete healing.

So, those are my boys...my "pearls of Africa". I love them and look forward to growing together as a family.

Monday, June 8, 2009

We're HOME!!!!

Yes, we're finally home after 6 tough weeks fighting the US Government to let us bring home our sons. God was faithful and we are now home as a family of 5. I will try to write more updates soon...life is bit crazy as we are learning how to function as a loving family. =) Thank you for all your prayers and encouraging notes!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Life is a...rollercoaster!

No offense to Rascal Flatts, but my current life is definitely more like a rollercoaster...not a highway. Highways are usually long, straight, smooth, and fast. When you think of riding life's highway there is a feeling of restful journeying. Nope...not my life. My life is definitely a rollercoaster. You know the feeling of anticipation as your adrenaline starts to pump. Those brief moments of starting up the hill as you anxiously look forward to the coming drop and then that split second when you see the drop and wonder what the h*** you were thinking getting on the ride in the first place. This is inevitably followed by sheer terror as you are thrown down the hill and through several more ups and downs as you try to catch your breath, take in what is happening, and hold on for dear life.

The last month has been an overwhelming journey of ups and downs, excitement and fear. I have not been able to blog about any of it because I honestly just didn't have the time or emotional energy. I am hoping to get a bit caught up here because I will be starting the next big adventure of our life in 2 days.

At the end of March, we left for the East coast to attend my sister's wedding and while there received the long awaited news that we had finally received a court date for our little men. That began a whole new set of preparations as the reality of our kids coming home soon hit our hearts. We are overjoyed and praying that everything moves smoothly once we're there.

In this midst of this joyful news we got stopped in our tracks by one phone call telling us that the Major was being transfered to another unit and needed to prepare to be deployed in July. I cannot put into words just how fast my world went haywire with that one thought. We began to pray and do more research on this deployment and found out that the position they wanted him to fill he didn't have the training needed. We sent up alot of prayers and a request to be released from this position. God was gracious and we received word just last week that they were releasing him from this deployment. And informed us that he is up for another position on active duty that would allow us to have full benefits, but stay right where we are doing the same thing we're doing. This would be a HUGE answer to prayer for us.

We know the Major will be deployed at some point in the next few years. I am just praying we get at least one year with the boys home so that they can really bond and we can figure out what we look like as a family.

We also recently figured out that I didn't have enough money to make it while in country and had really exhausted every possible avenue to get the needed amount on such short notice with no success. Again, stress was high and we hit our knees asking God to provide. This morning at the last minute the exact amount that we needed came in through a door that we had thought was closed. God is so good! Now I simply have to finish packing my last bag and I am set to get on an airplane that will take me to my sons! It is almost surreal to think that before the week is over I will actually be holding them in my arms.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the last month for you to enjoy.

My beautiful, baby sis and her new hubby


Family shot at the wedding. Boo did great as a flowergirl apart from falling dead asleep 5 minutes before the ceremony. I ended up carrying her down the aisle.


Such a cool shot! No...this is not where they honeymooned.

Aren't they cute?! They are so in love!

T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

All the Lebanese Cousins from my mom's side

A normal picture of all my cousins...gotta love family!

Easter @ Grandma's house.
Boo is wearing the Easter dress my youngest sister used to wear.

Hunting eggs...she really enjoyed throwing them in the basket.

The loot...she was a mess within about 5 minutes of this shot.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm gonna miss this...

I'll never forget the first time I heard this song. I was driving down the 210 when it came on the radio and as I listened to the lyrics, I started to cry so hard I was having trouble seeing the road. It wasn't just that the song was beautiful...what made it so emotional for me was that it brought back a flood of memories. I was the girl in the song...always longing for the next step, looking ahead and not enjoying what I had in the moment. And my dad would always tell me to slow down...someday I would miss those experiences. I remember thinking how crazy he was...only to understand now exactly what he meant.

I do miss those times at home as my parent's daughter. I miss homeschooling and singing together as a family. I miss taking care of my little sisters and doing fun projects with them. I miss the late night talks with my mom and cooking together in the kitchen.

And now that I have my own daughter and we're about to add 2 more children...I know I'm gonna miss these times of just Boo and me together. I'm going to miss just the two of us sharing a laugh or dancing together. I know we'll make more memories together with her brothers...But I know I'm going to miss this season with our first child and life as a family of three.

So, Papa...if you're reading this...I finally got it. You were right. I miss it...I miss you...I miss our times together. And I am making the most of the time I have each day with my little girl and I'll do the same with my sons. And one day, I'm sure I'll be telling them the same thing you told me.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's all perspective...

I just want to place a disclaimer here...this post is not a criticism of anyone's personal experience in Uganda, nor is it a direct reflection of any one conversation. This is simple my thoughts on a general thought process and something I have personally been walking through. My apologies if anyone was directly offended by this.

So, in preparing to head to Uganda to adopt T & M, I keep being told how sparse and hard the living conditions are. As I would get in contact with person after person who had been there, most of them had the same story. In fact, so many people were saying the same thing that I was starting to panic wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into. I mean how hard is the 5 weeks going to be? Am I going to just want to cry myself to sleep each night and dream of America? My imagination was just going wild with all the possibilities.

Then, I met another military wife who had been there alone adopting their two blessings and she sent me a picture of what the rooms actually look like. My heart leapt! It was going to be paradise! I guess it's just perspective....

You see, when people talk about "sparse" or "rough" living my mind instantly goes to my time in Thailand living on the border with Burma in refugee camps. Having little to no electricity, sleeping on a bamboo floor in a hut with chickens roosting underneath. (After being woken several mornings in a row at 4am...I was ready to start learning how to kill chickens.) Bathing in a COLD mountain river or having to pull buckets of water up from an even colder well and bathing publicly with everyone watching you. Having no connection to outside world through the phone or internet. In fact, one time it took a 5 hour trip to make a 10 minute phone call.

I am thankful to report that my time in Uganda will not be like that. Sure it will be different and things won't be as reliable as they are here, but at least I'll have electricity most of the time, there is a hot water in the shower most of the time, I can have internet in my room most of the time, and I'll be sleeping on a semi-soft bed off the floor without any animals underneath my head. In fact, it will be much like the "resorts" we used to go to in Thailand when we needed a sanity break from the camps.

I do want to clarify that I'm not putting down those who felt it was hard...it probably was for them. But I've realized that it is truly all a matter of perspective. Thankfully, for me the living conditions will not be hard. There will definitely be other parts of this trip that I already know will challenge me. And without those experiences, the trip wouldn't be as effective because in those times of stretching I learn so much about God, myself, and the world. So here's to an exciting adventure ahead!

What my room might look like in Uganda...I tried to find one of my pictures from Thailand to have a visual comparison, but they must all still be at my parent's house. So, you'll just have to use your imagination.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stuff & Swashbucklers

In this journey of adoption there are moments of crazy stress and pushing to get all the paperwork together. You have a huge list of things to collect and get signed...and many times that list seems never-ending. And then, one day you actually have it all done and are able to hand it off. Your desk seems unusually clean and your to-do list drops off to nearly nothing. It's a bit disconcerting at times because you quickly realize how much of your daily focus was on the adoption process and getting the list done, and suddenly there's nothing more you can do but wait.

I hate waiting...(imagine me saying this with a Spanish accent for all you Princess Bride lovers)

As you may have deduced, we are in that part of the process right now. Our dossier (think ridiculously huge stack of papers) was sent away to Uganda yesterday and now we simply wait to hear when our court date will be...which will determine our travel date to pick up the boys. It was quite amazing this morning to look at my desk and see that it only had 1 manila folder on it...not 6. And I keep feeling like I have something that needs done or someone to call only to realize that it is all done.

Since I hate waiting...I have been keeping busy prepping for the boys' homecoming and our upcoming trip. I have been collecting all kinds of fun stuff to take with me to keep them active and trying to finish up their room. Each one will have his own backpack filled with cool stuff to ignite their imagination and creativity. I've also discovered the little men's clothing sizes, so we're starting to fill their clothes drawers as well...(thank you Aunt Paula & Anna!)
One of the cool things I came across in my shopping yesterday was a foam/rubber swashbuckler sword for only $1. (Again, think Princess Bride: You killed my father...prepare to die!) Anyway, I thought they were perfect for our little men and the Major would love them too. I quickly found out that I made a HUGE mistake in only purchasing two. Within minutes of showing them to the Major, he handed one to Boo and they were off battling it out together. Soon they were attacking me and I had nothing to defend myself with...so, I'll be back at Target soon to purchase three more: one for each member of the family. I am looking forward to many sword fights with our kids!

video

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

General update on life as we know it...

I know things have been silent on my end for quite a while now. That is not because there isn't a TON I would like to write about. It kills me to not be able to share openly about each step...but I'll make it and will share everything soon enough once we're home as a family of 5!

We have been so busy lately prepping for so many things in the making. I have finally gotten T & M's room just about finished and am starting to put together all the fun stuff to take with us to Uganda.

We recently received new pictures of our little men and I wept as I looked at the beautiful boys who will be my sons. God has been so good to our family and I am anxious to hold these little ones in my arms soon.

In the meantime we're also busy preparing for my little sister's wedding. I can't believe she's old enough to get married, but I am so thankful for the man she is marrying. They will be extremely happy and I look forward to being able to discuss "wifey" things with her soon.

The Major and I recently went to a Brooks & Dunn concert at Universal Studios Amphitheater. It was a ton of fun...but even more so, just being together. We haven't been very good at being consistent with our date nights and special outings, so this was a long time in coming for us. The only bummer was that it rained that evening, so we couldn't ride the Harley there. Otherwise, it was a night full of good music and fun.


Boo is doing well...still growing like a weed and really making huge developmental jumps. She's nearly running around the house now and has gotten her fair share of fat lips and bruises. She is starting to identify body parts now and is slowly starting to say words. I know she knows more than she is letting on...her comprehension of what we're saying is astounding at times. She also recently became the co-owner (with her brothers) of a new table and chairs for them to color on and do art projects. Mommy is already very thankful for a place to make messes without destroying the house. She is starting to get the hang of coloring. We have figured out that markers are her best medium since the crayons end up getting eaten. YUCK!

So, as you can see we're doing well...just extremely busy and looking forward to some major changes in our lives soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Showered with Love

This Valentine's Day weekend was loads of fun! In my family, Valentine's has become a special celebration and we are trying to carry on that tradition. My home is decorated with hearts and we have a special tablecloth that we only use this month. I make sure to put together "love boxes" for both sides of the family to have and open from us. They are usually filled with small treats. We also received love boxes from both sets of parents filled with goodies for each of us.

The morning started with Boo and I surprising Daddy with our special matching shirts. I was so excited to have these "My Husband Rocks" t-shirts to wear out in public so everyone would know what an amazing man I married. Boo was in on it too and made sure people also knew she had a cool Daddy. He loved them and we loved wearing them!


Next on the list for the morning was opening our gifts from each other and the extended family members. There were lots of kisses and hugs going around. Boo's favorite gift of the day, was the two dollars ($2) that my grandmother sent her.


After opening our gifts we quickly dressed and headed out the door to get our family picture taken for the year. It's late...I know, but we just haven't been able to get it done with sickness and traveling. The pictures all turned out great!

We then found a Sees Candy shop in the mall and the Major bought me a whole pound of my favorites. (treadmill, here I come!) I surprised the Major with lunch at his favorite restaurant: Red Robin. He was very pleased with his burger and all three of us had a wonderful time together.

We headed home in time for the Major and me to catch a movie together and stop at Ikea to get a small table and chairs for Boo and her new brothers. It was a wonderful day full of love, joy, and time together as a family. Definitely a Valentine's Day to remember!

Can't you see the look of pure joy on his face?!

Mommy & Boo enjoying a tropical smoothie.

Don't you just love the matching headbands we found?!

Boo thoroughly enjoying her mac n' cheese.

Silly Mommy forgot her bib...she was a mess & LOVED it!

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Husband Rocks! - Friday...on a Monday

This weekend was so packed with wonderful memories and times together that I simply did not get a chance to write on my blog. I have lots of catching up to do and will hopefully get all the new posts written before the end of the week...especially since this weekend is going to be just as crazy!

Prompt/Theme:

1. Tell the story of your first Valentine's Day together.

For our first Valentine's Day as a couple, we were separated and halfway around world from each other. So...I'd rather tell you about our first Valentine's Day that was spent together. It was in 2005 right after we were married. We had moved to Seoul, Korea within 3 weeks of our vows and were living with another couple while househunting for our first home. I was getting discouraged because we were having such a hard time finding a place. Then, on Valentine's Day we went to look at a few possibilities. The minute I walked into the first apartment we looked at I knew this would be our home. It was small, but had tons of character to it. The neighbors around us were quiet and mostly older Koreans. We continued to look at other places, but none of them held a candle to that one. We put money down on it right away and couldn't wait to move in. It didn't bother us a bit that we didn't have any furniture to actually move into the apartment. We were just thankful that the Lord had provided such a wonderful place for our first home. That little apartment will always hold a special place in my heart...it hosted more missionaries and comforted more souls than I ever thought possible. I miss it!


Me standing in front of our first home in Seoul, Korea

Our day didn't end with househunting though. My sweet husband had planned a special getaway for us. He had reserved us a suite in the hotel on the Army base complete with rose petals, chocolate covered strawberries, and champagne. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of that evening. After a delicious dinner in one of the fanciest restaurants on the base, we spent most of our evening just enjoying each other's presence and talking about what the future held. We had no idea how hard the next 2 years would be...or how full of joy and new experiences that would stretch and grow us. We were just thankful to be together after so much separation and to have a roof over our heads to call our own.


The happy couple ready to take on the world

2. If you decide to take the advice of this article (The Romance Factor by Twanda R. Smith), tell us what you're going to do, or share pictures if you have time!

This article had some great ideas and one that I have been working on for the last week. Since moving into this house a year ago, I still haven't decorated our room. I kept focusing on the other parts of the house that most people would see and also the children's bedrooms. Sadly, our romantic haven looks more like a project space than a place to get away. In the last two weeks, it has finally gotten to me and I am starting to decorate and redo our bedroom. Finances are tight with the pending adoption, but I have been watching sales and searching on the internet for good deals. I'm hoping that by the end of the month I will have a new room for the Major and I to relax in. It will still need to be practical in some ways, but hopefully will also be a place that causes sparks to fly. I'll definitely post pictures of the before and after once I'm finished.

Friday, February 6, 2009

We're Expecting!!!!

No, I'm not pregnant...but we are expecting! Yesterday I received one of the most wonderful phone calls any family can experience. It was the call to tell us that we had been matched with two beautiful boys who were chosen to join our family. We now have names and faces of the children God has specially chosen to be a part of our family. T & M are precious little men and their Momma can't wait to hold them in her arms and see their smiles. Although I can't post any other details...let me just say that our household is going to be BUSY! The Major and I couldn't be happier. Our sons are waiting for us in Africa and we are anxious to bring them home to our arms!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

These could be our children...

As I watched the following video, I was not prepared for the deep emotions it would elicit. When the aid worker stated that "these could be our children", I broke down. This was filmed in Uganda and highlights just a small reason we are feeling God moving our hearts to adopt from this country. I hope this gives you a tool to pray for the orphans not only in Uganda, but all over this world. And perhaps it will help to encourage more of us to open our hearts and our homes to them.

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27.


WARNING: Contents of this video could be emotionally disturbing to some.

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Husband Rocks - Friday (MHR)

Oops...forgot to post this, but better late than never. =)

Theme:
What was the moment or the circumstances that led to you knowing that you were going to marry the man who became your husband . . .

This post is an easy one for me since that moment is so indelibly etched in my mind. As many of you know, my husband was chosen for me by my dad after they met on an airplane. Yes, you read that right...my dad came home from a trip and announced to the whole family that he had met my future husband, handed me his address, and told me to start writing him. (he wasn't joking) So, I did...I started to write this man who was a single soldier serving our country in South Korea. A year later we met in person...there weren't huge fireworks, but I could tell there may be something there. We continued to write LONG, frequent letters to each other sharing our dreams, visions, and hopes for the future. I grew in my respect for this man and was amazed at how similar our life goals were.

My dad and I planned a trip to Thailand to visit some of the orphanages that I had worked at previously and were able to get a layover in Korea to spend some time with the Major. He was going to join us in Thailand as well. I was so nervous meeting the Major for the second time...my heart was pounding getting off that plane. I knew this man...but I didn't really know him. I knew his heart and it made me want to follow him anywhere, but would the man himself be that way...and would he even be attracted to ME?! Those first few days were so awkward, but soon we were talking to each other the same way our letters had talked and according to my dad, we never drew breathe.

The moment I "knew" though, was a magical night...our last night in Korea...on top of the Namsan Tower overlooking all of Seoul. The whole city was sparkling and the mountain was covered in a frosty snow that made it sparkle as well. As we talked and looked out over the city huge snowflakes started to fall...it was like a scene out of a movie. I can't remember what we were talking about, but something the Major said touched me deeply and I started to cry. As I turned away to wipe my eyes in embarrassment, he pulled me in close to his chest and held me tightly without saying a word. I will never forget that moment...I felt so at home and protected. The whole world could have come against me at that moment and I would have been safe and at peace. I knew then, that this was the man I was supposed to follow for the rest of my life.

To this day, whenever the Major holds me close there is something in my soul that sighs with contentment, "I'm home."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Adoption Update

I know I am terribly overdue for this, but life happens. =) We are still working on an adoption from Uganda although the landscape continues to morph as we travel this road. Our journey will be a little different than most international adoptions, so I ask for everyone's patience as we experience this adventure God has called us on.

The first change you should be aware of is that we have switched agencies. Not long after finishing our international homestudy, the agency we were working with alerted us to the fact that due to some issues in-country, they were shutting down their Uganda program. We were disappointed, but not discouraged. We knew God had other plans. We were put in touch with another group that works out of this area and instantly fell in love with the couple who are overseeing it. They are true kindred spirits and our 1 hour meeting with them turned into 4 hours of blessed fellowship. We are not only impressed with their walks, but also their activities within the country and total dedication to working above board in all they do.

This brings us to our next change...as per our agreement with this new agency, I won't be able to blog much about the process. I will give you general updates as I can, but all details will need to be held until we return to the States with our children. I will keep blogging as things progress, but will not post them until we're united as a family.

Some other general updates:
  • We have finished our international homestudy and are just waiting for USCIS approval for the children's visas.
  • We have not been matched yet, but are hoping to hear something soon!
  • Our time in Uganda will be longer than originally planned. I'll be there closer to 5 weeks as opposed to 3. I'm truly excited about this! I look forward to getting to know where my kids are from and the traditions their culture has...as well as the food. I can't wait to interact with them in their known environment before bringing them to the States. It should be a wonderfully educating experience!
  • It is looking like we will be bringing home 2 children instead of 3. We are not closing the door on this yet, but just waiting with open hands for the Lord's will.

So, that's about all I have to update right now. Feel free to ask questions...I will answer them openly if I can, and if not, you will receive an answer privately. We truly appreciate all the prayers and thoughts everyone has sent our way. We feel very supported through this process and know that God is working.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"My Husband Rocks!" - Friday

This week I bumped across a running project on another friend's blog. She was part of a growing number of bloggers who are participating in "My Husband Rocks!" Fridays. Every Thursday, Katy Lin from http://honestandlasting.blogspot.com/ posts a theme or two for us to write about on Friday. As a woman who has a husband who truly rocks, I thought this would be a great way to remind myself each week of exactly why I love him.

So, without further ado, here is this weeks MHR post:

The Theme:
Tell us about a time that your spouse went out of his way to serve you, and love you sacrificially.

Honestly, this has been a really hard post to write. The Major lives this everyday in so many ways it's hard to pin-point one. I could talk about the way he sacrifices his sleep to stay up late and watch a movie with me or let's me sleep while he tends to Boo if she wakes in the night. I could also mention how just this week when Boo was so sick, he ran out several times to the store to get medicine or special food items for her.

I think my favorite memory that stands out most in my mind happened when we were living and working Korea. We were actually in China on a missions trip to check on projects and encourage some of our fellow laborers there. We were near the end of a long trip and had gotten delayed flying into Beijing, our last stop. We were picked up by a local worker and taken to the office/apartment we were going to be staying in for our last few days there. I was so exhausted I could barely see and was looking forward to crawling into bed. There would be no sleep for the weary this night.

The whole room was filled with dust. The bed and pillows were moldy smelling and I ended up spending the next 2 hours coughing and needing to use my asthma inhaler while the Major was sleeping peacefully. After dissolving in tears, I woke the Major up and told him what was happening. His response was so precious. Without hesitation he got up, got dressed, and packed up our things to head out and try to find a hotel. The crazy thing was that it was now 3am...we have no way to contact the local workers, we don't know any hotels in the area...we didn't even really know where in the city we were, and we don't know the language. That doesn't stop my dear husband though. Out we went to wander the streets of Beijing.

There happened to be a few cabbies just outside the apartment complex and the Major bravely approached them with his Chinese/English dictionary and pointed to the word for hotel. Well, at least we thought it was the right word...there were two possibilities. We realized we had picked the wrong "hotel" word when the guys started looking me over and giggling. The Major quickly righted the situation and got the message across of where we wanted to go. In faith, we hopped in a taxi and started our trip down dark streets hoping we'd come out of this alive. We soon saw the most beautiful site...English letters spelling out HOLIDAY INN. I wanted to cry in joy. When we got in there, they were booked, but quickly found us a room in another nearby hotel. By 5am, we were finally crawling into a dust & mold free room.

The Major only got 2 hrs of sleep that night because he had to be at a meeting at 7am that morning. He came back to the hotel rejoicing that I had been able to sleep and took me out sightseeing later. It was truly a night to remember and one where my husband put my needs completely ahead of his own. He has continued to serve me this way throughout our marriage and I am so thankful to be his wife.

The Mission:
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, has two parts. First, look for ways that you can serve your husband. These can be big or small, sometimes the things that seem so insignificant to us can make a big difference in making our husbands feel loved and respected. And second, if your husband asks you to do something for him, even if it seems silly, or like he could easily do it for himself, do it cheerfully and without an attitude of annoyance.

OK...so, I'm going to have to think of some new ways to serve him this week. I have some ideas, but I won't share them yet since he reads this blog.

As far as the second mission goes...I'm pretty good at that, but I think I need to work on my heart attitudes more. I usually will cheerfully do something when he asks, but sometimes I find myself inwardly feeling put upon or aggravated that he asked. This week will be "heart-focused" on rejoicing in the ability to do things for the Major and the fact that he is around to ask me to do things.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Joy of Simple Things

While the Major was gone this past week, I was able to focus more attention on Private Boo. We had a wonderful week together connecting on a deeper level as mommy & daughter. As I spent more time with my little girl, I was reminded once again of the joy of simple things.

In our age of technological advances, children (and adults) have more gadgets to play with than ever before. More toys that sing, dance, light up, etc. It's truly amazing what the human brain has created. And yet, with all these new inventions I realized as I watched Boo play, that she took the most joy and had the most fun with simple every day things.
Whether it was trying on Mommy's shoes...

...Or wearing a sock on her head like a hat...
...Or swinging outside on a warm, sunny day...
...Or helping Mommy clean the house...
...Or just wearing a pair of her favorite pajamas...

...Boo seemed to take the most pleasure out of everday life and turn small everyday moments into times of joy and adventure. She challenged me to do the same and I found myself becoming more content than ever with my life, my home, and the everyday tasks that I accomplish as Mommy.

Seeing life through my child's eyes had brought more joy into my life and thankfulness for what God has blessed me with on this earth. I am determined to continue this pattern as we start this next semester and year. I want to make sure that I am enjoying everything to the fullest and truly living out our family motto of: CARPE DIEM! (Seize the day)

I hope you also take time to see your life through a child's eyes. You'll be amazed at the joy you'll find lurking in moments you often just ignore.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Fruit & Flowers Anniversary

Time is such a funny thing. For some moments it seems to move so quickly we can hardly keep up. For others, it seems to take forever. And then there are those moments and years, that aren't that long ago, but so much has happened in between that it seems ages ago. The later is how I am feeling today as I ponder our fourth anniversary.

Four years ago today I said "I do" to one of the most wonderful men I know. It really wasn't that long ago. I feel like I must have miscounted the years...surely we've been married longer than that...at least that's how it feels. We have packed more into these last four years than some people get to experience over their whole lifetime. And the crazy thing is we don't seem to be slowing down our pace either.

I knew my life would be filled with adventure and challenges when I married the Major. I had no idea it would be as hard, as beautiful, and as stretching as it has been. There were moments when I wondered what I was thinking and if I had made the wrong decision. There were also moments when I wondered if our love and bond could possibly be any closer or tighter. We are only four years into our marriage and I can already attest to the fact that your love for each other does change and become sweeter, deeper, and more amazing each year. But it doesn't get that way without the refining fire of life.

As I'm celebrating this anniversary separated from the Major, I've been thinking alot about another aspect of our marriage...and that is how incredibly "Christ-like" my husband is. We have faced so many challenges that at times nearly crushed my faith or pushed me to the edge and as I look back, I see the Major there holding me, encouraging me, and loving me UNCONDITIONALLY through it all. He has shown me so many times what Jesus' love for us looks like and it can be really overwhelming. I am so unworthy of this earthly man's love and yet he showers me with it liberally...how much less deserving am I of God's love and yet He pours His blessings on my life daily.

I miss the Major...I look forward to his homecoming and being able to greet him when he walks in the door from school or work. I can't wait to get back to having devotions together and worshipping at church as a family. I look forward to the many years we have ahead of us and watching our relationship deepen. I look forward to raising our children together and seeing who God brings into our family. I look forward to the adventures of living this "nomadic" life that God has called the Major to live and seeing where that leads us. I look forward to just resting in the arms of my beloved.

So...Happy 4th Anniversary, My Hero! You are the sparkle in my eyes and I'm always home as long as I'm with you!

I receive you, (Major), from our Lord to be my husband and covering; and will acknowledge you always as the head of our family, even as Christ is the Head of the Church.
Before God and these witnesses, I covenant this day to love you unconditionally and sacrificially by following the example of Jesus who laid down His life for us. I give myself completely to you; and will strive to walk in faithfulness, purity, and obedience to your leading as you follow the Lord and His Spirit. I will continually seek to do you good and not evil, so that your heart can rest in me all the days of your life.
I will endeavor to provide a haven of rest and peace for you in our home. If God should bless us with children, I will help you to raise and train them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I will teach them by word and example to love and honor you as the king and priest of our family.
(Major), I love you…
For better or for worse,
For richer or for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish as long as we both shall live.
With our eyes fixed on the Cross of Jesus Christ and under the banner of His love, I joyfully submit myself to you to be your wife until death separates us for a time or Christ returns in glory.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Taking Baby Steps

I know I left you all with a rather frustrating post. Soon after writing that post, we jumped into the holiday mayhem and have only just this weekend returned to some sense of normalcy. I have several new posts and thoughts to share with you, but I wanted to start off the year with a smile.

My first post of 2009 will be of my sweet daughter who chose to take her first steps last night. We were delighted and amazed as she finally trusted herself to be able to walk. As I watched her joy and happiness with each step and then finally fall into the arms of her dad...I thought of our own personal walks with the Lord. What joy it must bring God when we finally "walk" in our faith. When we take those first baby steps in trusting His will for our lives. And then, the joy in our own hearts as we realize that we are walking in His presence and falling into His arms in pure joy at the feeling of freedom it brings us.

May each of you start this year walking in His presence and will. Even if all you can do are baby steps now...you will be running by the end of the year straight into the arms of loving Father.

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