among the silent ranks.

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We are a rare breed. Military spouses and families silently serve their country so that others can enjoy the freedoms we have in America. We go months without contact, thousands of miles separate our family, holidays and celebrations are shadowed by the absence of our husband. Its not easy, but its not without purpose either. We do it because we have to, because we are able, and so our friends and families can have their husbands home. It is a sacrifice that often goes un-noticed, but without missing a beat military wives graciously serve their country every day.
Deployment is hard on everyone. I can not wait for the day when my family will be all together again! But what I have learned so far during this journey is that keeping strong through a deployment is possible. Every wife and every family is different, but I have made a little ‘game plan’ for myself to stay military wife strong! Hopefully, more good can come out of it and others, military and civilian, will be inspired! Stand strong among the silent ranks! Here is my pep talk to myself and anyone else that needs it:

  • Know who you are. Hold tight to what you know you are capable of. Think back to all of the difficult times in your life that you have gotten through. This deployment will be no different. One day it will be a past challenge that you have conquered.
  • Focus on the family. Keep in mind that your husband is the one deployed. Show respect and support him. Sending care packages and encouraging messages are his life line. Keep encouraging and loving him. He needs it more than we know. If you have kids, keeping your focus on helping them transition during this time is a great way to keep your mind off missing your husband. I have placed Daddy pictures everywhere for my son to see, we talk about Daddy every day, and we read his audio book every night. All mamas know how to be strong for their children. My son is also getting spoiled by his grandparents all summer!
  • Fill your days. Staying busy is key for me. When I stop, I start to look at this huge mountain in front of me and self-pity takes over. Taking each day and making the most of it helps me to look down at my feet climbing the mountain one step at a time. Go to the beach/lake, movies, zoo, museum, concerts, baseball games, take friends and family on a trip, finish a project you’ve been meaning to for years! Paint the kitchen, make a photo album, take a class, blog!
  • Allow yourself to be sad. Let’s face it, deployment sucks. There will be tears. So let yourself be sad, just in limited amounts. I have ‘allowed’ myself 7 days to use during this deployment as I need to. I can be depressed and eat chocolate and hide away and cry, but I only get 7 days total. This helps me get my female emotional crisis out of my system while preventing me from getting trapped there. Im happy to say I’ve only used 1 day so far! It could have carried onto 2 days, but I knew that I may need another one later and its too early in the game to use them all up, haha! So the next morning I woke up and forced myself to have a positive attitude and had a great day. Its ok to be sad, allow yourself how ever many days you need, but set the number and then thats it. Make the best of all other days! Maybe you will still have some “cry days” left over at the end! ;)
  • Stay healthy. Women handle stress differently. Some eat a lot, some have no appitite. Some want to lay in bed all day, some would give anything to fall asleep for more than an hour. Your body needs sleep and nutrition to run. I alternate coffee and melatonin to wake up and sleep when my body needs it. Eating well is just as important. Now would be a great time to try some new healthy recipes! Even if I am not hungry, I try to make myself eat and I always feel better after if it was something healthy. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a yummy buttery, fried, succulent meal every now and then- guilt free! I plan on celebrating ice cream later today!
  • Tango. The “Tango app” has been a wonderful way for me and my husband to communicate. When he has wifi access we can text, send videos, send pictures, send voice notes, and we’ve even been able to video call a few times! I keep my husband updated with videos of our son and some mornings we wake up to a video message from him! Remember to keep the time you talk positive. Communication is limited so it shouldn’t be used for arguing. Encourage each other.
  • Lower expectations. This is a hard one, but will save you from hurt. Don’t expect others to really understand what you are going through, especially if they do not have military background. Before my husband joined the military I had no idea what families went through, so I should not expect others to understand now. Don’t be upset when you feel like no one has checked up on you. Everyone is dealing with their own lives, and it doesn’t mean they don’t recognize or care for you. Appreciate those that do show you support and love, and save the venting for other military wives who are going through the same thing as you.
  • Serve others. Another way to stay busy and combat sadness is to serve other people. Volunteering your time with the homeless or poor is a great way to put things into perspective. I am so blessed to live the life I do. Nursing homes, Goodwill, hospitals and churches are always looking for volunteers. Also serve those you know! Celebrate with your friends and family with their accomplishments! Help friends move, take someone out to dinner for their birthday, pray with your friends and family on their struggles.
  • Expect the unexpected. We are all  familiar with “Murphy’s Law”; if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. So just expect it. Be ready. Have documents needed for the house and car, bills organized, phone numbers ready, people in mind who could help you.. so when (not if) the dishwasher breaks, you get a flat tire, and your baby has a fever all in one day, you’re at least prepared. Then be thankful that nothing tragic has happened while your partner is overseas. Pray against it, but if something devastating does happen, know how to get in touch with the American Red Cross who will find and contact your husband, its usually through your ombudsmen. I have both of my ombudsmen’s cards in my purse and have access to them via email and Facebook. Another good person to know how to get in touch with is your husband’s Commanding Officer’s wife. Cling to friends and family for support. Don’t wait for them to call you, call them and tell them what you need.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize. A good thing to meditate on is the homecoming. Think of how amazing it will be! I have the picture I took of my husband and I, after he graduated bootcamp on my dresser next to my bed. I look at it every day and I remember that feeling of running up to him after those long 9 weeks of separation with only letters to communicate. That was one of the greatest moments of my life.The anticipation will have built up much longer than only 9 weeks this time. I am so thankful to get the opportunity again to feel the way it feels to run into his arms in that moment! It’s still far away, but I’m already so excited! And yes, I have already thought about what I’m going to wear and what the sign will say that our son will hold up. Focus on how happy that moment will be! The day will come!
  • Surround yourself with love. This might be one of the most important things to me. I have written out bible verses that encourage me and have them up all over my room, bathroom, closet, and car for easy access when I’m having a bad day. Bad days will happen, so be prepared! Find a good military wife book to inspire you. Right now I am reading “Safe Landings: Memoirs of an Aviator’s Wife” by Fran McGraw and working through the Bible study “Tour of Duty” by Sara Horn. Leaning on God is what hard times are for. Draw near to Him. It wont make the trials go away, but you will never have to go through anything alone.

Some of the LOVE I have posted around my room right now:

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
-Isaiah 42:16

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“For He has said: I will never leave you nor forsake you, So we can confidently say: They Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
-Hebrews 13:6

“Trust in Him at all time, O people; Pour our your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. “
-Psalm 62:8

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
-John 16:33

Embrace the journey! xo

Count Your Blessings.

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Ok so lets think positive! Here are a few benefits of my husband being on deployment:
The remote control is MINE! I get to pick what TV show to watch with no hassle, I’m looking at you, NASHVILLE!
I can eat cereal every night if I want.
We have a huge opportunity to save money during this deployment.
I get to spend the summer in my hometown around all my family and friends! So grateful for this!
I dont have to worry about keeping up with birth control pills!
I can focus on growing and learning within myself.
Trails always bring us closer to our heavenly Father, He will sustain us!
I get the opportunity to miss my husband again, which can make the heart grow fonder and helps me appreciate what he does for us.

In any stressful/difficult time, I have found that I do so much better when I am able to count my blessings and help others. If I can focus on how blessed I really am, it makes hard days seem trivial. My husband and I both have access to wifi so communication, although limited, is possible during this deployment. We have a loving family unit, distance will not separate our bond. Our marriage is healthy and based on mutual respect. We have a beautiful, happy, and healthy baby boy.
Really, isnt this all that matters?

So in the case of last night- When I was putting my son to bed he was screaming and crying for his “Dada”, it broke my heart. I had to push back the tears and stay strong. I had to ignore the thought “this isnt fair”. The only way to not let myself slip into emotional darkness and drown in self-pity is to remind myself (actually say these things out loud to myself) MY FAMILY IS HEALTHY. WE HAVE A LOVING MARRIAGE. I HAVE FAMILY AROUND ME. WE HAVE JESUS ON OUR SIDE. THIS WONT LAST FOREVER.
Then I can get a few tears out, brush it off, and move on making a conscious decision to have a positive attitude. The truth is that God has not overlooked me or forgotten me. I can rest confidently in that through the stormy weather I see coming up ahead. I have prepared as much as I possibly can. I have pictures of my husband out, Bible verses posted around me, I’m working through a military wife/deployment Bible study, and my son even has a “Daddy Doll” to hug on! I am thankful for having to go through this trial because it is already teaching me to be better about controlling my thoughts. Positive thinking does not come naturally to me, but I am learning that if I can harness this, it can be life changing.
Focus on the beauty in the world.
Count your blessings every day through it all.

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Video-Chatting with Daddy!

Deployment & walking on water.

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“I will lead the blind by a way they did not know; I will guide them on paths they have not known. I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground… I will not forsake them.” 
~Isaiah 42:16

Imagine your life. Your spouse, kids, job, pets, home, family, friends, favorite restaurants, all things familiar- then move to a totally different place you’ve never even been. You know no one, have to learn the roads, find new friends, activities, jobs, church (some of these go unfound). Just when you start to feel comfortable in your new state, your spouse and companion has to leave you. How would your daily routine change? You’re left alone with no family near you, no husband to share duties with.. for 6 months minimum.
I am so blessed with such a hands on husband. He does all the yard work, trash, bills, more than his share of laundry, and can take care of our son 100%. Anything that I do with the baby (diapers, bath, food, play) my husband does as well. He is my extra set of hands and many times my sanity. When I’m cooking he’s cleaning, when I’m working he’s taking care of our son. So for him to be out of the country will leave me 2 hands to do the work of 4.  What if the car breaks down? The AC stops working or something awful like a pet dying? These 2 hands will have to figure it out. Add that in with the emotional toil that separation with the love of your life brings… Any family that has gone through deployment knows exactly what I am talking about. As the ‘D-date’ dwindles from being months away to only weeks away my anxiety increases. I could be totally wrong, since we’ve never been through an actual deployment, but I feel like the anticipation and planning phase might be the hardest. I just want to get it started to get it over with! The anticipation is killing me! (Ask me in month 4, and I may be saying how much harder it is, haha!)
The military life is known for its unreliability of time frames and dates- because there is so much up in the air. Your life has to be lived in the “hurry up and wait” mentality. Hurry up and get everything prepared you need for your husband to be gone, then wait until we say he has to go. Yes we have a date that he leaves, but its like a baby’s due date.. only 10% of the time will it actually be on that date. We were told in fact that it could be any time with only a week’s notice. If that doesnt make you cherish each day together, I dont know what will!

Our first year of marriage, my husband was away at bootcamp and then training. It taught me a lot about myself but I was so thankful when we finally got to start our life together, together! This time it will be different because he wont be close enough for me to visit every few months, and now we have a child. I can’t imagine having to say goodbye to my son for 6 months. What a sacrifice my husband is making. For men though, they want to go out and fight for something. It is in their nature to protect and provide. Fathers have said goodbye to their families to go off to war since the beginning of war. Women have a longing to nurture and care for, which is why my heart goes out to all the mothers who deploy leaving children behind. Its a heart wrenching reality. Nevertheless, I know there will be tears on the day my husband hugs and kisses his son goodbye. Neither one of them will be the same the next time they see each other.

I know that we need difficult times like this; it’s what makes us stronger. I have to look at this as an opportunity to grow as a wife, mother, and Christ follower. When I think about it that way, I almost feel excited! (almost I said!) There are lessons to be learned and character to be chiseled.
I have been preparing physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have faith, even if its as small as a seed on some days, that this road we are about to travel may be dark and unknown, but we will not be alone.
Deployment is the Sea of Galilee, and I am Peter. And Jesus is Jesus! :)  As I step out of the boat onto the rolling waves of the unknown, the unbelievable becomes reality. And when (not if) my faith slips due to fear, I will not be abandoned to sink, His HAND will be extended towards me to grab hold.

“About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said.“Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.”
~Matthew 14 : 25-33

the day my son played in his poop.

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I knew one day the time would come that my sweet innocent child would do something so gross it would go down in our family history books.
As he is learning more about himself and the world around him, he is getting himself into some funny (and stinky) situations. Oh the joys of growing and learning :)

 

I am happy he is realizing what going to the bathroom is.. that means we are getting closer to being out of diapers! But why does he have to explore when his Dad isn’t home to help me clean it all up! The toddler years are incredible if you can find your since of humor and enjoy the ride!

 

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Brick wall.

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Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
~Isaiah 40:30

Last week I hit my brick wall.
 I have always viewed myself as a strong person, able to wear many hats and do most things well. I am a woman, so naturally I am good at multitasking! I am also a military wife and a working mother. I try my best to be a good daughter and sister as well, and a loyal and loving friend. Like so many other women, I pride myself in being able to work long hours while making time to cook for my family and keep the house tidy. Most of the time I even keep my mascara and hair looking good while doing it! (That’s the Texan woman coming out in me)
Last weekend I worked in the ER like I do every weekend, and followed it up with an early Monday morning shift like I often do as well. I’ve actually worked more hours working all night before staying up with the baby all day; and have surprised myself on how much I can get done running on no sleep. That’s why I was so surprised on what happened to me last week. Monday morning I was working in pre-op getting patients ready for eye surgery. I was going over a consent and procedure with a patient and lost my focal vision. I thought it was weird that I couldn’t see what I was trying to focus on. Wherever I tried to look I just saw bright white. I rubbed my eyes and continued signing my name on the orders but I couldn’t see my signature. Weird. I really didn’t think anything of it- ‘My eyes must be tired’. I did notice that I could see the paper around where I was trying to look, so I used only my peripheral vision to start this patient’s IV. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have stuck a needle in someone’s vein if I couldn’t see.. but surgery schedules run tight and I didn’t want to slow the surgeon down! I must say, I am really good at starting IVs, and this time was no exception. It’s mostly done by feel anyway! After I was done prepping that patient for surgery, I went and took some sips of water and was still seeing that bright light, but it was not really bothering me as much. ‘I’m gonna get some more coffee after this next patient’, I thought. I took a name label for the next patient and went out to the waiting room to call her back (I’ll change her name to “Lindsey” for privacy laws). I opened my mouth to loudly call “Lindsey”, and all that came out was the first syllable. I startled myself, and tried again but still just a foreign sound came out of my mouth. I knew that I knew what the name was, and that I had said it before. I knew exactly what I was trying to say, but I wasn’t saying it. There was no connection between my mouth and the recognition of how to say the name in my brain. At this point I was too shocked in myself to be worried. I was also embarrassed and got flushed and hot. Here I am, standing in a doorway with a crowded waiting room full of anxious people about to have surgery, and I’m making un-recognizable sounds! ‘Um.. are we sure we want to have surgery here today?’ I struggled with the simple name a few more times, then finally I must have said something that resembled the name enough for the patient to understand I meant her. She slowly stood up and walked towards me. I asked her to tell me her birthday (I was afraid to try to read it) so that I could compare it with her name lable. Yes, right person. Whew, that was weird.. ‘Right this way.’ I acted like I was fine, but the look on her face made me think I was still stumbling on my words. ‘Have a seat on the chair- I mean, stretcher. First I’m going to take your blood sugar- I mean, blood pressure..’ I was not saying what my brain was telling me to say! I was saying related words, still medical terms.. but not the words I was meaning to say. Then the headache started. It was just a dull, on the forehead ache; nothing I wouldn’t normally just take a Tylenol for and go about my day. But I knew something wasn’t right and I was NOT gonna start this lady’s IV if I couldn’t see OR talk. At that point I told the lady to get changed and I would be right back. I asked my manager if I could take a Tylenol from our medication room because my head was starting to hurt. At least that is what I was trying to say. Next thing I knew I was on a stretcher and our Medical Director Anesthesiologist was looking in my eyes with a light. I felt a blood pressure cuff inflating on my arm and it was reading 159/90 (I have never been above normal, 120/70). I told him that my head was hurting, now only on my left side and down my neck. I felt so nauseous as I explained to him that I wasn’t able to say the patient’s name earlier, although now I could. He wrote out orders for me to go to the ER. ‘Seriously?? But I just worked there all weekend, I’m gonna be embarrassed! It’s just a headache. I’m only 26, no medical history.. I’m just tired, don’t you think its just that I’m tired and dehydrated?!’ He replied, ‘Lindsey. No I do not. Go to the ER now.’ (He later told me, he was worried I was having an aneurism.)
 Its good when the doctors you work with like you, but I didnt like him at that moment. I reluctantly agreed. My son’s babysitter went to the house last minute; thank God my husband was off for President’s Day. My husband drove me to the ER and that is when my head really did start to hurt. I saw the Medical Director in the ER and my friends were my nurses. I always said I would NEVER go to my own ER for anything because I would feel like I was wasting their time, but that was before I ever needed them. They seriously took such good care of me. All the initial tests for stroke were done right away and came back negative! The doctor explained to me the only way to be sure it was not an aneurysm was to do MRI and MRA scans. A doctor that I have worked with many times before admitted me to the neurology floor for consults and tests. It was such a crazy day. The results showed a brain that has had frequent migraines. The funny thing is, I have never had a migraine in my life! The neurologist explained to me that there are typical migraines (the ouch this really hurts kind) and atypical migraines that can present in different ways. He said some could cause you to loose feeling and strength on one side just like a stroke! He explained it to me as just like a clot or bleed in the brain’s vessels that cut off blood flow in a stroke, blood flow is inhibited by a nerve spasm in the brain during an atypical migraine. That is what happened to me that morning. Atypical migraines can definitely be treated with medication, but now that I know I’m not dying I’d really rather not be on something. I am hoping to battle this with proper rest and nutrition, and I am praying that it will never happen again. 
The neurologist agreed that this was probably brought on by exhaustion. He said I have to eat a good breakfast everyday, no more counting every little calorie, and I am definitely not allowed to work a day shift and a night shift in the same 24 hour period anymore.
Not only did I learn lessons of limitation, but this experience also made me a better nurse. I always say, that every time a nurse or doctor is a patient it makes them a better caregiver. Seriously, that MRI is no joke! It was so scary. I was so upset with myself when I thought it was so difficult. I kept thinking ‘YOU ARE AN RN, you know there is nothing to be afraid of, its just a super small hole that you go in with a mask on your face then you listen to loud noises for an hour! Quit being a wuss! You still can breathe in there!’ Then I realized that maybe what I was saying to myself is what I had thought towards my patients who said they were claustrophobic in the MRI machine… But that was before I had to have one! The tech was really nice, assured me that I wasnt being annoying and that he understood I was there alone (my husband was at home with the baby- all close friends and family are far away when you’re a military family), he gave me a cool rag and called my nurse who gave me Ativan before we tried again. Now, all my patients are getting as much Ativan as they want before their MRI! Seriously, Ativan all around! Even if you’re not ‘claustrophobic’, you’re getting drugged. Trust me, its so much better. You never know how you’ll react during things like that until you are in the situation yourself. Medical tests can break the strongest man/woman.
The week after my crazy night in the hospital I had a dull headache and my left eye felt heavy and did the twitchy thing it does when I’m tired. But thanks to my wonderful husband and parents who flew in from Dallas to help, I am all rested up and ready to get back to normal. Well the new normal of going slower and making time to eat and sleep. My dad flew in the night I was in the hospital and helped the next day, and it was perfect timing that my mom and step dad were already planning a trip to visit us that weekend. They love getting the baby up in the mornings and I love sleeping in! One of my best friends, Amanda, who is going through her own health trials right now was only a text away the whole time, talking me through the MRI drama because she had been there before as well. My ER night shifters were calling my hospital room and checking up on me. Its easy for me to forget sometimes, but its so good to know that I have people to taking care of me when scary stuff happens.
And of course, there was my amazing husband who is always my rock. The calm to my chaos. He did all the housework to let me rest while being such a great Daddy to our baby son. I seriously dont know how I’d get through my crazy life without that man.

The biggest lesson: our bodies can only do so much. Too all the supermoms out there, we HAVE to make rest and nutrition a top priority. What kind of example have I been? I have been taking on too much and I forced God to have to force me to stop. Listen to your bodies and minds.

 

2013

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Hello out there!!! Its been a bit, but it feels good to be back on the keyboard!
Our family has fully recovered from the holidays and we’re getting back in our routine of work, play and growth. Our Texas visit was great as always, complete with a little drama of course! Cole got to see all his grandparents and my husband and I got good time in with both our families and with some of our dearest friends.
I am always a little tearful (and public tears are NOT my comfort zone) at DFW airport saying good-bye to my beloved homeland. It took me a few weeks actually to get back on track and adjusted, this surprised me. I worked a lot to make up for hours on the clock that were missed during our trip, while fighting endless travel laundry, cleaning, and un-packing. Thank you to my awesome husband who took down ALL of the Christmas decorations so I had one less thing to deal with in between working 12 hour shifts. It was actually really exhausting. Literally exhausting. I felt like a zombie at the end of something, not at the start of a fresh new year! I didn’t feel that “New Year push” which fuels the crowded gyms, churches, and nutrition centers in January. I felt the exact opposite. I named it: The Post-Holiday Blues. Anyone else out there go through this? Maybe its the end of all the excitement and getting back to a normal routine, or looking back on a year seeing holes in stuff you missed, or the daunting tasks that await you in the coming year.. If there’s no one else that feels this way in January, then I’ll just be the crazy one, its fine.
I will say that I feel better now and I am thankful that it only lasted a few weeks. I’m definitely more myself now. The house is settled; I’ve recovered from all of the lack of sleep due to my crazy work schedule. I kinda feel like I missed January. Now its already February- MY January. I’ve got my eyes ahead of me for what this year will bring. Its going to be a crazy year for my family.. and that’s if everything goes as planned! 2013 will not be a calm year, there will be multiple major changes in our lives. At one point it all seemed scary, but now I have the adventure in the forefront of my mind. My husband and I always agreed that a life of routine sounded boring- we’ll be putting our theory to the test this year thats for sure! This is our life, and I am so thankful to continue on this adventure as a military wife, mommy, and nurse. A positive attitude & prayer will be my resolutions to get me through this year filled with separation, moving, school, work, family and the tasks of daily life in between.
So.. big gulp, here we go 2013! Bring it!

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Happy 1 year anniversary to me!

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“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 
-Ernest Hemingway 

Today marks my one year anniversary of writing on my blog!
One year a ago, I made a commitment to writing, and I am happy to say that I’m still doing it!
Learning, growing, and recording.

Today I went back and read my first blog entry that was written on December 14, 2011. I had been inspired to write for enjoyment and to grow as a wife, mommy, and nurse. I wrote about how busy I was being a new mom, adjusting to working night shift and going to school full time. I felt as though writing would positively add to my life not stress my busy schedule. Since I wrote my first post, we have moved, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, baby milestones and a few graduations! I am no longer in school because I completed my BSN! I am actually very proud of myself for not giving up on my education as life got more complicated during the journey. Nursing school will always hold a special place in my heart, but graduating with my BSN during so much: 3 huge moves (Texas – Pensacola – Jacksonville), 3 different nursing jobs, a health scare with my husband, a pregnancy, and a newborn.. it makes me feel like super woman! I definitely didnt feel so super when I was in the middle of it, but now I can look back and say that I did that! ME! It makes me feel like I could achieve more! Do I see grad school in my future? hmm.. :)

The majority of what I wrote about this past year was about my baby boy. He’s easy to write about. :) Being a mom has shown me strength I didnt know I had. Its almost indescribable how my little boy has changed my heart. A baby definitely makes you grow up in many ways! Its no longer ‘all about me’, haha! (Although my husband lets me think it is every now and then because he’s sweet.) Being a wife has shown me my selfishness and how to combat it. Being a mother has shown me my strength and capacity to love. Both roles point me to God. What I really see when I look at the miracle of my son is God, our heavenly father.
I see my Father- in the face of my child. 

Anyway, as I look back on my first year of blog writing I am pleased to see that it has done exactly what I wanted it to. Ive been able to do some good reflection and hopefully was able to inspire others as well!
Here’s to more words! XO

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lessons of obedience.

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My son is 16 months old. The joy of being his mommy gets sweeter every day as I watch him develop and understand the world we live in. He is starting to mimic everything we do- sounds, facial expressions, movements. He’s also already shown the innate human ability to problem solve. ‘If I’m pushing the chair and hit a wall, I can’t push it any further. But if I come around to the side of the chair and push it away from the wall, I can move it again.’ Something else I have found interesting  as I have been observing my child, is how he is learning right from wrong. ‘If I splash in the bath tub mommy laughs and sings “Splish Splash”. If I try to stand up in the bath tub, mommy’s face is serious and she says “No No! Sit on your bottom.”‘. And he tests this. Over and over he tests this. ‘Im gonna try to stand up in the tub again and see if she still says no. Will dad say no, or is it just mom? Is it just for right now, or is it every time?’
It only took a few days of my constant “No, yucky!” with everything he was putting in his mouth, for me to feel confidant that he truly understood what ‘No” meant. These days I am 100% sure he knows what it means because I see him wrestle with his own desires, verses what mommy is telling him to do. Seeing this made me remember past sermons I heard back home in Texas about being “born sinners” (see Psalm 51:5).  Now that I have a child of my own and am reviewing this idea, I understand it much more.
Watch this video of my son. Right before I started filming with my phone, he was walking backwards and it was hilarious looking. Of course he stopped doing it as soon as I started filming. As I try to get him to do it again he spots his pacifier in his crib. [His crib is the passie's home. That is where it stays, because "passie is just for night night time". Cole knows it. I know it. Even the dog has to know it by now. I know that Cole knows he is only allowed to have his pasifier at night because every morning I ask him, "where does your passie go? Tell passie bye bye", and he reluctantly takes it out of his mouth and drops it in the crib. Then I say "Yay!! Thank you baby!" and we start our morning.]

Watch what happens:

The child sees what he wants. His mom reminds him that what he wants is not allowed. He wrestles with it. He doesnt just grab the pacifier, stick it in his mouth, and run away ignoring what he is being told. He thinks about it, he tries to fight aganst what his own selfish desire is, verses pleasing his mother (me). He slowly took what he was wanting hoping the rules would change in the process. ‘Maybe she’ll change her mind and just let me have it’ (a seemingly small, but detrimental parenting mistake- even starting now with the passie). He takes the pacifier, and thinks ‘well maybe I can just play with it’. Nope, a rule is a rule. If he had not thrown it under his crib I would have had to get up and take it from him resulting in baby melt down. So he accidentally throws it, and what does he do? Finds another passie in his crib!!!! This time attempting to put it in his mouth. My heart swelled with pride when he chose to obey me when I told him to give his passie to me. Although he did not want to give it up, he obeyed. YAY my sweet little boy! My happiness faded fast when I watched his little mind try to understand what just happened. He went back to the crib and realized there were no more passies. He realized he was not going to get what he desired just because he desired it. His little heart broke and as his mommy, so did mine! I know that pain. I’ve been there too, baby. I know first hand what it feels like to want what you want, and even truly whole-heartedly believe you need it, only to find out its not at all what you need. Oh tough love.
As much as I hate seeing my son sad, it is nessasary. I take being his mommy extremely seriously. God looks at us as His children and taking his father role over us seriously is an understatement. We may not ever understand why things are the way the are- just like Cole doesnt understand that having a pacifier constantly in his mouth can mess up his teeth, promote dependance, and disguise real reasons for tears like pain or sickness. He has no clue what my reason and plan is- its not even in his scope of thought. All he knows is that its comforting and he wants it. Sometimes, thats all adults know as well. Sometimes, I want things that are bad for me and that could harm me. I dont know (or dont want to know) that it could harm me because I want it. THANK YOU GOD that you love me enough to never ever give in to what I think is best. We are blessed to have a heavenly Father who is stronger, and wiser than we are. He will never give up on us, he will never give in and let us hurt ourselves. God will never say, “Ok fine just have it so you’ll quit asking me!”  I am so thankful He protected me from my own selfish desires because His plan turned out to be a million times better than my own. I can honestly say I am a blessed woman and I could not be happier. Gods way is the right way. I dont even want to think about where I would be today if God had not forced me (through many tears) off my own path and onto HIS path for my life. I want to teach my son to walk on the path God has for him to start out with, and hopefully save him some tears. God knows everything, and his ways are better than ours. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:9  It may be uncomfortable and it may hurt to not get what we want, but God is always by our side going through it with us. And because of Jesus, he feels our heartbreak with us. Then when we make the right decisions, he rejoices with us! Hopefully we will be like Cole and show obedience with or without understanding. We may get upset, but with God’s provision we are able to brush it off, find a good book and move on.

I’ll sum up with a excerpt from a sermon by Matt Chandler, The Village Church:

You and I by our nature, from the second we’re born, have set up shop on the throne of our hearts. We are god, and what we want rules, and what we want reigns. And we become in that position, a slave to our desires and our longings. Despite the fact that those desires and longings simply bring reproach, shame, guilt, and loss into our lives, we continue to sit on that throne and pursue the god of our own comfort and the stuff of future garage sales. Yet the gospel goes out, it’s received by the mercy of God, and we gladly step off that throne and let the rightful Ruler of our hearts reign as he was meant to reign, as Lord over our lives (Chandler, 2012).

Chandler, M. (2012, February). Galatians — Part 1: An Astonishing Trade. The Village Church. Retrieved from   http://media.thevillagechurch.net/sermons/transcripts/201202051115FMWC21ASAAA_MattChandler_GalatiansPt1-AnAstonishingTrade.pdf

give thanks.

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Let the weak say I AM STRONG.
Let the poor say I AM RICH.

Thanksgiving :: family, football, crisp air, naps, parade, movies, shopping, and of course the feast!
I love this holiday.

This year I am especially thankful for my little family. The daily trials of life and the tribulations that have come our way recently crumble at our thankfulness for each other. I am so blessed to have a husband who truly understands me, knows me, and still loves me deeply. There are many men and women who are not spending Thanksgiving with their families because of their military service. Our service members are away from their families so that others are able to be with theirs. I am thankful to have my husband home this thanksgiving knowing that next year is a deployment cycle.
We are so incredibly blessed with our son, Cole. From the start of conception- the intricacy of life is a miracle.
The list goes on and on. I am an American, I have a college education and a wonderful career, health, food in the fridge, electricity, running water, sanity, 2 running vehicles, the internet, an iPhone for goodness sake- I can LOOK at my sister in Texas and talk to her Inspector Gadget style!
And what I am grateful for above all else is my heavenly father and what He has done for me.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should no perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16