Friday, November 30, 2007

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10.

For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. Psalms 61:3

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10

There's something wonderful I've been learning lately...God IS my Strong Tower! Tomorrow it will be December 1st and I can't believe it! Our family has been through so much change this year that I can't imagine where we would be without the Lord. He is the reason I can sit here and say all is well. It hasn't been an easy step of faith, but then again I guess that's why it's called a step of faith!

I look back at this time last year, when we were waiting for an answer from the Lord on the chaplaincy, and I'm still finding it hard to believe that my husband is a Chaplain. Literally, out in the field right now ministering to Soldiers, training for two weeks in the freezing cold temperatures. His ministry is nothing like it was a year ago and nothing he could have even imagined for himself. It's not easy. He's not so young anymore but he's out there every morning at PT (physical training) doing things that he never dreamed he'd be doing at this stage in his life (his favorite - playing ultimate football with the Soldiers). They don't cut him any slack just because he's the Chaplain either. In fact, it's quite the opposite - they're tough on him because of it. Many people don't realize that our Chaplains have to be as fit physically as an Infantry Soldier!

I feel strong, like I can get used to this life. I can't explain it, but I know that the Lord has done something in my heart to bring me to a new place in my life. I don't mind that I don't really have any close friends here yet, that I'm cooking and cleaning every day and not out in the workforce anymore. It feels good to be here in mind and body for my husband any time he needs me. That was difficult to do when I worked full-time. The same with my kids. I'm here - I feel it. I'm not distracted by other things. We can pay all our bills every month and we haven't missed that money one bit. It's all God and we praise Him for providing all we need to do what he's called us to do.

I miss being a part of the worship team at church and all that it entailed, but that, too, is all in God's hands. The other day Kevin needed me to create a sheet with words to different songs on it so he could hand it out for the Soldiers when they have services. He asked me to pick out songs that would be easy for them to sing and then type it up. It felt good to get to do that for him. I got up from the computer and told him sometimes I feel like I am wasting this gift God has given me and he quickly reminded me that I'm not...that God used me right then to minister to the Soldiers and there are seasons even with our gifts. I walked away realizing he was right and was immediately flooded with other ideas that will help him in this ministry that I can't wait to get started on. God is good

I feel a sense of complete peace here in this place. I feel God's presence and love every day and I don't doubt for a second that we are here for His glory. He's taken us from what we've known and been comfortable with for years. He's teaching us more and more about who HE is and what HE desires for our lives. I can honestly say there is no better place to be! I didn't say it's easy and pleasant and fun all the time, but we're in His will and the peace that passes all understanding is in our hearts.

I haven't been able to really write lately. I've had so much on my mind and heart. Kevin called this morning to tell me all is well in the field and I could hear such excitement in his voice for the time he's having with the Soldiers and I just wanted to praise God for where he's brought us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

For those going through a tough time right now...

Someone very, very dear to me is struggling right now and God reminded me of a song today. I sent it to her, and then thought it might do us all some good to read these words today. For all our struggles, and all our pain, for all our joys and fears the same...God is there.

I cover my heart
Turn from the wind
Button my coat
Here comes the storm again

What can I do but to trust in Him
'Cause I know the deeper my faith runs
The stronger I become
And the thunder, it may shake me
But I always know that...

After the rain
You can look to the sky again
The clouds will give way
To the light of the sun
After the rain
You know that you've made it through
And you'll finally see the joy from the pain
After the rain

Everyone needs
Everyone hurts
Everyone feels
The weight of the world sometimes

But don't let the wind sweep your heart away
'Cause even the roughest waters cleanse
So when they come again
Let them serve as a reminder
You can always know that...

After the rain You can look to the sky again
The clouds will give way
To the light of the sun
After the rain
You know that you've made it through
And you'll finally see the joy from the pain
After the rain

Can't you see the hand of Jesus
Reaching out for you
You never have to face the storm alone

After the rain
You can look to the sky again
The clouds will give way
To the light of the sun
After the rain
You know that you've made it through
And you'll finally see the joy from the pain
After the rain

After the Rain by Aaron Jeoffrey

If you've never actually heard the song, you should look it up and listen to it!

Thank you for that reminder today, Lord. I praise you, even when times are tough, because you teach me more of who YOU are. Thank you for your love, your peace, and the joy you bring to our hearts when we trust in you. Amen

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Why I love where I live...

I drive down this road at least four times a day...

At the end of the road, I see this...

The photographer of the family has been here most of the week - capturing glimpses of God's beautiful creation - and I have much to write about, but she leaves tomorrow so it may take a few days to write about our time together. For now, I thought I'd share these pictures and get back to spending time with her.

Friday, November 23, 2007

O Christmas Tree...

Here's some pictures of our Christmas Tree this year...

Thanksgiving 2007

This year was unlike any other Thanksgiving we've ever had. It wasn't spent with extended family, or hunting for my husband; it was spent with Soldiers from my husband's battalion and thinking about our son being in training and away from us. Our daughter and the twins talked a lot about how different it was from our typical Thanksgiving and were very happy we were able to be a part of this for the Soldiers. Many of them were about the age of our son so it did my heart good to talk to them and encourage them. While my husband was busy serving the Soldiers, I walked around to the different tables and talked to them. I was hoping and praying someone was doing the same for my son. It almost made me cry when one of the young Soldiers came over to me before leaving and wished me a happy Thanksgiving again.

Later in the day we heard from our son's girlfriend that he was doing really well and had been ministered to in a similar way for his Thanksgiving away from home. She said he sounded so good...happy and relaxed and doing much better than last week! Praise God!!! He had also received our letters before Thanksgiving and that in itself was an answer to prayer. He got off with her to try to call us, but since we didn't receive the call we figured he wasn't able to make two calls as he had hoped. Either way, it was good to hear he was doing well!

After spending time with the Soldiers we went to the ocean and walked around. It was a beautiful, bright day. I'm thankful for so many things in my husband, my children, my family, my friends, the time we had to spend with the Soldiers, for those who ministered to our son while he's away from us and, most of all, for the hope I have in my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the salvation He brings to all who will receive Him.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My husband came in from the field on Friday and slept about 20 hours straight. He did wake up some in those 20 hours, but he doesn't even remember things like going back and forth from the living room to our room and back, eating dinner or talking with me. I felt so bad for him. One minute he would be awake and I'd look over a few minutes later and he'd be fast asleep again. He even came in the living room for dinner and wondered how he got there. I must have held him for four hours straight when he first fell asleep after arriving home and taking a long hot shower. He laid down on the couch and put his head on my lap and I just sat there. It's weird what we take for granted with our spouses. I can remember times when I would think I was just too busy to sit down for 30 minutes while he was sleeping, but something as simple as that made me feel blessed. I found myself watching him sleep as if we were newlyweds. I sat there wishing he never had to be gone again, yet I know he will. I try not to think about that too much. It's just the way it is in the military. I'm thankful for every moment I have with him and I pray I never take it for granted.

The last few days I've been a little weepy. Today was better, but yesterday everything seemed to make me cry. My son is on my mind A LOT. I pray for him all throughout the day and at night when I wake up. He got like 3 minutes to make a call early Sunday morning and called his girlfriend, who in turn called us (after she composed herself). I know it's not easy so I was sort of relieved that I couldn't hear his voice. He told her the first few days were really tough but he's OK.

My husband and I read through some of his old letters when he was in Basic Training 15 years ago. There's a lot you forget! I think the letters made us both worry a little more for him. We know what they go through, but I guess it's harder to think about when it's your child. I find myself feeling anxious sometimes and have to ask the Lord to help me not to feel that way. It's not like I can do anything about what's going on with him anyway. I know the Lord is with him and that brings comfort. I sent our first letters to him this morning. I really hope he gets them in time for Thanksgiving. I also hope he gets a wonderful host family who gives him plenty of time to call home!

I've also been busy preparing for our daughter to come tomorrow. We're so excited about that! One of the twins yelled out, "29 more hours until we see you" over the phone with her today. I wish she was staying for good, but that will have to wait until January. For now, I'll gladly take the five days I've been given!

On Thanksgiving day my husband will be serving the Soldiers at lunch and then we'll have our family time later in the afternoon. We plan to at least go with him and hopefully we can also minister to the Soldiers in some way. The Thanksgiving holiday also allows us to have a four day weekend with my husband so I'm VERY, VERY thankful for that. We're looking forward to not only seeing the snow in the mountains, but skiing/snowboarding this time!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Baking with the twins!

Dad's in the field and we're spending the evening baking sweets (dad will love that!), and having fun singing and dancing in the kitchen. They've become quite good lil' cooks! They are counting down the days for their sister to arrive for Thanksgiving. I bet that will be a fun day in my kitchen since they like to help me cook all the time now! Here's some pictures of our fun...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I love this picture of my son and daughter. It was taken on Sunday at their Nana's house, when they were spending their last few hours together before he left for basic training. I love the love that they've always had for each other. I know they will miss each other a lot!!!

It was tough to sleep last night with my husband in the field for the next few days, my daughter going through a very difficult time in her life right now, and wondering what my son's new adventure has been like thus far. I wonder what my son is doing right now and if everything is good. I've been wondering that since about 6:30 last night since I'm sure by then his feet had hit the ground at basic training. I'm sure he's been up for at least a few hours now (something he's not really used to!) and I pray he's loving it (if that's even possible right now).

Although I hate that my daughter is going through so much right now, we're very excited that she will be moving here with us in January!! It's not been easy being separated from us and now her brother is away, and she's no longer with her boyfriend, so there's nothing really holding her there. She'll visit next week as planned (bringing what she can with her), and we'll go home for Christmas and our son's graduation from training, and then she'll join us here in January. I've felt in my heart for some time now that moving here with us for a little while (still going to college) might be best for her. Now I know! Her twin brothers are extremely happy about this. They have really missed her. It was so cute to hear how they felt about it, and knowing how happy it made them confirmed it for me.

I hope we are on the downhill slide of experiencing so much change. I thought it would have ended by now, but only God knows when it really will. Maybe it never will. Being in the military can mean a lot of changes at any given time, and with little or no notice. I hate to even write this, but I must because it is so much on my heart - I hope and pray God isn't bringing my daughter here to help me cope with my husband being sent off to war. I pray that is nowhere in the near future (though I know his unit is scheduled for sometime late next year) and that this war ends very, very soon. With so much uncertainty, and the great need for Chaplains, I can't help but wonder this. I pray with all my heart that is not the case!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our son is headed to Basic Training!

I can't believe it - He just got on the plane about 20 minutes ago and we're so excited for him!!! [sigh...] Since we're thousands of miles away, I called his girlfriend to get the low down on everything. She went to see him off this morning and spend as long as she could with him. Her plane left before him, but he called when he could. She said he met three other guys that are going into Pararescue and he was really excited about that. All those leaving for Basic were put into groups of 8 and one of the other PJ's he said seemed really cool was in that group. Then at lunch they broke into groups of 4 and, again, he was with our son. Evidently they had gotten to know each other some and discovered that each other were Christians and he asked our son to pray before they ate lunch. Hearing that made my heart leap! I love our son's heart for the Lord and I've prayed he will have other men with him who have that same heart.

His girlfriend said she could hear so much excitement in his voice and we are all thrilled for him and his first experience with others new Soldiers! Praise the Lord! She also said he was chosen to be a group leader and was nervous about that and guarding all the important docs he had been given with his life. That made me think about how much he really is like his dad. Every time his dad said he didn't want to be a leader he was chosen...

We're so proud our son and can't wait to hear all about his time there. I pray December comes very quickly! It's going to be so difficult not to hear from him all the time and know what's going on in his life for a few weeks. I told him I'd buy him stamps on one condition...that he wrote me. I bought him a phone card knowing he would probably call his girlfriend more than us...but that's OK.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Worship and Veterans Day

Worship at chapel was wonderful today!! It was so great to just stop for a little while and not think about anything but the Lord and worship him. One of the new Chaplains (who my husband has gotten to know from their training in Hawaii together) preached today and it was a great sermon on worship.

After chapel on post, we went to the church we've been attending off post and they were recognizing Veterans today so all Soldiers and Veterans were asked to wear their uniforms. I LOVE to see our Soldiers in their uniforms in church. There's this overwhelming feeling that wells up within me when I look out across the congregation and see Soldiers in uniform worshipping the Lord. Before the invitation was given, they asked for any Chaplains present to come forward to pray together for our soldiers in harm's way. It made me cry to see my husband, the pastor and two other Chaplains on their knees, with their arms over each other's shoulders, praying for our Soldiers.

I thought back to all the years in the past when my husband was a pastor and would get emotional preaching on such special days like today, thinking about our Soldiers, and I was grateful for where the Lord has brought us. I won't say it's easy for us with the thought always there that it could mean he ends up in the war, but I know God has him as a Chaplain for a reason and it makes me happy to know he is following the Lord's call.

Happy Veterans Day to all those who are serving or have served our country. I appreciate you and pray God's blessing and protection on your life.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My husband praying with his Soldiers...

Around here there are constant reminders that we are at war. I hear gunfire every day and know many Soldiers are working long, hard hours to prepare for whatever lies ahead. I see helicopters and planes flying overhead while out, and men and women in uniform everywhere. I go to the post office and see wives sending packages to their husbands away at war, while trying to keep their hands on two or three children at the same time, and sense their pain. The twins tell me of boys and girls at school who are sad because their mom or dad is away at war right now, or excited because they're coming home soon. I see "Welcome Home" banners on front porches and fences. Outside the gates of the post there are veterans who stand with flags and cheer or yell out "thank you" as we exit or enter the post on Saturdays. It always brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. There's a particular banner just outside the gate that I love..."We are the home of the free because YOU are the brave!" The reminders are everywhere! Please pray for our Soldiers and their families.

Monday, November 5, 2007

We're no longer home-owners!!!

Praise the Lord!!! Yah!!! Yippee!!! Woo hoo!!! Hooray!!! We're thrilled to announce that we no longer own a home!!!

We just got word that funding went through, and what was once our house is someone elses!

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for this day to come for months now. We feel the burden lifted and we are praising God!!! No more electric and water bills for a house we don't even live more double house more wondering if it'll ever sell...thank you, Lord!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Today was a good day. It's nice to know that the Lord can bring such comfort to our hearts and that one day I can be sad and the next day I can be happy! How? Because the joy of the Lord is my strength!!

The twins had a really nice birthday and are now enjoying their Wii. We've boxed (which was hilarious to watch!), and played golf and baseball. They love it! I enjoyed the laughs of watching them box...

This weekend we plan to just lay around and relax. It's much needed! We also closed on our house this afternoon!!! I hope to report on Monday that funding was successful for our buyers and that we no longer are home-owners! I know that sounds backwards, but we're thrilled to know we won't own a house soon. It's been a long, hard road, and we lost money on the house, but hopefully we are all done...praise God!

Celebrating the lives of two very special boys!!!

Today our twins are 12 years old!! Like their dad said this only seems like days ago that they were crawling around on the floor! They are such amazing young boys and we're so proud of them. They put a smile on our faces every day and we can't imagine life without them.

We're no longer near family and close friends so this birthday will be a bit different, but I've made sure it'll be very special. Before they woke up this morning I decorated the house with streamers and balloons and a birthday banner. I've planned cake decorating (they love to cook these days...and they're getting quite good at it, too!), rock climbing at our gym, watching a movie, dinner at their new favorite place - Red Robin (if dad can get off in time because it gets very crowded!) and going to the store to buy the gift they've been wanting - a Wii. They're so excited!!! Well, we're off to start our day of fun.

We celebrate your lives today, boys! Thanks for all you do and for being such wonderful boys. We're blessed to have you in our lives!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A tough day...

Hugs good-bye, tears falling, the thought that life truly has changed and the way we knew it to be with our oldest son will never be the same again is hitting hard...

We've said good-bye so much in the last few months, more so than some people ever do in a lifetime, and it's tough! I can't explain it other than to say it feels as though a piece of your heart is torn from you. I have this overwhelming feeling to just curl up in my bed and cry but I think that my twins need me to be strong...I know that it hurts my husband to hear me crying on the phone and not be able bring comfort. He feels the pain and sadness, too.

"Grieve"..."be strong!"...Those thoughts have been fighting all day long. Somewhere in the middle of it all, the Lord brings comfort and peace. I can't explain it. Even through the pain and tears I see Him there with His arms open wide. His plan, His purpose - they are perfect for all of us. He created this child...I trust Him! I praise the Lord for the time we've had to raise him and know that God has great things in store for His child.

Lord, I thank you for allowing us to raise this beautiful child. I'm letting go...and letting go means that I recognize that You gave him to us to raise, but now he must move forward with the plans You have for him. Keep him safe as he serves our country. I'm so honored to be his mom. Thank you for your love and peace that surpasses all my understanding.