Saturday, July 26, 2008

If You're Not Where You Want to Be...Or Going Where You Want to Go...

This morning a friend of mine, whom I met through my blog, emailed to tell me they finally have orders to their first post. Her husband is finishing up chaplain training and will soon be ministering to soldiers! Some might think that those of us who trust in the Lord never have feelings of disappointment or a longing to be somewhere else, but that just isn't true. There are times when we have to trust not what we are feeling, but the One who knows the plans He has for us. She is in the midst of that right now. Feelings of excitement, and disappointment that she will leave the place she loves living now, flood her heart and mind. I sent a return email and then later thought about other families who might be experiencing that right now, or are awaiting orders and are nervous about where God might send them, so I've made a few small changes since this is public, but this is the jest of what I wrote back:

I know exactly how you feel. I really wanted to go to Colorado. The post we ended up being assigned to was our 2nd choice, mainly because we had never been anywhere near this area, but I really wanted our 1st choice to be a little closer to family and all; plus I knew that area and loved it. I remember the feelings I had the day we found out, and some of it was much like the sick feeling in my stomach you described. This meant we would be over 3,000 miles from our two oldest kids and family...

BUT...GOD KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING! Trust Him completely in this! Once we arrived, we knew it would be OK. In fact, on the drive up here, we knew it would be OK. There are days I don't like it here, but knowing that God has us here for a reason makes all the difference in the world. It truly does. The people aren't as friendly like we are used to in the south, there aren't that many churches, but it's a beautiful place and there are thousands upon thousands of soldiers who need chaplains here...hundreds upon hundreds who need my husband, their chaplain. That makes it worth it! You WILL see the hand of God when you get there. Now is the time of testing of your faith! Don't allow Satan to discourage you. I say this because I've been right where you are.

Know that I am praying for you, and continue to share your heart with me. I will be here for you every step of the way! May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. That scripture just came to mind. Trust Him-Jesus Christ-above all that enters your heart and mind during this transition. Continue to lean on Him, and all His understanding...for HE knows the plans He has for you.

My prayer is that if anyone is identifying with my friend right now, you will find strength and encouragement in the Lord today. We all go through times like this. It's an adventure, yet even adventures are filled with uncertainties and struggles (like climbing a mountain-the view is great once you get there, and knowing that keeps you going, but the long haul upward can be almost unbearable at times).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I highly recommend this book...

I picked up a new book for my plane ride home, and I want to recommend that everyone I know read it. No Atheists in Foxholes: Prayers and Reflections from the Front written by Chaplain Patrick McLaughlin, CDR, USN. I had to stop reading it several times on the plane and compose myself. I not only hope people will read it, but that they will use it as a tool to pray for our troops. I'm about half-way through it and just wish I had the money to buy this for everyone I know. I don't want people to forget about our troops!

I also highly recommend people (everyone!) read Down Range: To Iraq and Back by Bridget C., PHD Cantrell and Chuck Dean.

We can't forget that thousands of our troops are still fighting!! They need our prayers, they need our support - those serving and those who have served. We need to thank them and tell them how much we appreciate the sacrifices they have made. We need to care for their families. We need not ever forget all they've done for us.


Yesterday I went to my first PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) Bible Study. It was really good! In fact, I felt very comfortable there, met a lot of friendly women who are striving to live for Christ and loved it. I have been asking the Lord to help me know where HE wants me to be involved, and when I was away on vacation I felt the Lord leading me to go once I returned home (remember the post about being more engaged?). My daughter mentioned on Tuesday that we should go when we were at the gym, and so, believing that God laid it on her heart as well, we went. I had not told her what the Lord had laid on my heart before that.

When Wednesday morning rolled around a lot of things could have gotten in our way, but, praise God, nothing deterred us. We went and were blessed because of it. I'm glad God is showing me more and more of His plan and purpose. I'm glad for the time away so that I could truly miss so much of what I have here. As I walked around the post on Monday, seeing all the soldiers in uniform, I was thankful to be a part of the military community, even with the difficulties we face and the sacrifices being made. I believe God has great things in store for us if we'll but follow Him and listen to His voice. His timing is perfect. I believe THIS WEEK was the week I was to go to PWOC, and I look forward to joining the other women in worship, prayer, bible study, fellowship, and reaching out to other soldiers and their families.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm Home, He's Gone.

It's been a month since I've seen him in uniform. My heart skipped a beat. He's so handsome. I love seeing him in uniform! It's not just that he's handsome though, it's so much more. When he's in uniform:
  • I'm reminded that he cares about our country.
  • I'm reminded that he's serving our country, our God and our Soldiers.
  • I'm reminded that he is called to do this by Almighty God, and God walks with him every step of the way!
  • I'm reminded that he is a good, godly man who loves the Lord so much that he will walk this road, even if it means the ultimate sacrifice of losing his life.
  • I'm reminded that he loves me and our children and wants to provide for us - not only for our everyday needs of shelter and food, but for our freedom. What if men and women didn't defend it? I think that people forget this sometimes!
  • I'm reminded that God was gracious to me and gave me a wonderful husband.
  • I'm reminded how proud I am to have a husband who is willing to give his life for another.
  • I'm reminded how honored I am to be a wife of a soldier and chaplain.
  • I'm reminded that he serves the Lord. The cross on his uniform stands for hope for all people!
Duty calls and he must go. He'll return to the field and we won't see each other for a week or more (as it stands right now), but I'm OK with that. I know that this life we are called to is not about me, or him, and that we must do whatever it is the Army and the Lord calls us to do. I know that in reality it's not the Army that calls him away from our home anyway - it's the Lord. God has bigger plans for him this week than coming home to me every night. Spending time with his soldiers is good. They need him, too, and I'm willing to share. It doesn't mean I won't miss him...that's impossible. It just means I'm going to praise God for getting me home early Sunday so that I could spend the whole day with him, and that I'm going to praise God that he got the day off yesterday and we got to spend another whole day together again. And, as for the rest of the week, I know it's in the Lord's hands and I'm going to trust His plan and rejoice in the fact that I am home and surrounded by other soldiers and their families that are serving our country.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's good to be home!

My daughter and I arrived home at 8:40 a.m. Sunday morning. That's almost 14 hours sooner than our original scheduled flight! We decided we would get up at 3:30 and head to the airport around 4:30 and ask if we could get on the 6:55 flight. Praise God it worked out! We arrived home to find two men with big smiles on their faces. God is good!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hurry up Sunday!

I'm SO SO SO ready to be home again. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY miss my husband. I also look forward to being back on post and in my own home. I feel like it's been forever since I've seen my husband's face and felt his strong arms around me. This time away makes me dread deployments even more so than before. I don't really have much to write about today. I've just been busy cleaning my mom's house, doing laundry and trying to pack for the trip back home. My body is worn out from all the fun, and it's just time to get home. I do have mixed emotions, though, as tomorrow will be my last day to spend time with my son again until Christmas. I am so thankful I've been able to see him for the last four weekends! More than anything though...I want to be back in my husband's arms!!!

See you soon, babe!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday

We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14b)

Today I am so thankful for new life - new life found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. I wrote about my cousin's girlfriend who gave her life to Jesus yesterday, and today I am still rejoicing. 2 Corinthians 5:17 sums it all up - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! What a joy to know that we are no longer our "old self" and that we are made new in Christ Jesus. Truly we have seen the glory of God this week and I am so thankful that He meets us right where we are. Even in the midst of lake activities and family reunion fun, God was speaking to our hearts and drawing us to Himself. Every one of us sitting on my parents' back porch were changed in one way or another yesterday. God is so good!

Thank you, Lord, for your love. Thank you for your grace and mercy in our lives. Thank you for the new life you bring to us when we place our faith in you. Today I pray that we would continue to reflect on your goodness as we go about our day, and that nothing would interfere with your plans for us this day. Help us to be a reflection of you in all we say and do! Be with our soldiers. Keep them safe and bring them all home soon. Be with the families that are separated during this time and bring them peace and comfort as well. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not MY plans, but HIS

Monday I spent a good part of my day talking to the airlines, trying to figure out a way to get back home a little earlier than planned. Every time I talked to my husband I wanted to fly home to be with him. When we planned my Texas trip, we thought he would spend the majority of that time in the field. We thought it would work out nicely for me to spend time with family and friends and, since he wouldn't be at home anyway, it wouldn't be a huge loss to not be together for a month. Since my time away though, he's had other chaplain duties that have required his presence on post, rather than in the field, making us miss each other all the more.

Monday it was all I could stand, so I thought... My daughter and I made several calls, but we never could get the airlines to give us a break. The lowest we could get them to go was $260 for the two of us, and that was still just way too much. I knew I had to give it up when my husband agreed. Today I understood why I didn't go home sooner...

About 11:3o this morning I was helping one of my aunts put some of the pictures from our reunion on her facebook when I heard some commotion on the downstairs back porch. Once I was finally able to break away and see what was going on, the first thing I noticed was a few people crying. I wasn't sure what I was walking into, but I was certain the Lord was leading me to join them.

As I stepped out onto the porch, I heard one of the girls sharing about the struggle she was having with faith. I listened as I walked closer to her, all the while being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. As I walked, she continued to share. Just as I got close to her, out spills, "Has there even been a time in your life when you've asked Jesus Christ to come into your heart and be your Lord and Savior?" from my mouth. God was at work, and I felt so broken at the thought that God would have me ask her that. For days I had been trying to make my own plans, but God had HIS plan.

After several people shared with her the difference knowing Christ has made in their lives, and we talked about the fact that Jesus will never force himself on anyone, that we must ask him to come into our heart and life and change us, she said she wanted that for her life. This was my cousin's girlfriend, and God had plans for her to be here this week with us, too. I don't believe anything is just coincidence. God met her here in this place, this day, for it was His plan. Being a part of that moment with her made all these days of missing my husband worth it.

Just a few weeks ago one of the pastors of a church we visited with my daughter asked us, "How long has it been since you've led someone to the Lord?" My heart sank as I knew it had been way too long. TODAY I remembered that Sunday morning and thanked the Lord for allowing me to be a part of this beautiful moment in time. I believe had I not been here someone else would have asked the same question of her and she still would have come to know Christ, but I would have missed the blessing of being with all the family when it took place. We rejoiced as a family, as did the angels in heaven, and knowing that this young lady knows the Savior fills my heart with joy!

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to be here today. I'm so grateful that I didn't follow through with my plans, and that your plans prevailed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Congratulations Chaplain!

My husband called today to tell me he was told he was nominated for an award - the Witherspoon Award. Since I've never heard of it, I decided to google it and this is what I found out: The Witherspoon Award is given each year to a Chaplain of the Armed Forces who demonstrates a unique commitment to Bible reading and/or who encourages Bible reading in a special way. Each year the award rotates among the three branches of the US Military: Army, Navy and Air Force. (Marines and Coast Guard are honored under the Navy branch.) Given in cooperation with the Chief of Chaplains of each branch of the military, the award is named for the famous World War I and WWII Chaplain, Maurice Witherspoon who served as a Trustee of the National Bible Association from 1946 until his death in 1978. (Taken from the National Bible Association website.)

I believe it is awarded sometime in November.

I am SO PROUD of you, babe! Congratulations on the nomination. That alone is a great honor. You're a wonderful chaplain!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Heavy Heart

I'm currently still in Texas and my parent's house is filled with family from my mother's side of the family. There are around 50 of us here, with my brother and his family finally on their way from Roatan. We had an amazing time worshiping the Lord together last night. We spent about two hours singing, opening up the Word, testifying to the goodness of God and it was just truly wonderful. I wish we would do that every night! This morning as I sit on my parent's back porch, listening to many of them out by the water, I try not to let myself be consumed by the thoughts of missing my husband so badly that I can hardly stand it anymore. It's something few people truly understand.

As I was driving my future son-in-law to the airport yesterday, my husband called to ask me to pray for the soldiers who he had just heard were killed in Afghanistan. He has a chaplain buddy there and was concerned for him, as well as the other soldiers in harm's way. I immediately started to cry. I knew their families back home would soon hear, if not already, that their loved one had been killed. I cried for them and for my own family who, too, will one day experience all that comes with deployment of a loved one (or two or three, as it could be in our case). I cried for my dear friends who are already experiencing it.

Yesterday, as Whitney and Skyler said their good-byes, I cried so hard for them. I knew what she would experience last night as this was their first time to really be apart since they met...and I know first-hand how deeply you can miss someone that you love so much, especially when in the back of your mind you know there is always that chance that they could deploy one day. If you've experienced it, you know what I'm talking about. It pulls at the very core of your being, causing you to long for a different life, all the while knowing this is where God has you for a purpose and anywhere else would be outside His will and plan for you so you quietly surrender and trust Him once again despite the deep pain you are feeling.

I remember when my husband was in the Air Force and deployed to Croatia. Just knowing the the danger he faced there, and the fact that there was nothing I could do about it, was almost more than I could bare sometimes. Since that time I've grown and learned to trust and lean on the Lord so much more, but I still feel the pain of knowing he could deploy and that being in the Army will mean a much longer deployment. There are moments I literally feel myself stop breathing at the thought of it.

My daughter is now experiencing that. She has those thoughts that cause great fear to well up inside of her. She tries, like so many of us, not to think about it, but it's always there. We stayed up until early in the morning talking and praying. My heart is heavy for us all. Even the separation that is taking place right now is difficult. Our men are safe, but we are far from them. To be honest, vacation doesn't feel much like a vacation sometimes, it feels more like torture knowing you could be spending time with them, but it's not possible because you are thousands of miles away. And, knowing that when you return home they will go into the field the next day (because both of them will), can just about drive you crazy.

It's not at all that I don't like or want to spend time with my family; it's just hard to be away from your best friend!! They are working hard and we're playing. It hardly seems right. I know that it's hard to understand when you haven't been there, but I pray for sensitivity for all military families. I know many of my friends need that in their lives right now as their husbands are deployed or away from home in training (because even that is tough!). It's not easy being separated, and I can only pray that awareness becomes real to those who are not in the military, and that we all can work together to support our troops and their families. It's not just about non-military supporting the military either...we all need to do our part.

As I write, it's always as though the Lord is slowing pulling the burden away and reminding me that He is near. Writing what is on my heart doesn't always come easy, especially if I allow fear of what I write to be taken wrong, so I pray that this post falls on tender hearts. I'm not asking for sympathy, just awareness. Don't forget about our men and women in uniform, and the families that are affected by the difficulties of being in the military. It's not about's about people!

Thank you!

Monica over at Daily Dwelling blessed me with the Blog of Distinction award last week. I am honored that people continue to read my blog and just wanted to say thank you for your kind words, Monica. I pray that those who need encouragement from the Lord find it here.

Monica is also a chaplain's wife. Her husband is currently serving a 15-month tour in Iraq so please keep them in your prayers. Her husband also has a blog, and I would love it if people would follow this link and let him know you are praying for him. Do the same with Monica's link above. Thanks!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Walking & Talking

This morning one of the twins woke up early and went walking with me. A few minutes into the walk I wrestled with the question-do I pray with him, like I typically do on my walks, or do I just walk and talk with him? Just a minute or two before that thought I had thanked him for getting up from a movie last night, all on his own accord, because he felt it wasn't appropriate. He had come into the room where Whitney and I were and told me he was coming to bed because he didn't want to watch the movie showing. We got up to get Darby, who too felt that way but thought it might get better so he was holding out a little longer.

Talking about the Holy Spirit being our guide, and recognizing that it was the Holy Spirit who prompted him to leave the room, was easy for me. I knew it was a teaching moment, yet somehow I felt that I was the one being taught. My 12 year old was listening to the Holy Spirit. It was my turn to do the same.

I guess I felt a little uneasy about the walking and praying part because I wasn't sure how he would feel about praying out loud as we walked. We pray out loud all the time, but the walking as we did so might be a little odd for I thought. I asked anyways and he was just fine with it.

As we walked and prayed I was reminded that not only was I walking with my son, but I was walking with my Father. My Heavenly Father. It was a beautiful moment. We prayed for dad, the soldiers and their families, our family, healing for my daughter who was feeling sick last night, and so on. We thanked God for his creation and the blessings we've received. After praying we talked about my cousin who is already here for the family reunion. My son wondered if he was up and spending time with God. (As I sit and write, I see he is.) We talked about my childhood for a while, and my cousins and looking forward to the rest of them arriving.

This morning I was blessed to be able to include my son in my time with the Lord. When we returned, God reminded me of this scripture:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Conversing with God

This morning as I was spending time with God I felt as though he was trying to tell me something. I couldn't quite figure out what it was, but I knew he wanted me to listen and allow him to speak. Sometimes it's difficult to sit still, sometimes I feel the nudge to walk. This morning I knew he was telling me to walk with him awhile.

Noticing my mom was awake, I asked her if she wanted to walk with me - all the while sensing God wanted me to walk alone. She couldn't go; she was headed to VBS at her church. God knew. As we (me and God) walked, I heard him say, "Give me your heart." I've given you my heart, Lord. Clearly, I heard it again,"Give me your heart." What are you saying to me, Lord? What do you mean? "I want you to give me your whole heart. Those things you are holding on to. Those things that are troubling you. Those feelings you can't seem to let go of." Oh! I want to go there today...

As I continued to walk down the road, I sensed him telling me to sit down. Here in the road, Lord? I asked. "Yes, right here in the road." It seemed odd, but I've known the Lord long enough to know it wasn't some crazy thought of mine. He wanted me to sit still long enough to deal with what he was telling me. After I allowed him to speak to me, and after I felt the release that comes from knowing the presence of God and the healing he brings when we allow it, I sat and worshipped him.

God has a way of wooing us back to where he wants us to be, if we'll let him. For me, I needed to deal with what has been taking place in my heart for several days now. The subject is not important. What's important is that God loved me enough to show me he is present through it all. He knows my heart. He knows how to bring me back to the place I need to be in my heart, in my soul and in my mind.

After several hours of talking with the Lord, I sat down to read from the book I know God had me pick up last week: Walking with God by John Eldredge. God knew even before I the things I would experience this week and he knew this book would be a tool in which he could use. The moment I read this in the book confirmed that all that I have been experiencing with the Lord this morning is real: Oh how deeply he knows me. He knows me better than I know myself. And how true and good to pray just this. My heart does need his healing. He's also been saying, Give me your heart.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Out of my element

I'm currently back in Texas spending time with all my kids, family and friends. The evening of July 4th, it really hit me where I was and how out of place you can feel in what was once so familiar to you. My husband and I decided together that it would be better for me to come spend several extra days with our son so I came in time to be here for the 4th of July since it would be a 4-day weekend. What I didn't realize is how hard it would be to not be on post with my soldier on the 4th of July. To see thousands of soldiers on that particular day last year was something I will never forget.

There are times I've felt out of my element in the Army. In fact, I've written about it several times in the past. Maybe that's why God led me to come early, leaving my husband behind at home for a 4-day weekend by himself and not be able to be a part of the celebration on post with other soldiers and their families. I don't know. What I do know is that I've experienced a complete shifting in my heart for the things I left behind for a month.

I discovered this week that even though I had to leave behind some things I loved about Texas and our ministry here, I am where I'm supposed to be. The military is where God intends for us to be. When I'm away from it, I miss it. I especially missed it this 4th of July weekend. I didn't hear anyone thank our servicemen, except my daughter. The church we went to didn't recognize them or say a word about the freedoms we've been afforded because of their great sacrifice. Not even a prayer was voiced for them. My heart broke late one night as my daughter cried for her future spouse who has experienced so much, sacrificed so much, yet so often it seems to goes unnoticed. In the midst of talking with her, though, I realized God was breaking her heart for a purpose. God is defining her ministry.

Just the other day, after sitting beside my future son-in-law, hearing him share more of what he has experienced with family members who were asking questions, we walked downstairs to get dressed to go out on the boat and I sensed the Lord leading me to go give him a big hug and tell him how every time I hear him talk about what he experienced in Iraq I want to hug him and that I'm praying for healing for his heart and mind. Not only for him, but for all our soldiers who have experienced war.

As the war continues, are we forgetting about our service men and women? I pray not! Are we allowing our negative thoughts of the war or the military to get in our way of honoring those who are serving? Are we so caught up in our own everyday lives that we forget to pray for their protection and safe return? My heart is burdened for this right now. Finding a way to express it is even more difficult.

Last night my husband wrote me a beautiful email. Reading it made me love him more. We talk on the phone several times a day, but to actually see that email made me cry. He's so precious, so beautiful, so loving and sincere. I hope he doesn't mind, but I wanted to post just a little clip of the email: "I was thinking about you so I thought I'd write. Our home is not the same w/o you in it. It is so quiet all the time that sometimes I put my Ipod in just so I don't hear the silence. It has sure been lonely around here with you and the kids gone. This must be what it's like when I'm gone and you're here by yourself." His heart--I love his heart. Being separated, even for a vacation, is difficult. Today he heads back to work and I'll continue to "play"... that's difficult for me to do sometimes as I think about all those soldiers sacrificing so much. I'll continue to enjoy my time here, but not without thinking of the sacrifices being made.

Being out of my element has been good for me. Actually, realizing I am out of my element has been good for me. God has already placed thoughts in my head of what I need to do when I return home to be more engaged in where He has me, and for that I am grateful. I needed to experience this. I needed to know where my heart stood. Sometimes it's in the being away that we realize what it is we are missing. Missing my military life has given me a stronger passion for where God has placed me.

I also realize that I need to make the most of where he has me for the next two weeks. I don't want to miss out on what I need to be a part of now. He has me here for a reason, and realizing what it is He wanted me to see has given me peace in my heart. Every morning I've been wide awake and out of bed before 6:30. Today I felt God's leading to write before opening His Word. Doing so has allowed me to pull all my many, jumbled thoughts together and been a blessing. Sitting on the back porch of my parent's house, looking out at the water and seeing the birds swoop down close to the water, probably looking for food, reminded me that the Lord fills us with all that we need. He is the Living Water that refreshes my soul!

I praise You, Lord! Thank You for Your great love. Thank You for moments of refreshing. Thank You for teaching me, for growing me, for encouraging me. I love You!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Just like old times...

Last night the kids and I stayed up late talking and laughing (hard) and playing. It was so much fun. It felt just like we had never been apart. This morning as we were sitting in church together, filling up the pew completely, I thought about the blessing of being all together again. I hate that my husband can't be with us, and so does he and the kids, but I thank the Lord for the opportunity He gives us to do this, and I'm thankful that I know we will be together again in December for our daughter's wedding and Christmas.

It's been such a blessing watching our oldest son and our future son-in-law interact. They both really like each other and are having a good time together. Last night they played pool and goofed off and we got lots of funny pictures of the two of them. This afternoon we sat around the table talking military. I really enjoyed listening to them both, and felt honored that there will soon be three servicemen in the family.

Pictures are what we have when we can't be together. We cherish them!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hey, hey the gang's all here!!!

She's been anxiously awaiting her brother's arrival! She jumped off the golf cart as it was still going and ran to him. She's also waited for this day for a long time...
Soon to be brothers!
We miss you, babe! Now the hole in the picture isn't Karl, it's you! Wish you were here so much!!!

Dear Soldier,

While we were celebrating our freedom,
You were defending it.
While we were shooting off fireworks,
You were experiencing war.
While we were eating barbeque and relaxing around the table,
You were sitting in the dirt eating an MRE.
While we were laughing with family,
You were crying because you couldn't be with yours.
While we were thinking about ourselves,
You were thinking of others.

The sacrifices you make are great and I'm thankful for you every day of my life. I sometimes take my freedom for granted, but the closer it hits to home, because I know some of you personally, the more I don't. I am thankful for you, thankful for the sacrifices you make for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

To my friends down range, and their families here on the homefront,
What you do every day of your life matters. You are not forgotten and my prayers are with you. Thank you for serving. I miss you and pray God's protection be upon you every moment of every day. I know the sacrifice is great being seperated from each other and I know the pain you are going through and I just want you to know how grateful I am for your willingness to defend our nation and to minister to our soldiers.
I love you!

Tor those who have served down range and are now back on the home front,
Thank you! Thank you for the sacrifices you have made and continue to make. I know that your life is forever changed by what you experienced there. I am praying for you every day and know that God will see you through. My future son in law is one who served 15 months in Iraq. Thank you, Skyler. I love you and I pray God continues to bring healing to what you experienced there. We are here for you every step of the way, and we're so grateful that God placed you in our family. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

To my husband and son,
I love you so very, very much and pray for you as we never know if you will have to serve down range. The thought of it is almost more than I can bare, but I am grateful for the strong men that you are. My prayers will be many, hoping that day never comes for either of you, or for Skyler again. I am so very, very proud of all of you and all that you stand for. You are wonderful, godly men and our military is blessed to have you. Thank you for serving.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

This time last year we were up in the stands looking out at thousands of soldiers at Fort Jackson. My husband was half-way through CH-BOLC and we were having a wonderful time together with our new friends. It's hard to believe it's already been a year.

This year I'm thousands of miles away from my husband. He's home alone, and I'm here in Texas with my children and some of my family. I hate that I can't be with him and hate that he can't be enjoying this 4th of July with us. It's not the same without him. We talked several times on the phone. I found myself just wanting to hear his voice for a little while, and then I would be fine.

Our son had to stay on base today, even though they were given four days off. We were all a little aggravated (well, more like very aggravated)! How sad when those who defend our freedom can't even celebrate it with family that they don't get to see very often! He told them we were here to see him and no one cared. Pitiful! He will be here tomorrow so I'm grateful for that. I know there are many, many other men and women sacrificing so much more today so I am keeping our situation in perspective.

Speaking of those men and women serving our country and in harm's way, or those who've fought in a war, I sure hope people are thinking of them, praying for them and letting them know how much they are appreciated!!! It makes me sad to know there are people who never give their freedom a second thought. We should all be so very, very grateful for the sacrifices made by so many so that we can be free.

I woke up this morning thinking about the people in my life who are making great sacrifices. It's hard to know that soon there will not only be my husband and son, but now a son-in-law! I'm so proud of my daughter. She didn't allow the difficulties she knows lay before her being married to a soldier stand in her way of loving him. She knew it was God's will for her to be with this man and she followed His will. My statement has always been, "Our soldiers need families, too!"

Well, it's almost dark enough to set off fireworks so I think I better get off here and head outside with the rest of the family. Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What an experience!

This morning we flew back to the lake with a friend of mine who owns his own 4-seater plane, and it was a blast! I was a little worried about doing it, but it was a pretty amazing offer that I couldn't pass up. We all loved it. I even flew the plane for a while!! My husband told me I should get my pilot's license...I think I might just do that!

The twins and some of my family waited on the dock for us to fly by. I think we scared my dad a little when we passed by so low. It was worth all the motion sickness to fly down so close though!! Thanks, Mike. We all had a blast!!!

Here's about the time my dad almost had a heart attack! The twins told us we got a little too close for him. (Well, it was his only daughter and his granddaughter in there...)
See what I mean! It was so cool!!

Once we landed he took the twins and my niece up for a little ride, too. They thought that was so cool...and I tried not to think about it! I can understand how my dad felt...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another Super Fun Day!

Today we booked the chapel for my daughter's wedding and afterwards we went back in to take a few pictures. This has to be one of my favorite pictures of the two of them. It's going to be a beautiful wedding! The chapel was absolutely beautiful!! We also ordered the cake and finished up last minute things we needed to do, like eat a Molten at Chili's...that's been on our list for months now! Now that was AWESOME! We also took the other bridesmaid to get her dress and the two of them got to reunite. It was as though they'd never been apart.
What a blessing this trip has been! I really miss my husband and wish so badly he could be with us right now. I feel guilty sometimes for having so much fun while he's having to work so hard. I pray he has a wonderful four day weekend and doesn't get too bored without us there.
We love you and miss you, babe!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Super Fun Day!!!

We bought her dress today!!! We all had so much fun together! I think we laughed almost the entire day. More fun tomorrow as we pick out the cake and check out the chapel. She's going to be a BEAUTIFUL bride!!!

Having a blast!

All my family is getting to meet Skyler, and we're having a wonderful time. The only thing that would make this better is for my husband and our son to be here with us! My son and his girlfriend will arrive on Friday and we get to spend four days together!!! We miss you! Now, it's off to do wedding stuff!!