Saturday, August 30, 2008

We did a lot of laughing...

This really happened on the way to Hawaii, on the plane:

Whitney and I didn’t have seats together so I asked the steward if something came available would he let me know. When he found two seats together for us, he came and told me and said he would go tell my daughter. Evidently he forgot which seat I said, and asked the girl in front of Whitney’s row if she had been separated from her mother. Here;s how the rest of the story went:

Girl: “Yea.” (in a very sweet, sentimental tone)

Steward: “She’s got a seat for you up front.”

Girl: “WHAT? …we were separated at birth!”

Whitney realized he was talking about her about the time I sent her a text wondering what was taking so long. I thought the steward forgot or something. We are still laughing about that one. (It was like something out of a sitcom.)


We’re walking down the beach, still full from lunch, about to get back in to the water to snorkel some more. Noticing that we only have three pictures left on our underwater camera, I told Whitney not to take any more pictures just in case we see something really good. Here’s how the rest of the conversation went…

Whitney: “Like a shark?”

Me: “No! If I see a shark I’m going to throw up.”

Whitney: “So…if you see a shark the first thing you’re going to do is throw up?”

Me: “Yep!”

Whitney: “…oh no! A shark…(barfing sounds) …bluuuuh…”

Whitney said she envisioned me choking on vomit in my snorkel.


We're looking at pictures from our trip one night and I see a picture of the back of myself...

Me: “I don’t remember that.”

Whitney: “Mom…because you were turned around!” duh…


Me: “I have a scar!”

Whitney: “A scar? Mom…that would an indention! …not a scar. You just got that today from the goggles. It'll go away eventually!”

This trip was such a blessing. The sights were amazing, but the time with my daughter was priceless.

Hawaii Photos

Aloha! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to post pictures. Once we returned from Hawaii, we went camping for a few days. Anyways...we had a BLAST! It was so much much so that I'm hoping we get stationed there next round.I could fill my blog with photos from our trip...but that could take forever so I'll just stick to a few of my favorites. Enjoy!


The first beach we stepped foot on...My daughter took this photo from the patio restaurant we ate at the first night. We were still on the same beach seen above.Our first sunset in Hawaii...Another angle on the same beach.Hanauma Bay - where we went snorkeling. You can see pictures from our snorkeling here.
North Shore (below)...another beautiful beach! The flowers were amazing!Taken from our balcony. We were on the 28th floor. I loved to walk out first-thing in the morning to see the sun shining over the city, and feel the warmth on my skin. I could hardly wait for my daughter to get up so we could get outside (that's why I was always waking her up early!). No time to sleep...we only had five days to enjoy this beautiful place!
This was the beach where the wedding took place. When we arrived, the view took my breath away. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before! The song How Great is our God came to mind immediately. (The picture doesn't even give it justice.)

A special thanks to my sweet, wonderful husband for such an awesome Mother's Day gift. I love you, babe!!

Hawaii Underwater Photos

Snorkeling fun! I discovered how beautiful God's creation is under the water on this day. I got a little emotional seeing all this for the first time. Whitney got a kick out of me screaming through my snorkel at the first fish I saw. About 10 minutes into our swim, I spotted this sea turtle!That was close enough for me. (It took me a while not to freak out...good thing Whitney was taking the photos...I probably would have dropped the camera on several occasions!) I wish the pictures were more clear. It's one of the most fascinating things ever to be swimming and observing life under the water.These two larger fish scared me a little...I didn't want them coming any closer.

This was probably one of my favorite things that we did. I'm ready to go back!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Well, I know some of you are waiting to see pictures, but I'm having trouble getting them to upload on my blog tonight'll just have to wait. Tomorrow is the wedding where my daughter is taking pictures and then on Monday we are going snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. We can hardly wait!!

Our first day, we arrived at 11:15 a.m. and, after arriving in O'ahu, we walked as far as our feet would take us...for miles and miles (and fell asleep almost as soon as our heads hit the like 8:15 p.m. I know...too early, but we had been up since 2 a.m. Hawaii time, plus we had walked our feet off!), we sat on the beach (where the sand sticks to you like you were first rolled in glue!) and waded in the water a little, paid a lot of money for a little bit of food at an outdoor restaurant on the beach (ha!), where we listened to some local guys sing and play guitars and bongos and watched the sun go down. We saw some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen.

Today we took a bus to the ends of the, not really, just to North Shore - which felt like the ends of the earth (ha!), and swam on a beautiful beach. It was so awesome to be able to see below you, like in a swimming pool, but not!! Off in the distance, on both sides of the "beach area" we could see the waves crashing on the rocks. It was picture perfect! ...but we're still trying to decide if it was worth a 2 hour bus ride, with a crazy driver, on the way there...and four hours back to the hotel, loaded with kids getting off school, stopping about every mile for a while there, and stuck in horrific traffic. Tonight we just ate at McDonald's and, since we were starving, I think it tasted as good as steak or seafood...well, maybe not, but close!

After dinner, we walked the shops close by our hotel and encountered some really rude "sales people"...and now we're just relaxing. The hotel lobby is indoor/outdoor. That's the best part about the hotel...and I'll just leave it at that. I only wish the rest of the family, especially my husband, was here with my daughter and me. It's definitely a romantic place...not to mention I think the twins would love it here, too!

Well, sorry I couldn't get the photos uploaded...maybe next time I try to log on, if at all...but for sure when I get back home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, baby girl!

5:33 a.m., August 20, 1989 - the world is a little brighter. She’s beautiful! Her head is full of black hair, her eyes are blue, she’s crying, and I can’t wait to hold her. Her name is Whitney Ann.

Whitney means “Fair Island” and Ann means “Favored Grace”…but we chose her first name just because we liked it and her middle name because of a very special woman in our lives. She’s been my mom’s best friend since I was a kid, and someone who makes everyone feel special. She has touched the lives of everyone in my family, and I wanted my daughter to have her name.

Our first day in the hospital was only the beginning of some difficult moments. Just minutes after she was born they realized she had a dislocated hip. This meant at least 6 months in a brace that held her legs in a very awkward position, and frustrating moments for a little girl that didn't know what it meant to kick her legs for a very long time.

At four weeks old, we experienced other problems. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was nursing her on our front porch, while watching her brother and daddy play in the front yard, and she began to vomit. I knew something was wrong so we went inside and called the doctor. That evening was her first trip to the hospital, and one of many to come.

It took quite a while for them to discover what the problem was, but in the meantime it meant a lot of tests (the scariest one being for cystic fibrosis), a lot of IVs due to dehydration, a lot of time in and out of the hospital, bouts of pneumonia, a lot of sleepless nights having to sit up with her to allow her to sleep upright...a lot of praying! One particular time in the hospital she was so sick, and we were very scared. The doctors weren't sure what was wrong, but something definitely was. It was the first time in my life I actually feared for her life.

It was a Sunday morning when the doctor came in to tell me he wasn't sure what was wrong but that they were concerned. She had been really sick all week and there was something new they found in her blood work that morning. I kept her close as she laid there on the bed that they had put in her room for me to sleep on. She didn't move or fuss much, she just laid there; even the color of her skin was off. Late that afternoon my mother-in-law came to sit with her while I went to church to ask for prayer. While there, the pastor stopped his sermon and asked that people pray for her. I still remember some of the men in the church getting emotional and praying for her as if she were their own child.

Several people went back with me to the hospital to see her, where we found her sitting up in her Nana's lap smiling. It was a miracle! The next morning her doctor came in and said we could go home and that he didn't know what had happened but everything looked normal with that morning's blood work. (We did! ...God had healed her!) Praise the Lord!

They finally discovered it was a reflux problem - unable to really be treated and something she would have to outgrow. Yes, that meant, every meal came was awful! But, we knew it could be worse. Years later she developed a heart problem. Although every time her heart acted up it was very scary, it wasn't anything too serious - it, too, could have been a lot worse - but, after years of going undiagnosed and having to just deal with the rapid, intense heartbeat that came on suddenly and without cause, one doctor found the problem and, again, we had to trust God to take care of her as they performed a cardiac ablation. This was just a few years ago, and all has been fine since!

You would think this would make for a feeble little girl. But, that's definitely never been the case. She's strong and active and today I sit here so thankful for all God taught us through those hard times. She, too, learned at a young age to trust the Lord and that nothing is impossible with God. She, too, knows the healing touch that He can bring, and that He is worthy of all praise. She, too, knows what it means to trust Him when nothing makes sense. And, all along the way, He's been molding and shaping her into the woman he wants her to be.

I know some of her greatest times in life thus far have been on mission trips to Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda where she shared the love of Jesus with widows and orphans, and the young and old. She's got a heart for Jesus and we know that the Lord has done, and will continue to do, great things with her life, for His glory.

This year is a special year. This is the year we will give her away to be wed. She's found the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with, and we're having to let go. It's not easy...even though we've grown to love him, too. She's very special to us. We've been through a lot together, and we are very close. As I watched her try on wedding dresses, filled with excitement and emotion, I knew she was no longer my little girl, but my grown child and becoming her own woman. That can be difficult to accept. She's our one and only daughter, our baby girl! ...but we're trying, and learning to trust the Lord, just as we did with her when she was a baby.

Today, we celebrate her life and very precious gift that she is to our family. God's blessings have overflowed and we thank Him for entrusting her into our care. As she will soon leave our home to start a home of her own, we pray God's richest blessings on her as a wife, and, one day down the road we pray, as a mother.

From the moment you entered our lives, we loved you and wanted to hold you close. We learned very quickly to lean on God to keep you safe as you struggled with staying well your first year of life, and now we’re learning it all over again as we try to let go of that little girl God entrusted to us, and watch you grow into the woman He created you to be.

As your life continues to unfold let me just say that I love you more and more every day. I didn’t think it would be possible to love you any more than the first moment I held you in my arms, but it is! You are a beautiful (inside and out), caring and compassionate woman, and we’re very, very proud of you!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

We love you,
Mom and Dad

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Nineteen years ago, on August 19, we were at a horse show and I went into labor. My husband was actually out in the ring when we were certain the contractions were not letting up so my mom motioned to let him know what was going on. A friend rushed us to the hospital, as I lay in the back of the van with my head in my husband’s lap.

Once we arrived the contractions were sporadic, and I feared I would be sent home. The baby was already a week late and I could not stand the thought of having to go back home and wait it out. It’s a good thing the doctor agreed. My contractions never did become regular.

While the horse show rolled on, I continued to wait in the hospital for our 2nd precious gift from God to arrive. We were not sure if it would be a boy or girl (because back then they didn't really do sonograms unless something was wrong)…but I was praying for a girl. I had grown up quite the tom-boy, but by this time in my life I was ready for ribbons and bows, and frilly, pink, girly stuff.

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of our beautiful baby girl…and I’ll share more of her story then!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday

When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
Psalm 56:3

As a military wife, there are many things we could easily be afraid of. Probably at the top of our list would be that our husband is killed in combat; which falls second to him being deployed. Probably next in line might be him coming home from combat very badly injured or traumatized, or even just changed by what he experienced. The list could go on and on when it comes to war, and since we are at war, these feelings are very real for us right now.

I was at the commissary today and almost every woman in line around me looked frazzled. Completely and utterly frazzled. Not only do we face the day-to-day demands of life, but many times we tend to do it with the weight of the world on our shoulders. For some, their husband is in dangerous territory and the thought of living a life without him, and raising their kids alone, is almost more than they can bear. That fear is real! For some, their husband is working such long hours and coming home only to eat and sleep and it pretty much feels as though they are deployed. I'm sure I could go on and on, but we all get the picture. Fear is real and everyone experiences it!

Today I am thankful that I know the King of kings and Lord of lords; the One who can calm our fears and help us through disappointments. Being a soldier's wife can take its toll on a woman. I'm certain of that. I see it, I hear it, I even experience it some days. Our fears are very real. But, when I read my bible and spend time in prayer the fear subsides and is replaced with trust. Trust in God. Without Him I'm certain I would not be where I am today. In other words, I never would have taken this plunge back into the military life, knowing full well my husband will be called upon to go to war, if I did not trust the Lord and His plan for our lives.

Thank you, Lord, for your unfailing love. Thank you for the comfort you bring when I am afraid, and for the promise that I can trust You. When I am afraid - and I know there will be many times in my life when I am - I will trust in You!

A follow up to Yesterday

Sometimes we have our whole day planned out, yet things change. We often wonder why until suddenly something happens to bring it all together for you.

Yesterday, only minutes after posting on my blog, I walk upstairs to finish getting dressed for the day when I hear my daughter screaming. I open the bathroom door to find her on the floor in, visibly, extreme pain. She's completely pale, trying to tell me where it hurts and I'm not sure what to do. I become worried as she tells me it's the worse pain she's ever felt, and it's not subsiding. It came on very quickly, while she was in the shower, and all I could think is it must be her appendix. For fear that she looks like she could pass out at any moment, I call 911.

Within like three minutes they are at my door and checking her out. They tell me to follow them to the ER on post so off we go. I can't find a parking spot ANYWHERE. I literally parked out in a field across the road and hurry as fast as I can, all the while still trying to reach her dad, who I know is in a meeting. I thought to myself, at least I had reached Skyler...and, by then, I figured he beat me there.

I get there and she's much calmer. Skyler has made it. They administer a pain killer and the pain subsides considerably. After many tests, they determine nothing...

While there, I eventually made my way to the bathroom. As I walked in, there sat a soldier (woman) in a wheelchair. She was crying and looked as though she had hurt her knee very badly. The nurse had run to get something and had her wait there. I asked her her name, gave her a hug, and asked if I could pray for her. Then I asked her if she had any family nearby, to which she replied, "No, my husband died four months ago," as tears streamed down her face. I hugged her again while I tried to keep my composure to asked her if I could leave my name and number with her. I think it stunned her a little that a stranger would reach out to her like that. I, myself, was a little stunned that God put me there at just that moment. (I don't believe in coincidences!)

I have no earthly idea if she will ever contact me, but what I do know is God used some pretty drastic measures to get me to the hospital yesterday. haha! I don't mind. My daughter is perfectly fine today and I'm thankful. If God chooses to mess with my plans, I'm okay with that...though I did miss my time with my friend, Sheryll...for only He knows what people all over this world need. I had never seen that woman before in my life, but God had. I'm certain He knew she needed someone yesterday, and I'm glad I could be there for her.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Morning

The alarm sounds at 5:15 a.m. He whispers, "I wish I didn't have to go to work and could stay here with you." I wish the same. He's off to work and I'm wishing for just a few more minutes of sleep. It doesn't happen. It rarely does. I love the morning hours most. Why would I sleep through my favorite time of the day!

After spending time with the Lord, answering a few emails and commenting on a few blogs, I'm off for my morning walk/run. This morning it's a walk. God wants to speak. "Listen." I hear a neighbor yell good morning as she drives by. "See there is life around you." (I had written this yesterday: As I walked, I felt like the world around me was asleep and I had this vision of shouting to tell everyone to get out of their beds and get out and talk to one another. I wish for more here. I wish people would open up and be friendly. I wish I didn't feel like I was on an island sometimes!) I hear the birds chirping. It's always beautiful and simple. I watch them fly off as I walk closer. I've interrupted their morning, but they've blessed mine.

"Look." I see the lake. Calmness. The water is completely calm. I'm reminded of the way I described God when my husband was in training - "The Calm". He still is. I see the sun shining brightly. I pray it stays and look forward to my friend, Sheryll, and her grand baby coming over today. She's always like a ray of sunshine in my life, as we share similar life experiences, and we are always encouraged when we spend time together. I see blackberry bushes everywhere. My twins have been faithfully filling up a medium-size bowl every day with their friends. I'm reminded I need to get pictures of them holding tight to one another as one tries to reach the largest blackberries that dangle far from the road, surrounded by tiny little thorns everywhere. They know if the other boy lets go they are in for a thorny, painful, downhill fall...yet they trust them. It's evident by the fact that they do it. Hmm...there's something there for me to learn. I sense it. "Trust me even when it looks like you might fall. Remember the scripture you read this morning as we met? - Psalm 55:22. Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."

"Continue." I've refocused. I've committed to keep up the running/walking in the morning outside - even when it's cold or drizzly. I am so at peace as I run in the midst of His beautiful creation. I've cleaned the closet - where we tend to shove everything so no one sees it; sometimes in such a hurry that we forget what we put in there - of my heart; allowing the Lord to show me what's holding me back from living that full and meaningful life He promised. Yesterday, I confessed unforgiveness I was holding on to. It was pride that was keeping me from letting it all go and telling that person I forgave them.

This life as a military wife has its ups and downs. All of life does! We MUST place our faith in the One who is constant. Never-changing. God is constant, never-changing, the Calm in the storm. He is our Strength, our Refuge. When we feel like sobbing because nothing is going the way we expected, it's okay to sob. When we feel lonely and scared, it's okay to admit it and ask other people to pray for us, and turn to God for comfort. He is there. He will never leave us, nor forsake us, if we've placed our faith in Him. That's His promise; and he's the only one who can keep all his promises. People let us down 'cause they are human. God NEVER will. When we need a good laugh, because we haven't had one in so long it hurts to think about it, search your mind for something that makes you laugh and think on it 'til the laughter comes. I sometimes put in a movie that makes me laugh (like Dan in Real Life...that movie cracks me up!). Or, when you're tired, cranky, feeling like nothing is as it should be and you haven't cleaned the house or gotten dressed for the day, just let yourself off the hook for not having it all together. We all have those days (or weeks); I think we all wish we could let our hair down a little more often.

Whatever season you are in - whether on top of the world or feeling a bit confused and burdened - there is someone out there who sees it all and cares about even the smallest issues in your life. Embrace the moment. Learn from it - both the good and the bad. Be there for others who are struggling. Take it one day at a time, and if you're up - be there for those who are down; and if you're down - reach out for help. I pray I can reach out, whether up or down, and make a difference in someone's life today, and every day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cheeseburger Ministry Pictures!

About two weeks ago my husband delivered 400 cheeseburgers to his soldiers out in the field. I'm so excited they finally got some pictures!! What a blessing to get to see the soldiers receiving them!

It's a very humbling thing to see our soldiers in uniform, and know how long and hard they work, and the times that they eat and drink can be few and far between; not to mention usually done very quickly, standing, or maybe sitting in the dirt, and with no time to digest before they're back to work.

On Wednesday of last week my husband had another "Duty Day with God" for 20 soldiers. My husband always comes home excited he was able to do things like this for them as their training schedules are extremely busy these days. This time they played paintball together after having lunch and time in the Word and prayer. I'm hoping someone got some pictures (I'm sure they just might take a while for me to get them)!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Will you join us in prayer?

Wives of Faith is hosting a 100 Days of Prayer Campaign - This is the Day to Pray: The 100 Day Challenge. If you'd like to join in, please follow this link - Wives of Faith - to learn more about it! You'll also have to sign up for their email newsletter on the top right hand side of the screen to get your daily email reminder and prayer request for the day. It started on August 1, but I just heard about it this morning, plus I venture to say if you are interested then you are probably already praying for our soldiers so there's no time lost. If you haven't been, you can start today!!

Thanks for praying!

Thanks, Sara, for getting the word out and for all you do to reach out to other women whose husbands are serving our country, whether active or reserve! I know many women are encouraged by your writing both at Faith at the Front and Wives of Faith.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


O Lord, be gracious to us;
we long for you.
Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of distress.
Isaiah 33:2

This evening the cool weather set in and it looked as though we would soon experience a storm. Rain fell, and the trees began to blow, but all is calm again. As I sit here listening to one of my favorite songs - Mighty to Save by Hillsong, reflecting on the greatness of the Lord, I am reminded of the strength He gives. One simple verse can speak volumes to the heart. One simple verse can also cause us to think of others who need our prayers.

I have several friends whose husbands are deployed right now. The wait for their return is long. I understand the exhaustion, the loneliness, the longing for their return. It can seem unbearable at times. Lasting only minutes, or perhaps hours or days. Not being able to feel their loving arms around you for months on end can cause extreme pain to the heart. Knowing they are in dangerous situations can lead to sleepless nights and, if we allow our minds to go there, great anxiety and fear.

The verse above, along with one other I read earlier, caused those friends to come to mind and I wanted to take a few minutes to pray for them and ask that those who read my blog please pray daily for those experiencing seperation due to deployment. We have thousands of soldiers and families far from each other right now and they need our prayers. Deployment in the military is inevitable, but there is strength for those difficult times. His name is Jesus!

God of peace and comfort, be their ever-present help in times of trouble; may they be strengthened with each new day, and, for the moments when the loneliness lingers for more than just a few minutes, may they feel Your presence and know that You are there to hear their cries. Lord, hold them close, watch over their homes and their families and bring their husbands safely home soon. In Jesus name, Amen!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Special Article

Serving the Army as a chaplain: The job that keeps on giving
By Whitney Burton
Chaplain (CPT) Todd Williams and his assistant, Spc. Cody Leslie

It’s about 7 a.m. The air is thick with dust and the smell of burning trash. Three boiled eggs, without the yolks, honeydew and hot coffee sit before him as he prepares his mind for the day’s duties. In silent reverence, he sits among his fellow men, praying for their safety and strength. Only God knows what the day holds for them.

Currently deployed, Chaplain (Capt.) Todd Williams spends his day tending to the needs of his fellow soldiers. The day’s duties include meetings, visiting, counseling, ministering to soldiers, and a trip to the gym. This may sound like a typical job to some, but for Williams, it is far from a typical job. It is a calling, a passion and a mission.

According to the Army Chaplain Corps, “Army chaplains have the responsibility of caring for the spiritual well-being of Soldiers and their Families. An Army chaplain's parish can consist of over 1,500 people. For this reason, the Army chaplain is crucial to the success of the Army's mission. Exercising leadership in things that are spiritual requires a special person with a unique calling."

“The Army chaplaincy is a religiously diverse population reflecting the diversity of the Army, yet each chaplain must minister in accordance to the guidelines of their distinct faith group. Army chaplains oversee the spiritual care of their assigned units wherever they may train or deploy. They also assist with the congregational care of their assigned posts performing religious ceremonies, rituals, and rites in accordance to their respective faiths.”

“Unlike most officers in the Army, a chaplain begins serving as a staff officer immediately. As a member of the commander's special staff, the chaplain is responsible for providing advice in matters pertaining to religion, morals and morale. The chaplain serves the Army with a chaplain assistant as part of a Unit Ministry Team or UMT. As a non-combatant, chaplains do not carry a firearm. The chaplain assistant provides security for the UMT and assists with the administrative aspects of the UMT's ministry. Fully trained in the technical arena of religious support and Soldier-specific tasks, chaplain assistants are an integral part of the UMT's ministry and mission.”

Williams describes his job as “HOO-AH for Christ; bringing soldiers to God and God to soldiers, being a moral and ethical standard in the world of the Army based on my faith as a believer in Christ. God has called me to this ministry that has enabled me to ‘pastor’ and be directly embedded in the military. Because I love God, I love my country and I love soldiers and soldiering. I’m where I need to be for this place in time. I consider myself a missionary to the Army.”

Williams is able to exercise his calling to ministry by spending quality time with soldiers and meeting their needs. Before entering the Chaplain Corps, Williams was an enlisted soldier. After he left the military to attend college, he re-entered military service as an Army Reserves drill sergeant. “While I was attending college, I re-entered the Army Reserves as a drill instructor. Because of my call to ministry and Christian faith, I found that there was a way to be in the Army and minister directly to soldiers. As a drill instructor, I was more limited in how I shared my faith, but as a chaplain I represented my faith in the context of the Army.” Prior experience as a noncommissioned officer allows Williams the ability to relate on a different level. He is not just a minister but a friend and fellow comrade. He knows what it means to serve alongside other enlisted men and women as well as those in the officer ranks.

“During meals my assistant and I sit at different tables and eat with as many different groups of soldiers as possible. Together we get eyes and ears on more soldiers than we would if we sat together. This helps us get a pulse of the unit as far as morale and issues that may arise. And it makes us accessible to everyone. Sometimes when there are multiple things happening I will stay up with the command team practically all night. Some evenings I will return to sermon preparation and book reading; sometimes I will watch a movie with some of our soldiers, play pool, Ping-Pong, or just visit. When something serious happens, we grab our rucks and respond as quickly as possible to the incident. Sometimes we check on morale and distribute spiritual materials. We also have a ‘Support a Soldier’ program where people send our guys care packages. This is really working well. We are able to send a list of requested need items so the soldiers are not just getting junk food and stuff. They are all health conscious, but then again, most will not pass up Oreos.”

With history and honor in the uniform of our soldiers, the regimental insignia of the Chaplain Corps holds the symbolism of their service and duty. The sun and rays allude to the provision and presence of God in nature. The dove with olive branch, a traditional symbol of peace, embodies the Corps' mission in the Army to deter war and strive for peace. The pages of the open Bible represent the primacy of God's word. The blue is representative of the heavens and alludes to the spiritual nature of the mission of the Chaplain Corps. The rays represent universal truth and the surrounding palm branches spiritual victory. The shepherd's crook is emblematic of pastoral ministry and was the first symbol used to identify chaplains in the Army. The numerals "1775" commemorate the date of the establishment of the Army Chaplain Corps. The motto "PRO DEO ET PATRIA" translates “for God and country.”

Chaplains all over the globe are serving the men and women of our armed forces. They go where our soldiers go, bringing religious support to those in uniform. They don’t carry a weapon; yet, they’re willing to go to the front lines.

It is 115 degrees Fahrenheit, and soon the sun will set on another day. Williams makes his rounds; a cold-cut turkey sandwich with kiwi and a diet cola await him. He looks out across the barren desert as a dust storm rolls in. He says a prayer for his wife and sons back home — that God would carry them through another day. In his mind he translates the motto “Pro Deo Et Patria,” and in reverence, he whispers, “for God and country I serve.”

*If you didn't catch who the writer is (and stuck with the long read this far), my daughter wrote this and it came out in our post newspaper (not disclosing due to privacy for our family) today! We are so very proud of her and the work she is doing for this newspaper, as well as her school newspaper. This article is particularly special to us because it's about chaplains AND she interviewed my friend Sheryll's husband, via e-mail, who is currently deployed. We are praying for you, Todd!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

There's this man...

....who makes my heart skip a beat!

We were hiking on Saturday, enjoying God's awesome creation and, even with all the beauty around me, I was still drawn to this man who means more to me than anything this world has to offer!

Creation, even as marvelous as it can be, doesn't even compare to the heart of a person. Without him it would not have been as beautiful...not to mention I never would have made it without him pushing me (sometimes literally). It was quite the uphill climb! I'm sure if I had attempted to make this hike on my own, I never would have climbed so high.

Having said that, I think about my life as a Christian. There is One who pushes me to climb higher so that I can experience the beauty of knowing Him more. There are times I'm lazy and don't want to put forth the effort of opening up my bible, praying and drawing close to the Lord, but, just like that mountain top view, oh what I miss when I don't. There is so much I would have missed on Saturday had I not kept moving forward. Sure, it was tough sometimes, and everything in me wanted to stop because I was tired and out of shape, but look what I would have missed out on...

Had I been disciplined to work out even on the days I didn't feel like it, this hike would have been much easier on me. Persevering, even when I didn't feel like it, allowed me to experience so much more. Each time I spend time with the Lord, I am blessed. When I don't take that time, I miss out! It's simple. This reminder came to me as I lay in bed the night after we made this hike.

These pictures were taken about a mile from the top, where we were surrounded by wildflowers. We had a great time together!

Oh...did I mention this man of mine has such a sense of humor?!