29 Days & Counting till the Army

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Today I am 29 days away from becoming an Army wife. 

Our whole life is about to change in so many ways. It is amazing how many emotions and feelings the human body can experience all at the same time.  Excited, happy, nervous, scared, curious, joy, sadness.  I am not looking forward to Hubby being gone and my having to go to bed without him each night for about 5 months while he’s in training.  On the other hand, I have 2 very close friends who have husbands deployed right now, or about to deploy very soon.  That snaps me right back into reality!  So I really can’t complain.  In fact, I’m looking forward to getting this thing started.  We’ve been planning and preparing for this for an entire year.  Hubby signed the paperwork 7 months ago and was given end-of-August as his “ship date” (no, there is no ship…this is the Army, not the Navy).   Now that we are *this close*, I’m just ready to “Git R Done!”, as the famous Larry the Cable guy would say.

I’m looking forward to Hubby finding out exactly what this new MOS (job) will entail.  I’m looking forward to finding out where we are going to be stationed (live).  I’m looking forward to experiencing a different part of the world outside the 30-mile radius where I have spent the last 30 years of my life!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – God’s Got It!

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This past Saturday night, just before Emily went to bed, I was rocking her in the rocking chair.  I feel so incredibly blessed that she still lets me do this from time to time, even at 5 (and a half!). 

Suddenly, she burst into tears!  She said “I don’t want to grow up.  I want to stay a kid forever.”  I assured her that she had tons of time to enjoy being a kid, and when it was time for her to be a grownup, she would WANT to be a grownup!  She was worried about outgrowing her bunk bed (a twin!), so I told her about how I slept on a bed that size until I was a much older grownup and it fit just fine.

Then the conversation got around to us moving (Ahhh! The real worry!).  We know that about a year from now our family will be moving.  We don’t know where yet.  Most of the time, Emily is super excited about it.  God blessed her with an amazing sense of adventure and curiosity.  She wants to visit more countries and states than I think I even knew existed at her age.

However, this time, she was bawling.  She was scared and worried about the move.  I held her close and told her she could ask me anything.  That Daddy and I had both moved many, many times in our life, so we could tell her all about it.   She’s moved before, but she was too young to remember it.  Now, she’s starting to process the concept of moving, and trying to figure it all out.  See, she’s a detail person and a planner.  That’s who she is.  So, rather than focusing on the adventure of it, right now she was focused on the little details.

What was she worried about? Well, here were a couple of her questions.

“What if my new bedroom doesn’t have a window?”  

I assured her that her bedroom, would in fact, have a window!  She loves to look out her bedroom window!

“What if we are driving to our new home and we have to stop, but we can’t sleep in the van….where will we sleep?” 

Obviously she had forgotten the many times we’ve slept in a hotel room on the way to a destination!  I reminded her of the hotel stops when we went to Florida this past year, and that settled her mind.

Last time she did this, she was concerned because she “would never get to go to the zoo again!”, but was fine once I showed her that there are zoos in or near most cities, and that she would definitely get to go to the zoo again!

She was also curious about having a yard to play in, and since I don’t know if we’ll be in a house or apartment at first, I couldn’t promise that.  But once I told her that apartments have swimming pools, she said she wanted us to live there!

Our sweet girl is not a big fan of change.  She likes to plan ahead and know what’s going to happen….exactly how it’s going to happen.  So this first move will be challenging for us.  We’ll have to give her lots of details, without giving her ones she doesn’t need to know at her age.

As she was worrying about whether or not her bedroom would have a window, I was reminded of Christ in Matthew 6:25-39.  He tells us not to worry because he will take care of us, even more than he does the birds and the flowers.  He’s already in the details.  He sees the big picture, when we only see what’s right in front of us.

Just the same, I can worry about where we are going to be stationed, what our house will look like, if it will have a microwave built-in, whether I’ll have a bathtub or just a shower…..Or I can just relax, take it as it comes, and trust that God has it all planned out for us.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)

We’ve Joined the Army!

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The roller coaster ride has begun!

Hubby signed the papers yesterday to re-enlist in the Army! For the past 6 months he has been getting back in shape to join the Army, and now it’s time.  His MOS (Military Occupational Specialty, aka his job) will be 74D – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist.  Get ready to read lots of acronyms as I learn a whole new language!

A little background for anyone just jumping on the ride with us:

Hubby served in the Army for 7 years…and has been out for 13 years.   After he got out, he spent some time as a SCUBA instructor in the islands, then came back home to Texas to continue teaching at a shop here, where we met.  Later, he got into the IT field working with computers for the next several years with a small break while he worked as a manager for Starbucks.  During that time, we got married, had a baby, and moved a couple times locally.

A couple years ago, we considered him getting back into the Army, but we dismissed it without much thought.  However, the idea didn’t disappear as we assumed it would, and this past summer it came back with intensity!  This time, we prayed about it and spent a lot of time seeking God’s will.  After many affirmations, we knew in our hearts that this was where we were going.

It’s a huge change from the dream that we’ve always had for our life.  We met while SCUBA diving, and we both always wanted to own a dive shop together somewhere in the Caribbean.  We weren’t sure when, or how, we’d get there, but we wanted to get there.  A couple years ago, we gave that dream up to God.  We prayed about it and told God that if HE wanted us to do that, that we knew He would get us there, but in the meantime, we were willing to do what He wanted us to do.  It really changed our hearts, and opened our minds to a different path that might be in store for us.

I’ve never been an Army wife.  Emily has never been an Army kid.  Hubby has never been a married guy with dependents in the Army.  This is a whole new adventure for all of us!

We are excited! We know this is where God wants us to go, and my husband is an amazing, patriotic man who loves to serve his country. I am so incredibly proud of him and proud to support him as he serves!

He will be leaving August 30 to start training for his new job.  He’ll be away from home for about 5 months.  We will have limited communication during that time.  Toward the end of that 5 months, we will find out where our duty station will be.  After his training is done, then we’ll figure out where we’re going, and when we will all be moving.  We know we’re moving, but no idea where.  With this job, he could be attached to just about any unit, which means we could end up at any Army post.   It’s all in God’s hands!

Life is a roller coaster ride

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One of my closest friends put it this way, “It’s like when the cart gets to the top of a rollercoaster isn’t it? You know what is coming is scary and exciting but you have no idea what’s coming. Just that it’s about to start.”

That sums up our life right now just perfectly!  I am so thankful that God is in control!

Our family has some huge changes coming up soon.  Huge changes.  My husband is currently in the process of re-enlisting in the Army, after being out for 13 years.  I will, for the first time in my life, be an Army wife.  We will be moving away from our current home. Hubby has done that before since he served in the Army for 7 years, but I have never in my entire life lived more than 30 miles away from my family.  For the last 30 years, I’ve lived inside the same 30 mile radius.  I’ve always wanted to travel, to live somewhere else, but I haven’t yet.

We don’t know exactly when, or where yet.  Hopefully we will be finding out the *when* soon, ideally this week.  The *where* may not come for a while.

We feel 100% sure that this is a calling for us.  We’ve been praying about this for months and months now, and God has affirmed it for us over and over again.  We’ve been preparing for this for a long time, and the time has arrived.  This is a new adventure for our family.  A chance for us to let God use us for His glory.  A chance to serve our country.  To make friends with people we would otherwise never meet.  To see places we have never seen.  To serve others in ways we don’t even know about yet.

We are excited! A little nervous about some things, sure, but excited! We are walking in faith, trusting Him to lead us and show us where to go, where He wants us.

A long time ago, Hubby and I learned that the only way we can get through anything together is by having God as the 3rd strand in our marriage.  The 3rd strand of a rope is what holds it together.  The same is true in our marriage.  We’ve been through a lot together in our 8 years of marriage, and we’ve come out of each situation stronger together, by the grace of God.  We know that this next adventure will be no different!

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~ Ecc 4:12

I will be updating here as I know more.  For now, I ask for your prayers as we embark on this new journey together as a family.

Practice Makes Perfect…Or Not

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The other day my daughter was practicing riding her bike.  She was working on her turns and making figure eights without turning too much and falling over.  I told her “Practice makes perfect!”, and she told me “No it doesn’t, Mommy! No one is perfect except God.”

How right she is!

If only practice made perfect, then maybe I could have hopes of being a perfect mother one day, but alas, it doesn’t….and I can’t.  Lately, I find myself making mistake after mistake after mistake.  I lose my temper, or get upset about something I shouldn’t, and I end up having to go once again and apologize to my 5 year old for getting too mad, or yelling, or not listening well enough.  It’s humbling.  Even more humbling when she practically interrupts me to quickly say, “it’s ok Mommy, I forgive you!”.

I am finding that the more that I acknowledge an area that God is growing me in, the more I struggle with it.  Also, I and realizing that I tend to be harder on others in the areas that I myself need the most work in.

I’ve often heard saying, “When you point a finger at someone, there are 3 more fingers pointing right back at yourself”. Try it, you’ll see.  No really…stop and try it.  Point at something or someone.  See those 3 folded fingers? They are pointing right back at YOU!

I find that SO often when I am saying something to Emily out of frustration or anger, it’s like God was saying them to ME instead.  “You need to get in control.”, “You need to listen to me”, “You aren’t paying attention to what I’m saying.”,  “Are you thinking of yourself or others?”, “Are you being a blessing to others right now?”.


So, I’ll keep practicing.  Every day for the rest of my life.  I’ll never be perfect, but I do hope to become more and more Christ-like.  In the meantime, I surrender all to Him!

“He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” ~ Proverbs 21:21

Having faith like a child

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The Bible tells us that unless we become like a child, we will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matt 18:3

I learn so much from my little girl each day!  God uses her to teach me about His character, and the qualities He wants in each of us.  I find that I do much better when I strive to be more like her, than when I focus on trying to make her more like me.

Yesterday, I talked to Emily about her play kitchen she’s had since she was 2.  She played with it for a couple years and thoroughly enjoyed it!  However, now it just sits in our kitchen taking up space and she never plays with it anymore.  Her interests have taken her elsewhere, and she prefers to help Mommy cook in the real kitchen rather than pretending to cook in a play kitchen.

So, I gave her some choices.

1) She could move it outside and see if she played with it outside differently.  
2) She could sell it and use the money to buy something else.  
3) She could give it away.

She chose option #4 – “I want to sell it and give all the money to God because helping other people is more important than toys.”


Why is it that my first (sinful) reaction in my mind is “Are you sure?? You don’t want the money for something else? You could tithe on it, but then buy something else, you know.“  Thankfully my brain-to-mouth filter was turned on, and I didn’t say any of that out loud!  Instead, I told her how proud I was of her choice and of her generosity.

Right now, I’m spending my quiet time in Psalm 119.  This morning, I picked up where I left off yesterday and read verses 36-37,

“Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.  Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.”

We don’t need to raise our kids to be grownups who seek to “have it all”.  We need to cherish our children, and look to them as examples of what God wants us to be like.

Muffin Tin Meals

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This isn’t a unique idea, but I wanted to share it anyway since I’ve been using it for quite a while. I had seen it on several blogs & in magazines and thought it was a cute idea. My daughter, Emily, LOVES samples, and will eat almost anything on a toothpick. Often she even requests for me to make her a “sample lunch” (lots of bite size items and toothpicks for utensils). So, when I saw this idea, I knew she would love it!

Turns out, I love it too! In fact, I now do it at least twice a week. I love it even more when our house is full of kids, because I like to keep lunches simple, healthy, and interesting. I line up the muffin tins and in pure assembly-line style, prepare lunch for everyone. Grapes…some here, some here, some here, some there. Cut up cheese….same routine. And on it goes.

If I include sandwiches, I only have to make 1 or 2 because everyone just gets part of one. If I heat something up, I just heat up one bowl and everyone gets a small serving in one of the tins. That’s another bonus for anyone paying attention to portion sizes – each muffin tin is approx. 1/2 cup. Good way to make sure they get their fruits & veggies if that’s a problem in your house.

You can Google “muffin tin meals” and get a tons of ideas, but here are a few of my examples.

From top-left: Apples, ranch dressing, quiche muffins, peanut butter, celery, carrots

These had frozen peas (my kids love them), apples, 1 gumdrop (made with natural coloring!), cheese & crackers, & 2 spots of plain yogurt w/applesauce mixed in.

 From top-left: apples, cheese, candied ginger, homemade jello (gelatin & no-sugar-added juice), crackers, & hummus

Another take on the idea for snack time: peanuts, raisins, & mini PB crackers.

 From top-left: a piece of whole wheat biscotti, green bean casserole, chicken breast, grapes, veggies, ranch dressing

Another reason I love it is because it makes my daughter do fun, creative things like dip her grapes in ranch dressing (ewww!), or make a “sandwich” with celery, carrot, green pea, and a piece of chicken. Good times!  

I live for moments like this!

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Tonight on the way home, Emily (4 years old) commented on the half-moon in the night sky. I asked her to tell Daddy why we could only see part of the moon.

Emily“because there isn’t light shining on it all”

Hubby“How did you know that?”

Emily“Mommy told me. After we got home from the park yesterday, she pretended the jar of powder was the sun, the apple was the earth and the squash was the moon. “

Me“so how did that work?”

Emily“the sun stays still and the moon and the earth move around”

So smart! It’s amazing how much they absorb!  Then, she said “I’m going to go to the store and get a sticker that says Good Teacher and give it to you because you teach me so good. It will have GOOD on the top and TEACHER on the bottom with a little pink heart!”

THAT is the reason I feel so blessed that we were called to homeschool!   The feeling inside when your child tells you that you are a good teacher just cannot be described with words!’

I live for moments like this!

Best Hubby Ever!

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I have the best husband in the world!  Really.  Although, I’m sure many of you feel the same way about your husbands – at least I hope you do!

This year, my birthday falls on Mother’s Day.  My absolute favorite gift would be to get to sleep in, have a peaceful long quiet time, and then have some time to read and write…and that’s just what I got!

Since we go to church on Sunday, I can’t sleep in then.  We have a training class to go to tomorrow (Saturday), so that won’t work either.   So, TODAY is the day!   Rob got up, got Emily dressed and ready to go and he took her to Whole Foods this morning for a special treat (a new tradition for Mother’s Day maybe?).  I don’t know whether she’ll choose a muffin, a donut, or a cupcake for breakfast, but I know she’ll love the time with Daddy!  I also know that I love them both for the time alone.   (I later found out she had a very yummy scone!)

Don’t get me wrong…I ADORE my family! I could not think of a better job than to be a wife and mom.  I love taking care of my family, and our home.  I really do.  God has blessed me with being able to truly enjoy the role He has called me to, and I am thankful for that.   I love to cook for them, to play with Emily, even doing laundry and dishes gives me satisfaction.  I could do without cleaning the bathrooms though!  But as much as I enjoy all that, I truly enjoy some quiet time to sit, to pray, to listen to God, and to think.   To think…..that’s something you can’t do much of when all you hear is “Mommmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyy”.

Normally, on these special days when Rob lets me sleep in, and I wake up to a cup of coffee on my nightstand.  (Bliss!!) This morning – no coffee.  I assumed he got busy getting Emily up and ready to go, so after sending him a joking text message of “who moved my coffee?”, I went in the kitchen to make my own.   Guess what I found right next to the coffee maker? That’s right – a brand new coffee mug! I love my man!

The Waiting Room

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Imagine being in a waiting room.  You’ve been there for hours.  No one is telling you when it will be your turn.  No one can even verify that you are in the right room.   You just want some answers.   You are happy to wait, if someone would just tell you what is going on and what is going to happen next.  But the answers don’t come.

Then, you look at the walls and see the following signs:

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. ~ Psalm 27:14

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matt 6:34

Be still and know that I am God ~ Psalm 46:10

WAITING requires patience.  That’s something I’ve never been great at.  It also requires putting yourself completely at the mercy of someone else.  When I’m just waiting, I feel out of control.  That’s really hard for someone like me who is a control freak by nature.  What is going to happen? When is it going to happen?

Right now, Rob and I are doing a lot of waiting.  We are waiting to hear from God in several areas of our lives.

It’s hard for me because I don’t know when we will be going,  exactly how we will get there, or what exactly God’s plan for us is.  It’s out of my hands right now.  And therein lies the lesson – to fully depend on God.

In college, Psychology was one of my majors, and we took a lot of personality tests.  I thought they were fun, and I liked seeing what other people’s answers were, so I often asked my friends to take them.  Rob will still, to this day, tell you that I made him take a personality test just to see if I was willing to date him.   Hey – I had to make sure, right? Anyway – on almost every single test I took, the following question always came up:  “Do you like to be spontaneous, or stick to a schedule/plan?“.  I was always quick to answer “spontaneous, of course!“.  After all, I didn’t want anyone else running my life and telling me what to do.

But really, the older I get, and the more I learn about myself – and the closer I am to God – I realize that’s just not true.  I like a plan.  I like to stick to my plan.  Now, when I’m on vacation and nothing matters – I love to be spontaneous.  See something we want to do?  Great! Let’s do it!  But when it comes to my life, my family, our financial security – I like to plan.  I want to know what’s happening tomorrow, next week, and next month — and how we are going to get there.  I want to know what’s going on because it makes me feel like I’m in control.

But I’m really never in control.  GOD is in control. And right now he is teaching me to rely on Him 100% and to wait. To wait for Him.

The song “God is in Control” by Twila Paris is one of my all time favorites. Here are the lyrics:

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don’t lose the vision here
Carried away by emotion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control, oh God is in control

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let you down
Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father

Watching over you and me
watching over you…watching over me..
watching over every things..
watching over you..watching over me..
every little sparrow..every little thing…

So I know that God is in control.  As much as I dislike being out of control myself, there is a great comfort that comes from knowing that HE has the master plan.  That he knows what is coming around that corner that I can’t see.

I just have to wait for him to reveal to me what I need to know.

Waiting….it’s hard.  I have never prayed for patience.  I’ve been too scared to.  I didn’t want God to test me in that.   But, I have prayed, multiple times, to become more like Him. And you know what?  Part of that journey to become more Christ-like, requires us to learn patience.

2 Peter 1:5-8 says:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

See, that means that in order to become godly, I must first have faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, & perseverance.

To persevere…..to be steadfast.

According to Webster, STEADFAST means:
1 a: firmly fixed in place : immovable b: not subject to change
2: firm in belief, determination, or adherence : loyal

Then, in Galations 5:22, it says that the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3: not hasty or impetuous
4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity

1: the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient

You know what I see here?  In order to be godly, I need to learn to be patient.  Being patient is more than just waiting on my friend who is late for the movie.  It’s more than just staying calm when my daughter is running a little slow and I’m late for a meeting.    Being patient means staying steadfast despite adversity & difficulty.

Staying FIRM in my BELIEFS in the middle of difficulty.

And then…..to truly be able to say I have patience – that means that I have the HABIT of being patient.   The habit.  I’m used to it. It’s second nature to me.

It’s no wonder we have to go through so many things, so many trials, to truly learn to be patient.  It has to become a habit for us to stay firm in our beliefs, to lean on God – when life is tough.

And so I wait…for God.   I wait for Him to work in me, and to shine his light on the next step that I need to see.  As much as I would like to see around that corner, he’s not ready to show it to me yet.  In the meantime, I trust…and obey.