Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
~1 Timothy 4:12

Monday, June 30, 2008


Warning: This post is intended to be a vent, and nothing more. It is not an attack on anyone, or any comments anyone has made to me. That said, enough said.

I am tired. I am done. I am tired and DONE. What, exactly am I tired and done OF? Well, let's just list it, shall we?

1. "Wow...this deployment thing must just suck for you".
Really? You think? No, it's actually fabulous.

2. " We just can't wait until Mike's home".
(and hearing that over, and over, and over again from the same people in a two day span). I want him home too. More than all of you combined.

3. "I don't know if you should be doing that".
(I've been managing this long...and with three deployments behind me, I can manage just find thank you).

4. "Can you call me? I have a huge problem and I really need someone to talk to about it".
(Great. I'm here for you. But understand that I might only have 10 minutes to talk before my kids need me. And don't get upset with me because I have to go).

5. "I know it must be hard, but at least you have the kids to keep you busy".
(Seriously? Is that supposed to help me in some weird way)?

6. " I would really appreciate it if you would talk to me about your problems, and not Mike. He doesn't need anymore stress".
(Wow. That's so RIGHT! How selfish I've been! Cause I'm just sittin here riding a great big cream puff of JOY for seven months without any stress at all and I can't WAIT for more time to try and do everything on my OWN).

7. And this one is my absolute favorite:
" How often do you talk to Mike"?
(I talk to him for about 15 minutes once a day).
"WOW! You're so lucky!"
(Yes, I get that we are very fortunate in that regard, thank you).
" Oh, I just pray for him every single day. He's always on my mind".

Period. End.

Wonderful. I covet prayers for my husband, but there is a huge, huge part of me that wants to say to these people (and I've heard that literally 6 times in the last 2 days), "I appreciate that so much, thank you. Are you praying for my children? Are you thinking of them waking them up in the middle of the night crying for their daddy? Are you thinking of me when I'm completely overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of the day because I'm just emotionally spent and don't know how I can keep this up for more, MORE months? Are you thinking of us then? Are you praying for US? I want to just scream that at those people.

My parents visited last weekend. I got to hear for four days how many people at home were asking about Mike, praying for Mike, wondering how Mike was, hoping Mike was ok, concerned for Mike, I GET IT. I'm overjoyed, truly overjoyed that Mike is getting so much emotional support. I flat out asked my parents if anyone at home is asking about me and the kids, praying for us, concerned for us....they honestly got it in that moment. The answer was 'no' and they understood.

Make no mistake, our soldiers and sailors and airmen need ALL the emotional support and prayers they can get. I have never, ever been in the position any of them are in and I don't envy them at all, BUT...

there are wives and children left at home who are forgotten. In praying for our troops, in putting that yellow ribbon on the back of our cars, we must remember that there is no ribbon that says "Pray for the families of our troops". There is, in most cases, no pinch hitter for the temporarily single parents that exist, or even the permanently single parents that have been created by this war. There are children who will wake up on their birthday with the missing link of having a parent missing. One of my children will experience that on this deployment. There are couples who will be separated, likely for more than the first time, on their anniversary. We will join that group for the third time through this deployment.

Everytime a ship returns here from a deployment, it is usually televised. Everytime, I cry. I don't cry for the one coming home. I cry for the one standing on the pier who has had to carry the weight of maintaining a home for their sailor to come to. I cry for the burden that has been lifted, for the little children who will have a "whole" world again, for the reconnection that will happen. I cry because I know that while they are coming home, somewhere else, there is someone who is just leaving to replace them, and their wife is hugging him goodbye, hoping to take in enough of the scent of him so that it will last more than half a year. I cry for that mother who holds her babies at night, even if her babies are eight and four when they don't understand their circumstances. I cry, because I understand.

Ok, enough. Vent done. No more.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The gifts that don't come with bows...

I am a crazily upbeat, happy, person 99% of the time. My best friend has gone so far as to tell me on one occasion when we were trapped in the Miami airport with an impending hurricane upon us, to "Take your Pollyanna Happy Perky Attitude and Eat It". Probably the best single piece of advice I've ever gotten from her. However, there are those times when even I can't see the forest for the trees. Life is like that a lot sometimes, as in "Here's your dirt sandwich...would you like a mud milkshake to wash that down"? It's been like that a bunch lately. Through all the multiple goings-on with just keeping our heads above water in this deployment (or so it seems...we're really floating on the surface), it's been easy for me to lose sight of what's truly important. The best gifts in my life have been ones that were confusing, muddling, back-breaking, heart-breaking, and mind-blowing, and they've all been given to me by my most gracious God. There's a lot going on right now in our family, none of which I'm going to go into here, but it's caused me to take my focus off the vital: that through it all, God deserves all, ALL the glory. That has been my prayer through this deployment since it started...that Mike and I and the Kiddles would bring God glory, but I lost sight of that.

Then, today, after going through another one of "those" days and hearing that my sweet husband had gone through one of "those" days, I saw this, and everything changed. It's eight minutes, but it blew me away. Again, one of those gifts that I didn't expect but that got me back to the heart of it all:

Sometimes the things we want most in this world, and the things that maybe more importantly we DON'T, while those those are experiences we don't understand and don't accept, are the VERY things that will bring GOD the GLORY he so deserves.

This little, simple 8 minute video brought it home, loud and clear...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

One fish, two fish...

I will, for my entire life, be a lover of all things Disney. Walt Disney World IS the Happiest Place on Earth. No question. However, the Anheuser Busch company is freakin amazing. We are very fortunate to live close to not one, but TWO AB Adventure Parks and they do this AWESOME thing...they give all military families (up to 4 people) free admission to one of their parks every year. On top of that, they give it to families whose Active Duty servicemember is deployed or serving overseas. A lot of companies don't give military discounts to spouses when that's the case. Don't get me started. Total discrimination. Anyway...

Today I took the kiddles to one of the water parks near where we live. I had been there once before, when I was all of 15 with one of my girlfriends and her parents. I didn't remember anything about this park, least of all what they had to offer little children. I seem to recall being only interested in scoping out cute boys in Billabong shorts. I digress...we met my girlfriend and her two little girls there and spent the day in the water. The weather was perfect (and that RARELY happens around here in June)...85 degrees, zero humidity (sorry, Honey). I thought that Devyn and Aiden might balk at the big slides and choose to hang out by the kids activities and the wave pool. I. Was. Wrong. We spent the afternoon riding things called "Big Daddy Falls" and the "Aquazoid" and the "Malibu Pipeline". The floats were honestly bigger than you can imagine my sheer glee at seeing his Big Sister helping him carry his up the steps AND carrying hers at the same time. It touched me in such a huge way...she's always gone out of her way to look after him and make sure he's ok, but to see her barely maneuvering hers and then to see her take his on as well...well, it just about made me crumble on the spot. On top of that, both of them ended the day with going on the "Hubba Hubba Highway" with my girlfriend's daughter, who's also seven years old. Now, upon first inspection, this appears to be your everday, normal, calm lazy river ride. And The kids went in while I watched from the sideline and as they were coming around the last bend, I said "Ok...time to hop out". Of course I got the "Noooo. It's so coooool. We want to stay innnnnn". I disagreed and told them to get out at the exit that was coming up. I walked over to the zero entry exit to get them and there was not a sign of my two little fish and friend. I tend not to panic in those situations--well, not immediately panic anyway. I looked around (there's only one way out) and looked, and looked some more, only to come to two possiblities: they got out and I didn't see them and have disappeared, or they went around again. I decided to go with the second option, as the first one would put me into an absolute tailspin or panic. So I got into the water at the exit and waited. Five minutes goes by and my heart was beating faster now...and then, then I see this little girl about the same size as Devyn struggling against the current to get out. It should be noted that there are no floats in this particular ride--just you, your life jacket and yourself walking or floating in the current. I figured it out then--and just as I managed to breathe again, there come four little bobing heads with the MOST freaked out looks on their faces and all at once they see me and yell, "WE'RE SORRY"! As I pulled them out, they recounted to me how they all let go of each others hands to get out the first time and then the current maneuvered them back in. Devyn was most upset. She told me that she had let go of Aiden's hand to grab the wall and looked back and saw him floating away. She let go of the wall to go grab him and the current took them both. She looked me dead in the eye with more conviction than I've ever seen in her and said, "Mama, I HAD to get Aiden. I'd do anything to keep him safe! I'd give my own life for him Mama. I'm his big sister, that's what I'm supposed to DO". She floored me in that moment. I hugged her and told her it wasn't going to come to that, but I'm glad she looked out for him so much. Then, HE came to me and said "Mama, I couldn't protect Devyn! I'm so sorry Mama". Seriously, how did I get so blessed as to have these precious children? I remember thinking when I was pregnant with Aiden that I just hoped they would like each other even just a little bit. Wow...I'm so glad and thankful that it's more than that. That seemed a pretty good time to end our day there. We walked back to the Kritter Korral (yes, with TWO K's) and the kids played a bit while we got our belongings together and left the park, happier and wetter than when we arrived. I love days like that...ones you wish you could relive a million times over. There's a day like that coming sooner than's called Homecoming.

Beyond that, the day was wonderful, exhausting, exhilirating and exhausting. We are all worn out, but will happily sleep the night away. Oh, and Mike, the kids now know that the park is open through the end of September...and they have deemed it necessary that you go next. Aiden says "Daddy needs to go to Big Daddy Falls"!

On a side note, we have completed four months of this deployment. 120 days, 16 weeks. In some ways, it seems SO much longer and in others, it seems like it's flown...if the next 100 will go as quickly, that would be lovely. The four of us are four months stronger, four months more resolved, four months more tired of being incomplete and four months more in love with each other. Three to go...three...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Three Weeks Later...

Wow. Three weeks since I've posted. That's what happens when life runs away from you! Five days from now will mark four months since Mike left for Iraq. Four months...12o days...16 weeks, or there abouts. The last three weeks have been the hardest, the most emotional, the longest. It's been just generally madness. Hopefully the kids and I are through the woods and looking out to the other side. I keep thinking that one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride, has it's very own definition of those "woods". If you've seen it, then you know I'm referring to the Theives' Forest with the R.O.U.S.--or the Rodents Of Unusual Size. Life, and deployment in particular have their own R.O.U.S. and they don't really need rehashing now, but things are better...

I am revelling in the fact that my sweet boy LOVES game shows. Praise the Good Lord. He and I have so loved cuddling up together on the couch in the afternoon and chilling with the Game Show Network. Whatever happened to great tv like the game shows of the 70s? Here's my take on things: if there was more Card Sharks, Let's Make A Deal, and Match Game today, people would be a LOT more relaxed. Seriously. People dressed like giant playing cards would get $50.00 if they could produce a paper clip on demand. Now that's some stress I could live with. Today, Aiden and I watched Gene Rayburn from Match Game try to kill a fly on what was then, live national tv. Haven't seen Mark Wahlberg do THAT on his show have you? The one where the person's life is ruined by being caught in a lie? I'll admit that I've been sucked into that one...but honestly...some things are better only known by those closest to you.

I remember watching game shows when I little during the day....that and those other wonderful shows like Kaptain Kangaroo and The Carol Burnett Show. Ahhh...those were the days...

All In The Family anyone?