Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ian hits a homerun...

From time to time I find a video worth sharing. This past week, my friend, Ian Holmes, performed the National Anthem at the ballpark and knocked it out of the house! I am so thankful for Ian and all he has done for my family and I over the years. Some of you might remember Ian performed in my wedding and was also in the top 40 on American Idol Season 4.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Vacation

For most newlyweds, a wedding is usually followed by the much anticipated honeymoon. But as a military wife one of the greatest perks is the idea of having mulitple honeymoon getaways. For Robert and I we chose to celebrate his return home from deployment and our 3rd wedding anniversary by treating ourselves to what we like to call our "second honeymoon." (this time around we actually remembered to take pictures!)
Our first stop was Montreal, Canada (Rob's pick). Since Robert has become quite good in holding conversations in French, I thought it'd be a nice chance for him to test out his skills. While in Montreal we stayed at The Bons Matins Bed & Breakfast. The B&B offered delicious breakfasts, beautiful artwork and a great sanctuary for escaping from the hustle and bustle of city life. Montreal struck me as being quite similar to New York City. It has it's on "5th Avenue" lined with designer shops as well as it's own version of the the "West Village" filled with outdoor cafes and college students. We were even able to find Chinatown Montreal...Robert bought a Chinese Pork Bun and I opted for a Mango Bubble Tea. Delicious!

It just so happened that while we were in Montreal the Annual Montreal Jazz Festival was also taking place. This year marked the 30th Anniversary and was filled with several hundred musicians and performers. We had the chance to check out several of these groups as well as the parade which graced the stage daily.

Amongst some other highlights of our visit were seeing the Biodome and museums, Botanical Gardens and incredible architecture the city had to offer.
From Montreal, we continued on to Ogunquit, Maine. Having never travelled north of Rhode Island, I thought it was time to venture out a bit and vowed to myself that one day I would get to try a true Maine lobster. My dream became a reality!

Much of our time in Maine was spent simply relaxing. And what an amazing place to do so...the beaches were absolutely beautiful (although the water was freeeeeeeeeezing). One of the greatest landmarks of the area to see was the Nubble Lighthouse which sits just off the coast of the mainland. After searching long and hard for it, we were able to find it and I'm so glad we did.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

40 Days in the Desert...

While I had every intention of becoming a true "blogger," I've realized that I'm the worst with remembering to write updates. Much has happened over the past six months and I've come to think of the time as my "Forty Days in the Desert." Like the Israelites who traveled in search of their beloved Promised Land, I too have found myself trying to discern God's direction during this past year.

With Robert's deployment now finished, many people have begun asking me what I've learned through the time apart and while I've tried to perfect a cookie-cutter response; recounting experience after experience and emotion after emotion, I've realized that it can all be summed up four words: "God's grace is sufficient." While I once prided myself in being self-sufficient, I've come to realize that I am FULL of weaknesses. Yet I've taken such comfort in knowing that God's grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me (taken from 2 Corinthians 12:9).

I've realized that many of the events I've gone through in just one year, many people will never even experience over their lifetime. I wanted to share with you all a portion of an email I had once written to a fellow military wife. I don't mean to offend anyone, but rather to move you to pray for our soldiers, their families and our country.

"First of all thank you so much for your continued prayer support. Prayer has sustained us so much this past year. I've often given much thought to how I as an Army wife would share my experiences on deployment with another. It's been a crazy journey...many of my experiences will differ greatly from yours, but I'd imagine there will be a lot that you will go through that many other wives have dealt with as well.
I can remember sitting in a church pew last Memorial Day alongside my husband, knowing that it would only be a matter of weeks before he would mobilize and head off to war. At the time I knew very little about military operations, abbreviations, rank, etc. All I could understand was that my husband would soon no longer physically be there which was enough to drive me to tears.
Early in the deployment, I can remember being so upset and frustrated over the issue of "confidentiality." I realized that many of the questions I'd ask Robert he could not and would not answer because he had a responsibility to protect his soldiers. As a Christian I'd want to know things about how God was working and lives being saved and just a little about some of the soldiers my husband was developing friendships with so I could pray for them. Much of this info he wouldn't talk about to me and I soon grew bothered by the fact that it seemed like my very own husband didn't trust me enough. It would soon become something I would understand, but it took a lot of time to realize that I needed to not ask him "what he was doing" but rather "how he was doing." A great piece of advice a soldier had once told me.

Looking back at the deployment, it seemed as though I went through many phases which resulted in many mixed emotions. About 4 months into the deployment I hit what I often think of as a "routine phase" where I found my niche. It was at this point that I realized if I were to stay connected to him, I needed to come up along side him and serve by whatever means possible. I realized there was much I could do from home so I decided to kick off an adopt-a-soldier ministry and create a daily prayer calendar. The more I was able to see people around me actively taking an interest in his unit the more I felt comforted.
One of the hardest things through out the deployment was sometimes the "lack of support" I would receive. It seemed early in the deployment many people would call or send a card which let me know that they were simply thinking of me or the situation. But living off a base I came to realize there would be many that didn't understand how hard it was to be separated for such a long time. I'd hear prayer requests of women who's husband's were away on business for a week and how much they missed them and think to myself "how lucky are you to even get to see him." To try and make people understand my situation was a feat in itself. There would be some people who would ask me if I missed my husband or how I could even go through this because it just seemed so hard to do. I sometimes found myself having to defend myself, the military and my marriage. And at times, I seemed to have a love-hate relationship with the military.
I love my freedom as an American and the military for defending Justice. I love the fact that I have married a soldier who values our country enough to serve and defend. But, I often find myslf viewing it negatively for at times being the cause of disagreements within my marriage and the cause of so many broken marriages that exist. My heart once broke for a little girl I observed while at a stocking-stuffing party. This little girl's mom was deployed with Rob's unit and I realized how hard it must have been for them both to be separated for such a long time.
For Robert and I, life seems to have put on hold. Thoughts of serving as missionaries, having children, buying a home or even taking that summer vacation all flood my mind and I realize they will all just have to wait. Waiting...learning hard lessons in patience, but growing in faith along the way.
So what have I learned? I've learned that God grows us where He plants us." He has a plan for our lives that far outweighs any plans of our own. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and for that I can rest and be content.

For those of you who have stuck by our sides through this crazy journey, THANK YOU...your love, devotion, wisdom and friendship have taught us so much!

Monday, December 22, 2008

"I Am Second"

"I Am Second" is a new advertising campaign that was recently launched down in Texas. It's goal is to tell the stories of men and women who's lives have been changed because they have decided to put themselves second and chosen to put God first.
Check out one of these video segments of none other than my favorite American Idol contestant, Jason Castro, as he talks about his faith. It's awesome!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby Blankets

As this Christmas continues to draw closer, I am reminded that it will be different. It will be the first Christmas over the past three years that I will not have Robert home to enjoy it with. But, I realize I am not alone. There are thousands of other families that will be separated as their loved ones continue to serve overseas with the military.
In an attempt to bring joy to a few other military families this holiday, I thought long and hard about how I, as one Army wife, could best serve another. I searched for tangible ways I could show love and that's when I realized that many of the soldier's wives in Robert's unit were expecting babies. It was a foreign thought for me to understand the amazing blessing of giving birth to a child and yet not being able to have your spouse around to enjoy the event with because he/she continues to serve on the frontlines. Christmas....a time of year when we as Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. A beautiful baby boy, yet both the Son of God and the Son of man born in a manger.
This Christmas, I have decided to reach out to these expectant mothers. Thanks to a wonderful group of ladies from my church, each expectant mother will be receiving a personalized, handmade baby blanket. We praise God for the blessings of these new births and for the mothers who sacrifice so much because freedom is never free.

Monday, November 10, 2008

War Whiskers...

There are a few things in life that I truly despise that often send chills up my spine and cause me to become a bit queezy.
A few nights ago, Robert and I were having our weekly Skype date over the computer. Skype not only allows me to talk to and hear Robert, but also allows me to see him face to face.
As we were conversing, my eye became fixated on this dark line which appeared to be above his upper lip. Thinking it was a smudge on my computer screen I grabbed a tissue and thought I could solve the problem. But it wasn't a smudge.
Perhaps the connection was just bad and the picture was a little fuzzy? Nope not the case.
"Robert," I asked, "do you have something on your face." To my dismay he replied, "I sure do, it's 'No Shave November!"
Oh the dreaded mustache! I had forgotten that while the Army does not permit long hair and beards, mustaches are allowed.
So for the next few weeks as November rolls along, Robert will be growing a mustache along with several other young soldiers who he was able to pursude to join in. And for the next few weeks, I will have to view this monstrasity every time we now talk.
Good thing November is almost half way through....but he's already begun bragging about "Facial Hair February!" AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall Fun...

I feel like it's been so long since I last updated this blog. Time's flying and the clock continues ticking....every day that passes in one step closer until I get to see Robert!
Much has happened and God continues to remind me of his overflowing blessings even in the midst of some crazy and unexpected events. Lots of life lessons have been learned for sure.

This past weekend officially kicked off the season. My sister-in-law, Catherine, visited from Virginia and we spend the weekend enjoying some fun things. Thanks to an overwhelming number of pumpkins we received at work, I was able to bring one home for Catherine and I too decorate! Meet our little creation, "Charlie."

The Fall wouldn't be complete with cooking smores in the backyard. Tracy has almost perfected making a fire and now we can roast marshmellows all the time. It's made for some wonderful nights to share with friends.

No Fall would be complete without the annual visit to the Renaissance Faire.
The Faire allows people to come and experience life during the 16th century through a 35-acre Elizabethan village inhabited by hundreds of colorfully costumed merriemakers, musicians, artisans and even Queen Elizabeth. Not to mention, it also has the most delicious foods! I tried the popular turkey leg....just a few bites is enough to fill you up.