Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wise Words

I know that many of you who read this blog are young mothers.  (and wow!  how odd to write those words realizing I am not longer in that category ... sigh ...) and may not be as familiar with Ginger Plowman as us seasoned mothers:).  So when I opened my cabinet door this morning to refer to the above chart, I thought I might pass it's information along.  It is a great tool that I honestly don't use as much as I should, but am blessed by when I do.  You can get your own here.  It is very user friendly and not only identifies the child's sin, but gives heart probing questions for your child and ways to put on the good, after they've taken off the bad.  And like all great teaching tools, it is as beneficial for the parent as it is for the child.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Real Reason

Sometimes it all just sort of hits ya.  I know I posted a couple days back about how I just sort of felt numb to Richard coming home.  Well, that is, for me, a defense mechanism.  Now that we are so close, my heart is ready to take in the thought of him back for a while.  I don't wake up and say, "Okay, today is the day I'm going to start getting motivated about his return."  No, it just sort of happens.  And now that it has, I cannot express to you how happy this Momma of five is going to be to have her husband home this weekend and for more than just the weekend.  At the end of the day, after I've put everyone to bed and turned out all the lights upstairs, except for the laundry room b/c there is always laundry going:), I walk downstairs and see toys forgotten to be put up, dishes left to be done, the vacuum is still in the living room ... I push a chair in and there is something sticky on it ... and I see little drawings everywhere of sheep and happy people and Olivia's famous pages filled with nothing but the "O's".  I see books out that we've read and I remember giggles that were had.  I'm not happy to have Richard home because I need him here.  I'm happy to have him home because we are a family.  Sitting on beds and talking to big girls who I swear were little girls just yesterday ... feeling little arms reach around my neck and squeeze me tight ... Today was a day that happens only once.  I missed having Richard being a part of this day.  The girls missed having their Daddy being a part of this day.  And Richard, Richard just simply missed out.  He missed it.  I support my husband a million% and then some, but you know it would have been a blessing to have him here today.  Phone calls, Skype, Facetime, emails, letters, videos ... you name it.  They just don't replicate or capture the moment quite the way you wish they could.  The day to day is hard, no doubt about it, but that's not our number one reason for wanting him home.  It's not about what I need, but more about what he doesn't get.

I was so proud of Hanson Ellis today.  She grew up a little today; got a little stronger.  Tonight as I looked at her and listened to her talk and smile and just be herself, I was hit by what a blessing I've been given to be called "Momma."  She has been through so much without her Daddy and yet she is just the sweetest, cutest 13 year old I know.  My heart rejoices that her Daddy will be able to share in being here in her life and her sisters lives for the next couple of weeks.

We are a family and it is nice to know we'll be together again.  Very, very nice.

The Before

Today Hanson Ellis had her expander put in.  It is the first step in her orthodontic journey.  She'll be getting braces on in possibly three weeks.  She has dreaded this moment.  Maybe I was weird, but I was thrilled to get my braces!  Okay, don't comment on that:).  Hanson Ellis has not been looking forward to this day and so I have not been looking forward to this day.  I guess my emotions are just on a high level right now because when they had me come back to see her hardware installed and show me how to turn the key I literally almost passed out!  So not a Spartan moment:).  Surely it was because I didn't have any coffee before we left the house!  I'm almost positive that was the reason:).  But Hanson Ellis ... she has been amazing.  Such a trooper, smiling all day and really just positive about it all.  We talked last night about how we live in a fallen world so we have these little issues of crooked teeth and our jaws not closing properly.  We also talked about how blessed we are to have a God that gives us ways to repair the sin (orthodontics) and goes beyond that in making it a fun experience!  (where she is going is a super place that has all sorts of incentives for the kids and game rooms, movie rooms, free ice cream, popsicles and coffee for me:)!)  It was nice to talk about how God is so good always, down to the very last detail.  It was such a blessing to sit on her bed and see her smile and talk with her about some of the attributes of God and just see her peacefulness and strength in it all.  

Richard and I also talked about it last night.  He mentioned how great our Country is, in that there are many that "hey, forget crooked teeth, some people don't even have any teeth" because dental care is just not up there on the priority list!  America is a very blessed nation.  Richard knows it better than I.  He's seen so much of the rest of the world first hand.  It is sad how far we've gotten from God and how many blessings we have taken for granted here ... or have decided are rights, rather than privileges.  

So here we go.  Hanson Ellis started a new journey today.  The above is the very hastily took before photo (one day I AM going to be organized again!).  I can't wait to look back at this in a couple of years.  I'm sure the time will be over before we know it!  
Love this girl!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


As I sit here waiting to make sure little ones settle down in their beds, I'm enjoying having a moment to think about the upcoming week.  In five days I will go to bed prepared to wake up to a day ... to a period of time that I once thought was so far away.  As I sit here, I think about all the many, many events we've had here at 57 leading up to this.  I think about how a short period of time seemed like such an eternity at the beginning, and I think about how I just couldn't envision then the now.  Life is like that sometimes.  And you know, I think that's good.  As I sit here I think about when I took the above snapshot.  I remember that moment.  I remember how badly I wanted Richard to be home that day.  (I took this on a Saturday ... my last post will explain.)  As I sit here and think about getting to climb in bed next to Richard (as opposed to my cell phone) for more than a couple of nights, I can't help but take a moment to remember all of the moments I felt like the hill I was climbing only kept increasing in it's steepness.  Well, come to think of it, I still think that hill is pretty darn steep, but as I sit here, I can look back on the little that I've climbed and see so clearly how God has made the climb a success thus far.  I feel good about being at the mile marker that I am and I'm happy to be moving forward to the next one! 

I had a tough couple of hours today ... just so frustrated with so much.
I have to say that I have the best SIL in the world!  Rebecca had sent me a couple of texts and ended up calling me and we talked for quite some time.  I am so thankful for her.  I am thankful for her listening ear and I am thankful that despite all the craziness going on in my world, she downloads on me, too!  I LOVE that.  Love it!  How refreshing to know that she knows I need to get things off my chest and mind, but that I need to be a part of other's lives, too.  While so many seem to take a step back as to not "put more on my plate," Rebecca is always there.  As I sit here, I think about what  blessing that moment on the phone with her was today.  I'm thankful for that moment and I'm thankful for the tough moments that open my eyes all the more to the gift of the good moments!  

Thank you Lord for providing for me and for a moment to think about how you sustain me the way that you do.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fulfilled, Tired, Excited and Numb

It's been just one month short of a year since Momma and Peggy (her oldest sister ... my aunt) drove over to our house.  Momma's been busy and sick and then, we can't forget, half her house was destroyed when the tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa (another post I've got in the line up).  But this weekend they finally made the trip for a much over due girl's weekend at 57.  They arrived Friday afternoon and will leave in the morning.  Momma made it through the weekend without getting sick once.  Yeah!  And we've had a lot of fun doing not much of anything but spending time together and wearing each other out.  The girls love seeing their Gran and Hanson Ellis giggles so much whenever Peggy's around.  Oh how I LOVE to hear those giggles!

This time next week Richard will be home.  I'm excited, but knowing that this is it before things really get started on his end just makes me feel, well, numb.  I guess numb is the best way to describe my emotions right now.  I know what's coming.  All too well I know what's coming.  I don't dread it because I know God is Sovereign.  I don't wish it to be here sooner because the memories of what it's like never become stale.  So I'm stuck in the middle right now just feeling so much and nothing at all.  Numb.

I've always thought that Sunday's were my hardest days.  But lately I have been realizing that Saturday evenings are my worst.  That's when Richard and I watch old movies or documentaries or football games.  That's when we stay up way to late talking about old times and plan out our dreams.  Saturday night is our time and I really like our time.

Six more days and a wake up.
Holding my breath, and yet still breathing.
All at once I am fulfilled, tired, excited and numb.

Sola Gratia

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ephesians 6:10

I love this image!  It was taken at Camp Davenport and is so symbolic of many things:).  One thing it is symbolic of is how we appear to be strong in an of ourselves, but we are strong because we know God is providing us the strength and support we need and is ready to catch us if (and when) we fall.

As I woke up this morning I started thinking about something I saw where the parent was talking about their kids needing to be strong for them while they are deployed. Hmmmm, I'm not so sure I agree with this thinking.  I think we need to be careful to not dump too much on our kids.  This war is not for them to fight.  They are kids.  Let's let them be kids and enjoy life.  They are only little once and let's not let war un-needingly steal their youth from them.  War is dangerous, but God is Sovereign.  May we encourage our children to "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power!" Not pressure them to be strong for us or for our spouse.  

Just a thought. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011


  (Hanson Ellis engrossed in decorating a box that would be mailed out to a soldier during one of her Daddy's deployments.)

I might need to clear up something from last night. 
So in regards to my "AA" reference ...
I think it was good for them to be around other military kids again, but unlike AA meetings, they weren't given any real solutions and that was my point.   I hope I did not come across as harsh towards AA meetings, I just wasn't looking for rehab for my girls ... they didn't go to camp with issues ... they didn't need any help to overcome anything.  As my older daughter put it once a couple of months after we moved to GA, "Momma, I kind of miss being around other military kids.  You know, when we lived on Post, everyone was different and it was so easy to just be yourself.  Here I feel like everyone's kind of the same.  That can be tricky when you're the one that's different." So really for her it was good to be in that environment that the baseline for everyone was that their were military kids.  For my other two, just knowing, "hey, these kids are living without a parent too and they're having fun" ... that was all they needed.  I know there are kids who have had huge issues to deal with as far as deployments are concerned.  I hope they get all the support they need.  But my girls were/are fine and I would have felt terrible if they would have come home scared to death about what their Daddy could face.  For Richard and me, we've never really spent a whole lot of time focusing on his leaving or really even that he's gone or that this, this or this could happen.  I think it is good for us to be as prepared as possible for the worst, but we don't want our girls to miss a beat of life worrying about the "what if's" or spend their life focusing on how "sad" it is that their Daddy is deployed.  We discuss issues as needed and encourage them through Scripture and prayer but we mostly just try to let them focus on life.  
I hope that makes a little more sense.  I am flying solo here with five.  I'm not really sure exactly what purpose this blog has:), but I know it is not something that is meant to suck up my time.  I'm great with numbers and with my hands, but words ... I love them, but they can be more my foe than friend.  I blog late at night and I type at an amazing rate of speed:).  I am thankful that someone mentioned the similarities they saw in the camp and in the AA meeting!  I'm glad I could (hopefully) clarify a bit.  I think this camp was more for fun than for extreme need of counseling.  And they do, btw, ask a lot of questions in the application process ... My guess is that maybe there is another place ... a better venue for those really struggling.  
My conversation with Hanson Ellis (my 13 year old) was more to illustrate a point and to seize an opportunity to remind her of who she is.  I think I've mentioned before that ever since she was little we have this exchange before dropping her off somewhere.  It goes like this ... 
Me, "Remember Who You Are!"  
HE, "I will!"  
Me, "Who are you?"  
HE, "A Child of God."  
Me, "What does that mean?"  
HE, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 
(and this exchange is known to be had between Richard and myself, too!!)

Goodnight you all!
To God be the Glory.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Remembering Who You Are

"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer ..."
1 Peter 3:12a

"But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." 
Hebrews 10:39

Operation Purple Camp

My older three daughters were chosen to attend an Operation Purple Camp this year.  This is a camp that is for children whose parents are deployed or will be deployed or have just returned from a deployment.  It is supposed to give them a connection with other military kids in their same situation and give them some skills to work through whatever difficulties they may be facing.  Of all the years that Richard has been gone, I've never applied to one of these camps.  I decided to this year, as this deployment was just a little on an elevated level for our family and being that we do not currently live in a military community or near one (the closest one, the one my husband was assigned to, is an hour away and is closing), I thought that it might be good for them to reconnect with other military children.  We've only had one deployment with an actual Family Support Group.  Yet once my husband reached his destination he was pulled from his unit and assigned to a Marine one (of all things!) so while my girls are used to being without other kids to chum with during a deployment, it is one thing to do that in a town that understands deployments ... another to do it in a civilian community.  I was hesitant.  As soon as they were chosen I had a fear come over me of "Wait!  What have I done?? Will they leave here happy and motivated and return with their eyes open to the horrors of war?"  I asked a few good friends and was assured they'd be okay.  That this would not be like an AA meeting:).  So I took the plunge and informed the girls they were going to camp!!  They were thrilled and did have a super good time.  I was so proud of them.  They constantly amaze me with how they can just jump into an unfamiliar situation and thrive.  If only I had a teensy bit of that boldness!

To make it even better, their Daddy was able to drive with us down to drop them off.  (and I still have a post due on that amazing weekend out of nowhere!)

So why the verses above?  Well, I found it interesting in listening to my oldest talk about how great camp was and why.  I found her needs to be strikingly similar to my own.  I knew they'd enjoy connecting with other military kids, but I guess I never thought about how much they actually needed that.  At least my 13 year old.  She's fine here and is settling into her life here more and more each day, but she admitted that it was just so nice to be able to have people who've "been in my (her) shoes."  I was happy for that for her too!  I'll never forget the first time I walked into the ROTC building at the University of Alabama with Richard after we'd been married.  I felt instantly amongst the company of friends.  And the funny thing, it wasn't as if I didn't feel connected before I walked in those doors, but when I walked in it was just so much like walking into any Army building on any of the various Posts where we'd lived.  I felt at home and I felt good.

As I listened to Hanson Ellis talk (and talk she did ... maybe over an hour straight:)!) I couldn't help but thinking about how neither of us feel that connection at church.  I don't know, maybe that's okay in a sense.  After all, it's not like we don't have any connections other than military related and so much of our life is military driven, that it's natural to feel more connected to "family" than "friends" in certain situations, if that makes sense.  But I felt a stirring in me to dive deeper into this conversation with Hanson Ellis.  I asked her "So what did they tell you to do when you had an issue?"  She responded with basically all they said to do was write down your feelings in a journal.  That's fine and a great idea, but I reminded her that we as Christians have answers.  That we have HOPE.  The verses above are just two that I keep at my computer to keep my focus on this.  I think it's great that she's an Army Child and proud of it.  But I told her to make sure that she wasn't taking a trait and making it her identity.  And of course this was a great reminder to myself, too.  How easy it is for us to turn our circumstances into what defines us, rather than taking what defines us into our circumstances.  May we all keep a close eye on what title we claim, because that is the title we'll have.

To God be the Glory!

(and it really was a super fun old fashioned camp!!  they had a blast and I was happy for them to go and happy for them to return:)!)

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's a Girl's World

Kate and Olivia participated in an Angelina Ballerina Camp this week.  I almost changed my mind about it.  None of the other girls did anything like this at such an early age.  It's funny, the more kids I have the less money we have for the extras like this, yet the more need for extras like this there seems to be.  The only reason I signed them up initially was because their Daddy was gone and it gets lonely and because their older sisters were going to camp and I wasn't sure if I would need a carrot to dangle to get them (and me) through the week without them.  They were surprisingly fine without their older sisters, and I hyperventilate a little whenever I spend money:), so I almost cancelled their enrollment.

However last week we were just super busy and the whole week was so out of sync and just full of "yuck" and I therefore never got around to making that phone call.  I'm so glad I didn't.  This week was so much fun for them and definitely worth every penny.  I had to post the videos for their Daddy and Gran and Poppa.  The songs crack me up!  So girly.  I can't help but think of my nephews who would just be mortified to not only be in this sort of camp, but to just be in the room today!  :) So, so funny how different boys and girls are.  I love it!

Here they are ... Rainbow Connection and Circle of Friends.  I can hear Richard's laughter at the titles already!

and just b/c I love the way photos look here as opposed to how they look on FB ... (one day I'll get my flickr acct updated ... and btw we had a slight accident just as we were walking out the door this morning so we were late and I got the "here you can stand in the doorway" spot, so my photos are all from the side)