Friday, September 30, 2011

Psalm 63.7

So it is the end of day 5 for me, the beginning of day 6 for him.
The girls and I are plugging away at life and once we got through the first 24 hours, I don't think we've had time to even think of missing a beat.  I've never been so busy before in my life!  But busy isn't that bad in these types of situations and being busy with a purpose is probably even just a little better.  We've had preschool, dance, doctor's appointments, and play-dates etc.  I even had a first meeting with a realtor today to start the process of getting our house ready to go on the market. (and if you are praying for our family, please pray that this house will sell!!) So yes, life is continuing on here 57 and I am thankful for it.

It's late and the girls are all in bed.  It is cool out (finally) and so there is not even the sound of the a/c running.  Only the very, very faint hum of the computer and the sound of the keys as I type.  I wrote in one of my letters to Richard that sometimes I just like to stop and sit and think about him.  I like to try and remember certain conversations we had and as well as the expression on his face at various times.  I'm sitting here doing that right now.  And one of the first thoughts I had was of a FaceTime conversation that we recently had when I told him ...

"Hey, I think I'm not going to cut my hair while you're deployed."
"Really? Wow.  How long do you think it'll get?"
"I don't know, maybe like Crystal Gale or something."

I said it in a very matter of fact way.  I knew he would have NO idea who she was.  Music is not Richard's thing.  And I was right ...

"Hmmm.  Who is that?"
"You don't know?"
"Look her up."

So he grabs his iphone and looks her up while I wait.  Then he looks at me and we both crack up:).  It was an awesome moment.  I guess at the time we were both just dreading him leaving and not being able to say goodbye in person again, that it made the moment all the more funny.

I enjoy remembering things like this.  I enjoy the encouragement that laughter can bring, even if it is only the memory of laughter late at night in a quiet house.

It's been a busy week, but a good week.  And to be honest, it's been better than I ever thought it would.  I've said it before, but I am learning it in new ways this week;  that God is faithful, and even more faithful that we can possibly grasp at times.  A big question always asked in the Army is "Do you have a good support group?"  Oh how many times have I wanted to laugh and say "What?  I haven't got anybody!"  That is so true of me again this go around.  I'm not near his unit.  I'm not on a military installation where I can link up with other military spouses.  I don't have family that can come help.  I don't have the option of moving back home.  Every homeschool group I've tried here in Georgia has failed for one reason or another and as far as friends here, well, everybody's sort of got their own thing going on already.  And I'm not complaining, I'm just trying to illustrate the point of my isolation.  I learned this week, though, that I am not alone.  God is here with me and He is my help.  I was so encouraged by a handful of godly women this week that I really, really was just blown away.   Only one was actually here in town, but others sent me little notes and words of encouragement at just the right moment and I truly have felt the prayers of the faithful lifting me up and carrying me through the past week.  And you know what?  I never would have imagined it in all my life.  I cut God's faithfulness off.  I put a limit on it this week.  Yet He is more faithful than we can every imagine or grasp Him to be.

I miss my PSYOPER so much!  I yearn to talk to him longer than 10 seconds and/or to have a real conversation via text or email.  But I have been so blessed this week.  It really has been very neat!

Giving thanks tonight for a week of joy in the trenches.

Praying for those missing the arms of the ones they love tonight.
May all our troops come home soon.

"Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wing."  Psalm 63.7

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Love Letters

I have to tell you that being an Army Wife isn't all gloom and doom.  Yes, our husbands are gone from time to time and sometimes in very dangerous places, but b/c of so much separation, little lost habits tend to reappear and get new life.  One such thing ... love letters.  

As I waited (very patiently, I might add) all night for a text from Richard, I decided after the millionth check of my phone just to make sure I didn't miss a text (told you I was being patient ... I only checked a million times!) I decided I'd write Richard deployment letter number two.  When I was finished I proudly read my words over again and then folded the letter neatly.  I then decided I had enough motivation to tackle the laundry.  When I was about half way through the piles I heard a text come through.  AH!  I knew it!!  My devotion and patience paid off.  I was finally getting the text I'd waited for all night.  And of course I'll share it with you.  This is what my most wonderful, loving husband text ...
"Just finished our (such and such) training.  It was fun."

 Ok.  That's good, I thought.  Glad things are going well.  But where's the good stuff?  Be patient, I told myself.  He probably has a bunch of guys around ... he'll text back.  So I waited.  And I waited ... folded some more clothes and waited some more.  Yep, you guessed it.  That was it.  I didn't get another text from him.  

Ahhhh, the life I live.  I know that man loves me:) ... and I treasure all those crazy random texts. He does write me, and he will email more in depth when he's able.  But the random texts out of nowhere ... those are his love letters, too.  And It's good to be the girl back home that's receiving them!  I love that he thinks to share little random, seemingly meaningless things with me.  I really do.  And I love that separation gives us a chance to fall in love through words all over again and to appreciate not just the little things, but everything.

And in other news of the day, Olivia was the line leader at school today.  She was so excited she blurted out "I'm the line leader!" en-route this morning:).  When I picked her up she said she did "a GREAT job!" I asked her if she practiced writing her name at school.  She replied, "No.  I ate my lunch.  I'll write my name tomorrow."  
Sounds like a plan. 

Today was a good day! 

Monday, September 26, 2011


As I loaded the dishwasher this afternoon I watched through the window behind my sink a hummingbird feeding on a hanging basket that my neighbor has on his front porch.  I felt my phone vibrate.  I pulled it out of my pocket knowing exactly who was calling.  It was the call I was waiting for and the call that I dreaded.  As I heard, "Well, we're loading the plane, so this is it ... just wanted to tell you that I love you one more time ..." my heart felt like it was beating a million beats per minute and I struggled to catch my breath.  Both sadness and pride swelled within me.  I was standing in the kitchen in our home in Georgia while my husband was loading a plane in Texas on his way to war.  Oh how I instantly yearned to feel his cheek next to mine just one more time.  How I tried really hard to remember what he smelled like, but I just couldn't.  

I have cried so much the past few days and yet held back even more tears than you could imagine.  
This never gets any easier.  It never does.  

I am about to take Kate and Hanson Ellis to dance.  Our second trip to the studio today.  Olivia is napping, Parker and Patterson are finishing school.  Life goes on.  I'm glad it does ... but it's not without a struggle today. And when night comes and the girls are in bed, I am going to miss opening the laptop and talking to Misoman on FaceTime.  He always has the best stories ... little history lessons each night:).  He is so good at distracting me (and himself) when the separation is too much.  Yes, I'm glad we are moving forward; phase two, as Richard puts it.  Tomorrow will be easier.  But for now, my heart aches so much my stomach hurts.   And I'm going to miss tonight's history lesson from Richard more than anything.  

Thank you Lord for my husband and for sweet moments to hold on to.  

Downhill from here ...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Journey Begins

And so after more than five months of training, Richard finally makes his way to Afghanistan.

One night while we were talking on Facetime, he showed me his room.  He'd been packing all day and had gear and luggage everywhere.  It was a very sad, lonely sight to me.  I have a feeling there's a story in this deployment, so I told him to take a photo of his room.  The above is of his desk.  I think it speaks volumes ... definitely sums up his time in El Paso. (On a light note it says to me that you can have a maid, but it ain't the same as havin' a wife:)!) What touches me the most in this photo is the framed handprints in the back.  This is of my hand and Hanson Ellis'. I made it when he took his first Company Command out at Fort Lewis when Hanson Ellis was just 10 months old.  I wrote Jeremiah 29.11 on there (along with a little note of encouragement).  That was almost 12 years ago!  Sort of surprised me that he took that with him to TX.  But it makes my heart happy:).

I love my husband ... my soldier ... the greatest friend I'll ever have.  Proud of his diligence in seeking knowledge to better understand the culture/mindset we are at war in and with.  Proud of his love of God and of his unyielding sacrifice to a country that needs to put Him first again.

Over the next few months I pray that he honor God is all he does.  May he continue to remember who he is.  May he be an encouragement and a leader to all; both American and Afghani soldiers.  I pray that he will have a vision and that he will never lose hope.  May God bless him and bring him home safely and soon.  And may God keep us close, despite the odds that the world says are against us.

I pray also for the girls and me.  I pray that I will honor God is all that I do.  I pray that I will continue to remember who I am.  I pray that I will be an encouragement to our girls and other wives that are experiencing deployments, too.  I pray that I will have a vision and that I will never lose hope.  May God bless me in my service to Him as I fill my days with wearing the hat of mother, father, sister, daughter, teacher, cook, accountant and friend.  (just to name a few)

I pray for our girls.  I pray that they will encourage one another.  I pray that they will enjoy writing their Daddy and receiving letters from him ... that they will treasure the words he writes intentionally to each one of them.  I pray that they will learn to trust God in new ways and that they will see and rejoice in the many provisions He will daily provide.

I pray that the seven of us would enjoy every day ... even though we are apart ... because life is such a gift and we are not to take it for granted.  I pray that we would faithfully look to the future, but joyfully live the now.  

And last, but not least, I pray that 57 would sell so that we would be able to join Richard at our next duty station when he returns and be a family again.

"Now unto Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine ..."
Ephesians 3:20a

I love you Richard.  Super proud of you and constantly humbled by you.

To God be the Glory.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Some Things

totally makes me smile  
Richard, I'm tellin' ya ... she's gonna be an agent:)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Dentist

Today we had a dentist appointment for the younger four.  Someone asked last night at Chick-fil-a if we were having a birthday party. Well I guess today you could say we took the party to the dentist! It was a special trip, though, as it was Olivia's first.  We love our dentist here.  It is almost like a field trip for the girls!  They get little treat bags with the usual new toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and stickers, but they also get tattoos and t-shirts and two prizes of their choice from a little set up that resembles a mini toy shop.  There are also two movies playing at all times, a little video room and a fun door just their size.  Truly a fun, fun place for them!  I wondered how Olivia would do today.  You really never know with her.  Fortunately she was ready and willing.  Sweet little teeny thing:).  Fun times.  I am thankful for special things like dentist who love what they do.  Makes life really amazing and just breeds positivity in little minds!  God is good.

But all good things must come to an end.  Olivia is not a fan of this.  Going home was not nearly as fun as going to the dentist ...

even if you do have an awesome new t-shirt to wear!
As I've said before, love her anyway:).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Road Trip Recap

Richard's last visit home was completely unexpected.  He found some extra time and decided to take advantage of it.  And in going with his "you only live once" frame of mind, I decided it was a super idea to pick him up late Thursday night from the airport, drive an hour home, try to put hyped up, but overly exhausted girls to bed only to wake up early and get all of us ready to leave the house by 7  so we could drive 3 hours to attend a homeschool field trip.  (For those of you who do not homeschool, having the whole family exit the house at this hour of the day is almost unheard of ... and for those of you who do know us, it is just short of impossible:), but we made it!)
We went to Westville, which is a living History Museum.  Westville is a really neat place, but evidence of a weak economy were all around.  Many things were not open and many activities were not being conducted.  I even heard one of the workers standing in line comment on how there used to be 30+ employees, and now there were only 13.  Sad!  However, it was nice to get out and do something and show the girls a bit of history past.  One thing I enjoy so much about teaching in general is just seeing the learning taking place in the eyes of the student.  I love it when the girl's furrow their brow and you just know their little minds are a workin'.  I love seeing them concentrate. I love seeing them giggle unexpectedly. And I love seeing them working together.  Sweet moments indeed.  

And when we were all hot and sweaty and ready to go home, I somehow managed to get Richard to drive us over to where it all began for us.

Richard was in IOBC (the Infantry Officer's Basic Course) when we first started dating.  Oh, how I adored that post!  The beautiful white quarters ... hearing taps as he walked me down the street at night ... And while our first duty stationed married was Fort Bragg (as his first assignment was with the 82nd Airborne Division), we moved to Fort Benning the Christmas before I had Hanson Ellis.

(note, this was not our house ...)

I'll never forget sitting in the Housing Office waiting to see if we were going to get housing.  Momma had driven over from Tuscaloosa to help us move in.  When we not only found out that we were getting housing, but that our house (duplex) would be located here on Blessing Street, Momma and I both squealed!  I'm sure the lady at Housing thought we were absolutely out of our minds.  No one is ever that excited about housing!  But it was our first house and where our first child would be born and how amazing to have the street named what it was!  What a great reminder it was then and what a great reminder it was a couple of weeks ago.  Life is such a gift and a blessing. Richard and I have had some crazy moments, and by the world's standards we should have never made it this far. Yet God has been so gracious to us and He is bigger than the world's standards:).  Life isn't perfect and looking back, yeah, we could have made some better decisions.  But you know, when I drove down that street and we stopped in front of 105 ... I could hardly swallow.  How humbled I was at the lifetime of memories I already have crammed into just a few years!  Thank goodness Richard was in the van and brought in a little humor of "hey, what do you know, after 13 years our house is still the only one without grass!"  :) I needed to go back to that street and see that duplex.  I wanted to show Hanson Ellis where her first house was.  I wanted to show her that post and that house with her Daddy with us, as a family.  It is good to remember ... to be reminded.  It is good to share your history with your children ... to pass along a little more of who you were and who they are.  It is important, I think, to show your children the joy you have in you life ... past, present and future.  I think little "5 minutes" like this are more powerful than we can ever imagine them to be.  I think we did more than reflect on that little stop.  I think we planted a seed in each of our girl's lives.  I look forward to hearing their reflections on our reflections on this trip down memory lane to Blessing Street.

I am so thankful we made that trip.  I am so thankful Richard came home one more time.  That day wore us out!  But I guess everyday does that:), and I am thankful that God is teaching me the cost value of endurance a little more everyday.

Praise Him from whom all blessings flow ...

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Creek

july 2011

We have a creek in our backyard.  Well, sort of in our backyard.  You have to go through our backyard to get to it ... does that count? :)

The girls LOVE going here.  We decided to take their cousins this past weekend on our little mini hike.  It was just before the rain came, so it was pretty much dried up, but everyone had a great time all the same.  (you'll even notice Ellie the cat pretending she's a mountain lion below!!)

It's moments like these that make me so happy to have my camera.  The girls are going to have a flood of memories one day when they look back on these images.  The thought of that gives me a smile now and I know I'll have one to look forward to as well!