Thursday, March 29, 2012

Who Left the Lights on in the Van?!

This morning I loaded up an Easter Party ready preschooler in a van that had a dead battery.  
Yep, someone had left the lights on last night when they went to get something out.  

I then unloaded my Easter Party ready preschooler.  

Things just sort of went downhill from there. 
Life was not glamorous today at all.

And while there are so many sweet and thankful posts about amazing things God is doing in people's lives ... I just want to say that it was a blessing to be alive today and make it to afternoon swim lessons.  Seeing Olivia hold her mouth WIDE OPEN... as if to take in a big breath ... before submerging her whole head under water only to resurface and give me an enthusiastic thumbs up, was priceless.  I'm sure that's not that noteworthy to anyone but me:), but what is noteworthy is that I learned a lot about God's provision in that one quick moment.  

Life is hard and full of crazy frustrations, but it is precious and I am thankful God keeps my eyes open to the little things. 

A friend I admire greatly once sent me the following verse. 
And I now have the reference written in a little tiny bird shaped frame by my computer. 

"For a righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth up again; But the wicked are overthrown by calamity." Proverbs 24:16

Praise be to God, whose Word guides our life!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Budrow!

Funny.  You know I had thought I'd put together this amazing post for Richard for his birthday.  But now that I sit down to compose this post ... all I am is quiet inside.

There is so much I could say, so much I could write ... I even gathered an entire file worth of images to include ...
However, all I really feel like saying is "I love you."

So, Happy Birthday Budrow!  I am so amazed daily with who you are.  You have brought so much joy into my life ... so much peace, confidence and laughter.  You are a perfect Daddy to our girls and nothing warms my heart more than to see them stand, sit and walk as close to you as they can.  You are so patient with them and if I could just once have the gentleness in discipline that you have, I'd be so much better of a Momma.  I look forward to having you walk through the door at the end of the day again.  I look forward to the shouts of "Daddy!!" filling the house.  I look forward to you putting your arm around Hanson Ellis, to you telling Parker and Patterson make up stories before bed, to you giving Kate "big bear hugs" and smootchin' sweet Olivia on her tiny little cheek.

Happy Birthday to my best friend and that person who always tells me to "come look at the stars."

Happy Birthday to the one who reminds me to keep my eyes on Jesus and to remember that "God's got a plan."

I pray your day is safe.  I pray your day is productive.  I pray your day is happy.
I pray your day, even though it is spent in a combat zone in Afghanistan, is special ... because you make life special for the girls and me always.

I love you Richard, and I am so proud of you and thankful for you.
Looking forward to celebrating this day again, together, in September when we cheer on the Tide in Texas!

You're the Best!!
Happy Birthday, Richard.
Happy, Happy Birthday.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Psalm 4

There is such a gift in fellowshipping with others.  I know some people who profess to be Christians, yet do not attend church.  And I admit, there have been times where I haven't felt all that much like going myself.  But today as I sat in church it was one of those times where I realized how blessed I was to have the opportunity to be there.  I thought of Richard who had emailed saying he had to work all day again and wasn't able to attend the Chapel service they have there.  I'm a math girl and I have a slight infatuation with economics, so to throw an Econ101 principle in here, let's just say the basic theory of supply and demand has perfect application.  To those of us who get to attend any one of countless churches in our area, church doesn't always seem to be such a privilege.  And sometimes, for example when you are a single parent of five girls, it can even seem a bit of a hassle.  But to those like my husband, who have very little opportunity to fellowship with other believers and to be fed, worship and fellowship are a quite a commodity.

We have an amazing choir director at our church.  I always enjoy the selections she picks. Today the choir sang an anthem written by Peter Adams, which he derived from Psalm 4.  I wish you could hear it.  It was one of the most beautiful pieces I'd ever heard.  Here are the words ...

In the midst of pain I praise you.
I pray for what you send and receive your gift.
I will not refuse this grief, will not refuse this grief.
A joy is in my heart, is in my heart.
I lie down trusting darkness, for I know you are here.
A joy is in my heart, is in my heart, joy in my heart. 

I think anyone who has a spouse deployed will join me in a resounding "AMEN" after reading this.  

Life is hard. Marriage is hard.  Parenthood is hard. Deployment is hard. 
And war, war is never fair, never pretty, never easy and definitely always hard.  
But for those of us who profess Christ as our Lord, no matter what our circumstances, our hearts are filled with joy. (Psalm 4.7)  

And when I lie down and when Richard lies down, we will both sleep in peace, for God, alone, makes us dwell in safety.  (Psalm 4.8)

I am thankful for not only being fed at church today, but stuffed!  I am thankful for a lunch of milkshakes and pizza with my girls, and I am thankful for a sunny weekend when storms were predicted.  

Joy, yes joy is in my heart!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

On My Mind

Every morning while I wait for the coffee to finish brewing, I sit on the couch with my phone in hand, only one eye opened and check the latest headlines in the news.  This morning I was saddened to see the name of the Army Staff Sergeant who supposedly went on the killing spree in Afghanistan.  Saddened because he has a family ... not only a Mom and a Dad, etc., but a wife and two small children.  I am the wife of a soldier.  I can only vaguely entertain the idea that I might have a notion of what his wife is going through.

I was fortunate this morning to get to chat via email a bit with Richard while drinking my coffee.  We talked a bit about this incident.  Well, okay, I mostly talked about it ... and then driving on the interstate today on the way to the Mall, I talked about it some more with my oldest daughter.  What I realized is that this incident is very heavy on my mind and heart because it really illustrates how separated those in the military are from those who are not connected to it in any way.  When I heard the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, comment on this incident and I heard him repeat Sherman's famous phrase, "War is Hell," I couldn't help but shake my head.  Those words were what popped in my mind, too.  Yes, of course, this incident is absolutely shocking.  But really, we are at war ... war, and have been for 10 years ... longest in our history ...

I think it is time people accept that when a spouse of a soldier is away, it is not the same as the spouse of a businessman having to spend the weekend alone.  And I know, I know ... I probably either just lost half my audience or made smoke come out of their ears.  No, I am not wanting special attention because I am married to a soldier.  Nope, not at all.  And no, I am not saying that my life is "any harder than yours."  Uh uh, not saying that either.  I've learned a few things in life thus far and one of them is that life is never, should never, be a comparison game.  But what I am saying is that I hope that this incident can be at least used as a great wake up call to those who have forgotten that we are at war and that war has consequences.  Pray for your troops.  Seriously ... pray for your troops and pray for their families.  I have a short list of some troops I pray for on the left hand side of my blog.  I'm sure at least one of you has wondered why I don't delete names ... well, the truth is, is that we've done this enough for me to know that they'll probably go back by the time I delete their names, and more importantly, that they need prayers once they are home, too.  Please don't forget we are still at war and even where we technically are not, our deployed troops always run the risk of being in danger.  And I know we have drawn down and are continuing to do so, but please don't forget that the Veterans among you (and they are there!) have brought war home with them.  No, they are not all suffering from PTSD, but just remember ... it was war they went to, not a business trip to Chicago, and they went for you.  Bottom line, they went for you.

I think what happened recently is just so, so sad.  But, unfortunately, it's not the first sad news I've been made aware of during the course of this war.

Until they all come home, I will not forget them.  And when they are all home, I will remember them still.

Prayer for Our Troops

"Lord, hold our troops
In your loving hands. 
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families
For the selfless acts they perform
For us in our time of need.
And give us peace. 
I ask this in the name of Jesus, 
Our Lord and Savior. Amen." 

from the Archdiocese For The Military Services, USA
*Richard had cut this little prayer out of a paper and had it laminated.  
I keep it stuck in the side of the frame of a picture that hangs above my computer.*

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Big Girls

I know I post a lot about my little ones, but I have big girls, too!

I love my big girls.  They amaze me and it is always through a photograph or a captured image that I realize, "Wow!  They're growing up!!"

Hanson Ellis and Parker had parent watch week this week, too.

Six classes down, two more to go! Making progress ...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


He will not let me go.
He tugs at my heart.
He brakes my focus on the false.
He wakes me from my slumber and points me to His word.

He reminds me of what is important and corrects me.
He stops me when I am forgetful. 
He will not let me rest until I rest in Him.

My joy will not be found elsewhere;  in my brokenness He makes me whole.

To Him be the glory.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What He Misses

It's Spring Parent Watch Week at dance.  Richard was home for this last year ... home preparing to leave at that point. It was nice to have this week arrive.  While I miss having him there to see the girls (mostly b/c I know they miss having him there when they see the other Dads walk in ...), I can't help be be reminded of how far we've come and how we are so on the downhill at this point.

Two classes down today ... six more to go for the week (and not to mention four swim lessons too!!). Only by the grace of God have I survived any of this:).  

Praying for our Troops and their families tonight.  

To God be the Glory ...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Winds

My Olivia.
Oh the joy and imagination you have in an moment of running through the back yard on a windy day with a tablespoon.  
I love you.

Friday, March 2, 2012


As I write this winds continue to howl furiously throughout the woods in our backyard. 

The weather was expected to be severe late tonight, but as we drove home from dinner we were surprised to find ourselves driving into heavy rain and severe lightening.  The severe weather had arrived much earlier than predicted.  As we neared our home, we drove deeper and deeper into the severe storm that was passing through Georgia as it continued it's way North East.  My Mom called and warned us a tornado had been spotted.  I called my brother and he confirmed (from his basement in Birmingham, no less, that what they had just experienced was heading our way).  My neighbor even called to see "if we were aware of the situation."  I was and the more phone conversations I had and the heavier the rain got, so were my girls.  It was a long and intense 30 minute drive home. And I was surprised to feel my legs quite weak as I stepped out of the van and into our garage.  I didn't doubt God's sovereignty, but I was definitely anxious to get home.

One of my daughters was particularly alarmed by the whole incident.  As the weather calmed and the tornado warnings expired, we all made our way up from the basement and got ready for bed.  When I went to tuck this one particular child in she asks, "Momma, how do I become a Christian?  That storm scared me."  

Wow.  What volumes those two sentences spoke.

Long story short, I went on to tell her that I was glad she wanted to be a Christian, but just because she wanted to be a Christian didn't mean she wouldn't have severe storms in her life.  

The photo above is one of my favorites of Momma and me.  
This week my Mom learned that her cancer has not grown in 6 months and that her liver, which was cut when the 7+pound cancerous tumor was removed, had grown back and was fully functional (except for the cancerous tumors remaining) and that because she was so healthy, she was now able to be put on the liver transplant list, meaning that she had the possibility of being rid of cancer!  This news came out of nowhere.  No one expected this option was even there!  When Momma told me, I really felt like squealing, except that I was really in disbelief at the news:).  It was such good news to just hear the hope in her voice.  I hadn't heard "Momma" in so long.  It just brought tears of joy to my eyes. 

As I walked out of my daughter's room tonight, I thought about the statement she had made and I thought about my crazy, stressful week that just seemed over the top exhausting and increasingly more frustrating with every day.  I also thought about Momma.  

Yes, being a Christian doesn't eliminate the storms in our lives.  But being a Christian allows us to use them to grow our walk and endure them with only bruises rather than breaks.  

How often do we make our storms more severe by being completely caught off guard by them!  And how much more dangerous do they seem when our view of who we are is more self centered than Christ centered.  

What a neat moment I had with my sweet girl tonight. 
What an amazing door that was that was opened tonight. 
And what a reminder I got from tucking a child of mine in bed.

May we remember who are maker is ... He who made Heaven and Earth!  And may we keep our eyes on Him no matter what storms fill our days. He has a plan and He will carry us through.  

Goodnight to my soldier, who has his own storms of sorts to battle, yet amidst the storms always seems to make time for me like time is all he's got.  We all miss you! Thank you for the letters you wrote to each of us.  They all came today.  However, I think Kate might have been just slightly disappointed when she opened hers and all that was in the envelope was a note written on a tiny brown piece of  paper from a notepad.  Not sure what she expected, but I'm thinking by her response ... that it wasn't that.  Just sayin':):).  and you know you love her!! 
Love you ...