Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who ARE we?

I post a link to the video of me surprising my brother but I wanted to share a few things from that trip.

I didn't get to see him right away, I was, after all, crouched down behind a mini-van trying to re-calculate my surprise.  But after the screaming, hugging and tears were done I looked at him and barely recognized him.  First, I had never seen him look so healthy.  His skin was incredibly clear, his teeth sparkling (from no cigarettes and caffeine), and he had lost about 25 pounds.  But what struck me the most was that when I last saw him, just 10 weeks ago, he was my younger brother.  That day, he was a man.  Gone was the youth, replaced by a control and confidence I had never seen in him before.

I was so excited to see him and yet a little afraid and nervous over how to interact with this person I wasn't sure I knew.  I could tell from our phone conversations that he was in control.  His voice never wavered when I could barely make a clear thought over the tears and I could tell he was very proud and and sure of where his life was headed for the first time.  He knew that, finally, he had found what he was meant to do with his life.

What I also took for granted was the he would have a hard time interacting with us.  We had been warned that his entering the military would change him, it was inevitable.  So he recognized that we didn't know the new him either.  Coupled with the fact that he had literally been cut off from the world for 10 solid weeks, with no tv, no phone, no internet, and he was just as, if not more nervous, than us.  It finally made me understand why my stomach had been so upset for the 2 days leading up to, and even during the entire trip.

The hard part was watching him get back with this group and walk away.  It solidified that he had a world totally separate from the rest of us.  He knew, lived, experienced things that I never would.  And it took me back to a time when I was a child and so excited to see my dad who was on "leave" from the Marines... nothing beats the excitement of seeing them for the first time in months, or sometimes even years, but so closely behind that feeling is the dread that you know they have to leave again soon.  It was hard as a child with a dad I barely knew, it's agonizing as an adult with a brother who was once my best friend.

Thursday we watched him line back up, dying inside because they have a no hugging policy.
(I broke that policy... I don't care what the rules say, he was mine first)
And it hurt to see him march back with his new family.  
The rules of military and war are so different, I don't think those who benefit from them understand the cost.  
But as I learned at church this weekend.. a significant love will cost you something.  In order to love as God loved us, that he gave his life, when you have a true love that means something to you, something must be given.  If you look hard enough you will probably discover that the something you give is a little part of yourself.

Today I am Thankful for: 

All of the Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Sisters and Brothers who give a little piece of themselves when they send their family off to join the military.  And for the freedom that I take for granted far too often, because without that sacrifice who knows what kind of love we would have. 

P.S.  Who ARE we?  We figured out we're still us... just a little changed :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Son Shining...

O, A, & K,

One day I hope you read this letter and it gives you a better understanding.  See, at least once in your life... only once if you are lucky, you will encounter someone who is ugly, rude, disrespectful, hateful, etc., to you.  If you are anything like your mama, and every single one of you are, it will bother you for a while.  You'll think on it and it just will not make any sense to you.

If I can pass on anything to the three of you I will say that while the Golden Rule is not always reciprocated, most often it's not, it's still the best way to go.  If you shine God's love to everyone, no matter how they treat you, you win.  If you walk away from the encounter and your human side says that you wish you could smack that smug grin off their face, remember that God deals with people his way in his time.  It's not for us to decide.  But you and how you react in that situation may be the one and only interaction that person has with God's Love, His people, his house.  

Keep him fresh, crisp, real, and prominent in your heart and life so that when those same ugly nasty people come across you they'll wonder why their misery is still lonely and you walked away with a smile in your heart.  It will be hard, you'll still want your just due, but you'll be better for shining God's love.  

Mommy 8-22-11

P.S. That does not in any way mean that you shouldn't stand up for yourself also.  There is a way to put a nasty person in their place while keeping your Christianity.. see me later for those details ;)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

One I will Remember for the Rest Of My Life...

The moment came for me to do the surprising... and he was very surprised.  I will remember this moment for the rest of my life...


I hope you'll pass it along because then I could check off Number 23.

Today I am Thankful for: 

This opportunity... I may never get it again and it felt good :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This IS My Witness...

I sat in church this morning by myself.  The husband is back to working a crazy schedule, honestly the chaos of his work seems to be the norm, so the change will be when he's home on the weekends.  Now sitting in service usually makes me feel awkward, but since we were starting our regular schedule I didn't give it a whole lot of thought because I was more worried about the big moves for our girls in church school.

Sugar Mama moved from preschool to the school age children and Nugget girl was able to visit the puppet show for the very first time.

So sitting in service I listened to our church band lead worship songs that included David Crowder Band "Oh How He Loves Us" and I realized that while I might have entered feeling awkward, God left that at the door for me.  I was by myself, without my husband, but I was so filled with the spirit and an open hearted worship, I barely noticed.  It was very strong for me today and I needed it.

My pastor preached on the Bible and how it should act as our compass.  It is the concrete guide in a world that relies too heavily on objective feelings.  At the end of the day it doesn't matter what we feel, or what happened to us years ago, but whether or not he lives in us right now. 

I worry that I don't preach my gospel enough.  That there is not fruit from him living in me right now.  I don't interact with a ton of people but when I do, I try to shine God's love to let people know that while they don't know me, something is different... perhaps they'll wonder what that difference is.  I don't argue with people who don't believe because honestly: 
The energy spent arguing, disbelieving, and confronting is a great deal spent on something you are so positive doesn't exist.  If God weren't real those people wouldn't need to spend so much time and energy arguing against him.

But today I realized that this is my witness... here is where I share through my everyday life and can let other people know what's in my heart.  I love Jesus.  Not because of the blessings he gives, although I'm grateful, but because he first loved me.  Because he saw fit to give his life, even if was just me who would have believed, he still would have done it.  I go to my church, not because it is the only place that God lives, but because it is a place to be encouraged, to feel a community of spirit and to learn/remember that my compass is always there to guide me when I'm lost, or anxious to go to a new place.

I trust God with my eternity... a time so expansive that the human mind cannot comprehend it, so I can and will trust him with my everyday.  

Also... These are my witness... my investment in their lives, including taking them to church by myself even when it feels a little awkward, opens a conversation about my relationship with God.

Preschool Open House :)

Sitting Up all by herself :)

This child refuses to eat anything but fruit!! I ran out and so I let her try an orange slice.  She loved them... 

Today I am Thankful for: 

A place to witness.  And People to witness to :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One Down 29 More to Go...

Number Three on 30 x 30 was get a lot of pink highlights... and here you go :)

My friend Christina did it on Friday and I love it!! I would share her information but I won't because I don't want to share ;)

Yesterday was Sugar Mama's first day of First Grade: 

We went school shopping on Sunday and she picked out all of her own clothes and surprisingly she has really good taste :)

She decided on this outfit for the first day and I took her to school to drop off all of her supplies.  A lot of people have pictures of their children in the classroom etc, but I don't because taking my children to school makes me emotional.  I cannot explain it because it happens every school year.  I feel like I can see them growing before my eyes and it makes me super sad but also proud of who they are becoming. 

Fortunately I still have Nugget girl for another week, but then she's going to school too.  What will I do with my time?!? :) 

A piece of great news, you may remember this post. To make a crazy long story short I was a student at a different school back in 2004.  My last semester I changed my name to my married name and it created an administration nightmare.  3 out 5 of my professor did not submit grades for me and back then when nothing was submitted you received an F.  I fought this situation for such a long time with no resolution and about 2 weeks ago God gave me an epiphany while writing a letter that I should try one more time.  I did and today I found out that it was corrected!! They found one professor and the other is helping me appeal it so it's removed!! God is so good and it is such a humbling feeling to know he spoke and I listened, it's wonderful!!

Today I am Thankful for: 

Great News after such a terrible week last week :) And it was bad!! 20 years no bee stings, last week a black wasp stung me on the knee cap and my lower leg was swollen :/  So glad it's over :)