Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: My NOT Camera Shy Guy!

Zachary has been particularly adorable lately! And he is starting to say "Cheese!!" whenever I pull out my camera. Sometimes he even starts 'running' for the camera! I just LOVE it!!

And he is really walking now! Won't be long and I won't be able to get anything but a blur as I try to snap a picture of my speedy little guy!!

This post is linked to Wordless Wednesday.

WFMW: Journaling for Our Children

It is so nice to know the things I try to teach Natalie do get through sometimes, at least the most important things.

As we were leaving for church one night last week, I looked up at the sky in which the sun was setting. It was a beautiful sight, pink and orange stripes ran across the sky from the horizon. I said, "Look at the pretty sky, Natalie!" and then she looked up and exclaimed, "Jesus painted the sky!"


A few weeks ago Natalie had her blood pressure taken for the first time at the doctor's office. She did not like it, and now asks if she has to do that everytime we go to the doctor's....

Well as we went out to the car on our way to church a different night last week, I was holding Natalie's hand in the parking lot of our building. I gave her hand a little squeeze, and in a silly but curious way she asks, "Mommy, are you taking my hand pressure?"


While I love sharing these funny and cute moments with everyone out in the bloggy world, I have decided to start a journal for each of my children- though Zachary isn't talking quite yet. I will record all the funny things they say and do, so not only I can look back on them when I need a laugh, but also so they can have a treasured keepsake someday to share with their own kids as they too discover the joys of parenting a child who speaks their mind- however silly or goofy the thoughts may be!! I already bought the cutest little journal for Natalie's cute words!

This works for us! How do you record these treasures for your own children?


And if you are a sentimental sap like me and love that idea- you just may love recording your youth with Janna over at Mommy's Piggy Tales beginning October 7th! It will be a 12 week session (though you may write as often or not as you choose), and each week we will be sharing memories from a different age inour lives! Just think about having your story written out to share with your children and children's children!! What a great way to leave a legacy!! Check out one of my posts from the last session.

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family and


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Treasures in Scripture

At our church this week, we are approaching the 'summit'. Actually we are going to be having the annual summit meetings, in which a guest speaker comes and we have church services each evening of the week, Sunday through Thursday. It is a time for revival and being refreshed in the Holy Spirit, and I really enjoyed it last year and look forward to it next week. There are usually very dramatic messages that are truly convicting to me, which is just what I need right now. I have been feeling very unsettled, there has been a lot going on in our household, too much to truly explain. So as I pray this week for the meetings, and look to the Lord's Word for peace, here are some of the treasures He has given me to truly apply to my own life recently:

1. "...[Love] does not take into account a wrong suffered..." ~1 Corinthians 12:5b, I shared about this particular topic not long ago. I am still working on it though. My scope has widened though, and I am reminded of it as I sit in traffic, fuming over the car who cut me off, or as yet again my husband has gotten called into work on his day off. I don't get to pick who I practice love towards, and God makes it easy to remember- EVERYONE, even those who may make it difficult for me.

2. "..for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." ~Matthew 6:21, this has always been one of those verses for me that gets me every time I read it. What am I holding as treasure- money, my home, my hobbies, or most importantly, God? Is He my treasure above all else, or am I more focused on the things that will eventually pass away? I know where I want my heart to be, on the things of Heaven that please God.

3. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo. I am with you always, even to the end of the age." ~Jesus, Matthew 28:19-20, A few weeks ago, while praying for the summit meetings with some other ladies, the first question they asked as we prepared to bow our hearts and heads, was "Who are you going to invite?" and I was caught completely off guard. In my defense, it was still weeks away, and had only been announced the week before, but I hadn't really thought about it. And God used that moment, to make me realize I need to always be thinking about it, I should be constantly inviting others to church. We are commanded to go out and share the Gospel, the very least I could be doing is actively and regularly inviting others to join me at church on Sunday, and it wouldn't even take much effort on my part!

4. "Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her..." ~ Proverbs 31:28, I am constantly striving to be a better wife and mother. Although my husband has been acknowledging my efforts much more recently, I still know there is more I could be doing, I should be doing for both him and my children. I don't think I will ever rest from striving to be the Proverbs 31 woman, just as I will always strive to further and better serve the Lord- there is just no end to those tasks while we are on this earth!

5. "Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb..." Psalm 37:1-2, Just as in 1 Corinthians 12 (see #1), I am called to not only forgive and love someone who has wronged me, but not be envious of them either! How hard is that?! If I feel wronged, the last things I want to do are love that person or to let it go. I want to hold onto it and find a way to repay them which I believe is rooted in being envious, jealous, of their power, position, or something they have that I do not. And yet God tells me I am to let it go, and love them. Definitely something the Lord continues to show me as He works in my heart.

6. "A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind." ~Proverbs 18:2, We shouldn't only be interested in sharing our own opinion, but also willing to listen to others to find understanding and wisdom. As a very opinionated person, this is something I always need to remember, it isn't just about me sharing my thoughts, but also about understanding those of others, so that I can see from all sides and perspectives (which is why I will always encourage comments and ask for your opinions as well). I sure don't want to be that fool!!

7. "Rejoice always..." 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Did you hear that? ALWAYS, we are to always rejoice as Christian believers. Not complain, grumble, or whine, but rejoice!! I think many of us have a habit of seeing the negative things as we struggle or stumble through them in life, but God commands us to be always rejoicing. I believe it was last year's speaker at the summit meetings who put it something like this- what truly is the worst thing that could happen to you? You lose your job, lose your family (on this earth at least), and have to live under a bridge where maybe you get very sick and you die- but then you get to go to your Heavenly home, and what is not to rejoice about there?!! In the end, the worst thing that can come for us as believers is the physical death, but what a wondrous occasion it will be to go be with God in heaven, so truly we have nothing to whine about, do we?!

8. "...Pray without ceasing..." ~1 Thessalonians 5:17, This is another part of the above verse, another command from God. I thought both deserved their own number on my list because they truly are so important, but also very overlooked in our day to day lives. At our church's ladies night this past week, one of the things the pastor's wife touched on, was that if we are all being completely honest with ourselves and God (because lets face it, He already knows), we could all do better in terms of our prayer life. Note this passage- we are to pray without ceasing, it should be continual, and just a part of who we are to be in constant communication with God. I know I can always improve in this area- one way that has helped me recently is carrying a prayer journal with me in my purse and pull it out whenever I hear something I need to remember to pray for- also just stopping to pray for it right away before the opportunity to forget arises at all!

9. "A friend loves at all times..." ~Proverbs 17:17a, I have often taken advantage of this verse, I have many friends who have seen me at my worse and still loved me through it all. But do I remember to love all my friends with that same attitude? I hope I do! I like to think I will, not much has come to test me in this, but it is often something I try to keep in my heart. So that I may remember, if any circumstance comes up that is less then easy to deal with, I may be a friend in times or difficulty as much as in times of joy.

10. "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made....Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." ~Psalm 139:13-14a,16, I watched a moving testimony of a woman who was an abortion survivor. She survived a horrible abortion procedure in which saline is injected into the womb for the purpose of burning the baby and killing it, before inducing labor (late term abortion), and she was born alive still!! Now she knows the Lord and His purposes for her and she shares her story. I have always loved these verses, and I try to apply them to my own life, to remember God has a purpose and a plan for each one of us. He is in control, He will sustain us, just as He sustained that little baby girl who was unwanted by her own mother, she survived only through God's powerful hand intervening in man's cruel plans. (Her name was Gianna Jessen if you want to goggle her, to hear her story!)

I hope somewhere among those verses, God has touched your heart.
This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}

Friday, September 24, 2010

Are You More Popular than Christ?

Jesus was not very popular.

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him, and they blindfolded Him, saying, "Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?" And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming. ~Luke 22:63-65

He didn't take the easy road or follow the crowd.

Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?" But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." ~Matthew 9:10-13

And He is to be our example.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. ~Ephesians 5:1-2

We should be walking in His footsteps.

And He [Jesus] summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." ~Mark 8:34

Not trying to be popular so the world will like us, but being set apart so the world can see a difference in us, as children of God.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. ~Romans 12:1-2

Do you look more like the world, with its popularity, doing what's easy? Or are you different, even unpopular, for NOT following the crowd?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Join Me in Recording My Youth!

It is weird to NOT write a Mommy's Piggy Tales memory post this week! I have enjoyed so much sharing my own life but also reading about other people's stories as well. No two stories are the same, God gives us each a very unique and wonderful life that can never match up perfectly with anyone else anywhere or any time!! How awesome is that?!!

I am so excited though that Janna will be starting a second session of Mommy's Piggy Tales beginning October 7th. So if you didn't participate (or even if you did!) in the first one, you have a second chance!!

I am a very detail oriented, and sentimental person. I wish my own mother and grandmother had a copy of their life stories to share with me! I would love to read about what like was life for them growing up and see how it differed from mine. It has been a huge blessing to write out my own, so that someday I can leave a legacy for my children. Maybe they will learn from some of my mistakes, or maybe they will just have a more clearer picture of me, not just as their mom, but as a woman who once was a girl. It's so hard to believe that huh? Our mom's were once girls, and they felt some of the same emotions we felt in our own youth!

Now, to participate is so easy! All you have to do is share a little or a lot each week about a different year of your life. I know personally, just reading through some of the other ladies post's helped me trigger some memories of my own that were buried in my mind. Or look at a picture album, pictures capture moments in time and help us to look back and remember, use them! Talk to your family, see what they remember about certain events in your personal history. Maybe you have a recipe that trigger childhood memories, share that! Or a favorite childhood toy or book. It is so open-ended, anyone can do it!!

If you want to give it a shot, contact Janna at
and link up on October 7th. Hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WFMW: Tired of Snacking on Smashed Up Granola Bars?

I always find other moms using something in a different way then it is meant, but still making life easier for them, and think "Wow how creative and clever!"

I walk away wishing I had thought of that myself!

Well now it is my turn!! Even my husband has been pretty proud of me!

My problem: I throw granola bars, the soft kind, into my purse or the diaper bag, for a quick snack later. Sometimes later is a matter of days, sometimes weeks even, but I like to carry some with me for that moment when I need an extra pick me up, or the kids are getting hungry as I sit in traffic. BUT no matter how recently I added them to my bag, they get smashed by the ten million other things I 'need' to carry with me as well!
My solution: While cleaning up a few weeks ago, I picked up my husbands glasses case. It is one of the hard kind that snap shut. I looked at it more closely as a light just went on inside my head! It was the perfect size for my granola bars! I can even fit two of the kid's bars inside one, so I only have to carry around one to two of the cases (the extra for my own snack). I am quite pleased now to be able to pull out a bar for the kids and not have to carefully peel the sticky goop that used to be a granola bar off of the wrapper! YAY!!

Try it and tell me what you think! Do you have any other tips or tricks for totting snacks around for the tots without them getting smashed or demolishing them into crumbs?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rings Aren't Tasty!

Natalie and I played a game of Pretty, Pretty Princess before lunch yesterday. We went around the board slowly collecting a necklace, earrings, a bracelet, a tiara and a ring. Natalie won the game by being the first one to be wearing each piece of jewelry all at once. Then after being declared the winner, she took the tiara off, and said, "Your turn to be the princess, Mommy!" And handed it to me. What a sweet little girl I have!!

(This picture is actually from last Christmas when she got this game as a gift. We forced Daddy to play it with us, and he actually won!)

But I was still missing the ring, so I slipped the large fake jewel on my finger and showed it off to her. Pretending to admire it, I teasingly said, "Oh, your Daddy has great taste!" Of course I did not expect my 4 year old to find the humor in that, but I got a smile out of it myself. But then Natalie pipes in with, "Rings aren't for eating silly!!" Then I got a really good laugh out of it! And she was right, rings are not for eating, and in all honestly, probably taste horrible.

This post is linked to

Top Ten Tuesday: What I Want From Guam

We have just under 2 more years of life here on Guam. And that is assuming our extension gets approved- which my husband insists should not be a problem (yet they are only supposed to take about a month to go through, and its been closer to 2 1/2 for ours with no word yet...). There is so much to do on Guam, and I want to take advantage of all of it before we leave- somethings with the kids, some not.

1. First on my list, my newest adventure I am so longing for, is to go boonie stomping to an underground lake we have been told about! Doesn't that sound awesome?!! Note: Boonie Stomping is a term basically meaning hiking. "Boonie" is a word that everyone uses on Guam, which I have been told basically means 'jungle'. So you have a boonie car (something you buy here, only to use here to get from point A to B, nothing fancy or expensive), boonie dogs (one of the many dogs you see who roam around in town and on the back streets who were most likely abandoned by there owners when they left Guam- there is no animal control service here)...

2. I want to go parasailing! Now when my mom and her husband visited last April they did this through a local beach club- but it was fully clothed sitting in some seat with a parachute attached- they didn't even really get wet. While it sounds interesting, if I had to choose, I want to go parasailing by being attached to a harness, directly attached to the chute. I want to feel a rush of adrenaline, not just sit in some ride like at a carnival!! So far though I am not sure if anywhere around here offers that.

3. I want to learn how to windsurf. There is a little resort island just off the southern tip of Guam called Cocos Island. All it is, is a resort because it is just a tiny strip of a beach basically! (And though I have heard it called a 'resort', I don't believe there is any actual hotel on the island, you just go for the day.) They offer lessons and then rental of the equipment. It happens all in one day- not like a lesson each night for however long, so all we have to do is get a babysitter for the day!

4. I would like to go to one of the water parks here (we have 3 I believe). Though I doubt they are anything super special compared to ones in the states, it has been so long since I have gone to one and I miss the thrill of dropping down twisty slides into a big pool! This is one I think the kids would also enjoy. Once Zachary begins walking more regularly out and about, we will definitely have a family day at one of these!

5. I want to go explore the tide pools! Now we tried this one right after labor day, but my kids didn't have as much interest in it as I did. Apparently next time we go, I will have Jon play with the kids in the sand as I explore a little!!

6. I want family pictures on the beach!! By this I mean good quality professional type ones, and I want to be in them, not taking them!! I know this may not sound like something 'to do on Guam', but with all the awesome beaches and weather, what better place could there be to get pictures done as a family to represent our time here on Guam!!

7. I have been told there is a botanical gardens somewhere on the southern end of the island. I have been to a few back in the states, always so beautiful. I would love to see if Guam's could rival those, in such a gorgeous tropical evironment, how could it not have some of the most beautiful flowers!!

8. Now on the top of my husband's list would be scuba diving. I don't know how much it would cost in the states, but I have been told it is dirt cheap here compared to stateside when it comes to getting certified to scuba dive. And here, as military, we can do it for the discounted rate of about $75!! And that certification is good for the rest of your life, anywhere you go!! How cool would that be?! Not to mention actually getting to go underwater in different areas of the island to see historic boats now resting on the ocean floor! And there are PLENTY here, after all Guam played a role in World War 2 against the Japanese. I think it would be awesome to see, the only reason it isn't higher on my own list- I am petrified of sharks!! I do hope to get over it though and go scuba diving sometime....lots of people do it each day around here and I have never heard of any attacks before, I am just so freaked out by the thought though!! I am such a wimp!

9. Back to the boonie stomping, I also want to go boonie stomping to the rugged coast lines! I have seen some great pictures, and I would love to know how to get to certain spots, just to see it for myself and take my own pictures! Words can't even describe some of Guam's beauty. You just look around in awe of our mighty Creator, and wonder how anyone could possibly think it is all just random!!

10. Lastly, but most importantly, I just want to spend more time at the beach in general. I want to explore different beaches, play in the sand with the kids, splash in the salty seawater, watch a sunset over the ocean. I want to enjoy it as much as I can before it is time to leave our tropical paradise!!

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday} .

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Clear and Familiar Voice

Lately I have been hearing God speak much more clearly to me. It has been so refreshing and I keep thinking, why haven't I heard Him this often before?

He is everywhere. He is in every little crevice of my life, encouraging me, guiding me, loving me.

Just the other day, I was feeling down. I felt like I would never have the opportunity to truly grow my friendships, that have lasted bordering the acquaintance/true friend line for over a year now, in fact almost 2 in some cases. I have often wondered why my children don't seem to get invited to many other kid's parties or gatherings. But I had to realize, I bring it on myself. I can get so caught up on whats easy, staying at home, adhering to nap times that could really be more flexible, or worrying about the kids behavior. These all are great reasons to stay home, but they are also poor excuses to never get out.

(Sometimes I do forget that though I enjoy hanging out around the house well enough, I have a 4 year old full of energy who just wants to be a kid and have fun, preferably with other kids just as silly as her!)

I am normally a planner, but I could not ignore a phone call from a friend one morning after a lonely evening the day before. She wanted to give me a ride to a play date. My number one excuse, I don't have a car, blown completely away. And as I considered her offer, my mind instantly came up with a list of other reasons I shouldn't go; my stomach had been hurting since I woke up; I haven't showered yet, nor had I quite gotten the kids fully dressed and ready for the day; Zachary would need a nap soon and surely without his nap, or sometimes even with it, he can get pretty cranky when we go out; and then my usual excuse since this is sometimes an outdoors adventure- it is way to hot on Guam, and I hate being sweaty! But I also heard God speaking to me about even this 'little' opportunity. How could I be upset and complain about not being as welcomed into circles of friendship if I turned down every chance I got to spend time with these ladies? How can I let inconveniences ruin my opportunity to grow friendships with good, Godly woman who I admire? So I said yes! And though it did feel inconvenient at times with a mildly cranky toddler, it was well worth the time to talk and enjoy watching the children play together. Natalie needed it too, it is good for her to get a little time to socialize since her best friend (and neighbor) has recently moved away.

(Remember kids are 100% washable! I had to keep reminding myself of that as the dirt clung to Zachary's every inch...its easier for me to keep in mind when they are a little bit older and have a better sense of it themselves. For example, not sticking your filthy hands into your mouth! Zachary had his first taste of actual dirt!)

And during the fellowship I received the answer to my first question, why haven't I heard God speak so clearly before? Because I am constantly growing closer to Him, and the more I do, the more loudly He speaks, and the more familiar I become to His voice. It is a wonderful feeling to constantly be able to listen to His direction and know I am following in His will as He shares it with me, whether it is something that may seem trivial, such as whether or not to go to a play date. Or something huge, like whether or not we should extend on our time on Guam. Life may not always be perfect, but if I am following in His will, I know my life will have that bigger purpose that I so long for, as well as peace, even in the storms.

How clearly does God speak to you? Only in nearness with God will you find true purpose and everlasting peace.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ~Romans 8:8a

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. ~1 Corinthians 2:12-13

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Six Word Saturday


What a day! All week I have been working towards a little 'fall' cleaning. Maybe I shouldn't even call it that, since most people probably regularly mop their floors, but I don't. I just sweep and spot wash. But not this week! I have been dusting, mopping, tidying, and laundering everything I could think of!! Today was my big day of it because not only was my husband home to deal with the kids, but we had guests coming over for dinner...or so I thought!
I had talked with a friend of mine on Wednesday, but she needed to talk with her husband before confirming anything for the weekend. We have been trying to do dinner since around late June!! Something always comes up, something at church, or Jon's work, or just the craziness of life with toddlers! But she messaged me on Facebook Thursday evening to confirm, and I replied...I did reply, I swear it, I remember distinctly what I wrote and hitting reply, and feeling confident we were set, nothing was going to come up this time!!! Well Saturday is here, I made a cheesecake last night, and I made my meatballs for spaghetti and meatballs, YUM! 10 minutes to the time we had discussed Wednesday, I begin looking for my phone just in case they forgot which unit we were in. I find it in the depths of my purse...OFF. Uh-oh! I quickly plug it in and turn it on to find a message from my friend asking if we were on left at lunchtime!! I called her but didn't get through. I checked Facebook to discover my reply was not on the message she had sent me as it usually shows up! Luckily they hadn't made dinner yet or other plans and we did reach them, but what a crazy evening!! I don't know what I would've done if they hadn't come...I have a LOT of meatballs cooking for just us, even with leftovers!!
It was a great time of fellowship though as we ate dinner and watched the kids play. Well worth any 'drama' or confusion that may have come up if you ask me.

This is linked to

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Will Meet You in Heaven Someday

Loss of any kind is difficult. It isn't something most can anticipate, and it is often hard to accept, especially when the wounds are still fresh.

Although my family picture only has 4 individuals in it, we are actually a family of 6. Two of my precious children went to meet the Lord before I even got a chance to meet them.

Jon and I had tried for about 8 months before conceiving our first child. That baby would have been due around July 10, 2005. I have tried to match a reason to my loss, but that early, there is just no way of knowing for certain. Was it the drive Jon and I made at 9 weeks, from one side of the country to the other? It was a stressful time, those days were the first I had ever been away from my home without the intention of soon returning. Still nothing happened to indicate any problems until 12 weeks, when some spotting and a panicked trip to the ER resulted in the tragic news that I would not be meeting my first baby here on this earth. What made it more difficult was the month that followed as I literally went through the birth pains as my body did what it was intended to in this situation. I wish there had been a way to know if I had a little boy or girl then. I wish I could've named them and given them a proper goodbye, but for some reason, the world doesn't hold these very young ones as actual babies, little souls once alive inside of their mommies. But I know I will meet this little one again someday in my heavenly home.
About three months later, I discovered I was pregnant with my Natalie, and a year after first feeling what birth pains were, I had my second baby in my arms.

I also want to share, I don't believe it is ever to early to share the news of a pregnancy with your friends and family. When I first discovered I was pregnant with my little one, I immediately shared our joyful news with our entire church, and much to the surprise of some, I was only 5 weeks along. I was told I should wait to tell others until I had 'made it through' the first trimester in case I lost the baby. Well I did lose that precious little one, but just as my friends rejoiced with me in the news of the pregnancy, they also were there to mourn with me the loss of my baby. If I hadn't shared, then no one would've known to pray for me. No one would've known to comfort and encourage me in my time of sadness. I have no regrets about sharing my news early.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. ~Romans 12:15

It was the week of Thanksgiving, and I started it with much gladness. On a whim I bought a pregnancy test on my way into work. I wasn't really late yet, but somehow I just felt like something was different. We weren't trying, though we weren't actively trying to prevent anything. Jon and Natalie were with me. It was a Monday night, and I was working childcare while Jon went to a men's bible study group. Before I clocked in, I ran to the bathroom with my digital test- I didn't want any questions in my mind, just a 'pregnant' or 'not pregnant' reading very clearly displayed in words. After a few minutes I emerged and gave Jon the exciting news before sharing it with my boss and good friend Angela. I was overjoyed, around July 26, 2008, I would have another little baby to call my own. Despite my first miscarriage, and careful concern while first pregnant with Natalie, I thought miscarrying was behind me, but I was wrong. I spent one night sharing the good news with all my friends and family back home, only to have to place the calls again with tears barely a week later. Thanksgiving day I began spotting, and spent most of the afternoon and early evening in the ER. All the doctors could tell me, despite a pregnancy test done at the clinic the day before confirming my pregnancy, was that now all tests were coming back inconclusive as to whether I was even pregnant or not. My heart fell, and given my experience, my hope was snuffed out. Sure enough over the long weekend, it was confirmed by my own body, which I felt betrayed by, that I was losing my third child. And though I realize now that I will still meet them someday in heaven, during my time of grief, I was not comforted by it because I still did not understand why once again I had lost my baby. Because God's ways are not our ways, and we can't always understand or see what good can come of it. That's when faith comes in.
And sure enough 7 months later, when we had committed to not trying to get pregnant in anticipation of our big move to Guam, God surprised us with a wonderful gift, in the form of a 4th pregnancy, my little boy, Zachary. And though I feared another miscarriage under the stress of another military move, this time overseas, Zachary stayed right where he belonged during our travels which happened again around 9 weeks along, all the way until well past his due date.

I still don't understand God's ways in the loss I suffered. But I do realize I wouldn't have either Natalie or Zachary if God hadn't called my other babies home so early. And I hope that maybe somehow, by sharing what I have been through it might bring peace and comfort to others who have suffered this type of loss as well. It is never easy to lose a child, no matter how early. Pregnancy is a time of rejoicing in a new life about to enter this world, and no one expects to have that cut short so quickly. But if we remember to look to God, and find our comfort in Him, knowing His plans for us are bigger then our own, we can find peace in our grief.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." ~Jesus, Matthew 5:4

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." ~Isaiah 55:8-9

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. ~2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Working with Jeff

This is the final week for session one of Mommy's Piggy Tales! YAY! I made it!

This week's post is actually during my senior year and the summer following (though this week is 'post' high school), this is what truly stood out in my mind when I sat down to write, and since it is work related not school related so much I thought it works still. But I plan on continuing on with more post high school memories on Mondays with Janna starting in October.

My first job was at a thrift store. I got the job just before I turned 16 because my mom was the manager. I will save the details of it for another day (in session two of Mommy's Piggy Tales). When I was 18, and still in school, there was a new guy at work. His name was Jeff. He was handsome, with dark brown hair, and the type of eyes that always had that sparkle in them. And yes, briefly I had a crush on him. He wasn't too much older then me, and he made me laugh. I enjoyed working even the night shift if I was closing with him. He worked hard, so I wasn't picking up someone else's slack, but he also made it fun. But as for the crush, I knew it was just that, and I didn't agree with his lifestyle choices by a long shot. Lets just say he would not have been attracted to me no matter how beautiful of a girl I was. But we were friends, not close, but work friends. Though we had never hung out after work before I had actually asked Jeff to take me to my prom before I had gotten up the courage to ask Jon (see last week's post). Jeff agreed to be my 'date' if Jon couldn't go, but luckily Jon said yes, and Jeff was genuinely excited for me when he did.

One night Jeff and I were scheduled to work the closing shift with our supervisor Shawn. These were my favorite nights because Shawn was pretty laid back and one of the nicer supervisors. She didn't get mad or irritated when you needed help, she just helped you. And she wouldn't give into the customers who were being ridiculous asking for things to be marked down, at least not as much as some of the other supervisors did.
My night started right after school around 3, but Jeff wasn't supposed to show until 5, which is also when our second supervisor Sharon would leave for the night, and only the 3 of us would be left. it was shortly before 5 and the phone rang. I happened to be at the registers beside the phone, so I answered it. It was Jeff, he sounded...different. His emotionless voice told me he wasn't coming in again, ever. I was so confused, the way he was talking scared me. I don't remember who ended up taking the phone from me, Shawn or Sharon, but one of them did.
Later Sharon pulled me in the back, I was upset because something was obviously wrong. Though Jeff and I weren't very close, I still cared enough about him to want him to be okay. I don't remember exactly how much Sharon told me, but basically that Jeff wouldn't be coming back to work, but that he needed help. It was decided since it wasn't very busy, that Shawn and I could close just the two of us, though Sharon stayed later then planned. Once she left Shawn made more phone calls to Jeff to see how he was. Shawn and Jeff were close, at least for how close they could be as a supervisor and employee, they hung out after work sometimes with some other co-workers, doing things I would never have even if I had been old enough. I was always the naive and innocent manager's daughter, but I was okay with that- I knew I didn't want to know anything about that other life.
Shawn was getting very worried about Jeff, and told me she decided to go check on him after we closed (9 pm). Though she fought me at first, I told her I wanted to help him too, and if she didn't agree to it I would just follow her there anyway, so she caved. We rushed through all the after hours tasks, preparing for the next day, and were out the door pretty quickly. Jeff's place was actually right on my way home, though we had to park on a different road since it was only street parking in that part of town. I was glad Shawn had agreed to take me since I probably would've chickened out just realizing how dark that area was and parking a whole street away to walk wouldn't have seemed safe alone. We got to Jeff's house, his parents were across the country visiting family and this was actually one of the rare times he didn't go with them. He let us inside. I was shocked at how he looked, I don't think I had ever seen someone look that pale before. Like all the life had drained from his face, and the sparkle in his eyes was gone, in fact he didn't really seem to 'see' anything, just stared. He moved so slowly and steadily, as if just on auto pilot. Shawn told him to get his things, she didn't want to leave him alone, so he would go home with her. I don't remember what his reasoning had been, but he had locked the basement and thrown his house key down the laundry shoot, so we had to find a way to get to it before we left. The whole time I don't remember saying much. I cried, I hugged him, and just watched in shock at how different this person was to me. Like night and day. I helped Shawn eventually get him to the car and I got in my own and went home. I don't think I slept much that night.
Jeff never came back to work, though he stayed with Shawn and her family until his own came home. I wrote him a letter, which Shawn gave to him. His parents had decided to move him back to the East Coast where they were originally from and he had more family and friends. I hoped to keep in touch, and continue trying to witness to him. I had always snuck it into our conversations at work, inviting him and anyone who would come to church with me.
Sometime the summer after my graduation, Jeff came into the store. I can't remember if they had decided not to move, or just hadn't yet, but he found me in the men's department cleaning up and stopped to say hi. I remember showing off my engagement ring, and telling him more about Jon and prom. He promised to keep in touch (doesn't everyone- I know I do sometime realizing it may not happen!). I still think about him sometimes and pray for him. I know now what was going on that night. Jeff is bi-polar, and was having one of the lows because he had stopped taking his medication. Bi-polar is a form of depression, characterized by exactly what I saw in him, extreme highs and loads of energy, and then falling so low you don't even want to live anymore. This was the first time I truly witnessed that face to face with someone I knew and cared for and I will never forget it. It isn't just one of those things you read about, and this was just one more step for me in realizing how much I still someday hope to become a psychologist, to help others, to help more people like Jeff.

This is my 15th of 15 posts in a series to record my youth with other woman at
. Would you like to record your youth for your children and grandchildren to read about someday? Janna is beginning a second session on Oct. 7th for those who would like to join! I know I will be there sharing many more of my memories!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gravy Fingers

I have a double treat this week, since in one night both my husband and daughter had me in fits of laughter!

After church Sunday evening, we stopped by the Wendy's drive-thru on our journey home. At the first window, my husband hands over his card to pay. A minute later the girl in the window is still trying to swipe it but the card is just not working, so she calls her manager over. The manager is the first to notice, Jon had given his military ID (with a strip on the back to further fool the eye) as payment instead of his credit card!

Then after arriving home and playing, I mean, eating her dinner, Natalie was told to go get her pajamas on. So almost ready for bed, only task left is to go potty, Natalie comes out into the living room. We had asked her to use the potty, so before we could scold her for not doing what she is told she explains, "My fingers are gravy." Both confused by what she is saying as well as what this has to do with using the potty, it finally clicked...GREASY is what she meant. She couldn't get the door knob to the bathroom open because her fingers were greasy from her french fries!!

I can't wait to hear what funny and crazy things Zachary says someday! If he takes after his sister, he is sure to be a great source of constant entertainment!!

This post is linked to

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Homemade Christmas Gifts

This year we won't be getting our reenlistment bonus in October as we had each year since we have been married, so funds will be lower then usual. And considering we will also be travelling right before the Christmas season, we will be spending money then as well, so that we may spend some much needed time with my family. Overall, money is tight this year, so I thought it would be fun to give homemade Christmas gifts to our family and friends. Here are some of the items I am hoping to have Natalie help me create.

1. Calendar. I want to have Natalie create a beautiful hand print painting, one for each of the seasons, and then just have the one picture for 3 months before you flip it to the next. Hopefully I can find a place to get the actual pictures laminated and have it all bond together so its sturdy.
2. Apron. (Or shirt, baseball cap, tie or tote bag.) Hand-painted or draw with fabric markers, to make a personalized, wearable gift.
3. Framed artwork. I found some great ideas at Family Fun to give the simple child's artwork a little extra fun twist. Particularly the painting in the rain and painting like Georges Seurat, look fun and easy! And then I will mat and frame each piece so its ready for the wall!
4. Personalized Stationary. Using blank note cards and envelopes, I will let Natalie draw and stamp to crate designs on the front of the cards, and they will be one of a kind, truly personalized stationary.
5. Place mats. For our young family and friends, I thought a fun place mat would be a great gift. Using large construction paper and additional paper cut outs, I will have Natalie glue shapes on in fun patterns and designs, then get it all laminated.
6. Jewelry. Another great one for little girls! Natalie will love making some fun necklaces with brightly colored beads to give to her friends.
7. Throw Pillow. I don't sew, but I know how to make a knot! Using pieces of fleece, I can make blankets or throw pillows as gifts!
8. Magnets. Anything can be made into a fun magnet! You can even use clay to mold and design your own and just hot glue a magnet to the back!
9. Soap. This is especially fun to make if you throw a little toy in it, and there is a prize for the kids who regularly wash their hands! Or another idea was to use a fish cookie cutter and skewer to make little fish then string them up as your catch of the day for decoration with a purpose!
10. Christmas Ornament. Since we are talking about gifts for the holiday season, what better idea then a new handmade, homemade trinket for the tree. And this is pretty open ended. You can take the clear glass balls and fill them with almost anything for a fun look, or you can make Popsicles to make a fun frame with a cute picture inside (isn't that what Grandma really wants anyway?!). You are only limited by your own imagination, and even if you can't think of many ideas, with a computer and Internet connection the possibilities are endless with hundreds of ideas waiting to be discovered!!

And these are only 10 possible ideas, there are so many more out there!! I am excited to begin some of these projects with my daughter and figure out what to give to each person!

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh How I Miss Autumn!

I find myself feeling so very jealous of my dear family and friends back home in the states. While some may long for a full year of fun in the sun, right about now I feel the need for the change of season that won't be coming.

I miss the hues of crimsons, golds and caramels on the trees, as well as blanketing the ground. I miss bundling up in layers of sweaters and jackets, scarves and gloves. I miss watching my breath come out in puffs as I breathe in the frosty air. I miss nights curled up by the fireplace drinking hot cocoa and snuggling by my sweetheart. I miss the cold.

I remember once in Virginia, which is actually a slightly warmer climate then my true home, stopping to get gas. I was in jeans and a t shirt, it was somewhere around 60 degrees, so while I wasn't comfortable exactly, I definitely wasn't freezing by any means. This man in a sweater was in front of me, and looked so surprised as he stood there hugging himself watching me casually wait for the tank to finish filling up. He just gawked and said "Aren't you cold?" And I explained that this was pretty much spring time weather where I grew up. Summers even rarely got up very high, maybe a handful of days over 90, but generally 80s at most. So for me, 60 degrees was a good middle ground. I laugh at that now!

I get the distinct feeling when we go home this year for a November visit, by body will be going into a bit of a cold shock! After all, for 2 years now I haven't left the warmth of this humid, tropical island. I am guessing by the time we leave again, our bodies will just begin to remember their roots and we will be thrown back into the fire that is Guam.

I know this is the place we need to be right now, and for the next 2 years. But I don't think I will ever stop longing for the change of seasons. I have never even been a very big fan of change in general, but this change from bright grassy greens and sky blues, to caramel leaves and fiery trees, I welcome. And then the bittersweet fact, the older I get the faster time seems to pass, even as I long for it to slow down, so I know it won't be long before I get to enjoy the colors of autumn again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Minutes Forever Burned Into My Memory

Every generation seems to have at least one major event that has been burned into our minds exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the unbelievable news.

Older generations may remember what they were doing when they heard Pearl Harbor was attacked. Or where they were when they first learned JFK had been shot. For the current generation, it's how we discovered the impossible had happened on 9/11.

It was the beginning of my junior year. I was excited to be taking AM swim, which meant I was at school a full hour and half before anyone else. Wet from washing all the chlorine out of my hair, I rushed from our school pool up to the main building. It was always chilly this early in the morning and having damp hair only made it worse. Relief washed over me as I entered the warm building on the top of the hill. Though there were still minimal crowds and the start of classes was still a good 20 minutes away, I hurried to my first period, back out into the brisk morning on the other side of the main building and into one of the newer portables. I had U.S. History with one of my favorite teachers, Mr. S. He made history come to life, he made it real and entertaining. He made us feel like we were a part of it.
That morning, history would be made, in fact, little did I know it already had. Sitting at the table where I was assigned, I did my usual ritual to prepare for class. I pulled out the necessary binder and book. I even brought out some other homework to finish up before class began. The lights weren't even on yet, though Mr. S had just stepped out and another girl who sat with me, Rachel, had come in. She also got to school bright and early to secure a parking spot along the street. Only seniors and some juniors got stickers to park in the parking lots around campus. (I happened to be one, having won the parking spot lottery in which about 10 of 100+ juniors hoping for a spot were picked!) Rachel had been sitting in her car for probably about an hour or more before school started (I did this most of my sophomore year), and she had been listening to the radio when they announced that at 5:52 am (PST) the first plane had hit, and a mere 9 minutes later the second plane had crashed into the other twin tower. Rachel told me what had happened, but at the time I was only barely aware of what the twin towers were. And I couldn't believe or grasp what she was telling me. It seemed unreal and in fact I didn't really believe her when she shared it. I kept thinking it must me some hoax the radio show she was listening to had been doing. But sure enough only minute later Mr. S came back into the room and flipped the TV on and reality hit me, though I still couldn't believe what I was seeing. Time warped and though all this happened in only a few minutes, in my mind it feels like it was hours.
Impossible. How could something like that happen here? Though in history we read about times or war and conflicts, that is all it is, history. It just can't be happening here and now, in my time, in my country. My safe and secure country.
As clear as those early morning minutes still are in my mind, the rest of the day is a blur. TV screens on in every classroom, replaying the horrific images that should only be found in our nightmares. Students crying and in shock. Though we lived across the country from this terror, it hit us all as though it happened in our very own backyard. No, it happened in our front yard, a city, we thought about as glamorous and untouchable, with its tall, important buildings, and streets filled with yellow cabs. Now was buried under dust and rubble. Death was heavy in this city once teeming with life. And it was felt everywhere, from the piles of twisted metal and stone that once stood tall, to the hearts of those watching from the sunny beaches in Hawaii. A cloud had spread over the entire country now united in mourning.

That is what I remember from that tragic day 9 years ago. Do you remember where you were when the unimaginable news first broke the stillness?

Don't forget to take a moment to remember and pray today. Pray for the families who lost loved ones. Pray for the troops who are still out fighting the war that began 9 years ago. Pray for our nation as it still heals from its deep wounds.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our Love Story

It seems throughout this process of remembering, its been all about the guys in my life. From the death of my grandfather and cousin when I was very young, to my first male teacher whom I couldn't stand, to my friend Chris, and then last week my first boyfriend, Steve. So this week I will just stick with that theme (and in the next session I will share more about some of my best girl friends). Get ready, this one is pretty long, I remember very vividly much from certain things this year!

Senior year started out rough. I had a falling out with one of my best friends. Victoria, within weeks of school starting. We didn't speak for months. During that time I became closer to another friend of mine, Josh. He was the ex-boyfriend of another close friend, Erin. They had dated a long time and while he was upset about the breakup, and one of the only classmates I knew in my physics class (lots of labs that you need partners for- and I think he understood more of it then I did- gotta love teachers who grade on the curve!!). So Josh became one of the people I leaned on and hung out with for much of the year, as I was dealing with losing the friendship with Victoria. He was always very kind to me, and though we weren't as close as I was with Chris, I was so grateful for his friendship senior year.
By the middle of the year, February, things began looking up, as Victoria and I began speaking again, and shortly after that I met the man who would become my husband.

I was at church early one Sunday morning, going over the worship songs for the service. Roy, who had been my youth leader, was now the interim pastor as well as the only person who could play piano in our church. So he played (and sang) and I sang with him. I remember my friend Timothy, who was then the youth leader, pulling into the wet parking lot. Watching from the sanctuary window, Jon, dressed in a dark blue turtle neck sweater with an orange stripe around the middle, and dark denim jeans, with a nice leather jacket on, stepped out of the passenger side back door holding a box of donuts for our Sunday School class. I just thought "Boy, he sure is cute, I wonder how old he is..." I was still quite boy crazy at this age, always looking for that potential guy God had for me (remember I knew I wanted to marry young, and I was ready for commitment- which is what scared most of the boys away of course!). Timothy was in the Navy, so I guessed this cute boy was probably someone he invited from his boat. I was 18, so I hoped he wasn't too much younger, though I figured he probably wouldn't be interested in me since I was still in high school.
Roy and I had pretty much finished up practicing, so I headed for the building our Sunday school class was in, just sort of kiddie corner to the sanctuary doors (separate buildings). At this point, Jon says he remembers seeing me get out of my car the first time he saw me, I don't remember going back to it for anything, but maybe I did. During Sunday school, Jon was actually more involved then I was in the discussions. He even shared a prayer request that his grandma had recently had a stroke. (If you know him now you wouldn't be surprised at all by this, but back then, me being super shy, even around this group of adults I had known for years, I was pretty quiet and rarely shared much even for prayer requests, so I was surprised this stranger was so involved!)
Well this Sunday just happened to also be Timothy's birthday (at least I am pretty sure it was his- might have been Debby, his wife's though). So after church, most of the youth group went out to eat at Godfather's pizza. Well I was growing seriously curious about this boy, by this point all I knew was his name, John (didn't find out it was Jon for Jonathan until a little later) and that he was on Timothy's boat, so he was in the Navy. I jumped at the chance to ask Timothy more questions, and when he got up to get a refill, I followed him to ask my questions. I don't remember what I asked, but my biggest question was how old is Jon? I knew in the Navy he would be in trouble for being with someone too young- if he was older- since I was actually still in school. Well it turned out Jon was only a year or so older then me (actually only a week short of a full year older).

(This was while we were away at the competition, in the bus finishing up getting ready for the performance. I do miss this sort of stuff the most of all my high school experiences!)

From there I don't really remember when we exchanged number or whatnot, but Jon continued coming to youth group with Timothy, and sometimes (eventually always) I gave him a ride to and from the Navy shipyard about 20-30 minutes away from my house & from church. We talked on the phone and we chatted through AOL a lot.
One time we went mini-golfing with a group of friends. I got to be one of the drivers, and the ride was more fun then the actual game, that was until my other friend who also drove, insisted Jon ride with her (later I found out she liked him- though supposedly she was trying to help me get up the courage to ask him out! Oh teenage drama- how I DON'T miss it!!). I was worried though, because she was much more popular, especially among the guys, completely the opposite of me! But I truly enjoyed being with Jon so I endeavored to find out if he liked me. Once we established our friendship, I felt like I could be myself with him, and he made me laugh a lot.
Finally after talking to Timothy and checking with him about whether or not it would be appropriate, I got up the courage to ask Jon to go with me to my senior prom. I was so nervous! Anytime I had ever asked a guy before I had either gotten I flat out no, or been laughed at, but as much as I wanted to be- I just wasn't the 'sit-and-wait-patiently-for-the-boy-to-take-initiative' type of girl. Then I found out later, Timothy had somewhat misunderstood his role in my concerns, and told Jon I would be asking!! I was embarrassed more then angry by this. I am not one to hold a grudge, and Timothy is just not the kind of person it is easy to be really mad at! Either way, Jon said yes! I think it was the next week when I took him home, as I pulled into the street to drop him off outside the gate, he very shyly and sweetly asked if he could kiss me. I will always remember that! Jon says he was afraid to just try because he could tell I was the goody-two-shoes church girl, and he didn't want to offend me. Well I didn't want to say no, but I barely knew him still, so I offered him my cheek for a quick peck. He is still to this day embarrassed a little by that whole situation! But I think its absolutely sweet.
By the end of April, I had to go away for an extended weekend because our concert choir always went to a certain competition each year (more then one actually- but this one we did all 3 yrs I was in choir, while the others varied). It was across the state, about a 4-6 hr drive through mountains part of the way. I loved going on the bus tours! Our director always managed to get us nice tour buses instead of the uncomfortable yellow ones, especially if we were going somewhere more then an hour away! On the ride there, I was on the phone with Jon for a bit. I don't remember who called who, but Jon eventually got to his point. Very hesitantly but sweetly, he asked it we could be 'boyfriend/girlfriend' (he didn't ask to 'go out' like any boys in my school would've) and he sort of stumbled over the words like he was embarrassed and not sure how to exactly phrase his words. I was absolutely giddy as I said yes! We ended our call shortly after this though because we were approaching a tunnel. But I quickly told my friend Bethany who was sitting beside me, and before I knew it all the girls on the bus were giggling over my phone call!

(One of our 6 prom photos, and my absolute favorite! My sister was so angry that I got this dress because she wanted it for the next dance she went too, but she didn't like hand-me-downs and I wasn't the same size anyway.)

Then it was time for my prom. May 10th, just a month before graduation. I was so excited to officially have a date to this major event. We made reservations to go out to eat at a nice restaurant with Josh and some of my other friends. We had a group of just over 10. Jon was a perfect gentleman! Even though I drove, he opened doors for me and even paid (another something fairly new- I was usually the one who paid for things even with just friends since I was the one with a job!).
Then we went to the dance, which was okay in terms of a dance, like I said, what made it really great was that I actually had a date! Oh and our teachers were our valets for the evening (nothing like that for any of the other dances). I believe it was my physics teacher, Mr. N, who took my car. Jon and I spent the evening hanging out and talking when there wasn't a slow song on. We got 2 packages of photos done- I wanted plenty of documents of my big night with him! And he very kindly danced with my friend Shannon at my prompting. She didn't have a date, but had come with our group, and I remembered how much I hated sitting out all the slow dances with all the guys taken, I didn't want her to feel like that all night. (And she didn't, between all the guys in our group, I don't think she sat out any dances though she was the only one dateless!) Eventually the evening ended and I took Jon home.
I know people assume teenagers don't really fall in love, but instead lust. But I knew very early I loved Jon. Despite all my boy craziness, I just knew (and so far I am not wrong!!). Later that month we said I love you and kissed for the first time.
Jon was there for my graduation, he bought me a pair of gold angel earrings because he said I was his angel (though I never wore them because they weren't my style- he still struggles with finding jewelry I will actually wear).
About a month and half after graduation, on our 3 month 'anniversary', Jon ended up having to work, despite date plans with me. So the next night I planned a big night for us. We started with miniature golfing, then we went to a movie- only there wasn't anything romantic playing, so we saw Tomb Raider. Afterwards we drove down to the waterfront. It was dark and deserted but nice and quiet- small town so we weren't worried or anything. I had a picnic packed of some sandwiches, sparkling cider and strawberries with whipped cream. We had previously talked about marriage, he even asked sort of playfully once before, but we decided that wasn't the 'real' way he wanted to ask. But being the girl I was, I was impatient. I knew what I wanted!! So I stood up and asked him to get on his knees, which he did. And then I told him to just do it, and he did, he asked me to marry him, though he was upset to be prompted and not ready with a ring to give me then. Of course, after all of that, I said YES! And on the way home he called his mom to tell her. Back at home (by this point he was regularly sleeping on our couch, with my mother's not to thrilled approval- and no we never snuck him into my room, I was a good girl after all, since it was getting expensive to drive back and forth so much each day- I drove him to work each morning, I worked in the same direction, and then picked him up afterwards- note to my own children- this mama won't ever allow that, so don't bother ever asking!!), I had set up on the downstair patio, a radio with some romantic CDs, and I had wrapped purple lights up around the posts, and we danced under the stars. My mom cried tears of joy (and sadness that her oldest would be out of the nest soon) when I told her the good news the next day.
Well the months flew by, and Jon and I were married just before Christmas of that same year! Actually I found out on my wedding day that it was my grandparents (Dad's side) 45th wedding anniversary!! Though it wasn't planned that way, and I wasn't particularly close to that side of the family, I like how the timing was just perfect like that. And they were able to drive to be at the wedding from 2 states away (though they arrived that day and left the next- so I didn't get to visit with them really). We had an evening wedding, themed for my favorite holiday, we even had a Christmas tree up on our 'dance floor', and up until about 2 years ago, used the same tree and some of the same decorations every year. We will be celebrating 7 wonderful years of marriage this December.

This post is the 14th in a series of 15 I am doing to record my youth with other women at

It is also linked to Favorite Memories Friday at Mom's Toolbox.

When Life Isn't Fair

Even when it is something I don't necessarily want to hear, I just love it when God so obviously is speaking to me through whatever means available.

Let me explain a little background info: My sister announced last June she was getting married. Of course I want to go, but along the way we have hit more then one bump in the road. In fact it has seemed more like a roller coaster ride then a bumpy road, trying to get my husband's leave approved (he is military, and nothing about being in the military is ever simple!). It isn't a matter of being told 'no' though, just 'wait' and then 'wait' again. We have jumped through many hoops trying to get it through, and there are many complicated reasons we have had problems, most of which were out of our hands, and to me, very unfair. Our biggest issue is time and money, it is expensive to leave the island, and we need to buy tickets in advance, as well as order me a bridesmaid dress if I will be able to get there. The whole thing has dragged out for over a month now for us, and I haven't felt any peace throughout the whole thing!

My husband feels defeated, and he just wants me to let it go and wait more, but I feel wronged. I want to call up his chain of command and say "That's NOT fair!" I want to find a way for 'justice' to be done, the kind of justice when I get my way, and the person unjustly standing in my path gets reprimanded.

And then today, I was looking through the new posts of the blogs I follow when I came across a post titled Why not just be wronged?. At first, I did not want to click on it. I didn't want to hear that I should just accept what has happened and let it go. After all my anger and frustration are justified, this just shouldn't be happening to us.

But I could not deny God His chance to speak to me through this blog. It was obvious, this was for me.

Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? ~ 1 Corinthians 6:7b

Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgement as the noonday. Rest int he Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way... ~Psalm 37:5-7b

It isn't easy to accept, but sometimes we will be wronged, even as Christians. Even the world has their own way of saying it- Life isn't fair. Ultimately though God's justice will prevail, and that is what matters. I am not the judge, I am not the one who should seek punishment and reprimand for those who I feel are against me or have wronged me. Sometimes we need to just let it go, instead of having it fester in our hearts, creating an infection that can spread to other parts of our lives. If we want to be healthy in our walk with the Lord, it is important to let go and move on, even if we are being wronged. God is in control and He will work everything out for good, for His will.

As for the wedding, I hope I am able to go. But ultimately God knows best and He is in control. Even if I don't like the answer, just remembering He is the one in control, brings me peace. I was just struggling with keeping that in mind because in my heart I didn't want the answer to be no, or even wait. I wanted to be the one behind the wheel, but I am reminded once again, that God is the better driver when it comes to my life. For now I will just continue to pray that everything falls into place, and we are able to go, whatever the answer may be.

(And if you haven't already, I seriously encourage you to check out Mary DeMuth's post. Maybe you will also get something from it!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Beach Picnic

Jon ended up having an extra day off yesterday, so we went on a last minute picnic at the beach since it was low tide. The kids weren't as interested in the tide pools as I was, but it was still a nice afternoon with the family!

Our Little Family

My Sweet Little Big Boy

My Beach Beauty

Zachary showing off his new skills.

Natalie loves playing in the sand, its all she really wanted to do.

Jon relaxing under a palm tree with Zachary, if there had been a breeze, this would've been absolute perfection.

Natalie and I found a crab, this was the biggest. We also found a whole bunch of tiny ones and some hermit crabs as well. This was why I wanted to go at low tide, I remember doing this with my mom and sisters when I was younger and we would go to my great Uncle Mike's place by the water which had a rocky shore. We would just flip over the rocks and watch the teeny crabs scatter.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ready to Hand Over the Keys?

Jon went in late this morning due to my appointment to get our new car key cut and programed (how can that take an hour and a half??!!). So as he is getting ready for work, Natalie is sitting at the table playing a game, and she says, "Daddy, I want to take you in to work today."

So Jon asks her why, and her reply is, "Because I want the car today to go somewhere."

And I thought she wouldn't start asking to borrow the car until she at least had gotten her license!!


In other news, I am extremely excited because my little big boy is finally walking! Over the past weeks it has been 5 steps or so, here and there. Then last week he walked about 10 ft, steadied himself with his hands on the floor before straightening back up to walk another 5 ft or so. And yesterday, as we celebrated Labor day by having some friends over for lunch, Zachary was so excited and trying to join in the big kids play, he was walking better then he ever has before! He got a lot of practice in and hopefully that will really show in the next week or 2 and will become regular! It is particularly exciting to us since he is 18 months old and has struggled with crawling and walking for a while now, so it is such a blessing to see him progress finally!!
And now he can walk in my sister's wedding as the ring bearer in November!

This post is linked to

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Fun

I actually love rainy long as I don't need to go outside! I am mostly a 'homebody' anyway, so I prefer to be in the comforts of my own home except for the occasional itch to get out, especially if the kids are getting to rowdy for me inside! On Guam, we have 2 seasons, dry and rainy. I am not sure when the exact months outline each season, but right now and most of the end half of the year, it is wet! It makes it feel almost like fall to me if I stay inside and turn the AC down to a cool temperature and wear cozy socks on my feet. Of course as much as I would like to spend those days curled up in a blanket with a good book, the kids require other entertainment. So here is some rainy (or not so rainy) day fun:

1. Curl up with the kids and read to them. I enjoy finding a book that I can connect to some fun craft as well.

2. Bake cookies! My daughter loves to help by pouring ingredients in and mixing. And then of course her favorite part is helping to gobble them all up afterwards!! We even have an apron just for her.

3. Have an indoors picnic! I actually use an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth as a splat mat under my son's high chair, so I would just clean that off a little, lay it out in the middle of the living room and eat our lunch on the floor. I open the blinds too, so we feel like we are outside more, but we still stay dry!

4. We go to our local Aquarium, where we have a membership (so its free for us to go often)! Its called Underwater World, and most of it is this long tunnel of plexiglass, so you are actually walking through the huge tanks with all the fish, sharks, and sea turtles. I count this as a rainy day activity because we don't get wet, our parking garage at home is covered, and so it the one at Underwater World! So if I happen to have the car (one car family here), this is a good activity if we really need to get out, but don't want to drown in the downpour- seriously it can rain super hard here, but its still really warm and muggy so you don't really want to wear a raincoat to shield you, and with 2 young kids, the umbrella is hard to figure out and you only get wetter in the process!!

5. Movie time! I love movies and have a huge collection of children's and adult's movies. And we try to make it an event, with popcorn, and fruit smoothies, lights dimmed, and everyone cuddling on the couch (or in the bed, my daughter likes watching them in our room). Zachary is still too young for this though, so we save it for his nap time.

6. Creative crafts. I have a huge bin of craft materials I bought in the states for times just such as these! Some are kits, some are just random odds and ends to be really creative with. Though I am still working on just getting Zachary to figure out coloring and NOT eating the crayon!

7. Music video making. I love to sing, my daughter loves to sing, and my son...well he likes to make noise! So what could be better then pulling out any noise making toys or just pots and pans for him to bang on as Natalie and I belt out some tunes! Or sometimes we just put on some music and dance around! (Our favorites are songs by the Imagination Movers, its hard not to catch on to their fun and educational music!)

8. Build a fort. Oh how I LOVED building forts when I was a kid! I don't know a kid that doesn't like this, even Zachary gets pretty excited about it- then proceeds to accidentally pull it all down. But the beauty is, its never to difficult to rebuild, all you need are sheets or lightweight blankets, and chairs or other tall furniture and usually some weights to hold the sheet in place help too (think books or magazines, nothing breakable)!

9. Get dressed up! This one is a girl's all time favorite, but most young boys will join in for the fun as well! Zachary likes to try my shoes on and wear hats sometimes (just so he can pull them off and laugh as I put it right back on!). One day I hope to have more general neutral stuff for him too, like doctor outfit, police/fire man, train conductor, that sort of thing. For now its mostly dresses and necklaces and fairy wings for my daughter!

10. Go out in the rain...unless your children are made out of sugar and will melt (my daughter seems to think she is sometimes). Bundle up (assuming you aren't on Guam) the kids in their rain gear and let them go out and make mud pies, splash in a few puddles, and enjoy another day God has given us. The best thing about kids is that they are completely washable!! I do recommend dry warm clothes as soon as they are inside though- we don't want anyone to catch a cold after all!

This is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}

Thursday, September 2, 2010

NJROTC and My First Boyfriend

Almost there! So close I can taste it! The end is in sight!! The end of high school that is, and yet high school is really only the beginning!

(This is me and the two teachers who ran NJROTC, my great uncle is the one in maroon.)

In my junior year, I joined NJROTC. For those who don't know that stands for Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. I only did it for 2 of the 3 trimesters actually, I can't remember if I dropped a math class or chemistry from the 1st trimester to do this, but either way I couldn't stand either of those 2 classes. In chem, I had the kind of teacher who assigned homework, put up the answers for you to correct yourself, then 'went over' what you didn't understand. I got a C, my first C, and I was done. I never understood it when my teacher explained it anyway, because he would do it in a manner that made you feel stupid for even asking. You know, like he knew how to do it, it was so simple, how can you not get it?! My math teacher was pretty much the same way, though I was lingering on a B- in that class, and I already had all the math credits I needed.
So I decided since one of my best friends, Victoria did it, I should too. I already knew a lot of the people in that crowd, and thought I would fit in well. And it just happened my great Uncle Ed was the Captain of my school's program. He was so excited and proud when I joined, and of course everyone knew me from before, unfortunately it was mostly as 'the Captain's niece'. I got great grades in this class, it was mostly just learning about different subjects within the Navy. A little history, a little english- actually a whole new form of english because I was required to use terms such as "I need to use the head." instead of the normal word, head means bathroom for all the people who don't speak sailor-ese. We also did running- oh great more PE! And we had uniform inspections once a week. We had to go a whole day wearing the most ugly, unflattering uniform and uncomfortable shoes for all our classes, then were inspected by another student who was ranked above us, I believe it was our chief who did it (they rank just like in the Navy- we even had a student commanding officer-CO- and second in command (XO) and so on down the chain). And the inspection was part of our grade as well. During the inspections we could get hit for hairs out of place, not keeping our bearing- which means standing perfectly still and looking straight ahead with a straight face while your entire group is inspected (really a struggle for me)- for having ribbons or collar devices not perfectly lined up- some many inches from the tip of the collar, etc- or on not knowing the answer to questions your inspecting officer asked- for example: who is the Secretary of the Navy? (insert current SecNav here). It was like torture to me!!

This is also the year I had my first boyfriend. I say first, but he is the only other guy I 'dated' other then my husband really. He was also my first kiss. I was at one of the ROTC dances, which happened fairly often and weren't by any means formal. I was upset about something, crying, but I don't remember what. I was sitting on the bleachers and Steve came up to ask what was wrong. I was shocked, someone I didn't know, and a boy, actually cared?! Well he ended up asking me to dance, and later asking me 'out', which just meant we were an item, not that we actually went anywhere particularly. Steve was also in ROTC and he was actually a year younger then me in school. But he was so sweet to me, and no one had ever treated me like that before. For Valentines day he brought me a rose and a small amethyst heart necklace. And on my days off we would hang out after school up at the building the ROTC shared with a recruiting center. It was an old armory with a lot of extra space just up the road off campus (and I would've hated ROTC more if I hadn't had a car to make the drive in- otherwise you were expected to walk and you got a little extra time between classes to make the trek). If we weren't there, we would just drive around or hang out at my house.

(Steve and I at the ball. Sorry, I don't have any pictures of me in my uniform for a good reason, but it would've looked just like Steve's here minus the gloves.)

One day as I drove Steve home, before he got out, we kissed. It was his first and my first so neither of us had any clue what we were doing! It was wet and sorta gross (no offense Steve!), and it felt weird, but I was still curious and eventually we kissed again...a lot. By about a month and half of the couple thing, I was getting irritated. Steve had problems with his step-father, and always said he couldn't call, or couldn't talk long because of him, but I wanted to talk to my boyfriend more! We wrote notes during the day, but it just wasn't the same to me. And then it ended...almost. We 'broke-up' and about a week later, at an after school ROTC thing, as I was getting in my car, Steve jumped the fence after getting a chocolate rose handed to him by his mom in her car which was kiddie corner from mine, and apologized and asked if I would be his girlfriend again. I said yes, and we began the whole high school dating ritual again. We passed notes, we hung out, we kissed, and we talked more at first. We even went to the one formal dance ROTC did each year, the Navy JROTC Ball. It was a lot of fun, and this was my second year going (remember I hung out with this crowd, so I went the year before with some friends). This dance was way better then the normal high school dances. We had a sit down meal, we were served, not buffet style (which is what the actual Navy Balls I have gone to since with my husband, lean towards), and best of all, it wasn't just in the school gym, but in a nice lodge on base.
Well Steve and I just weren't meant to be. After another month and half or so, we broke up again, this time for good, and not really on good terms. I had gone to the movies with his brother, mom, and him. On the way back to their house (his mom drove us all), we were all making fun of Steve, playfully. But he got very sensitive about it and when we got back to his house, him and I stayed in the car to talk...or argue. I think our biggest issues should've been clear to me earlier on. Steve kept telling me he couldn't trust me when I wanted to talk about things that bugged or upset him. It was always 'too personal', and for me, I thought- if there is no trust, how can we be in a relationship together? And though that in itself was reason for us not to date, he had shared with me he didn't want to have kids until he was at least 30 if even then, he honestly sounded like he didn't want any. He didn't even think he wanted to ever get married! And I knew I wanted to marry young (which I did) and have children (which I did). I would never have changed my mind about those two things for my life, yet I thought I could convince him or change his mind. So it couldn't have lasted much longer then it did anyway!

This is my 13th post in a series of 15 in which I am recording my youth with other ladies at
. Only 2 more to go! And if this sounds like a fun idea to you, be sure to sign up with Janna for the 2nd session which begins in October!