Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Month that Flew By and A New Year

The Major has been gone for one month and that one month has surely flown by. We've still got eight more to go. The key is to stay busy, those that aren't familiar with military life and deployments do not understand that being busy helps with not missing your spouse as much because once you stop and sit, it gets lonely and you start to really miss the one that you love. We got an action packed month for the kids and I in January, we're starting the New Year with a BANG!! They both have Region Band Auditions, the Bookworm has another Wrestling Tournament and the Princess has her High School Pagent. Add regular School with their homework, tests, exams and studies, practices and lessons, the days fly quickly.

In a few hours, we'll be welcoming in another year......2012. Many will be making New Year's resolutions and as I have posted before, I do not believe in or make resolutions for new years. What I am doing is kicking habits that have worn me down for years out the front door of the Cottage! If it hits you when I throw them out, oh well, you should have ducked!

God has many things awaiting for us in the New Year. Things for us to explore, learn and wait for. Happy 2012 to you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Lately I've been thinking, and I've been thinking about a lot of things. A lot of things that have been floating around in my head and heavy on my heart. There are many things in my life that are a habit. What is a habit? A habit is something that we do consistently all the time. It's something that we never take off and something that we never(rarely) change, the same old same old.

I have a habit of reading every night before I go to bed. I have a habit of taking my medicine every morning time I get up before I awaken the kids and my day begins. I have a habit of washing all dirty laundry on Mondays. I have a habit of having my devotional time with the Lord after I have taken the kids to School. I have a habit of having pizza on the menu in our home every Friday. I have a habit of tucking in my children and kissing them goodnight and telling them I love them every night.

A habit, something that we wear, it's worn.

Like clothes, a habit can become worn and wear out. If we never do anything different in our lives, how can our lives bloom. How can our lives be revived. Like bulbs need the earth in the winter and the sun during the spring so our lives need change and newness, a refreshing.

Do not get me wrong, not all habits are bad.

A heart can become heavy with the burdens of habits, but not all hearts are heavy because of our own.

We can have a habit of continually being in a place where we know we should not be but yet we continue to go. It could be a place where we cannot grow and our seed is stunned from growth and needs light to emerge and grow, but yet we continue in the habit of going.

Habits of not wanting to deal with the people in our lives that are stunning our growth or those that have a habit of wanting to be around when it is only convenient for them. Yet we have the habit of allowing them to have the habit of treating us however they want to.

Habits of eating foods that we know we shouldn't eat because we know they're not good for us.

Habits of not exercising because we're just too lazy to get up and go!

My heart is heavy and my heart says put on new habits, to throw away the worn. Cut the habits that are stunning my life, my growth, my light. If we change habits, we change our life, we are refreshed, we are renewed. Our hearts are lifted, our hearts are lighter, our hearts are joyful.

What habits do you wear? What habits are worn?
Blooming ...

Friday, December 23, 2011

What The Season is Really About

Nothing annoys me more than seeing people all wrapped up in shopping and gifts this time of year. Do we enjoy getting gifts, you bet, is it great to give gifts, yes, but it's not all about gifts and shopping. It's about Him. Yes, Him, Christ.

It amazes me that so many people like to decorate for Christmas, but yet is surprises me at how few of their decorations are Christ centered. What type of oranaments are on their tree, what is the outside of their homes decorated like, what about the inside of their homes? Our home is decorated both inside and out, and we have an artificial tree because the Princess is allergic to real Christmas trees. Even if you do or don't know our family personally, you'll know that we are Christians because we display our faith at Christmastime. Our front yard has the nativity scene with Jesus, Mary and Joseph with a wooden cross lit with red lights directly behind them. Inside our home our tree is not only decorated with ornaments from all over the world and ornaments that the kids made when they were little, but it is also decorated with ornaments of faith. Also in our home we have our Nativity displayed on our coffe table in our living room. The word JOY is displayed on our fireplace mantel to remind us and those that enter our home that we are to display and observe JOY all the time(Jesus, Others, Yourself). We also have a Jesse Tree displayed in our kitchen. Some of you may better recognize it better as an Advent Tree. We enjoy spending time together in the evenings after dinner around the Jesse Tree reading the days readings and remembering and recounting the numerous accounts in the Bible that led to the birth of Jesus our Savior. If you've never had a Jesse Tree in your home I encourage you to make one with your family, it's a great way to grow deeper in your walk with the Lord as well as a great way to come together as a family and lift eachother up.

If someone were to drive by your home or walk inside it, would your faith be displayed? I have many friends and family whom are not ashamed to display their faith. Yet, I also have many where their faith is not displayed. Isn't that the real reason why we are on this earth, to be a witness for Christ and to reach others for Him? How sad it is to go into homes and not see the real reason for the season displayed. And you know what, it shouldn't just be at Christmastime that we display our faith, it should be everyday, everyday of the year.

What have you done this season of your life for someone in need, for someone that is less fortunate than you, what have you done that was selflessness of you? For some all they want is a smile, for others a helping hand. Bless someone that needs a blessing in their life. You don't have to do anything that costs a lot of money, some things take no money at all. Yesteray the kids and I baked all day, after baking we made up 5 boxes of treats and took them to people that we knew that were sick or widowed. The smile on their faces when they received the treats from us were priceless. This morning I placed a small gift in our mailbox for our mailcarrier. How many times do our mailcarries go unnoticed. They are always there delivering our mail to us through storms, rain and snow. I wanted our mailcarrier to know that our home appreciated her. These examples didn't cost much, but to the ones on the receiving end, it was the world.

This season, meditate on what the season is really about and this season of your life will be one of the best seasons of your life.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Listen to All the News, Not Just What You Want to Hear

That is my tip for today! If you watch the news or read the newspaper, how about watch and listen to all the news, and read the entire article in the newspaper! Why do I say this? One word: IRAQ

Yep, this has been my life for the past week! I can't begin to tell you how many times I've been asked if the Major is coming home now because the troops are coming home. I think if I'm asked this just one more time I think that I might seriously scream! It's IRAQ only, not everywhere else. The mission is complete there, not everywhere else. The Major isn't there, so it doesn't affect him and it doesn't affect troops that are deployed other places either because it's only IRAQ.

And while I'm on the subject, what about Afghanistan, seems to me that since all eyes have been on Iraq people have forgotten there is still a war going on in Afghanistan. We still have troops fighting. Troops are still defending our Country and there are still troops being deployed everyday. There are many countries in which troops are deployed to, it wasn't just all about Iraq.

This leads me to another problem. I love it when people ask me where the Major is deployed, because I know the response that I am going to get back from them. Here it is: "Oh, he's there, he's got it made." Yeah, my response, I just smile and walk away! Here's what I am thinking in my head as I walk away: "Really, you think he has it made? What about being away from your family for 9 months, what about working from sun up to sun down, what about missing your children's birthdays, Christmas and every other Holiday and special occassion that falls in between. What about all the everyday things such as sitting at the dinner table as a family and praying and talking about how your day was with eachother. What about flying into those places in which you know you're going to have to wear your combat gear and all you can do is pray that you're going to be ok and that you'll be able to call your wife and tell her you're fine." Yeah, that's what I feel like saying.

The Military life isn't for everyone. We've known many that have gotten out because they couldn't take it anymore, we've known many that have divorced, we know many that have marriage and family problems because of the constent moves and deployments. It's a hard life, but at the same time it can be very rewarding. It's a hard life to understand unless you've lived or are living a Military life. FAITH, this one word is what our family lives by. Faith in God. Faith that He will take care of us. Faith that He will provide for us. Why do we have FAITH, because we forsake all and we put our trust in Christ.

So what do I think would be nice, if people would really think about what they are going to say, especially to a Military Spouse, and especially a Military Spouse whose Husband is deployed, before they say it. Choose your words carefully, because unlike the old saying, words do hurt.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Birthday and The Nutcracker

Friday was the Bookworm's 13th Birthday. It's hard to believe that 13 years ago he was just a little guy weighing only 7 pounds and deciding to coming into the world a whole month early. He was born at 2:34 pm on December 16th. It just so happened that on Friday they only had a half day at School, so he was home at the time that he was born, I was able to run into his room at 2:34 pm and cover him with hugs and kisses! He has grown into a wonderful young man, he loves the Lord and has a huge heart. He has gone from playing with toys to playing video games, riding his bike and wrestling on the School Wrestling Team. His favorite food that he can't live without is peanut butter! This is consummed by him on a daily basis! So glad that he doesn't have a nut allergy or we would surely be up a creek without a paddle! We celebrated his birthday with going to eat at his favorite Restaurant. Poppy and Nana came up and spend the afternoon with us, it was nice. After dinner he wanted to open gifts. He got many things but his favorite was the new bike from the Major and I, second best was the money that he received from others. Give a teen money and they are happy, they would rather have money than anything else! Cake and icecream followed opening gifts. His request for his birthday cake was my Granny's chocolate cake recipe. This is the cake that he requests every year and I enjoy making it for him. It's not a hard cake to make and it turns out really well and is quite yummy. Hard to believe that we now have two teens. I must say that I am enjoying this season of life.

Saturday was a very early morning. The Bookworm had to be up at 5 am and at the School by 6 am to leave for an all day Wrestling Tournament. Then, the Princess had to be up at 6 am and out the house by 7:30 in order to be at her High School to work the High School Wrestling Tournament all day. She has to get so ten volunteer hours for her Sports Medicine Class, so the Wrestling Tournament was the perfect opportunity for her to get all of her hours. After she left the house, I left the house to drive 45 minutes to the Bookworm's Tournament. I was very anxious and nervous to see him wrestle, this would be his first match! He did very well both times that he wrestled at the Tournament. The first match he made it all the way through till only 1 second was left in the 3rd period! I was so proud of him, he did awesome! The second match he lasted all the way to the 3rd period as well. Needless to say he was very sore yesterday when he woke up to get ready for Church. I kept tylenol and motrin in him all day! I am so proud of him wanting to venture out and try a new sport this year, I never would have imagined that he would have been interested in wrestling.

Yesterday was Sunday and it was a day that I was looking forward to. Not only was it Church, but I officially deemed it the start of the kids' Christmas Break! We all three deserve a long break after the past two weeks that we have had. We have had something going on every night for the past two weeks and on some days and nights we have had two or three things going on! It's been crazy! We started the Break with going to the Nutcracker yesterday afternoon. The kids have never seen the Nutcracker so I was excited to be taking them. We had a most wonderful time and the kids really enjoyed it. Afterwards we swung by the Blockbuster kiosk and rented the last Harry Potter(the kids had seen it this Summer, but I hadn't seen it yet) and went home got in our pjs, wrapped in blankets and watched the movie. It was a nice way to end our day.

With all that's been going on here with us, the Major has been under the weather where he is. He has been sick all week. It all started with him getting a fever almost reaching 104. He went to the Doctor and he was severely dehydrated, so they gave him fluids, medicine and put him on quarters. He sounded terrible on the phone whenever I talked to him. With him not improving that much, he went back to the Doctor yesterday and they put him on an antibiotic. He said he is feeling alittle better. I know it's no fun being sick when you are away from home. Despite the Deployment, we are all four doing well and taking one day at a time. We miss having the Major at home with us, especially during this time of the year, but we carry on and keep the traditions going and whenever the cell phone rings we jump and we're eager to see if it's him calling.

So it's Monday morning here at the Cottage and as I sit here on my laptop typing this, the dogs are cuddled by me and the two teens in the Cottage are still in bed sleeping in, something they haven't been able to do in a long time!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Tonight, the kids willingly wanted to go to bed at 7:45. That just goes to show how busy our past two weeks have been! We haven't had a day to rest, tonight was the first night in two weeks where we haven't had something going on, tomorrow will be the same and I am looking forward to it. Saturday is gone before it starts and Sunday is Church, but Sunday afternoon will be enjoyable and relaxing when the kids and I go and see The Nutcraker! Oh, and tomorrow starts Christmas Break for the kids, sooo looking forward to sleeping in!

I finally heard from the Major today after not hearing from him for a few days. He has been really sick and has been on quarters. He said his fever was 103. He sounded really sick and tired when he called. Praying he is well soon! We sure do miss him around the Cottage.

Fun for me today was getting 11 viles of blood taken out of my arm! Yep, you read that right, 11 viles of blood! Last month I had a severe allergic reaction to something and it landed me in the ER. So now, I tote around in my purse by little pills to take when I start to itch. I've had allergy testing done and it showed that I wasn't allergic to anything. For the past week I have been off all of my medicine, along with not eating anything with red or orange dye, seafood, nuts and fruits. Didn't work because I had a reaction on Sunday and a small one on Monday. Today was my follow-up with my Doctor and while I was sitting waiting to see her I had another severe reaction. It was perfect timing because she was able to see it. So, next step was to take blood to see what in the world I can be allergic to and totally switching detergent in the house to a perfume free and dye free one! As for now, I'm praying that the blood tests reveal what I am allergic to.

For now it's bed and in 55 minutes the Bookworm will be 13 and I will officially have 2 teenagers in the Cottage :) This season of life is a blessing.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Enjoying the Unexpected

The kids and I just said good-bye to the Major again this morning. We enjoyed an unexpected week of having him home. He had to fly back for work, at least he got to sleep at the Cottage and we got to see him for an hour or so each night.

The Major got to attend one of the Bookworm's wrestling matches and the Bookworm's band concert. He also got to see the Princess and her Boyfriend go to the Winter Formal. I am glad that he was able to be a part of the kids' special nights.

Now, it's time to get back into the routine that we had for the week that he was gone. It's funny how the kids and I have managed to get into a routine that fast. This week has been so busy in our home. I've had a lot that I have had to do and most of it involved things that needed to be done for the kids. Although I did manage to sneak a trip into our busy calendar to see my Doctor. I've still been having a severe allergic reaction to something so I had to go see her so that we could figure out what is going on. So for the next week, I am off all of my medicine and I can not have any nuts, fruits, seafood or anything with red or orange dye in it. I don't know if I'll be able to make it without eating any fruit! We just got the Princess's Band fruit in and the tangelos are so good!

So today, what we thought was going to be a full day has turned into a day with just one evening event instead of the evening event along with an all day one! So, what are the kids and I doing, finally taking advantage of some long awaited down time. We are just hanging out, doing nothing. I'm sure that the Major will call when he lands at his destination and at his connecting flights. Other than that, I am sure our phone want ring, the doorbell want sound and our day will be restful.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's The Thought That Counts....Really

I know you've heard someone say it before, "It's the thought that counts". Really? I use to think that too until I started really thinking about it. Sure no one is perfect, but come on, it's more than the thought that counts!

Take gift buying for instance......sure time goes into buying that perfect special gift, you look and look finally finding something that you believe someone will like, then you give it to them. Yep, I can see where "It's the thought that counts" counts here. The other thing that counts is how you present your "thought"/ gift. Do you just leave it in the bag in which you bought it and give it. Most times that would be a negative. Do you just give it away not wrapped or with no ribbon, etc. In some cases you can, such as flowers, fruit, a car(I think you get the picture). Or do you wrap it in beautiful wrapping paper, or place it in a gift bag with tissue paper that matches. My vote is for the second of the two sentences. When we take the time to carefully package our "thought"/gift, we are telling the person that we are giving it to that we really care about you, we took the time to put care and love into how we wanted our gift to be presented to you. If we just throw a gift in a bag and cram tissue paper into it that doesn't even match the bag, what is that saying about our character? What is it really saying to the person that we are giving our gift to? Sure the "thought counts" but how you present it counts to and sometimes it counts more than the thought does.

God gave us the best gift of all and His name was Jesus. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Jesus is our gift and He is the BEST gift that we will ever receive. Give yourself the BEST gift this Christmas and accept Him, ask Him to be Lord of your life.

Living for One Purpose

I was in car line the other day waiting to pick up the Princess from School when something dawned on me. What is our sole purpose of being here on this Earth? I mean, look around you, we have homes, go to work day after day, have a car, buy the things that we think that we need to "survive" and get get get. What is the purpose of all of that. I mean seriously, think about it, what are we accomplishing. Then throw in the ignoring people and it gets crazier! But what is our day to day, everyday life accomplishing? NOTHING! We know when we die, we leave everything behind. We can't take anything to the grave with us. So why does so much material "stuff" matter! Why must we sleep, go to work or even go to School? For one accomplish our mission. Our mission, if you are a Christian, is simple, to share Christ with EVERYONE. That means, your neighbors that live in the house by your house, your coworkers at your job, your friends at school, the people that bug you to death, and even family. Even that person that bugs you to death needs to know what Christ did for them, and even that family member that is very distant needs to know that not by works are we saved, but through Christ Jesus. Will you share even though you face the risk of rejection by family, friends, neighbors or coworkers? Jesus was ridiculed and rejected, yet He died for our sins. He loved us so much that He gave His life for us.

So today, I want you to think about the REAL reason that you live and why you continue to wake up every morning day after day.......

Monday, December 5, 2011

One Week Down and Saying Thank You = Many More

We are one week into Deployment, wow did the first week fly by. I guess time really does fly by when you are busy! Today is our down day for this week, all the other days and nights of this week are booked! Booked with Wrestling matches for the Bookworm, marching in the Parade for the Princess, Band concert for the Bookworm, Winter Formal for the Princess, Church, Choir and so much more to even mention! My down day today is going to be used to run lots of errands that I must run for the kids. Things that they need for this week for the things that they are involved in. Somewhere along the way I need to find time to drop by the grocery store, and maybe somewhere along the way I'll also find time to breath!

So, I've been thinking alot lately and the one thing that has been a constant thought in my head is this: we are to thank God in every situation;the good and the bad. I know what you may be thinking, the bad? Yes, the bad too. We all know that it's easy to give God thanks in the good things in our lives, but give thanks in the bad? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says,"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."(KJV) A great example of this is the story of Job. Job lost everything and what did he do, he praised God and gave him thanks. If you've never read the story of Job, I encourage you to do so.

How are we suppose to give thanks for the bad that happens in our life? How can we give thanks for a death of a loved one in your family? We thank God for the time that we had with them, for knowing them, for special memories that we have, for the impact that they had on our life, for the things that we learned from them that we will be able to pass along to others. In a span of 6 years, I lost all four of my Grandparents. I lost my Dad's Dad, whom I called Papa, in October 2002. He died right before my family and I moved to Europe. He was in the Army, served under Patton and survived being blown up in a tank during wartime. My Papa had so many stories to share about his time in the Army, I am sure that he would have been thrilled knowing that we were moving to Germany. Three years later in November of 2005, when the Major was deployed, I lost my Grandma, my Dad's Mom. The kids and I flew to the States to stay with my parents for the Holidays, from Thanksgiving to the New Year, my Grandma was barely hanging on. Everyone in our family had seen her except my brother(whom lived in Chicago at the time) and I. Once we both got to my parents home from our flights, my Dad took us to see my Grandma. Even though she wasn't coherent, she could hear and she knew that we were there. About an hour after we had left from seeing her and got back to my parents' home, we received the call that she had passed away. Did she wait to finally let go until she knew that my brother and I had seen her? I can't say, but my heart feels that she did. December 2007 was probably the most shocking December in our family. Bright and early on the 14th of December I received a call from my Brother telling me that our Granny had died, my Mom's Mom, the night before, which just so happened to be on my Mom's birthday. What a shock this was to hear! I had just talked with her on the phone the day before and she was doing well. One of the most wonderful ladies in my life had now passed away, here I was in living in now Italy and now I was flying back to the States to attend a funeral and to say good-bye to woman that had blessed my life from the time that I was born. I was also flying back to knowing that my Mom had to be completely in shock and devastated knowing that her Mom had passed away not only on her birthday, but while she and my Dad were on a plane flying back to the States from visiting us in Italy. One year and one day later, my Grandaddy passed away, my Mom's Dad. We had just moved back to the States from Italy in early November, a week after we moved back my Grandaddy was hospitalized for his breathing and he stayed in the Hospital until he passed away in December. His dying was so unexpected, death knows no boundaries, no one is ever ready to deal with death. He was a great man, very shy, but if he had something to say, he would say it. In a time span of 6 years, four of the most important people in my life were now gone. Four of the most wisdom filled people that I knew were no longer here. Why do I share all of this with you, because I thanked God. I thanked God when they died. I thank God because he had given me so many beautiful and wonderful memories and years with these four amazing people. I thanked God because all four of these people were there when my children were babies and they got to see my children grow and my children know who they were. I thank God because my Grandparents knew the Lord and they each had a personal relationship with Him. I thank God because when I look at my Nativity set in my home every Christmas, I know that my Grandparents are seeing and living the real Nativity.

Would it have been easy for me to not have thanked God when they each passed away, you bet! Here were four precious people in my life that passed away, I could have been mad, I could have asked God why, I could have been mad because here I was living in Europe and I didn't get to see them and spend as much time with them as the rest of my family got to, but I didn't, I thanked God. It was His will.

What about other situations in which it may be hard to give thanks to God. What about people that hurt you(we can't change people), unanswered prayer(remember God will answer in His time), family situations(let go and give it to God, and sometimes you just have to step to the side and walk away), medical conditions(you may learn to lean more on God), moves especially Military moves(the blessing of new friends and a new place to live where you have never been before), Deployment(look forward to what God may want you to learn and teach you during this deployment), new job(you can share your faith in your workplace be a sunbeam for Him). There are so many things that go wrong in our lives, but one is always good and always remains the same......God! God is there for us all the time. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

Many ask why bad things happen to good people. The fact is that bad things happen to everyone, good and bad. God doesn't give us anything that He knows that we can not handle. Did you hear me? God does not give us anything that we CAN NOT handle. God may let bad things happen in our life so that we can grow closer in our walk with Him, maybe it is to open our eyes, maybe it is to teach us a lesson, maybe it is to draw us closer to friends and family, maybe it is to draw us more into spending time in prayer and in His Word. Whatever the situation is that you are going through, God knows why. We must have FAITH-Forsaking All I Trust Him.

What are you thankful for: the good and the bad.