I'm just an ordinary girl doing ordinary stuff.

I just happen to be a single mom in the military.

My kids are part of the military too.

When I deploy, their heart breaks too.

They're strong little guys.

Being their mom is the most humbling experience I've ever had.

Follow the adventures

See if you can keep up with me as I serve my country holding my kids in my arms.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I've Landed

Wow!  I'm on US soil. It took me a while to get here.  Although I love seeing new sites, I can't stand airports and living out of a suitcase.  But since I had to do it, I figured I might as well make the best of it. 

During my travels, I had to stop in Japan where I ate a delicious wonton noodle soup.  Maybe I was super hungry, but I thought it was the best soup in the world.  The drink, however, was another story.  I bought this green tea that had a green label on it.  Everything was in Japanese, so I didn't know what flavor it was.  But the yellow labeled tea had a picture of a lemon on it.  Mine didn't have any picture.  It tasted horrible.  Like it was supposed to be some kind of broth.  Broth is yummy... when it's warm and when you're expecting to drink soup.  But if you're thirsty and expecting a cold beverage it isn't something you imagine tasting!  I couldn't drink it.  Maybe I should've heated it up or something.  Yuck.

I spent a couple of days on an island so I could get some paperwork done, getting back to my home unit.  It was a nice break... and I got to eat PIZZA.  Yumm.  When you haven't had pizza in 6 months, the first pizza you eat is instantly the best pizza you've ever had.  Even if it's not true, you believe it is. 

And finally, I landed in my own city.  Yay!!  I got to hop in my lovely, wonderful car which welcomed me with Charlie's dog hair from the time I took him to the beach right before I left.  I didn't clean my interior.  :-( Bad on me. 

I stayed with Patrick during my home hunting.  :-) He is such a gentleman and a wonderful friend.  Getting to see his smile and touch his face truly warmed my heart.  Snuggling with him as we watched movies made me so happy.  He even made taco soup!  I'm not going to turn this into a Patrick blog because I'll just get all mushy.  So I'll move on...

I found a place to live!!  Woo hoo!!  I move in next week and I'm so excited!!  I'm not going to blog about that til later, though.

Well, I'm back in the U.S.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I made so many friends on my deployment that it broke my heart to leave.  But I'm so excited about getting to see my kids soon and getting Charlie back and moving into my new apartment. 

My prayer is that I will pursue this new life with my eyes on God.  :-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Dream Guy

I remember when my dream guy had a face.  Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.  Some girls have a blonde haired, blue eyed, tanned body dream guy.  Some liked the dark haired mysterious guys.  Mine had that messy long brown hair that was pulled back in a low pony tail.  He was tanned and tall.  He had a stubble on his face.  He was bold, daring and deeply in love with me.  Yes, he was a character in my favorite romance novel.  Gosh, I’m such a girl.

Now, I’m a single mom of two little guys and I still have my dream guy.  He doesn’t have a face anymore.  Okay, okay I’m madly in lust with Mark Harmon (YUMM).  And yeah, I sure do have a thing for George Clooney.  But my dream guy?  The guy I want to marry?  He is more than just a face.  He has a heart.  And I’ve come to realize over the years that when you put a face on your dream guy, or in other words go after men just for their superficial qualities, you don’t ever get what you actually want or need from your dream guy.

My dream guy is a man after God’s heart.  He is a Christian, and he won’t ever be perfect but he will love me like Christ loves the church.  And that love is a verb, not just a name to a feeling.  He will protect me, guide me and treat me kindly.  He will raise our children to love Christ and walk the Christian life.  He will be the head of the household, top of the hierarchy in our home, but will never treat us as slaves nor will he lie or keep secrets.  He loves to read his bible and discuss with me our thoughts about what we’ve learned. 
But having a dream guy isn’t just about “having” a dream guy.  It’s about visualizing a partner and since it is, it comes with visualizing what our relationship will be.  It means learning what it takes to be a good partner for this dream guy.

God made Eve for Adam.  He made her to be his friend, helpmate and companion.  She is submissive to him.  Submission.  Don’t we ladies cringe at that word?  It’s been abused for so many years that when we hear it, we stand taller with our chin in the air and defend our women’s rights.  But submission isn’t something to fear or hate, I believe it is exactly what the bible teaches us—to be alpha-female in the household.  To be the man’s co-pilot and Second in Command.  We women are our dream guy’s treasure, his companion and without us he is incomplete.  We submit to him, not the way a dog cowers before its master, but as a queen looks up to her king.  As his queen, I’m quite important to my dream guy.

My dream guy looks to me for guidance just as I look to him.  He is a man accountable for the spiritual wholeness of his family and he cannot do it on his own.  He trusts in me, shows me love and affection.  He needs me.  God made us different for such a beautiful reason!  The man is protective, responsible and logical while the woman is nurturing, intelligent and kind.  Together, we make one powerful couple! 

Take an expensive car, for example.  Say, a Ferrari!  This car is wicked fast, powerful and gorgeous.  It is wonderful to look at and watch.  But it does no good without a driver-- a responsible driver, knowledgeable of what it takes to maintain this beast of a vehicle.  The driver pays a heft price for tires, good oil and expensive parts.  If you haven’t gotten it by now, I’m pretty much saying that my dream guy is like a Ferrari and he needs one fantastic driver to make him do what Ferraris are meant to do.

A man after God’s heart is an awesome follower of Christ.  He has the Holy Spirit living in him.  When people are in his presence, they know something is special about him.  It’s not because he’s physically beautiful nor is it because he’s good at his job.  It’s in the way he treats others.  It’s in his loyalty to God and his family.  It is in his forgiveness and grace.  His wife stands strong beside him, supportive and encouraging.  He treats her as if she was his queen.  He is faithful to her and never turns his back on her.  And she loves him by treating him as if he were the most important thing to her beneath God. 

You may not believe the same things I do.  And that’s okay.  I’m just talking about my dream guy.  Of course I’d love to know that every woman wants a Christian man, but I’m not writing this to try to convert you.  I write this because for so long I’ve had this dream of having a man in my life who loves me with all his heart.  That dream was filled with romantic fantasy.  But now, after being saved through Christ, I want a man who will only build me up in my relationship with God.  I want a man who won’t be melancholy in his faith.  He has to burn with desire for Christ.  If he isn’t a man after God’s heart, he will simply distract me from my God or pull me away from Him.  And after knowing God, I will not be torn from His arms by some handsome, charming guy.

I made a promise to God, my kids and myself that if I ever get married again it will be with a man I will not divorce.  My family will never be perfect, but we will be right with God.  We will be strong!

I hope that whomever your dream guy is, that he is not someone whom you’ve deemed made specifically and only for your own selfish pleasure.  I pray that he is someone who will love you.  I hope that your dream guy will be more than you’ve hoped and prayed for.  And that you both will be one powerful couple.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I took in this bird once.  He was a cockatiel that came in a ratty old cage, which barely gave him enough room to spread his wings.  I could tell it hadn't been cleaned in a long time.  He was terrified of people.  He didn't play with the toys in his cage.  He spent his days sitting on his perch staring through his bars.  I'd catch him singing once in a while and when I would walk past, he'd stop.  I came to the conclusion that he had never been handled, simply left in the cage to entertain himself.  I named him Corwin. 

Anytime I took an animal in, I researched its species and breed to make sure I knew how to properly care for it.  I learned that birds require lots of handling at a young age so that they can get used to people.  They've gotta be socialized and made part of the family.  Owners have to let them out of their cages so that they can get their exercise and work on socializing.  They've gotta be spoken to and handled gently.  Doing these things makes these (and many other types of birds) fantastic pets!  They can be entertaining and are very smart.  And they can be so affectionate!  But left alone in a cage is kind of like leaving a dog tied up outside with little to no interaction with humans.

Corwin was absolutely terrified of me, of anyone that came close to his cage.  He hissed, shuddered and turned his back to me.  He wouldn't eat if I was around.  If I stuck my hand in his cage to clean it or change out his food and water, he'd hiss and try to bite.  The poor thing had absolutely no trust in me!  One of the things I learned about him and other unsocialized birds is that they get cagebound. 

If I left the cage door open, that bird would not even attempt to venture out.  His cage was his security!  He wanted nothing to do with the big world outside the bars.  And I couldn't blame him!  If I were him, I wouldn't know how good things could be outside the cage.  I wouldn't know where the predators were, when they would get me and where all the safe spots were.  It would be terrifying!  And today I realized that being deployed here is kind of my little birdcage.

I don't know how other deployment sites are, but out here we are confined in such a small place.  Basically a box lined with barbed wire.  We make jokes about being detainees in the camp penn.  A place where you can get glimpses of the sky if you can see between the roofs.  A place where smokers play cards and bet cigarettes.  A place where sleep is filled with the noises of weapons clearing, gym weights clinking and night shifters laughing.  We get our three meals a day, our laundry is done for us as long as we turn it in at the right times.  We find musical people and beg them to play music for us on a Saturday night in the smoke pit where we're allowed no more than two beers.  The routine rarely changes unless we do something really cool like an orphanage or outstation visit.  Once a week, we can play a movie from a projector.   And when someone gets a teddy bear in the mail from a loved one, their eyes light up and everyone else's look down.

Many of us get so used to this that when we do go to the outstations where the pace, noises and foods are different, we can't wait to return.  When I was in the big city doing the shopping for Christmas supplies, I had a big beautiful bed that I couldn't sleep without waking up because of the deafening silence. 

Being here in this small "prison," I've learned the value of my job.  I've grown in my walk with Christ.  I've felt the Holy Spirit in me!  I feel as if I am a totally different person, renewed with clear, wide eyes.  I've shed my past sins and have regained my footing in this path.  I've seen things out here that have proven God right and I can't do anything but feel so blessed.

Knowing that I'll be going back home soon, back to real life, I'm realizing how scared I am!  Sure it's going to be great having a bathroom right down the hall from a bedroom that is all mine and a bed that isn't only twice as wide as I am.  Sure I'll get to actually go to my own home as soon as it's the end of the workday.  But I can't imagine not sleeping just around the corner from my office.  And not running through a gym to get to the bathroom at 5am.  And sleeping in a bedroom all by myself without hearing the sounds of weapons being cleared.

I'm sure that after a week, I'll be back to my old routine doing the same things I'd done before I deployed.  I know that as soon as I get to hold my kids in my arms, I'll remember why I was deployed in the first place.  I guess right now I just feel scared of leaving the box I've gotten to grow comfortable in.  I feel... cagebound.  I'm scared that I will forget the teachings I've learned from Christ through my bible, worship services, and my sisters.  I'll be without my sisters and my chaplain. I'm scared to go off on my own and BE this new person that God has revealed.

After what seemed like forever, Corwin finally started to trust me more.  I took baby steps with him, first sitting by his cage for a few minutes throughout the day just to talk softly to him.  When I reached into his cage, I spoke gently and moved slowly, careful not to make any threatening moves.  After some time, I offered him a bowl of food.  And after a little bit of time after that, he ate out of that bowl-- sometimes he'd stand on the rim of the bowl.  And after that?  He ventured out of his cage.

The difference between Corwin and I is that I KNOW the goodness outside of my cage.  I've felt freedom before.  And my adjustment will only be exercised with remembering how to embrace it and appreciating everything I took for granted.  I'm not sure if he had ever felt that before.  But I do know that it took a lot of courage for him to climb outside his secure little ratty, old cage that he had spent so much of his life in.  And he let go of his fears of the unknown.

In Deuteronomy 1:6,-8 The Lord our God said, "You have stayed long enough at this mountain.  Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates.  See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give to your fathers--to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--and to their descendants after them."

God has taken me away from my old life, placed me in an entirely new environment with strangers and led me straight to him through them!  My time here was spent appreciating all of the beautiful things He has given me, learning through scriptures the wonders He had done in the past and the amazing things He has waiting for me!  My time here is done.  School is out.  It's now time for me to take possession of this new life He has given me. 

I pray that He will hold me close in my new adventures and whisper reminders should I ever forget He's right by my side in every dark alley.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dog Food

What is it with boys and dog food?  When we were kids, my brothers used to dare each other to eat dog biscuits.  And then their friends would dare each other to do it too.  And they all ate it!  And they laughed like crazy about it!

My boys, my sweet little babies LOVE to sneak into the dog food!  Caden calls it "sharing" when I catch the two of them in the big bag of kibble and Charlie would be standing, patiently waiting with his tail wagging in anticipation for his turn!

I have a story to tell about this, I promise.  But before I do, let me just say that my boys are the coolest kids around!  They are sweet, polite and super fun boys.  They treat dogs kindly, laugh at funny stuff (like when someone farts in the house, they're all about it) and when they give hugs they give the GREATEST hugs in the world.  And trust me, I feed my kids.  There is not a hungry belly in my home.  So why is it that when I browse the doggy treats isle in a petstore, I find myself looking at ingredients thinking, "Okay if Caden happened to get into this, is it at least healthy?"  Ahhh!!!

So it was Thanksgiving and Caden was almost 2 years old (at this time I was still pregnant with Sean) and my brother Paul and his fiancee were visiting.  Caden was a huge dog food fan.  Anytime our dog Stiley was eating, I constantly caught Caden sneaking into Stiley's food dish as he ate. Everytime I caught this, I'd run to Caden and make him spit it out, telling him it was for dogs and not for "us."  Sometimes I would find Caden's cereal bowl filled with dog food and Stiley would be eating cereal out of his dog dish.  Caden was swapping foods! 

Anyway, Paul and I were in the dining room chatting and laughing at things I can't even remember now.  I stood up, realizing it was dinner time for Stiley, and began to pour his food into his dish.  Out of nowhere, Caden appears and stands by Stiley as he ate.  "Caden," I said in a stern voice, "No eating dog food, please.  It's for dogs."

He just grinned at me and said, "I help clean up!"  He then bent down and, one by one, began picking the dog food up from the floor (Stiley was a messy eater) and then placed the kibble into the dog dish.  After the third one, he looked up at me and said, "See?  I clean up!"  Finally, satisfied that he was just going to clean up, I took a seat at the dining table and continued my conversation.

Then I saw that Paul kept his eyes on Caden, giggling as he watched him.  I turned to see my sweet Mommy's Little Helper pick up the LAST piece of kibble and glanced over his shoulder at me.  "Caden," I warned, "Put it in Stiley's bowl, please."

Caden, his eyes now reflecting deep thought, looked from me to Paul, then to the dog dish.  And SWOOSH!!! Off he ran with one little piece of dog kibble in his tiny little fist.  "Caden!" I called, chasing after him.  "Caden, that's for dogs!" 

I chased him around the dining table when he went straight for a corner, where he stopped with his back to me.  Before I could reach him, he glanced over his shoulder at me, STUCK THE DOG FOOD IN HIS MOUTH and chewed it all up.  Then he turned and presented two little open palms and said, "See Mommy?  All gone!  I clean!"

At this point, Paul is laughing his head off.  I'm standing there, astonished that this 2 year old little boy just thought out a plan to sneak a piece of dog food into his mouth and get away with it.  Soon, I was laughing hysterically and I knew that didn't do anything but encourage this fascination.

I don't know what it is.  Do little boys dare each other to eat stuff only because deep down they really wanna see what it tastes like?  And then because they know it's not normal, not socially accepted, they think it's even cooler to actually try to get away with eating it?  Or maybe dog food just tastes good.  Who knows.  All I know is it's a gross idea and I wouldn't have anything to do with eating the stuff.