Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Together Again

Once again our family is back together. This past Saturday, Seth returned home after being gone for almost the entire year. We are so thankful that he made it back safely. He had a great deployment, earning several awards including a Bronze Star. But the awards don't mean anything in comparison to him being with us.

Now we're spending time getting the Christmas decorations out and figuring out where to put everything. My parents are still living with us so we're trying to find places for all the decorations to land. Frankly, I don't care where they go, so long as we're finding places for them as a family.

January is going to be an interesting month for me. I'm having another round of surgery on the 4th and starting the 90-Day Challenge with Moms' Toolbox. The 90-Day Challenge starts January 3rd and each member will be reading the bible completely through in 90 days. If you are interested in joining us, check out the link above or on my side bar.

Also, don't forget the most important thing right now, the true meaning of this holiday season. The birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:4-14

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Waiting, waiting, WAITING!!!

I hate waiting. What's at the end of the wait is going to be so very worth it though. I'm waiting for a phone call. Not just any call mind you. This call is going to be one with an immense amount of relief attached to it. What's so important about a phone call?

I'm waiting for my husband to call me to tell me he's back on American soil.

That's right, my husband, who has been gone nearly all year, is almost finished his tour. I haven't spoken to him in a few days and I know he's in transit somewhere in the world. Frankly, I don't care where he is, I just want my phone call saying he's back in the United States. He still has a bit of time to serve in Indiana and unfortunately, I'm not allowed to visit him there, but Indiana is in the USA and that still is relief to me.

This year has been hard, but I survived. This year has had fun times, but I survived. This year I've cried a lot, but I survived. This year I learned that even in my darkest, loneliest hours, I can survive. How did I survive? I had help. My friends have been wonderful this year, my family has been great, my church has been so very supportive and helpful. Most importantly, God has been there to see me through the dark times. He's been the one sending people to help when I needed it most. He's been the one who has provided me with amazing friends, family and a wonderful church family. He's the reason that I have been able to get up and keep moving every day. I am so thankful to be so loved.

I'm not sure when my phone call will come, but I know I will be celebrating when it does. And when it does come, I'll be saying a prayer of thanks to God who has kept my husband safe and heard all my prayers this year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Welcome to Pennsylvania

On Sunday, November 7, my parents arrived safely to Pennsylvania. Of course the kids and I are very excited to have them here and it's hard to focus on any mundane things, like oh, I don't know, school work and cleaning.

But it's been a fun few days and we are slowly adjusting to having a few more adults in the house. I forget what it's like to cook for more than just 2 kids and me, so dinners have had way too much food right now. But that just means leftovers, right? We're working on finding homes for all their stuff and adjusting time zone differences, but I'm sure in a few days we'll have all the bumps smoothed out.

For me I'm still listening to a little girl cough and it's just breaking my heart to hear it. She's been coughing for over 2 weeks now and if she's still coughing tomorrow, she goes on steroids. To make matters more interesting, I've come down with a sore throat and have caught myself coughing from time to time. I know bronchitis isn't contagious, but I sure picked something up somewhere.

On a Seth note, we're under a month until he returns. I can't post actual dates for security purposes, so I'll just say that he'll be home well in time for Christmas. :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

One Month, One Week

I'm sitting here on a Saturday night listening to my daughter cough. Last night we spent the evening at the urgent care facility getting her diagnosed with bronchiolitis. She now has an inhaler that she uses every 4 hours and I can't see it doing any good. Thankfully she hasn't passed it to her brother or to me.

Right now I should be walking through a corn maze with a flashlight in my hand. My kids should be laughing and trying to find their way out with me. I should have spent the weekend attending a conference in a hotel. The kids would be doing crafts and swimming in an indoor water park. But no, #3 got sick so #2 and I had to stay home. Don't get me wrong! Being a mom comes first to me! But I can't deny the fact that I really wanted to go to this conference.

As I sit here on this Saturday night listening to the persistent cough, I realize that this is my last Saturday night alone for a while. Tomorrow my mom & step-dad start driving here from California. Not for a vacation, but for good, they are moving here. I'm very excited that they will be here in about one week. It will be wonderful to have them here and I know the kids are very excited to have all of their grandparents close by.

One month. That's about how long I have until I see my husband again. In about a month he'll be leaving Afghanistan. From there he'll make his way back to a base in the states and back home. He thinks he'll be home around the 1st - 2nd week of December. I'm just counting it at about a month. It will be wonderful to have him home again. Not just because he could stay home and watch sick kids, but because he is an integral part of my life and I love him.

It's been a long year. It's been a happy and sad year. We've had ups and downs but really, they would have happened no matter where Seth was. I've tried to make it the best year possible for the kids despite daddy being gone. I've tried to have a good year myself despite my husband being gone. No matter how many fun things we did, we will forget all of it once Seth returns home to us.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to me! Yeah, well, it was my birthday on Monday and today is Saturday, but I'm just getting around to blogging about it. Quite frankly, I have been out of the loop of blogging this year. Best laid plans... been busy... school started for the kids... Seth's been home and left... I've got 100 excuses and they are all 100% real. So now that I've made my excuses for not blogging, on to the blogging!

I had a wonderful birthday. I actually started celebrating in September while Seth was home on his two-week leave. With his birthday being in August and mine in October, we split the difference and celebrated together. We got each other some presents, went to dinner at Red Lobster, and sent the kids to his mom's house for a birthday weekend to ourselves. Other than an intestinal virus I picked up that weekend, it was wonderful!

Last Saturday the gals took me out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse which was a blast! I didn't know where we were going or who all would be there, which made it much more fun. I did get coerced into riding the saddle (there are pictures on facebook to prove it) and everyone "yee-haw'ed" for me.

On Monday, my official birthday, I baked a cake and my kids each got to decorate half of the cake. It turned out very cute. My son's side was a picture of my red car and 3 green dots in it representing him, his sister and me. We are on our way to California Pizza Kitchen, where we had my birthday dinner. My daughter's side was her and I holding balloons and there was a big heart. Then the sprinkles attacked her picture and all "fell" out of the sprinkle container. At least I got to see it before it was attacked.

Honestly, I had a great birthday. I didn't get all sad and mushy that Seth wasn't home or that my best friend didn't realize that Monday was actually October 4th and not the 3rd and missed my birthday. (<3 you Becky!) I just had a great day. My husband did send me flowers and made a special call to us early on skype so he could wish me a happy birthday. Overall, the friends and family I have went out of their way to make sure that I didn't feel that way. And it wasn't just that, it was a peace in my heart knowing that God loves me and pours out that love through others around me. Even my kids were extra special to me all day long. Do I need to have everyone give me an "all about me" day? No, but it was cool to have it!

On a quick Seth update, in 49 days he will be leaving Afghanistan and starting his journey back home. Needless to say, the kids and I are very excited. Having him here for 2 weeks in September was wonderful, no one can replace him in our lives. I certainly am looking forward to the day when he's back here in my arms for good.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just Another Journal Entry

With the best of intentions, I decided earlier this year to journal about my life while Seth is in Afghanistan. Looking back over the old posts, I don't seem to be doing a great job with this. It's been an interesting summer for me. I had a great time visiting with my mom & step-dad who came out for a few weeks, just finished a week of VBS at my church and am looking forward to a week in Pittsburgh later this month.

In the beginning of June, my kids finished school with superb grades. On the 3rd I had some surgery which so far has had the best possible outcome. I did have an infection from it, but once we figured out what was wrong, I got on the right medicine and it cleared right up.

I've had happy days and sad days during this deployment. I had a very sad day recently where a friend's husband returned from a month in Afghanistan. We were at the church when he returned home and I was there to see the family reunion. Truth be told, I was overwhelmed with anger and jealousy that my friend's husband returned home and mine was still there. The feelings were so bad that I couldn't even speak or look at them and I finally had to just leave the room before everyone in there saw me cry. Thankfully, God sees me through these difficult times. The next day she and I were able to talk and I told her everything and apologized. I'm so glad that I have a wonderful church family who is understanding and forgiving.

Tonight at the VBS Carnival, I was able to talk with my friend and her husband and truly enjoy the conversation. He told me that he had been on the base with my husband, but it's such a large base that he wasn't able to track Seth down. I really am happy and thankful that he is home with his family (and I really did feel that way when he returned that night) and think it is sweet that he wanted to go see a familiar face and try to say hi to Seth.

In 29 days, Seth will (hopefully) be boarding a plane to come home. It's not a permanent trip, it's just his 2 week vacation so he'll be going back over there by the end of September. But still, a countdown has begun. I won't see him right away, it will take at least 2-3 days before he'll be back here, but once he's in PA, he's mine, all mine! Oh, I'll share him when I feel like it, but for the most part, I'll be staying within arms reach of him. More than anything I just want to hug him and tell him in person how much I love him.

So for the next 29 days I'm trying to keep us busy. A trip to Pittsburgh, some fishing, even some days with friends are planned. I hope this month passes by quick so Seth can be home again.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Help Bring Him Home

Celebrate Every Day
My pastor and his wife are in the early stages of adopting a little boy from Ethiopia. You can read all about their family and the adoption progress at their blog Celebrate Every Day. Part of the process for them is to raise $15,000 in the first 90 days. They've already raised $2,000 but they still have a way to go.

In order to help them raise the money, the family is hosting several fundraisers. There is a yard sale on June 18 - 19, a Blog Auction, and a Father to the Fatherless Father's Day Fundraiser. Many people from our church and other family and friends have been donating for their yard sale, even my kids gave up some of their toys for them to sell. I'm also helping in another way, I'm donating some cards for the Blog Auction.

I used to be a demonstrator with a rubber stamping company. I never made enough sales to keep with the company, but I still love to stamp and make various cards and gifts. Christmas cards have always been fun to make and up for auction is a set of 35 Christmas cards that I hand made. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..." The card is set on red and green card stock overlaid on cream card stock. Unfortunately, the cream didn't show up very well when I scanned the card. The inside of the card says "Merry Christmas" in the same color green as the words on the front of the card. All cards come with an envelope.
Also up for auction is the "Handle With Prayer" cards. These are a single sheet and do not open. They are perfect for a quick note of encouragement. I love making these cards and sending them to others. There are 30 of these cards and they also come with envelopes.

Both sets of cards will be up for auction and all proceeds will be donated directly to the Peoples family. I will cover the cost of shipping to the winner of the cards. For more information on bidding on any item in the auction, or if you've got something that you would like to donate to auction, please visit their blog post Sew, Want to Help Too? You can also follow their progress by visiting their facebook page Bring Joel Home.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Baking Pancakes and Bacon

This morning I am cooking breakfast for the kids. We're having bacon and pancakes. Sounds like a normal breakfast, but I'm preparing this one a little different. I'm using 1 pan for everything.

I hosted a Pampered Chef cooking show a few weeks ago and purchased a Large Bar Pan. During the show, my consultant told us how we could cook bacon and pancakes on the bar pan. Well, I decided to take a shot and blog about my results.

The first thing I cooked was the bacon. I am amazed at how easy this was. Literally, put the bacon on the pan, put in a 425 oven for 15-20 minutes and you're done. The bacon does have to be put onto some paper towels to drain the grease, but I don't think I have ever made such straight bacon! It was delicious too.

Once the pan slightly cooled and I removed the grease, I cleaned the pan quickly and made the pancakes. I already had the pancake mix prepared while I was baking the bacon, so now it was time to cook. I poured the entire batch of pancake mix into the pan and put it in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes. When finished, I got one big pancake. I used a pizza cutter to cut squares out and served everyone breakfast at the same time.

A little thinner than I expected and they stuck a little to the bottom, but they did taste good. Actually, once I got the edge pieces out and used my little spatula, the pancakes came off the pan rather easily. They are a little light in color, but had I left them in the oven a little longer, I'm sure they would have browned more. But hey, they aren't black, and that's how my pancakes usually turn out.

The Real Test:
The kids liked the pancakes and the bacon and we enjoyed sitting down to breakfast together.

Ever heard the line, "Mom hasn't had a hot meal in 9 years?" Well, I can't seem to find the exact number from the movie A Christmas Story, but you get the idea. With this meal, I was able to bring out the pancakes and the bacon that had been left in my bottom oven warming, sit down and eat with my kids. By the time the meal was over, we still had some left that we can eat for breakfast on another day. Yum!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Good, the Nervous and the Confused

On May 14th, kid #1 celebrated her 17th birthday. She lives in CA with her mom so we mailed her a gift and cards and called her to wish her a happy birthday. She loves the laptop that we gave her and I'm very glad we were able to chat for a while. Seth was even able to call her and talk to her that day. On May 20th, kid #3 celebrated her 6th birthday. We celebrated with a birthday party to Build-a-Bear complete with a bear cake. She had a lot of fun and she even got a special call from Seth as well.

With all the fun stuff out of the way (save a trip to Hershey Park this Friday), my mind is starting to worry. On June 3rd I'm having some surgery. It's going to be an outpatient surgery and supposed to be fairly easy, but with some pain and a moderate amount of recovery time. I'm not one for pain. In fact, I have a very low tolerance for pain. So when someone says they bounced back in 3 days, the same situation could mean a week or more for me. Yuck!

However, after weighing the pain issue, the post surgical side effects, being house bound for a few days and not being able to lift anything for weeks, I'm still convinced that this is the best course of action for me. Temporary inconvenience will give way to a long-term solution to some problems.

Going through this alone is making me a little nervous. Of course my husband won't be here to help me out, but not only that, I've made arrangements for my kids to be gone from June 3rd to the 6th. I'm already preparing to make myself as comfortable as possible. I live in a 3 story + basement house, with my bedroom on the 3rd floor and kitchen on the 1st. I'm not going to be up for walking steps, so I purchased a mini-fridge and have it hooked up in the kitchenette I have on the 3rd floor. I already have a microwave up there, so now I just need to get some microwave meals and drinks and I won't have to leave that area at all.

I've started cleaning like crazy. I know I'll be house bound and want to mentally be comfortable as well. I also know some people will be coming by to check on me, and I want the house to be clean when they come over. The best I can relate my insane desire to clean to is nesting before having a baby. You just want it all to be great. Why? I have no idea. I'm sure that anyone coming over will look at my not perfect house and go, yeah, she's recovering from surgery, it shouldn't be perfect. However, people coming over does present a problem of me staying on the 3rd floor and not taking steps... hmmm, will need to think that one through.

I now also have to take other things into consideration. I'm supposed to be walking in the Relay for Life on June 11th and 12th, but I am not sure where I will be in my recovery progress. For some reason, no one will donate to me this year. The team (in which I am captain of) has only raised $25 and there is only 1 other person who is walking this year, down from the usual 5+ that our team has. Is this a sign that our team needs to just take the year off? I don't know. I'm putting those ideas before the club members to get their opinions.

So many things rolling around in my brain. None of this even covered things going on with my hubby right now. It's been a very active week for him, that's all I can say. But active and fun to him equal fear and prayer to me. Please keep lifting him up in prayer with me, and please lift me up and I go through this surgery and have decisions to make.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Being Busy

It's been 2 months since my last post. I thought I would be able to journal on here 2-3 times a week, but that doesn't seem to happen. Not that I'm overly busy, which at times I feel I am, just that some things I feel are more personal and have been staying in my private journal. I'm sure you understand.

Over the last two months a lot has happened around here. I went on a fun ladies retreat, my daughter and I had chicken pox, (that makes #6 for those counting how many times I've had it), my son won 2nd place in the Awana Grand Prix for speed in the T&T division, my daughter is excelling at reading, writing and math, and we're all looking forward to school ending in 1 more month.

May is going to be busy for us. I am having a Pampered Chef party on Thursday, kid #1 is turning 17 this month, kid #3 is turning 6 this month and having a birthday party at Build-a-Bear Workshop. Kid #2 is bridging from a Bear to a Webelo in Cub Scouts, Cubbies/Awana will be ending and at the end of the month the kids, my mother-in-law and I will be going to Hershey Park for our end of the year school picnic. #3 will even have a kindergarten graduation ceremony while she is there.

I'm glad to be so busy. Being busy helps me keep my mind off things that would just worry me to death. Seth is doing well in Afghanistan, he's got his own room and internet access which means we get to email daily. We also get to skype with each other 2-3 times a week. The kids love being able to see Daddy, as do I.

But still, seeing him a couple of times a week and getting a short email from him doesn't assuage the fear that I continually feel. He'd tell me I'm ridiculous but that won't stop how I feel. He is now going on patrols occasionally, which makes him happy, but not so much for me. I just pray that he is safe and makes wise decisions in all that he does.

So bear with me as I try to journal on here and continue to keep myself busy. Keep praying as we can always use your prayers. Hug your loved ones today, I'll be sure to give my kids lots of hugs.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy 10th Anniversary

Tuesday night I spent a good hour scanning wedding pictures and uploading them to facebook. Why you may ask? Because I wanted my husband to have a little reminder of our wedding on our anniversary.

Wednesday, March 10th was our 10th anniversary. I spent the day working at my church and Seth started the day in Kyrgyzstan (don't ask me to pronounce that) and ended his day in Afghanistan. We did manage to chat online with each other for about 20 minutes around 10 am my time, 9 pm Kyrgyzstan time. He sent me a beautiful bouquet of tulips that are next to me right now.

Prior to the 10th I expected to be miserable. I wanted to sulk and cry that I was spending my 10th alone. But God knows more than me and he provided a way for me to not be miserable. Our church secretary was out this week and I filled in for her. I packed up the kids school books and my laptop and had them do school while I worked in the office. My mind was distracted enough that I didn't have time to feel down or depressed. Going to sleep that night was a different story, but not as painful as I thought it would be, much the same as any night.

I'm learning to look at the positive side of things. Seth and I were able to chat for 20 minutes when we had previously thought we weren't going to be able to talk at all. He sent me beautiful tulips which I was not (totally) expecting. We did have an early celebration while we were in Indiana where I received a beautiful necklace and gave him several presents. Many friends wished me a happy anniversary and I spent the day surrounded by friends while I worked at church.

On a side note, I did get a chance to talk to Seth this morning. It was the first time chatting with him since Wednesday morning and
the first time speaking on the phone since Sunday night. He arrived safely on his base in Afghanistan but doesn't have his permanent living quarters or internet access yet. So we have a little while longer of minimal contact before he gets his room and internet for his laptop, after that I'm hoping to be able to communicate with him almost every day. We'll see how well that goes! ;)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I've been in Indianapolis since Saturday. The kids and I drove the 9 hours here and picked up my husband Saturday night. He had a three day leave from the military and we have had an amazing time. We have gone swimming, shopping, and even went to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. When I download all the pictures, I'll post them over on the family blog.

Sadly, our time is winding down. With every passing minute we are brought closer to our final goodbye. I'm spending every minute trying not to cry, and I'm failing miserably.

I want to just grab him and take him home with me. But I know I just can't. The kids are in the next room crying over a game and not playing well together. To me, it's a sign of what I'm going to deal with over the next 10 months alone. How do I do it? No relief, no having Dad take them for a while, no man to punish them when they just won't listen to Mom. He won't be home to shovel snow, clean the cat box (he does this for me), fix the heater, lug the 40 pound bags of pellets into the house, fix broken toys, BBQ out on the grill, sit with me in church or hug me when I've had a bad day. Yes, I can and will do most of those things myself, but those last two can only be done by him.

How do I say goodbye to him tonight? How do I let him go and drive away? I'm watching him pack his things right now and it's more than I can bear.

So here's my request to each of you. Please pray for me. Pray for my sanity as I switch to single mom mode. Pray for my strength, my courage, my loneliness, my sadness. Pray for my children as they deal with no Dad around. Pray for my husband as he leaves in 6 days to fly to Afghanistan. Most importantly, pray that during this time, my husband, my children and I grow closer to the Lord and can learn to wholeheartedly rely upon Him.

2 Corinthians 1:9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Monday, February 22, 2010

First Day Back

Yesterday was my first day back to church after being gone for 6 weeks. It wasn't my intention to be gone that long, but with snow storms and sicknesses, 6 weeks was the magic number.

It was so good to see everyone again. I missed worshiping with my church family. I also missed seeing the wonderful Cubbies that I have the pleasure of teaching. When I told the kids that I was glad to be back, but would be gone next Sunday, one child told me that I wasn't allowed to leave again. It warmed my heart to be missed too!

But today has just dragged along! Saturday can't seem to come fast enough. On Saturday, the kids and I are packing up the car and driving to Indianapolis. My husband has been blessed with a three-day pass with the stipulation that he remain in the state of Indiana. His three days are Sunday - Tuesday, but the kids and I are driving Saturday and Wednesday so that we get as much time with him as possible.

I know that when we are there the time will just fly by. But I'm hoping to make every minute count. We already have our hotel rooms booked (yes, 2 rooms), and I'm planning different things to do while we are there. If you have any family friendly suggestions on restaurants or things to do, please let me know!

Seth will be going to Afghanistan on March 8th. I don't know when I will see him again after I leave him on Tuesday night, but that is over a week away and I really want to focus on seeing him first. Oh, and I want to find out what's been sitting in a box on my kitchen counter for two weeks now. It's an anniversary present that he bought for me that I can't open until I am with him. We're going to celebrate our 10th anniversary early, so we've been buying each other gifts and having them shipped here since he can't receive packages where he is. But to have it here for two weeks and not let me have it? So not fair!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

God Cares About My Sink

Rebecca and I have known each other forever. She was my maid of honor at my wedding and I was a bridesmaid at hers. Unfortunately, we haven't seen each other for 6 years. Today she stopped by with her husband and her new baby girl who was just a doll! It was so good to see them again.

Earlier this week I posted on facebook how my kitchen faucet was leaking. Rebecca's husband tried to help me online and finally asked, "So... what happens if I tell you that a faucet is really not that hard to replace..." I replied with, "I sit and cry, get mad at being alone, then get over my pity party and fix it." Well, that wasn't good enough.

They were on their way to Lancaster today and decided to stop by and take a look at my sink. It was dripping enough to fill a good size bowl with water over night. After about 5 minutes of looking at it, Daniel came out and said, "How would you feel if I replaced your faucet?" I happen to not like my faucet, so of course I said ok. He pulls out a faucet still in the box and said, "Do you like this one?" What?

Recently they renovated their kitchen and had bought that one on clearance. After buying it they decided on another one and just stuck that in their basement. They brought it with them, just in case, and ended up installing it for me. How cool is that! So not only did I get to spend a wonderful morning with someone I haven't seen in forever, I got my sink fixed in the process.

I am constantly amazed at how God provides for me. Who would have thought that my dripping faucet would have led to reconnecting with Rebecca? I am truly a blessed woman.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

What an idea! God cares about ME! I can give my leaky faucet over to Him and He provides for me! How easy it is to give Him the little things, shouldn't I also give Him my big things too? If God can provide a new faucet, can't He take care of my husband? Of course He can!

Philippians 4:6 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day. It's supposed to be a day filled with love and romance. My day is filled with puke.

The kids spent the weekend with their grandmother and I had a weekend to myself. I had lots of fun things planned and I got to do some of them. Friday night I went to a girls game night, Saturday I planned on going to a Pampered Chef party and in the evening I went to see New Moon in the cheap theater with some friends.

I didn't make it to the Pampered Chef party because I was waiting for Fed Ex to arrive. My husband sent me two dozen beautiful roses. I think missing the party was worth it!

After I got home from the movie I didn't feel so well. I ended up sick all night long. When I called my mother-in-law this morning to let her know I wouldn't be able to pick the kids up, she informed me that kid #3 was sick last night and this morning (and subsequently all day long). #2 had been sick earlier this week and I think we got the bug from him. Not a fun Valentine's day.

Of course, there isn't much romance involved when your husband is many miles away. Or is there? My husband sent me those beautiful flowers with a note that had the first verse of Longing by Matthew Arnold written on it. He's posted on facebook and twitter love notes to me today. He's called to wish me a happy Valentine's day. Do I really need anything more? Nope!

So my day has been filled with unexpected surprises, but it's still filled with an immense amount of love from my family. But there is one love that is more important than all the rest.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fun Week

It's been a fun week out here in Pitt. It's also our last week here. I was planning on packing the kids up and driving home tomorrow night, but God's got other plans for us. There is a big snow storm hitting the east coast and it is supposed to start snowing in PA at the exact time I want to be on the road. So, I guess we're leaving on Sunday then.

In kid news, #2 and I had a date to Big Daddy's Donuts today. Donuts and hot chocolate were a great fix for us, that and a little one-on-one time. #3 got her first pair of glasses, you can read about it at The Benge Family blog.

Seth is doing well over in Indiana. His unit packs up tomorrow night and heads to Louisiana for most of February. At the end of February he'll go back to Indiana and get a 3 day leave and I'll be bringing the kids to meet up with him there. I'm looking forward to seeing him, as are the kids.

Time to put the little ones to bed. #3 is ready to pack her glasses into her Disney Princess Purse that is her case. Too cute!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blessings All Around

So much for journaling on a regular basis! It is so hard trying to start new habits. But at least it's only been a few days, so here I go. :)

We had a nice visit with my parents last week. After they went home, it was a different story. The day after they got back my step-dad, Ray, was laid off from work. He was devastated. Why couldn't they have told him before they came out here on vacation? So many different choices they would have made during the weekend. However, my Mom got excited. She really felt like this layoff came from the Lord. She told him "Just wait and see, I don't know what's going to happen, but God has something wonderful in store."

Ray went home that day and started working on their house. It's been a work in progress for 11 years now. They are finally in the home stretch, but to lose their chief income is a strain. But God is good! The next day my mom received a call from a lady who has been trying for a few years to move into the senior care facility that my parents have been turning their home into. She called and said the house she is in is shutting down in 60 days. Oh, and can they take 4 other women as well? 5 clients total need a place in 60 days.

Habakkuk 3:17 - 19 says:
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer's; He makes me tread on high places.

So how is this relevant? Without the loss of his job, Ray would not be home right now to finish their house. He would not be able to continually work on it so these ladies would have a place to move to. Ray isn't getting a paycheck right now, but he is rejoicing. He isn't at his job working, but he is praising God. He said the song "Awesome God" has been playing over and over in his mind since Wednesday. He knows God is in complete control of this situation and he is praising Him for His goodness.

Watching this play out has been a blessing to me. I saw the initial hurt and despair; the immediate desire for him to do something and work on the house; and the joy in the prospect of getting their senior care facility open with clients in just 60 days. Watching God move in their lives is as much a blessing to me as it is to them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Busy Week

It's been a week since my last post. I know I wanted to post at least 3 times a week, but already I have a good excuse. My parents flew into town last weekend and I was very busy with them. I drove back from Pittsburgh on Thursday and picked them up Friday. We drove to Philly on Saturday to surprise my brother at his 30th birthday party. Yes, it's my younger brother and yes, him turning 30 makes me feel old.

We had a great time at his birthday party and we went out afterward and bought bathing suits and went swimming in the hotel pool. That was fun for January! We went to church with my brother on Sunday morning and after lunch we headed back to Red Lion. Monday we shopped for clothes, new bibles for my kids and even bought some newborn baby clothes that fit the build-a-bears we got a couple of weeks ago. Overall, it was a fun weekend with my parents.

Yesterday we drove back to Pittsburgh to spend another week-and-a-half here. We'll be coming home on February 5th so that the little lady can make it to ballet on the 6th. I'm looking forward to being back at my church because I sure do miss the fellowship and the sermons. I'm also missing the Cubbies that I teach on Sunday nights.

I hope to be back on a normal journal schedule beginning this Friday. It's hard to make new habits, like keeping a journal when you never have. I've tried before, but this time I want to make it work. So if you don't see me posting, feel free to pop me a note, ask me how I'm doing and tell me to post something. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Good The Bad

Today was good day. The kids finished two days of school work in one so we can take two off this week. I also completed 10 of the 25 once-a-month meals that I'm preparing for the family I'm staying with.

Today was a bad day. The kids did everything possible but focus on school work. I completed only 10 of 25 meals today. I'm stressed, I'm tired and I really, really want a lot of chocolate or a cigarette.

Galatians 5:16 and 17 say, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do."

So I might want some chocolate, or a pack of cigarettes, but what I really want is prayer. The true desire of my heart is to follow the Lord and to glorify Him in all that I do.

It's 10 p.m. and I'm hiding in my room so I can unwind from a stressful day. I've got my Bible open and I'm eating Reduced Fat Cheez-Its and some Craisins. They aren't exactly satisfying my cravings, but they were a better choice for me. Please pray for me. It's my first rough day since my husband left and I don't feel like I handled it well. I know I've got more rough days ahead of me and I need to remember to turn to the Lord rather than my fleshly desires.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Be Bold!

Kid #3 has a cold and kid #2 has a sore throat. Not the best situation while staying at someone else's house. School is pretty light for them since we are at the end of the fall semester and quite a few of their classes are over and new ones start back up on the 22nd. So I'm thankful that I'm able to give the kids some extra cuddle time right now.

Last night I read Acts 14 to kid #2 and Heffner kid #1 (HK1). When we were finished we talked about not being ashamed of God and being bold and telling everyone about Christ. It was wonderful! We prayed afterward and HK1's prayer was that God would help her understand the words we read in the Bible. It was such a blessing to see the two of them respond to the Lord.

On a side note, I am tired! I've started watching LOST from the beginning and I love it. I actually watched 8 episodes last night, finally forcing myself to turn it off even though I really didn't want to. I'll finish season 1 tonight and also start on season 2. I've got about 17 days to watch the other 4 seasons before the premiere of season 6. Yeah, I'm nuts, but it's not like I have anything better to do during the night right now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Acts 5:40-42

It has been exactly one week since my husband left to go to war. That sentence sounds like the premise for a movie set in the 1940's. Seth left on January 6th to go to Indiana for training prior to heading to Afghanistan. He will be deployed for one-year with the promise that he will be home for the holidays in December.

The day after Seth left, I packed the kids up and headed to Pittsburgh to spend some time with the Heffners. The two oldest kids have grown so much since I last saw them and the new baby is so sweet. I'm so glad that I can bless them by being a nanny this month, while they bless me by letting me adjust to being alone by not being alone. :)

I am studying the book of Acts right now, following a study guide written by the pastor's of my church. I came across this passage and it really stood out to me:

Acts 5:40-42 says, "and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."

That passage makes me realize how lucky I am to live in a country where I can freely worship Christ. As my husband is preparing to go to an Islamic nation, I pray that he would not hide his beliefs and that doors would be opened for him to spread the word of God.

New Year, New Theme

The new year is upon us! Well, it's been upon us for over a week now, but sometimes I'm a bit slow on things. Not that I haven't had an excuse for updating this blog. Of course the holidays came and went and my son turned 9 years old. But the biggest by far has been my husband leaving for Afghanistan.

Seth has decided to write his own blog during his deployment. It's titled From the Front Lines and will highlight events during his training in Indiana and Louisiana and during his deployment to Afghanistan. He'll be leaving the states in March and should be home for Christmas.

I've decided to help keep myself sane by journaling during this time. I'm going to post all or some of my entries here so you can keep updated on how I'm doing and how the kids are doing. I'll post my first entry later today. I'm going to try to post at least three times a week, so wish me luck with that!