Monday, September 22, 2014

He's Home!

My husband . . . my hero . . . returned home Saturday evening! 

Thank you, friends, for all your love, encouragement and prayers these past ten months. We could not have done this without you. Our hearts rejoice for God is good ALWAYS! 

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

We are blown away by the video our Executive Pastor created to document the homecoming. I cannot watch without tears flowing. Please don't leave without watching. It's a joy to share with you.

"How great is our God – sing with me
How great is our God – and all will see
How great, how great is our God."

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Because it has been a while and I love this community, I am sharing this post with Barbie for The Weekend Brew.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Give Me Jesus

This is a hard post to write because our Three Word Wednesday community has become very near and dear to my heart.

I am not putting an end to the link-up but let's call it a "see-you-later" moment.

God spoke to me rather clearly on Monday evening while I sat with 200 other women at my first Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. That evening God had me right where I needed to be. BSF is the next right choice for me.

Since my time at the Declare Conference there have been three words on my heart: Give Me Jesus.

A dear friend of mine, a woman I consider to be my faith mentor, is leading the upcoming session of BSF. She has encouraged me several times to be a part of the study. I almost said to her for the third time, "I do not have the available time to make such a commitment." 

A needed heart check revealed my priorities were out of order. My hesitation to say "yes" to a Monday night Bible study was because of how it would interfere with having my Three Word Wednesday post ready by 12:00 AM every Wednesday.

You see, writing does not come with ease for me. A post can take days for me to complete. But if I am placing writing before time with God how can I claim my words are God inspired?

I have shared with you an uncertainty of what lies ahead for my blog and writing journey. Surprisingly, I find myself okay with this. The way my heart danced with excitement from the message given by my friend on Monday evening at BSF spoke volumes to me. I woke up on Tuesday morning with a renewed passion for diving into God's word.

Give Me Jesus. He's standing at the door waiting for me. I am opening the door. THIS is right where God wants me.

And also being fully present once my husband returns home. ☺

Guess what? He is back on U.S. soil. Every time I say those words tears begin to fall. The call from him to tell me he was one step closer to home had me bawling my eyes out. They were such happy tears, friends.

I could give you a pretty photo or a few words to link up to on Wednesday's for now. Or I could give God the best yes I have ever given Him.

Yes to surrendering my blog to Him for more of Him. "He must become greater and I must become less" (John 3:30). Which is ultimately saying yes to trusting God.

My heart believes this is not the end of my writing journey but that the best is yet to come.

The words said by Paul in Romans 8:28 were shared multiple times at BSF on Monday night: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

When we face the unknown we can remember His promises. So I am trusting Him and waiting to see what He will do. I know it will be a glorious unfolding because our God does only good things.

For now we say "see-you-later" to Three Word Wednesday. If it does not return here by Wednesday, November 5th, I do have alternate plans in the works to make sure it continues with the same love I hope you have always seen given by me.

But would you link-up one more time before we temporarily part ways? Your extra love and attention to visiting others would also be greatly appreciated as I need to go prepare to welcome home my husband.

My heart rejoices . . . for He is good always!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 16)

I have much I want to say, yet the words do not come. Complete honesty . . . I think God may be calling me to stop blogging. Maybe for a while. Maybe permanently. But with God, saying permanently is like saying never and I do not believe the word never exists in His vocabulary.

Maybe it will just look different here for now.

The one thing I know for certain is God used this blogging world to help get me through one of the hardest years of my life. He used YOU to help get me through one of the hardest years of my life.

To all of you, Thank You. Thank you for being YOU. You are a blessing in my life.

My husband's return home will be a new season for us. New seasons come with uncertainty. Maybe new seasons come with leaving certain activities behind. Instead of trying to figure out my blogging future today I am taking this one day at a time and waiting to see what God unfolds. Since I know my husband will soon be in my arms again I already know it will be glorious.

"And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You've just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding"

- Glorious Unfolding, by Steven Curtis Chapman (click link to watch video)

Is there a song on your heart today? Do you have a go-to song or verse for new seasons?

By the way, Hawaii was glorious!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: A Thanks-GIVING Homecoming {Guest Post}

I am delighted to have my milspouse friend, Lori Dunham, share with you today. As I prepare for my husband's return home her message brings needed encouragement. But even if you are non-military, you will find encouragement in her words.

Thank you, friends, for giving Lori a warm welcome.

My heart pounds hard inside my chest as I sit in traffic. My fingers tap frantically against the steering wheel as Blue’s Clues entertains my children in the back seat.

Tears spring to my eyes as I anticipate my hard work unraveling. Because I have prepared hard and well for this day. I have spent countless hours cleaning and reorganizing every drawer and shelf in my house. I have redecorated the living room, and replaced the worn out towels and sheets with plush, high-thread count luxuries. I have washed and serviced my husband’s car and prepared his most favorite foods.

In the last seven months I have potty trained a toddler and gotten a baby to sleep through the night; I have house trained a puppy and fixed the garbage disposal, all on my own.

But I forgot about Norfolk traffic and it threatens to destroy what I had hoped would be the best Homecoming any military family could ever experience.

Finally, the traffic opens up and I rush through the gate. I grab the baby out of her car seat and enlist my son to open the stroller. My toddler grabs the hem of my coat as we race towards the crowd to find a spot in front of the row of bikers holding American flags.

I am hot and sweaty, my hair is a mess, and my baby needs a diaper change. And I come undone!!! Like a teakettle ready to boil over, the stress of the last seven months seeps out in the form of tears.

I cry as I watch the new dad’s get off first, grasping hold of their babies for the first time.

I cry as Sailors pour off the ship in search of their loved ones, and once finding them, hugging long and hard.

And it feels like forever, to spot him. He looks thinner than I remember and sharp in his crisp uniform. He grabs us all up in one big hug and I am overcome with the sameness and differences in him all at once.

I cry in to his shoulder, leaving mascara marks on his uniform that will take numerous dry cleaning trips to remove. I cry for all the moments over the last seven months that I wanted to cry on his shoulder but couldn't.

I cry happy tears for his safe return home; I cry sad tears for key moments he missed; and I cry tears of relief, knowing I no longer have to do it all alone.

And so begins our not-so-perfect homecoming!!!

We military families dream big when it comes to welcoming our Service Member home. We spend months counting down and dreaming about this day. So it is with great expectation and high hopes that we welcome them home!

But it is not always as we expected. 

It seems the military is very concerned with preparing the family for the deployment, but there are not many resources for guiding us through the re-integration process. Sure, we are aware of the signs of PTSD and depression, but how do we work through our child’s anger issues directed toward the returning parent?  How do we readjust to sharing life (and the remote control) with our partner?  

Stress fills our home before we get his sea bag unpacked.

It is in stress moments like these, whether military or non-military, that defines us as a family and as followers of Christ.  

Do we allow ourselves to be swept up in the disappointment when he doesn't notice the changes to the house, or the fact that we cut our hair? Or do we look to the bigger picture and focus on the important things? Because, let’s face it. He really doesn't care about the curtains and the fact that his car is sparkling in the driveway. (although they are nice gestures). He cares most about YOU!!!

There is a danger in focusing heavily on preparing our homes, if we neglect our hearts in the process. If we are lulled in to a belief that all that is wrong with our world will dissipate with the arrival of our spouse….we will be very disappointed. If we allow ourselves to believe that there will be no growing pains as he re-enters our daily life, often throwing off our rhythm and routine, frustration will fill our homes.

Instead, it is through giving thanks that we can genuinely experience a refreshing reunion.  

Set out to intentionally make your homecoming one of great thanks!!! Thank the Lord as a family for your spouse’s safe return; thank Him for the extra laundry your husband brings home, and that towel thrown haphazardly on the bathroom floor. Thank Him for the time apart to genuinely appreciate the man you have married; thank Him for anything you can think to thank Him for. Because this will set your focus on the truly important things in this life (and homecoming)!!!! 

Ephesians 5:20 “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Chronicles 16:34 “Oh give thanks to the LORD; for he is good; for his loving kindness endures forever.”

*** Lori Dunham ***

Lori Dunham is the wife of a Navy Chaplain, a mother to three energetic children, and one very lazy bassett hound. Lori’s writing is inspired by her deep desire to encourage others in their faith, and to share God’s story in her life.  Her family’s ministry has taken them to the hills of Thailand, the shores of Italy, and the streets of Singapore. She shares of her struggle with secondary infertility, their great joy through adoption, and the up’s and down’s of military life at her blog,

Monday, September 8, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol.15) :: Jennifer

***Today's Get to Know You Monday is host by Jennifer Jackson Link***

Fall is the season I could live in forever.

As September slips away and October is ushered in, I'm overcome with nostalgia.

Saturday's spent at OU football games, trips to the pumpkin patch, friends and family gathered around the table for Thanksgiving.

It's a feeling - deep in my soul - felt the moment Oklahoma is kissed by the first chill of fall.

Felt as I drive down Lindsey Street - the copper, mustard, and crimson leaves swirling against a backdrop of blue sky.






Pumpkin spice candles filling my house with a heavenly aroma, windows wide open letting the chill in, Saturdays watching college football, and big bowls of chicken pot pie.

Slow. Simple. Blessings.

And this fall, I'm looking forward to marking an item off my bucket list as we travel to New England to spend Thanksgiving with our dear friends.

Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.

My favorite boots, a cozy sweater, and my camera, and I'll be ready to get lost in a New England autumn.

What's your favorite thing about Fall? What's your go-to Fall food?

Here's mine...I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does.

Easy and Delicious Chicken Pot Pie
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 can of mixed veggies, drained
1 1/2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup cooked and shredded chicken 
salt and pepper to taste

Put one of the pie crusts in the bottom of a pie plate. Mix together the veggies, chicken, soup and salt and pepper and pour into crust. Top with remaining pie crust. Poke a few holes in the pie and bake for 45 minute at 350 degrees. ENJOY!

*** Meet Jennifer ***

Jennifer wants to bring hope to first-time mothers who aren't quite sure what they've gotten themselves into.

The author of Bringing Home the Missing Linck: A Journey of Faith to Family and Trucks, Tantrums, and Trusting Him: Confessions of a Boy Mom, Jennifer is passionate about adoption, orphan care, and encouraging others who are struggling with infertility.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Jennifer received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and spent several years working as a reporter for The Oklahoman.

Jennifer squeezes in writing between diaper changes and dirty dishes. She’s unashamed of her addiction to Dr Pepper and loves anything related to a cupcake!

She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, John, and their son Jackson. She blogs about her faith, motherhood, and adoption at

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: The Final Countdown

As the days, hours, minutes and seconds seconds tick away until my husband's return home, quite honestly I am a scatterbrain. And I have no desire to write. I want to dream. I want to endlessly dream of being in the arms of my husband again.

I have every intention of completing the Love Dare Challenge . . . I think. Maybe the challenge would serve as an effective tool to use through the reintegration process. Maybe it could be my 31 Days Series for October with the Nesting Place. Then again, October may not be the best time for me to plan on writing for 31 days straight. Maybe the series could be done in November instead. Maybe I should take a few months off from writing/blogging to focus on my husband.

There are all sorts of maybes.

The next couple weeks months may look different here. I am grateful for two lovely friends who will be here next week to share with you while I am in Hawaii. Beyond that I am praying for God's wisdom on how best to proceed. "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you." Psalm 32:8 (ESV)

So far we have set five goals:

Goal #1: more time in His word (I really need this.)

Goal #2: enjoy Hawaii ☺

Goal #3: focus on the success of the meetings and events I am responsible for while in Hawaii (I am going there to work.)

Goal #4: prepare for my husband's return home

Goal #5: shower my husband with love once he is home

That's all for now.

Notice none of those goals include writing. Maybe I am okay with that. I'm not sure yet. But my lack of a desire to write has me wondering what that means.

Instead of wondering about writing I think I shall stick to dreaming about being in my husband's arms.

I hope you stick with me through this . . . whatever "this" happens to be. If I lose you that will need to be okay. But I will hope I don't. No matter what, THANK YOU for doing this deployment journey with me. You are blessing from God.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Get to Know You Monday (Vol. 14)

Happy Labor Day.

The only thoughts in this brain of mine are ones of my husband's homecoming. I can now say, "He will be home THIS MONTH." Happy September!

There has been no desire to write. And it's a holiday. You should go visit Patricia Hunter of Pollywog Creek. She shares a post that is perfect for this day.

To not lose momentum with Get to Know You Monday, I will leave you with one of my favorite questions because it has a way of encouraging a rich conversation. If we were to gather together I would surely ask you to share a high and a low. It could be for the day, weekend, week or even the year.

But for today . . . 

What is a high and a low from your weekend? You can come back tomorrow, after you finish up the long weekend, if you prefer.

I honestly don't have a low. It has been a weekend filled with lovely moments. My legs are rather sore from the excessive weeding I did on Friday so maybe that could be my low. Another holiday weekend without my husband could also qualify as a low but thankfully this will be my last one. 

My high? 

On Friday evening I visited my friend Jill Foley's blog and read her post Collecting Beauty and Savoring Summer. Jill inspired me to spend the weekend collecting beauty.

The collecting of beauty began that Friday evening with a walk around my neighborhood.

I was creeping in neighbors yards for these next two.

On Saturday the Army wives spent the evening together making signs for our husbands homecoming. Oh what joy! The house we gathered at has quick access to Lake Michigan so we hung out by the water for a while. We all wore big smiles for the wait that is almost over.

I had another marvelous day on Sunday with my small group from church but the camera never made it out of my bag.

There may be more hunting for beauty today. We will see.

Seriously though. I am on a constant high knowing my husband will soon be home. Ten months is a LONG time, friends. Forgive me for not being able to talk about anything else right now. All I can think about is running into his arms again.

But Monday's are about YOU. So would you please share a high and low from your weekend?

If you have a photo to share PLEASE come share here.

P.s. My new weekend high . . . a phone call from my son. He's somewhere out there at sea. Words cannot adequately express how wonderful it was to hear from him.

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