Our journey throughout our first year of marriage and our second deployment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Busy Busy!!

The past few days have been Go! Go! Go! in my life!  And I'm alright with it, but at the same time, it's a little overwhelming!

Yesterday, I had my workout, practiced, did my Bible study.. all while dealing with NASTY cramps and an upset stomach!  And then, I got called in for a second interview.. second one in two days! I felt pretty good about it and should get an answer on things by Monday! So, *fingers crossed *

I clocked in my Skype hours yesterday, lemme tell ya!  I got to Skype with the Hubby, which is always nice!  So, he got to see what I wore to my interview and then I got to tell him all about it afterwards!  And then after he went to work, I got to Skype with a friend of mine, and we ended up videoing until 5 this morning!  It was crazy, but so much fun!!

So, I got up after having some decent sleep for the first night in a few nights, got around, did my workout, practiced some, I read an entire book this afternoon and then cleaned my apartment and started the never ending cycle of laundry!  I know it gets worse when you have kids, but I think it also gets worse in the summer time.  My Mama Carty says it perfectly.  I don't do well with heat.  I would rather be freezing cold with buckos of cardigans and sweaters and long sleeve shirts.. than be nice and warm with tanks and shorts.  Yuck!  I don't like riding with other people in the summer because some don't have an air conditioner in their cars.. how can you survive in this 108 degree weather?.. and some take FOREVER to start the car/ turn on the air conditioning and I'm just sitting there thinking.. "It's REALLY HOT!" My hair is also a VERY dark brown naturally and the second I step outside, it's like a furnace on my head.  All that to say, I don't like being hot and this Summer heat is killing me! And in my house, the upstairs is about 20 degrees hotter than the downstairs and with my workouts.. I change a lot.

So, yeah!  My little summer rant there! LOL!  OH!  My Mama Carty and Papa Jim (Mom's parents/my grandparents) called me tonight at around 11:00 PM... yeah! They just wanted to let me know they're coming into town to see me tomorrow.  They don't know what time, they'll just get here when they get here!  HAHAHA!! I LOVE my grandparents!! They are absolutely incredible and my inspiration for what I hope to be when I have kids and grandkids!! They have ALWAYS supported everything that David (since he's been a part of the family), my brother, sister, and I have done.  Mama Carty joins my Papa Jim in turning 75 on Friday.  I am baffled.  For me, (random weird fact) my parents and grandparents stopped aging 10 years ago.  So, my parents are stuck at 40, not 50 (which my Mom happens to love) and my Mama Carty and Papa Jim will forever be 65 in my eyes.   My cousins will also always be 5 and 10.. I just don't get it.  But that's how I am!  I think it's part of the knowledge that they're getting older.  I've been immensely blessed to have all my grandparents and known 4 of my 8 great grandparents (2 of which are still alive and working in the garden at 92 and 96) as well as my parents and all my other distant relatives.  I can count on one hand the number of family members that I have lost.  So, when I have to face the loss of a member of my family that has had such an impact on my life.. I just want to take advantage of every precious moment I have with them because I know so many don't get that opportunity!

So, tomorrow will be fun!  I'm looking forward to seeing them and showing off my new house to them! :)  It'll be a good time! Hope everyone has had a wonderful week!

Monday, July 25, 2011

An Off Day

Today started off like any normal day!  I got up, got ready (Thank you Lord for the good hair day despite the much needed rain and humidity) and went to my job interview!  It went really well and we'll see what happens now, but I'm happy with how it went!  I came home and watched Beastly while eating lunch, I really like the movie, by the way!  The "Beast" is played by the same actor in I Am Number Four and I felt like the story was very well adapted! :)

After that.. everything just settled in.  My attitude shifted, for no reason whatsoever and I immediately just felt overwhelmed with everything going on and all that needs to be done!  I haven't had an off day or a stressful day really since before the Hubby came home on leave.  I did some zumba and that helped me physically, but I just couldn't control my emotions.  The Hubby was online and so we talked a little, but I mean, he's kind of busy working! ;)  Things just continued piling up and finally it was enough.  I will not go back to feeling this way. I don't like it and I don't want that lifestyle anymore.  So, I prayed and I did my Bible study!  Instant peace and faith!  I may not know exactly what's going to happen or have a scheduled routine set up right now, but I know that He is in control and that it's all going to get done and will all be fine.  What a comfort!  My friend Amanda said that God gives us challenges and rough patches so that we can appreciate the good.  I believe that, but I also think that God gives us the rough patches so that we continue to lean and depend  on Him in the good times and bad as we daily seek to be more in His image.  2 Corinthians 3:18 really just brought peace to me today through my devotional!  What a blessed Monday! I look forward to seeing what else He has in store for this week!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Good Sunday!!

Tut Tut, Looks Like Rain!  Thank you Lord!  Today has been a wonderful day so far!  Starting with the potential for rain, which we desperately need, and then a few blessed phone calls! 

I got a call today from a special someone offering to assist us in paying for this last semester of school so that I can enroll!  What a blessing and a weight lifted off our shoulders!  I am so very thankful that my family has been and always will be supportive of David's and my education! 

Well, that call was followed up by a call from Pier 1 asking me to come in for a job interview tomorrow!! I'm so excited!  I would be happy to work for any of the places I applied to, otherwise, why would I have applied? But Pier 1 was one of my top places if I could be picky!  So, we'll see how tomorrow goes! I'm so excited!! Now bring on the rain!! I should go get Chinese food with how stormy they say it's going to get!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Day Off

The other day I shared that at one point a few years ago, I saw that my life could go one of two ways. And for the record so that no one gets the wrong idea.. I am beyond happy and blessed with how my life is going and where my Hubby and I are.  Well, I woke up this morning and was reminded of where it could have been had God not intervened in David's and my life.  It was just a bitter tasting memory of where I was, and thankfully, where I am now.  Just a little hiccup.  That and I am starting to have stomach cramps and I think we all know what that means.  So, since I've been working all week, I decided it would be nice to have a day off, to just relax. 

I started off the day with a lovely conversation with my Hubby and since my brain wouldn't turn off until around 4 this morning and my body decided to be wide awake at 5:30, I decided a little nap would have been nice!  So, I got my sleep and then went and rented a few newer movies and grabbed some ingredients for dinner.  It's been a pretty good day/evening!  Got another free 44 at Sonic and had a nice catch-up convo with a good friend!  I've missed her!  Then I watched Just Go With It and Red Riding Hood while making Beef and Broccoli!  Perfection!  And a little strawberry ice cream was just the peak of a nice day off, just me and the pups!  What has everyone else been up to this weekend?

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, SHUT THE BACK DOOR, SHUT THE GARAGE, SHUT THE WINDOWS BECAUSE OOOOH MYYY GOODNESS!!!!!

I am an extreme IKEA fan, OK? Love it!  Never been there, sadly, but that's ok. I will go someday and that's all that matters.  Anywho.. I'm on the search for the perfect stuff to decorate and organize my office, right? Yeah? Following me? OK!  My mission? This..


Only with the Shelves in a dark brown and with brown, khaki, plum, and purple storage boxes.  Now that you have seen my inspiration...  you can sympathize with me that I have searched COUNTLESS websites and stores to find the vision that is stuck in my head.  I am sadly one of those people that just CANNOT let something go once I've thought about it.  Well, I found my shelves that I'd like!!

Only problem is that the finish I like seems to be out EVERYWHERE!!!  Now, I could wait to get it or I could get the white or black brown and paint it the color I want (too much work, not enough time or space).  

So, now that I know what I'll be storing our books in, I can look for what to fill the cubicles with!!  

ENTER THE CONTAINER STORE!!!

How I never knew about this, I will never know.  But my mind was so over the top blown by everything!  I found all the things I have been imagining to fill these cubicles and it was just perfect!! OOH Dallas shopping trip needs to happen soon because this is just incredible!! So, yeah.  SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!!  I now have to decide where I want to go with our office.  Right now, we're stuck because our office is shared with our guest bedroom.  So, I googled some images for home offices and literally cannot choose between the white and dark brown wood.. or a combination? HELP!!!








What to do.. what to do!  Obviously, I like that open and light feel to the office..  So, I guess I'll just need to chew on it a bit longer.  What do you all think?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Peace

I had wanted a Brighton bracelet for awhile!  My Mom had one filled with charms that represented all her babies, including David because he is now her baby too!  For Christmas this past year, my Mom gave me the bracelet with one charm on it.  I may start crying just thinking about it because it was all so perfect!  The first charm my Momma picked for me was an angel that said "Peace" on it.

It makes so much sense because for years now, I feel like I've been at war with myself.  There are people who are such close friends of mine that have never seen the real me because I've constantly been on the fence.  I may play it well, but those who really know me, who have been around for years know that I haven't been myself and have, thankfully, stuck with me along the way as I search for that peace.  I've lost friends along the way, but those that matter have stayed by my side.

I've thought about this a lot over the past several weeks.  Seeing my Hubby really showed me just how far off course I had gotten.  I didn't notice when he came home on leave from Iraq, because that's when everything happened with my Momma and I was thrown into a different kind of chaos.  But I think this friction started back when I started college, maybe even before.

Right before my senior year, I got mono.  Don't ask me how.. I promise it wasn't because I was kissing anyone.  David was away at basic/AIT which makes it so much worse, but through all the camps, there's no telling how many drinks I shared with people.  It disgusts me now.  Anyway, before marching band started, I was diagnosed with mono and because band is one of the most important things to me, I set aside my health and refused to miss my last year of marching.  The memories from that season will remain with me for a lifetime, but the toll it took on my body was destructive and I was out of church for months, using Sunday's as my day to recuperate.  By that point in the week, after classes, work, marching rehearsals, football games and competitions, I could hardly muster up the strength to open my eyes on Sunday morning.  Being out of church for that long took a toll on my relationship with Christ, on my service to others, and on my fellowship with my church family.  I didn't realize how drastic of a toll it had taken until I left home and went out on my own at OBU.

It baffles me how wonderful God is.  I could have easily gone to OU, OSU, U of A, any public school around, but for reasons only He knew, the doors to each school closed the second I stepped onto OBU's campus.  It was a smooth adjustment from on social bubble to the next.  I was surrounded by those who were good, strong, Christian influences, and even though I rebelled, it was not nearly as bad as I fear it would have been had I gone to a public university first.  My rebellion escalated and with each act to prove my independence came multiple steps away from my walk with God.  I pretended and made myself think I was tricking others around me, but as always, everyone saw through my facade, and thank goodness.  One of my last acts of rebellion was transferring to OU.

I don't regret my time at OU.  I learned so much about myself and about the world, but the more I learned, the more I wanted to be in control of my own life and "live in the moment".  One day, I woke up and realized that I had shattered my own bubble and was no longer surrounded by those strong Christian influences that I so naively took advantage of.  I began to see my life in two ways.  Where I could go if I continued on this path of rebellion and "finding myself", or where I would be if I sought His will.  An intervention was made, and it just so happened that it occurred in my life as well as my husband's.  For him, it was the opportunity to mature and grow up as he was called up for a deployment, a wake up call to put his life together and stop living for himself at that moment.  For me, it was a hope and an opportunity to live the life that I not only wanted, but needed.  The chance to turn away from the negative I had surrounded myself in and be where God had purposed me to be.

As my Hubby left for Iraq, I continued on at OU without much change at all.  David's absence was one of the most difficult things I've had to endure.  I got to such a depressing point going weeks without hearing from him and not knowing how he was doing.  I isolated myself from almost everyone and everything except those things that brought me joy; Band and Kappa Kappa Psi.  I would miss class in the mornings hoping for a chance to talk to him or sleeping so the time would pass faster.  Needless to say, I didn't make it through the semester and after the bowl game, I knew something had to change.  I don't remember praying much through that period, just how numb I was towards everyone and everything.  By the time school started back up for the Spring semester, I had decided not to return to OU and that a break and time with family would be good.  I can't even imagine what would have happened had I returned to OU.  I definitely wouldn't have made it through another semester and I surely wouldn't have continued on in music.  In fact, when I moved back home, I put away my saxophone and had closed the book in my musical career.  I don't know if I was burned out, or if the passion had just died.

The thought of God's impeccable timing is such a wonder to me!  David came home earlier than expected for R&R since I was home and not bound by classes.  I said earlier I didn't have a chance to notice the nasty changes in my life when David came home from Iraq.  I may have and just not remembered, but the happenings of that evening have been a blessing and a curse.  I have never really dealt with death.  I've lost 2 of my great grandparents, but I still am blessed to be surrounded by 2 other great grandparents, 4 grandparents, and all my aunts/uncles and cousins.  I'm sure I've written about this before, but it helps to talk about it more each time, to release some of the confusion that I still deal with.

David and I had just gotten to the park when my brother called and said my Mom had fallen and I needed to get home.  As we got closer to my house, the panic slowly filled me.  As I pulled up, the blue and red lights of the ambulance met my rearview mirror and I saw my sister standing in the doorway, with my Mom laying behind her in the entryway and my Dad performing CPR.  My world crumbled in that instant.  I can still see the our broken-hearted fear plastered on my Dad's face as he so bravely tried to take care of my Mom and see that we were taken care of as well.Between each breath of CPR, he was quoting scripture and praying, not even aware of what he was subconsciously doing!  Goodness, if that's not an incredible man, I don't know what is.  I shielded my brother and sister from the view of our Mom being pulled our on a stretcher with a yellow tube rising and falling over her chest, breathing for her.  As they closed the doors to the ambulance, I honestly did not know if I would ever see her again on this earth.  David, Alex, Tristen, and I all went inside to grab essentials and hurry to the hospital.  While my brother and sister gathered some things, I stood in the living room in desperate need to fall apart.  David held me, made me look him in the eyes and told me I had to be strong for Alex and Tristen.  So, into Mommy mode I went.  I coped in that moment by taking care of my brother and sister, watching over my Dad, meeting the needs that my Mom would usually meet, and realized I was not capable to fill her shoes.  For a few days we didn't know if she would make it, if her brain and memory would be damaged because of the amount of time without oxygen.  By God's hand, our family made it through in one piece, and even though we still deal with the trauma from that night, every day gets easier.

My Mom lost several months of her memory, only remembering specific things because of pictures and stories.  The trauma, the memory loss, the change of lifestyle changed who she was; it changed all of us. David was my rock through that time and I know I wouldn't have made it through if he had not been there to encourage and support me.  That he would come home the day this all happened is a complete example of God's perfect timing, along with my decision to be home that semester and my availability to help my family during that time.  You would think that would be enough of a wake up call, but spiritually, nothing changed.

David came home, we planned the last details of our wedding and were married!  Literally, the happiest day of my life.  And to have been surrounded by all of our family and friends was the biggest blessing.  The transition into married life was NOT easy, to say the least.  Neither of us made an effort to set the proper foundation for our marriage by making our relationships with God and our investment into a church a priority. We were both brought up in church and did not continue that tradition.  Within a few months, the haunting of another deployment loomed and we started to brace ourselves for the possibility of another year apart.  By our 9th month of marriage, David was gone at trainings and schools, preparing for his deployment to Afghanistan.  I was at Baylor when I found out for sure, surrounded by brothers at our fraternity's convention.  Time stood still as he told me when they would leave and the lack of preparation for this next stage of our life was overwhelming.  As the reality of his absence got closer, I began to shut myself off from things again.

When David left for mobilization, I could feel the depression starting up again, but I tried with everything I had to be myself.  A friend approached me one day and told me she couldn't be around me because of how negative and depressing I had become, and that others were starting to notice as well.  It was such a losing battle, of course I can't handle this deployment on my own.  And still nothing changed.  I was just embarrassed that others had noticed my inner struggle, how public it had become and that I had been unable to take care of it.

The months of the deployment passed and it got closer to R&R, but the closer to R&R, the worse things got.  Those several weeks before David came home were the darkest, lowest, and hardest times for both of us.  We feed off of one another's energies, and that can have both a positive and a negative reaction.  When David would call, I would start off so excited and then as I heard the lack of excitement in his voice, my mood would plummet.  The fighting escalated and there were points we didn't know if he would even come home.  Add to that the stress we put on ourselves with other responsibilities during R&R and you have a pretty toxic situation.  It's hard to be on the same page when you're on opposite sides of the world, but every day felt like we not only weren't in the same book, but that we were in completely different libraries.

The anxiety of him coming home melted away the second I saw him.  I felt the change, felt how far off base I had gotten, how far from who I am... the weights I'd been carrying went away and in that instant, I felt pure peace as I stood in my husband's arms.  To have all that stress lifted away was everything.  Sure, things were still a little stressful during some points of R&R, but we made it through those times together.  Having him home was so relaxing and comforting for both of us.. it was like a year in the spa for our hearts and souls to be mended of all the damage we had caused or allowed. Peace.

Since R&R has ended, that peace that I thought was only temporary because of David's presence has remained.  To me, it's something just so simple and almost unnoticeable because I feel like myself.. no weight, no drama, no battle or stress, just me.  But others have noticed this change and it makes me happy that this could be permanent. I don't want to be who I've been the last few years.. I don't want to feel that way or live life without a purpose. I have a purpose, my Savior and my King who sent His Son to die on the cross for me and for you so that we don't have to carry this burden of life!  These struggles are not mine alone because I place them at the foot of the cross and my Lord takes care of me and guides me through.  I don't have to live my life for me because I serve a Greater Purpose and His plans for me far outweigh any dream I could ever have for my life.  I am so thankful for my friends and family who have helped guide me and support me through this past several weeks as I grow in my relationship with Christ and strive to make permanent and lasting changes in my life to be a better wife, puppy mommy, daughter, sister, aunt, student, musician and most of all servant to the Lord.  I have passion back in my life.. purpose.  It's been a long year. One I don't really care to repeat, but I will happily revisit it to remind myself where I am without Him and where I am when I'm in His loving and caring arms, allowing Him to guide me through this path of life.

If you made it through this whole blog, my goodness you deserve an award!  Thank you for reading about my journey and I hope that it is a blessing and a comfort to you.  And for those who have aided in this journey, you will never know how much you truly mean to me and how much of a blessing God has allowed you to be in my life!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Much love and God bless!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Office To-Do's!

OK! Now that I'm done with practicing, I can blog and not feel guilty! :)  I've decided to focus on my office and bedroom for decorating!  I am IN LOVE with my downstairs... at least I'm mostly done decorating it.  I could still use some cute patterned plates for the dining room like these..


Or these...


With a cute centerpiece like this..


And then of course I'd LOVE to put a screen behind my TV, and this is the best one I've found so far.. but not exactly what I had in mind.


Other than that, so touch ups in the downstairs bathroom (still not happy with that one) and some little knick knacks here and there, I am pleased with the downstairs!!

BUT the upstairs can still use a lot of work!  So, we'll start with my office!  We have TONS to store in our office and I'd like to stick with the Dark purple, lavender, tans, browns and white scheme for now.  We'll change the main color whenever we get a separate office and guest bedroom.  But, for now.. I'd like to do a shelf against the wall with lots of storage containers in various colors, maybe some books too, since we have tons of those!


With different colors obviously.. And then some new office accessories.  I'm trying to decide between the silver and the white desk accessories.. like this...



or these...

I'm still not sure.. And then there's the decision of white or silver stapler/tape dispensers!  So many decisions!  But overall, my inspiration for this new project is this!


So, we'll see how it goes!  I feel a road trip to Dallas coming on!  Thank goodness my sisters and I are all planning a getaway trip soon to go to IKEA!!! AHH I've ALWAYS wanted to go there!! So, yeah!  As if there's not enough on my plate already, let's add this!  And after this is done, I can focus on making our Master Bedroom into a relaxing, beautiful getaway for the Hubby and I (starting with our new mattress)!!! It'll come in handy when we have those cute little babies someday!! 









Get ready! :)

It's coming!! Every day it gets closer and closer! The joy of the Hubby being home and the anxiety of school starting up again!  I've been back home for almost a week now, and busy busy trying to get everything ready for all the changes that are about to occur!  Yesterday, I was out all afternoon paying bills, running errands, and applying for jobs.. hopefully some open up! :D I also got the New Women's Devotional Bible and I'm super stoked about it!!

Today, I've been cleaning and tidying everything up around the house!  I'm trying to get the puppies and I into a routine of getting up, making the bed and putting everything away upstairs before heading downstairs to go outside!  It's worked pretty well so far! So, we've been tidying up.. gearing up for a full spotless cleaning of the house this weekend. But I need to organize before then! Haha!  Taco and Belle had their mani/pedi today! I'm so jealous.. I am DEFINITELY getting one before my Hubby comes in.  Gotta look super cute for the guy! ;) And then I've been filling out applications and applying for loans, trying to get ready for this next school year.  I also need to practice for my audition next month! *fingers crossed* Lots to do and so little time.. it's a miracle I'm getting any sound sleep. Hope everyone's week is going well! :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Update! :D

I'm a mix of emotions right now!! Uncertain, excited, anxious, slightly overwhelmed and peaceful!  I know.. weird.

I feel like I've lost some things in the past several weeks, but I've gained more and that's what is most valuable and important.  We only have a couple of years left in this town before we go and move on to the next chapter of our lives.  I'm so excited to see where the Hubby and I will end up! No matter what we do or where we are, I know we'll be fine because we've faced and overcome so much already!

We have just about a month to go until it's time for him to come home!  I couldn't be more excited!  As if my anniversary gift wasn't enough, my Hubby is surprising me with a completely planned out trip/getaway for us after he gets home and before school starts back up! I couldn't be more excited!  And the best part is, it's a secret... to most people! Only my best friend knows, and that's just because I told her about it before I was told to keep it hush hush! But I'm excited! Add this to our Up North roadtrip next year and our annual Colorado vacation.. MAN I cannot wait for him to get home!! 

But, before he comes back, I have SO much stuff to take care of! Between preparing for auditions, school, work, getting the house all beautified, and doctor's appointments as well as family responsibilities and weekly dates with Amanda and Derek... the next month is going to fly by in a jiffy!  I'm also getting to spend my anniversary with my Mom as my Dad will be in Japan doing Disaster Relief (I love my Daddy more than anything and he truly is one of the most incredible men I know.. the other few are members of my family as well) and my Hubby (THE most incredible man) will still be gone.  But it'll be fun! And then I get a weekend with the women on David's side of the family as we go... SHOPPING!!! Roadtripping with my sisters? Yep, it's going to be a blast!!

The past 2 months have been wonderful.  All I can say is that the second I was reunited with my husband, an overwhelming sense of peace returned that I have been living without for YEARS, not just months! I've done a lot of intense soul searching and questioned multiple things in my life since my Hubby went back, but the peace has remained! It's kind of perfect because "Peace" is the charm my Mom gave me of what to focus on this past year, what she prayed for me to find, and I'm so thankful and blessed for that! It's crazy to look back on this year and have almost made it through, to separate the people who have and haven't been through it all in the long hall, to see how we have both grown- individually and in one another.  It's been an incredible journey, and as hard as it's been at times, I wouldn't change it for anything! :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Awaken My Heart!

There is so much to update on BUT I AM EXHAUSTED!!! This week was phenomenal!!  I went to Falls Creek with my family and as much as I was there to minister to others and to the girls in my family group, they ministered to me!  God taught me so much this past week and it was a definite wake up call!  If you're curious, please check out skopos.org, and/or look up Tony Nolan and the Stephen Miller band!  AMAZING!!!!!!  Things in my life have changed so much in the past few days and I'm ready to fully implement those changes in my day-to-day life!  It won't be easy, but He never said it would be easy.  I was so blessed with the most amazing, yet totally bratty and obnoxious, 11th grade girls!  I love the girls in my group and those in my room more than anything and thank God that I was able to have them this week!  You all have left such a precious handprint on my heart and are an absolute blessing and a joy!  I'm excited for this next week!  Family time, niece/nephew dates, and lunches/movie nights with my girlies!!  Just a few more weeks until my Honey is home!!  Have a wonderful Holiday weekend everyone!  Happy 4th of July!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to bring you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11