Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'tis the Season...

...Birthday season, that is.  In our immediate family, birthday season extends from late November through April, leaving us all confused for those six months as to who is what age, and then when the six-month season is over, the kids are back to their every-two-years pattern, making my job much easier ("how old are they?" "...ummm...let's see..."). 

Of course, each child will gladly correct me when my aging, overworked brain gets it wrong...again... 

With this one, however, there is no mistake.  She's my oldest.  The one we've learned on.  The easiest first child you'll ever meet.  She's smart (really...I know I'm biased, but she IS smart) - working on 4 different languages right now (Spanish, Arabic, Italian, and German), and wanting to have MASTERED those and two more by the time she finishes college.  She is smart.  She is talented, playing the flute and piccolo in marching band and wind ensemble...and wishing she had time to play in the jazz band.  She is beautiful, inside and out.  Her heart is to serve others.  She loves her Lord, and wants to do what He wants her to do...even when it is hard and pushes her outside of her comfort zone. 






Happy Birthday, Baby, Sissy, Ducky....Frances.  I love you and thank God for you regularly!!  You amaze me and I am so very proud of you!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Letter 2010

Please bear with me...this one's gonna be a little hard for me to write and will definitely be different from my usual Annual Letter.  If it seems like I'm rambling a bit, please forgive me...

The Paxton family has had a very eventful year this year, and all of it seems to have been bunched together in about 2 or three months of the year. 2010 started off rather unremarkably, with nothing to set it apart too much.  The kids all finished up the 2009-2010 school year well, and were looking forward to a fun, if quiet, summer.

Jason was due to get new orders, with the possibility of heading to Afghanistan.  In July, those orders came through, with him scheduled to leave in October.  Or maybe that was November.  Or possibly not until February.  Thanks, Uncle Sam.  We appreciate the effort.

Also around that time, the opportunity arose for us to get out of military housing, and move into a house that we would be buying, but the financing (which we had been working on since sometime in March) still hadn't come through.  Nevertheless, we moved into our new house in August. 

Meanwhile, plans were moving right ahead for Jason to be leaving his current command, and to report to his new command for training in October, to be headed out to some vague place known as "The Sandbox" in early November...vague because the orders said one place, but were not quite sure.  At least we knew it was not going to be in Virginia.


In September, the kids started back to school (mostly in new schools), and Laura started her new adventure in graduate school at Regent University, studying Counseling.  Jason was finishing up his final classes for his Masters in Theology.  He was also able to take several weeks to spend with the family, and preparing things like legal paperwork and the cars for his being gone for a year. 

October saw plans for Jason's leaving to really start falling into place.  We had a HUGE party with lots of friends coming by (sure wish EVERYONE could have been there!!).  We had a photo shoot with a GREAT friend (Thanks, Jimmy!).  (Didn't he do an amazing job?! - most of these pictures are from that shoot)  We spent lots of time shopping for things for him to take, and spending time with friends before he (or they) left.  We also spent a lot of time unpacking the house, getting settled in, and doing things like getting TVs mounted.  Jason was scheduled to report for the drive to training in South Carolina on Saturday, October 16, so the night before we went out to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary, and had a really good evening talking through a lot of details.  One of the best parts of the night was finding out that Jason was going to be going to a "vacation spot" for this deployment, and would be there with a wonderful friend from a previous command.

As I write this, we are just over a month into Jason's actually being off of American soil.   After Jason left for training, the financing for the house finally came through, and I got to do the closing by myself.  Yeah!!  We're home owners!  We had a quiet Thanksgiving, and are looking forward to Christmas spent with family.


Frances has had a good year, though one without any answers to the medical issues plaguing her.  The neurologists have given up on finding an answer.  I believe they are still convinced that her issues with numbness are psychosomatic, which other testing has proved wrong.  Meanwhile, she stayed busy this fall with Marching Band, a trip to William & Mary for the Model UN, and in the spring she was able to go to New York on a trip with the band.  As she is a Junior, we have started the process of looking at schools and (!) pricing class rings.  One of the highlights of the year has been getting to know her boyfriend, as he has joined us for quite a few evenings. 
Jon's year has been one of growth - literally - as he has shot up and passed me in height.  He has also matured as an individual, taking on more responsibilities at home and at church.  He is playing the trumpet at school, both in the eighth grade band, and in the jazz band, as well as taking part in the Rhythm Project through the school, which he enjoys immensely. 


Heather has entered the teenage years .  She is in seventh grade this year, and is enjoying being in band, playing the flute for the seventh grade band, and playing the alto saxaphone for the jazz band.  This year her birthday was on Thanksgiving, and we celebrated on the Saturday following, with a few friends coming over, but the birthday party came to an early end when Heather fell at the park and hurt her arm...and was followed by a trip to the emergency room,with a diagnosis of a broken bone in her left wrist. 


Justin is ten years old this year, and in fifth grade.  He is taking part in several different things at school, including studying up for a Geography Bee, playing football at school, and is looking into alternatives for middle school, considering the two magnet schools here, with advanced programs available for gifted students. 


Leah is eight years old now, and in third grade, and doing very well.  She is an amazing kid who loves the animals in the house, sometimes to the point of torture of them.  She is enjoying the new house, and especially the new neighbors.


Katherine has grown to be an amazing little girl.  She will be seven years old this month, and is in first grade, and loving it.  She's smart, and she's a good kid, and loves to learn and grow.
 



And so our family has had a good (if a *little* busy) year.  We've all grown, and we are all learning, and it has been an amazing ride.  Here's hoping the next year slows down just a little!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!!

I don't care what anyone says.  She is my baby.  She will always be my baby.   And it's not fair that they grow up so fast!! 


Today is Katherine's 7th birthday.  Seven years ago was a Saturday, and we were in Montana.  Jason was supposed to be running sound and lights for a Christmas Dessert at our church, and we were at the hospital.  Around 5:00 pm Katherine Louise was born, and by 5:30 Jason was on his way over to the church, which thankfully was only a couple of blocks away.



Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!  I love you!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

CHRISTMAS BLOG CARNIVAL: Day 7

Today's challenge was to talk about refreshing our faith at Christmas.


How does your faith refresh at Christmastime?

 Confession time:  I am not a shopper.  I *hate* shopping - with a passion.  Which has not been too much of a problem pretty much since we got married, because we've never really had a lot of money with which to shop.  These two facts have made our Christmases minimal over the whole of our marriage.


That said...I LOVE Christmas.  I love the excitement building...the pretty lights...the yummy desserts...the get-togethers.  But mostly, I LOVE the music, the plays, the retelling of the story every year.  I am refreshed every year by the freshness of the story - the wonder of the new baby and the amazement of what He came to do for us.  Each year, hearing yet again the story reminds me of the amazing love my Father has for me...and for those who don't yet know Him.

Go enjoy more bloggy Christmas carnival fun with us at Wives of Faith. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

CHRISTMAS BLOG CARNIVAL: Day 6

Today's challenge was to post about what might be different about Christmas in a military home. 

You Might be a Military Spouse at Christmas if...


...you can't find anything similar about any of your Christmases since taking on the military lifestyle.  Every year is different with no continuity from one year to the next. 

My husband has been active-duty for 10 years now, and we have lived in 7 different homes in 4 different states during that time.

*This year is the first time he's been deployed over Christmas.

*Last year (2009) was the first year we ever did lights outside.

*The year before (2007)was our first year in Virginia...and we knew almost no-one.

*The year before that (2006) was the year our marriage was restored (BIG God-story!), and our last year in Montana.

*In 2005 we had no new babies...every year prior we had a baby under 2 years old at Christmas.

*In 2004, we got a cat for Christmas.

*In 2003, we had just moved, had a new baby (on the 13th of December), and knew almost no-one.

*2002 was our last year in Texas, and we had just experienced our first deployment...with all of the accompanying gremlins.

*2001 was Jason's first year on active-duty, and our first Christmas away from family.  It was also our first year to deep fry the turkey.  YUM. 

Then again...maybe there is something consistent about our Christmases...the fact that they are never the same!!

Go enjoy more bloggy Christmas carnival fun with us at Wives of Faith. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

CHRISTMAS BLOG CARNIVAL: Day 5

What Christmas Means to Me
 
The challenge for today was to tell what Christmas means to me.  

Christmas is one of my two favorite times of the year (the first being Thanksgiving).  Christmas has always been about family to me.


Growing up, we used to always travel for Christmas to the mountains of North Carolina, where my grandparents lived, and spend time with the whole extended family there.


This together-time meant presents, yes, but more than that, it meant big meals around the extended table, playing with cousins, doing puzzles with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and our immediate family.



It always means long phone calls with the family that can't make it to the gathering, and walks in the cold with the ones who needed a chance to digest before the next round of dessert.  

But my favorite part of all has always been the time when we sit down together as a family and listen as the Christmas story is read aloud, as a reminder that there is a greater reason for our celebration than just the presents or family time...that we have been given a gift, one that affects our whole lives, and THAT is what we celebrate at Christmas time.

Go enjoy more bloggy Christmas carnival fun with us at Wives of Faith.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

CHRISTMAS BLOG CARNIVAL: Day 4

My Grown-Up Christmas List

Based on the song by Amy Grant, the challenge was to come up with my own grown-up Christmas list.  

1.  Our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen would all come home, safely, in time for Christmas.
2.  Healing for all broken people.
3.  No more pain inflicted on children.
4.  Jobs and homes for my friends who have lost both.
5.  Forever-homes and families for all of the orphans in this world.

Go enjoy more bloggy Christmas carnival fun with us at Wives of Faith. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CHRISTMAS BLOG CARNIVAL: Day 3

Worst Christmas Song EVER...



Why?  Can you think of anything less Christmas-like that the lyrics that say "What a gas it would have been, if Daddy had only seen Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night"?  

Okay, so I know this won't bother everyone.  Maybe it is just my sensitivity to potential family-breaking issues.  I think this is TERRIBLE.  I know what it is *supposed* to be.  What kind of image does this portray to our children? 

And the assignment says to find one redeeming factor about this song.  It is a very catchy tune.  It is fun.  And it portrays an innocence in children that is hard to find these days.

Go enjoy more bloggy Christmas carnival fun with us at Wives of Faith.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CHRISTMAS BLOG CARNIVAL: Day 2

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without...

...Christmas plays, cantatas, and caroling. 

God currently has us in a church where the focus is a bit different that the churches we have been a part of in the past...which means no Christmas plays, no cantatas, and no caroling.  And I have discovered that I am very sad about that.  So this year, while my husband is away, we are going to go experience some of the joy of Christmas with other churches. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

CHRISTMAS BLOG CARNIVAL: Day 1

My Favorite Christmas Ornament/Decoration

At the top of our tree (circa 2009) you can see my favorite Christmas decoration...a tree topper I won off of another blog carnival in 2008. 



I  LOVE this tree topper! 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Learning about ME

nar·cis·sism [nahr-suh-siz-em]
–noun

1.  inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity
2.  Psychoanalysis . erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.
  
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.  (Romans 12:3, NIV)

So many times on blogs and Facebook we seen lists of random information about people (I have even done it!).  We *tag* our friends, wanting them to read about our lists about ourselves.  We take hundreds of pictures of ourselves, and post them for the world to see our levels of obsession with ourselves and how we look, and what we think about ourselves.  As a culture, we have bought in, hook, line, and sinker, to the notion that it is all about #1 - I am *THE* single most important person in the world.

That idea, of people being obsessed with themselves, to the point of not recognizing that we are hurting others or of seeing ourselves as the center of the universe used to be recognized as either a stage that every child grows through and out of, or a diagnosable mental illness.  No more.  In the latest evolution of our obsession with ourselves, we have so far removed our society from health that now narcissism has been removed from the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (D.S.M.-5) as a diagnosable mental illness. You can read all about how upset clinicians in the field of mental health are about that removal.  That is not my point.

There ARE times when we should become more aware of ourselves, of how we look and act.  We definitely need to take time each day to have a look in the mirror - if for nothing else, at least to make sure we didn't leave traces of breakfast smeared across our face.  Figuratively, we also need to do daily checks in the mirror to evaluate how we look to others, in our character, how we are responding to circumstances, if we are becoming more Christ-like, or if we are allowing ourselves to become more and more selfish.  Self-evaluation is not a bad thing.

In fact, I would venture to say that we *need* to self-evaluate on a regular basis in order to be growing and maturing.  It is very easy for me to get stuck at a point, in my head, where I either did something *right* - "way to go, Laura...good paper!" or where I completely blew it - "Laura, that was SO stupid!  How could you?!?"  When I get stuck at those points, I am not doing a healthy evaluation of either those circumstances, or of my own self.   When that happens, I need a healthy dose of reality from people around me, helping me to see my pride.

So, this challenging time in my life has been prompting me to do a lot of self-evaluation, and some of the things I am learning about myself are just plain painful.  I don't *like* having my inflated views of myself deflated.  I don't like to be challenged to view myself as something different than that person I think I am, somewhere deep in my head.  The self-evaluation has also meant dealing with some issues that were buried deeply so that I *wouldn't* have to work on them.  More pain.  Did I mention that I don't like pain?!?

One of the things that this time of self-evaluation has done is prompting me to see myself through someone else's eyes...specifically, through the eyes of Someone who loved me enough to die for me, and who still loves me, despite my shortcomings.  Being loved so unconditionally has an amazing affect on my view of myself!!


I John 4:19  "We love because He first loved us."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

School Pictures!!

It is that time of year again...the annual parade of the school pictures...except that one of our children somehow was overlooked this year, and we didn't end up ordering her pictures.  However, for your viewing pleasure, here are the remainder of the kids.

Jonathan "Jon" is 14 this year, and in 8th grade.  
He is playing the trumpet this year, and wants to try out for the baseball team.  


Heather is now 13, and in the seventh grade.
She is playing the flute in band, and was playing the alto saxophone for Jazz band, but we are unsure if that will continue since she broke her wrist.


Justin is 10 years old, and in 5th grade.  
He is doing very well in school, and is practicing presently for the geography bee.  


Leah is 8 years old and in third grade this year.
She is loving school, and thoroughly loves loving torturing all of the animals within range.


Katherine is six years old this year, and is in first grade.  
She really enjoys school, though the adjustment from kindergarten to first grade has been challenging.


God has richly blessed us with some beautiful and talented children, for which we are ever-so-grateful!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Heather!!

(a.k.a. I now have 3 teenagers!)


Thanksgiving day was also our third child's 13th birthday.


This beautiful child wanted to have a party.


So we invited friends. (of whom I did not get pictures)

The girls walked down the street to our local park, and tried to make their way down the embankment to the water. Heather slipped and fell, catching herself on her left hand/wrist. I got a phone call asking me to come pick them up because Heather hurt her arm. I was aggravated because I had to make a run to pick up another child, and I really needed them home, but I drove down and got them. When Heather got in the van she was still crying, and said she couldn't move her wrist and the pain went all the way up her arm.

We got back to the house, and I went to pick up the other child while Jon served cake and ice cream and Heather opened presents. I found out where the closest hospital is, and got home and made calls to to all the parents for the friends to be picked up, and then Heather and I took off for what has to be a record visit to an emergency room. Seriously...we left the house and were back in less than two hours!!

She had a buckle (or incomplete) fracture in the ulna of her left hand. Which should be fun...she's left-handed...and plays the flute...


...and alto sax.Happy Birthday, my beautiful, artistic, fun newest teenager!! I love you!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lego Creations

My 10-year-old son is an amazing engineer. He build airplanes, tanks, race cars, trucks, and space pods. We enjoy seeing these creations, though not so much stepping on the legos that are left laying around on the floor. So, for your lego enjoyment...


The Space Pod:
The Tank:

I LOVE the effort and details he puts into these little creations!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Meal times drive me CRAZY!!

Inevitably, supper sneaks up on me. I KNOW it's getting later. I KNOW I need to cook, or tell one of the kids to cook. But somehow, every single day, the time sneaks up on me, and I find myself rushing around trying to pull together something quickly, when it should have been in preparation stages for a while already.

One of my problems is that I just don't like to cook. It is boring to me. I know this sounds blasphemous to my foody friends...but this is me. If I could come up with new and interesting meals all the time, in a little bit of time, without too much effort, I would be a much happier cook. As it stands, every change in the menu seems to be more of the same-old, same-old.

My biggest problem is time management. I suck at time management.
ESPECIALLY when dealing with things I don't particularly like doing.

Finally, I am working on the whole menu-planning aspect. I used to do a lot better at planning out meals, then life and moving and my husband's cooking got in the way of my even caring about menu planning. Now that I am back in charge (100%) of meals, I find that menu planning is becoming more of a necessity.

Maybe someday I'll enjoy cooking. For now, this family has to be fed...and it's all in my hands...see you later! My kids are hungry!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It was GOOD. Why do I feel down?

Really. I've had a good week. I accomplished a lot. I turned in papers on time. I got to all of my classes (so I was late to one...get over it. Had to mail something to the husband). I got the kids to all of their activities. And home. No one starved (though they may think differently!). Laundry was washed. The dog and cat are still alive. The plants are watered. The cars are still running. I even finished up all of my work before Monday morning!! Believe me, THAT is an accomplishment!!

I even got to talk to my husband every day. Some days more than once. I got to get some much-needed foundational wear. I got on the treadmill, and built my way up to 10 minutes. I even ran. I was even able to right a sticky situation with my mother. Yeah, I know. It sounds like I should be well on the way to accomplishing world peace, and that's just this week.

So why do I feel so down?!? I know I'm tired. But I think this is more than that. I know I'm frustrated because I can't find something. I know I've got deadlines coming on papers and projects. I miss my husband. Still, I think it is something more.

I have a LOT to be thankful for. We're all healthy (and we all know that's a big thing during flu season!). We have a GREAT house. I am studying something I LOVE. I don't have to worry about my next meal (instead I worry about my waistline!)...or that of my children. We have a roof over our heads, transportation, a very loving church family, and we know that God has blessed us far beyond what we deserve.

See, in my head I know a lot of stuff. Enough to get myself in trouble. But my problem comes in that I am always surprised when those things I know about actually apply to me! So, as I sit here thinking about being down, I am surprised to discover that I am dealing with something that is very common.

We are coming up on the holidays. Thanksgiving is the next one. This is one of the two biggest family holidays of the calendar year. And a huge part of our family is on the other side of the world. Which leads to me being down. I am (supposedly) this strong, together military wife, who can handle pretty much whatever anyone throws at me. Yeah, okay, sure. Most times I deal pretty well. With a LOT of help. Throw in the holidays, and I want to curl up in a corner somewhere, hold my blankie, and suck my thumb.

I've never had to do Thanksgiving or Christmas without Jason here. Or New Years. Or Valentine's Day, or any of the kids' (or my) birthdays. I feel like such a novice right now...only we've been doing this military thing for going-on 11 years right now. I know we've been fortunate. I know I'm lucky. I know.

And I know I am not alone. The "Holiday Blues" can affect anyone. Just think of the homeless, the breadwinner who just lost their job, the couple facing foreclosure, the newly diagnosed, newly widowed, divorced, alone. Again, this can affect anyone.

So, if you're down in these trenches with me, what are you doing to get out?

If you look at Dr. Larry A. Nadig's site, you willl see these recommendations, which are taken from the Serenity Prayer:
1. Accept the things I cannot change,
2. Courage to change the things I can, and
3. The wisdom to know the difference.

I like this. I like that it is *not* a pat answer. I am going to be implimenting this, as soon as possible. Right after I get some sleep.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Superstitious much?

From Dictionary.com:
Su-per-sti-tion [soo-per-stish-uhn]
-noun
1. a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, cirucumstance, occurence, proceeding, or the like.
2. a system or collection of such beliefs.
3. a custom or act based on such a belief.


I've never thought of myself as superstitious. As a matter of fact, I have worked rather determinedly to eradicate any hint of superstition from my life. As a Christian, I believe that superstition should have no part in my life.

That said, I have noticed something very interesting as a military wife. Some of the most grounded women I know throw all of that out the window when it comes to dealing with the stresses that come with this lifestyle, especially where deployments are concerned. Talking about certain subjects are off-limits, not so much because they are painful, but more because of the if-you-don't-say-it-then-it-won't-happen mentality. Others have their own pet superstitions, but I was surprised to learn what mine was.

The last time my husband deployed, I was VERY new to the Navy lifestyle...he had been active duty for just over a year. I was the Ombudsman for the ship, and had a brand new baby (one week old) and five other children. We were 19 hours away from any family. And boy did the deployment gremlins wreak havoc in my life. I dealt with more during that deployment than I *ever* expected. I hemorrhaged, the car windshield broke, the washer broke down, I broke my foot, my 2-year-old broke his collar bone...and more...in that short, SHORT four month deployment.

This time around, the deployment is longer. The children are older. My life is crazier. MUCH crazier. First of all, I find myself hoping that I got all of the deployment gremlins out of the way with that other deployment. Logic does not play into that much, considering that the first deployment was close to nine years ago. Nor, apparently, does clear thinking. I surprised myself the other day with not only the "if-I-don't-talk-about-it" type of thinking, but also with one that I'd heard from others, but never expected to come out of my mouth.

I don't even remember who I was talking to, or how it came up, but there was some discussion of a difficult situation, and the comment was made that, "it could be worse, you know." Without even thinking, out tumbled my latest deployment superstition. "Don't even say that...because it can and will get worse." Really? I said that?

Now, logically, I know the above statement is true. Things CAN get worse. In all likelihood, they will. (they already have, since that discussion...more on that at another time). That's not the point of this discussion. My point is that I made that thought into a superstition. Somehow in my head, it became one of those "don't say it and it won't happen" type of things.

The thing is, I KNOW that the opposite is true. If I can talk through something, I know it will never turn out as bad as I fear it will be. Even WHEN it happens. Maybe this is some coping mechanism on my part. I don't know. Deployment gremlins happen. Even when no one is deployed...they just seem worse now that he's gone than they do when I have someone here to share the load. But, now that I recognize yet another superstition, it is time for me to root it out.

So, fellow MilSpouses...what is your favorite superstition? How do you deal with these illogical beliefs?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

**WARNING** RANT ** WARNING**

Or maybe I should just say, emotional spillage of the "keeper of the stuff" this week.
Blame it on the hormones.
Lack of sleep.
Too many teenagers in the house?
Too much time to think.
Anyway, for your reading pleasure....written last night before collapse.
**********************************************

Must not appear weak.

Must not cry.

Must not show fear.

Must not snap at children.

Must not ask for help.

Must not.

Why?!?

Because I’m supposed to be strong?!?

Because I don’t want to scare my children?

Because I don’t want to scare myself?

There are so many reasons.

My husband has to concentrate on his job. If I dump it on him, I may distract him from his job. Can’t do that.

Other people have their own lives. They’re busy. If I dump on someone, they are going to run the other way screaming. I’ve lost too many potential friends that way. I NEED all of the friends I have.

I am too needy, apparently. I supposedly knew what I was getting into. Yeah, right.

I was the one who chose to have so many children. It’s all my fault, so I’m not allowed to ask for help.

I have to be a good student, have a perfectly clean house, get all of my work done on time, be the wife that my husband needs (which right now means running all over creation to get errands accomplished), be the perfect daughter (whatever that is…because apparently whatever it is, I can never meet up to that standard), never forget appointments, be sunny and cheerful at all times, have a well-developed, grounded and growing relationship with God – always in good standing with Him and all of His children (RIGHT), have all of the finances in order, the cars in perfect working condition, the dog and cat perfectly groomed and perfectly behaved, keep the neighbors happy, always drive the speed limit (good luck), and somehow wear that stupid perpetual smile/grin that is NOT me.

Meanwhile, deep inside, I want to cry. I need help with the 13+ loads of laundry per week, the kitchen is a mess, the dog stinks (and what *IS* that green spot on the carpet?!?), the cat escapes whenever she gets the chance, the kids are doing good to get their homework done each night, never mind the laundry, cleaning their rooms, and keeping up with outside commitments, I’m behind on my school work, AND on my work-work, my mother won’t talk to me, and I feel like a failure in almost every arena, at the moment.

The devil is really having a hey-day with me today. The tapes are playing loud and clear…but not quite loud enough to drown out the praise music in the background, or the beautiful words of encouragement from great friends.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Camera woes...

I took some more pictures...we had a friend from SC visit, who will also be deploying, and we had to get pictures with "Uncle Dave", but now the camera and computer aren't communicating, and I don't have the energy or patience to work through fixing it. So, I will get it fixed...eventually. Right now, I am dealing with a mid-term (10 essay questions!!), a paper, two extra (seminar-type) classes, and six busy and sad children, as well as a cat that has gone into mourning. I think I'm going to call it an early night, and get an early start on things tomorrow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

So Long, and thanks for all the....

...Good wishes!


We had a GREAT time tonight with 70+ people at our house for Jason's farewell party.


It was a TON of fun.

Great friends.


Good food.


Great conversation.


Lots of good wishes.

And prayers for the next year.


I am SO very thankful for my church family!!