Friday, December 28, 2012

The Mountains

I know it rains a lot here, I mean...really, a lot! But when the skies's amazing!! Today is one of those days! The skies are clear and I can see all 3 mountain ranges, the Cascades, the Olympics, and Mt. Rainier. They are so beautiful! I have tried numerous times to get good pictures of what I see from my house, but a camera can not capture the same greatness that the human eye sees. The intricate details are lost. God made our eyes so amazing!!

The mountains are one of the things that I LOVE about living here in the Pacific Northwest. When Mr. M's parents were out here visiting for 10 days in early December, they didn't get to see them once! I was so disappointed, because I wanted them to truly see their beauty! When my parents were here in August, it didn't rain once and we could see them almost every day! You just never know what it's going to do here...but most days, it just rains, lol.

I just remind myself that I'd rather have rain then for it to be 6 degrees outside and sunny!! Being from Wisconsin, I have dealt with some pretty cold winters in my life...I do not like the cold! So rain, doesn't bother me so much!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


It seems that I am always talking about moving on this blog! It's not time to move yet, but we did find out where we are going next...which makes me start "nesting". That's what Mr. M calls it, nesting. I start researching the area, looking at churches, looking for Junior Bible Quiz, looking for a home, researching homeschooling laws, etc. This move will be interesting as we have lived there before...3 times in fact! Yes, we are going back to Virginia!

Since we've spent 7 years there, you would think this would be easy...but it's not. Our kids are different ages now, we are different people, our needs have changed. The first thoughts go to our house there, we own a house in that area that is being rented right now. The family is not military and I am pretty sure they have intentions of staying there awhile. We also know that one of their children has a medical issue, which is why they moved there, to be closer to the hospitals he has to go to. We are only going to be there for 2 years. So do we really want to take back our house just because it would be the most convenient thing to do? Or do we want to keep good tenants and rent closer to the area that we would like to live this time? I mean, their lease would be up at the exact time that we would be moving there. What if we rent somewhere else and then they don't renew their lease? If we don't move back into our house, where should we rent? I would loved to be closest to whatever church we end up at but that's a little hard since we don't know where that will be yet! So many thoughts!

The church situation. We already know that there are no churches in that area that have Junior Bible Quiz...I'm so sad! My prayer is that we can find a church that would be interested in starting the program...but we'll see.

When we lived there last time, we visited or researched every Assembly of God church in that area and just could not find one we liked, so ended up at a different church. We have found over the years since then, that we really do like the AOG for our family. We like there to be leadership above just the church itself. In just the research I have done feelings are confirmed on that issue. One church we checked out that I remembered driving by a lot had some articles about them in the local paper and major things have happened at that church since we left, none of them good. So we checked out the church that is now at that same location and got some huge red flags while reading their Core Values. We know the AOG Core Values and Statement of Faith and we agree with them. So nothing against other churches, but AOG is the one for us!

So now we are researching all the AOG churches in the area. Hoping that we find something different then we did 8 years, it's been 8 years since we moved there last?! It seems like just yesterday! We have found a couple of churches that have some interesting things and one church in particular we keep coming back to. So we just have to continue to pray about it and follow God's leading.

We may be moving in about 8 months. That is so far away, yet the last 15 months has flown by!! We love it here in the Pacific Northwest and we love our church family! When we were opening up our Christmas cards this year, I was brought to tears. I had some friends telling us they don't want us to go away and to please choose to come back here again. Then other friends that were saying can't wait to see you! We feel so very blessed to have so many friends across this great country of ours. Separated by distance, but connected by love and being a part of God's family!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Light of the World

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. Ephesians 5:8

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9

I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. Psalm 101:3

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5: 19-22

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Mathew 5: 13-16
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dairy Free

This summer we realized that Little Man had a bowel problem. We weren't sure what exactly it was but after talking to some friends, we decided to go gluten free and dairy free. After just 1 day of this new diet, he improved 100%. It's hard to argue with that! After weeks on this new diet, we decided to add back in dairy. Day one we had no issues, day two was terrible. Right back to square one. So we went back on the diet. Mr. M and I were really hoping that dairy would be the only problem and that gluten would not. Gluten seemed so overwhelming, but we thought dairy would be easy! He loves both almond milk and coconut milk. We found coconut milk ice cream! He has never liked cheese all that much. So after a few weeks back on the diet, we added back in gluten and he was fine! We were so happy! So now we had our answer, his bowel issues were totally fixed, and life was good! Until the weather started to cool down.

You see, for breakfast, he could have cereal with his coconut or almond milk, toast, oatmeal, eggs, there are many options. I did run into an issue with pancakes since most pancake mixes have dairy in them, but I found one that didn't. For lunch he has homemade bread with peanut butter and homemade jelly, or meat and mayo, coconut yogurt, homemade applesauce, fruits and veggies. Over the summer for dinner we would grill a meat and then have steamed or grilled veggies, a salad (with dairy free dressing), and maybe rice or cut up fruit. Then as the weather started getting cooler, I got out the recipe book and started looking through all our usual fall recipes. Almost every single recipe has some sort of dairy in it. Then I started reading labels at stores...I can't believe some of the things that have dairy in it that I would have never guessed! I mean, you know to stay away from things like cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt, anything you buy in the dairy section! But then I find that there is dairy in chicken broth, in pretty much every snack food, all soups, and many other things that I just didn't know had dairy! Even croutons have dairy in them!!! I find myself still having to shop in the gluten free area since many of their items are also dairy free.

I don't even know how to cook for my family now. I really want to just stick my head in the sand! But I won't. Little Man deserves to eat without issues. And dairy free isn't going to hurt the rest of us...although I think it's against some kind of code being from Wisconsin and all!!

So, now I am on the search, for good, dairy free recipes for dinner! I already found one for pumpkin pie and whipped cream!! So Thanksgiving should be great!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dear Dad

I am so proud of you. You have now reached the 100 lb mark in your weight loss journey, and I know you will just keep on going. I wanted to let you know how much your weight loss has meant to me. I have always dreamed of the day when you are retired and hanging out at the Stout/May family homestead. Putzing around the shop, teaching my sons how to build things and how to fix things. As time went on though, I worried, your health was deteriorating and I wasn't sure if you were going to make it to retirement or if you would be able to enjoy it.

When you first mentioned having the surgery, I was really nervous about it. What if you didn't even wake up from the table? I was not ready to lose my Dad. But the reality was, I was losing you already. Once you made the decision to have the surgery, I decided to support you 100%, because if you didn't have the were going to die. Your weight, diabetes, infections, edema, everything was out of control. This was your only option. As the surgery drew near, I was so scared. I really wanted this for you but I was so scared too. Diabetics take longer to heal, what if he gets an infection, what if his heart stops? I prayed and prayed. 

In the week after your surgery, I know that was one of the hardest weeks of your life. None of us were prepared for how much pain you were going to be in, how hard it was going to be for you. But in time, it got better. You healed, you lost weight, you stuck to your diet, your meds were majorly reduced, and your outlook got better. As time went on, I was so excited to hear about the change in you. I couldn't wait for you to come visit me so I could SEE!

When you walked through security at the airport, I couldn't believe my eyes! You looked SO different!! You had lost 80lbs!! I was amazed and so proud of you! In the 10 days that you were here visiting, I fell in love with my Dad all over again. 

You are a different person! You were engaged in conversation, you played with the kids, you helped me do some shopping and going to get new furniture for the kids bedrooms and helped me move stuff in and out of rooms. You only took 1 nap!!! You used to sit and fall asleep all the time and just watch tv. Now we sat around and talked and laughed and told stories, and hung out and just enjoyed each others company. I SO enjoyed our visit!!

Your surgery has given you a new lease on life! I again can picture our dream of the homestead and having you and Mom there with us. I picture you hanging out with my kids, I picture us having healthy meals together, I picture you being there when my kids get married! 

I wasn't ready to lose my Dad! Now, I don't have to. I am so proud of you, Dad, for taking this step to better your health. You are a great example to us all. I am so happy that this has already affected YOUR life so much! I'm glad that you bought a motorcycle again and are enjoying your life. I'm glad that you don't have to be so tired all the time, and I'm glad that some day you will be off ALL your diabetes medications. 

So on this day, Dad, I want you to know...I want the whole world to know, that I am so incredibly proud of you! You are a great Dad and I love you so much!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Joy from the Lord

My 3 year old, after watching the movie Tangled, walks around saying, "This is the best day ever!!". It's SO cute! All the little things that happen in his day, he proclaims, "This is the best day ever!!" I had posted about this on facebook and a friend had said, "Just think if we all had such a great attitude toward life!"

This got me to thinking, we should have this attitude, I should have this attitude. So I decided that this would be my new motto. This is the best day ever!! Even if it's not, that will be my motto! Fake it till you make it! If you are feeling down in the dumps, and you are wallowing in your self pity, you aren't going to feel any better. But if you are feeling down and you try and change your attitude by being cheerful and thankful...pretty soon you aren't feeling so bad!

Last Saturday morning, we took Mr. M to his ship and he sailed away. He's been gone for 1 week today. It was sad, I miss him. But I am not going to walk around for months feeling like that! Every day is a brand new gift from God!! Every day, there is a blessing to be counted!

On Sunday, we had a bit of a rough morning cause we overslept and were a little late getting to church, I hate being late. I served in JBQ and then helped with check-in in kids church and by the time I went to service, I was feeling great! Every time some one asked me how I was doing...I said, "This is the best day ever!" 

Pastor Joe's message on Sunday was amazing!! It was called Remember, Appreciate, Anticipate. It was all about remembering what God has done for His children (and for me) in the past, appreciating it, and anticipating the blessings that will come in the future. God loves us so much and He will bless us! The whole message was SO in line with what God had been telling me! Even though we are going through a hard time right now, with Mr. M having to be away from us, we can anticipate the blessings that God has for us in the midst of this. Instead of focusing on the hard time we are going through, we need to focus on the positive things. I am so blessed to have such an amazing husband who loves me and is such an amazing Father to our children, I am blessed that my husband will come home again, I am blessed that we have a warm home, food to eat, family and friends who love me and support me, a church where we are free to worship the Lord, and a church family who has come along beside me to walk this road with me. And many more! I am overwhelmed with the blessings that God has given to us!

I went up to the altar to pray and a friend came over and asked what she could pray with me about. I told her that I was filled with so much joy and thankfulness right now and that I pray that God will help me to have that every morning! That when I start to feel like I am going into the pit...that I would remember the joy that God has given me!! While we were praying, Pastor Joe came over and laid his hand on my shoulder and prayed for me, in front of the congregation, with his mic on. Honestly, I'm not even entirely sure what he said. I was so filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. I just felt surrounded by peace and goodness and joy!! It was an amazing morning!

I have had my ups and downs this week. We started school and the first couple days were a little rough, but then after being able to talk to Mr. M and receiving some great advice from a good friend and fellow homeschooler, the rest of the week went great! Some days have been filled with busyness, others have had a little sadness mixed in. 
Today, I am a LITTLE sad. But I have found I can be a little sad and joyful at the same time! Cause my sadness comes from my human emotions, but my joy comes from the Lord! So even though I miss my honey like crazy, I am filled with so much love for him, and that is something to be joyful about!! I feel very, very blessed that God chose me to be Mr. M's wife. He knew that I could do this! He knew that I would turn to Him for my strength! The joy of the Lord is my strength!


The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Pray for My Children

Little Man said to me the other day, "Mom, I have never heard God speak to me." He's 5! Almost 6, but seriously! It was a deep thought. Not just a random child like thought. I told him that when he prays, he needs to be quiet and listen for God's still, small voice. Later at bedtime, he prayed one of his amazing prayers and then he asked his Dad to be quiet with him so that he can listen for God. Then he said, "I still don't hear anything." Mr. M went into a deeper discussion about what it's like to hear God. I don't know if he understands or not, it's something that a lot of adults even struggle with.

When Little Man was younger, a Pastor gave us a word that God had something big for him. God has a calling on his life. When I listen to his prayers, I believe it! I can't even explain it. He prays with his whole heart, he prays about things that God lays on his heart. He prays for his Dad when he is gone,  that he will be safe, that he will do a great job, that he will keep America safe, and that he won't miss us too much and be sad.

I wonder if by him wanting to hear from God, if he is looking for some reassurance. To know that God is listening, that He hears him. Tonite, I will be talking to him about how one of the main ways that God speaks to us is through His word. I will be sharing some scriptures with him that I hope will comfort him and give him peace in his heart.

Yesterday was also a rough day for Princess. She has been teary all week. She really doesn't want Daddy to leave again. Her heart is broken. She has a list of things she wants to do before he leaves again and she was feeling like her list was getting longer and none of it was getting done. I feel like no matter how much we do or how much of the list gets checked won't be enough. He will still miss her birthday, and family camp, and camping, and everything fun that we will do this summer.

Mr. M and I went with her on Sunday up to the altar to be prayed for. I thought she would feel better after that but she said to me, "Mom, I'm not afraid, I just don't want him to leave again. I want him here." So we are going to look up some scriptures for her that God will give her comfort. That He will take away the sadness and the ache in her heart.

Tink has really been vying for his attention this week as well. She just wants him to herself. She wants to talk to him and share her heart and what's going on in her life. It's hard with 3 other siblings who also need him. She is a little more withdrawn and I worry that she doesn't talk about her feelings at all. She spends a lot of time reading her Bible and I am hoping that she is finding comfort in that.

Scooter is just so happy Daddy is home and wants him to do everything with him. But he doesn't really even understand that Daddy will be leaving again, or for how long. When Mr. M is gone, Scooter cries for him.

Lord, please comfort my children. Speak to their hearts and let them know you are near. Help me to guide them in your word and in their lives. Take the sadness out of this house and bring us a joy and a peace that passes ALL understanding. Amen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pre-deployment Phase

I was reading a blog that I found today and on her page she talks about the 3 stages of deployment. Pre-deployment, Deployment, and Reintegration. We are in the Pre-deployment stage, and this is what she says about it, which I thought described it very well.

This is that uncomfortable time frame when you are preparing for deployment. Mindsets are shifting; practical preparations need to be made, nervousness and questions abound as the calendar ticks down to good-bye day.  I have found this to be a very difficult time. My husband would be going back and forth for multiple training missions for a few weeks at a time, so he was in and out for months prior to deployment. While this may have seemed to some as good practice leading up to deployment, it was actually harder because we were unable to settle into a routine. Neither was he, and we would finally get to  a point of just wishing the deployment would start, so we could start counting down to the end.
If you find yourself in this time frame, I would encourage you to remember just a few things. 

Look at the big picture.  Understand that your feelings are normal and that it is all part of a process. Just knowing that there is a predictable cycle can be helpful in taking the sting out of your emotions.

Educate and prepare yourself.  Be proactive in reading about deployment issues. This information is readily available on many websites, books and through the military. Educating yourself about deployment will remove some of the power of fear.

Grace. For yourself and your family. It will be a roller-coaster of emotions. Be ready to be forgiving and patient.

The pre-deployment stage is HARD. Unless you are military, you don't understand. During the training cycle (pre-deployment), I have had people ask me how long is he going to be gone? I usually can't give a very accurate answer and since we shouldn't really be talking about ship's movement...I usually give a very generic answer. Sometimes, I might say, "a week or two." To which I get a response, "Oh! That's not that bad!" To which I just want to say, "Really? You think it's not that bad? How about next week when he leaves for 2 weeks, or a couple weeks after that when he leaves for 10 weeks, or how about when he gets to come home after that for only a few weeks and then leave again? How about when he misses 3 of his kids that bad enough? How about when after all these not too bad LITTLE away times he leaves for 8 months or more?" I'm not mad or anything, I know that if you are not military, you don't know you shouldn't say things like that. So I just smile and say, "Nope, not too bad." One week may not seem bad, but when you add it all up...even one week is hard. These shorter underway times are not good practice...they just make it harder. You know they are going to be leaving for a long time and all you want to do is spend every moment with them. Instead they are gone more then they are home and you get very little of them at all. And when he is home, he's trying to do things around the house to make life easier for me when he leaves again...when all I really want is for him to snuggle with me on the couch and talk.

It's hard to get into a routine when he is coming and going so much. When he's home, we don't want to do anything with anyone else...we want to hibernate! But we can't always do that every time he comes and goes. The kids have end of the year stuff going on at church and baseball and we can't just back out of everything because Daddy is home again. It's different when he comes home from deployment, it's great to take a break from everything then...but we can't do that during's just not practical!

During the moments that he is home, I need to make sure that we are taking care of business stuff too. We have to get a Power of Attorney and make sure all the bills are in my name and discuss car stuff and lawn stuff and money stuff and figure out how much money he can take out each month to have with him and talk about expectations for communication.

So that brings us to her 3 steps. Look at the big picture - my feelings are normal!! That's good to know! Lol, I know that they are and that we go through this before every deployment. It's a little harder this time around since we just had 3 years of shore duty. But I know that all this is normal and this too shall pass.

Educate and prepare this one I am really good at!! This will be our 5th deployment so I know the ropes, but I still read everything as a refresher!

Grace. Such a little word that means so much. Have grace with myself and my family. Have grace with my friends, who maybe don't get it, but they love me so much and just want to support me in any way they can. And grace that God has for me too. I wouldn't be able to do ANY of this without the grace of God. His mercies are new every morning!! When people ask me, "How do you do it?" I know that it's because God gives me what I need every morning to get through that matter which stage of the deployment we are in! I thank the Lord for my wonderful husband whom I love and who is patient with me when times are hard and emotions are overflowing, I am thankful for my children who bring so much joy to my life, I am thankful for my family and friends that support me emotionally from afar, and I am thankful for my new friends here who will support me during each stage of this new deployment and be my Aaron and Hur when I feel like I can't do it anymore.

I don't like this pre-deployment stage, it's hard, but I know that with God's grace, we will get through this and deployment and reintegration. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

What Memorial Day Means to Me

When some people think of Memorial Day they think of cook outs with family, beautiful weather, planting the spring garden or flower beds, and doing yard work. Many think of the military and say kind words about appreciating their sacrifices. I'm sure some people don't think much about it at all, it's just a day off.

When I think of Memorial Day...only one thing comes to my mind. Ricky Nelson.

I didn't really know Ricky Nelson well, but I know his family. On April 14th, 2008, at the age of 23...Ricky was killed in Iraq. He was newly married...his wife became a widow. His parents lost their son. His 5 brothers and 1 sister lost their brother. Many lost an amazing friend. He was so many things to so many people...and they lost him. Thankfully he is not lost forever, because of our hope in Jesus Christ, we will see him again one day.

Exactly one month from Ricky's death, my husband came home from Iraq.

One year later, our 4th child was born.

One year after that, on Memorial Day weekend, our family placed a flag at Ricky's grave.

Life goes on. Because of the sacrifice that Ricky gave, our life goes on. Because of the sacrifice that so many have given, we can have our picnics and our get togethers and our 3 day weekend to plant flowers and hang out with our loved ones.

Because of their sacrifice, we have freedom...and it is NOT FREE. So on this Memorial Day, I WILL enjoy my children and my day...and I will remember their sacrifice.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Rest in Peace, Ricky, you will never be forgotten.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

God's Promises

It's amazing how God works. Even through facebook, lol. Mr. M left April 16th and was supposed to be gone for 3 weeks. They had to pull into San Diego for a day and ended up being stuck there for the whole time. Which delayed them coming home, so they were gone for a month. It was tough but we, of course, made it through. 

Yesterday I started feeling kind of anxious and I thought to myself...I can't do this. I can't be here and him not be here. He can't leave me for 8 months or more plus all the training time beforehand. I can't do it again. I don't know how I did this before and I can't do it again. And I felt so lost. There is nothing we can do. This is his job, there is no out. I am a military wife and this is my job. To stay here and hold it together. But how can I do it?

Today I woke up and had to take him to the ship to leave again. I am not feeling good and then had to say goodbye and my feelings from yesterday surfaced again. This afternoon I went on facebook and these are the posts I have seen in my feed today.

This hard place in which you perhaps find yourself is the very place in which God is giving you opportunity to look only to Him, to spend time in prayer, and to learn long-suffering, gentleness, meekness - in short, to learn the depths of the love that Christ Himself has poured out on all of us.

Isaiah 54:10, "'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the LORD, who has compassion on you." 

‎"Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 

We all have something to overcome; don't think that you're the only one. God will be you strength if you let Him.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you, Lord, for the reminder of your promises.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Love Languages

Years ago, I took a test to find out what my love languages were ( I don't totally remember where all of them fell, but I remember my top one and my bottom one. My top one was Acts of Service. This was obvious to me and I didn't need to take a test to tell me that I like to be a team with my husband. I like him to help me with things around the house and things with our child...we only had 1 at the time. 

The bottom one was physical touch. The other ladies in the Mom's class that I was a part of were shocked. Not only was it at the bottom...but it got a big ol' fat ZERO! It wasn't that I did not like physical touch, which was their interpretation, it just wasn't my love language. I felt like the test was rigged against me!! If you ask me a question like, do I like my husband to hold my hand or do I like my husband to help with the dishes...of course I am going to put help with the dishes!!! Holding hands isn't going to get the dishes done by either of us! But if we do the dishes together, then there is plenty of time for more then just holding hands!! 

The other ladies made it their goal that they were going to help me change my love language and make me more comfortable with physical touch by giving me a hug every time they saw me, I mean, my poor husband! I must never allow him to touch me, right? This is where I roll my eyes. If only I would have been bold enough to say, "Trust me ladies, my husband is not complaining when it comes to the bedroom!" But I was young and didn't think it was appropriate to talk about such things at church! And doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of the Love Languages? You are supposed to figure out what they are and how to communicate with your spouse through that...not change them to make someone else happy!

Learning about the five languages has definitely helped me in my marriage, my parenting, and in other relationships too. If you know what someone's love language is, you can love them in their own language and improve your relationship with them. Or if I am having difficulties in a relationship, I can almost always contribute it to that we are speaking a completely different love language.

There are times, though, when you can figure out someone's love language and try to love on them in that way...and it still doesn't work. Some relationships just have a complete disconnect no matter how much you love them or how much you try.

Today, I decided to take the test again. I was curious if my love languages have changed over the years. This was the result: Acts of Service (11), Quality Time (9), Physical Touch (5), Words of Affirmation (4), Receiving Gifts (1). So Acts of Service is still at the top, which again, doesn't surprise me. Quality time doesn't surprise me either, I feel loved when people spend their time with me. Physical Touch has moved up!!! I think part of this was because it got matched up with questions about receiving gifts. I also think that with now having 4 children, there is not as much daily physical contact...therefor it's appreciated a bit more. And I do love my honey's massages! I'm actually surprised that Words of Affirmation is as high as it is since usually it makes me uncomfortable, but I do like it when Mr. M says he is proud of me or when someone thanks me for doing something for them, so I guess it makes sense. The bottom one this time around is Receiving Gifts, and the only thing that surprised me about this one was that it got anything! Lol. I'm not big on gifts at all! I'd rather not get gifts for my birthday or Christmas or any other holidays for that matter. I would much rather you spent time with me then buy me a gift. So some things have shifted around, some remain the same. We grow and change and love changes us too!

The one thing that really struck me about my top 2 love languages, Acts of Service and Quality Time, is that my husband can not do either of these when he is away with the military. He can't give me Physical Touch either. So my top 3 are totally impossible for him. NOW I say, my poor husband! It's really amazing that we have such a wonderful marriage after 17 years of him being in the military. It would be much easier for him if my love languages were Words of Affirmation or Receiving Gifts...but they just aren't. 

So how does a marriage not only survive, but thrive, even when your love languages aren't being met? The answer is simple for me...God. God is the language of love!! No one can love me like Him.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


We started our homeschooling journey 7 years ago! Hard to believe it's been that long! Tink started out in Kindergarten in WA state and then at Christmas time we moved from WA to VA and Mr. M deployed. That 6 months of school in VA was horrible. I watched my beautiful butterfly who loved to learn wilt away into nothingness and not want to learn anything. I didn't know what to do! We had numerous meetings with her teacher, the school counselor and other school officials. Nothing mattered. The teacher was terrible. When I tell my teacher friends about how Tink was treated, they are appalled! It certainly wasn't the idea I had in my head of what school was going to be like for my child. It wasn't just the teacher either, the whole school administration did not match up with the education we wanted for our child.

I knew people who homeschooled, they all had pretty great kids. But I couldn't homeschool...I had no idea how to do that! I don't know how to teach! I mean teaching her to talk and walk and go to the bathroom on the toilet and the abc's and counting and reading... really didn't count! Did it? So after much prayer and being scared to death...we took the plunge!

We chose to go with ABeka. I love ABeka! It has been a wonderful thing for our whole family, for the most part. The last couple of years, the girls have done the DVD lessons, which was great for a time. This year, we are all really bored with it! So we are thinking about changing it up next year entirely and trying some other curriculum's! This is terrifying! I almost feel like I did when I first pulled Tink out of school!

The most wonderful thing in the world though, is being surrounded by an amazing group of homeschooling Mom's who are encouraging, helpful, and FULL of information!! I am SO looking forward to learning about all the other wonderful curriculum's that are out there and choosing what is best for our family! We love homeschooling, I am SO glad that God chose this path for us, and I am really looking forward to bringing our family even closer together!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I forgot how it feels...

When Mr. M first got commissioned, he went right to a ship. It was out here in WA and we were only here for 9 months before it did a 'round the world' tour and ended up in VA after their deployment. He was on that ship for 2 years and then went right to another ship in VA and was gearing up for a deployment cycle when he got picked for an IA to Iraq. That was a shocker! He was gone for that deployment for a year. After he got back from there, we got to go to shore duty and we were stationed back home near WI. It was a wonderful 2 years of refreshment for our family! Then he got picked to go to NY for a tour of recruiting, which got cut short...thank the Lord!! Then he got the job he really wanted and he is back on another ship out here in WA again.

He's not on deployment yet, but he's just, well, gone. He'll be gone a lot this year...and next year...he's on a ship! There are 2 sayings you hear a lot in the Navy, "Haze gray and underway" and "Sailors belong on ships and ships belong at sea". Many non-military people don't understand that it's not just the deployment. Ships are gone A LOT and it doesn't always mean they are deployed, but it does mean he is away from us. Also, many non-military people do not understand that I can not talk about ships schedule. So you can ask me if he's home or not and I can tell you, but if he's home, I can't tell you for how long... and if he's gone, I can't tell you when he'll be back. And I definitely can't tell you when the deployment is! Plus a lot of the time...I don't even know myself! It's really hard in today's social media age to not talk about it. It's really not safe for me to talk about him being gone all the time. Plus, we just aren't supposed to!

But what I CAN talk about are my feelings!

I forgot what it was like for him to be away! I forgot how I go from feeling like I have a pretty normal life to feeling completely cut off from my spouse. I can not call him and most of the time, he can not call me. We can not skype. I can email him, and hopefully he will get it and hopefully he'll have time to respond...but usually he only has time for a quick I love you note. So I can email him this long email talking to him about all the things going on here with the kids and how much I miss him and talk about things I have been wanting to talk to him about like which preschool should we choose, and maybe we'll change homeschool curriculums next year, and what do you think about going away for Easter if you are home, and many other things that you would just talk to your spouse about when they get home from work or after you have the kids all tucked into bed at night. When I tuck my kids into bed at house is eerily quiet and lonely. And if and when I get a response to my email it usually says something like this, "Beautiful, thank you so much for your email. I love and miss you so much. Hopefully we'll talk soon. Love, Mr. M". And I will tear up and I will be so grateful that he had a moment to let me know how much he loves me.

I forgot how hard it can be on the kids. The first couple days are great! We just plug along and stick to our routine. Then about day 3 I notice the kids are being pretty crabby with each other and pretty crabby with me. They miss their Daddy. When he comes home at the end of the day when he's here, it's a big celebration! Whoever hears the garage door or sees him walk in the door first yells, "Daddy's home!!" And all the kids go running to him and hug him and cheer for him...this is EVERY day. So when he doesn't come home, I don't hear much about it until bedtime. Then I hear things like, "I really miss Daddy." "Will Daddy be home soon?" "Dear God, please take care of Daddy while he is away from us." Sometimes there are frowns, sometimes there are teary eyes. But as I tuck them into bed, I just remind them how much their Daddy loves them and I pray with them and kiss them goodnight...and hope that it can be enough.

But I have not forgotten how blessed I am. Blessed that I have such an amazing husband who loves me so much, blessed to have my wonderful children, blessed to have family and friends who love me and support me as best they can when he is away, blessed that my husband has come home to me when so many others have not. This I have not forgotten.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pinewood Derby

This past Saturday we took part in the Pinewood Derby at our church. This is our 4th year and our 3rd state to participate in. We LOVE Pinewood Derby!! This is an opportunity for us to work together with our kids on something fun that we can ALL help in. We buy the kits with the block of wood, wheels, axles, and instructions in December usually with a big plan to work on them over Christmas stand down. (Christmas stand down is the time around Christmas when Mr. M has shorter hours and more time off then usual due to the way they schedule every one's vacation time.) We usually don't start the cars till February though, lol.

The kids pick a theme for their cars and then pick out the design for the frame. Mr. M then cuts the block of wood. I couldn't tell you what he used to cut them with, but this year he finally bought a new power tool to cut them...I couldn't tell you what kind either! All I know is what a difference it made!! He was happier, the cars turned out nicer, and it went a lot faster!!

Then comes the sanding. I don't like this part. Just when the kids get them sanded down to perfection, Mr. M breaks out a finer sand paper to start all over again! We went through this 3 times before I finally said enough! They are fine enough and I have wood dust all over my kitchen!! Lol, but the kids do have fun doing it and even Scooter did some sanding on his car.

On to the painting! I think this is the kids favorite part. They pick their main color for their cars and we get all set up at the table and paint away. Then they have to let it dry before they can put on the 2nd coat, and sometimes it even needs a 3rd or 4th. This year was great cause we have finally built up quite a collection of paint colors so we didn't have to buy any! Although next year we may try spray painting. We saw some friends cars this year that looked pretty cool and shiny! Princess for sure liked that! But I don't know if spray painting will produce these smiles!

So after all the painting, we then put the design on the cars, the names of the cars and anything else special. Once the cars themselves are totally done, it's time for the wheels. This is probably the hardest part of the car. You want to make sure the wheels are on the axles tightly enough...but not too tight! Then you want to make sure the axles go on the car straight and centered. However, our cars had slots for the axles that were not we had to adjust the axles for that and I don't think it worked great...since a couple of our cars didn't do so great! We even used one of our table leafs on the floor propped up to make sure the car would run straight! Lol, wish I would have gotten pics of that! We had a great time though!

Once the cars were totally done, we did our photo shoot and then put them up so there was no playing with them before check in! We also included pics of their previous cars.

Tink's car - The Bubbler - She wanted to put a motor in it so that it would actually blow bubbles as it went down the track. She has such creativity! We did not do that as it's probably not allowed to get the track wet! Her other cars were: Star Car, Hummingbird Dasher, and Flower Power.

Princess's car - Scissor Flash - was fun for both of us! She really, really wanted a scissor-tailed fly catcher painted on her car. I told her she needed to do something that she could do herself, but she was very persistent! I had done it for Tink when she did her Hummingbird Dasher, so I finally said yes. It is only by the Grace of God that it looks like it does!! I am not an artist by any means and have NO IDEA how it looks as good as it does! Tink also wanted us to put a sound chip in it for Princess so it would sound like a scissor-tail fly catcher. Yeah, that didn't happen either! Her other cars: Princess Rocket Car, Speedy Num Nums (which looks like a Zhu Zhu pet), and Peace Dasher.

Little Man's car - Night Fury - turned out really good! He wanted a jet car. You can't put wings on a car or it will be too wide for the track, so we had to figure out how to make it look like a jet. He was very happy with the results. He named it Night Fury after the dragon in How to Train Your Dragon. His first car was one that we did mostly for him since he was only 3, then his 2nd one I did the shield and the outline on the sides for the wings and he painted them in, this one he did much more of. I look forward to how much more he'll be able to do it next year! I love watching their cars grow with them! Previous cars: Lightening McQueen and Captain America.

Scooter's car - Thomas the Tank Engine - was so much fun! Last year we just bought a little wooden train for him to paint while his siblings were painting their derby cars. When we were at race day he was very upset and had a total melt down that he didn't get to race that train! So this year we decided to help him do a car. I was surprised at how much he did do of the car, he really wanted to do it. He painted a lot of the main blue color and he even did some sanding! Then I had fun doing the rest! We used wooden dowels for all the parts that are round and just glued them on. The face took me 6 tries!!!! As I said, I am NOT an artist! But I finally got it to look ok! The best part? Scooter LOVES his car!!!

This past Wednesday we helped with check in for the cars. They can weigh up to 5.0 oz on the "official" scale and if they are over or under you can request for the team of guys there to help get them to standard. I did the paperwork side and Mr. M helped with the cars. It was a lot of fun! We added some graphite to the wheels and said goodby to our cars till Saturday.

Race Day! We got to church at 9am and got seats right up front. We got to hang out with great friends and just had a wonderful morning! Little Man's car was one of the first to race and it was doing really bad!! I think his was one of the worst with the axle issue. I mean, his car was like a foot behind everyone else. He was SO disappointed! The last run, one of the guys sprayed the bottom of the car with silicone and then it came in first!! Little Man was ecstatic!!! The guy came over to apologize for not doing it sooner but it didn't really matter, we were having a great time and that one race was enough for Little Man! He was all smiles! He didn't need hardware to make his day!

After a few other groups it was Princess's turn. Her car didn't do so well either, but she came in about the middle of the pack. She was a little disappointed but still had a great time and loves her car! We got a nice shot of her race.

Then one of the last groups was the 13 and up open category. Tink is in this category and so was Scooter. They don't have a category for 2 year olds, and since I did most of the car, this is the group it went in. We got some great shots of this race, as did another friend whose pic was my opening picture at the top. Each car had to run in each lane so that is why they are in different lanes every time.

Tink's car did ok and was in the middle of the pack like Princess's. She was disappointed too, lol. They have always done pretty well...but people here take the Derby pretty seriously so we got some great tips for next year!

Now Scooter's car did pretty good!!! He got 1st in show and 3rd for the race! He was SO excited!! We let him go up there himself and get his car and his trophies. He was so cute and took home trophies for both! He marched up there and took his car and his trophy and got in line with the other teens and grown ups. I wish I had video taped it, it was so funny!

A great time was had by all! And we can't wait till next year! Maybe I will make my OWN car next year! :o)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I decided for Valentines Day to re-post our love story.

This is going to be a long post so get a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. and settle in.

It all started when my friend Reece called me from California. She just moved there and she told me that she had met the man that I was going to marry. I told her that I am not coming to California to meet some dumb guy... yes, those were my exact words. (Later I I found out that he saw a picture of Reece and I together and he told her that he was going to marry me!)

A few months later, my friend (and coincidentally Mr. M) moved to Hawaii. She called me and asked me if I would consider coming there for awhile. She was expecting her first child and wanted a friend. Hmmm, move to Hawaii...ahhh, yeah!

We met the day after I got there, late December 1993. We went to pick my friend's husband up for lunch and Mr. M and his friend came walking out of the building. She called him over to say hello. We shook hands and said nice to meet you and all that. He was pretty cute! I was that's the one huh? She was certain!

A few days later at the New Year's Eve party we went to on base, he danced with everyone there but me. He said later he didn't purposely not pay attention to me...yeah right Mr. Hard to get!

So the next day a bunch of the guys came over to my friends house and we were playing cards and such, just hanging out. That's when he and I both started flirting terribly with each other. He started coming over almost every day after that to see me. We would hang out with my friends or go for long walks and sit at the park on the swings and just talk. He really wanted to know me.

Our first actual date was Magical!! It was Jan. 15th, 1994. He took me to Chi-Chi's, which was my favorite restaurant. He had a rose waiting at the table for me, we had a wonderful time! On the way home we were listening to the radio and 'I love the way you love me' by John Michael Montgomery came on. I was like..."oh I love this song!!!" He asked if I minded if we stopped at the NEX (a Navy store) real quick, I said it was fine. I waited in the car and he came out with the John Michael Montgomery CD with that song on it. He opened it up and put it in and we listened to it again. Of course later this became 'our song'.

For Valentine's Day that year, he bought 4 tickets (2 for us and 2 for my friends, how nice is that?!) to a dinner cruise in Waikiki. This should have been the most romantic date ever! Candle light, 7 course meal, dancing, a dinner show, the waves going up and down...yeah, I spent almost the entire night in the bathroom...I didn't get to eat anything! You'd think he would have run after that huh?! Nope, he just kept telling me it was ok to all my sorry's. I never knew I would get so sea sick!

We were practically inseparable after that! In March, my friend went into the hospital to have her baby, then it was time for me to go home. Our time together was bittersweet. I felt like we were saying goodbye forever, I didn't see how this could ever work...long distance relationships don't work! He knew that I was the one. I pretty much cried the entire flight home. I even fell asleep at the airport in Chicago on my 2nd layover and missed my flight! My Mom and friend had to pick up my luggage in Milwaukee and then come pick me up in Chicago. I still haven't lived that one down!

The first time he called me, I was really surprised. Then we started spending hours on the phone...computers weren't that rampant back then! We spent a lot of money on those phone bills! We would talk for hours just like we used to when we would walk around housing in Hawaii. In May of 94, he came to visit me in Wisconsin as well as his parents and siblings from NY. He was planning a proposal! His first idea didn't work cause it involved me being pulled over by the police and that day, I got into a terrible car accident. Then his next idea didn't work out either for various reasons. His family went back to NY and still no proposal...I didn't know all the details of why he hadn't proposed yet...I thought he changed his mind! Finally, he proposed when we were miniature golfing with some friends, it was really cute!

So he went back to Hawaii and I started planning our wedding! We were married in Wisconsin that October (1994). He came in from Hawaii and his family came in from NY and we had other family and friends from all over the place! After we were married I moved to Hawaii with him where we lived for 2 years. Some honeymoon huh?!

So 17 years, 4 kids and 8 duty stations later...we are still splendidly in love! Not that it's always been perfect. After all, you can't have a perfect marriage with two imperfect people! But we still love each other. I still get butterflies when he calls to tell me he's on his way home from work and I still miss him like crazy when he is away from us.

Today when I was looking for a wedding picture, I came across my wedding vows. When I read them, it's so great to know that I love him even more today then I did that wonderful day. I decided to share them with you. Before that though, here's a crazy picture! He's supposed to be helping me onto the bus but by the look on his'd think he was kidnapping me! Too funny!

Here are my wedding vows!

When we first met, I certainly wasn't looking for love, but your friendship intrigued me. You took the time to get to know me, and on one occasion I read you a poem, I'd like to read that again now.

"I promise you my love...without any limits. To accept the things you believe in and to always try to understand you. To be near you whenever you need my presence. To trust in your love for me and pray that it grows stronger every day. To watch our love grow together through the years. I promise to soothe your mind and body. To plan with you, dream with you, to do my best to show you how much I love you. For you have become my world, my heart, my life, and my future for ever. "

I told you that one day I would feel that way about someone and then, I would marry that person. Little did I know that I was looking into that very person's baby-browns. Every day since then I have felt our love & friendship growing. People say when you fall in love it seems your whole world turns upside down. When we fell in life turned right side up again. With each passing day, a piece of our puzzle falls into place. Every time we find something in common, every time our differences compliment each other, a puzzle piece is put gently into place to bring us together in God's great plan for our destiny. Now, today, the final piece of our puzzle is being placed.

I take you to be my husband, and these things I promise you: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect you as you have always shown me the greatest respect; I will trust you, help, and care for you. I will share every part of my life with you. I will forgive you as we have been forgiven. And I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world, and God: through the best and worst of what is to come as long as we both shall live. I love you!

It's funny to me now, reading those vows I wrote so many years ago, how I mentioned that the final piece of the puzzle was being placed. Little did I know that it was only the final piece of the frame work of the puzzle. Through out our lives we continue to place more puzzle pieces. With each child that was born, every sorrow, every joy, every time he came back to me safely from deployment, with every kiss...we place another piece.