Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reaching Out, For Healing...

In life, there are those people who spend a short amount of physical time in your life but remain a part of your heart for many years to come.  Those people who, for whatever reason, your time with them was too short. 

In the military life, there are far too many of those instances.  People come into your life and with very little warning; orders are ripped, a new home is determined and those friendships become friends with miles of separation. 


I met Darnell in 2010, while we were both stationed at Aviano Air Base, in Italy.  We were both members of a women's Bible study group and very quickly, I grew to admire this genuinely beautiful woman. 
At the time I was pregnant with our Princepessa and spent quite a few Bible study mornings in the comfort of my home.  I distinctly remember after returning from a couple week hiatus, questioning whether or not I had been "out of commission" for longer than a couple weeks. I walked in and was quickly greeted with a smile and bubbly "hi" from a woman I had never met.  (Now, its not uncommon for newcomers to swiftly come in, but I was floored by this particular newcomers gusto.)
After introductions, and watching her interactions with the other ladies in our group, my admiration of this new found friend began to grow. 

She not only was beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well.  A true mirror image of God's love, in human form.

A few months later, in February of 2011, I was about 11 weeks from my due date and decided to go home for a quick visit with family.  Unfortunately, my husbands leave was not approved so I packed up my 2 little men and boarded the plane to cross the Atlantic alone.  In all my preparations and angst, I completely forgot to pack the paperwork stating my boys and I were allowed back into Italy as more than just tourist.  Without giving all the boring details- this tiny slip of paper caused us quite the headache! While trying to board our flight out of Baltimore, being told I may or may not be allowed to go any further than Germany, and crying through silent prayers; I spotted a couple familiar faces!  Darnell and her husband, James, were in line to board the plane as well.  After attending a family funeral, they too were on their way home.  Obviously distraught, Darnell asks me what is wrong and again trying to choke back tears I explain our circumstances.  What happened next is proof of this woman's admirable character.  In the middle of BWI, she and her husband, set down their bags and take my hands and pray with me.  They began to declare victory for me and my boys.  Praying that we would find favor and would in fact be allowed back into Italy.  I walked away feeling very hopeful.  My boys and I boarded the plane and took flight to our first stop.  Germany. I then hear my name called and we are given permission to deboard the flight first.  As we are exiting I look back and see Darnell smiling with fingers crossed.  I can say without any doubt that during those long hours in air, I remained in her (and James') prayers.  I was greeted by a man in uniform who says "I know you have two little ones and you are pregnant, but I need you to run as fast as possible so we can get you on the connecting flight home."  I almost lost it.  All of it!  All control I was holding in, all the tears and fear and worry.... My prayers had been answered!  God was and is SO good!  As soon as I could, I found Darnell and thanked her for her prayers and in all my thanksgiving, she never seemed phased.  Not only was she humble in reception of my thanks; but she seemed as if she KNEW God was going to come through for us.  Faith unshaken! 

I would have never guessed what was going on in her personal life. 

Two and a half years later, Darnell just fought the fight of a lifetime and is now standing in the gap and fighting for others. 

You see, Darnell was born with Hepatitis C that she contracted from her Mom.  In 1970, Darnell's Mom, Dona contracted Hep C from a blood transfusion.  Darnell has spent the last several months undergoing Chemotherapy, and today, she is happy to report she is HEALED! 
Currently stationed in Missouri with her husband, Darnell just recently moved home to be with her Mom.  For now, her Mom's story is not as happy as hers.  Dona's Hepatitis C, over time evolved into stage 4 cirrhosis and liver cancer.  At the moment, Dona is fighting the battle of her life and a liver transplant is her only option for survival.  By God's mercy and all powerful grace, Dona is currently on the transplant list and waiting her time out; however this family needs some big help.   $75,00- $80,000 worth of help! 

I know that is a big number.  An intimidating number.  Can you imagine the thoughts that have crossed Dona's and her families minds?  Sitting here, after personally knowing Dona's daughter, I can say with certainty, that in spite of that big number this family has hope.  They have faith.  Faith unshaken!  Even with all the hope and faith, though, they still need our help.  I'm reaching out and asking that you search your hearts!  Follow the link below and listen to Darnell tell her mom's story.  Hear the voices of those who's lives are personally changed by knowing Dona.  Remind yourself that this is someone's Mother.  Someone's Wife.  Those "someone's" are my friends, and want to see their loved one become a survivor!  Please, pray and donate to this family.  To this woman of God, and her journey towards healing; and please share this story.  The more we make aware, the greater the odds a fully funded transplant for Dona! 

You can follow Dona's story, updates and track how far they have until meeting goal through the link below:

Let's remember that in time of need, any amount will help and most importantly your prayers are priceless. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

To Trick or Treat, or Not...

That is the question. 

Or at least it was for a very short time in my early years as a mother.

I grew up in what some would consider a "strict" home.  Plenty of rules, but also plenty of love and guidance.  The rules never felt suffocating.  I never questioned the reason for the rules.  Never wondered why I had to be in that family.  In fact, I found it honoring to be a part of such a wonderful Christian family.  (Of course, no family is picture perfect and that is reason for another post at another time.)

In our home, we did not celebrate Halloween- or All Hallow's Eve.  It was a night full of death, and darkness and demons.  We were Christians.  Our purpose in life was to shine the light.  Speak of life eternally.  How could we be taken honestly, not viewed as hypocrites, if we took part in such an evil day? I understood my parent's views and honestly, I was scared to participate in the holiday.  Looking back I'm not sure if the fear was of the "evil" or of how others would perceive me. 

During my short time of rebellion, in my late teens, I participated in the college scene of Halloween.  At that point in my life, it was more about dressing "sexy" and bouncing from club to club.  Not so much the scary idea Halloween had been made to be throughout my childhood.  When I got married, however, and found out I would become a mother; there was no doubt in my mind that my children would ever take part in Halloween.  I was never going to expose them to things that would scare them and give them nightmares.  Things that would fill there minds with evil thoughts.  That was all of course before actually having that conversation with my husband. 

You see, unless you were raised in the same beliefs, "equally yoked", as the Bible says; than these conversations can become quite controversial.  While my husband was also raised in Christian home, his background was not as restrictive as mine.  He spent his childhood dressing up and being treated with candy.  Carving pumpkins and telling ghost stories.  Taking part in the spookiness of the festivities.  On top of that, he has many very fond memories of those times between him and his older siblings.  He could not begin to understand why I wouldn't allow our children to "have fun".  To be honest, even though I knew all of the "right" answers, I had a very difficult time articulating to him my reasons- my parents reasons- for not celebrating.

So, for the first few years of our marriage and our boys younger years; we celebrated because that was what I felt an honorable wife would do.  This is not me saying that every wife should give up their beliefs and convictions for their husband.  This is me saying that I needed to step back and not expect my life with my husband to be the same life my parents led.  Looking back I can say this was also God working on a very specific part of my heart. 

Today, just a few days after our 8th Halloween together, I'd like to share with you my thoughts on this holiday and what it has become in our family. 

This year we dressed up all together, for the first time, as the characters from the Wizard of Oz.  I was the scarecrow, our "Vol" was the Tin Man, the "tarheel" was the lion, little miss was Dorothy and my dear husband was Oz, the Great and Powerful.  We had so much fun!  Walking through our little neighborhood, watching my acorns run up to each house with pure joy.  Using their very best manners, "Trick or Treat, Thank you" and even "Dorothy" following suit of her brothers. Complaining of the cold and their bags being too heavy... and the oh so terrible prickers getting stuck in their shoes.  It all brought me joy.  That weird, overwhelming, makes you want to cry for no reason, motherhood joy that swoops in without any warning at all!  I found myself thanking God for his protection and guidance over my children's lives. 

Every year, for the past 7 years (we didn't take our oldest son trick or treating when he was an infant, so it has only been 7 years of active trick or treating) when leaving our home, I've said a silent prayer over my little's.  Quickly laying my hand on their head and speaking protection over their minds and bodies.  The prayers had to be quick, because lets be honest, when candy is within reach... or a few steps, everything has to be quick!  Quick but not lacking.  I believe genuinely that because of those prayers, God has walked with us every step of the way.  Up to each door step, regardless of how scary they were decorate and around every dark corner. 
A lot of the scare through out my childhood came from the idea that because Halloween was filled with evil, that God could not be present.  How can that be?  How can it be that God would run and hide when evil is around?  Would he truly leave us alone on the same day every year if we went outside?  Of course not!  He is always there.  Always with us.  Always guiding and protecting us.  After all, he is the only one powerful enough to make those evil things shudder in fear.  Where there is any light, darkness can not abound. HE is the light!  He who is within us, brings the light to those who do not yet know. 

I believe we shield our children from a lot of the world, not realizing we may be missing out on a perfect opportunity to share with them the all comforting love of Christ.  In life there are going to be many times that our little's will feel fear.  Whether it is brought on by a sight, sound or simply a thought; the best thing we can do for them is teach them who is there with them.  Who already knows that fear and is fighting along side them to overcome it. 

In the spirit of Halloween, from carving the pumpkins to making "ghosties" and singing spooky songs.  From dressing up in costumes and devouring tons of candy; my husband and I have made the commitment to turn every opportunity over to God.  Exploring the questions our children present to us and being amazed at how much they retain and re-teach each other every year.  Teaching them, through our example, that even in the darkness there will always be light.  Even in all the bad, there is good. 

There are of course certain limitations we put on our exploration of the holiday.  Specific lines we choose to not cross.  We haven't had to deal with any rebellion from the little's on any of those yet, although I'm sure there will come a time sooner or later; but for now we are thankful for the memories we are making with our 3 acorns.  Thankful for the excitement they get every year when discussing what "they want to be".  Thankful for the moments to teach them the gospel.  I pray these moments are not fleeting and that when they too have families of their own, that they will be willing to listen to the spirit guiding them and to remember that the life we, as their parents led, does not have to be the life they will live. 

So, for us- the answer is simple: To trick or treat and shine the light of God, always!

Friday, November 1, 2013

An Introduction to our Tree

Blog post number one under my new blog!  Thanks for joining me.

For those of you who followed our family blog and are returning to continue following us, I want to say thank you but also inform you that this blog will be quite a bit different.  Most of these posts will be from a mother's perspective.  A place for encouragement, devotion, shared knowledge and motherhood/wifely secrets and confessions.  I will occasionally post about the happenings of our ever busy and oh so nutty household; but unlike our last blog this will not be a documentation of our lives. 

That being said, for all my new followers, I think it is important to do a brief introduction of myself and my family.  As you can clearly tell from my blog title, I am a mother and Christian.  I was raised in a Christian home and am now instilling many of the same beliefs in my own children.
I have been married for 8 years to an amazing man and member of the United States Air Force.  We have been in the military life together from day one. From "signing his life away" to basic training, deployments and TDY's, multiple moves and everything else in between.  It's been a wild ride, but a true blessing!  Just a portion of the nuttiness we live regularly! 

We are the proud parents to our 3 little acorns.  Our oldest, and "Volunteer" son; born in Tennessee almost 8 years ago, is full of life and energy.  He is our media baby.  We have to limit his time in front of the TV and video games and encourage him strongly to use his body and brain to play.  He is also our brainiac!  Reading on a 5th grade level (only a second grader) and tests on a 4th grade math level!  He amazes me daily with his level of comprehension! 
Our middle child, another son- this one a Tar heel.  Born in North Carolina 16 months after his big brother.  He too is full of energy and spunk.  Constantly moving and chatting.  My Husband regularly jokes that "little tar heel" thinks he will explode if he's not talking.  I am convinced that this is simply his learning style.  Verbally learning everything.  Walking through the steps not only in his head, but vocally as well.  He is also our most sensitive.  With such a tender heart himself, he remains very in tune to others feelings around him. His sensitivity blesses me every day, in multiple ways. 
Lastly, but certainly not least, is our Princepessa!  Our answered prayer and rose among the thorns.  4 years and 2 weeks younger than her Tar heel bro, our little girl was born in Italy during our tour there!  While she probably will not remember much of her time overseas, it is amazing to look back on her short time there and realize in the first couple years of her life she was able to experience more than most do in a full lifetime.  Like her brothers, she is a wild one.  Running and jumping and yelling, almost seemingly in competition with her elders.  She is silly and caring and so smart, as she is learning everything her brothers are teaching her.  She truly is the little girl I always dreamed of mothering, but in the same way, the little girl I would have never imagined.  A perfect mix of sassy, all girl, frills and feathers and rough and tumbly, loud and crazy, tom boy all the way!  She completes our family perfectly.
We are now at our third duty station, in the "Land of Enchantment"; otherwise known as New Mexico.  We've been here for just over a year and while I know in every situation there is a blessing, this blessing is also quite the trial.  We've been in a whirlwind of transition since moving here but finally after 14 months of change, I am beginning to see things start to calm down and begin to become permanent.

One of the greatest changes the year has brought, and a very important part of who I am and what this blog will be about, is the path we've taken to homeschool!  At a later time, I will go into specifics and details concerning how we made it to the homeschooling journey, but for now I just wanted to open up about that aspect of motherhood.  My motherhood. 

Summing it all up, I am an Air Force wife, homeschooling mother of three, God fearing and serving woman who is walking through this life much the same as every other woman out there.  With struggles, trials, temptations and falls.  Skinned knees and boo boos, temper tantrums and cry fests- not to mention the kids.  Snickers sneaking pig out sessions after the kids are fast asleep and trying desperately to remain devoted to all the many aspects of my nutty life. 

I am hoping this blog will encourage someone, possibly you.  Maybe not in every post, but hopefully at least one.  I am praying that my vulnerability will allow you to be vulnerable in your own life as well.  While I understand that not all believe the same, and that you may or may not share in all the beliefs of my family; I will not tolerate comments that are anything less than encouraging or insightful.  This will be my private thoughts made public, and I ask that you respect them the same way you would want your deepest thoughts respected as well. 

Until my next post- Adios from New Mexico's Most Nutty (the verdict is still out on that)