The people that change our life





We have been in the military for two years now! Wow that time just disappeared. It's strange because at the time I remember thinking, six years is so long and that it was going to seem like an eternity. Now we're past the two year mark and I can't believe that we only  have four years left.  When we first signed up a big part of me was excited for the "could be", but another part of me was really sad for the "could have been". But I have to say without a doubt, this is where God wants us. I remember having that conversation with RJ about joining the ARMY. He just didn't see where God wanted him to go, and it seemed like every door back home was closing.  Long story short, here we are station in NY.

 I'm not sure how many people get life changing experiences but I seem to get them by the bag full (is that a saying?). God just seems to want to impart remarkable wisdom in my life, like sprinkles on a cupcake. You don't have to look very hard to find remarkable stories in the military. You also don't need to look very hard to find stories of suffering, heartbreak, courage, and people who come from a completely different life than yours.

I remember sitting on the couch talking to this guy from RJs work. He has to be one of the most (if not the most) humble guys I have ever met. He grew up pretty poor in Detroit, Michigan and later joined the military. When they showed him the house he would be living in, he was amazed! You know, the "crappy" on post housing everyone complains about. He told the lady that it was huge compared to where he grew up. Huge?! Sometimes I think that It's a privilege to grow up with nothing because it gives you incredible character. I'm not sure what words I would use to describe him and his wife, but I think that content is the only one that comes to mind. Seems like such a simple word, right? But it is so rare. So incredibly rare, like a shakespeare signature. It seems that you find so little contentment in the world anymore.

 I cherish these "chance" meetings with people that have come into our life for such a small amount of time but have made the greatest impact.  I will never forget a card that our friend wrote to us before he left that said my life is forever better because of you guys. I don't think he could have know how much that would impact us, but it did. It was like a huge reassurance from God that we made the right choice. Both RJ and i have wondered if we made the right choice by moving so far from our family. How would God use us? Would we make a difference? Is this where we were suppose to be? It seems the longer we're here the more that doubt fades away. I don't think that we made a rash choice by joining the military or that God is working out a bad decision we made. The longer we're here, the more I see how God worked everything out for us to be here. I think the same is true from everyone we meet (like my father in law would say, It's like theres a God).

I can't say that It's been easy, that there hasn't been times where I wish I was home, or have literally said I miss my mom (which I didn't think was possible to utter out loud). But it has been an incredible experience! No, not the ARMY, but God. We have an opportunity to experience Christians from all over the world. They each have unique gifts, and personalities, and stories. The more people we meet, the more we fall in love with God. To meet someone that has lived an entirely different life than you, but they love God just the same. It gives me such an incredible sense of hope. To add to the things that I am thankful for in this experience, this one is at the very top of my list. I OFTEN get bogged down with what seems to be an increasing disdain for Christians in the world. It's really easy for me to feel alone. But through all of the people I meet, I am encouraged that God is working!! Even if the rest of the world doesn't want to acknowledge it. There is a very real, very present God in NY, and He seems to be constantly moving His people around.

The card we received from our friend went on to say that he hopes to impact someone else the way we have impacted him. What I wish I could have told him is that he already has. I don't know that any of our friends know that. It's not by giving awesome gifts, or killer parties, or even particularly fun activities, but just by being them. By giving me a sense of hope that i don't think i could have gotten any other way. It's like those scenes in movies when you see the girl the guy likes and everything is in slow motion and bright. Is that a weird description to use? Thats just how I feel, ok! I feel a bright, slow motion, sense of emotion towards my friends. This seems to be getting weirder the longer I type. So I will just say that people have a lot more to offer than we often see, and everyone can impact your life if you just allow them to. Which now that I'm typing this out seems like I could have summarized this whole thing in a couple of sentences. But if you powered through all that, you're awesome, and I love you. But don't worry I won't picture you in a slow motion, bright light kind of way.

2016 Gift Guide: When you don't know what to get







So I have rummaged the internet for the perfect gift for the family that you just don't know that well and I think I have come up with quite possibly the perfect gift guide. And if you don't think this is perfect, than you can just kick rocks because I pulled my hair out and my eye started to twitch trying to figure out just what to get our family. The online gift guides just didn't cut it because I am not about to spend $50 on a pottery barn serving platter or $5 on a mug. All the gifts seemed outrageously expensive or cheap, there seemed to be no middle ground. Who comes up with these gift guides?  I'm also not about the gift card life for the most part. I am a black Friday, cyber Monday, deal finding shopper. I like to get the absolute most for my money. So I can be like, yea that is normally a super expensive watch, but I got it on black Friday. Bam!


So here it is.... what to get your family.



Board Games:


Every year theres pretty awesome board games that come out. Last year it was pie in the face and this year It's Watch ya mouth! A board game is quite possibly my favorite gift to give and get. It's just so fun, and its something that you can use right away. I know we had a blast using pie in the face last year. This year I bought a couple of board games because I thought our family would love them. They're also a great gifts for people who have game nights a lot.



Funny Books


Who doesn't love a funny book? Theres really no way to go wrong with this. I have seen some pretty funny ones lately at Target and amazon. My favorites right now are the compilation of funny test answer books. RJ and I had a good laugh at Target reading through them. What's your poo also made RJ laugh just based on the title. He said we have to buy that for someone.


Foodie sets







For the people in your life who love to cook or just love food or you just don't know what to get but they have a kitchen. Here it is! I love little gifts that go together, and who doesn't need a good cook book? You can do a little cast iron with a recipe book, a book about salt with a salt sampler, or cookie stamps with a book about sugar cookies. I'm sure the combinations could go on (like a cake pan and bread book), but these are some of my favorites.

Little Gifts

I enjoy receiving little gifts, and I think they're fun to put together. These are some of my favorite go to, funny candles, shaped soap (you can even DIY), mittens, and  a mug for good measure.


Step Counter 


I share this because I kept rattling my brain on what to get my mom this year for Christmas, when it finally hit me! A step counter. I know that she would really like it and It's useful. I thought Target was having a crazy sale but Amazon is having an even better one. Theres a step counter for every technology level, so this would even be a great gift for your grandma who might not be as good at technology or even for someone who is!


So here is my 2016 gift guide! My general rule is I don't like to get someone something that I myself wouldn't want. So I hate giving lotion sets or perfume because I personally don't like that stuff, and I feel bad that someone is wasting their money on something I probably won't use. So I hope this keeps at least one persons eye from twitching. Since it took me so long to come up with it, I felt like I had to share it. I will also mention that some of our family used Elfster this year which was awesome, and super helpful!

Happy shopping, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Change




This quote has really resonated with me lately. I am to a fault a creature of habit. I can eat the same thing everyday and have the same routine every week and I love it. Habit is sort of a safety blanket for me. When I don't have it, it really throws me off. However once Ive done something enough times, It's hard for me to break from that. I found that specially true at our old house. I had a schedule (not a good one) and I had a hard time breaking it. I want things to change so desperately but I haven't ever changed my habits, I just expect things to be different! Ive heard this quote in the past and I always thought of it for big desires, like money, or success of some sort. But what about small changes? Things like being in shape, being more organized, being a better mom, a more disciplined Christian. We all have "small" things we wish would change. Ive never been in what I consider great shape, but I've also never really done anything about that!

So what if I made tangible changes to get desired goals? I have come to understand that I make outlandish claims on a regular basis. Like when I said I would give up sugar for a year.... here we are in October and I think I actually managed to eat more sugar this year (the ice cream is good here, y'all). I am just not the type of person that can do big picture goals, they start to get too unreachable for me. I have  come to learn that I can do small achievable goals. So I'm doing a new series challenge, where I come up with new "challenges" every week (or couple of weeks) in order to change a habit. Have you heard it said that you can do anything for 1 minute, well I challenge you to do something for 1 week. I will have the first challenge tomorrow! I think with the right goal and the right support we can do it. Things that maybe seemed like they would never change. We don't always have to have drastic proclamations, sometimes its the small victories that make the biggest difference.

All the single ladies




img_4122

I'm not sure how many times I've heard my single friends make a reference to their loneliness and lack of a love life. I don't know how many times I've said it's not a bad thing to be single which is usually met with eyes rolling. Understandably so, I've had a boyfriend for as long as I can remember, and I met RJ when I was 14. We got married when I was 22, and I had Jed at 23. What do I know about singleness? Maybe not a whole lot, but I can tell you what I know about being hitched to someone else's wagon (yea, I said that). I'll splain....
I will start off by saying that I LOVE my family! This is not a cautionary tale on why not to get married or have a family. Some of you might take it that way (and that's ok). I didn't choose the family life; the family life chose me. That sounds so much better the other way (which also applies to me), so here it is.
     I wake up every morning feeling like Lois Wilkerson. Grab a bottle and a burp cloth, and I'm ready to crush this feeding.  I have genuisly(?) changed  the lyrics to more accurately reflect my life, because I do not in fact wake up feeling like P. Diddy. I don't even wake up on my own. My alarm is a screaming hungry baby, and a toddler who wants to go downstairs and have cereal. My husband walks in the door from his workout, and I start making breakfast, all while looking like Matthew Perry (post friends). We all have breakfast, then I start making his lunch, and he's off to work. I throw some laundry in the machine, clean up a little, and start playing blocks with my three year old. The baby wakes up. It's time for another feeding and diaper change. He's awake, and he wants to be held. We play, laugh, snack, potty, and fold clothes. The baby is sleeping, and  Jed wants to see the iPad. I say, " No." He has a meltdown, and the baby is awake again. I rock the baby back to sleep, Jed has come to his senses, and we continue folding clothes. This is followed by more cleaning, dishes, and more crying, myself included. Nap time! My three year old takes a nap, but not without the Nap-Time Routine. The baby wakes up right on schedule. I feed him; we play a little and he's back to sleep. I read, watch Netflix, or blog, but usually fall asleep. I wake up to a hungry Jed, usually he utter the words I'm hungry about 10x. The baby wakes up,  and he's hungry too. I quickly make my son something and feed the baby. I put some cartoons on, and all is quiet for about 20 minutes, which I usually waste online. I clean some more, we play with toys, all while still looking like Matt Perry. It's time to start dinner! Hey! My three year old wants to help! Oh, look! He spilled rice on the floor. Husband is home, and we have dinner. I might take a shower. Then, we all usually hang out together in some way. Jed gets a bath, and goes to bed. We usually watch TV (still feeding the baby in between). Sometimes we're in bed by 9pm!!! And by we, I mean my husband, because I'm up with the baby until he decides he's finally going to sleep through the night. And we do this all over again, or at least variations of it. When I'm lucky, we get to leave the house.

 This is my life. I do not get to wake up when I feel like. I rise to the needs of the others. (Sounds really cool when I say it like that) I can't sleep-in. I can't just go to the movies. I can't just buy that really cute outfit because we have to eat and pay bills and other nonsense. I can't talk on the phone for two hours or even thirty minutes because chances are someone is going to want something. I can't do something without thinking about how it will affect my family first. While I really love my family, I wish I would have enjoyed my single life more. I remember that feeling of wanting to get married or have children, and just "wanting my life to start." What I wish my past single self would have understood is that theres a season for everything! Enjoy life right where you are. I'm sure if I live to be 60 I will tell my 30 year old self the same thing. Enjoy the freedom to serve without any distractions. Enjoy being able to get dressed without someone pointing out that you have a belly or eat without someone flinging rice at you, and riding in a cart without listening to the same song 30 (you think I'm kidding). Being married and having kids is really awesome, but so is not having to worry about where you put your gum because someone might eat it. Enjoy where God has you! Don't try to make something happen that isn't right for you. You know what will make your life suck? Choosing something contrary to what God has for you. So while it's not wrong to want to be married and have kids, it's wrong to be discontent. Take advantage of all the opportunities you have to freely serve, give, and get up and go. Although it will be awesome, one day it will take a lot longer to get up and go (2.5 hours to be exact)

In God we trust




july 4th

Is anyone else ready for  this election to be over? Watching last nights debate was rough. This whole election year has been rough, and can't wait for it to just be done.  So I keep asking myself where Christians are suppose to stand on this impossible choice. In good conscious I don't think I can vote for either of them. It's heartbreaking that these are the candidates, out of all the people in America, that we put forth. How did that happen?! The more I think about it, the more I am reminded that Christian does not equal republican, and that we have a heavenly citizenship, not an earthly one. I think its really easy (at least for me) to get caught up in everything that is going on in our country and the world. It's easy to loose hope, but I think we've missed the point completely.

 The enemy has done a good job of keeping us distracted. The winds are changing and we're coming to a place where saying you're a Christian will actually mean something. The other day RJ and I were talking about Jed going to college and I made a comment about not knowing what the world will look like when he's 18. It's a scary thought but I think It's a very real thought. RJ's uncle put it perfectly when he said, "persecution like we have never known before is coming to Christians in America regardless of the outcome of this election not simply because the current ideology in America is anti-Christian. I think this is the end of the road, here. My concern is that Christians have for too long squandered the freedoms that God originally granted to America and persecution, it appears, will separate the sheep from the goats."  There is coming a time where it won't be so easy to say you're a Christian in America. Heck! It's tough now. There are a lot of assumptions that come with that title. But I think we're getting close to real persecution here.

 Instead of worrying about who the next president will be, I think we should be incredibly intentional about taking every opportunity we have to tell people about Jesus. I can't help but feel convicted that I have spent my time concerning myself with earthly matters. That's not to say that we should keep our head in the sand. I think that we are responsible for making informed decisions to the best of our abilities. But when we concern ourselves so much with things going on here that we forget whats really important, then it becomes a problem. God is ultimately in control, wether we participate or stand idly by. We cant know the outcome of this election or any of the ones after that, but we do know whats going to happen, and we can prepare for the future. The bible tells us that persecution is inevitable, wether for us or our children or their children. So we can prepare for the future. We can be strong Christians and we can raise strong Christians that will face persecution with integrity. That can confidently say, like Daniel, and if not, He is still good.
" "