The love of my Life

The love of my Life
The Shade of my Heart <3

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Thankful.  Thankful for a safe trip to Omaha with my little family.  Thankful to be woken in the middle of the night from the cries of my hungry 11 week old son.  Thankful for our health and safety that God graciously blesses us with day after day.  Thankful to hold and kiss the 5 people that I hold most dear in my dear husband and my four beautiful children.  Thankful to be alive, every day, and have the breath and heart to offer up a continual string of prayers all day to my Father in Heaven.  Every day is a gift...but not every day is promised.  God has been showing me that every day is overflowing with blessings, with reasons for a thankful heart.

One thing that I try to do every day with my kids, is to express what we are thankful for after our meals, before we go to God in prayer.  It humbles me to see from my children's perspective what is important and meaningful...reasons for thanks.  "I'm thankful to go to school...I'm thankful that my mom is home...I'm thankful that daddy is working on cars...I'm thankful that I got to play outside today...I'm thankful for the yummy dinner...I'm thankful for playing with me brothers and sisters...I'm thankful we got to go to the bank today...I'm thankful that mommy read us a book." their words are so simple, and so earnest, I can't help but smile, and be reminded of the little things from day to day that are from Our Heavenly Father's hands.  Living in that truth, I tend to hug my kids and husband a little tighter, say "I love you" to a person I really do cherish...even if it means I'm out of my comfort zone, inhaling the scent of my husband as I embrace him after a long, hard days work, watch my kids play together, listen to my kids voices as they sing praises to God...or even as I sit in the quietness of our home while everyone else sleeps and dreams in their beds.  God is truly faithful in all things...but recognizing that, always, is where the challenge begins.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Little Moments are BIG Memories!!

  Well, I see that it's been over a year since I last wrote.  I kick myself now, because I see that there are so many things and precious events that I should have been recording.  In the midst of this last year, so much has change, and every day I would tell myself that I would remember it all and find the time to write it down.  I'm hoping to get back into the swing of blogging, or journaling...or I like to think of it.  This is for me.  This is for my kids.  I don't want to forget any events or emotions.  I want to go back and see the paths we took and feel the emotions again.
  Before writing this, I read my last post, back in August of last year, and I teared up immediately and had my throat tighten up.  Those feelings were right back tearing at my heart, just like they did a year ago.  It showed me all the more reason why I need to keep remember life as I journey through it.  For now, I don't have the desire to have updates since last year.  So much has happened I couldn't possibly remember it all, or convey it accurately.
I love Cheyenne's gentleness and love towards all people, and all things! <3  This picture so accurately shows her loving personality.
  So Here I will start.  I will start with today, with the last week or so.  I'm jumping in with both feet!! :)

  For 6 1/2 years, I have known that I have something special in my life.  Something so huge and so blessed, that I really feel God tugging at my heart to share my blessing with every one.  There are days when I want to keep things to myself and enjoy the Blessing only for me, but I know I can't contain her, and that hopefully more people will be blessed as I share her life and her Stories.  May we ALL see the beauty of Christ in her life, and strive to be more like her...more like Christ.
   Most of you already know who I'm talking about.  Cheyenne.  My beautiful, blessing named Cheyenne.  The Lord blessed me more than I could ever express by allowing me to care for this special child here on earth.  There is so much I could say about this special girl, I could go on for days!  I'll try not to flood this blog post :)
  Cheyenne started Kindergarten a couple weeks.  This has already made my heart swell with pride for my little girl.  She is accomplishing so much!  She has her own aid that is with her, but she certainly doesn't always need her help.  So far, Cheyenne is really keeping up and completing all the work and tasks.
  This morning, I experienced a precious moment with her.  I woke her up at the usual time, 7:20am, and we went through our routine to get ready for school.  She will sit and eat, while I fix her hair and put on her shoes.  
When it all started 6 1/2 years ago!
  We walked to the end of our driveway to wait for the bus.  It was a cool morning, and we were both wearing light jackets.  The bus had not come yet, and Cheyenne put her hood on and snuggled close to my legs to stay warm.  I decided to sit on the ground and have her sit on my lap so I could talk to her and keep her as warm as possible.   
  I took advantage of our few minutes together, alone, and we sang "Jesus Loves Me", and "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow."  We also recited her Bible verses that she needed to know for school.  "Let your Light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven."  Matthew 5:16.  "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."  Psalm 119:105.  
  I was amazed at how many of the words Cheyenne knew!  She sang most of the songs by herself, and only needed a little help with the verses.  I was so proud of her!!  It was so rewarding to hear my child recite such beautiful words, words that are so important for a strong Foundation in the Lord!  
  My heart was warmed and overflowing, and I could have stayed in that moment for hours!  Cheyenne is not as quick or as smart as other kids her age, but she is teaching me what is important.  Christ is important!  Christ needs to be first in our lives, and we need to opening and proudly sing His praises!  
  I will treasure that moment!  As I watched her climb up the big bus steps and I turned to walk back to the house, I once again thanked God for blessing me with this child...for entrusting me to care for her and lead he in the truth.  What a humbling calling...and with every step, I have been richly blessed!
  Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is to me.  Cheyenne teaches me to treasure the little moments and to celebrate the small accomplishments. :)
Cheyenne at 15 months

Friday, August 19, 2011


  So, life back in Iowa has been interesting.  It was easy to adjust back to my normal schedule, and I love being in my own house and space again.  The difficult part has been how much I miss California and what I had there.  I miss the beaches, the mild weather, the little church, the friends, the smell in the air...and most of all, the reason I was there in the first place...Grant.  If I could, I would quickly exchange the corn fields for the beaches and ocean, and I would exchange seeing my family and friends for being with my Husband.  'Home' is not home right now.  There is so much missing here.  The house is still quiet when the kids are in bed for the night, my big bed is still empty, I'm still putting the kids to bed alone, meal times are still a struggle and I still either play music or get up constantly so I don't just sit there missing him, his white car still does not come down the driveway at 6, his voice and laughter are still nowhere to be found here, his boots aren't laying around, his clothes aren't scattered around in the bathroom, his smell and his touches...are gone.  This is my house...but it is not a home right now.
  I have continued to have a smooth schedule and a good handle on day to day activities.  The kids are fed, safe, and go to bed on time.  What I'm struggling with now, is just trying to keep my head above water.  Burned out doesn't even being to describe how I feel.  Overwhelmed, overloaded, mentally exhausted and drained, alone...that's more like it.  I just can't handle this any more.  I'm ready to snap...but I still have 2 more weeks to muddle through.      
   Two weeks...that's all I have left.  I don't hardly dare let myself believe it, because it feels like it couldn't possibly be true.  Grant has been gone for so long, it feels like a terribly mean trick to tell me I will get to have him all to myself in only 2 weeks.  There will be alot of adjustments, I'm sure.  I'm not sure if I'm ready for him to be in my "space" again.  This has been my little Kingdom where I have had all the control for the last 6.5 months, and I know it will take a little while for me to step down from being the top dog.  It's crazy, because even though I miss him fiercely and can't wait for him to be here, there is a little part in my head that says, "Wait! I'm not ready yet!  There is so much more that I wanted to accomplish while he was gone...."  Now, this doesn't make sense at all, because in reality, do I really think Grant will care that I didn't paint more, or decorate a little more thoroughly, or keep the house a little cleaner?  I think I just wanted to accomplish more so I could show him that I was ok enough while he was gone for me to tackle extra projects.  But, the truth is, I haven't been ok.  I haven't had motivation to paint, or even to cook most days.  In the mornings I lay in bed dreading another day to start again.  I say in my head, "No, I'm not ready to get up!  I'm not ready to face the kids again and deal with the screaming, fighting, and tantrums.  I'm not ready to trudge through another day and go through the motions while my mind is a thousand miles away and 2 years in the future...."  But, every day I get up, get the kids and start my daily routine all over again.  What makes me happy is to have the kids in bed at night, to breathe a huge sigh of relief, and to sit in the quiet while I mark off another day on my calendar.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back in Iowa

  The last weekend that we shared together was so fun, and beautiful.  We enjoyed several beaches and hours of talking about our future and our feelings on the up coming separation.  We had many laughs, many tears (from me...) and made some last beautiful memories as a family. 
  I was expecting our final good-bye to be painful and filled with tears and sobbing, but it was quiet and some what...normal. Of course I was still sad, and it was hard to hug him for the last time...again, and let him go as I watched him walk away, but it wasn't the first time I had to let go, and I might have become some what "used" to it.  Even now, a week and a half later, I don't think it has totally sunk in, yet.  I was seeing him every day for 6 weeks, and now, I'm alone again.
  The next morning, after the van was packed and we all (me, the kids, and G's cousin and wife) had gone to the bathroom, we slowly drove away....away from the apartment I lived in for 4 weeks, away from the familiar roads, away from G's squadron, away from the parks the kids and I spent hours at, away from the safe, gated Navy base, away from the beautiful beach where the sand and the waves and the smell were my familiar friends and companions, away from the city that became my own, away from the friends I made....and away from my Best Friend, my companion, my beautiful husband.  That was the point where every mile we drove, was 1 more mile in between us.  I worked so hard to get to California, to be together as a family, to be side by side with my Best Friend, and now, mile by mile, I was being slowly ripped away.

   The trip back to Iowa was slow, hot, and beautiful.  We were able to stop at the Grand Canyon the second day.  It was Breath Taking!!  It was soooo unimaginably huge, and beautiful!  What an honor it was to experience one of the most fascinating places on earth.  It was very humbling.  The God that perfectly created that Canyon, so grand and breath taking, also created me, so frail and weak and sinful.  "How Great Thou Art, How Great Thou Art!"  The only thing that was missing, was that G was not standing there with me, holding my hand, and smiling at God's majesty with me.  Hopefully some day we can go back there together. 
   That night, we made it to Alamosa, CO and stayed with some of G's family that lives there.  That really was fun to spend time with them, and have a larger break from driving.  A day and a half later, through many crackers, candy, potty breaks, movies, naps, and laughs, we finally arrived at home.  
Me & my Hunny on our last night.  We're at the beach...yeah, too dark to see that :)

One of the Beautiful beaches we spent time at.

I took casserole along again.  I had to warm it up at a gas station in the big cups, and I provided my own drink....while we ate in front of Arby's :)

4 corners!  It was neat to see...but super HOT!!

Beauty in Southern Colorado.

Beauty in Arizona.

Grand Canyon!!

Another casserole for our meal.  I'm standing in front of Taco Bell where we ate, but I had to walk to the Mobil Gas station to warm the food up.  A guy working in the gas station was friendly, but kept ending his sentences with, "Bummer, Dude!" :) This was in Needles, CA which is right at the border before Arizona.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Last weekend as a Family :(

 (Written July 6)

  This weekend was the last weekend that we were able to be together as a family.  Thankfully, it was a long weekend (G had Saturday through Tuesday off :) and we made a lot of great memories and went to some beautiful places.  On Saturday we drove SE along the coast to Malibu and Santa Monica.  The drive was breath taking!  The Santa Monica mountains were to our North, and the ocean was to our South.  What a beautiful display of God's handiwork!  I feel honored that I was able to experience it...along with my best friend. :) 
   The Santa Monica Pier was huge and beautiful, but soooo crowded!  It took about 20 minutes to just find a parking spot for the van.  Then, it took forever just to get us and the kids ready enough that we could go to the Pier.  I changed into my swimming suit in the back of the van while sitting in a car seat, we packed some necessities in a back pack, and all 3 kids went potty in the little potty that has been living in the van since we left Iowa.  (That potty has saved us in so many emergencies!  At the park, at the beach, in store parking lots, and every where in between.  It's amazing what becomes normal to you!)  We did get a chance to squeeze down to the water with the kids so they could "have toes in the big water." :)  We didn't stay on the beach long, because there were so many people, we could hardly move.   Walking down the Pier was interesting with 3 little kids.  We didn't have a stroller, or leashes (which would have been the most appropriate:)  so the kiddos had to walk or be carried.  Yup, it was challenging...especially with all the people milling about.  G and I were pretty tired by the time we got back to the van to head home again.  Thankfully, the kids slept part of the way home, and we enjoyed the small window of quietness. 
   Sunday was pretty sad for me.  We went to the little Baptist church one last time as a family.  I enjoyed worshiping there for the last 6 weeks, and was sad to have to say goodbye to the friends we made and the church that I grew to love.  That little church will always be a part of my heart, and I hope that some day the Lord will provide a way for us to come back to visit. 
  Later, for supper, we had 3 of G's friends over to share spaghetti with us.  They stayed until 2 am, and we spent those hours laughing, telling stories, learning more about each other, and making a crazy Burger King run at 1:00.  It was fun to have that time with people from other areas of the country; South Carolina, Montana, and Louisiana.  Who would've thought that we would've ever been out in Southern Cali close to LA, spending time with new friends in the military from all corners of the country?
   After a late and lazy morning on Monday, we headed to a beautiful beach about 20 minutes away from us.  It was a beautiful and sunny day, and we spent our time with our feet in the path of the waves.  There was a HUGE sand hill/mountain by the beach.  I wanted to take some pictures from the top, so with my camera on my back, up I climbed.  About half-way up, I sat down and turned around to see how far I had gone.  The hill was steep, and I suddenly had fear wash over me.  "Hope I don't lose my balance and roll all the way down..." I thought.  I turned back around to face the top, and with determination, I pushed through my fear and kept going.  Several minutes later, I was out of breath, thirsty, but satisfied that I accomplished my goal and faced my fears.  The view was stunning!  I could see G and the kids, and miles of ocean stretching out before them.  What a blessing it was to behold that beauty!
   When we were ready to leave, we were stuck in a long stretch of cars that weren't moving.  After several minutes of being stopped and speculating that an accident was the cause, we learned from a bicycler that there was a motorcycle accident that resulted in a man dying.  How sad.  :(  We were only a mile away from it, and it made me so sad.  Some one's life ended there, on that beautiful drive tucked between the mountains and the ocean.  I thought of this man I never knew and his family that I would never meet, and I was grieved by their loss.  I was once again reminded of the frailty of our lives here, and the ultimate control that the Lord has over all things.  He is the One who orchestrates all events, and His timing is perfect and predetermined...and no accident.  I looked over at G, held his hand a little tighter, and thanked the Lord for His protection over us and for being our Mighty God who is our constant Sustainer, Rock, and Shield, and our SALVATION when He calls us home to Himself. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lazy Cali Days...

(Written June 24)   

   This morning was a lazy morning. The kids and I didn't wake up until 9, and we spent the next 2 hours eating cereal and crackers, and watching cartoons together. There was a part of me that felt like a kid again, and it was nice to momentarily forget that I was the parent, the responcible one. It also made me smile to be sitting with my 3 kids, my beautiful blessings, and to be snuggled with my youngest in her favorite blankie.
    When 11 rolled around, I figured that I should get ready for the day, and bring the kids to the park for a while so they could run around and enjoy some fresh air. At the park, there were 2 girls playing, and their grand parents chatting and watching them from the nearest bench. C, walked right up to the elderly couple and said, "Hi!" and then proceeded to tell them her first and middle name, and the names of my other 2 kids. I was warmed by C's kindness, and her lack of fear for the strangers. I also smiled, because I am constantly amazed that she is never judgemental or discriminates based on a person's age, color, or size. I good lesson that I need to be reminded of for myself and my own reactions to people.
    After I started pushing the kids on the swings, the elderly lady started talking to me. I have really enjoyed talking to strangers on the base, because for 1) I like to try to be social and make some connections 2)every one has such interesting and different stories, and 3) every one on base is connected to the military in some way, and it's nice to have that in common. Turns out this elderly couple is visiting their daughter and her family. This old lady was very proud of her daughter and son-in-law, and for the next 1/2 hour I was priviledged to hear the abridged version of their lives and the adventures that they have had. What a beautiful story of love, adventure, and commitment to family. This family has lived in Florida, Alaska, California, and Sicily following where the Navy and Air Force have led them. The wife has always been a stay-at-home mom, and has also home school her 5 kids along the way. The husband was a hard worker, and recieved his college degree and masters while in the military. We also talked about the beauty and importance of a strong and committed marriage. (She has been married to her husband for 57 years!) So with in an hour, she went from being a stranger, to a fun laday to talk to who has a big story to tell, and wisdom to share. I went back to our apartment smiling and thanking the Lord for His timing, and the many different people and different backgrounds that I've encountered on this journey.

(Written June 29)
   I am looking at the remaining time that I have here.  One week and two days left.  That's all the time that we have left together as a family before we face another 8 week stretch of separation.  I am sad because I don't want to leave.  I love it here!  I love living on base and experiencing the military life.  I love the weather, the lack of humidity and bugs, and I love having the freedom to go to the ocean.  I love being here with G.  The kids love being with him and picking him up from "work" every day.  Life is almost normal here, and I'm not ready to pack up and leave this all behind.  
    As much as I want to stay until G is done with training, I know that that's not possible.  I've been able to be here for 6 weeks, and I am over joyed that the Lord provided this time for us to be together.  I have no choice but to say good-bye to the life here, pack up myself and the kids, and only have the pictures left to remind myself of this chapter in our lives...the crazy chapter where my 3 munchkins and I drove across half the country, spent more money than I'm willing to admit to, and lived in an Inn and an apartment for 6 be with the man that I love. :)
   Until I actually drive away, I'm going to try to enjoy every remaining minute, every ray of Cali sunshine, every splash of ocean water,  every grain of beach sand in my clothes, every drive to and from G's squadron to pick him up, every temper tantrum (by the kids...not me:), and of course every smile, laugh, and kiss between me, G, and the kids. :)
   Today I washed the van and saw another perk of living on the base.  For $2.50, I got 10 minutes to wash the van. :)  I wasn't used to that long of time, so I ended up leaving with 1.5 minutes left of running water.  (I know, I Dutch-ness was screaming at me to use every drop that I paid for, but the kids were already fighting in the van.)  Wahoo!  Got to celebrate the little things! :)
Hippie Van with toys glued all over it

On the pier at Santa Barbara

Me and my Best Girl Friend...and driving buddy! :)

   I took the kiddos with me to get another week's worth of groceries.  *Phew* What a challenge!  Thankfully, I was able to use a cart that was like a car, and I crammed all 3 kids in the child part of the cart.  There they were.  My 3 little ducks in a row. :)  I sure got a lot of I usually do when I'm with the kids by myself.  The 2 most common comments that I've received here concerning the kids is, "Are they twins?" (referring to R & J) And, "Are they ALL yours?!?"  I love that one!  It always makes me laugh!  Yes, they are all mine, even though they don't look like each other. :)  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

  As some of you might think, I have not fallen into the pit of complete insanity. I have been unable to write because I have limited internet access where we are living now. Two weeks ago, we moved out of the tiny Inn, and are now living in an apartment on base. I have been enjoying a normal sized kitchen that includes real appliances! It is enjoyable to cook again! We also now have 2 bedrooms, and our own washer and dryer. What a luxury! The Inn served us well for the time, but I am so glad to be in a more normal housing space.
  Our days have not been filled with too much excitement. I take the kids to the park a couple times a day so they can run off some energy. We went to the beach a couple times this week. Other Californians must think it's good beach weather, too, because the sands have been populated by many swimmers, sun tanners, runners, bikers, walkers, and lazy 'life-enjoyers.' It is so refreshing to relax by the ocean. I love watching the ever-flowing waves, and hearing the constant movement of the mighty waters. It puts my heart at peace to know that My God is the One who created those powerful waves, and He is the One who is ever sustaining me and my life. What an Awesome God! There is no other way to say it.
"He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defence; I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory:
The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times; ye people,
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us."
~Psalm 62:6-8
  Our Lord has been so gracious to me and my family, and I am overwelmed with awe by His constant provisions and Faithfulness to us. Every day, there is something that He does that reminds me that He is in control and is always tenderly leading us.
  We have been attending a Baptist Church since I've been here, and we have weekly been blessed through the faithful preaching and Godly fellowship. This also, has been the work of God's hands. I will be sad to leave this little God-fearing congregation and the friends that we have made along the way, but I am thankful that this was in God's plan for us while we were here.
  I have quickly become popular among G's friends for my cooking. :) Now, I certainly don't think that I'm the best cook out there, but I'm also not the worst. I have been enjoying making some of G's favorite dishes and desserts for him to finally eat again. We have been having some of his friends over for supper, and it has been fun hearing and seeing the reactions to these poor, single guys who haven't had a home cooked meal in several months. :) Tonight, we will be having lasagna (2 pans) and peach dessert, 2 of G's favorite foods, and will be sharing it with 3 of his friends. I'm glad that I can help put a little bright spot in these guys' days.