Monday, 19 December 2011

Daddy's 1st Christmas

This is Daddy's first Christmas with Noah. Last year he left us for his deployment the day before Thanksgiving! I am excited to see Daddy and Noah together. Noah LOOOVES his daddy. I got Noah a couple of things.. but we had a couple of gift cards to shop with so I sent Daddy. Needless to say... his daddy brought him home two things that a 1 1/2 year old probably doesn't need... Wanna know??

A skateboard AND a drumset! Really, daddy? Haha.

How do you complain? Noah is going to LOOOVe every minute of both of those gifts. I am so excited to see him open gifts this year! Though he has already opened two 'toys' as he says... (which were actually daddy's)... I know he will get so excited. He loves Santa, hohoho... Snowmen, the LIIIIIGHTs, the trees, the songs. He loves it all. We love watching him and engaging with him as well.

Where I sit today is so very different from where I was one year ago. I still sit here, dreading this time of year because Shane isn't here... but things are even more different. Two years ago my world had fallen apart because I lost my brother. One year ago my world began falling apart again because I was losing my best friend. The curve balls that life brings you can suck sometimes.. and sometimes it is so hard to get past it, to move forward. Wanna know what i have learned? You are able to move forward.. but there are still going to be hard times! There are going to be days when the reality hits you that your brother is no longer on this earth anymore or that your best friend will never be that friend again... and those days suck all over again. But the amazing thing is... tomorrow is a new day! I am so thankful to have God on my side... and to know that one day I will hug my big brother again AND that he has that special friend already planned out for me again.

Many changes have come about in my life and it is so hard to think about sometimes. But I have learned to be grateful. To be grateful for my family. I am beyond grateful for these two boys that the Lord has blessed me with. Nate is a wonderful husband who is such a great support to me. He loves our son like you wouldn't believe.. and after almost nine years of marriage, I still love him more each day. I sit in awe of Noah. He is the prime example of perfection to me. I pray that Noah always loves his mommy and always has such a happy, fun attitude! I loooove this kid! I just don't want to ever imagine my life without him. I am also so grateful for my mom, sister, dad step dad, bro in law, and nieces and nephew! All of these people, MY FAMILY, are so special to me. I am so thankful that we work so hard to keep Shane's memory alive...

God is good.. He is so very good to me!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

December



December brings many 'x amount of days since' 'x amount of days until' type of scenarios. So, today, December 15th.. these are my scenarios:

Today is 12 days since my brother passes away (2 years ago).
Today is 8 days since my brothers funeral (2 years ago).
Today is 8 days since my moms birthday.
Today is 6 days since my step dads birthday.
Today is 10 days until Christmas.
Today is 4 days until baby baby sisters 2 year wedding anniversary.
Today is 6 days until one of my best friends birthdays.
Today is.. a day to be thankful.

There are so many memories, ideas, things that December brings to each family. I have been trying to figure out exactly what kinds of traditions I want to bring to our little family. Noah is just loving the lights and Santa (HoHoHo)... it is amazing watching him. I love every single minute of it!!



I can't wait to have Christmas with my boys again this year. This will be the first year it is JUST US.. it'll be nice, but bittersweet. First time in two years I am not home with family.. First time in three years I am not having it with my Misawa Family. But it will be good for my family and I.



The night before Christmas Eve we will bake cookies and leave them and milk out for Santa and his reindeer. Daddy has to work Christmas Eve, so we will do it the night before. Do I understand that Noah doesn't understand.. well.. YES!!! :) BUT! I want to start early. Also this night he will open a gift- with new PJs. I want him to do it then so Daddy can see. Then on Christmas morning when Daddy comes home we will enjoy gifts together.



This little boy is the light of our life. He makes everything, EVERYTHING so much better. I love to to try and see life through his innocent eyes. I am so blessed. I love hearing him talk to me and tell me stories. I love sleeping so close to him while he snores. I love him! EVERYTHING about him.



Every year only gets better with Noah. Looking at these pictures make me kinda sad.. because he was such a baby. But I love watching and helping him grow. His Daddy is amazing and I have no doubt that Noah will be like his Daddy in so many ways. I am so proud of my boy.

Friday, 2 December 2011

December 3rd... I hate you!

Here we are.

Is it true that we have really gone two full years without my brother now? I remember that day sooo well.. and I hate it. I remember I was six months pregnant and man, I could not wait to go home. I remember we were having "Fun Friday" at school and we were letting our sixth graders roam from room to room deciding what they wanted to do. My room was for the games and such.. it was pretty loud. I remember that a younger student had a birthday and she brought me a cupcake. I was sitting by my door on a stool because the school day was almost over.. Something didn't feel right to me. I am not making that up. I remember how after I got the news and was just thinking how I would think back to my day and how odd it was that it was just an 'ugh' afternoon. The sweet little girl brought me the cupcake and I didn't want it, but I took it from her. I ended up giving it to one of my sixth graders right before the bell rang for the day. I had never been so glad for the day to end. I left about 20 minutes before I was 'suppose' to that day. I walked through my front door five minutes after 3pm. I remember laying my stuff down and looking at Nate. I felt exhausted... emotional... just unhappy. I remember telling Nate that I had had a bad day! But I couldn't explain why. Shortly after is when I got the phone call.

http://shaw-family-adventures.blogspot.com/2009/12/saddest-news-of-my-life.html

I didn’t sleep much that night. We had our Fire Department Christmas Party that my friend and myself had worked so very hard to put together. I didn’t go. Who would? We spent a long time in the shirts office. I have such a deep appreciation and respect for what our first shirts do now… because I saw a big part of what they do for dependants that night. I had been able to get American Airlines to switch our tickets, no problems-no fees, by one week to get us on the first plane out on Saturday morning. Red Cross is there to get family home, FOR FREE, at times such as this. I told the shirt that he didn’t have to go that route, that we had handled it… but he wanted to get us home that route because he explained that is what they are there for. So by midnight we had our tickets printed out, ready to fly out the next morning, Thank You Red Cross. Military- you know how when you go overseas or maybe even stateside, I am not sure… but they give you the spill about Red Cross and give you the card with the number. Just.In.Case. Yea, I have heard many of those talks…. Never thought I would be the one utilizing them. ESPECIALLY for a sibling. Nevertheless, I am very thankful for them.

The rest of the trip is such a blur to me. I remember crying most of the time. We had to sit at Narita Airport in Tokyo for like six hours. That WAS SO hard. I would go to the bathroom and do as I do even now- and shake my head saying NO! This wasn’t right. My husband was my rock. I don’t know what I would have done had I not had Nate. I am so thankful that he was not deployed at that time. Had he been, I can guarantee that Abbey would have been with me. No way would she have let me go alone. I remember my friends wanted to come over that day I found out. I begged Nate not to let them… and I am pretty positive that they did not.

I really just can’t believe we are sitting here at two years. It has really been TWO FREAKING YEARS since this nightmare began. So much has happened in two years…. And how I wish he was here. I will never understand why God allowed this to happen and didn’t just save him. I know there is a reason, but I will never, EVER understand it… Nor will I like it.

I truly appreciate those of you that have been of comfort to my mom, sister, and dad. It means so much to me. Unless you have walked in our shoes, you will never know the pain. The pain of losing a brother is so very different from losing a son. The pain of losing your best friend is so different from losing your son or brother. The pain of losing your son is so different from losing a brother. The pain of losing someone that is LIKE a brother, is still so very different. I am so thankful for those of you that have reached out to us… and tried to understand my mom, sister, and me. Those of you that have been there for each of us. We love you for it. This has been the hardest time of our lives… and I don’t see the pain ever subsiding. We feel like we live in a dream. The question is.. how did we get here.. And how I wish we could wake up from this dream.

My family- mom, Shane, and me are unique… we are close. So losing Shane has truly been like losing a part of our soul, our body, everything. No one can ever understand the bond between us. I am SO thankful for my family… and will do anything for them. My brother taught me that! His family was everything. He would have done anything for Britt, Mom, or Me. He would do anything for his children. I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW that my brother is looking down on us… proud of who we are… how we are keeping his memory alive for his babies.

So as we remember my brother today……. Please just say a quick prayer for my family. My mom, Dad, Sister, and Shane’s kids…

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Really?

Has it really been almost 2 years since I have heard your voice? I listened to the voicemails that I, THANKFULLY, have saved from this time two years ago, tonight... You still sound the same and I can still hear you.. without that voicemail. Hearing your voice makes me want to believe you are still here, that our family has not had to go through this... That you are still there when we call... that everything is normal. For the few seconds of your voicemail, my world seemed right again... and then it ended. Why?

Saturday, 12 November 2011

I am thankful...

Everyone on facebook is doing the 30 day of Thankfulness! I should have done it. I have so much to be thankful for in my life! I am a VERRRY grateful person for so many things in my life! Some of these things are:

1. My salvation- Because of Christ I am saved... and I will live in the perfect place one day... and be with Shane and Grandpa again.

2. My husband- He takes care of us... loves us.. supports us. He completes me. I am so thankful that the boy I met when I was 16 has been my husband for the past 9 years. I am SO thankful for him!!

3. Noah- My sweet little boy. I never knew that being a mommy would be the most amazing thing ever. I love watching him learn and I am so thankful that God gave him to me when he did. He completes us.

4. Moma- I have the best mom in the world. She has guided us, supported us, and just been there for us. She is so strong. She lost her son almost 2 years ago... but continues to walk this earth being an amazing mommy and gammy.

5. Britt- I have the best little sister ever. I admire this girl. She is truly an amazing person. She is married to a great man and they are serving the Lord... I look up to her.

6. Shane- I am so thankful for the time the Lord allowed me to have with my brother. It kills me that he is gone, not here raising his children, not here for me anymore... to be an uncle. BUT I am so very thankful that I had him for so long- he always took up for me!!

7. Dad- I am thankful to have had a dad growing up and the memories we hold together from when I was younger is something no one can ever take away. I am proud of who my dad is today.

8. Grandma and Grandpa- They helped raise me... they are the reason I am who I am today, spiritually. My gma has always been one of the closest people to me along with my mom, bro and sis... Love my gparents.

9. My family- I have extended family that I am thankful for. No one can take what memories I have of them either. Though things will never be the same again, I am forever thankful for who they were to me growing up.

10. My inlaws- I have great inlaws. Many people can't say they have the relationship with their mother-in-law that I do. We have a huge family on Nate's side.. and I am so thankful!

11. Addi, Ashtyn, Chloe- My brothers kids. I have loved being an aunt since I became one my freshman year in college. I never thought I would be able to love my own kids as much as I love my brothers :) Those kids have a long road ahead of them without their Daddy.. but with my family and God.. they will make it. LOVE these kids.

12. My education- I am SO thankful to be a teacher. Thankful that the Lord provided and I was able to get my Masters Degree before having a family. People thought when I got married at 19 that I would not finish school.. BOOOYAHH!

13. SAHM- I am SOOOOO thankful that I am able to be a stay at home mom. Though I have a masters degree.. I don't care. I don't care the money that I spent (and still pay) for my education... I am doing what I want to do- raise my son.

14. Teacher- I will always be a teacher. Even if I stay home forever, I will forever be a teacher. I love teaching... I have had great colleagues and students. I have learned a lot.. and loved a lot! Forever memories.

15. Dezi- I am thankful for our dog. She is so amazing. Dezi kept us entertained before Noah! :) She still keeps us entertained. Now I am thankful for what she is to Noah.. they are totally bffs.

16. Japan- I am forever thankful fo the USAF for sending me to Japan. What an experience. I have many a posts about Japan... I am so thankful that my son was born there and I will be able to share those awesome memories with him. I would go back in a heartbeat!

17. Girlfriends- I have had some of the best girlfriends in the world. I am so thankful for them! Some of these girls have known me (during the seasons we were together) better than I knew myself. They could read me when I was hiding things. Forever, I am grateful for who these girls were during the seasons they were meant to be in my life.

18. Military- WOW! I never thought I would be a military wife. I am sooo thankful for it. I have learned so much, grown so much, and enjoyed so much. I may have to spend months at a time alone.. but it makes me more grateful for this man of mine. The military has taken me to places I never thought I would go and helped me meet my forever friends.

19. Forgiveness- I am thankful that God forgives me.. and has taught me to forgive. I am also so very thankful for the forgiveness of others... when they give it to me when I don't deserve it.

20. My house- I love being a home owner. I love the fact that we got to pick out our own home... We love our home. I am so thankful that the Lord provides and has blessed us with this amazing home!

21. Church- Bayside Plumas Lake has become home to us.. and for that I am so thankful. I spent the first six months very involved in a church in Japan and then after that, I could not ever find my place... I am so thankful that the Lord guided us to Bayside... and we got plugged right in. We enjoy the sermons and Noah has a wonderful place to go. God is good!

22. Daycare- I pray(ed) that the Lord will bring the kids to my home that HE wants here.. kids that I can help make a difference with. I am so thankful for the kids that I have right now. I am learning to love them as my own.

23. Home- I am thankful that our parents live in the same town. Many of my friends have to travel to different states to visit home... I don't have that stress. Thank you, Lord. I am so thankful for our small town in Texas...

24. Memories- I am thankful that I have memories.. these are what keep me above water sometimes.. and these are what help me remember the special people in my life.

25. New friends- God is good to me. I am so forever thankful for the new friends He brings to me. I know He is faithful and the days I am lonely, I have to remember that I am sooo very thankful for these new ladies He has placed in my life.

26. Health- I am so thankful to have a healthy family. Thank you, Lord.

27. Finances- I am so thankful that the Lord provides and helps us to be "smart" with our finances. I am happy to live {almost} debt free!

28. I-Love-You- I am so thankful for those words. My parents raised us to say them all the time adn we still do. Noah is being raised to say them.. and I LOVE hearing those words.

29. Joy- I am so thankful that God has given me a life of joy. I try to always be a joyful person.. and extend that joy to my family.

30. Discernment- I am thankful that God is working with me and discernment. I am happy I don't have as much diarrhea of the mouth as I used to..

31. Continued Growth- I am thankful that the Lord continues to grow me... and I try to let him. Though I don't like growing older.. I am thankful that He helps me to become wiser as I grow older.. Thank you, Lord.

32. Greg- I am thankful for my "step dad" which he hates being known as. He has been my moms rock during her hardest times, helps support and raise my brothers kids, and has always loved me.

33. Forever friends- I have several forever friends. Some are friends from when I was a kid.. others are from the military. I am so thankful for all of these people., They all hold a special place in my heart.

34. My life- I am just thankful to be alive. I live a very blessed life! Thank you, God!

Among many other things.. these are just SOME of the things I am most thankful for!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

UpDaTeS

It is going on a month since I last posted.. eek! There were many times in the past few weeks that I wanted to write, but my computer has been messed up. I got it back in the mail yesterday and of course now, I don't know what I was going to write about! :) We have had three visitors since I last wrote. Cousin Bubba came and we spent a while with him. He and Nate were able to get out and about for three days.. taking Noah with on two of those days. We had a great time. Just a great man, easy to get along with, chat with, AND best of all- you don't have to entertain. HE had set up a California Family Get Together while he was here- that was fun.. We met family near us that we had never met before. Matter of fact, Nate's mom had not seem them since the late 60s. Mother in law came in as well. She brought one of the nephews with her. I was truly sad to see her go. It went so fast. We had a great time. She was easy to entertain as well. I have loads of pictures of Noah and his cousin on my facebook! All in all, the visits were amazing and all too fast.

The Sunday before mother in law left, Noah got sick.. we didn't take him in that day.. he was fine that night and the next day. Then it started when he woke up from his nap on Tuesday. I was more concerned because of how he was gasping for air..so we took him to Urgent Care. All tests came by negative, thank God. We went to see his DR yesterday and she seems to think it is some kind of stomach virus. Poor baby! This moma was a wreck.. thinking the worst possible things! This is the first real time he has been sick and I was scared out of my mind.. praying, praying, praying.



So now we wait. Wait for what? The week of Thanksgiving my sister and her husband are coming!! YAY! I am so excited. It is going to be sad not to have mom here with us.. but it is going to make us feel like real adults, cooking our own Thanksgiving meal together. I hope we live closer one day!

December 3 is quickly approaching and I am not ready for it. Strangely I have been invited to two different things on that day. How do you say no- I dont do anything on December 3? The Worst Date of My Life! I plan to hole up in my house, with my boy.. and if I want to cry- I am going to cry. If I want to look at pictures, I will. If I want to hear his voice, I will listen to those last voicemails he sent me... if I want to relive that terrible day 2 years ago, I will go and reread all of my blogs from then. I am going to do what I want to do... and think of my big brother the whole time.

So much of Noah makes me think of Shane. Might be odd, but it is true. Noah is my light when my heart hurts so bad... from losing Shane, losing friends, being lonely, anything random. Our lives change so much. I never thought I would have to live my life without my brother... I never thought I would have to find another best friend... I never thought I would be so happy being a mommy .. and I certainly never thought I would be so content and happy staying home!

I try to remember to thank the Lord for all of my blessing when I get down and out! I have so much to be thankful for- I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Today...

I miss my friends. I am having some girlfriends over from church and I am SOOO excited.. but I woke up this morning really missing my GREAT friends in Japan! I miss having someone to call and chat with over stupid stuff. I miss having someone just show up at my house.. just because. I miss that instant bond... I miss not having to try and make people feel comfortable or at home at my place.. but rather them go and do what they want as they please.. including getting food or drink. I miss....

But I guess it isn't right to dwell in what I miss.. but to pick up and keep going. Because I could tell you a million and twelve things that i miss. But I am also SOO very grateful for my life here! I love it here. I love our home. I love our church. I love our friends. I loooove being home each and everyday with my monkey.. even when he is fit throwing like today!!

I need to learn to count my blessings more regulary. Matter of fact, I think I am going to create a list of all the things I am blessed with.. so when I have down days like today.. I can read over them and smile.

God is so good and faithful to me and my family.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Is there a correlation between the two?

I love owning our own home. Well technically the bank owns it.. but I love the feeling of this being my home. I wish we could uproot this home and take it with us when we eventually end up in Texas ... wishful thinking on both parts. Owning our dream home has helped me keep our home cleaner... perhaps it has something to do with my being home all day as well. In the past two weeks I have felt like the house is dirty no matter what. I love the feeling of a clean house and I tend to do pretty well although I have kids in my house all day!

So.. my mind is thinking today. I haven't felt order in my house for about a week. My kitchen needed a deep cleaning that I was lacking motivation to do! EEEk! :) I did it today. I feel great. The boys went down for a super long nap, still down... and I got my kitchen in order. From the counter tops to the microwave, stove, and fridge. All I have left to do is mop and clean my cabinets! I feel in order! All bills are paid... I have (most) bills set up on auto pay. This may not seem like a big deal to most.. but going with no bills for the past three years to the bills we have with owning a home- I keep forgetting some bill.. and I certainly do not like paying a bill late. My home and financial area is finally in order. I took the time to do it.

My spiritual life. Do you feel like when your not in order with things in your life that your spiritual well being is not in order! MAN, I DO! But as easy as I can keep the clutter from my home I need to learn to do that in my spiritual life as well.There are so many things that clutter my spiritual life.. but the Lord has shown me lately how to work on this.. and I am!

So my question is.. is there a correlation between having disarray in your your home and spiritual life and having order in both? Do you find yourself crazy spiritually when your personal life is crazy!? I do!

I am learning to take it slowly .. all of it. Enjoy the wonders of my life and the wonders of my Creator.

Ah, life! I love my life.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

How does one get mad?




This is what I found first thing this morning as I came from the bathroom! Only after I had it cleaned up I realized i did not get on to him for it! :) Instead I said 'oh my goodness' when I saw it. Then of course I got the camera and then he helped me clean up.

These small messes remind me how thankful I am to be a mommy. When I didn't think I would get pregnant, at least without intervention, God gave me this blessing!

Thank you Lord for allowing me the privilege of raising your lamb on this earth. Please guide us as we raise him to be the best he can be and Lord please let my family all live a long, healthy, life together :)

I love this boy.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Conviction?

Read this blog: http://brittanybillingsley.blogspot.com/2011/10/sometimes-i-dont-like-conviction.html?spref=fb

That is my little sister... her blog made me think. I wish I had the guard on my mouth that she does... and I have been working on it. I wish I followed the convictions that I have... but sometimes I speak without thinking.

You see, I know what that sweet girl is talking about... and she vents to me. When I hear my sister so upset about things- it takes EVEN MORE of me NOT to speak my mind. But you know what she tells me today? Don't say anything, just talk to me. How did she get so smart?? Even when she is so upset ... she wants to keep the peace. Bless her. But then as I read or listen to the things she is saying to me- I just wish for once she WOULD disobey the convictions and tell it like it is. But she isn't... she is super Godly like that. :) I admire her. I look up to her. She is so amazing. I want to be like her when I grow up. I have said that so many times.

We, as people, often times don't think about how the things we say are going to affect others. MEEEE! I am really bad about that. I want to say how I feel, when I feel it, and to who I think needs to hear it. What about when the shoe is on the other foot? I want so badly to yell that the things that are being said are hurting me, us. .... But I haven't.

I suppose I am getting better at this.. perhaps I am starting to learn to obey the convictions that the Lord puts in my life....

I know God can heal.... but do you ever just tire of something sometimes? Just want to be done with it? I get that way- actually I think I am there right now. I need the Lords restoration so I can be content again!! Or maybe I don't need to be content.. maybe I need to be in earnest prayer about the situation, which I can admit, i am not..

Times like this, we both decided, it would be awesome to be able to go to our big brother with it. Somehow, Shane, new how to fix all problems. Don't know how.. but whenever I told him anything I was upset about- he handled it. From punching someone in the face for calling me a bad name to painting a vehicle for someone for free so they would give me the money they had promised me... HE was and is amazing. We miss him. Sometimes it is hard.... because sometimes it feels like people forget that he IS our brother... but we know.... in the end, I guess that is all that matters.

I am so thankful for my family. I am thankful for the bonds we have with eachother. It sucks we went from four to three.. but Shane is ALWAYS here... I see him in my Noah.. there is so much of him in all three of his kids... memories. We have to keep the memory alive.. and my family does that.

Hey moma and britt- I love you guys.

Again, my sister is amazing. Anyone that knows her is blessed.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

For Angie..

I found my Wyoming Journal while unpacking the stuff that has been in storage. In the back I found a page where I wrote MEMORIES! Do any of these jog memories for you??

Orientation: Applebee's: nose bleed, cow, pink
Mountain Climbing: Josh
"Remember Me" -- I still can't hear that song without remembering

VBS: Poster in the hall
Aaron and my room
Flyers and Aaron chunking them ???


Milking cows :) Good times, my friend!
Rolling down the hill :) Aww.. Let's do it again one day
Carnival- Shaide
Tubing- burnt
Hot tub with Aaron (OMG?)
Aaron "sick"
Aaron at camp with the boys
Lock in.. little girls -- OMG! Remember how much fun this was!!
Steaks at Mary Turner's
Aaron and Yellowstone (must we remember)
BYBC :)
Prayer times :) Such special times.. although I was always scared at that church
Samantha's salvation
Cards, dominos
Family dinners
Coolaid and Banana Pudding ????
Carrying Josh- 220lbs
Being "Mom" and doing REC Camp
Deanna- 15 yr, ikdm 7mth pregnant (Did she come to camp pregnant??)
Kids never heard of God -- I remember how shocking this was for me
Gwen and Milton and their mom
Shaide and Shadow-- beautiful children
Tree's Rose :):):)
Way home from youth camp- Aaron and Al's TRUCK! OOOOMMMMGGGGosh!
Jeff- Running Away

Ministries:
Super Saturdays
Terrific Tuesdays
TeamKid
VBS
BYBC
CentriKid
Youth Encounter

Favorite Quote:
"I enjoyed my summer in Wyoming, but when I get home... I'M GETTING MY TUBES TIED"

All of this is what was written.. many jog memories.. Others are like.. What?!??

I also found the poem you wrote me.. in the frame still. I have not read this journal yet.. except for that page and this:

August 3, 2002 (Really.. Really... almost 10 years)
4am- What a sad day! As I sat here watching Angie get ready to leave in 30 minutes it breaks my heart. I don't know when I'll ever see her again. Thank you god for her friendship this summer! She has been such a blessing to me. Please lead her and guide her in life. Revive her this week at Glorietta! Thank you, Father!!! 445am- Lord seeing her off was one of the hardest things I had to do. As she got in the car.. crying, I just let her know I loved her and then I came on up to the room and now I am bawling. God, be with us. More so with her. Wrap your arms around her and comfort her. Thank you, Jesus! 730am-The phone rang! Constance and Shane! And what do I do? I had been sleeping for a bit and the phone woke me up and I START BAWLING! I miss Ang! Give me safe travel today, Lord! 1130am-Such a good feeling, sitting here in Casper airport.. knowing that in just a few hours I will see my family. Thank you Lord for taking any anxiety away from me. Mom and Britt called this morning too. It is going to be so exciting to see my family. I miss Ang though. Thank you Lord for my summer. Thank you SO much for bringing me here! I have learned so much. And I prise you for that. I love you Lord. 230pm-In Colorado. I have about an hour here.. then about 2 hours and I will see everyone. I felt so sick on the flight over. But I dozed. It was so sad leaving Wyoming because I don't know ewhen or if I will ever be back. Be with Ang Lord. Help her not to be sad. Bring us back together soon. I miss her. Thank you for the safety to Colorado. Now I just ask for safety back to Texas... Thank you Lord for my amazing summer. I love you, Cass

OHOH! I found this last one stuck in the back:

8.3
Well I am back in the air headed to Dallas. It is so hard for me to believe my summer is over. It just does not seem like I'll never walk through Tree's door and yell 'hey hefer.' Or go into the Bascue's and just hang out--- dinner! I do wonder what it is going to be like tomorrow when I walk into Sand Hill again after 2 and a half months. I sure am missing Angie. She was so good to me! This morning when I hugged her bye she started crying and I told her 'don't cry hefer.' But we knew she would. I held in well all night and morning. But as soon as I turned from her and walked back into Parkway Plaza- I couldn't help but cry. Lord, I miss her. Please be with her. She has been such a great frriend to me! I love that girl! Please watch over her! I can't wait to see mom, britt, shane, and chloe!
Love,
Cass

*Angie's favorite verse: 1 Cor. 10:13*

Monday, 10 October 2011

:Love:

Tonight as I was cleaning and going through some things I need to put away; things that came from our storage for the past three and a half years... I was able to reminisce in the love in my life....

First was of my husband and me. I found scrapbooks I had put together during our first year and when he left for the military! How I love this man... and yet, how much we have grown. I can even tell in my writing.. the letters to him. They sound so YOUNG. They sound like many of my younger friends, newly married, new to the military friends! How cute we were. I have boxes, literally boxES of letters between Nate and I... well mostly from me to him... from High School, College, all the way to Basic Training... Good times. I sure love that boy. Many memories.

Then there is my Poetry Notebook. :) This spiral notebook is STILL with me, yes Amanda I am serious, since like 7-8th grade. Isn't that crazy. I had Nate put it up in the shelf while we were organizing and he was like.. uh, we can throw this away.. I was like.. UH NOPE! It reminds me of who I use to be... and how I use to express my feelings in writing vs. holding them in. The most important thing to me in them though are the poems about my brother. Pictures I have of him in it.... I will never see him again.. why on earth would I throw it away!!!

My choir and drama shirts.... I was involved in Choir and Drama, a traveling team, in my church youth group for many years.. in two different churches actually. Seeing these shirts brought back a wave of memories... the good times, the bad times... The songs I would sing- my favorite ones.. the skits that were my favorite.. and all of the friends that I had.... Especially thinking of those that I have completely lost touch with... but even more excited to realize that I do keep in touch with several of them. One of the best memories of my teenage years was our Traveling Choir and Drama team.

College! Tons and Tons and TONS! of pictures. WOW! Once again Wow! Reminds me why I want to keep losing this weight.. I never want to look like that again!!! But I made some of the best friends ever in college at East Texas Baptist University! I keep in touch with most of them via facebook- so that made me pretty happy. There was one that I kept in touch with pretty well even after we got married... pretty good until we moved to our first base, Leslie... and then we became like most others- facebook friends.

Wedding Album... the main reason this is near and dear to me is because it has pictures of Shane, my brother, in it. I don't care for my wedding pictures.. BUT having him in those pictures........... means I will FOREVER keep them! I can't tell you how many pictures I have found of him. i wish I had the time to scan them all... maybe when britt comes we can! :) Many pictures of when Chloe was little.. many! Those were the years I was in college.. before I moved far off.

My first baby doll, my favorite unicorn stuffed animal, the nightgown my mom wore when she had me, two of my baby blankets, my baby book.... all of these things! :)

I love my life! I love those in my life.

(and of course, I am rambling)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Learning to Let Go!

Have you ever had to let go of something or someone that you don't want too? How about letting go of something or someone that you don't think that the Lord wants you to let go of? WHAT about... not letting go of something you know you should?

Letting go is hard. Whether it is mentally or physically letting go of something, it is so hard. I have found such peace lately when letting go of things that I don't necessarily WANT to let go of.. but finding solace in the Lord has helped me tremendously. I have had to hand over control ... not that I really ever had it, but I guess it made me feel good to think I had it! :)

Letting go of a dear friend might be one of the hardest things ever, in my opinion. But letting go when it is family just seems not right... Who knows what the right answer is? If I knew, I probably would not be in this situation.

Letting go of the constant demons that fill my head with negativity of myself might be a battle that I face daily... I have to remember to let go.

Letting go of the addiction that I have is a daily battle as well.

Monday, 26 September 2011

"Mama"

Noah kept saying that word over and over on the way home from church yesterday. He has been saying Mama for a long time now.. but something about yesterday.. stirred up a ton of emotions and memories in me. I can't believe that God chose to give me this gift called.. a child! I can't believe I am really a mom. I can't believe I have a little one (who I pray) thinks of me the same way that I have always thought of my mom. A little one that will always love me like I love my mom.

I.AM.A.MOM.

Really? I love it! I love my baby boy. He lights up our life! I guess since losing Shane.. I fear leaving Noah early too. It has been on my mind a lot lately. One of the biggest things I have been thinking about it my lack of self control with myself... and how I am just letting myself gain more and more weight. I had gotten to a point when we went to Japan where I was wearing cute clothes and finally, after like.. uh, a whole life of being huge, I felt GREAT! I lived life there.. put on a little, but was still happy. Got pregnant and since I had Noah I have just added the pounds. It is like I have no... self control. I want it.. so bad I can taste it.. but I am not doing something about it.

this.will.change.

Even if for the one reason that Noah deserves a mom that can run and play with him and one that he can look back on and remember that she was fit and there with him. I want this for him. I want this for my husband. I have started a workout with a friend- it is SOOO hard and my body hurts SOOOO bad!! But... we are going to do this.

I love the word MAMA! Lately it has been MommY!!! I love it! I love that I am the one that my boy comes too.. and cries too.. and wants! I love being his mommy. I love that he runs to me and hugs and kisses me.. I love how he stands at the door and waves bye-bye at me on the FEW occasions I leave him home with Daddy! I LOOOOVE this kid!

I know this post has two different things in it.. but my brain has been jumbled.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Winner

Random.org Chose Dixie Shaw! :)

I promise, although she is my mother in law, she did win it with Random.org

I'll be mailing the gift card soon.

2-8

Am I really 28 years old? WHOA! Where did the time go? It is crazy to realize that I am 28 and met my husband when I was 16... and never dated another man. These are just the biggest milestones in my life since I met that boy 12 years ago.

At 16: Thought I was on top of the world... met the boy of my dreams. Man, he was a cutie.. but he was kinda a 'bad boy'... and I was a 'good girl'... hmmm. At this point I was trying to be a better sister to my baby sister. I was always so mean to her. But at this point in our life we were beginning to have a real sisterly bond. My brother was my hero and I looked up to him. He was going through a lot at this time... leaving the Marines and getting divorced, but I was so proud of him. My mom was one of my closest friends! I have always had a good relationship with her. I am sure at this age, I had a bit of attitude. We all lived out in the country in our home.. and grandma and grandpa up the road. Man, to turn back the hands of time! I worked at Pizza Hut with the Nater... and we spent every moment we could together. Pretty much.... I didn't hang out with any of my High School friends anymore! :)

At 17: I was still loving life with my cutie, Nate.... working and getting ready to graduate from high school. Life continued much the same with my family... I was working as a after school nanny/tutor for a young boy... applying for all kinds of scholarships. I graduated a year early and got so many scholarships it was unreal. I headed to East Texas Baptist University and met some of my lifelong friends there. I had the best roommate whom I love dearly. I broke up with Nate and felt it was time we both grow separately. We seemed to be on different baths. (i.e. bad boy vs. good girl)...

At 18: I spent a summer in Wyoming as a summer missionary for United Baptist Church there... and it was AMAZING. Met one of my best friends that summer... we planned to go to Hawaii the next summer together as missionarys.. both accepted into the program to go there... Spent 12 full weeks in Wyoming.. and 12 full weeks with ZERO contact with Nate!! ZERO! I prayed and prayed that if he was not the man for me, God would remove him from my life completely. ..... You see where I am today! :) Thankfully. Went back to college in the fall as an RA (resident assistant) .. fun times! :)

At 19: As I enjoy college, the Natster and I start talking again.. as friends. Then in December of that year, we decide to get married (WHAT! WHOA! 19... Crazy, I say)... I had to make the choice not to go to Hawaii with my girlfriend.. killed her. I wasn't 100% sure I was making the right choice.. (get married instead of serving in the mission field).. and I wouldn't see it until years later how that was CLEARLY the right choice for me, Nate, and my friend Angie. I planned my wedding while in college.. and got married to the man that is my LIFE on May 10, 2003. We lived in an RV for our first few months of marriage and he attended Fire Academy while I worked to support us and the FEW bills we had. College was now on hold for me.

At 20: He got a job as a firefighter in Kilgore, Texas... and we moved into our first apartment. My sweet, amazing grandpa passed away after battling with dementia and alzheimer's for several years when I was 20. Broke my heart. I promised my gpa that I would name my little girl Sydni after him... I still don't have a little girl! :) Then Nate decided to join the AF, we moved into a house his parents owned until he left for basic... I stayed in Gilmer while Nate attended Basic and Tech School for a Firefighter in the AF. He was going in for 4 years only.. then we could go back to the civilian world. NEVER, EVER did I see the military as part of MY life. My sweet brother had been in the Marines.. but never did I think it would be a direct part of my life! We got word that our first base would be Columbus, Mississippi.. I cried! :) But as I took care of Nate's kind Grandmother in the hospital after a broken hip (I believe)... i found peace in that base.. because there was a University that had an amazing Teaching Program in our city.. so I could finish my degree. This began a brand new adventure.

At 21, 22, 23: We lived in Columbus, Mississippi in a 3 bedroom house! We made great friends and I started college. It was fantastic! :) I was making friends on the base, at college, and at work. I worked at a department store... and enjoyed my time there. We were just living the life. I then began working at Applebee's.. made some great money, loved my life.. and enjoyed my job as a waitress as I finished college. Nate deployed for the first time and I stayed in the Mississip. Hurricane Katrina hit and it was just so sad.. broke my heart.. and it was scary as heck since Nate of course, wasn't there! :) I graduated from college when I was 23 and got my first teaching job. I taught 5th grade Science and Math. What an experience. We really loved our life in Mississippi and although we didn't realize it until we left... it was so great to us. We met two wonderful people, Gloria and Maurice, who are still so dear to our hearts. I met them through Applebees.. and they were so great to me.. Cared about us, truly. Attended my college graduation party AT my house with my family! They were family to us.. and we miss them so much. Maybe more than anyone! :)

At 24: Somewhere in the time we spent in the AF, we decided it was best for us that we stay in the military. WHAT?!?! When did we decide this? I thought this was only suppose to be for 4 years? The military has been a great life for us.. even with our time apart. So.. then... We got the word that we would be moving to Japan! JAPANNN!!! WHAT? I was like.. uh!? "This wasn't even on your dream sheet." Nate's response: "Yea, it was"... who would have known that moving to Japan would be one of the greatest experiences of our life...??? So at this time we begin figuring out what we would take with us and what we would leave in storage in Mississippi. In June of that year, we told our families good-bye and got on a jet plane for the BEST time of our life, thus far! :) Oh, how our lives would change in the next three years!!! Upon arriving, we met the Wade's... the best friends we would have for our duration at that base... and beyond.

At 25: We really loved Japan. We ventured out as much as possible. We hung out with our friends and had so much fun. I started work on my Masters Degree, got a job with DoDDs.. and Nate deployed again. With Nate deploying I met the DeMoss' who would hold such a huge part of my heart for the rest of my time there.. They became the other part of our Misawa family.. and then it was always us.. the Wade's, Shaw's, and Demoss'. My little family! We would introduce the first child into our Misawa family during this year.. Sweet Allie. Nate's family came to visit that year and my mom and sister came for a month as well. It was a great time. I can't even begin to list the amount of things we did during my 25th year of life! My sister got engaged and we began to look forward to heading home for a few weeks for her wedding and Christmas. Nate returned home from deployment in time to spend the month with my mom and sister. Man, the three of us did so much during that month. It was AAAAAAmazing. Good times, Good times. Nate and I left to go to Tokyo a few weeks after my mom and sister came.. We climbed Mt. Fuji.. AAAAmazing! :) Then.. the best news of all that year! I WAS PREGNANT!

At 26: Life changing year. Totally. Would never expect either of the things that changed my life so drastically to have happened. We were enjoying the new experience of being pregnant and learning all about how to be parents. We never really thought we would get pregnant.. or have the honor of being a Mommy and Daddy. Nate works, I work.. just enjoying our last few months of .. JUST US! :) Who would have known that I our life would change so much becoming parents!? Oh.. you did? :) Why didn't you tell us! :) We loved it. Got the news on December 3, 2009, just 9 days shy of us going home for my sister's wedding.. MY BROTHER DIED IN A CAR WRECK. You can read about it here: http://shaw-family-adventures.blogspot.com/2009/12/saddest-news-of-my-life.html So Red Cross sent us home. You truly never realize how short life is... but my big brother is gone. It is terrible to know that daily!! I hate thinking about it and realizing it is true.. And even more to know we are almost on the 2 year mark.. Not fair. Life is short and it is so precious.. Cherish the people that are near and dear to you. You can read all of December 2009 posts that year to see what was going on. I won't take you through it again. Among the saddest thing that happened in my life... the happiest time of my life happened as well.. we had our baby boy, Noah. My mom and mother-in-law came to visit again too! You can read about that time in my life here: http://shaw-family-adventures.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html So.. then began our new adventure as parents. We went home that summer so everyone could meet our little joy! What a year that was.

At 27: I had to go back to work and put my little one in daycare. He stayed with Ms. Julie.. truly a blessing to us. I would not have made it through that year teaching had she not been part of our life. .... We love her and she was so amazing to my boy. My life changed this year too.. I lost one of my best friends.. FOREVER! But I have moved on and God has truly helped me.. let go. AND He gave me another woman to rely on as a best friend.. I never thought that would be possible.. and He strengthened my bond with another best friend and made me realize just how much I LOOOOVE her! Love you Kimmy D! Nate deployed again that year. We went home for Christmas again... because Daddy was gone.. and Noah enjoyed his first Christmas with our family in Texas.. and I was so happy to be able to be there again for my family and brothers kids.. since he is no longer here. We received word we would be PCSing to Beale AFB in California.. thus begun our dreams coming true.. searching for our dream home. We had to leave our best friends in Japan.. My best friend had another baby.. and we miss our friends there so much. Demoss', all FOUR of them.. oh and Rusty the dog.. And Ryan.. we miss all of them soo much. We bought our first home in California and have enjoyed our life in Cali so far....

At 28: It is just beginning.. but I know it is going to be a great year. I am loving my life as a stay at home mom and so far Nate is enjoying his time at Beale. We are hoping he doesn't deploy for at least 2 years.... who knows though! :) We have found a church home that we are very happy with and now we just eagerly wait for family to come visit... NEXT MONTH! :) So, I will keep you posted on how this year goes.. Stay tuned.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Happy Landings

Today I attended a class called "Happy Landings." This is class to welcome spouses to Beale. Most of the information I already knew.. but it was a nice refresher, nice to meet other spouses, and nice to have time away for just me. We had a lot of interesting speakers talking about base. IT was a great time. Toward the end of the 'class'... during lunch... the fun began. People from the local area came in to talk to us about what all this area has to offer us.. AND we started getting prizes. Everyone ended up with their own door prize, which was different from everyone else.. and we all got a lot of the same prizes/gifts. The speaker called it "My Favorite Things'... similar to what Oprah has done.. Man, I was ready for it to be OVER because... I was starting to feel guilty getting all of the free things. So, I am going to list out to you what I got for FREE today.. and I might leave some out.. but these are most of them..

From the Yuba Sutter Public Library we received a nice bag with some brand new books:
-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
-Portraits
-The Golden Compass: Lyra's World
-How to speak Dog :)

Gift certificate for:

1. Free Wine Tasting at a Winery
2. 20% off at Twice Loved Thrift and Consignment Store
3. Free Coffee at Java Time
4. Free Men's Haircut at Sports Clips
5. 1 Free Specialty Coffee at The Brick Coffee House Cafe
6. Buy one get one Smoothie at New Earth
6. TWO Free Charbroiled Chicken Salads at Carl's Jr
7. Free Regular Sub at Charley's
8. $10 at String's Italian Cafe
9. $20 Gift Certificate at Yuba Sutter Mall
10. $10 Gift Card from New Earth
11. FREE Cookie from The Cookie Tree
12. Meal for 2 at Chipotle
13. $5 Gift Card for Dancing Tomato
14. $5 Gift Card for Grocery Outlet
15. $10 Gift Card for Cool Hand Luke's Steakhouse
16. FREE BREAKFAST for your WHOLE family at Linda's Soda Bar and Grill
17. $5 Gift Card for Fat Daddy's Frankfurters
18. $20 Gift Card when I sign up for a SAM'S Club Card
19. FREE Apple Cider at Bishop's Pumpkin Farm
20. $25 Gift Certificate for KLOTZ Mobile Detail
21. $20 OFF any 60 minute facial at Image Salon
22. FREE haircut WITH color service at Image Salon

WOW! Right? Amazing.. Crazy.. Thankful.

Then for the door prize.. WHAT did Cassey win? Oh, I will tell you. Valued at $200 .. Cassey won:

ONE FREE NIGHT LODGING at Feather Falls Casino

AND

$50 Dining Certificate at Feather Falls Casino

Plus there was a shirt, mug, stuffed turtle piggy bank, and a keychain in there.

WHAT.AN.AMAZING.DAY!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Blessed Be Your Name

Lately, Noah and I have been doing some serious jamming out to this song while we are in the car. I can't help but play it over and over and over....

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name


There are two parts of this song that just make my heart ache...

"Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name"

I just keep thinking about when Shane (my brother) died in a car wreck. This was the time in my life I was definitely in the most desert place, walking through the wilderness, on a road with suffering... and at this time.. I did NOT say blessed be your name. Instead, I was angry. SO ANGRY! I spent about a year in this anger. Even my closest of friends don't know of this... don't know how I dealt day in and day out... the things I went through in my mind and heart... but you know what... when I look back to that first year after his death... I see how I pulled from Him... and i know that my close friends could definitely see that!

So many people, especially those that I worked with, always told me that I always seemed so happy... a smile on my face. Let me tell you.. I can fake it until I make it with the best of them! :) But back to what I was saying.. I struggled you guys.. so bad. And during this, I let my faith falter.. I quit going to church as much, I quit going to Bible Study, I quit praying as much, reading the Word.. and during this.. I watched one of my best friends fall along side of me.. and the other... just press on. God has been so good! A friend I never really even knew was a Christian.. today is one of the most Godly women that I know. I just wish I had been able to be that Godly friend for her... during the hardest time of my life... but I FAILED guys. I failed. I let Satan take control over me.. and make me angry.

No, I did not turn into a bad person.. but I did turn from the Lord... and I didn't confide in Him. I let my heart grow weary and cold... and parts of it still might be. It is a work in progress. For me, I know that my God is an amazing God ... a healer. My sister once said to me that she didn't understand why God didn't just heal Shane... why couldn't God have just let him get hurt? Why did he allow my brother to die? I know He didn't cause the wreck or anything... but He does have complete control.. right?

Sooooo.. this song. It just makes me cry and smile all at the same time!! I wish I could say that through the hardest time in my life... I had cried out and held strong to the Lord... but... I didn't. I failed in that area.. and THAT hurts my heart. So, with that said... Tell me about a time you found yourself in the desert place... Did you cling to the Lord or find yourself fall away? Leave a comment and you will be entered into a drawing. I see so many of my blogging friends doing this... I too, will do it! For our first drawing, I am not going to tell you what it is.. But you have until September 20th to comment .... that will enter your into the drawing... if you share my blog on FB.. comment again and tell me, that will give you an additional submission into the contest. We will see how this goes.. maybe I can do a drawing monthly.. but this will be in honor of my 28th birthday!

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

East Texas FIRES

They are too close for comfort for me. They have been in my 'neck o the woods' for a little bit now.. but last night I got the phone call that my nieces and nephew had been evacuated... then I began to see pictures from their moms phone! SCARY! My heart just hurt. I know the kids are young and don't understand a lot of things... and would likely not remember any of this. But my heart is screaming- NO! These kids do not need more turmoil at their age... they only lost their DADDY less than two years ago. Their Daddy who will not be with them anymore. These kids have memories from their daddy in their homes, with their stuff. I know it is all JUST stuff..... but! I guess I just got really bothered because there is nothing I can do to help. I hate that!





But Praise God! For now their houses are okay. Bless those people that continue to lose their homes. I just don't understand. I wish all of it would just stop. The whole world is just crazy right now. Please continue to keep my fellow Texans in your prayers.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Mass Update Email

Friends and Family,

We are finally settled into our new home. If you keep up with us on facebook you have seen a million pictures of our home, our little monkey, and all the fun we are having. We are waiting on our stuff to get here from our storage from our first base in Mississippi... it is going to be like Christmas! Almost our whole house is in order and it is GREAT! We love our home. We know that God had this house here waiting for us for a reason... it is so perfect for us. We are adjusting to life in the states ok. We, rather I, miss Japan a ton and my family there.... I would be back there in a heartbeat. It seems to be much harder being stateside because I am SOOO close to my family and yet, so far away. We love our neighborhood... it is all we have wanted... a nice, friendly, fun neighborhood to raise Noah in.

We have found a church and have gotten plugged into a Small Group. What a blessing these people have been in our lives already! God is so good. I have been seeing Him in so much that has happened and been going on since we arrived here. We really enjoy our preacher as he is amazing.. and gives great Life Lesson Sermons. We don't feel like we are being preached at.. but learning so much. Nathan loves the church and said we didn't need to look any further! :)

Nathan is loving is job at the Fire Department here. He is staying busy and learning new things.... as going to any new base brings new adventures and more education. He was born to be a home owner as he loves all of these little projects that keep him busy around here. Cassey is waiting to get licensed from the state of California to do childcare. She is ready to start but also enjoying every moment with Noah. She truly believes she was born to be a stay at home mom. Again, if you keep up with us on facebook or our blog, you see all her new endeavors. Noah is amazing. He is just so fun. Growing and learning something new everyday. He talks so much. Repeats everything you say. This age is too much fun. This month he will be 18 months. WHERE, oh where, did the time go. What happened to our baby? Dezi loves it here.. loves having a back yard and just enjoying being settled. She didn't care too much for the traveling.

For those that don't keep up with us, feel free to follow us on facebook or check our our blog occassionally.. Cassey tries to update it regularly.

http://shaw-family-adventures.blogspot.com/

Blessings!
Nate, Cass, Noah, and Dezi

Saturday, 10 September 2011

September 11, 2011

Where was I? I was a freshman in college... and I was asleep. My roommate ran to the room to tell me what had happened. Classes were cancelled at East Texas Baptist University.... and we had a lot of prayer times in the chapel. I was just in a state of shock at what I Was seeing on TV. I was only 17 years old. I'l never forget. I remember that Nate was taking a road trip and I was worried sick about him. It was days before I heard from him.... I was never so happy to hear that boys voice. I remember being in the chapel crying for the lives lost... and not understanding AT ALL.. I remember that next summer as I boarded a plane to Wyoming to serve as a summer missionary, how scared I was to get on that plane (first time ever).... all because of 9/11. We will never understand... I read many of the books that were put out by spouses.. and it broke my heart. Though I will never truly understand the pain because I Was not impacted personally.... I'll always have the pain because I am America... my husband leaves because of this very thing.... I'll never forget.



On March 11, 2011.. I remember where I was as well. SIX months ago, my students had just left the school and my best friend, Kimmy was coming to get me. We were going to go pick up Noah to go to Hachinohae to Toys R' US. The earthquake hit! OMG! I thought I was dying.. I am not kidding. It kept going.. they kept coming. Kim shows up.. we decide to go ahead and go.. we had no clue what had just happened was so terrible. WE were used to earthquakes.. we had one pretty sucky a couple of days before. As we were in the parking lot... getting Noah's carseat switched to Kim's van.. we just watched as cars shook from side to side as the aftershocks/earthquakes WHATEVER you want to call them... kept coming and coming!!!!!! They wouldn't stop. We still thought.. maybe we will go. Driving around base was somber..... all the lights were out. #1 priority.. get noah from off base. We did... everything was off otu there too.. We finally decided it was best to go home. (Keep i mind, our guys were deployed) I can tell you that we had no clue the extremity of the situation in Japan... I would dare to say most of us did not. We spent the evening with no electricity and running to the car, to the doorway, or perfectly still.. always grabbing a kid or two.. depending who was closest -- each time another one hit. It was constant. No lie. We finally decided to drive to Main base and see what was up.. we ended up going to the Commissary and they just let us in even though there was no electricity and they were closing, but we got batteries. That night we sat in her dark house with our candles just talking about 'what if this hit the news, our family would be so worried'... but not seriously, like we were laughing. We had NO CLUE! All through the night we kept getting the quakes, it was so scary. I just knew it was the end of the world. The next morning we were able to get AFN (our base radio) going on my radio and we heard the guy say something about "President Obama's address to the nation about the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan." We just looked at each other. NO WAY!!! NOOO freaking way. So, indeed our family did know about it, as did the rest of the WORLD! As we listened throughout the day we would learn just how bad it was.... but we still had no clue. The base set up an Emergency Center were we could go call our families. Even when we talked to them- we told them we didn't know how bad it was... everyone in the United States (or rather WORLD) knew what was going on much more than we did!!! We were able to check our email quickly at the FD and I couldn't help but sneak a peak at some of the pictures online.. I was IN SHOCK!!! I couldn't believe it. My home.. and it was SO close SO close to us. Now, I sit here 6 months later.. my heart craves for Japan because that place became home to me. I went through a lot there... Losing Shane, Having Noah, 2 deployments, Earthquake and Tsunami.. and all of this I walked side by side with my best friends. I love that place and half of my heart is still there.. Always will be. :(



I may have written more about the Japan tragedy... but those memories are so fresh- and I just have so many more vivid memories on it. 10 years ago today our world changed. The scary world we live in became THAT Much more scarier... and since then my dear husband has left his family THREE times on a deployment ... sacrificing so much for our country. Many times a country that is so ungrateful for our men and women in uniform who are out there protecting us. As we remember the lost today... remember those that have lost also fighting this War on Terror. Remember all of the families that have been left behind and gotten word that THEIR loved one is gone.... just as the families on 9/11. I have to turn my TV off.. because I find myself consumed. My heart aches for these families. I cried many times this morning watching it... MANY times. A boy gives a speech about losing his father... I relate because I think of how Addi, Ashtyn, and Chloe are going to feel in 8 years when they say 10 years ago I lost my Daddy... A mom gives a speech about her son. My heart hurts because I think of my own mom who lost her son at such a young age. Boys and girls talk about losing their brother... I can't take it. AT aLL.



I am not comparing my brothers wreck to 9/11. I am just saying.. when these people talk- it stirs up so much in me that I just can't handle today. Not today! Anyone that loses someone close to them... they know the pain. I know how December 3rd feels each year. I know what a reminder the 3rd of any month is. ... I know how it feels to go through the anniversary.. and wonder WHY! I am praying for these families today.. and as I go to church today, I am so thankful for another day that God has given my family and I... and I am reminded that my days are limited and I need to SERVE him! May God bless you today!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

I am truly blessed...

I am so thankful for who I am! There are only a few things about me that I am unhappy about- and they can all be fixed. In general I am a very happy person... We move around regularly.. and I love it. Yes, it hurts to leave the amazing family that you make each place you go.. but once you start meeting new people and getting plugged in... it is just such a home feeling! As long as I am with my boys and can get in touch with the family via phone, I am good! :) Although I do wish I was closer. I guess for this season of our life that we aren't meant to be closer to home. Britt, my sister, said it perfectly.. she was really upset we didn't get stationed in Abilene, Texas.. as that was our prayer.. to be living in the same city... but she finally had to come to terms with it and realized.. well maybe God is waiting to send us that way for closer to retirement! :) Happy thoughts!

MY SISTER AND ME!


I still think of Shane, my brother, very often.. like everyday. There are sometimes that I want to call him and tell him something or ask him something.. and I remember I can't. Why can't heaven have a phone? Seriously. I wish more than anything that he could meet Noah. My gosh, he would LOOOVE Noah! And vice verca. One of Noah's new favorite things to say is "Whose dat"... and in Noah's room is a picture of Shane and his son, Ashtyn. I don't even second think it when I answer Noah's pointing finger and sweet 'Whose dat?" to my brothers picture. I tell him "That is uncle Shane.. can you say Uncle Shane?"

THE PICTURE BLOWN UP IN NOAH'S ROOM


What a blessing noah is in my life and the times when I miss Shane the most .. either someone tells me of the resemblance of him and Shane or I see Shane in him. Today I visited with new friends. They know nothing about my brother. They know nothing about me. Well one friend, her BROTHER is visiting this week and she is sooo excited. I am excited for her. I would lie though if I told you that it didn't pain my heart a little when the girls were talking about her brother visiting and how he hasn't seen her boys in a couple of years and hasn't even met the youngest one. It pained me.. because my brother will never meet my Noah on this side of the earth! BUT! I am truly happy for her.

ME AND MY BIG BROTHER-- THE LAST TIME I SAW HIM (day I left for Japan)


I can't wait to meet THAT friend- you know, the one that you can share everything with. The one that you call anytime and they answer. The one that you can just go over and not call before hand. The one that you can walk around the store with for nothing. The one that will drop everything to help you. The one that will keep your kid, or vice verca, when needed. You know the one I am talking about!??! I can't wait to meet that friend here. I see so many potential people! :) I have been blessed to have a couple of those friends in my life. Some of them will FOREVER be that friend, even with the distance! :) God has been so good to me.

MY FAVORITE GIRLIES.. THEY HAVE BEEN WITH ME THROUGH SO MUCH.. AND THEY WERE/ARE THAT FRIEND!

This is my favorite picture.. because it is us in action- where we normally were together: The kitchen.. and i was pregnant.. I loved being pregnant!! It makes me smile.
*UPDATE*was just informed that I am NOT pregnant with Noah in this picture.. hah! It was Easter and Noah had been born the previous Sunday! With that said, I was still super happy... I loved being a Mommy from Day 1*

There seem to be so many thoughts in my head lately! I miss my mom. If you are the praying type, pray for her. She still struggles so bad with losing her first born, her only son. I can only imagine the pain my mom feels. On top of that, things have happened in the past year and a half that are crazily stupid.. but have put a division between my family. I hurt for my mom. She has this hard shell... yea, that must be where I get it from! :) (And I know you will eventually read this, but it is my heart).. I just pray that God breaks that shell... and she can heal. As much as a mom can heal after losing her son. I wish that we all lived SO much closer.. I wish I could be there for her like I need to be. I wish I could be part of those kiddos lives. What an amazing mom. She picked up with what Shane was doing.. and she has his kids when he would have. It is sOOO great for those kiddies, but sometimes so hard. I love my mom. Pleaes, please. just pray for her.

TRIED TO UPLOAD A PIC OF MY MOM. AFTER 2 TRIES AND 10 MINUTES EACH TIME, I GAVE UP. THANK YOU BLOGGER! :(

Discouragement

Learning Ladder Childcare won't be opened until AT LEAST December!


I heard from the state of California yesterday. They said they are backed up, so I was curious to know what that meant exactly.. a couple of weeks, a month? I had definitely expected to be able to start next month. I am told they are backed up by about FOUR months.. and I am on the list for them to come inspect my house in DECEMBER!! So discouraging. I was really upset at first. I HATE not being able to contribute to my family financially. If you know my husband, you know that he doesn't really think stay-at-home moms do much... BUT! I want him to feel like I am contributing with more than taking care of our son.



So today I have had this huge thought in my head... I know that GOD has a plan and HE has control over everything, including this inspection. WHAT is the reasoning behind this four month delay? I know there is something the Lord wants me to take from it? I am just trying to figure out what. I keep thinking.. Hm.. maybe he wants me to learn how to be a dedicated mom who educates my son and takes care of my husband. Maybe I need to be putting things in different places in my life? I am eager to watch Noah learn. It is so much fun. He is saying so many new, big words EVERY day. It is so much fun. I am waiting for my curriculum to get here that I bought. I intend to go ahead and get Noah on the schedule that I will use for my daycare. With the exception of playdates (such as today)... we will go!! I think I need to prioritize my life a little more.



On a bright note, I can take ONE family at a time to keep. And I got a phone call yesterday about keeping an 8 week old. I have an interview with them tomorrow... so if it is the right fit, I pray that Lord will show all four of us that it is!! ;) With that said, I am getting off of here to work on a puzzle with my little man!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

9lbs of bread,. WHAT?!

Am I going to become the person that turns my blog into the new foods that I cook? NO!! But I am so proud of some of my new recipes.. that I want to share. Today i decided I wanted to make bread. Well... I babysat tonight, so I was a little sidetracked. I started the recipe for 9lbs of bread. I couldn't go back.. not after I used all the honey! :S... so I made 9lbs of bread. Holy Rising Bread!!!



I freak a little.. call the mother in law and we decide I should try to freeze some. She has a friend who has done that and it has worked out well. So I divided my bread into six balls. Froze three... Cooked 2 loaves of bread and one of the balls I turned into cinnamon rolls...





The rolls came out tasting great.. I haven't tasted the bread yet, but i am sure I will tomrrow. I am having TOO much fun cooking. Now I just can't wait to get my wheat grinder from storage.. although after three and a half years, I have a sinking feeling that it isn't going to work anymore. I am tempted to ask the husband to get me one for my birthday.. but there are several things I would like to treat myself to for that day... and I Am not sure which one that I want the most. I want a grinder and a sewing machine pretty bad.. Oh well.. such is life! :)


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Homemade Bagels


*Note that these took some time and were quite tedious, but YUMMY*

Yield: 15 bagels, 1 cookie sheet
Oen: 450 degrees, 12 minutes



Water, warmed: 2.5 cups
Oil: 2 tsp
Sugar: 1/3 cup
Yeast, Active Dry: 4 tsp

1. Combine the above in a 4-5qt mixer bowl with dough hooks.
2. Use wire whisk to dissolve yeast
3. Let sit until foamy; 5-10 minutes

Flour, all purpose: 7.5 cups
Salt: 2.5 tsp

4. Combine and add
5. Mix until combined. (Dough will be very stiff)
6. Increase to medium speed and mix for 7-8 minutes or until gluten is developed (a small piece of dough can be stretched paper-thin without tearing)



7. Cover dough and let rest fro 10 minutes.
8. Roll into 16" log. Cut into 15, 1" slices.



9. Roll each piece into a smooth ball.
10. Cover and let balls rest for 5 minutes.
11. Shape into rings by poking finger in center of each ball. Then work in a circle to widen the hole to 1.5-2" wide.



12. Place on cornmeal-dusted cookie sheet, 5 rows of 3.
13. Cover tightly and chill overnight.

NEXT DAY
14. Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit for 20 minutes.



15. Boil for 30 seconds. Remove to wire rack. (I found it better if you boil for about 15 sec on one side and make sure it flips to get the other side)





16. Place on greased cookie sheet.
17. Bake at 450 for 12 minutes or until browned. (Mine did not really brown on top.. but I felt them and could tell they were done)



ENJOY!






Variations:

HONEY WHOLE WHEAT: Substitute honey for sugar. Substitute whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour.
CINNAMON RAISIN: Add along witht eh flour: 1 and 3/4 tsp cinnamon and 1 cup raisins.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

I want to be "THAT" mom and wife..


Is it finally happening? Am I finding the time now that we are settled to be "that" wife and mom that I have wanted to be for.. well, forever! I think it might be true. Who would have ever thought that everything my mother-in-law has ever preached to me... from whole wheat, baking my own bread, cooking from scratch... all the way to homeschooling-- would become the desires of my heart? Who would have thought it... ???

Finally after eight years of marriage... I no longer have a job outside of the home. I am currently waiting for California to get up to speed and come inspect our home so I can get my daycare license... but that is just a waiting game with the state. But I get to stay home with Noah! I have joined a veggie 'co-op' where I will get tons of fresh veggies each week!! I am so pumped about this. Our wheat grinder should be here by the end of the month, so I am looking into getting wheat so I can grind it myself. Say goodbye to store bought bread and everything I can make. Tonight I am working hard on homemade bagels.

Yesterday I realized that I love it here. I love my home. I love it all. Do I miss my family, YES! It was so much easier being in Japan.... I didn't really have much of a choice to go home. But they are just RIGHT.HERE... yet still 30 hours away. Makes it hard. Makes me sad I won't see any of the soccer games and such for my brother's kids. I just hope I can see it one day! I miss my family in Japan SOOO much.. but I am learning to live my life here.. without them, as sad as it is. To a normal person, that may not seem like you can do it.. but with the life we live, we do. But I can tell you I made friends that will be my friends FOREVER over there... and will always, ALWAYS be my family.

God has blessed us with a church home already. I am eager to get involved and get to know more people in the church. We are already involved in a small group, which is so nice! I purchased my preschool curriculum today. I hope it is as great as I think it will be. I know I could have wrote my own, but to be honest... I just didn't want too!! As I love life here, I leave you with a couple of pictures... of my new favorite things right now!! COOKING!!!



Friday, 2 September 2011

A whole lot o' nothin'

There is nothing going on new here. Just waiting for the state to give me my in home daycare license so I can get started. I will be so happy to start bringing in some income to contribute to our family again. I have always worked.. so every time we move and I am without job-- it sucks for a bit! :) I mean, WE are okay.. but mentally I need to know that I am contributing financially to my family. The area we live in is so great to me. It isn't too big... but it isn't too small. We can get anywhere we need in just minutes. We have our security system installed- so you should know that I slept a whole lot better last night. Working on getting the Rooster head to sleep on his own.... I joined a vegetable coop.. I am excited about that. Fresh farm grown veggies WEEKLY! Noah has started eating a whole lot more food. He had his check-up yesterday. Dr. is shocked with how much he does. This morning he said BANANA clear as day to me.. I was like.. Uh, excuse me.. please go back to being a baby! :) I am so proud of the little boy he has become. I am one proud mommy. Sure miss my family and because we are stateside, I wish we were close enough to drive home for a long weekend... but we aren't .. gotta learn my new, new! :) Miss my friends.. and I sure miss Japan! :)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

17 months


Noah turned 17 months today.. NUTS!! I love this kid. He is so cute... He completes us!!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Nothing new....

Just enjoying our new life in California. I have slowly started to meet some people... and am getting use to being home with Noah. Still trying to get the house in order. Nate is amazing .. I swear he was born to be a homeowner. On his days off he just goes, goes, goes...always has some kind of project. He just works on them, and knocks them out one after the other. I am truly blessed for a man like him in my life. I am ready to get the rest of our stuff from Mississippi. Though we haven't had this stuff in about three and a half years, it holds our bed, our kitchen table... and without those two things, my room and our dining room just aren't becoming.. homey!

The weather here is nice. We love to go on walks/jogs in our neighborhood and now that our stuff is here.. we are loving bike riding! :) Can't wait to have some visitors.