All posts by andthismarinewife

12 for 2012: March Update

I’d like to preface this post with saying that March was an absolutely insane month that brought with it many challenges. But, I do believe there was still some progress made.


1. God and I Time (at least 15 minutes a day) – My average number of days declined a bit, but I made up for it in the amount of time spent in prayer. Let’s just say, the Lord got an earful this month (both good and bad). I’m just thankful that His love is so vast that we can’t even begin “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep” it is (Ephesians 3:19).

2. Read More – *sigh* I never did finish Speechless, because it needed to go back to the library. I was having a hard time getting into it, so maybe another time. I’m almost done with Heaven Is For Real, and boy is that book a can’t-put-it-down reader! I’ve cried several times while reading it. Still working on Mommy’s Locked in the Bathroom, and I have no idea where Drowning Ruth went. My husband and I went through a cleaning frenzy that included boxing up a bunch of books. I think that might have accidentally got thrown in one of the boxes. That book was starting to slightly creep me out anyway. I’m starting on The Resolution for Women, but I should have started reading that a while ago. We’re reading it for our women’s Bible study group, and I’m already a couple chapters behind. You can blame my lazy butt for not Amazon-ing it in the beginning.

The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer


3. Date Nights (at least 2 per month) – FAIL! But, we have started a babysitting money budget. So, perhaps that will help in April. I also have a friend visiting this month, who said that she wants to watch our son one night so that we can go out. Yay! I love her!

4. Exercise – I have not been this discouraged about my weight in a while. This morning I jumped on the scale, just to have it tell me in bold, glaring numbers that my weight has gone up five pounds since the last time I weighed myself. I’ve stuck to working out regularly, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. I know that the whole point of the goal was to make sure I was working out every day, so in that sense, pat me on the back. But, it’s quite discouraging when you step on the scale and see yourself gaining significant weight, when there shouldn’t be any reason for it to be happening.

About a week ago, I felt like the “Turbo Fire” program wasn’t doing much for me, so I decided to take action. I found out about a Marine wives Crossfit group that meets three times a week, and I went for the first time this past Saturday. Let me just say, OUCH! My muscles are still trying to recover, and I’m afraid they won’t be ready for the next workout on Wednesday. During the workout, I tried not to get angry at the trainer . . . to no avail. I think I may have uttered “I hate you” more than once, and there may or may not have been a glaring, dart-throwing look plastered on my face. You would think that with as much pain I’m still in, I would want to call it quits, but I’m crazily going back for more on Wednesday. Yep, I’m insane.

I’m hoping that between the Crossfit and the Stroller Warriors, I’ll be able to shed some of these pounds and get back to where I want to be.

5. Organize the House – Let’s all clap and cheer! This goal may have received the most progress this month. Hubby and I teamed up and got the guest bedroom, guest closet, and the garage all organized. I’m so proud of us! The guest bedroom looks amazing. We’ve already had my husband’s best friend over for a weekend, and now I can’t wait for my best friend to come in a couple weeks! Oh boy!

6. Volunteer – This one I’m really excited about! My husband is officially an infantry instructor, so now it’s becoming easier to get involved. At his MCIS graduation, the officers had a meet and greet with the wives. I was able to have a 20 minute conversation with the Lt. Col. discussing some of my ideas for the wives. He was very perceptive to them and asked me to talk to the Chaplain’s wife about possibly getting the ball rolling. My main concern is for the marriages of the instructors and their spouses. My heart breaks every time I hear about another broken marriage. It literally brings me to tears. I wanted to take action. So, the Chaplain’s wife and I are in the works of putting together a marriage enrichment group for the wives. This would be a group that would meet weekly or bi-weekly. We’d go through marriage books together and discuss them. This group would also allow a safe place for the wives to express their concerns about their marriages and seek help in how to deal with/fix them. Although, they must accept when they are in the wrong. This group isn’t going to be designed for gossip or slandering of our spouses. It’s for the sole purpose of bettering our marriages and the relationships we have with our spouses.

7. Be An Encouragement (send letters, cards, etc. at least once a week) – I’ve actually found that I do better with texts, emails, and the occassional phone call. In utilizing those avenues, I’ve done much better than previous months.

8. Improve eLe PhotographyWe have a business card! We also bought an external flash and a diffuser, which have been A-MAZING! We had our first newborn and family photoshoot this month, and I must say that it was a success. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 




9. Improve LE’s Military Corner – Because of the craziness of this month, I only made one more item to add to the store. I’m currently painting a mug that will be “His Tags, Her Bags” (dog tags on one side, purses on the other), and I’ll be starting on a red, white, and blue flower hair comb that would be beautiful for a patriotic-themed wedding.

Child-Size Headband: Black with Silver-Gray/Black Flower and Pearl Center
$8 + shipping/handling


I also jumpstarted my cake pops business! It’s going to eventually be its own entity, but for now the business is being run in conjunction with LE’s Military Corner. I’m trying to think of some cute military ideas for the pops, like maybe ones that look like dress blues.

Brownie Pops for a Valentine’s Day Party
 

 

Red Velvet Cake Pops for a Valentine’s Day Party

 

Cinnamon Streusel Breakfast Pops

 

Chocolate-dipped Banana Bread Breakfast Pops
 
 
Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Pops
 
 
Cake Pops for a Black and Pink Themed Baby Shower
*pink-ribboned pops are strawberry*
*black-ribboned pops are red velvet*
 
Wedding-themed Cake Pops for the cast of the play, “My Big Fat Italian Wedding”
*grooms are red velvet*
*brides are strawberry*
*groomsmen are banana bread*
*bridesmaids are cinnamon streusel*

 

 10. More Homemade Meals – With me not being able to be home as often, because of the play, this took a decline. I hope to do better in April.
 
11. Outside Playtime – Considering the incredibly warm weather we’ve been having, there has been a lot of outside time! 🙂
 
12. Drama/Theatre – The performances of “My Big Fat Italian Wedding” came at the end of March. The play was a lot of fun and brought a lot of laughs. But, I’m going to have to set aside my acting stick for a while. Though it was fun, being in this play took away a lot of time from my family, and we all felt the tension from it. Aside from God, I feel like it’s necessary to always put my family above anything else in my life. I went my husband and my son to always know they are my first priority. So, with that said, theatre will have to have a break from me for a while. But, enjoy the pictures. I’m sure they’ll make you laugh. Yes, that’s right, a mid-twenties girl played the part of an 80-year old grandmother. hehe!
 

 

 

 

My Desert Storm

I don’t mean any disrespect by my title. It’s just that it adequately explains how I’m feeling, and how fitting seeing that I am a military spouse. I’m typically a silver-lining type of girl; almost always have been. I sometimes drive my husband crazy because I ALWAYS have to find the positive in everything and everyone. There are people who always “have it worse,” which is why I do my best to stay upbeat. Also, God has blessed me so incredibly much. But, sometimes my positive drive runs dry. I guess this is one of those times.

Have you ever cried so much that you have no more tears to cry? You just feel absolutely and utterly dry. You still feel the pain, but nothing comes out. I looked at the month of March as an exciting new month, but it brought more challenges than I ever anticipated. I won’t go into some of them, because they are personal. I guess I just didn’t anticipate what God was going to allow our little family to go through. We got hit with illness after illness, which I can handle. But, what I really didn’t expect was that in one fell swoop, something that started out as positive became negative before the swing came to an end.

What I’m referring to is my recent miscarriage. No, I’m not talking about our baby Andrew’s death; I’m talking about another little angel. This month we found out that I was pregnant again. You can imagine how excited we were! We kind of considered this little baby as a miracle. He/she was the quiet in our storm. Our hearts had been aching so badly for another baby, and we felt like God had answered our prayerful desires. But, the excitement was short-lived. Less than a week later, I miscarried. I tried to reason that maybe I really hadn’t been pregnant and that my hormone levels had just been out of whack. But, the staff in the ER was efficient and showed me that I indeed had been pregnant and that it wasn’t just my hormone levels.

I didn’t cry. I tried to pretend I was okay. My husband and I went on the rest of our day as if it were a normal one. By the next night, I couldn’t pretend anymore. We couldn’t pretend anymore. We both fell into each other’s arms and cried. I just remember saying, “I don’t understand,” over and over again. Why would God do this again? Why would He allow us to know we were pregnant and then take it away just like that?

People try telling me, “Well, at least you weren’t as far along.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t love this baby just as much. Our little angel is in heaven right now, and he or she doesn’t have a name. You don’t know how much that pains me! I want this little one to have a name. What does bring me comfort is that God is watching over both our angels now. I imagine Andrew and our miracle baby have sat in Jesus’s lap as He told them how much their mommy and daddy love them.

I know that this happens to so many people and that I should be grateful that I can get pregnant. I am extremely grateful for that and for our little son that we do have. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not scared. I find myself wondering if we’ll be able to have more children. My husband and I so badly want another baby. I know that God knows what is best for us and everything happens in His time. Sometimes I’m just terrified as to what His will might be.

I used to be afraid to tell God what I think or how I’m really feeling. But, the more I’m learning in His word and through other reading, I’m finding that He wants to hear us no matter what we are feeling. He wants us to talk to Him, because He does care. In the book, “Heaven Is For Real,” Colton’s father talks about how he ranted and raved at God over the trials his family was experiencing, and through his son, finds out that God personally answered his ranting prayers. I guess I used to always assume that it wasn’t good to rant at God; that it was almost a sin. But, God wants to hear those rants. He recognizes that we hurt, and He doesn’t expect us to hide it and pretend. One night, days after my miscarriage, my husband and I had a disagreement. I went outside to cool off and found myself ranting . . . at God. I went on and on about how frustrated I was and that I didn’t understand what God was doing in our lives. I told him that I was feeling dry and tired, inside and out. Minutes later, random raindrops began to fall. It was as if God was telling me He heard me. He was bringing rain to my oh so dry desert. I then started crying, and tears eventually turned to peace. For the first time this month, an immense peace washed over me. I felt as though God was embracing me.

I’m not going to understand why things happen. I will go through dry periods. I will have desert storms. But, God is faithful. He will always bring the rain.

He Almost Killed Me!

Okay, it’s time. Time for what? Time to royally embarrass my husband. After he nearly killed me last night, I think I’m entitled to it. Yes, you read that right, he nearly killed me last night. Okay, slight exaggeration, he nearly maimed me. Sure, that sounds better. (By the way, he knows I planned to do these posts.) I decided that, after last night, I was officially going to post about his insanely funny while-you-were-sleeping moments. The things he does and says in his sleep are too funny not to post.

Last night, I was at play practice, and it went a bit late. When we got out, like a good wife, I texted him to let him know I was on my way home. No response. Hmm, strange. So, I called . . . and called . . . left a voicemail . . . called again . . . and called one more time for good measure. Usually it doesn’t take more than two phone calls, so I assumed he was asleep or in the shower. Minutes later, I pulled into the driveway and started fishing around for the keys. I unlocked the first lock and tried the door. It didn’t budge. Seriously? He locked the deadbolt too? Is he anticipating robbers? I tried to unlock the deadbolt but couldn’t get my key in the lock. Then, I heard movement inside the house. Oh, good, he’s going to come open the door for me! Silence. Or not. After much struggle, the key went in the lock. Finally! I can’t wait to give Evan a big ol’ smooch!

I opened the door and did not expect to see what was before me. There was my husband, panicked, eyes wide and red, arm wheeled over his head, holding his locked, cocked, and ready to rock . . . (I thought it was a knife, but then it blinked red) remote control? Yes, he was going to try taking me on with a remote control! I quickly blurted out, “Babe, it’s me!” before he could chuck the thing at me. Then, he woke up. Apparently, he had been asleep, and my fiddling with the lock “woke” him up. He immediately assumed it was someone breaking in and grabbed the closest weapon . . . the remote. In his half-asleep state, he was ready to kill with that remote! I think the look on his face would have done the job. Needless to say, he didn’t get a big ol’ smooch till about an hour later.

Coming soon . . . the story of the frog prince . . .

12 for 2012: January and February Update

At the conclusion of January, I failed to update how I’ve been doing on my goals. So, here’s an overall update for the past two months. I feel like I’ve done quite well in some areas and only so-so on others. In a conclusive standpoint, I think my goals have helped me go a lot farther than if they weren’t there in the first place.

1. God and I Time (at least 15 minutes a day) – There’s still room for improvement here, but my alone time with God has grown greatly! I’m probably getting in about an average of five days a week. That’s much much better than what it used to be. There are days when I sit down with the Bible, and I don’t really “get” much out of what I read, but at least I’m reading it.


2. Read More – I haven’t finished any books, but I’m currently working on four different ones. Yes, I’m one of those readers. I like to work on a couple books at a time. I’ve got my “study” books, and then there’s my pleasure reading books. These are the ones I’m reading right now:


Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman and Scotty Smith
 
Mommy’s Locked in the Bathroom: Surviving Your Child’s
Early Years with Your Sanity and Salvation Intact
by Cynthia Sumner
 
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
 
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz


3. Date Nights (at least 2 per month) – This one hasn’t been a total fail, but between my play practices and Evan’s work schedule, we haven’t really been able to do many date nights. We had one last month, which was absolutely amazing and so much fun! I will eventually be blogging about that. For now, you can just enjoy the pictures. 🙂

We went to a waterfront restaurant. The food was great, but the
service was terrible! It’s okay though, because we ended up
getting our food for free. 🙂

 

We then went on a horse and carriage ride. Meet Buddy the horse!


4. Exercise – I’ve been doing very well! I started a 3-month dvd workout program called, Turbo Fire. I’m a week into the second month. I haven’t really seen any changes on the scale. (I actually gained a few pounds.) But, I think that might just be muscle weight. I feel great, and I can tell my body is toning down a lot, especially my arms and legs! Based on percentages, most of the results really start happening between the second and third month.


I also recently joined a program on base called, Stroller Warriors. It’s just a bunch of military moms that get together and go running, workout, etc. It’s great, because you bring the kids and go running with them in the stroller. The workout sessions are always done at a park, so your kids can play while you workout. I joined this just in the last week or so, so I haven’t really had much of a chance to go to any of the workouts yet.

5. Organize the House – This one has been an utter F-A-I-L! I haven’t even begun to organize any of the rooms/closets I claimed needed help. We have company coming in April, so I’ll definitely need to at least get the guest bedroom organized and cleaned up by then. At least now I have a time goal and something to motivate me.

6. Volunteer – I met with the FRO, and she told me that there won’t really be too many volunteer opportunities. It’s because my husband is going to be an infantry instructor and not attached to a particular unit. Opportunities will arise when there are events, but other than that, it’s pretty low-key. Ah well.

7. Be An Encouragement (send letters, cards, etc. at least once a week) – Another fail. I have no excuse. *sigh*

8. Improve eLe Photography – We still don’t have the indoor lighting and background system yet, but we have some shoots scheduled for April. So, we’re definitely going to need to get it by then. The advertising bit is still struggling. I did make a poster advertising our photography for homecomings, but I haven’t gotten in printed and displayed yet.

9. Improve LE’s Military Corner – Still no PayPal or Etsy account yet. I’m not so sure I will do an Etsy account. I have expanded the store with more items though, and they seem to be going well!

Baby Stretch Headband: White with Brown and Blue Flower
$5.50 + shipping/handling

 

Little Girl Headband: Brown with Marine Corps Cami Rosette (desert style)
$6.50 + shipping/handling

 

*This is actually an custom-made item I made for a customer.*

 

Baby Stretch Headband: Black with Marine Corps Cami Fluffy Flower (woodland style) and gem
$7.50 + shipping/handling

 

Baby Stretch Headband: Black with Cream Flower and Pearl Center
$8 + shipping/handling

 

Marine Corps Cami Rosette Earrings (desert style)
$5 + shipping/handling


10. More Homemade Meals – This has actually been going quite well. I think part of it has to do with the fact that Evan and I made it a goal to only eat out once a week/two weeks. It’s forced me to make more meals, and it’s helping our waistlines.

11. Outside Playtime – I’ve incorporated more outside playtime into Ian’s schedule, and it’s making a big difference in how he sleeps at night. Some days he just runs around in the yard. Sometimes I’ll take him on a long walk in the stroller. Evan and I decided to also start taking him to the park at least once a week. He sleeps so much better, and he’s happier too!

12. Drama/Theatre – I got a part in that play! It wasn’t for the pregnant woman, but if you’ve been following my blog, you know why. I actually got the part of a very old Italian grandmother. Once again, I’m playing an old character. I swear, I can’t get away from it! Anyway, the play is “My Big Fat Italian Wedding” and production is in a couple weeks! Oh boy!

Perspectives

In the past week or so, I’ve had a couple perspective changes about various things, and I owe a lot of that simply to God changing my heart. One of those was my perspective on homeless people. A while back, two women from our Bible study group started getting heavily involved in ministering to the homeless. They’ve been blogging about their journey, and you can read about it here. Reading their blog and listening to them talk about homelessness has been so eye-opening. I’ll never forget something one of the girls said. It’s stuck with me ever since she said it, and because of that, it’s caused me to change my perspective about homeless people. While talking to a large group of us, she said, “I want to encourage you to not allow yourselves to fall into the rut of stereotypes. Don’t just assume that every homeless person is a drug addict or squanders every penny handed to them. There are so many good people who are homeless simply because they lost their job and the bad economy has landed them in a homeless shelter. Not every homeless person is okay with their situation. They’re people too. They have so many needs, but because of stereotypes, their needs are hardly ever met.”

I’ll admit that I grew up with that mentality. If we saw a homeless person, we turned the other way. To make ourselves feel better, we’d say, “Well, they probably would just use the money to buy drugs and alcohol.” That mentality continued on with me until the ladies in our group started getting involved with homelessness. There is an old man who sits by the road leading out of the grocery store by my house. He’s there nearly every day, holding a sign that says “homeless.”  The first time I remember seeing him was before Thanksgiving. But, because of my stereotypical thinking, I always drove past him, all the while reassuring myself of my reasons for not stopping. No matter how much I “reassured” myself though, I always felt guilty. I automatically put him in the drug addict category, but I didn’t know his true story. I never talked to him to find out. I never took that time. That is, until my trip to the grocery story a few days ago.


As I was driving out of the parking lot, I saw him there again. Immediately, the words of that women came to my mind . . . Not every homeless person is a drug addict. They have so many needs. I looked down at the cash from my grocery change. Suddenly, I found myself pulling over and flicking on my 4-ways. I grabbed the little bit of cash I had and quickly stepped out of the car. Because my son was in the car, I didn’t have time to chat with the man, but the brief moment I had with him was an experience in of itself. I don’t think he even saw me pull over, because his head was still hung low as I approached him. (I severely hate rejection, and I wonder how many times these people are rejected every single day. Yet, they still approach each day with the hope that just ONE person might care. Just a thought.)

I’ll admit I was nervous. This was my first time ever lifting my hand to help a homeless person. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I got was far from what I ever thought. The old man lifted his head, and despondency turned into pure joy. Like a child about to receive an amazing gift, he excitedly clammered to his feet and rushed over to me. At that point, he didn’t know if I had money or not. He was just so happy that someone had actually stopped! His eyes were so big in amazement, and in that instant, I wished I had more money to give him. When he saw the money, he gasped. The bills in my hand suddenly felt so measly, but to that man, I was carrying a gold mine. I apologized for not having more money to give him and explained why I couldn’t stay to chat. He just continued to smile and pulled me into a fierce hug while saying, “Thank you so much, miss. You’re an angel!”

I didn’t know what to say, so I smiled and turned to go. As I drove back onto the road, my heart swelled. For the first time, I didn’t feel guilty or wonder what he was going to do with that money. I didn’t care! His smile and genuine gratefulness charged me to my inner core. I felt so blessed by that brief contact with that man. My perspective of homelessness was radically affected by moment.


You might be reading this with a closed mind and thinking that it’s not going to change your idea of what homeless people do with money you give them. If that’s the case, let me ask you a question . . . Have you ever received a gift from someone, that didn’t exactly fit your personality or you had no use for, so you re-gifted it or it just sat somewhere untouched? I know I have. That’s the same thing! If we were always afraid of what a person might do with a gift we give them, we’d never give people gifts/presents! Don’t let what that homeless person “might do with the money” keep you from doing what is Biblically and morally right. The Bible tells us multiple times to take care of people in need. Homeless people are definitely people in need! You don’t necessarily have to give them money. You can give them food, gift cards, clothes, etc. The donations are limitless. If they deny what you offer, then you have done your part. You have offered help. Whether or not they accept that is their choice. What they do with your donation is their choice. At the end of the day, you’ll know you’ve been a huge blessing to someone, and most likely, they will in turn be a blessing to you! Give it a try and see how much it can radically affect your heart and mind. 

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