Christmas/Advent Plans

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With December just hours away, I find myself thinking more and more about how to make Christmas a special time for the kids.  I should probably start thinking about this before November 30, but I’ve never been known to think or plan ahead so why start now, right?

I’ve instituted one major plan with the kids for this holiday season, but other than that I feel like December has snuck up on me.  I mentioned the Christmas musical my church is putting on last week – this musical, while great fun and a great ministry, has taken a lot of my mental energy.  Starting Saturday I will pretty much live at church until the following Sunday. 

So here’s what I need from you, bloggy friends.  I need ideas.  Christmas tradition ideas.  Advent ideas.  I want to help the kids focus on the miracle of Christmas and not just the “stuff” of Christmas.  We are going to do Elf on a Shelf for fun, but I also want to incorporate some kind of simple, daily exercise that helps them understand why we celebrate.

I need ideas that are simple and won’t take hours to plan ahead of time.  Because I simply don’t have that in me.  I’m not a crafty gal so if your idea involves extensive use of scissors, glue or glitter, I’ll have to pass.  I’m sure it would be beautiful, but it just wouldn’t get done. 

What do you all do this time of year to celebrate advent and to help your kids learn, see and experience the glory of the Christmas season.  How do you mold their hearts to understand the magnitude of Christ’s birth?  What do you do to make the season special and memorable and magical for your family? 

I don’t just want to survive Christmas – I want to experience it.  I’d love to hear what you all are doing to experience the season.  Thanks for sharing!

Sleeping in beds with boys

It was early 2002-ish and Lee and I, along with Lee’s brother Eric and his wife Becke’, attended a conference.  It was held…somewhere.  The details are really fuzzy.  Wherever the conference was held required us to get a hotel room.  Because we were young and poor, we decided to share a room and to secure it on Priceline.

It seemed like a really good idea when we got a hotel room just around the corner from the conference for only $50 a night.  Score!  Until…

We got to our room and found that it had only one bed.  What to do?  We couldn’t change the reservation without incurring much higher charges.  So we did what any respectable couples would do in such a situation.

We all piled into bed together.

Eric slept on one end, then Becke’ next to him.  I slept next to Becke’ and Lee laid on the other end.  So as not to make the situation any more weird and awkward than it already was, we all slept fully clothed.  Four people, fully clothed in one bed makes for a hot night’s sleep.  Sometime during the night, Becke’ slipped out of bed, unbeknownst to the rest of us, and attempted to get more sleep on the floor.  The rest of us were not aware of this transition.

When the early morning sunlight mercifully streamed into the room, I slowly opened my eyes.  I looked to my left at Lee and smiled.  He was on his back, straight as a board, arms stiff by his side, snoring.  He looked wildly uncomfortable in his jeans.  Then I looked to my right, expecting to find Becke’.

And there was Eric, sound a sleep.  For a brief moment I was horrified as I laid all snuggled up to my brother in law.  But after a few moments of wondering how on earth I ended up sandwiched between both Stuart men, I started to laugh at the absurdity of the situation.  I sat up and looked down at Becke’ who was curled up on the floor.  She looked up at me and we both laughed.

That’s the only time I have ever slept with my brother in law.

This weekend we went to Arkansas to be with Lee’s parents and brothers and friends.  So much fun.

Except for the sleeping part.  I’ve already told you my kids are systematically trying to ensure I never experience a full night’s sleep again.  They were in full form this weekend.  It all came to a head on Saturday night.  Landon wet the bed (we had run out of pull ups and wouldn’t you know every night before Saturday he woke up dry) around 1:30.  He bolted up and cried, “Mommy, I spilled!  I need a towel!”  I got him cleaned up and back down in time for Sloan to crawl in bed with us.  I woke up around 3:30 to see Tia in bed with us as well.  Around 4:00 Landon crawled into our bed.  I didn’t have the heart to fight him on it so I put him on the end next to me.

And for the second time in my life I found myself sandwiched between two Stuart men boys.  Sloan, being a fitful sleeper, kicked me in the kidneys all night long.  Landon had his face right in mine and breathed on me for a solid two hours.  It solidified my need to do a better job brushing his teeth at night.

Despite the lack of sleep, we had a great time eating, laughing, shopping and being together.  It was, indeed, a Happy Thanksgiving. 

The Stuart clan

The Stuart clan

Photo courtesy of Lulu Photography

Thankful

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The pictures above are older as evidence by the cast on Landon’s arm and the fact that Lee and I are standing stop the Duomo in Sienna, Italy.  But they depict the people for whom I am most thankful during this season.

I’m a blessed woman.

Oh…and everyone slept all night last night.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Landon got up at 2:00 but he went straight back to sleep and so did I.  It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep will do for your perspective!

I hereby officially love Tuesday.

Monday in Bullets

- My children are systematically trying to ensure that I never sleep a full night again.  This is the part of the mom blog where I’m supposed to say that it’s Thanksgiving and I’m thankful for the sound of their little feet pitter pattering through the house no matter how early it is…

I’m not gonna say that.  I want to sleep.  I want to sleep all night long without someone coming into my room for this, that and the other.  I’m tired today.  And a little crabby.

- In Landon’s defense, he has been dealing with winter illnesses for a couple of weeks now.  He’s had a cold, that’s morphed into upper respiratory issues on top of which he’s developed pink eye and has so far this morning puked twice.  Good times.  In the midst of that, we’ve moved him out of the crib into a big bed allowing him the freedom to traipse into our room at all hours of the night.  Because we’re brilliant like that.

- Yesterday we attended our church’s annual Family Christmas Workshop.  I love this event.  There are almost 100 rooms set up with different homemade crafts for the kids to make.  There are Christmas carols and cookies (so many cookies!) and it’s a great way to kick off the holiday season.  It also gives us several handmade gifts to give to teachers and grandparents.  Score!

- Speaking of our church, we are putting on a Broadway style musical in a couple of weeks and, if I do say so myself, it’s going to be amazing.  Wanna come?  Purchase tickets here.  Most of the front tables have already been sold, but there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.  And in addition to a great show, you’ll also get dessert!  All for ten dollars.  Please come!

- I have a fantastic giveaway up on STL Family Life today.  Seriously – you don’t want to miss it.  The bracelet I’m giving away is gorgeous.  I so wish I could keep it for myself.

- Landon is watching Toy Story 3 Monster’s Inc. right now.  I am letting him watch all the TV he wants today.  It keeps him still and near the puke bowl in case he needs it.  And it keeps me from having to follow him around the house hoping to catch his upchuck because, as we all know, toddlers give no warning before spewing. 

- I’m grateful to my husband.  He’s been amazing this weekend.  He helped me out so much in a variety of different ways and this morning before leaving he told me he knew today was going to be sucky and he was sorry.  I so needed to hear that.  I didn’t need a pep talk about how I could do this and how I would survive this day and how I just needed to power through.  I just needed to hear some acknowledgment that today, indeed, will be a sucky day.  What a guy…

- I’m going to sit down and take a nap on the couch fold laundry while Landon watches his movie.  Here’s to hoping he doesn’t yak on me while I sleep work.

- Go Monday – FTW!

How to go from reverent to irreverent without even really trying…

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If ever you ask my seven year old to pray before a meal, I suggest you make sure you’re not starving.  Because Sloan?  He brings it when he prays.  All I need is a tent and a white hanky and Glory, Hallelujah we’ve got a revival.

Landon and Tia, try as they might, have a very difficult time making it through one of Sloan’s prayers without sneaking a bite or four.  Sloan has been known to pray up to five minutes or more.  He thanks God for everything from his toys to the military.  He prays for poor people and for everyone he can think of by name.  He prays for his own attitude and, on any given day, could likely be heard praying that his sister’s attitude would change too.

Last night’s dinnertime prayer went something like this:

Dear Lord.  You are the Creator.  You created.  Everything.  God.  You are our Lord.  Thanks for being our Lord.  And for being our Savior.  Thank you for, um, the veterens (which he pronounces vechrins).  Thank you that they protect us and keep us safe.  Thank you for Mr. Nevil that he fought to protect our country.  We are very glad for them.  Thank you for the Army vechrins and the Navy and…um…the Air Force.  And all of the people that serve.  It’s just awesome that they do that for us.  Give them glory, Lord. 

We thank you for Jonri (our Compassion child), God.  He is poor.  But he’s not poor anymore because we can help him to not be poor.  And thank you that he will get Christmas presents.  We pray for all the poor people, God.  We pray that they will have food.  And toys.

Lord you are very great.  God.  Thank you for our family (lists everyone from grandparents to aunts and uncles and cousins). Thank you for all my friends (lists as many as he can think of by name).   And, God.  I pray that I would have a good attitude.  Thank you that I had a good day today and was nice and happy.  And thank you that Tia was nice to me today and we could have a little fun.

*It’s at this point that Lee and I are trying not to crack up as Landon, with his head down and his eyes squinted open begins grabbing food and putting it in his mouth, then clasping his hands together again while he prays and chews.  My grandmother would have told him he was going to choke for sneaking food during prayer.

We just thank you for everything you give us, Lord.  And it is in your Holy, Powerful Name we pray…In Jesus Name.

Amen

It’s not hard to understand why Jesus commanded us to let the little children come to him.  There is no holding back in the sincere prayers of a child.  I am always blessed by Sloan’s prayers, no matter how lengthy they may be. 

As soon as Sloan finished his prayer, we all echoed the Amen and picked up our forks to eat.  But wait!  Tia wanted to pray.  So we bowed again.  Her prayers are generally short, sweet and to the point.

Dear Wowrd.  Fank you dat we have a gweat famiwy.  And fank you dat you dive us dis food.  And…well…amen.

Amen!

Ah the reverence.  I was momentarily tempted to pat myself on the back for raising such wonderful, thoughtful children. 

Then I was humbled.

After the beautiful prayers, the meal took a slight downhill turn.  We picked up our forks again and Lee thanked the kids for being willing to pray.  Half of Landon’s plate was, of course, clean.  Everything was gone  except his meat…naturally.  I made beef stew.  It was delicious but I will admit…it didn’t look appealing.  Tia put it a…different way.

She looked down at the pile of meat on her plate and wrinkled her nose.

Is dis poop?!”

And thus, the reverence of the moment was totally gone.  Sloan cracked up and Landon looked with great disdain at his plate.  It took several minutes to convince him that I did not, indeed, prepare poop for dinner.

We started off grand, though, didn’t we?

Tigger

My happy go lucky third born rarely walks.

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He doesn’t often run, either.

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He jumps.  Everywhere he goes…he jumps.

This makes it really hard to catch a decent picture of him.

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Unless, of course, his gymnastics instructor manages to get him to sit still for 2.3 minutes.  She might even convince him to kiss his knee.  If he’s sitting still long enough to listen, that is.

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Mostly, though.  This kid is a hopper.  A bouncer.  He bounces all day long.  Bounces and smiles.

I like to call him Tigger.

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Sometimes it exhausts me, all that bouncing.  But then he grins and waves.  And seriously…

How can you not love that face?

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So yummy.

The Journey

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No, I’m not going to bust out in a radical version of Don’t Stop Believin’.  Although if I still had make up on, it wasn’t 11:10 at night and my FlipCam was close by, I might have considered it.

Nope…I’m talking about a different kind of journey.  On Friday I shared with you the struggles and insecurities I’m feeling as my career climbs ever so slightly and the inner battles that wage within.  I received great, wonderful, supportive comments from many of you.  I also received a couple of phone calls and a few emails filled with encouragement.

All of this encouragement began squeezing at my heart, which then overflowed in prayer.  How am I to feel about all of this?  How do I respond to the obvious passions and desires of my heart when opportunity presents itself?  And how do I balance those with the obligations and love I have for my family?

A conversation I had on Sunday solidified in my heart my need for serious reflection on this matter.  I found myself encouraging a new friend to pursue her own passions.  I heard myself tell her that God doesn’t want us to live in fear.  He has given this girl obvious talents and passions and she yearns to pursue them, but there is that nagging little thing called practicality.  It is telling her that pursuing her passions, even to the glory of God, means giving up a tiny bit of security and safety.  Not that I think I know what’s best for her life, by any means, but I do know that when I see someone who longs and desires to pursue a passion I’m going to do everything in my power to encourage her to do it without shame and or fear.

I need to have a talk with the girl who stares back at me from the mirror…

Practicality is a good thing.  Practicality keeps food on the table and money in the bank.  Practicality makes sure that should your two year old topple off his stool in the middle of dinner, you can walk into an ER and get his broken arm plastered up without fear of losing your home to medical bills.

Not that we know anything about that, of course…

As we drove home from church Sunday afternoon, I relayed the discussion to Lee and I could almost hear his brain explode inside his skull.  Because he’s been telling me this for years.

I am trapped in practicality.  But the problem with my practicality is that it isn’t the good kind.  It’s not the kind that is really truly doing my family any good.  It’s really just my excuse to not try too hard.  If I don’t try too hard to succeed, I sure as heck don’t have to worry about failing.

Nice, huh?

Except it’s not.

The thing that baffles me about all this is the fact that I didn’t use to be this way.  This fear based practicality was birthed the second I became a mother.  Suddenly I found myself afraid to dream anymore for fear I might shove them all toward costly psychiatrist bills when they’re older.  Because we all know that it’s always the mom’s fault, right?

Here’s the thing: this is not the place we were designed to live.  This is not where I was designed to live.  None of us were meant to hide behind practicality – to use it as a shield to hide us from the world.  Sometimes practicality is entirely impractical.  It’s not always wise to be practical.  God didn’t design us to live in fear, insecurity and guilt.  He designed us to walk freely, unashamed and with passion.  And passion is rarely ever practical.  Think of the greatest leaders and innovators in history – very few of them operated in passive practicality.  Most of them threw caution to the wind and surrendered to their dreams.

Think of Christopher Columbus.  Sailing around the world was not practical, especially when the prevailing thought was that the world was flat.  But he tossed practicality over the side of his ship and sailed forth, driven by passion and a good deal of gumption.  Or what about a group of five men who, in 1956, risked everything to minister to a group of people known as the Woadani deep in the Amazon only to end up being brutally murdered by the people they so desperately wanted to help?  Was it practical to transplant their families to that region?  It could even be argued that that was unwise…unless you know the end of the story when Jim Elliot’s son returned and forever altered the future of the people who slayed his father.

Of course, wisdom must play a role.  But wisdom and practicality are different aren’t they?  Practicality is a dross around the neck of passion.  Wisdom is the wings which give passion flight.  Wisdom allows us to pursue passions with the knowledge that even if we don’t succeed (as the world sees success), we certainly can’t call ourselves failures.  Because how can we fail?  Hasn’t the battle already been won on our behalf?

Sometimes, of course, wisdom and practicality must go hand in hand.  It would be both unwise and impractical for me to pursue a career as a professional surfer.  There are a number of reasons for this, one of the more prevalent ones being I live in Missouri…not a lot of ocean to be found.  I also have to be sure that the things I pursue are supported by Lee.  It is not wise or practical to chase a dream without my husband’s full support.  I will never succeed that way.

If, however, I do have the full support of my husband and I step out in faith, wisely seeking direction along the way, then haven’t I already experienced success, even if I don’t accomplish that which I set out to accomplish?  What about the journey I took?  What about the things I learned on the path?  If the journey leads to deeper faith, new experiences and greater wisdom, then tell me where exactly the failure lies?

The truth that has taken root inside my heart these last few days is so simple, yet also a bit complex:  If I am willing to embrace my dreams, without guilt or fear, perhaps that alone is the success I am to find.  And what a journey that would be…

Don’t stop.  Believin’.  Hold on to that feeeeeeelin’.

Huh…look at that – the song fits after all.

Righteous.

Knocked Up

I shared this story the other night with a friend and I decided it was too funny not to blog.  So here you go…just another random blog about my life.

You. Are. Welcome.

I was 24 years old and pregnant with Sloan.  It should be stated that Sloan was a mammoth of a child.  He was 9.3 when he was born in July of 2003 so by June of that year I looked like I was going to explode.  I carried him one hundred percent out front and quite low so yes, I waddled and I got asked more than once if I was expecting twins.

FYI – Pregnant women don’t like to be asked if they’re having twins because the chances are greater that they’re not carrying twins.  If you are unsure, it’s best to simply not ask.

It was early on a June day and Lee needed to take my car into the shop due to a rather unpleasant sound it was making that was certain to cost us a large portion of our unborn child’s college fund so instead of being stuck at home for the day, I decided to run the few errans I had in The Pup.

The Pup was a little Isuzu truck we bought while we were rehabbing our house so that we could haul lumber and other large items to and from our temporary home – Lowes.  I believe we paid $500 for The Pup.  She was rusted inside and out and she shook rather furiously when you started her up.  She sputtered when she moved and she was drafty due to a rather significant hole in the floor board.  But she served her purpose well and we tried not to drive her long distances for fear that she might literally fall apart in the road and we’d be left manually pushing a Flinstones car up the driveway.

So on this fine morning, I loaded up The Pup and prepared to spend the morning out.

Did I mention I was great with child?  Great with child.  And for some reason, on this particular day, I decided to wear my hair in two long braids.  I was 24 so I could still pull off braids without looking totally and completely ridiculous.

Actually, I’m guessing that’s not true.  I probably looked ridiculous.

I also wore no make up and because my fingers were rather swollen I had on no ring.  But the creme de la creme of my little ensemble came in the form of my maternity shirt.  Because my protuding abdomen was so prominent, food and liquids attached themselves to it with great frequency.  As in, every time I ate I spilled something on my stomach.  So by the end of my pregnancy, I didn’t own a single unstained shirt.  And the shirt I chose on that particular day was white and had a long stain right. down. the middle.

I am nothing if not classy.

So out I walked.  In braids, with a stained shirt, to The Pup.  I had give myself a bit of a running start in order to get my gut up off the ground and into the slightly elevated seat.  It was quite the ordeal, in fact to get in and get the seat adjusted so that I could reach the steering wheel without it cutting off the circulation to the lower half of my body.

In short…I looked ridiculous.

I made my first stop at Borders Bookstore.  I waddled in and got my book and smiled slightly at the people who started at me with eyebrows raised.  I waddled back out, took my hop, step and leap into The Pup’s front seat and shimmied around until I was just right and continued on to the gas station.

Here I ran into an older man and woman filling up their boat on wheels.  The woman didn’t even try to hide her horrified stares.  It was at this moment that I began to feel a bit like a Zoo animal.  I also began to wonder what it was that people were staring at.

After I got gas, I headed to Mecca Target.  It was here that the stares intensified and I finally got the question.

“Honey, when are you due?”

“In three weeks.”

“Ah,” the woman nodded knowingly. “And you feel okay to be out walking around?”

“Um…yes?”

She looked down at me with a bit of pity in her eyes, causing even more confusion on my part.  “Well, good luck to you,” she said, patting me on the shoulder as she turned to walk away.  This woman truly seemed sorry for me.

I decided to make my purchase and get out of the Twilight Zone as quickly as possible at that point.  When I made my pitiful leap into The Pup, I looked up in the rear view mirror to make sure I didn’t have FREAK written across my forehead and when I looked I laughed out loud.

Braids and no make up with bangs hanging neatly across my forehead…

I looked seventeen years old. 

No wonder people stared.  I looked like a poor little knocked up teenager who’s boyfriend had left her with nothing but a stained shirt and beat up old truck.  This explained the old woman’s horror at the gas station.

I also explains why I have never worn braids again.

The End.

The curse of the stay at home, work at home, loves her home mom

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In recent months work has taken off for me quite a bit.  I’m at the tail end of editing a third book this year with a fourth lined up to start next week.  All four of these books fell in my lap and I have had more fun than I’d like to publicly admit fixing them up.  In addition to the books, I’ve started writing for a couple of other websites, am speaking next week at a social media event and am ramping up plans to send STL Family Life to the next level.

So many blessings.  I can’t tell you how much it thrills me to have these opportunities, but…

I’ve struggled lately.  Am I doing the right thing?  Is this what I should be doing?  Am I being all that I need to be for my kids, my husband and my community?  What if this path is the wrong path?  Am I being selfish?

I’ve been wading through some insecurity lately.  When I began this blog almost three years ago I had no clue what blogging was all about.  I wanted to keep a record of life with three kids amidst the insanity of a new baby.  And now, while I still want to keep a record for my kids, I must admit I’m also doing this for me.  I’m doing it because I love to create.  I love that this blogging/social media business has helped me burst out of my bubble a bit and meet people I never would have met before.

Some of you may have a hard time believeing this, but by nature I’m a bit of an introvert.  Meeting new people scares the crap out of me.  Meeting people who are successful and funny and accomplished makes me feel like curling up in bed with a copy of Jane Eyre, a bottle of wine and a year’s supply of PEOPLE magazine.

Sad, I know.

But in the last year I’ve found a new sense of confidence bubble beneathe the interior of my insecurity.  Part of it stems from my husband who never ceases to make me feel like I can conquer the world…and who tells me I’m hot on a daily basis.  Seriously can’t get enough of that…

Some comes from the fact that my family all support my online writing with a great deal of glee.  I can always count on my parents to make me feel like I hung the moon.

But a large part of this confidence has come from dear friends and absolute strangers.  People here in town who have embraced me and encouraged me, taught me and challenged me.  People who are beautiful and successful and…nice.  Women who are great moms and great writers.  Women who stay at home, women who work at home, women who work outsdie the home, women of all stages of life…Women who tell me it’s okay to pursue my dreams. 

So a new confidence is brewing inside.  But there is still guilt and insecurity.  You see, while I now feel confident in my ability to accomplish my goals and dreams, I question my motivation to do so.  I like that I can earn a little income and help support our family to a degree (or at least help take my husband on a rockin’ European vaction, anyway), and I like the creative outlet writing and editing give me which make me a better mom altogether. 

But is it right? 

I read this post today by Megan at Velveteen Mind and it struck a chord in my soul.  My career is filled with lofty ideals and noble goals.  My family is my mission.  I can fail in my freelance career – I cannot fail as a mother.

The thing that’s most frustrating about my current insecurities is that most of them have no base.  I’m not being unwise in my career.  I’m not sacrificing my family.  I’m not taking on more than I can handle (not now anyway) but I am struggling against this feeling of uncontentment.  I’m not content with my career because I want to take it to the next level, but I don’t want to take it to the next level because I fear I’ll sacrifice my family.  I’ve had enough work lately that I’ve tossed around the idea of hiring a babysitter for a couple of hours a week so I can get things done.  Oh the guilt I’ve felt for even thinking that!  Insane amounts…And here’s why – I love what I do!  Writing and editing are not work for me.  So hiring a sitter once a week so I can hole up in Starbucks and have fun feels like an indulgence.  I’m still not sure if I’ll do it or not…

And so I flounder a bit.

I don’t share this to have the problem solved.  I think all moms deal with this to a degree.  We all have to balance who we are inside the home with who we are outside the home.  We all have passions and goals outside of motherhood and yet we all long to do nothing more than be great moms.  I share this just to share.  To get it out of my head and off my chest.  To verbally confess – I’m struggling with life balance.  No one in my family is suffering, everyone’s healthy (emotionally that is – Tia has a nasty cold) and we are enjoying one another daily.  But I still battle within.

I don’t think I’m alone in this…

Remembrance and Veterans

November 11. 

Veterans Day.

I never really understood the significance of this day growing up.  I didn’t get the impact that veterans had on our country.  Of course I heard about their sacrifice, but I didn’t really get it until I grew much, much older.  It was so easy as a youth to get caught up in the tales of war and not see them as a depiction of reality.  They just seemed so…commercial.  War wasn’t real to me.

Then I turned 23 and watched a few months later with the world as the Twin Towers collapsed in New York.  I sat on my apartment floor and sobbed.  My heart broke in two for my countrymen who I knew perished.  But it also shook with fear for at that very moment, my brother was stationed on a supply ship in the Persian Gulf.  Everything was uncertain and I have never felt such fear.

And that’s when war became real to me.  It’s also when I realized that our military men deserve every ounce of respect we can muster.  Earlier this year as I stood in line at the airport to fly to New Orleans, a soldier on crutches stood behind me.  It only felt right to let him take my place in line.  After all, he was placing himself in harms way so I could have the freedom to stand in that line.  I found myself increasingly frustrated, however, when the two families in front of me did not let him move to the front.  They saw him standing there.  He was in full uniform.  And he was on crutches.  I wanted to apologize to him for them. 

I am so deeply proud of this country and the men and women who stand in harms way for us.  To any of them who may be reading today, including my brother, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.  Thank you for protecting me and my family.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  And I thank your families as well because they sacrifice just as much.  I honestly can’t find the words to express just how much gratitude I feel…and that’s saying something because me?  I’m rarely speechless.

To read about Veteran’s Day from the perspective of a veteran, visit this blog written by our dear friend, Jeremy.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

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My grnadmother with her youngest child, Tammy, on the island of South Caicos circe 1965ish.

My grandmother with her youngest child, Tammy, on the island of South Caicos circa 1964-ish.

This day holds another significance for me.  Today is my grandmother’s birthday.  Mimi would have been 80 today.  Instead of celebrating with us, however, she’s dancing at the foot of the King and has been since March of 2003.  All I can say is I can’t wait to get to heaven to see Mimi dance because for as long as I was growing up that was not an activity she condoned.  I want to see her shake her groove thang on the streets of gold.

I so wish that Mimi were here with us.  I wish she could have met Tia and Landon.  I wish she could have come with my mom and I to her beloved Turks and Caicos islands last year.  I would have loved to hear her talk about her years there as a young mom and missionary.  It would have been nice to hear more of her stories.  I appreciate her so much more now that I am a mom myself.  And I miss her.

Thankfully, I have some of the journals she kept during her years as a pioneer missionary in the Carribbean.  They are a window into who she was as a young woman and I love to hold such a precious key to my past.

I am so proud of the heritage that has been passed down to me through my grandparents and parents.  I am proud of all of my family. They are living out the Great Commission every single day literally all over the world.  I couldn’t be more honored to share DNA with such a fine group of people.

Today’s post is dedicated to Mimi, a woman whom I admire, respect, miss and love.  May I pass the torch of faithfulness to my own children, just as it has been passed to me.