Monday, May 25, 2015


A few weeks ago, we decided to camp in the front yard.  Brenner has taken Cole out a couple of times and Cole has been asking about when the next time he was going to go camping.  I decided to surprise them one Friday night and camp in the yard.  

It needs to be said up front that I don't camp.  It is not because I do not like it or anything, it is just not something we ever do.  Brenner and I camped together about a decade ago with some friends and that was the last time that I have camped.  And at that time, I did nothing to help with the setting up process, except of course to ensure that we had lots of smores on hand.  So, to decide to set up a tent by myself, for the first time, when I did not remember how to set it up or even what the tent looked like was a crazy idea.  But, with Cole's help, we got the tent up in an hour (Brenner said it should have taken 10 minutes! Ha!) and we were really proud of ourselves.  
We all, including the dog, slept in the tent since it was plenty big.  We watched a movie first and then settled down for snuggles in sleeping bags.  The night went as well as I expected, some sleep, some time awake and uncomfortable on the ground.  We would have slept better if I had remembered to turn off the sprinklers so the tent would not get sprayed back and forth for 30 minutes at 1 am.  But everyone woke up bright and early thanks to the sun coming up before 6 am, with smiles on their faces and a great family experience in the books.

I am so glad that we did this, although I think I will wait for Brenner to come back before we camp again :)

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Life Lately....or earlier.

Here are a few photos from last month of our everyday life.  I meant to post these, well, last month!

I went to check the mail one day and found this...Cole has written a letter to his dad and put it in the mailbox by himself.  Sweet boy misses his daddy and writes him notes everyday.  And sweet daddy has an office COVERED in kid artwork and notes overseas because the kids want to see what they made for him all the time. 
I hope he never stops snuggling with me.
Cole made a parachute out of a blanket, string and chip clips.  It didn't work as well as he wanted but he still insists that he flew for two seconds off the couch.
Cole tried Dr. Pepper for the first time.  He said "I love it just like you do!" 
Outdoor birthday party with all our friends.
Special breakfast at a local diner...because it was Tuesday. 
Running everyday pushing 80 pounds with a bike rider on one side and a dog on the other.
Swim lessons!!! I have three happy fish around here.

I love my babies, but I wish they would not always bombard my early morning bible study time...even if they are the cutest invaders.
Posing together for a picture with their toy camera #cutestthingever
"Mom, take a picture of me helping Clara"
Celebrating Memorial Day with a tribute at CCC and lots of Daddy talk and Daddy dress up 
Saying goodbye to sweet friends.  Glad that one day we will all be back together in Texas together.  
That day you look down a NOON to realize you are wearing two different shoes and have been all over town already. One of the problems of getting up and dressed when it is still dark outside!
Reason Elise couldn't eat her breakfast: baby was more hungry than she was and needed to be fed.
The kids spent the night at the Tangins house so I could take Jake to the airport at 5 am.  We have been beyond blessed by the love of the other chaplains and their families here. 
My silly boy.  I love my time playing with him.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

In the little things

I did not think that I would have a word that defined my year.  I have never been someone who starts off their year with a word that will define the year or that they will meditate on.  And yet, this year, a word chose me.  That word is obey. 

I talk about obeying all the time to my kids.  All the time, right?  But God has clearly told me and shown me over the last few months that I need to wait and obey.  

I was on the phone with a friend a few of weeks ago and we were past the little talk and onto the real talk.  The talk that says "how is your soul?"  She was sharing with me some encouragement that had been given to her about doing what we do well.  About whatever phase of life that we are in, we are to do it whole-heartedly.  That instantly resonated with the current stirrings of my heart.  

I have been reading through the book of Luke recently and Luke 16:10 says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much" and I was convicted.  I was convicted about my attitude of the little things, my obedience in the little things.  
My world right now is in the little things.  I am raising little people, do little tasks for them all day long with often seemingly little outcome.  I am constantly picking up little toys, folding little clothes, putting together little meals to serve little people, answering 1,001 little questions and resolving little problems.  My daily job of mom and wife is made up of activities that are not changing the world, that are not leading the headlines and are not making huge daily impacts.  They are little things.

And yet it is the little things that matter.  God said those faithful with little will be faithful with much.  The little things in our lives need to take priority sometimes in order to make big changes.  We first have to be faithful with the little, in order to receive and be entrusted with much.  All great things start with small steps. 

And while I am simultaneously consumed with the little things, I am going through big things, deployment and more, that requires large amounts of obedience.  Sometimes I think that it is easier to obey in the big things because they are right in front of us and we have to.  It is easier to ignore the small things in our lives, the things that need to changed but are easier to hide or let slide by as acceptable.  Complaining, gossip, judgement, impatience, jealousy, bitterness and more.  In small doses, these things are all viewed as acceptable by most people.  And rarely are you going to confront someone on being too impatient with their kids or spouse or complaining too much about their daily grind.  We just accept these things in our selves and in others quietly, justify our thoughts and actions to ourselves and move on.  BUT little things add up.  Little bad attitudes grow quickly.  Little habits get ingrained fast.  And matters of the heart are not to be taken lightly.  God's word is clear that little wrongs are big to him and his commandments about our words (Psalm 34:13: Keep your lips from evil and your tongue from speaking lies, Ephesians 4:29: do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is helpful in building others up), our attitudes and actions towards others (Romans 12:10 Honor one another above yourselves), and attitudes of the heart (Psalm 51:10: a pure heart, Psalm 15:2: who does what is righteous and speaks truth from the heart) are areas where little changes make big impacts.

And ultimately, that is what my life is right now.  Shaping little hearts.  Everyday I am called on to be the mom to three precious kids.  They rely on me for everything.  And they watch me constantly.  They watch my attitude, they watch my actions, they watch my obedience.  And then they copy it. 

God has called out some very specific things in my life and he is telling me to obey.  Some of those things are everyday choices.  Some things I have to wait.  But through it all, if I want to be faithful with the much that I know he has planned for my future, I need to be faithful in the little that I am in now.  All these little things I do now will shape these kids into big people that will have to choose to live rightly on their own.  And truly, there is nothing I love more than the three littles that I am surrounded by so God's challenge to be an example in obedience with love could not be more important. 

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Life lately

Here are a few photos from life recently...
Elise....this feisty girl loves to swing, loves sneakers paired with dresses and loves to be outside with mama.  This picture represents her well!
Bike races in the driveway.  Every day.  
Polaris Ranger rides around our property were Brenner's thing with the kids.  Many days after work, while I was fixing dinner, they would ride down to our pond, check out the frogs and geese with Jake racing them the whole way.  Well, I have taken over this job; the kids keep telling me I go slower than Daddy but they think I'm doing ok :)
It is starting to feel like summer so naturally we busted out the kiddie pool.
Posing and taking pictures of each other.  Cutest. Thing.  Ever.
Cole reading to the girls.
Our friends invited us to go riding on their horses and the kids loved it.  They loved it so much that they have been consistently praying for the horses as their "friends" when I ask them to choose a friend to pray for each day.  

Dinner with sweet friends.  These two mean a lot to me, they mean more to me each time I hang out with them.  They are reminders to me of God's goodness!  When we decided to join active duty Air Force, we immediately began to pray for friendships for me and the kids as one of our specific prayers.  I was leaving some incredible friendships in Texas and knew that it would be really hard.  God has answered my prayers for close friends more than I can believe.  Four hour dinners are not long enough with Jen and Katie. 
Sometimes my kids don't want to eat their food at meal time.  Sometimes mealtime is a battle.  Anyone else have this issue?  Anyone else go to drastic measures to get their kids to eat?  Sometimes bunny makes an appearance and shoots the kids if they don't eat.  If they eat what they are supposed to, they get to shoot bunny.  Anything to motivate them without discouraging me, and laughter is usually the best thing.

Eggs, eggs, and eggs.  Our chickens are at their prime laying time and we are loving it!  And how do you like my fancy egg collecting system?
My little military man...and a vintage Army belt for the win.
Early morning Bible study is often crashed by my Clara.  Coffee, God's word and Clara Beth on the front porch might be the perfect way to start a day.
Life here is good.  It keeps going with Brenner gone and that keeps us sane but makes it hard too.   But my God is so good.  So, so good, and all these good moments, plus the thousands I can't keep up with fill my heart daily.