Our Top 10 Stories from 2016: The Drama Year

Daniel, waiting for present-opening time at my parents’ house

Christmas is over, and boy, was it a good one. In the photo above, all 4 boys were watching the clock intently. Christmas truly is magical for children.

I’m so thankful for a Christmas when my kids were healthy, we didn’t have to fly, there were no funerals to attend, and all went smoothly.

Now on to the new year!

2016 was all about drama. Yep. Drama. I’m hoping 2017 will be more about persistence and less about big things happening.

But who can tell the future? I’m not even good about making plans for the future. This year I want to be better about it, even though our best laid plans are so often a joke.

Before I plan for the future, I always look back at where we’ve been. This helps me to stay realistic. I can be idealistic and get myself into ridiculous situations.

I want to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground and perhaps allow my head to wander into the clouds just a little bit…

So let’s look back. Google Analytics tells me which of this year’s posts were most popular.

Top 10 Stories from 2016

#10. Exciting News, Dirt Angels, and Checking on Daniel

This is what my to do list looked like the other day:

-Morning Chores

-Check on Daniel.

-Shower/get ready

-Check on Daniel.

-Start sheets.

-Check on Daniel.

-Put away laundry. Move sheets to dryer.

-Check on Daniel.

-Well, you get the idea.

 

#9. JD Presents the New VeggieTales DVD Giveaway

It was exciting to partner with VeggieTales. I’ve always loved them, and giveaways are always a hit.

 

#8. What do I wear to the wedding?

As it turns out, my friends love to help me pick out what to wear. Ironically enough, I woke up with a swollen hip, and none of those dresses fit. Want to see what I actually wore?

This, and it looked awful on me. That’s why I cropped the photo. But it was okay because we had so much fun at the wedding. Want to see the bride?

 

She’s the beautiful red-headed one in the white dress!! (Ha! Obviously) This is the family red-head photo!! Gingers rule!

#7. The Linq Procedure: Another Half Naked Story

Yes, occasionally I blog about my health problems. I hope that it helps other people with similar problems. And sometimes I DO just want to whine!

Only 1 more health article on the list, I promise:

#6. Health Update: Ventricular Tachycardia, My Favorite Doctor, and Tendonitis Everywhere

This tells the story of a PA who I was so excited to find after having so many MEAN doctors. What is the deal with the rude docs? Why are you a doctor if you don’t even like people? I get so nervous about medical stuff, I need straight up Mary Poppins  when I go to the doc’s office!

#5. Life gets really fun once you get over yourself! 

This one’s my favorite. Here’s a quote from it:

“Ha! I bet some of you wonder why I’m always sharing my crazy crap on the internet.

It’s worth it, y’all. Do what you love, and shamelessly share it. It may even turn into income for you.”

first Christmas in Nana’s new house

#4. The Story of My Wedding Dress: What Fire Couldn’t Burn

….Grab your tissues for that one.

#3. 3 Fall Funnies and a New Giveaway for Your Kitchen

Again, giveaways are popular! But this one did have some CUTE stories.

#2. When We Met Matthias: Story of a Military Family

This was the GOOD kind of drama. Emma stayed with us for just a few weeks. She labored at our house and brought her new baby home to our house, and it was so exciting to be a part of it.

 

#1. Logan

Alan lost two teenage cousins this year. These were two separate tragic single-car accidents, devastating events.

 

Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.

Isaiah 57:1 New Living Translation

 

Last year wasn’t easy. Life is full of both the good and the bad for each of us. I wanted to share a happy Christmas video to perk us all up:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for being a part of our 2016.

 

 

 

A Letter of Hope from 2003

 

a letter to war of hope from 2003

Alan and me the night he left for Iraq, 2003

This week is Veteran’s Day, and as the wife of a veteran it’s a holiday full of meaning for me. In honor of Veteran’s Day, I thought I’d share this letter that I wrote to Alan on New Year’s Eve, 2003. Alan was in Iraq, and I was living in Texas. What started out as this nightmarish, depressing event (sending my husband to war–I was all of 22 years old) had gradually turned into a year of growth and new friendships.

Did you know that we military wives have our own “battle buddies”? We do, and they were a life-saver that year. That was the year I learned that I do not enjoy teaching. I experienced the first major failure of my life when I quit that job before the year was over because it was so hard and miserable I couldn’t handle it.

I found many things I didn’t want to be. I thought I would never figure out what I DO want to be, so I headed back to graduate school, but the answers weren’t there either.

But I was never fully defeated because the Lord sustained me. He sustained me with mentors and friendships and love, and when 2003 closed, I was still full of hope. This is what I wrote to Alan:

**************************

9 months down!!!!!                             I love you!!!!!!!!

Wed.,  Dec. 31, 2003

Day 275

Wow! This is the final day of 2003. But like I read in one of your letters, it was indeed a rotten year. Good riddance, 2003! Don’t let the door hit you on your way out. One thing’s for sure. It’s a year we won’t soon forget.

 But I’m so glad it’s over. For me, 2004 brings so much hope! Much like 2002! I remember New Year’s 2002 so well, and so fondly. I KNEW big things were in store for me that year. I knew you were becoming an important part of my life. And I had a feeling my life would be forever changed. I had a feeling you were “the one.” I remember sitting on my porch, holding my little Sylvester and crying. They weren’t tears of sadness or even tears of extreme joy. I guess it was just a moment in which I was preparing myself for the future. And I was letting go of the little girl inside of me, the innocent girl about to be rescued by her prince, about to grow up.

 I didn’t know I would be getting married that year, or moving far away, or even that I’d be graduating. I knew nothing of what was in store. Yet I can CLEARLY remember that the Lord was preparing my heart.

He was preparing my heart for you. And all the wonderful things you brought into my life. No one changed my life more than you. But it was a wonderful change.

 On the flip side, 2003 was not so wonderful. It was equally eventful. Only the events of 2003 often brought grief and hard lessons to be learned. I know we have grown this year though. We do grow from trials.

 But 2004 means something much different to me than either 2002 or 2003. To me, it is a year of hope, love, and laughter. That’s because when I think about 2004, all I see is you coming home to me, and spending a year together with you. Wow! How amazing it will be! Me and you together at last!

 So from January to March. Those 3 months are the joy of anticipation. And then You. You here in my life again. I can’t wait!

 I don’t have a New Year’s resolution. But I have a New Year’s hope. It’s like the final hump in this long deployment. The halfway mark was hump 1. And the end of 2003 was hump 2 to me. 3/4 of this journey is over!

 Yes!

************

welcomehome

3 months later, I hung this sign at our very first home together. I lived by the airfield, so I got to see Alan’s ginormous cargo plane fly right over my house as it landed. I’ll never forget the elation of that day.

It was a 4 page letter, and that was the first 3 pages, and I actually did write “Yes!” that BIG at the bottom of page 3. I meant it that large. In fact, it’s actually a little bit larger. I wonder whatever happened to the fourth page.

Happy Veteran’s Day, y’all!! I’m so thankful for my veteran.

Bring it on, 2016!

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After a 19-day vacation to see our folks, it warmed our hearts to find this in our driveway when we returned. What a hug to come home to this sweet driveway art! Our friends did this for us while we were away.

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“We can do small things with great love.” –Mother Teresa

Isn’t it funny how it’s the little things like this that make our days bright and cheery?

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And oh, while vacation was fun, it is always wonderful to be “Home Sweet Home”.

Joshua, Caleb, and a buddy of theirs (one of them that did the driveway art) were discussing “New Year’s Revolutions.” Yes, I corrected them. Joshua quickly understood the difference. He joked, “Ha!!  This year is a revolution!! Yaaaaaaaah!”

One of the boys said that he wants to have peace and goodwill on earth. Another one wants to own every single Lego Star Wars buildable figure.

“What’s yours, Mom?”

Um, uh…”Well, I haven’t fully decided yet, but I do hope to get rid of my hip pain this year.”

I got blank stares for that one. It’s hard for elementary kids to relate to chronic pain, I think.

So yeah. Not planning a revolution this year…..I don’t even have a concrete resolution.

I just want to do my job well, love my family, and move the family back across the country without stressing out about it. I’m so done with stress.

You know what I want most for this year? I want to focus on being a good mom and a loving wife. If we all did that, the whole world would be sweeter.

small things with great love

making gingerbread houses with the little guys

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
― Mother Teresa

Yes, I got a bicycle for Christmas. No, my hips didn't love it, but the boys were so excited to have their mom ride bikes with them. Thanks, Santa Alan!!

Yes, I got a bicycle for Christmas. No, my hips didn’t love it, but the boys were so excited to have their mom ride bikes with them. Thanks, Santa Alan!!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! I’d love to hear your resolutions/goals. No, really. I get my best ideas from other people, so do share.

Bring it on, 2016.

 

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