Cherry Bloosoms

Friday, December 31, 2010

In the dead of winter

In the dead of winter, there is life. You just have to plant it. Or in my case, someone helps you plant it.


Sometimes the deployment thing just gets a bit monotnous and dead. No spice in life. Well, I was thinking about that today.


Adam and I had a nice skype and read about dying to become new in 1 Corinthians 15. The devotion went on to talk about planting bulbs this time of year and that in the spring, their life is a reminder to us all. Adam then tells a story of helping his grandparents plant tulips at their home when he was younger. And do you know what happened next....


Life! Right at my doorstep! A bunch of vibrant red parrot tulips were delivered to me by my knight in shining armour of a sailor! And while we were still skyping! There is still life when everything seems dark and dreary. When the cold of winter makes you want to hull up inside all day, there is still something there. Something to drag you out of your funk.... and I think I've been in one.


"Start the New Year with a positive attitude." Resolution #1-CHECK. A smiling wife-CHECK.


What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. -1 Cor. 36

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Snowing in Dixie: On Christmas!!!!

So it was 60 something degrees 3 days ago. Today we had snow on Christmas!!!! What a treat!! (mute music at bottom of page before playing video).

video

Large flakes start to stick at noon. Suprise video mode.

video

Still snowing at 3pm. Luckily I figured out the video mode.

Lots of snow east of town.

video

Sorry it's tilted. I didn't know it was on video mode. Still figuring this thing out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

60s and Sunny: A Saving Christmas

It's amazing what it can take to put you back in the spirit. I mean the "right" spirit of Christmas. What is the trun meaning of Christmas and how it saves us? Christ came into this world as a child without a care in the world. Not to do lists, need to buy lists, what to bake or make lists. Those cares have cluttered the real meaning of Christmas for me every now and then. It takes a few minutes on a sunny December day in Alabama with 60 degree temps to make me slow down and really meditate on what matters. Being with family, friends and loved ones and knowing that Christ has saved me from my sins saves me this holiday season from the hustle and bustle of getting stuff done, shopping and traffic chaos that Christmas can sometimes bring about.

Don't you just love getting the chance to sit and savor the season?! Ah, the rocking chair, the patio and Tocca!

P.S. Now it really would be peace on earth...or at least in my backyard...if those two turtle doves would stop hogging the feeder and share with the cute little finches and the brightest cardinal I've seen in a while. Adam I think I'll name him....Adam.

P.S.S. I have also saved my berry decorations by using dark red nail polish to hide the styrofoam spots! Ingenious, I know.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

HE never fails

It never fails. Just when....

Just when I get out for break, early at that,
I hit shopping traffic on the way home.

Just when I decide to host folks in my house,
it never fails that I have a lack of motivation to clean.

Just when I decide to give Adam's truck a spin,
it never fails that something goes wrong (the battery died this time).

Just when I remove Levon's dog bone from the garden,
does he go in looking for it only to tear up the tomato posts.
And just after I get the truck fixed,
does he jump in the front seat instead of the back.

Just when I have the motivation again to clean the inside,
do I have to work on the outside of the house instead.

Just when I've had some good days and am going strong,
it never fails that I lose strength and shed a tear, or a few.

Just when I think I'm alone and have decided it's not all about "I,"
it never fails that God decides to show up somewhere.

He never fails me. I just have to get away from all the "I's" to realize it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

....more than Mac N Cheese

Some nights I just want a little more. A little more than microwave Mac N Cheese. OKay, so I sometimes have two bowls for dinner. I don't know if this is a good thing to be able to eat what I want when I want or not. Then it's definately a double-edge sword. Homemade potato soup, sweet potato casserole, fresh turnip greens with tomatoes, and an amended Chicken Tetrazini recipe have stirred my creativity and desire for cooking. As hearty, healthy and appetizing as these sound, they are not as easy to make. Some are. But sometimes, I really just want Mac N Cheese. Anyone else feel this way?


In over my head in greens.

The finished product.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Below is a poem that our assistant principal sent out. I think it's a great way to remember and give thanks for all our many blessings this time of year.


A Thanksgiving Poem
Thank You Lord for this Thanksgiving Day. I have a few words I have to say.
Thank You for breath to live,
for the Holy Spirit to give,
For eyes to see,
for the strength to be free,
For ears to hear,
for words that appear,
For a mouth to speak,
and knowledge to seek.
For my hands to act,
for my feet on track.
For my heart to love,
for gifts given from above,
For my mind to do Your Will,
for my soul to be still.
For my body to live,
for actions to give,
For all my remaining days,
to sing Your praise.

For the birds and the bees,
for being on my knees,
For colorful butterflies,
for the joys and the sighs,
For trees dressed in green,
for a world to be seen,
For mountains so high,
for the clear blue sky
For oceans so deep,
for on beaches to sleep.
For Your Animal Kingdom,
My thanks from within.
For a house and a bed,
warmth, light and bread.
For music and sound
My thanks are profound.
For vision and sight,
And the glorious night
For weather so pleasant,
For angels - heaven-sent
For the sun that shines,
for the jewels that are mine.
For family and friends,
for love that never ends
For life everlasting,
in Your Love I am basking
For the language of prayer,
for always being There.
For the miracle of creation,
For free gift of salvation.
Thank You for You Lord,
Your love is my reward.
- Mary A. Shovlin


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"That's Why."

"I hate this."

"I can't do it."

"Why me, why us, why now?"

As I fight the tears of my 1/2 bad Tuesday, I literally see and hear the answer. Thank you God!


....I used to LOVE Tuesdays. I'd brag about how that was my favorite day of the week for the longest time. For some reason, I've always had Bible studies, small groups, just something going on that day that just put me in the best mood or I'd look forward to it for whatever reason. Since Adam's deployment, Tuesdays have been my emotional days. Odd-I know. Today was no exception.....


The wind gusted outside like no other. Thank you God! As I leaned up from reclining on the couch, I peered through my watery eyes and to the foyer and out the small front door windows to see our hanging American flag flapping vigorously in the wind. Usually it blows the other way towards the window, but not tonight. I see it now-still flying high all 50 stars and 13 stripes.


"You can do this."

"I can do this."

"For freedom."

"Be free in Me."

"I love you."

"He loves you."


....and "That's why!"


"Blessed is the Nation whose GOD is LORD...." Psalm 33:12

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I have a crush on.....

So, do you remember having crushes on who you thought was soooo cute way back when in middle school and high school, oh and even as early as 4th grade? Oh, the good 'ole days when you could just look and dream, wonder and awe. Nothing they did was ever wrong and you always thought you'd end up with them. Oh, you just KNEW you'd end up with them....until....bam....life hit. Life of another deciding to like them before they asked you out, life of them never noticing you, life of the dreadful horrible no good really bad hair days.

Well, life hits and I now have a crush again as I am now in my nearing-30 season of life. Deployment is life and it hits strong. Some days I feel as though I have a crush again, on my husband. Other days, I feel as though I have a crush on a permanent pen pal that I know I will end up with, and that I know has NEVER done anything wrong. hehe. I look in awe and wonder into an oblivion, in my dreams, while walking down the halls at work, while in the middle of a yoga pose and most definitely while driving. It can be numbing. Mind-manipulating and even soul-quieting.

But what I do KNOW is that this too shall pass. I am in love with my crush, my sailor, my Adam.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Showing my support

What I do to show my support....really, is just to embarrass myself. I love my little llama! And not the one in this video. They are the "once" Lima Llama Rotation and currently "los lobos." I personally like llamas better. :)


video
Granddad's Farm in Ednyeville, NC last weekend. I even let him eat out of my hand!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ROY-G-BIV

Today on the way home from my new job (temporary though), the sky was so dark. Gray does not describe it. The down pour was over and as I wound my way through the "Napa Valley-like area of Birmingham" as a friend so affectionately put it the other day, back towards all of suburbia, there was a bright spot of trees glowing amongst the shadows. I looked and looked. Where was God's promise? I continued on the two-lane to my designated intersection and as I pulled in the turn lane and stopped. I looked up.

WOW!!! I haven't seen a rainbow like that in a while! Well, Adam and I saw a full one this summer but this one was more than full. It threw me in a trance that said, "Come follow me. Find me pot-o-gold. Go under and have fun." Well, under would have been towards the trafficked interstate and rain. As I sat there in awe, I didn't even have to count. I could see ALL THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet!!!! ROY-G-BIV as I so fondly learned as a child. Special Ed and Navy; well I just can't help but live and breathe acronyms. But, I digress....

The rainbow was the widest I've ever seen! And I don't mean from side to side, but it was, hummm...fat! Beautifully full-bodied colors blending together stretching across the sky for God to say, "Remember!"

And then I turned left and headed on home.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall is Here....or is it?

Today reached 90 degrees and it's gonna stay the same for the next few days! It's hard to beleive fall is here. There is a beautiful firey orange-red maple at the top of our street that screams, "It's fall, it's here! Look at me!" However, our maple has barely started changing and my Japanese maples look more brown than red. What was a cool week last week and earlier this week, has turned back around. No more early cups of cocoa for me.

Fall is here and it's approaching fast. Halloween is just around the corner and I cannot wait to dress up. My mom always taught me to just decorate and have fun with holidays, secular or religious. Nothing to serious, I just buy pumpkins and squash for the table and send a cute "batty" card or two. It's really just a day to be a kid again-dress-up and candy! What's better than that? It's really great if the weather is "fallish" too on Oct. 31st. The cool night air and crunching of the leaves and acorns beneath the feet of excitement, excites me too!!!

Welcome Fall!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Surface Gardening


"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God."
1 Timothy 1:6-8


I was out pulling weeds the other day when I realized that all I was doing was brushing the surface. With only an hour of time and friends coming over the next day, I really only had time to pull what would be seen along the front fringe of the natural area. And I barely got to the garden in the back. If I could keep up a garden as well as Adam, fertilizing, watering, and weeding a little on a daily basis, the yard and garden would be in much better shape.

How often do we do that with our spiritual lives? How often do you read a litte of scripture here and there but not every day? Do you go to God in prayer when only things are bad? I can honestly say that I tend to engage in "surface gardening" when it comes to spiritual discipline myself. I've heard that God is the Master Gardner. If we go to him on a daily basis He can make life so much more. More fulfilling. I pray for the strength to "grow" through more time and study with Him.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Operation Military Family"

I read this book by Mike Schindler pre-deployment and it was great. A wealth of information and great questions that Adam and I could discuss together. Check it out! Literally. It's at the library too!

http://www.operationmilitaryfamily.com/

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm compelled to post

That's my sister, Caroline the judge-wanna-be, in the courthouse in El Dorado, AR.
Adam and I on the covered bridge at Dupont Falls in NC admiring a beautiful sight. Each other, or the waterfall....both.
Sorry Mom for stealing these off your computer. I just had to play today. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

God's Promises in a Windy Day

Years ago when I was down at Auburn, I would often take my free afternoons and leave campus just to get away and think. I would drive out Wire Road a few miles to Kiesel Park, find a shady, grassy spot by the creek and throw out my beach towel. What a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of college life and dorm living?! Once settled, I'd usually journal or work on my weekly Bible study. Never homework; that was for the library. It's amazing how God can speak to us in the 'tiny-est' whisper or cool of the breeze or whistle of the wind when we get still, quiet and listen. The trees would blow, the willows flapping and I could hear God. Oh those Autumn days long ago.

Well, Autumn is finally here in Birmingham and I was outside enjoying the cool weather this morning and heard the chimes singing in the wind!! God is there... He's here....Adam is there...but he will be back!! The wind chime of blue and green glass is special to us as Adam and I picked it out in Tocca, GA this summer to remind us of our times together, and remind me while he's in Kuwait. Our trip outside NSA Athens that morning was a DATE, believe it or not! He surprised me as we drove for over an hour in "hiking" clothes. We did attempt to hike Mt. Curahee but ended up at the top before we knew it in Adam's truck. Off-roading describes it I think. We did happen upon the beautiful Tocca Falls and quaint town. Love some meat n'three.

I can hear it now as the wind continues to blow even this afternoon. Thank God for the blessings of cool breezes, windy days and for His promises for us!

"Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed" -Joshua 23:14

A Prayer for our Troops

'Please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.Our troops need our prayers for strength, endurance, and safety. If it be God’s will, give these men and women the strength they need to prevail.

Prayer

"Lord, please hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."

Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine & others deployed in harm’s way, Prayer is the very best one!'

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Mercies Everyday

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

This weekend I was in Charleston, South Carolina-Mount Pleasant to be exact-for my aunt's 80th birthday. Wow! I sure hope to be as sharp and energetic as she is at that age! Anyways, normally my family stays with her at her house and I usually get up in the mornings and run Pitt Street Bridge, the causeway to Sullivan's Island or drive to the foot and run the new Arthur Ravenal Bridge. However, we did not stay with Aunt Betty this time; we stayed at a hotel near the foot of the bridge, on the opposite side of the walkway. I woke up with a determination to get to the other side of the highway somehow and run the bridge like usual. Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't mind deviating my path this morning and often do on runs when I "just feel like it." As I stepped out on to the sidewalk towards palmettos and dune bushes, I suddenly decided that "I just felt like it" and starting running.
I hopped from roadside to roadside seeking the more shady side, only to discover that if I had stayed on "my original side" I would have been closer to the back beach. I later discovered that the back beach was actually the mouth of the Cooper and Wando Rivers meeting in the Charleston Harbor. Back to the sidewalk...so I crossed, and once in front of the new condo building, I realized that I could have stayed on "my side" and gone off the sidewalk onto a gravel and crushed oyster trail along the back of the building and ran along the marshy, coastal reeds.
You already know what I did....I deviated. I took the path less followed. I took the scenic, sentimental, off-beat path. And man, am I glad I did. The smell of the marshy, silty sand and reeds took me right back to Pitt Street and back to my many of days running in Mount Pleasant. However, today, this wonderfully cooler and cloudy September morning brought me to new places, new memories, new blessings and discoveries. I had finally took the time to listen to myself. And stop and listen is what I did next.

Eventually, I would end up at the new Visitors Center and Memorial Park and Pier; however, I had no idea that is what lie ahead. Beautiful and true to the landscape, I ran from the trail and through the park and onto the pier, which led out into the Charleston Harbor, and right under the Bridge!! I came to a stand still, stretched a bit and just breathed. Breathed in the salty air, the calmness of the water and the cry of a pair of dolphins swimming by. Can you imagine what I would have missed if I would have stayed on the sidewalk and taken the sharp left under the bridge? I can...missed opportunities, missed blessings and new mercies that were given to me this day.
God has truly blessed me on my runs when I have deviated. Sometimes I deviate off my path in life, the one that's spelled out-job, events, expectations, etc and in return, I have often been either steered back to it or taken on a joyous, spontaneous and merciful ride. Adam and I are on one of those rides right now. I thank God for him and this new adventure in the US Navy, our 1st year of marriage and for my surprisingly beautiful morning run on Saturday. I was quiet and still and waited on the Lord and he heard me.

A old view from the foot of the bridge. Arthur Ravenal on the Left, old Cooper River on the Right. The Cooper has since come down. I cannot take credit for this photo. I did not expect anything to be new to my eyes that morning. I was wrong. What a sweet reprimand for straying?!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Blissful Weekend



I was fortunate enough to be invited, along with other spouses and family members of Adam's group, up to Williamsburg to visit Adam for the long Labor Day weekend! It was a weekend of sheer bliss! I got in as close to "on-time" as you can get flying through ATL these days and was with Adam enjoying the afternoon by 2pm. We had a nice seafood dinner with Adam's buddy, Chuck and wife, Mitzi along with a wonderful evening stroll through Old Town Williamsburg and The College of William and Mary.

On Saturday, we went and walked around Colonial Williamsburg, reported for PT Insanity workout at 1800, watched some college football and visited with other couples, then crashed. Sunday, I made, yes made Adam enjoy Busch Gardens for 7 whole hours. Thank you Heroes to Heroes for letting military in the park free this past weekend! Monday came and we enjoyed a nice cookout and gathering by the City of Williamsburg and USO. We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. Surprisingly, a few trees we starting to turn to muted oranges and reds already.


I am so thankful that we got to spend time together before he leaves for the Middle East later this month. I will treasure that time with all my heart. I love you Adam and pray for you everyday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Flowers of Hope: Withstanding the Enemy

This afternoon I spent sometime in the yard. It's a beautiful yard that Adam (mostly) and I have worked hard to maintain. A cooler 92 degrees drew me outside to tend to the garden and shrubs for a few moments. As I made my to the back to toss out the old flowers, I couldn't help but get excited thinking about the many new blossoms in my front yard. I love cutting fresh flowers and my mom said one time that, "when you cut and give, you will receive more in return." My mom is a great woman of faith.

The "knockout roses" were bountiful and budding as bright as Seattle summer roses and my gardenia bushes had begun to bloom again! What a joy to have inherited all of this at our first house. Somewhere between the compost pile and my lovely arrangements of fresh cut flowers, I contracted 19 mosquito bites between my chin and my shin. It was all I could do to run in and shower off as quickly as possible, thus robbing me of my joy that I had gained from enjoying our yard just moments ago.
God blesses us with a beautiful earth and flowers and sometimes we get taken back by the things that get in our way or rob us of our joy. The mosquito bites were my enemy today. As I got out of the shower, smelled the sweet gardenia and looked at my small vase, my joy returned. All too quickly, we let the enemy slip into our daily lives by way of procrastination, gossip, selfish desires, and so on. But if we look to God, the one who gives us joy, then we can press on. God gives me hope. Hope that Adam will return safely, hope that our marriage will stay strong, hope that there is always a God who loves me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Resurrected Blogger

I have not only been inspired but encouraged to blog during my husband's deployment. This will be his second, but first one as a married couple. I have seen encouraging blogs and hope to encourage others as well, especially other military wives. This is all new to me: military life, married life, deployment, blogging, asking and reaching for support....and the list could go on. This is a new chapter in my life with MANY subtitles and not much consistancy. The only constant I know these days is God. He is always there and who I turn to when I cannot find my routine, groove, etc. What a steadfast love He provides!?!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Scrapbooking

Recently I've started scrapbooking. This is not my 1st time putting pictures in an album and adorning it with letters, dialogue/captions, and embelishments. I'm calling this my "second-go-round," and so far I'm off to a pretty good start.

As I look at my pages-all 5 of them thus far- and other examples of different pages in "how-to" books and pamphlets, I either get discouraged or inspired. My first though is to se the stage! The background; the mood the scheme or theme! What about this....it's like a "tablescape" for my "pictures of the moment" or the ones I'm placing in scrapbook pages soon.

Question: I love memorabilia such as wedding programs, tickets, birthday cards, artwork, etc. and would love to know how to display these items with corresponding pictures. I've heard you can buy memorabilia pockets. I've also heard of others making separate albums or pages/sliders. They slide their "extras" down into an empty sleeve w/o pictures so that the photos are not ruined by the acids/or whatever is on the memorabilia. Does anyone have a good suggestion for displaying memorabilia such as this in an album??

Tip: Look through yours or your kids' box or bag of stickers. You'd be surprised how many are acid/lignin free. What a great way to find and use something for your album in a pinch and save money too??!!