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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dear Britton,

Today is the last day you'll be two. I remember the day you were born and the instant I first held you. I've never been filled with so much joy in my life. With Tate, the joy was trumped by the fear of him not breathing, but with you and your loud cries- it was the purest moment of joy I've ever experienced. I remember that for the first two weeks you would only sleep if you were in someone's arms. I remember how you had the hardest time staying awake while I nursed you. I remember, as you got bigger, how you would lay down in your crib and push your booty up in the air to fall asleep. I remember you always with those big blue eyes and sweet smile. You're a terror at times now, probably becuase I've let you have your way so much. I cannot believe three years have passed since your birth. I am so glad that God blessed us with you- I love being your mother. You never ate baby food- you just went straight to the real stuff. WHy you don't eat anything now, I don't know.

I remember how happy you were with yourself this day. You have ALWAYS loved pens. You're the kid that draws on everything- walls, couches, carpet, people- you don't discriminate

You've always wanted to do everything Tate does. You've been exposed to more choking hazards than DFCS would approve of.

Your favorite type of cheese is still sharp shredded.

Notice the crayons, once again thrilled to have a writing instrument in hand. How many times have I picked up your crayons, pens, markers and pencils?

You're my messer, my snuggle bug, my bitsy bells, my shmiddia, my belles, my sistsy, my bitzy, my sweet Britton. I love you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us

Each year on the day my calendar tells me its January 18th, I know that Derek and I have closed another chapter on the book that is our marriage.

Chapter One: Who knew it would begin like this? When Derek proposed in December of 2002, visions of a crisp fall wedding with chocolate colored bridesmaids dresses and rich reds and oranges danced in my head. Oh...and the honeymoon- I'd never been to a tropical island before...I couldn't wait for the life I'd always dreamed of to unfold. Little did we know that less than a month later we would be married. 2 weeks after that he would be sent to Fort Stewart and 2 months after that he would be on a plane to Iraq. So much for a honeymoon.

People that know me usually know that part of the story. What they don't know is how two people fell apart in a Holiday Inn hours before deployment. How there couldn't have been enough tissues or toilet paper to dry the tears or wipe the noses that belonged to two broken hearts. I thought that I would crumble under the weight of the grief. The thought of never seeing this man again was almost more than I could bare...but bare it I did.

The truth is, that my journey as a "war bride" was the one that lead me straight to a deeper, more meaningful relationship with my heavenly Father. Friends and family kept me busy during that year, but my true strength came from the Lord.

Years later I know that Derek got deployed so that my soul could be saved. I was baptised at the age of 6 and always knew there was a God. I had prayed, and sinned, and prayed, and sinned...and so on. I spent my college years chasing self worth from what others thought of me- awards and recognition never could do the trick.

It wasn't until I felt that I had nothing, that I gained it all. While Derek was overseas I threw myself into studying God's word. As He revealed Himself to me, I went through a phase of self-discovery and finally realized that I am a daughter of The King, I was sent here for a purpose and that the only way to true joy and happiness is through Jesus Christ.

The night before Derek was deployed, I got on my knees and begged God not to take him. I begged and I cried out- why now, Lord? Now all I can do is fall on my knees before Him and thank Him. THANK YOU, LORD! You took away my husband so that I would find You.

When my grandfather died in my presence that year, it wasn't my husband's shoulder I cried on. Instead I cried out- THANK YOU, Lord. Thank you for allowing me to be here for my grandmother and to have had the experience of getting to know my grandfather and be with him in the final hours of life. It wouldn't have been that way if Derek were here.

When I found out I was expecting a baby there were no long, giddy talks about the future with my husband's hand on my belly. I couldn't surprise him by wrapping up a pair of booties and offering an impromptu gift. Instead there were heartfelt prayers and long conversations with God about being a good and godly mother.

When I woke up one morning and I thought I was having a miscarriage, my husband wasn't there to hold me or to drive me to the hospital. I had no choice but to give my child to the Lord that day and to trust His plans for my baby.

Year 1 of my marriage will always be special to me. Not because I had the fall wedding of my dreams or honeymooned in an exotic land or made burned dinners and yelled about the toilet seat being up. Chapter 1 of my life with Derek would, in the end, be the one that told the story of a young woman finding the meaning of life- a life intended and given by none other than Jesus Christ.

So, each year, when the calendar tells me its January 18, not only do I recall the day I said "I do" in a snow covered church in Clarkesville, I am reminded and humbled of the year God took my husband away so that I could find true happiness in Christ and love Him forever.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I am asking you to BELIEVE. God commands it.

Derek would have lost his job today if he had still been with Black & Decker. I am still reeling from the shock. 5 1/2 years of service with a Fortune 500 company, top in sales and the recipient of numerous awards- it wouldn't have mattered. 7 weeks ago he went to work for Covidien, a medical supply sales company. Derek has wanted to be in medical sales since the beginning of his career. Why in what seems to be the worst economy we've seen in our lifetime was he offered the chance to chase his dreams?

After the shock, come the tears of knowing that God CONTINUES to have his hand on this family. WHY US LORD? WE ARE SO UNWORTHY!

Derek told me on Memorial Day to be specific in my prayer requests to God. I've always prayed "His will"- trusting in the plan- being carried but not believing that I had the right to ask for the desires of my heart. That very day Audrey (sorority sister/friend/realtor) just happened to be outside walking in the morning and casually asked if we had thought about selling our house. 4 hours later I called her and said- let's do it. A week later it was on the market. Over the next 5 weeks I would get a job offer with a Company that I believe is changing the world one woman at a time; we would purchase 3 acres of land and we would sell our house. WHY US LORD??? Is it becuase our knuckles had gotten so white from the grip we had on our life that the only thing we had left to do was let go and let YOU?

Derek and I did not have glamorous upbringings. Broken homes, emotional turmoil. Derek comes from the most humble background of anyone I have ever known in my life. He is the only one in his family to ever go to college. To ever get away from his hometown. He started working at age 12- picking watermelons for a man who gave him a few cents per melon. He cleaned toilets at a hardware store through High School and he worked at a bank in a Wal-Mart when he graduated from college. I know that I do not deserve God's grace and blessings, but Derek...he just might.

WHY US LORD? Is it because we've given everything to you? Is it because we've made decisions based on what I hear You say to me despite the illogic of it all? If it all were gone tomorrow I would still stand in amazement and then fall at my Father's feet because I have seen Him. I have seen the work of the Lord. I have heard Him speak to me. If I never live another day, know that I was blessed. On Faith I prayed, on Faith I believed and God was Faithful enough to me to KEEP HIS PROMISES- Ask! Ask and it shall be done.

Dear friends, whatever burden you are carrying, whatever load you feel will fall unless you grab tight, I ask you to lay it down. Let it go. Pray to God and be specific because HE CARES! He does, I promise.

"When ye pray, believe." Mark 11:24 BELIEVE!

When there is a matter that requires definite prayer, pray till you BELIEVE God, until with feigned lips you can thank Him for the answer.

Tis better to walk by faith than sight, In this path of yours and mine;
And the pitch-black night, when there's no outer light
Is the time for faith to shine.