Wednesday, December 20, 2006
georgia is thrilled we decided to put up her very own tower of toys known as the Christmas tree. full of bells, crystal and a number of other breakable ornaments, she is truly in heaven. as if it couldnt get any better, we turned on the lights. you should have seen her face. anyway, here is a pic of her the other day in front of her new favorite source of entertainment.
1. how thankful are we to have a year in korea while over 132,000 families sacrificially give a year to iraq and often times much more. how can we possibly complain about this when this is exactly why pat chose to serve and one of the many reasons i fell in love with him.
2. georgia is at an age where she will not remember this time apart. God's timing is always perfect and we are once again thankful for Him planning this at a time when it will be a time marked in her memory only by pictures, videos and letters.
3. it is impossible to work with pat and not know how paramount his faith is in his life. what kind of an impact might he have on such a large squadron of 500!
4. our marriage can take it. that may sound so odd, but there are a lot of families that we have seen suffer and fall apart during and after long periods of separation. we don't exactly know what our time table looks like, but we do know that while we would not choose this assignment, we can handle it. if that keeps someone else whose family couldn't handle it at home, even better.
5. we have never endured a time apart where we didnt experience an abundance of blessings. the wedding day butterflies that most only feel once, we have felt twice. how lucky are we? when pat was returning from afghanistan, the preparation for his arrival began weeks in advance. there were things to be done for such a monumentous and joyful event! as the day of his return neared, we could think of nothing other than his return and seeing one another again. i quit sleeping 3 days before he got back and had lists of a million things i wanted to do to make his return perfect. there were the parties with our friends, the first dinner home, his favorite dessert. so many plans that were so much fun to make. when it was finally time to pick him up at the airport and i walked in, i felt the same way i did when the doors opened at the back of the church. i would not have traded that feeling or that moment for anything in the world. we have talked about it since that time and agree it was the same feeling and we are so thankful to have experienced it twice.
time apart is not something we look forward to, but we have always felt God's prescence and blessing during it. we anxiously await what He will do with this next chapter. and while we wait with the absence of sheer joy or happiness, we wait with an all consuming peace. it doesn't get any better.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
okay, so there's no snow left (although we have had 2 snows in the last two weeks), but georgia is ready for the next one with her fabulous new boots and sweater dress. we were at a banquet tonight on a girls night out while patrick is in virginia tdy. i will update when i can...its been really hectic lately!
Monday, October 09, 2006
God offers this bit of advice when faced with stress, "Do not be anxious about anything, but with prayer and petitition, present you requests to the Lord." (Phil. 4:6) The reassuring result follows, "and the peace of Christ which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus." How often have we created our own definition of "anything"? If i'm being completely honest, my "anything" has always had a few amendments for those extra stressful situations requiring some degree of anxiousness that i'm certain the Creator of the universe just hadn't taken into account like don't be anxious about anything except that overseas move, or selling the house, or writing at the last minute for a newsletter or getting through one more day of diapers, dinner and a dog that can be far more demanding than my baby or that lump my dear friend found. Whatever the situation may be, i think we are all guilty of making our own minor adjustments to the Word of God when He clearly says, "do not be anxious about anything". While the Almighty gives us countless reminders of how to handle and persevere through life's stresses whether it be plainly stated, "Do not worry about tomorrow" (Matthew 6:34) or for those needing a picture explanation like myself (who happens to selectively overlook clear commands and understands illustrations better) He offers the beautiful image of the painstaking care He lavishes upon even the birds (Matthew 6:26, 27), ....how much greater will His care and provisions be for the children He has lovingly created in His own image! And yet, we as women, wives and mothers who continually transition through our day as counselor, cheerleader, chef , day care provider, domestic goddess, physician and these are just to our kids, not to mention the full time therapist we are to our beloved sisters in Christ, it is easy to forget the gentle reminders and clear commands from our Father who loves us so. Have you ever watched your own child struggle with a task? Whether it be trying to stand up for the hundredth time and falling down or willing the triangle shape through the square opening of a shapes ball? If only they would ask your help, you could equip them with the solution with the love and patience that only a parent who adores their child possesses. As their mother, it would give you such joy and peace for them to turn to you, lay down their struggle at your feet and allow you to take their hands and help them stand or gently guide their little fingers holding the triangle to the appropriate opening. Why is it that we, when faced with daunting stress, continue to bear it on our own when God is watching from above as we grow increasingly weary, frustrated and anxious, just waiting for us to surrender ourselves to Him, lay it at His feet and seek His comfort and peace. It seems like we are more willing to keep it to ourselves, vent it out to friends or tune in to see what Oprah has to say about it than to truly give it the One who can actually give us peace, one that transcends all understanding. I have found that giving all of my stress to and concerns (sometimes over and over and over) to He who is ultimately in control not only gives me peace, but also freedom. It gives me the freedom to be available to sincerely share in the joy or sorrows of others while not focused on my own baggage as well as experience true contentment in my own circumstances. One practical way to shift the focus from my own stress is creating gratitude lists. When i'm running late, feeling stress and willing the traffic to speed up, i thank God for a car that will not break down, a lunch date i'm excited to be on my way to, a child that is healthy enough to accompany me and so on. The list is endless as God's blessings are always abundant when we take the time to think of them. This mental exercise works for all situations when we are feeling overwhelmed and overcome with anxiety. It shifts my focus from the stress of the situation to the multitude of blessings He has poured on me. We have dear friends that we prayed for and with for years as they have watched their beloved son endure a liver transplant, countless ronald mcdonald visits, and threats of rejection and yet, i will always remember them saying that regardless of what mountain their sweet boy was facing, they wouldn't trade it for anything any other family at the ronald mcdonald house was facing. they were able to see God's blessings even in the midst of these most difficult of times. Gratitude lists often lead to a much needed, refreshing change in perspective and before long, my stress is clearly shadowed by my thankfulness. I pray this freedom of laying your worries and stress at the feet of God, obeying our Father and trusting that regardless of what you are facing He had it in mind when He wrote these words, "Do not be anxious about anything" and the multitude of blessings for a mental gratitude list will encourage and sustain you as you persevere throughout your days in the most noble of callings, motherhood.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
georgia takes after her dad in a lot of wonderful ways...her amazing blue eyes is one of my favorites, but it is followed closely by her disposition that follows waking up. i have no concept of waking up and instantly being able to smile or speak for that matter. two cups of my favorite coffee and 15 minutes is the minimum requirement for me to use any words that could be considered english and understandable. so you can imagine my delight at the joy my sweet daughter has upon first waking up. instantly, she is full of smiles and laughter. her dad is the same way, up in the morning and happy...maybe not the laughter part, but im certain if his first thought was funny, he could laugh. i dont care if i woke up to chris rock or adam sandler voice tracks...i would still hit snooze, mumble and hope that sleep would consume me immediately. anyway...this pic is of georgia in her carseat within seconds of her waking up from her nap...amazing, i think.
We just had one of the best 4 day weekends ever. there was nothing too extraordinary about it, just the amount of time we were able to spend as a family that made it so great. the decision to not go out of town was definitely the right decision and gave us a chance to just relax. the weekend entailed date night, family naps, retail therapy, a block party and a day trip to devils tower. date night took us to a really great new restaraunt for the second weekend in a row and ended with smores and friends at our place. our day trip to devils tower was a great escape for the day and after visiting, its a must see for this part of the country. devils tower (the first national park, i learned ) is a really beautiful place and with its extreme height, unique shape and suprising location, its no wonder why the native americans consider it sacred. we ended up doing the hike around the tower meeting a lot of people along the way (its amazing how many strangers stop and chat to people with a cute baby) and occasionally stopping to watch the climbers (a few of the 15, 000 crazy people that make the ascent annually). how spectacular their view must be! the trail winds its way past astounding overlooks that reveal the vast rolling hills of the area as well as perfectly shaded areas framed by trees and boulders. the sky could not have been any bluer, the trees any greener or the weather more perfect. it was a sneak peak preview of what is to come with my favorite fall days just around the corner. we are already planning a trip back in the fall so we can take in the bright colors of the season from such a spectacular vantage point. it is a perfect place to visit, soak up and thank God for all that He has so perfectly created.
We don't mean to constantly refer to Abe as her brother, but we can't seem to stop and as weird as it is, we have a lot of friends who ask us how her "brother" is adjusting to having his new "sister" here. we are by no means comparing the two (afterall, abe was potty trained light years ahead of the peach) anyway, they get along swimmingly. abe thinks she's fascinating and georgia thinks he's the coolest toy she has. i am certain she will figure out in the near future that while his tail is easy to find, it is not the most reliable when it comes to trying to steady herself.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Who knew laundry could be this much fun?? Georgia, sporting one of her favorite dresses courtesy of my best friend, Suzy, (we both had similar outfits as kids, even had pics taken in it for preschool) helping me do her laundry. How appropriate that Georgia, too, would have the famous striped dress. The shoes are also some of her favorites, between the toe sandals. She's already learned that the cutest shoes are almost never the most comfortable ones.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Here we are with the Huff's grabbing lunch at one of our favorite places, the Alpine Inn.
Us & the Kiddos at Bear Country. The twins are very similar to the bear cubs, rolling around and bouncing off one another. Mia is right there in it with them, too. So much fun!! The Peach taking in the Gator Wrestling Show at Reptile Gardens. She at least appeared entertained.
This giant tortoise is like 122 years old!
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
I was thinking of a time that I experienced with Georgia a few months back during our maiden voyage of "girl time" while Pat was TDY. She was struggling with pain in her tummy that I felt helpless and quite honestly inept as I struggled to soothe her. Tired, overwhelmed and discouraged, I held her in my arms and asked God for the patience and strength to love her like He would want me to. It was at that very moment, (you're thinking, really, that exact moment, and the answer is unequivocally, yes, at that exact moment) I got "it". "It" would be the profound realization and understanding that throughout my own life, both in the infantile stages of my faith as well as now in the story of my everdays, I have required an extreme, albeit excessive amount of patience, grace and unconditional love by my heavenly Father. How many times must He have been tired of my fussing, crying, or struggling (often times over the same issues) and yet, He never put me down. Never walked away and left me to cry it out, get over it, or reconcile it first. Rather, during these countless moments, He held me close in His arms, close to His heart and poured out unconditional love, waves of mercy and grace and boundless patience. How great is He to draw me closest when I am the most difficult to be near. Knowing that Georgia has been created by this amazing God, in His image no less, and always remembering that she is first and foremost His precious child, I promise to love her with all that I have, with all that He gives me. When she cries, struggles and fails and I am weak, tired and feeling inept, I will let go and let God and overwhelm her with the same grace, patience and love that have never failed to overwhelm me. That is my hope. It is my prayer and I know that while I am still incapable and inept at times, with His love and grace, we will both be sustained.
Monday, July 24, 2006
We have discovered (okay, we've known it since her first bath) that Georgia loves the water. There have been times that when she was fussy, we would simply put her in the tub and she would immediately calm down and start playing. We thought we should snap a few pics of her enjoying one of her favorite times. What girl wouldn't love a great bath followed by a relaxing lavender massage before slipping into your favorite bathrobe with matching slippers??
So six months have flown by and georgia is ready for something other than the tasty rice cereal cuisine. We started off with sweet peas last night, fully prepared for her to spit them out (similar to her first month with rice cereal) and were suprised when she inhaled the entire container. Hmm, makes you think the rice cereal really must be terrible. It was like she, too, had been counting the weeks until she was finally offered something better. I resisted every urge to give her sweet potatoes as her first vegetable. A girl has got to love her carbs and is there a healthier carb than the sweet potato?? I mean other than fruit, etc?? Anyway, those will come sooner than later, but today is another day of peas. Yummy.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Here is one of the lieutenants taking a swing at the Chonger. (the rope broke at this point and we were simply pitching it)
Here is one view of the friendly dictator. Here is one shot of the folks watching the pinata bashing.
Monday, July 17, 2006
We were able to take a picnic and go hear Third Day on Saturday night. We met up with friends, but once the band started, we gave up our prime spot and headed to the back of the park. We thought it was a little too loud that close to the stage for our little peach. Anyway, our friend, Paul, took the band around to see the sites for the day and confirmed they really are genuinely nice and apparently really really smart. They are actively funding and participating in some great relief work in Africa. Speaking of Africa, if you have not already signed up at www.one.org, get smart on it and consider getting involved. We heard a great message in church yesterday studying the question, Does God Care? The obvious answer is of course, yes He cares. But the reality is, while He cares very deeply about the hardships we individually face on a personal level as well as global atrocities and suffering, He desires to help us help one another. Similar to when He came to Moses and offered to help him rescue His people out of slavery, He is eagerly waiting to partner with each of us to make a difference, an impact, a positive change in the creation He loves. I could blog about this for awhile, but I won't. Just suffice it to say, Paul did a great job encouraging us to continue to look for opportunities to partner with the Almighty and share with everyone just how much our God, who by His very nature is love, does in fact care.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
There is an amazing free 3 day concert series here in Rapid City every year and we were able to check out some of it last night. We had heard really great things about it last year, but were unable to attend as I was one with the couch and Pat was new and swamped at work. Now he's just swamped at work and not new. :) We figured it is exactly what we needed the night before thier huge ORI kicks off and a great way to spend some family time together. After grabbing some sandwiches, we met some friends and had dinner in the park where we heard a great band, a comedian and Coach McCartney, former head coach of Colorado and founder of Promise Keepers. We are hoping to go tonight to see Third Day, Mark Shulz and Newsboys.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I couldn't help but snap this photo of our little peach and her dad. She would be able to hold her own bottle by now if she didn't strike this pose everytime she ate. Regardless of how tired or hungry she actually is, her hands are always up over her eyes when she eats. It must just be exhausting to be her. :)
So we had a fantastic 4th of July wishing America a happy birthday. We ended up hanging out at a bbq with some friends from the office and learned that you should not use a duraflame log to roast marshmallows. Of course we read the package complete with all warnings after putting down a record number of smores off the firepit and dangerous log. oops.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
In an attempt to create some 4th of July family traditions, we decided to visit a national park and check out some of the diverse landscape this country has to offer. Pat has been wanting to visit the Badlands for quite awhile and I was admittedly reluctant...the name doesn't exactly conjer up warm fuzzies within me, nor does the fact it was in Starship Troopers, (a fact Pat proudly revealed on the way)entice me. However, it's family weekend and the planner for Sunday was Pat and he had Badlands on the brain, so off we went. Wow. Was I ever weak sauce. What a cool place! Once I moved beyond the memory of my geology professor raving about it, I really loved it. We have been truly fortunate to see so much of this country and its breathtaking diversity. God is truly a God of wonders! How great is He to create so much beauty for us to see. So, Badlands, not so bad. Actually, really really good.
Georgia is already practicing how she will walk her brother, Abraham. We have been amazed, although not suprised at just how gentle and wonderful he is with her. She can't seem to take her eyes off of him and is constantly reaching for him and laughing. I think Georgia thinks he's a pony. We have been teaching her that he's more of a "dony"...dog/pony.