Wednesday, December 20, 2006

herding kittens

if you have never tried to get 7 children under the age of 5 dressed up for a family picture, you really don't know what kind of fun you are missing. it was a lot like herding kittens that had just jumped out of a bag of catnip. anyway, it was a great day with all the cousins together in Texas. georgia had such a blast hanging out with her family and can't wait to make another visit.

the tree

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.

mrs. claus

the happy couple with their very own elf.

here is obviously the better looking half of the famous Claus couple riding into town on a bull rather than a sleigh.

Peacefully Unhappy

so, here i am with a digital camera full of hilarious pics recounting the adventures from the past the month. they include my better half in a mini skirt mrs. claus costume riding a mechanical bull at the squadron Christmas party (rarely have i experienced a prouder moment), our sweet baby girl meeting her family in texas for the first time, decorating the tree and a multitude of other everday events capturing memories that we might otherwise let fade. and while i promise to get to those and post them...really, i will, my thoughts are truly elsewhere and have been for a couple of weeks. we found out a couple of weeks ago that pat will most likely be gone to korea for the next year (departing sometime summer of 07) and while there are a million decisions to be made and a number of things to consider i feel like i have got to sit down and purge how i am feeling about the whole thing. i have had countless people ask us how we are. feeling, is what i assume they mean. and while the first night we discussed this likelihood of the year apart, we were not joyful, we were hopeful. we were not excited, but optimistic. we were not relieved, but very grateful. we were not happy, but completely at peace. here is the deal...there is an awesome divine peace that is all consuming when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt Who really runs your life. that's it. ultimately, pat and i are under the protection and provision of our God. how amazing is that. He has never ever lost track of us and our best interests for even a moment and this moment is no different. we anxiously await for His plan to be unraveled and revealed to us over the following weeks, months and years. a few reasons we are sleeping well...
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.