onedayclosertohome

One day closer to my hero being home…

Love Letters – An Art Not Forgotten

I admit it.  I am a terrible blogger.  Mostly because during this adoption/fostering process, I am not sure how much I should share publicly.  Suffice it to say, it’s been an amazing experience so far.  The kids and I have learned so much, and we’ve truly fallen in love with our little man.

But I didn’t come here to talk about that.  Not today, anyway.  Today, I want to talk about My Hero.  He is truly the most amazing man in the whole world.  Even from across the world, he manages to sweep me off my feet.

My evening didn’t start off so well.  My mother-in-law gave me some beautiful Irish crystal wine goblets for Christmas.  I loved them.  Because our new house has such a smaller kitchen, I had to buy a china hutch.  Well, today, one of the shelves in it shattered.  And with it, so did my beautiful wine goblets.

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Fortunately, I had something wonderful to look forward to.

I asked My Hero for a love letter.  He promised to oblige.  Around the first of the year, I received a package.  He asked me not to open it until I received his letter.  I didn’t open it right away.  I wanted to wait until I had the house to put together.  I haven’t gotten that far, but tonight was the night for a love letter.

This is what I got.

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My Hero sent me four prints of four different paintings.  Each painting represented an aspect of our relationship.  Each one had a little blurb with it, explaining why he chose it.

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“Doubtless you have seen this image many times.  It reminds me of what must come before all else.  I only hope that in your relationship with Christ, I have brought you a fraction of the good you have brought me.”

This one is my favorite:

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“This painting is also called A Lady’s Favor and I much prefer that title.  To me it is the image of a man going to do what God, duty, and his own manhood demand of him, but what would yet be impossible without what his Lady is promising and giving before his departure.  It is equally an image of the Lady, however.  She, knowing that so strong is his love for her that it struggles in contest with his other duties, encourages him, gives him Favor, and fills him with such love and pride that though he cannot bear to leave her, he can less bear to fail her.  He will ride away filled with fierce desire to earn her pride and affection, and to return home when his task is done.”

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“No one could love with as much devotion and intensity as you, and I see echoes of that here.  Perhaps the dancers are not actually alone, but they may as well be.  There is no one else in their world.  They are enthralled with one another and their dance.  Notice, however, that you can see fewer of her distinguished features.  Though she is so familiar to him she will forever remain mysterious, exciting, alluring and enveloping.  He wants her to feel the same burning, intense heat.  As for what she is feeling, that is for another to say.”

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“This image says much more than it appears to, I think.  There is an undeniable sensuality to it.  Each figure is expressing desire, passion, endearment, and an all-encompassing need to express love to the other.  There is giving and receiving here, no taking.  They are fulfilled by one another, intoxicating by each other.  Each person exudes both tenderness and ferocity as they pour themselves out for their lover.”

My Hero included a final note.  One that asked me to pick two to frame to put up where I would be reminded of his gift.  I will, of course, be framing all four.

I don’t think that I have ever felt so loved and cherished in my whole marriage.

Any great romantic responses would be appreciated.

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Our Long Journey

Two years ago, somebody I worked with at the gym asked me to consider adopting.  She is a social worker who works with foster kids, and she had two siblings that they were having trouble placing.  She told me that every time she thought of them, she thought of me.  I told My Hero, and we prayed about it.  We both felt that that this was a very clear calling from God, and that we needed to obey.  We told her yes.  Ultimately, we were turned down for these two for various reasons, but we still felt like God was calling us to adoption.

We decided that since we were called to it through the foster system, that would be the way we would pursue it.  We began our foster/adoption training about six months after we were approached.  During that class, we made some wonderful friends with another family that homeschools.  In fact, the wife ended up being the kids’ tutor for our Classical Conversations group!  Unfortunately, before that class ended, My Hero deployed and we were not able to finish at that time.

Once he was home, we spent a good amount of time just readjusting.  After a couple months, we finally felt ready to jump back in.  The day after I signed us up for the class (again), a friend called us and asked if we wanted to buy their suburban for a very reasonable price.  It felt like God was confirming our decision!

We finally finished the class at the beginning of summer.  Mid July, we received a phone call.  Our home study was finished! The next day, My Hero came home and told me he was deploying.  For a whole year.  We were devastated.  I told the adoption worker, who said we would have to wait.  After much prayer, My Hero and I decided that we still felt we were called to do this NOW.  Not in a year.  We wrote some letters, and talked to the adoption worker again, this time with success.  Our names were back in the pool for receiving placements.

About two weeks after My Hero left, we received That Call.  We had been selected.

We have been spending time with the most darling 16 month old boy you could imagine.  The Ballerina and The Gymnast are head over heels for him.  He is wonderfully precious, and fits right in with our family.  God’s hand in bringing this about couldn’t be more clear.  We are blessed beyond measure.

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The Catastrophe Countdown! 3 Down, 49 to Go!

Well, I suppose none of them are truly catastrophes.  Maybe the the boat lift can be described as such.  But the others… well, maybe not.

Last week, The Ballerina was supposed to have her first gymnastics meet of the season.  It was being held about 75 miles away from where we live.  And it was at 8:00 in the morning.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I don’t do mornings.

So.  Up we got at 6:00 in the morning, and we were in the car by 6:30.  Should have been plenty of time to get there.

Not if your engine begins pouring out smoke.

Being wonderfully fiscally minded, and thinking My Hero would be so proud of me, I decided we would take his very uncomfortable car rather than my gas guzzling beast.  We were halfway there when I noticed a funny smell and the temperature gauge was all the way over past the dangerously hot section.  I slowed down and pulled in to the first gas station I saw.  I opened up the hood, and smoke poured out.  I checked the coolant level, and while it wasn’t BONE dry, it was pretty close.  I filled it up, dumped a few gallons of water on the engine to cool it off, and eventually headed back home.  By the time we made it home two hours later, the gauge was almost smack dab in the center.

So now this week.  My wonderful, amazing, comfortable car is having its own issues.  The speedometer is broken!  I noticed it when we were in the VERY slow moving traffic.  According to my speedometer, we were going 50 miles an hour.  If I had to guess, I’d say we were going about 10 miles an hour.  By the time we finished our errands, the speedometer was no longer moving at all.

As far as catastrophes go, none of these rate very high on the scale.  I can handle this.  Really, I know I can handle much more than this.  I have a Hero who supports me, a God who protects me, and great friends who help me when I need it.  I’m good.

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Them’s the Rules: Fighting Fair

I have an 11 year old daughter.  

 

She’s beautiful, talented, thoughtful, kind, sweet, silly….  She’s delightful.  She truly is a joy.

Except… She’s 11.  Almost 12.  And hormonal.  Moody.  It’s so much fun.

NOT!

Anyway, we’ve been having issues with her having blow ups.  In them, she says whatever comes to her mind.  She stop to think about it, she doesn’t censor in any way, and she doesn’t care if it hurts.  She has told My Hero that he’s “ruining her life.” I think she had to do the dishes or something.  It scarred her forever.  Never mind the fact that she does them every. stinking. day.

After today’s… battle…  I began wondering what we could do to maybe help her at least consider thinking about her words before she speaks.  Then I remembered.  Nobody has taught her to fight fair.

Long before My Hero and I got married, we set down a set of rules for fighting.  We listened to others who were married, read books, and discussed at length the best way to fight.  We wanted to be sure that when we did, we would be fighting fair.  We wanted to protect our marriage even from ourselves.  So if we, as adults, needed to establish ground rules, why has it not occurred to me before today that my CHILDREN need to learn to fight fair????

Our rules:

  • No name calling
  • No “always” or “never” statements
  • No ultimatums
  • No threats
  • No yelling
  • No putting words in the other person’s mouth
  • No comparing to other people
  • Keep the fight on what it’s about – no dragging previous baggage in!
  • Never, ever, ever say the D-word

We’ve done a fairly decent job sticking to the rules.  A couple of them have been bent, but we’ve not broken them.  They’re sacred.  I believe that one of the reasons that we have such an amazing marriage is because of these rules.

So today, I sat my children down, and I talked about the importance of setting limits and establishing the rules before you are in a situation where you need them.  I told them that learning to fight fair was skill they’d use the rest of their lives.  They needed to decide that they needed to commit to following the rules no matter how angry they get.  Following the rules will help to protect their relationships.

So perhaps we’ve crossed some sort threshold.  Maybe now we can move on from crazy uncontrollable emotional outbursts to learning to reign it in.  I don’t expect it to happen overnight, but maybe now that they know there should be rules, they will at least make an attempt to follow them.

Or perhaps I’m delusional.

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359 – Cuzi’s Back!

 

 

Cuzi is back!  The kids love him.

They love the kiss (or hug) a day while Daddy’s away.

I love when the bowl starts to look empty.  We have a ways to go right now, but eventually, this bowl WILL BE EMPTY.  Then My Hero will be home.

Cuzi hides in a new spot every day.  When I remember.

The kids LOVE looking for him.

I, however, am out of ideas.  I need suggestions.  Lots of suggestions.  359, to be exact.  Where should Cuzi hide next?  Give me your best ideas!

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363

Every little boy dreams of being a hero.

Some of them get to become one.

In all seriousness, this man is my hero.  He is brave, thoughtful, caring, loving, and most importantly, he is a man of God.  I love everything about him.  I love the way he plays with our children.  I love the way that he disciplines our children.  I love the way he works so hard for our family.  I love how good at his job he is.  He impresses everyone he works with by his professionalism and ability to solve problems.  I love the way he loves and takes care of me.  He makes me feel like I am the most important person in the world to him.  I love the way he prays and strives to follow the Lord’s leading, both individually and as a family.

I have a serious case of hero worship going on.

Which is why, when I found out he needed to provide his own bed stuff, I couldn’t resist…

I want My Hero to be reminded of how I feel about him every time he sees his bed.  He is my hero.  He ranks right up there above Superman.  Batman takes third.  So yes, while my husband is deployed, he gets to relive his childhood with his own set of superhero sheets.  Go ahead.  Be jealous.

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365

Or… Here We Go Again

So.  Here we are again.  It’s the end of August, and My Hero is deployed again.  This time, though…. it’s for a year.  12 months.   52 weeks.  365 days.  Oh my.

I don’t expect this year to be easy, but I feel ready for it.  Not because I think I’m superwoman or anything.  I know I’m not.  But I feel like even though we only had a month’s notice for this deployment, we’ve been preparing for this since the beginning of summer, and like God is trying to teach his very dense pupils about HIS provision.

Ever since we moved here, I have coached gymnastics.  The gym has two locations.  One 15 minutes away from our house and one 45 minutes away.  At first, the agreement was that I would only work four days a week, and only at the close gym.  Well, as other coaches quit or moved on, more was asked of me.  Last fall, while My Hero was deployed, I was working SIX days a week, and twice a week, I was in the FAR location.  I had to figure out childcare for my kids, I didn’t get home until late at night, I would drag the kids with me if they were sick… It was rough.  We survived, though, and truly loved coaching the kids.  However, when the summer schedule came out this year, I was on it for more than twenty hours a week, and twice I week I wasn’t even scheduled at the same gym as my son.  This was not what I signed up for.  All the hours were running my health into the ground, and I wasn’t getting enough time with my family.  After much heartache, we made the decision to leave the gym.

We found another gym 45 minutes away that has an amazing boys’ program.  I talked with the owner, and found that not only was she a Christian, she homeschooled her children all the way through high school!  HUGE blessing!  We signed The Gymnast up, and the owner told me that if I decided to coach again, I had a job waiting for me.  After six weeks or so, I couldn’t stand not coaching.  The owners hired me to coach their optional girls (my favorite levels) on beam (my favorite event) three days a week – the three days that my kids were already there.  Three weeks into being hired, we all got sick.  Our attendance was spotty.  One day in particular, I remember calling and telling her that the kids were sick, but I would be there to work.  She replied that it sounded like I was needed at home, and she would see me when the kids were better.

When we found out My Hero was deploying, I went in and told the owner I would need time off.  She responded simply with tell me what you need.  This was like a breath of fresh air!  At the other gym, they almost didn’t let me take a vacation to Disney World with my family when The Hero came home.  Here, all I had to do was ask, and it was given.  God provided me with a job that I love and hours that are convenient for my family.  I don’t have to worry about childcare or scrambling to find somewhere for the kids to hang out.  I DON’T have to go in when the kids and I are sick.  Total peace about working!  God’s perfect provision, and we didn’t even know it when we decided to switch.

Also, last year, I tutored for Classical Conversations.  I LOVED it, but it was tough to find the time to prepare every week.  This year, I was asked to be the substitute and assistant to the director.  It’s perfect!  There is plenty for me to do while I’m there, but it requires very little prep work on my part.  Hooray!  Provision again before we needed it!

Apparently, we hadn’t truly learned the lesson that God would provide for us.  Or at least, we hadn’t learned it well enough.  My Hero left on Monday.  Hurricane Isaac was supposed to hit here Tuesday.  Thankfully, we only received a bit of wind and rain.  However, we still managed to have a mini-disaster.  Less than 24 hours after My Hero left, the kids ran into my room, frantically shouting at me to look out the window.

Our boat lift collapsed!  Need a better view?

Something broke….

I was stunned.  Not even 24 hours before our first catastrophe!  But God had something to teach us.  As soon as I saw it, I called our neighbor.  He was at work, and unable to help.  I called another neighbor.  He didn’t answer.  I sent the kids to his house just in case.  I tried somebody who lived a few blocks away.  No answer.  I called his wife, who called another friend to pick up her husband and bring him here.  In the meantime, the first neighbor was making calls of his own.  Within TWENTY MINUTES of discovering the boat lift’s collapse, we had four men – two of whom I had never met – over here, working on the situation.  Within an hour, the boat was trailered and the lift was secured to the dock.  The men I didn’t know promised to come back after the storm to repair the lift.  The other two promised to come back and flush out the motor after the storm.  The icing on the cake was that not thirty seconds after all was completed, the rain began.  None of us got wet while working on the boat!  When I shared this story with My Hero, he said that he felt like God was speaking directly to him, telling him not to worry.

God STILL wasn’t finished.  The hardest part of the deployment for My Hero is getting on the plane.  It’s a long ride.  To top it off, because of the check out time for the hotel, he had to sit at the airport for 8 hours.  No fun.  However, because he was there so early, he was the very first to check in.  The ticket agent told him that because he was the first to check in, he would get a seat in the BUSINESS CLASS!   So instead of having to sit in the crowded, cramped space of the regular seats, he had (has – he’s still on the plane) a seat where he couldn’t even touch the seat in front of him.

I know it may seem like a little thing, but it made a big difference to My Hero.  On top of all of that, he also saw a guy reading The Case for Christ while waiting for the plane.  He struck up a conversation, and found out that the guy will be working in the same building as him!  So right of the bat, My Hero has somebody to talk to once he gets there.

I believe that this is going to be an incredible year.  I can’t wait to see everything God is going to do!

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So I Took a Loooong Blogging Break

My mother always taught me if you couldn’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  Well, For a long time, that’s why I didn’t write.  My hero’s deployment was tough.  I think we had a total of 6 ER visits.  All three of us (The Gymnast, The Ballerina, and myself) had pneumonia, The Gymnast fell out of a tree, I had heart problems… it was rough.

But we’re through it now, and life goes on.  And now we have a new adventure.  

 

 

 

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The Ballerina Had a Photo Shoot!

A week ago, The Ballerina had the pleasure of doing a very special photo shoot on the beach.  She took ballet pictures at sunset.  They turned out lovely, so I thought that today I would share them with you.  Click here to see the rest.

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One Day Closer to Sunsets on the Swing

This photo is completely unedited. 

 

We are so very blessed to have a house right on the water.  The view is absolutely amazing.  I can’t wait to sit in the swing on the dock with My Hero and watch the sunset.  It’ll be so nice to have a quiet moment with him.  To just rest my head on his shoulder, and to say nothing at all. Or to talk and joke with him and the kids.  Today, I am one day closer to snuggling up with the man of my dreams to watch the sun close another day.

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