Thursday, November 21, 2013

Yellow Ribbon: The Agony of Waiting & How We Can Help

I recently had to be a single mom again for a week (well...for five days...and my mom was visiting, and my in-laws live just down the I am a wimp...but anyways...!)

Steven had to go out of town for work and I was on [ahem] my own. It sucked.  I really really don't like being on my own. You probably know the feeling...adrift, with no hope of rescue in sight and the days drag about 15 times slower than they normally do, which is pretty dang slow.  Lemme tell ya.

ANY-ways. This isn't all about me {gasp!}.

My dear, dear sister is currently enduring the monster of all separations, otherwise known as military deployment of your husband to a foreign and dangerous place for the longest amount of time there is: nearly a year. Blech of all blechs.

Now, I know that my sister doesn't want me to use my tiny public forum to call attention to herself, or to make you pity her. No, not at all, but perhaps I can enlighten you a little bit, and you'll remember to thank your soldiers, and mail them care-packs, and hug their loved ones waiting at home.


Firstly, you should know that the wives and families of military folks know that their soldiers are worse off. The soldiers are in strange places with dangerous events and less than ideal (often way, way less than ideal) levels of hygiene and creature comforts. This is part of the agony: knowing that no matter how much it stinks to wait at home, someone you love is going through something worse.  This can even be a two-fold addition to the problem: feeling bad for them plus feeling bad that you feel sorry for yourself when you have it so much better.

My two of these guys is not like the other...
The thing is, the rest of us can't really do much to alleviate the stress of being apart for these military families. They feel lonely, but not generalized lonely--they are lonely for a specific and most cherished person. Often our well-meant inquiries about how things are going can just add to the problem, with Army wives having to scramble for yet another way to answer the oft-asked "how's he doing?".  We mean well, but we'd probably do better just to be extra nice and just offer opportunities for interaction or assistance (go to a movie, go for a walk...even grocery shopping, or better yet: rake leaves...wash dishes!), keeping in mind that sometimes it's nice just to be home alone for an episode of Downton Abbey or something instead (in other words, offer to hang out or to do something helpful, but the answer isn't always going to be a yes). Pamper the military families you know, and pray for their soldiers.  

If you're like me, however, you'd also like some concrete ways to help.  You're more than welcome to support my favorite brother-in-law...but he might get overwhelmed if you all do that (all two of you, my faithful readers...!), SO here's some other ways you can help from home:

1. Thank a soldier. When you see someone in uniform, thank him.  You don't have to be profuse or say anything you've prepared ahead; just say thanks, or shake his hand. Acknowledge that though his service may be voluntary, it is still a profound sacrifice that the rest of us benefit from daily. 
Crew 57, 62nd Squadron, 39th Bomb Group, 20th Air Force (USAAF): 2Lt. Harry Eddy.

2. Send your money to the USO. These folks are right there with the troops, providing support on a daily basis.  A dear friend of my family, and church back home, works with the USO...they do wonderful work!
USO rocks :)
3. Pray for our soldiers. The prayer below is from the USCCB, who have multiple prayers on this site for soldiers and their families, and even a small prayer service for sending troops off. 

Almighty and eternal God,those who take refuge in you will be glad 
and forever will shout for joy.Protect these soldiers as they discharge their duties.
Protect them with the shield of your strength
and keep them safe from all evil and harm.
May the power of your love enable them to return home
in safety, that with all who love them,
they may ever praise you for your loving care.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

There are *tons* of other different groups out there showing their appreciation for our soldiers. Pick one and run with it! Here's a sampling of some I found with a quick little Google search:

Yellow Ribbon Photographers
Pro-photography free of charge to servicemen so that they have a
piece of home with them while they're gone
(Also special photo shoots for occasions they may miss, like the birth of a child)

Adopt a Soldier 

Operation Shower
Provides "joyful" baby showers to military families

employer/job-seeker site for hiring veterans!

supports families back home & troops abroad

lists of items soldiers need and you pick where to send them

We thank our soldiers, and we pray for them and their closest family. May they swiftly be brought back together in the sweet delight of homecoming, that mere taste of that future joy which we hope to attain, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What's on YOUR Bookshelf?

This is a fun link-up hosted by Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy to talk about...what's on our shelves!  I've also always wanted to join Jessica @ Housewifespice for {What We're Reading Wednesday} AND I haven't joined Jen @ Conversion Diary for {7 Quick Takes} in let's have another round of (drum-roll please...)

So, with as much ado as's {7 favorites} {on my bookshelf} that {I've read from, sometimes on Wednesdays}.  
I am very proud of this graphic that I made using
1. These are some handy-man/how-to books that are fun to look through for ideas.

2. Anna Karenina. In college, my professor had us read War&Peace instead, on the grounds that if we were going to read more Tolstoy later, we should probably read W&P first, because who would read it other than for a class.  Good thinking, but I still haven't gotten past the first few chapters of AK.  Maybe now that there's a movie I will soldier on...and I know Laura would want me to. :)

3. Small collection of shorter stuff that includes Flannery O'Connor (Haley would be proud), O. Henry and Graham Greene.

4. Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman. This is one from a trilogy, but I haven't read the following ones.  Was it Sarah O. who mentioned this one time?  It's a really great book, one that Steven bought for me on a whim (books about dragons must be good). As he gets me to read lots of books...I went along, and really liked it. It's very readable historical fiction. 

5. Contented Dementia by Oliver James.   James does a very good job of clearly explaining a ground-breaking method of dealing with a debilitating and scary disorder. The method may not be the end-all be-all of caring for someone with dementia, but it offers some practical and concrete methods, that even someone with a bare minimum of contact with a person who has dementia could benefit from. 

6. Under the Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. This is Vanauken's second book, and it's place here is really to serve as a plug for his first, A Severe Mercy. This second one is a bit drier, but the first is simply monumental.  Just go read it please

source (w/ review; spoilers alert)
7. Handy-dandy-trusty-dusty Greek and Latin textbooks (Hansen&Quinn and Wheelock).  I hope one day to be organized and on top of things enough to use them to further my dreams of having happy-healthy-handsome-holy sons...

There you have it, folks! Don't forget to go back and check out what Anne, Jessica & Jen have to offer! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Too Much Like Work

I text'ed my sister the other day to tell her that I had a new job description:

{Crisis management for psychologically (and mentally...and emotionally...) volatile individuals who have basic hygiene and nourishment needs and social skills deficiencies.}

Thinking about it later, though, I wasn't sure if I was describing them or me...
Much like this meme from our favorite time-waster:
Those boyos are just crazy...or they drive me crazy...or something...! 

[Disclaimer: I'm not on any drugs.]

Anyways...some days you hit the highs:
You may think this is a  pretty low standard...

And some days not:

He needs more cookies b/c there is still milk left in his cup...
(...and I totally submitted this pic to this blog here...)

...but hey, I'm building my resumé...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Picture This!

I first saw this idea from Bonnie over @ A Knotted Life, and she got it from Jennifer @ Conversion Diary: 13 photos that tell you everything you need to know about me and my blog. ...with links to the best stuff. Fun! :O) 

Chocolate really is all we want most of the time.
And world peace. 

But there is yet time for reflection.
And we do find blessings. 

My life's basic philosophy.
Unless it is possible to live in the moment with cookies.
Which I try to do as much as possible. ;)

Noise with dirt on. Yup.
Being a mom to these two little guys adventure? 
Dullsville? Going too quickly?
D. All of the above.

But there should always be time to read

Being a nurse has it's ups and downs
it definitely gives me pause for thought though!

Pathetic. Some days...

Mostly I just talk about these guys.

Unless I'm just joining in the silly stuff...



This guy means serious thoughts a-coming!

Lately I've been thinking about our little family: wondering what the little guys will be like when they get older...wondering what I'll be like when I get older...and praying for what lies on the road ahead. 

“If it's half as good as the half we've known, here's Hail! to the rest of the road.” 
― Sheldon VanaukenA Severe Mercy

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Completely Pathetic

There are those days when you haven't gotten enough sleep, and your children haven't gotten enough sleep, and you have already gone *way* way over your imaginary quota of how much TV they will watch, and it's not even 11:30 am yet.  

Those days when you realize that your kids really have needed *constant* redirection, but you really just don't want to have to be nice any dang more times.

Thoughts run through your head like, "Can't you please just have one rational thought, you 3-year-old, you?!" Who am I kidding?  You start saying things like that to your children.

Le great big sigh.  Poor you.
I got some pretty simple, yet really sound advice from a mom-friend of mine the other day. She says that sometimes she tries to see her kids in the same light as God sees us.  Our children are pretty pathetic sometimes.  They can't negotiate going to the bathroom without serious fanfare and intervention, let alone the intricate delicacies of getting a younger brother to let go of their hair or to give back a treasured (aka ALL of them) toy.  Pathetic. 

Yet, take a step back, and we're just as feeble.  We can't cope with disasters, we can't relate properly with people, we fall apart when we fail--we are pitiful little creatures, aren't we?

This outlook has helped me immensely, though.  Even in the heat of the 78th "let-go-of-your-brother's-hair" moment, I can remember that I myself am so very small, and need so much direction too.  I need constant reminding, and poking, and prodding to stay on the right track, to choose the good, and to draw closer to holiness.

Putting it this way helps me to have a little more patience, to move with a little more grace, with the meager everyday efforts of my small ones.  I myself need such mercy, as He's reminding me all the time.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor.12:9)