Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Family Legacy ... Relationships

When I began blogging, my primary objective was to pass down memories and values to my granddaughter Lucy. Well, since then Lucy has become a big sister to Tag (who is turning 1 in just a couple of weeks).  So, I want my grandchildren to have a sense of who I am and why I am the way I am.  I want them to learn from my life experiences and value relationships in their lives as I have in mine.  In a nutshell ... 

I want them to have something they can share with their future generations about me ... 
their Granny.

One thing I learned very early in my life was how important family relationships are for understanding family histories and how to prepare future generations to value family relationships as they carry on previous legacies.  I know I sound redundant, but I honestly believe I grew up in a privileged family.  My Granny's house sat in the middle of my aunts, uncles & cousins ... there were 7 of us cousins who were born within 7 years of each other ... 3 older cousins were within a similar age ... and then my sister is almost 9 years younger than me.

Our Granny was the center of our family.  Poppy had passed away before I came along, so I never knew either of my grandfathers.  But, Granny was so very special to all of us ... and to our little community.  She was always doing for others ... whether helping out with her grandkids or helping a stranger stranded along the road ... she was our matriarch (and I say that with the most sincere heart). She taught us not only through her words, but most importantly through her actions ... her everyday living ... through her heart. 

Granny was the WYSIWYG of our family ... no, I'm certainly not disrespecting my Granny, this is actually one of the most accurate ways I know to describe her:

What You See Is What You Get

 She never acted a certain way for this person or that person ... she treated everyone with respect ... and she put everyone's needs above her own.

I still remember the time a motorcyclist got caught in a torrential downpour and asked her if he could park his bike under one of her trees until the storm had past.  Not only did Granny allow him to do this, but she welcomed him into her house and made him some lunch. After that, he became a friend to all of our family and would stop by when he was passing through.  

And there's story after story of how my Granny was such a respected pillar of our community.  She held on to her faith and values ... and never allowed anyone to sway her away from them.  
She loved her God ... she loved her family ... and she loved her life.

I feel that I was doubly blessed in my childhood to not only have my Granny as my Granny, but my parents & I lived with her and my aunt for several years.  As my parents both worked 2 jobs each before they were able to build a house of their own (which was just up the hill from Granny's house), I was blessed to be my Granny's little shadow. I started helping her wall-paper when I was 4 years old (my granddaughter Lucy's age now). I helped her work in her vegetable garden and her flower gardens.  We would sit on her back porch and talk for hours of her childhood & our family.  She helped shape me into the person I am today.

 One most important aspect that my Granny showed me through her life was to always put God first and then others second.  God is our steadfast hope & eternal life ... and we honor Him by putting His children's needs before our own.  I've found throughout my adult life that I am more at peace when I live by even that one principle ... God first, then others, lastly me.

I often ask myself what will my legacy be to my daughter and my grandchildren.  God saw fit for my Granny to see her first great-granddaughter (my daughter) before He called her Home a few months later.  My daughter did not know her great-Granny personally, but I hope she has seen her spirit and her values through me.  My granddaughter Lucy is the namesake of my Granny (also Lucy).  I can see some of my Granny's qualities and personality through our little Lucy already.  And while I would love to keep our Lucy a 4 year old forever, I look forward to seeing how she will be shaped into her own person through her family values & relationships.


Many people looked surprised that I refer to myself as a "stay at home Granny" ... when our daughter announced that my husband & I were going to be grandparents, without any second guessing or hesitation, I began calling myself "Granny".  It's my daily prayer that I will at least be a small portion to my grandchildren as my Granny was to me.  

In some regards, it truly doesn't seem that long ago that I was my Granny's little shadow ... and now, I have my own little shadows. Time keeps ticking and life keeps changing ... but our family relationships are what keeps our legacies and values alive. I've only got one opportunity to show my grandchildren just "who" their Granny truly is ... for one day they will be hopefully pass this blog post to their future generations and say 

"Let me tell you about your Granny ..."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Military Spouse of the Year 2013 ... WHY????

Being a Mother & Granny, I have to admit that I was quite leery when our daughter told us a friend of hers nominated her for Military Spouse of the Year 2013.  I thought "is this the kind of thing that would bring honor & glory to God? Or is this just an 'I'm better' type contest?"  We had watched the television special where Oprah surprised the MSOY 2012 and I saw the stories of these ladies (and one man). We already know many other mil-spouses and wounded warriors ... and they sacrifice so much for our country. They stand alongside their loved ones and never know how they will come home. They are truly my heroes. 

**Now for the disclaimer ... I know I may be in the minority here, but I am not a "talk show" fan at all -- 
never have been & probably never will be.  However,

Maybe a person needs to actually be close to a military spouse during their loved ones deployments, (God forbid) injuries, or just on a day to day routine ... but I think mil-spouses are some of our nation's finest.  I've told my daughter & some of her friends that I want THEM to have my back ... I would trust them with my life & I'm sure I can count on them to come to my rescue if I need it.  I've seen how they have supported my daughter during this past year of 'Joe's deployment, Tag's birth, 'Joe's injuries, Walter Reed ... 

And, more than anything, I know my daughter's heart. What you will read in her blog post about this contest is from her heart for our wounded warrior families.  She links her MSOY 2013 nomination video at the end of her post, so feel free to click on it and see what an awesome daughter God blessed my husband & me with.  And, if you feel so inclined, you are more than welcomed to share this with your friends & family. As she has said, it's not about *her*, but rather about giving her an advanced opportunity to work even harder for our wounded warrior families ... especially the children.

So, I think this proud Mommy has written enough ... 
ACU's, Stiletto Shoes, and Pretty Pink Tutus: Why I decided to "run" for Military Spouse of the Year 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our Year in Review ... Part I

Already over a week into 2013 ... oh my but where did 2012 go?  As I look forward to what lies ahead, I have to also look back to see God's design to bring our family to another New Year. So, here's our highlights of each month with some pictures to follow along.

January ~~ 'Joe was deployed & our household was getting ready for our little prince. Lucy & her Mommy were spending time together in anticipation of Tag's appearance ... 
as well as making 'Joe care package crafts & introducing Tag to our local library where Lucy spent each week at storytime.  ETA on the arrival of Thomas Alexander -- February 21st (we'll see if Mommy makes it that long :)

February ~~  Thomas Alexander "Tag" made his appearance on February 9th at 6am ... Grandad got Mrs. 'Joe to the hospital & settled by 3:30am, and after 2 1/2 hours of hard labor & natural childbirth, Tag was here!  Lucy & I made it to the hospital a few hours later, then G-G and Grandpa drove an hour and a half to see their great-grandson (and great-granddaughter of course).  Mrs. 'Joe finally got through via the Red Cross to 'Joe's overseas' base.  And a bit later he called to talk to her & Lucy.  Not much longer until he could get leave to come home for a couple of weeks ... or so we thought...

Mrs. 'Joe celebrated her birthday on February 13th by taking Tag to the doctor for a 
minor newborn issue.  And Lucy (umm, "Snow White") decorated a "chocolate-chip cookie cake" for Mommy's special day.

Then came the phone call ... 
on February 20th  ('Joe's birthday) his base had come under attack and 'Joe had been wounded in action ... no limbs lost ... shattered jaw ... deep shrapnel wounds ... 
he was alive.
'Joe was then transported to a couple different hospital bases in Afghanistan then on to Germany then finally to Walter Reed Military Medical Center. On Sunday February 26  Mr. & Mrs. Joe were reunited ... Lucy got to see her Daddy and Tag met his Daddy for the first time.

March ~~ Our traveling had just just begun.  Thankfully we are within driving distance of WRMMC.  What started out as a 2 to 4 week rehabilitation period within the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) at WR, actually turned into a 5 month period with more rehabilitation to follow.   So ...

Mrs. 'Joe and Tag came home for a few days to help us celebrate Grandad's 50th birthday! 
(I still can't believe that the 22 year old boy I married is actually 50 years old now!!)

 Then Mrs. 'Joe & Tag went back to the Fisher House at WRMMC while Lucy stayed with us & we commuted back & forth giving her time to spend with her family both at home and at the Fisher House. 

April ~~ Lucy & I helped G-G celebrate her birthday a couple of days early. She & I drove to G-G and Grandpa's house for a fun birthday time on Saturday April 7th.  We had a fun time as Lucy hunted for Easter eggs and even got a special Easter basket from G-G and Grandpa (and they even had Tag one too!) ... and cousin Rachel even came over to see her little cousin!


Before Lucy & I went back to the Fisher House on Easter Sunday, we had a nice brunch with Grandad at The Cheesecake Factory and then he went to work. (He had made it through most of his busy season pretty much on his own since I was traveling a bit.) So, unfortunately, none of us went to church on Easter, but we feel sure that God understands where our hearts were. If it weren't for His Son's sacrifice on the cross & rising to life on the 3rd day, we would not have been able to have survived the life-altering journey that we've been on for almost a year. 

May ~~ After Grandad's busy time at work was over, he was able to make trips with Lucy & me back & forth to the Fisher House on the weekends. Then in late April / early May, we all took a few days to go the Beach! This was Tag's first beach trip & the first time 'Joe was away from WRMMC overnight since he arrived in February. 
We had so much fun! 

Lucy and I were a little sick in mid-May -- right on mine & Grandad's 28th anniversary. So, she & I stayed home that week so that we wouldn't spread our germs at the Fisher House. After a day or so, we were completely better & decided to surprise Grandad with some homemade anniversary cookies! As you can see, we had as much fun making them as eating them (and Grandad had the fun of eating!)


(PS ... Grandad absolutely LOVES every cookie that Lucy bakes.  And he especially loved his surprise anniversary cookies!)

*** And then we got the final word ... ***

'Joe was getting leave to come home over Memorial Day weekend~~
his first time home since pre-deployment!!!!

So, we had a little Open House in appreciation for our family & friends within the community. Some new friends came whom we had never even met before, but they had been praying for 'Joe & the family and just wanted to come by. It was an awesome, God-inspired weekend!

Which brings us to ...

June ~~  The 'Joe family was really getting involved with the Wounded Warrior family activities at Walter Reed ... 

Washington Zoo

a private tour of the White House

 Army Birthday Ball

On the homefront ... Hurricane Debby's effects ...
(thankfully our electric came back on after 24 hours -- 
no electric means no running water in our house):


Okay ... I'm ready for a break.  I've made it to June, and will have to continue the second half of our year in review in another post.  But, one thing is for certain ... 

only God could have brought us through 2012 ... 
and only God will see us through 2013 ... 


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Update on Our Little Ones

Tag immediately crawled as fast as he could to his Grandad :)
Last night Tag came home from the hospital!!! His temperature had stabilized for 24 hours without medications & he had normal diapers (which is something to always look for when babies are sick). The doctors still do not know the *why* but hopefully the bloodwork that was sent to a specialist lab will give us some answers in the next few days.


We really couldn't have made it the past few days without the prayers & support from our friends (whether the ones we personally know or our friends through our blog community).

**Please continue to pray that God will reveal the test results soon and Tag can be on his way to a normal healthy baby-hood.**

Lucy was so excited when I told her & Grandad that Tag was on his way home! She's missed her baby brother so much ... and she's missed her Mommy & Daddy probably more. She immediately asked if Tag was bringing Mommy & Daddy home too.  A few times over the weekend ordeal, we would have to reassure Lucy that Mommy, Daddy & Tag were not leaving her forever. 

Making good use of Tag's hospital bed with snacks & a movie :)

She was still worried that they would have to go back to Walter Reed and the Fisher House for Tag to get better.  So we would reassure her that Tag was at a local hospital & we all even made a visit to his room on Sunday. But when little ones go through traumatic experiences (such as her Daddy's war injuries earlier in the year), it takes so much longer for them to emotionally heal. 

So please keep both my little grandchildren in your prayers ... 

It's my endeavor for this year of 2013 to

pray more
worry less
leave my burdens at the foot of the cross.