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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Journey of Our Heart

We just got back from the most amazing vacation in San Diego California. Every time I come back from California I wonder why I live in Oklahoma. The weather there is simply the best. It's actually pleasant to be outside unlike here. When we are there it seems like the days last forever because the weather doesn't suck the life out of you like it does in Oklahoma. Day one was spent at the pier awaiting the arrival of my Daughter's ship which was coming back from deployment. I had been chatting with several Navy Moms on line and had a blog on a website and I was excited to get to meet some of them. We had helped each other cope with having our loved ones so far away. What great people!!! Excitement was running pretty high that day. She had been gone for 8 months and we didn't get to visit when they left. The 7 of us stood at the end of the pier with homemade tee-shirts that said "HI AJA!".

   A friend who went with us suggested the idea of the tee-shirts weeks before we left. At first I didn't understand what he was suggesting... I thought he was saying the shirts should say "Hi Aja" which to me sounded pretty dang lame. I mean I could understand wearing shirts that said "Welcome Home Aja", or "We've missed you Aja", something along those lines but "Hi Aja" just seemed a little boring. I came up with what I thought was an amazing tee-shirt design that had the Naval logo, and said "Welcome Home Aja and the Sampson DDG102". When I showed him the layout of what the tee-shirt would look like, his face just kind of fell and well.... he just looked really disappointed. I asked him why he didn't like it and he said "I just thought my idea was pretty good. There are 7 of us going and we could each have a letter on our tee-shirt so when we stood lined up it spelled out HI AJA". OH!!!! Now I get it. I still kind of thought it was a little bit lame but he was so proud of the idea I couldn't say no, so I got just white men's tee-shirts and hot pink duct tape and made huge block letters on each of the shirts. When it was time for the ship to arrive we all put on our shirts and stood at the end of the pier. The neon duct tape could be seen from a distance and although we couldn't see her face she definitely knew where her family was located.The feeling of pride and patriotism that washed over me as the ship began to pull in was indescribable.
I couldn't utter a word, just stood silently as tears of joy ran down my cheeks. A Mother can only hold it together for so many months before the dam breaks. My daughter had just had an experience of a life time. She had experienced different cultures, survived times of fear and had come to understand the meaning of freedom.... So many emotions words simply cannot express. Finally after months of waiting and hours of praying we were allowed to board the ship and wrap our arms around our little girl. It was a wonderful,emotional time. That evening we went to dinner. The 7 of us had 7 conversations
going at once and she was completely overwhelmed. Lucky for us and thanks to our very efficient Ombudsman,we were completely prepared for her exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed. After a good nights sleep she felt much better and it was time for some fun in the sun. Day one was a day of many memories. I'm so thankful for our friends that made the trip with us. It meant the world to us to be able to share such a tender moment with those we love. To all of the Mothers out there who have children in the military.... Our hearts are linked together as one. The journey of our children is a journey of our heart.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nothing In Life Is Free

Prayer pays off!! I am a living, breathing, testimony of God's faithfulness. Eight months ago my daughter left on deployment with the United States of American. Standing at only 5'4" tall, and maybe 120lbs soaking wet it was hard to imagine her facing what lay ahead. Plagued with kidney stones, and severely homesick it looked to be a very long deployment. My first instinct was to steal her back from the government but this is something I knew she needed to conquer. My second option was to worry myself sick about her, which maybe unconsciously I did. But my best option was to place her into the hands of her creator and just believe that he had everything under control. Friday at noon, I stood at the end of the pier shoulder to shoulder with 6 other people who love her almost as much as I do as the same ship that sailed out several months ago, sailed back into the port they call home. Many of my friends expected me to be screaming for joy... instead I just stood there in tearful silence, searching for the cherub face of my first born child. A thrill and a pride washed over me that had to have resembled the pride and admiration that washed over God as he watched his only Son rise from the dead. Words cannot adequately express the feeling you have when the child who came from such and imperfect womb accomplishes something far beyond your imagination. As she sailed back into her home port I knew she was coming back a much different person than she left. The last day of our visit we stood on Mount Solodad reading the plagues of those who have fought and died for our freedom. My daughter turned to me and said "Mom, I never really understood what would cause someone to love their country so much they would actually die for it, but after being in so many different countries, I totally get it. This is the greatest nation of all and I totally understand that it is worth dying for, your little girl is a Sailor Mom". Not only did God safely bring back my daughter safe and sound, he brought her back as a woman who loves her country more than she thought possible and has a new appreciation for the blessings so many take for granted. Nothing in life is free..... Especially freedom.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Other Half Of Me

It's almost 10:30 p.m. (way past my bedtime) and I couldn't sleep if someone put a gun to my head. Our daughter who is coming off an 8 month deployment, will be back in the USA by the end of the month. It's been a long 8 months!! If I had a dollar for every time I thought of her during the 8 months, I'd be a very rich woman. If I had a diamond for every tear I've cried, I'd be stylin and profilin. I can't wait to see her sweet face, to laugh with her about girl things, to listen to the stories she tells, to let her sit with her head in my lap while I run my fingers through her hair, and just soak up her girlieness. A Mom never realizes how much she will miss her girl until she is gone. How I've gotten dressed over the last few years, how I've decided which shoe goes with which outfit, how I've managed to do all that stuff we did together is beyond me (we shop by sending pictures to each others cell phones for goodness sake). One thing I know for sure is I can't wait to see her and to know in my heart of hearts she is back safe and sound and in one lovely piece. The other half of me is finally coming home.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Boy World vs. Girl World

I had a wonderful weekend. Friday my son came home from the City, we grabbed a quick bite and went to see the new Jennifer Aniston movie "Bounty Hunter". I love her but unfortunately haven't been a big fan of any of her movies so I didn't have high expectations that this movie would be any better than the rest.... I was wrong. Personally I think it was the best movie she has been in. It made me laugh therefore it gets a thumbs up from me. I always enjoy having my oldest son around. He is a pleasant little dude and serenades me on the guitar as I'm cooking dinner or just whatever. He is probably the most pleasant person I've ever known, just in a laid back kind of way (he most certainly gets this trait from me). I enjoy watching the way he lives his life. He just kind of sits back and lets God do his thing and God always comes through for him. I think he thinks I'm waiting around for him to get married and give me grandchildren but I'm really not. I'm glad he's taking his time, living his life and getting some life experiences under his belt before he takes that step. I'm in no hurry, I'll borrow someone else's grand kids if I have to. Saturday I had the rare pleasure of being home alone.... I know, I know, that sounds like a risky situation given the last 3 months, but all went well. It may seem weird, but it hardly ever happens that I get an entire day home alone with no obligations. I enjoyed every moment of the day. I spent the majority of the day cleaning which was... this is odd too.... very relaxing because I didn't have to rush through it to move onto something else. I went for a pedicure which always makes me feel like a princess... It was a good day. My men did a little male bonding at the Supercross in Dallas. I love doing things as a family and typically we do everything together but to be honest I just didn't want to. I've faked being interested in motocross and manly things for 28 years and now that the boys are almost grown I don't really see the need in faking it any more. The three of them can do the manly stuff, in their manly fashion and I'll stay home and do womanly stuff. My husband said they had a great time and that makes me happier than just about anything could.... Trust me when my girl comes home, her and I will be doing some female bonding at the mall. I found out something interesting this weekend.... You know in "girl world" if someone jokingly (or seriously for that matter) ask us if we're 10 years younger than we really are... that's like the highest form of a compliment that a woman can get. I mean if someone thought I was thirtysomething, I would be walking on cloud nine. Apparently in "boy world" the opposite is true. If you jokingly ask a guy that is.... oh, let's say 21, if maybe the numbers weren't transposed and he's really 12.... that is a big insult. I mean apparently it's a BIG insult. Who would have known, and only I could find out the hard way. Boys are so very... hmmm... just way different than girls. Personally I'm glad I live in girl world.... I'm way comfortable here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Waiting and Wanting

I would be what you could call a snow bunny. I love snow! I love playing in the snow, I love driving in the snow, I love snow ice cream, I love to examine snowflakes, I love to catch them on my tongue, I love snowball fights.... I love snow. I was born and raised in Tulsa where we got a lot more snow than where I live now. Each year I anxiously wait for a good snow, but pretty much year after year I am disappointed. I have a snowman kit that I keep tucked away in my closet for the perfect snow. Over the last few years I've tried to train myself not to get my hopes up for snow because it hurts so bad when I'm disappointed. When they are predicting snow in my area I'd just as soon not know about it, that way I can't be disappointed. I love surprises but I hate disappointment... it's one of my least favorite emotions and the older I get the less I like being disappointed. I've also noticed that I try to minimize things in general that would cause me a lot of excitement so when they don't come to pass the disappointment isn't as great. I'm pretty sure that this isn't one of my more positive traits but I think it's just a way I have of coping.... you know with the disappointments in life. So spring was springing this week when they started predicting snow for today. If I had a dollar for every time they have predicted snow that didn't show up over the years, I'd be a rich lady. With spring having sprung I could have cared less about snow, snowmen, or snow ice cream, so this morning when I woke up to a winter/spring wonderland I just kind of took it all in stride. Like I said earlier this week while I was waiting for something I really wanted.... Waiting for something you aren't really wanting is one thing, but waiting for something you REALLY want is.... well.... just torture. Happy first day of Spring. Enjoy your flakes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It won't be long now. I can already feel the dam starting to give away and the tears are beginning to fall. My little Sailor is so excited about being back in the USA. I can't help but think about all of the prayers that have sailed along beside her these last eight months. I'm thinking about several months ago when I got a phone call at 3 in the morning and her telling me that 2 of their sister ships had been fired upon. I remember the sleepless nights I lay awake knowing that she was in an area where she said you could literally feel an evil cloud hanging over the atmosphere. I remember how helpless I felt knowing that she was extremely sick and it taking them so long to discover she had kidney stones. I can't help but thinking about the many miles she has traveled, the different cultures she has experienced and scenery she has seen. Undoubtedly she will come back a much different woman than she left. Regardless, she will always remain my little girl living in a grown-up world and doing it with amazing strength and determination.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

She's a real trooper

The house is very quiet right now. It's past the time I usually stay up but sleep doesn't seem to want to be my friend tonight. It's absolutely beautiful outside. The air is cool but not cold, the stars are in full light, not a cloud in the sky. Tomorrow will be the ending to what has proven to be a very long week. My husband woke up Monday morning with the stomach virus from hell and by Wednesday he had generously given it to me so I've been off work for two days. I've had a call from my sailor and she is prepping to make herself presentable for when they pull into port. This week one of my best friends began the process of reconstructing her breast after losing it to breast cancer that last fall. She has been a true blue trooper for the last several months. As a friend all I know to do is to be there for her without hovering, to listen when she needs to talk and to support her in every way possible. I wish I could just wish it all away, but I can't so I'm just praying it will be way better than she expected it to be and that she will be even more fabulous than she was before.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What Is That Out There In The Water???

I can't believe it's been almost 8 months since I got that last phone
call telling me goodbye as my daughter set sail on the open sea. I get
choked up just thinking about not being able to be there in person to
tell her goodbye. I'm so excited about her coming home I can hardly
contain myself. I'm afraid that the dam, which has stayed pretty intact
since she left, will break and all of the tears I've stored up for the
last 8 months will come pouring out. If you happen to be going to the
homecoming and you see something in the distant water bobbing up and
down, it just may be this Momma's head as she attempts to swim out to
meet her baby. Seriously, someone better hold me back.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Looking Through New Eyes

I've had a great week! You can just tell that spring is on the verge of breaking. We've had a great winter, because we actually had winter weather. I've enjoyed seeing snowflakes and trees crystallized in ice. I've enjoyed sitting around the fireplace chatting with close friends. I even enjoyed being stuck in the house with no electricity. This winter will hold a lot of memories for me... memories that make me smile. Even though it's been a good winter I'm just as happy to see spring arrive in all it's wonder. The sun makes me want to get out in the yard and play in the dirt. It makes me want to blow bubbles into the breeze and watch them float away. Maybe it's because I've been in a brain fog for the last couple of months, but everything just seems... well... clearer than it has for a while and it feels so good. I feel like the old me has returned and the ornery streak is as bold as it has been for a good long time. I find laughter bubbling in my belly and the need to make others laugh as well (this is usually when I get myself into trouble)I just feel... well I feel happy. I feel like my joy has been restored and my vision has returned. Right now I'm looking at life through new eyes and it looks pretty darn good.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'll Take An Upgrade Please

Sunday morning Pastor talked about upgrading your life. After the last couple of months I feel like I have been given an upgrade. Sometimes you don't realize how bad something is until it gets a lot better.... That's how I feel. March is going to be a good month. It looks like spring outside, I feel wonderful and I get to see my daughter. Who could ask for more? In an effort to keep my upgrade, I'm staying away from all negative vibes even if that means I'm wondering around talking to myself. I feel good and I certainly don't want to listen to others spew their bitterness. The other night we were at some friends house playing wii.... I suck at bowling (just sayin). Anyway, the subject turned to a person who, for all practical purposes, isn't in my life much anymore... by choice. The statement was made that I hadn't done anything to cause that relationship to end. In mid-stride (I'm bowling on the wii mind you), I turn around and said, "Oh yes I did. I have been harboring unforgiveness since she slammed the door in my face a few years ago. I didn't feel safe in that relationship and was just looking for an opportunity to get out it". Wow!! I can't believe that just came out of my mouth, but the sad part was it is true. Although I thought I had let it go, I hadn't. Later in the week I was talking to some friends and the subject turned to something that happened to them YEARS ago!!! I promise you... as she began to speak about this event her posture changed, her face changed and the tone of her voice changed. It was like she was spitting bile out on everyone that was standing around and when I walked away I felt.... Yucky, like someone had just vomited on me. I began to think... gosh that's what unforgiveness does. It turns into a green bile called bitterness and oozes out into every other relationship and area of your life. If it doesn't destroy relationships, it certainly limits them. Good Lord I don't want to be like that. People hurt you, they screw up and change your life forever, but do I want to allow them to continue changing my life? Gosh no!!! Like T.D. Jake says "Let It Go"! In my opinion letting it go moves you right up to the front of the line and puts you in position for an upgrade. I'm letting it go with one hand and grabbing for my upgrade with the other. Yes, I'll take that upgrade please.... and make it a double.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Week In Words

It's been a good week!!! I went to the neurologist Tuesday and he totally fixed the dizziness. He couldn't do anything about the other stuff but the dizziness he nipped in the bud. Of course, part of that cure was wearing a ridiculous soft collar for 48 hours with instructions "Not to move my head in any direction" and "You must sleep sitting up". Yes! That was tons of fun, looked like a giant flea collar and stunted my style for a full 48 hours! UGH!!! Even though the collar was soft, it hurt like heck, not to mention that it pushed all of my neck fat up to my cheeks and made me look like I had a permanent pout.Explaining the purpose of the collar was even more entertaining because... well.... it all just sounded ridiculous, but I took the collar off yesterday morning and no dizziness at all, even when I laid down. So, yay!!! I'm speaking in complete sentences now without hesitation and I haven't had a bad headache since Tuesday. That's about as normal as it gets for me. Seriously,l I'm feeling sooo much better and am very thankful that I am. My husband has been oh so wonderful to me and I can't thank him enough for being the sweet guy he is. The whole "Falling in the hole" thing has been tougher on him than it has been on me. Yesterday he sent me one of those questionnaire things that people email you. This was a bucket list thingy. At the end of the questionnaire it asked "What do you see yourself doing in 10 years"? My answer was "The same ole, same ole only slower". A couple of hours later he sent me a bucket list of things that I have done, adventures that we have shared and memories that we hold dear. It was a stark reminder that I have had a good life and it's not over until the fat lady sings or you just give up on your dreams. I'm not sure what my dreams are right now but when I figure it out... Buddy move over because I'll be ready to geterdone! Yesterday I got a sweet surprise visit from my Besty... Charlotte Webb and her daughter. They dropped by to give me my birthday present (only 18 days late!). It was picked out by Alicia especially for "Aunt JacJac" and I love it. It's a framed print that says "The Dreams You Dream Today Are Things You'll Do Tomorrow" which is perfect for the way I've been feeling lately. I've got the perfect spot picked out for it (a blank spot in my bedroom if you can imagine) and tonight I'll hammer it in place (all willie nillie, which drives my husband nuts), so I'll always be reminded that dreams do come true. They caught me as I was leaving work and we hooted and hollered out in the parking lot for 20 minutes. She was bragging about how much she loved the "Beauty Bible" I got her for her birthday. She took it to Walmart to pick out new stuff so she wouldn't look so old... LOL! she had never hear of primer before, which made me belly laugh. After all, who paints an old house without priming it first. I love her!! She makes me laugh telling me stories of being a mom of a teenage girl.... Been there, done that, boy is it a trip!! Her daughter has grown up to be such a beautiful girl.... has the face of a doll, just like her mom. I swear, Charlotte and I have a lot of water under the bridge and we're both paddling our canoe upstream as fast as we can. She brings out the best in me... the part I'd almost forgotten was there and the part I like the most. She makes me belly laugh whenever we're together and she can put me in a state of shock with some of the things she says. I forget how much alike we are until we get together and start chattering like a couple of magpies. My boss came out as they were leaving and told me that he could hear us all the way in his office (like that was a big deal), to which I replied "You should have seen us when we worked together, that's the way it was all day long." We had such a good time. Gosh, that was a long "Honkin" time ago!!! So long in fact it was a time when we used to dream about being grown up and now we dream of staying young..... My how time flies.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Window Shopping In South Korea

When my daughter joined the Navy several years ago, she was in for a big culture shock. After living in the bible belt she found out very soon that not everyone was raised with the morals and belief system that she was. If joining the Navy was a big culture shock, being on deployment has been an even bigger one. Recently while in Pusan, South Korea she got an up close and personal view of how other cultures value women. While on shore patrol, one of the areas she had to patrol was called Green Street, which is the prostitution district. The area is nothing more than street after street of brothels. The storefront windows have girls standing in their underwear waiting to be selected. It gave a whole new meaning to the term "Window Shopping". Seeing such depravity first hand was a shocking experience for her, but one I'm sure she will never forget. The fact that women in other areas of the world are nothing more than objects to be used and tossed aside makes for a strong realization that we in the United States are so very fortunate. Often we take our country for granted simply because we've never known anything more than the freedoms we enjoy. Others throughout the world know only too well that not all people are cherished as they should be. Makes this mom just want to stop and say a little thanks to my creator for placing me in the place I call home.