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32 Weeks and I’m a Biker Chick!

       Different people have different types of coping mechanisms when it comes to stress, fear, and loneliness. I happen to succumb to bouts of congested busyness separated by little spurts of rejuvenation, and this week was no exception. The upside to this strategy is that my busyness keeps me on a leash that reaches just far enough to stare at frustration, but not close enough to actually touch it. Sometimes, outside factors try to inch that negativity a little bit closer to my grasp, but busy always yanks the chain. It sounds like the perfect cure, in theory, but I’m not blind to the consequences. The downside of locking arms with busyness is that it leaves me with an aching body, tired eyes, and virtually drained of common sense. It’s like I overload my mind and body with information and physical activity to the point of exhaustion and speaking nonsense all in hopes of seeing another day, weekend, or week go by quicker than the last. It’s all a mental person’s gimmick. The only person I’m fooling is me, but don’t tell her. She can be a real pain in the rear sometimes. I heard that. See? I’ve gone crazy! I need to go pour myself a nice, tall, cool glass of rejuvenation. Sweet tea, anyone? Sure, I’ll take one…along with a side of an Epsom Salt bath, thank you.  Wanna know my activity for the week? It was awesome!!

Activity #32:  Motorcycle Safety Course

Have a question about your bike? Ask your MOM (motorcycle operating manual)

     I’ve been toying with the idea of learning how to ride for a while now. And this deployment is the perfect reason to finally do it. My husband’s bike has been sitting in the garage since January, and it needs to be shown some love out on the road. Just cranking it on every once in a while doesn’t get it the exercise it needs to stay in good shape for when he gets home. I wasn’t comfortable with just hopping on and figuring it all out myself, so I registered for the local Motorcycle Safety course and the butterflies began. I was so nervous, but so eager to learn at the same time. I had 2 female instructors, and there were 8 other people in the class with me, all first time riders with the same inhibitions that I had. It was a 2 day, 10 hour a day class, and it was so neat to watch the others, along with myself, transform from scared, little, shaky handed kids to confident, excited, and licensed riders! I passed the course as one of the 3 students with the highest score of 93! Wild! I was shocked, and pretty thankful that God answered my prayers when I asked Him to give me confidence, stability, and a passing score. I took the class, hoping I would learn enough of the basics to get my husband’s bike around the neighborhood every couple of weeks, but I can’t help but day dream about getting my own bike some day…and painting it pink, of course 😉

 

***A big fat thank you to Krisi and Jason for keeping my boys over the weekend, and also to Na and Biff for keeping Ace! You guys are awesome!!!!***

The “M” is for motorcycles 🙂

     Oh, and on a little side-note, I know I have several readers and followers. I see the numbers go up every week on my blog counter, and I’d love some feedback from you guys! My opinions, rants, and rambles are not the only ones out there. If you think I’m a disgusting, snobby, piece of cow poop, let me know! I’ll probably cry, but whatever…I like to think of it as eye irrigation…keeping the ducts clean. If you have helpful and encouraging words, I’m a fan of those! If you have suggestions for activities for me, please visit the “Suggestion box” on the right.  Leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to add it to my list. Thanks for stopping by, and as always…Send your crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway!

   2012 – The year that I learned how to ride a motorcycle and became a licensed and insured biker!

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31 Weeks and a Homemade Boardgame Night!

         Britney Spears gave me some super human strength and motivation tonight on my run through the neighborhood. Something about “Oops I Did It Again” sounded off in my bones and kicked dust from the heels of my knock-off, Kmart Shape-Ups. Maybe it was the cool, post-rain breeze or maybe the old-school Britney really did it again by giving me a little high-school-Cathi boost, but either way my run tonight was outstanding. I felt like I could’ve gone forever, so after I finished my usual route I turned around to do it again. All of a sudden Jason Mraz started whispering sweet nothings in my ear and had me confused like a teenage girl at her first Homecoming dance. What the heck is Jason Mraz doing on my running play list? This doesn’t make me feel gangster! What happened to “Hit That Pavement One More Time”? And “You’ve Got That Run Thing”? Ugh…and just like that, adios mojo. So, I listened to Mr. Mraz and jogged back home. Since he altered my entire huff-puff and rough-stuff mood, I gave in and crashed onto the driveway, fashioning a pillow out of my rolled up bandana. At first, I closed my eyes, relaxing and cooling down to the melody of that gentle, grown-up’s lullaby. Then, I looked up to take in the scenery. I’m not always going to live here. I’ve lived here for almost 3 years now, and I’d never taken in the view from that angle. I didn’t know what I was going to open my eyes to, but I didn’t expect what I saw.

        Before I talk about what I saw, I want to talk about what was on my mind. Today, I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful fellow military wife, and talk to her in the midst of a crisis. There’s a beautiful connection that we military wives have, and it all stems from knowing the feelings that are inexpressible. There’s a common bond of loneliness, perseverance, struggle, and accomplishment that not many other people can entirely understand. We all appreciate so deeply when people try to put themselves into our shoes, but there’s nothing like being in the company of someone who is wearing the exact same brand and size, bought at the same price. As I lay on the pavement, pulling the ear buds out and laying my hands behind my head, I thought to myself, “This world is so big, and I’m so small. My problems are so small compared to the rest of the world. Why do I bother even thinking about them as much as I do? I need to just get over it all and be grateful that I’m even here.” That’s when I opened my eyes and saw the sky in a way I’d never noticed it before. It’s like it was so close  I could reach out and touch it. I could almost taste the clouds above me, and night time was being painted all around me. You know, that point where you stare for so long that you begin to get tunnel vision? Well, my eyes reached that point, and I’ve never felt so big, so important, and so exposed. My problems matter, and they’re significant, just like my new military sister-wife and her problems. (Oh my gosh…did she just say “sister-wife”? Yes, yes she did.) It’s what we do with our problems that make them worth it or not. This week, I had another friend who was dealing with some issues, and I told her, “When life hands you lemons, squirt them into Satan’s eye and piss him off with them.” The last thing he wants is for someone to grow from their mistakes and rise from their moments of defeat. So, when problems enter our little world, we have to push through them and be bigger than the pain. I am so stocked up on lemons, it’s not even funny. His eyes are fixin’ to burn like hot coals and a fire poker.

My Activity for this week: Game Night with the Homemade Board Game!!!

   So, last week I made a board game called House of Awesome, and I decided to go ahead it give it a trial run. I believe it was a huge success!!!

Brooke gave it a 2 on a scale of 1-2. 1, being not awesome, and 2, being Awesome.
The “wooden spoon” is the buzzer for when you say a no-no word.
The Biebs rockin it with the no-no words.
Brooke: “You can’t say America!”
I love game nights with these girls!
Biff and Madeline. Not team mates, but I’m sure Biff was grateful since Madeline didn’t have any luck with the rolling dice.
Lehren’s pretty good at this guessing thing! Even though she got popped by the spoon once.
Me: “Dude, that looks nothing like a post office, and that definitely doesn’t look anything like an eagle. A for effort though. Way to give it 110%.”
Someone snuck out of bed…
and Power Ranger fight, GO!

Somewhere between the boys joining us downstairs and Ace humping Justin’s leg, we lost sight of the game and started watching The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. Look it up on Netflix. You can thank Madeline and Elizabeth for that one. It’s like a redneck train wreck, and boy is it friggin weird! Anyway, the crew gave House of Awesome a thumbs up, and I think it was a hit! I’m adding this to the game-night roster for the future. Also, this game goes well with brownies and a glass of milk (thanks to the Biebs for picking up some milk before heading over!) This is not the year I spent moping around, waiting for my husband to come home. This is the year I created my own board game and hosted a game night with friends and delicious brownies! Until next week, send your crazy to me since I’m going there anyway!

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30 Weeks and a Homemade Board Game

I’ve had several annoying experiences with families, friends, and strangers who exercise a practice of ridiculous hierarchy in their relationships. “Dogs eat after the humans eat,” “If you’re not an adult you can’t sit with the  adults,”Students need to know you’re their leader, not their friend,” and just now I heard a woman say to a crying 3 year old, “Shut your mouth. I’m your grandma, and I’m bigger than you. I’ll beat the sh– out of you if you don’t learn to respect me.” I’d like to meet someone that this type of training, parenting, and mentoring actually worked on. Respect isn’t something that can be forced. It’s earned. Respect isn’t in “yes ma’am’s” or “no sir’s”. It’s in the way a person’s heart responds to yours. I wouldn’t want to force the symptoms of respect onto someone. I’d rather know that they respect me, because I sat beside them, not above them. And that I talked with, not at them. If I exercised the hierarchy way of parenting, I would’ve missed out on an amazing experience with my son tonight. He had so many questions about his soul, his body, death, and the afterlife. For a brief moment, while looking into his puzzled eyes (that resembled my little brother’s at his age), I remembered what it felt like to be asking those very same questions. I remember fearing the unknown, and having a sickness in my gut when I would look up at the sky and wonder. I used to squint my eyes as hard as I could to try and see past the clouds and into heaven. None of us knows what that moment of death is like. I’m not talking about a “near-death experience,” because I’ve had one of those. I mean the moment that the Bible tells us about, when our soul leaves this earth, leaves our bodies, and enters eternity. So many of us share the common misconception that eternity is a measure of time, but I believe it is more of a destination. Even the concept of forever is one that is difficult to grasp. Death, and eternity, and heaven are all ideas that the human mind simply cannot fathom. That’s why hierarchy is a useless, self-serving, and foolish practice, and it has no place in my home or in my relationships. Now that I’ve had my Soap Box moment, a little side note about my husband here…they’ve experienced a higher than usual volume of attacks lately, and I’ve been trying to focus on not worrying. It’s a war zone, and those things are going to happen. I just have to continue to trust in God’s hand of protection over my husband and continue to take it all in stride, one week at a time (total blog title plug right there, just in case you missed that).

My activity this week: Create My Own Board Game

The game is called House of Awesome, where Awesome is as Awesome Does. It’s sort of a mix of pictionary, charades, and taboo, focused on my family in the subjects. Then there are little Cathi-isms throughout the whole game. I think it’ll be a hit!

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I’m pretty excited about this. I’m ready for a game night to test it out! Who’s in?
Until next week, send you’re crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway!

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29 Weeks and Go Fish!

        I’m having a hard time putting into words what’s going on inside of my head this week. I’ve been trying to play my strong card in the face of adversity, but the card has worn thin and so has my ability to handle people that are only surface skimmers. There’s so much more to me than my spit-fire one-liners, hair and makeup, and the fact that I’m the wife of a deployed soldier. I’m not sure if it’s me, afraid to be honest or if people are afraid to go there with me, but I feel so lost in my own world these days. I haven’t had “normal” since I married a soldier, and I don’t think I ever will. I wonder what normal is like for regular families. What’s it like to say goodbye in the morning, say hello again in the evening, sit around the dinner table together, and kiss goodnight before bed? That’s the American dream, right? It’s my dream anyway, and instead of living it, I feel like it’s always within reach but I can’t quite grasp it. It feels so unfair! I’ve seen too many people place so much importance on education, work, titles, and money, but their families and marriages are left for last on the list. I used to have tolerance for these people, but I don’t anymore. Life is too short to surround yourself with people who don’t care about the more important things in life. It’s one thing to concern yourself with them, but you just can’t depend on these people to lift you up when you’re down or to return your kindness with genuine care and support. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been holding back from sharing the deeper truths behind my wise cracks and cookie-cutter small talk. The people that matter most have asked me how I’m doing, and I’ve given them one-worded answers or changed the subject. I’m robbing them of the experience of appreciating what they have by wearing my shoes for a conversation’s time. I’m going to work on that. In fact, I’m going to go out of my way to be completely, embarrassingly honest with my friends next week. I’m going to share blatant and raw feelings with my friends each day in addition to my weekly activity. I can’t just continue to bury it in exercise, pranks, and adrenaline. Those things aren’t bad, but they can’t replace facing the truth. I’m gonna be honest this week, so if you really wanna know how I’m doing, just ask.

My activity this week: Fishing

I’m touching a worm!!!!!!!
“It keeps squirming around every time I poke it!”
Worm Poop!
Let’s catch a fish!
Caught it! The swamp man helped get it out of the water.
He taught me how to stick my fingers in the gills to stop it from squirming.
The first fish I’ve ever held!!!!!
EW It’s bleeding all over!!!
See? Freakin Gross, man.
“I’ve been caught by Cathi, the Fisher-woman.” (he has–had a deep voice)
Delicious and Fresh Ceviche, coming up!!
So worth all the work!!!

I love all types of seafood. I love fish, lobster, crab, and even seaweed. Nothing makes my mouth water more than a buttery and lemon-drenched halibut. I’ve gone fishing before, but I’ve always been super girly about it. I’m not gonna apologize for that though, because I am a girl. I like pink and sparkles, and things that smell good, but I don’t like to touch things that are slimy, crittery, scaly, or gross. I thought I’d overcome that fear once and for all this week! I set out to bait my own hook, catch a fish, take the hook out, hold it, filet it, and eat it! So, I did just that. Y’all…I think I’m in love with fishing now. Seriously, I understand exactly what Brad Paisley and every other country singer out there is talking about now. I’m ready to bedazzle a tackle box and get me one of those cool hats to stick hooks on and stuff. I want a pair of rubber overalls and a fly-rod. I want to take a cooler of drinks and snacks and sit on a dock from sunrise to sunset. I want to fill a deep-freezer with all kinds of swimming creatures. I want to stuff a fish and hang it above a door post. I am now a bona fide fisher-woman, folks! Well, I wouldn’t mind fishing every once in a while anyway.

I was so afraid of doing this activity, but I’m so glad I faced my fears and finally did it! It really was so much fun! I’d love to organize a girls’ fishing trip sometime now! I think it’d be a blast! Hmm…future weekly activity brewing….

Cole’s fish 🙂

2012 – The year I went fishing with my boys for the first time.

Until next week, send your crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway!

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28 Weeks and Shooting in Heels!

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” -2Peter 3:9

Yes, the days are super long, and sometimes it feels like they’re never going to end, but eventually night time comes and another day soon follows. I’ve had so many moments this week when I’ve felt the loneliness caving in on me. I’ve become addicted to busyness, and I can’t make it stop. It’s become natural now to be juggling multiple unnecessary tasks. I can’t even count how many times this week that I’ve forced tears back into my eyes so that the people around me don’t become uncomfortable or think that I can’t handle this. I can. His strength carries me in my weakness, and I will boast in His strength that pushes me. I’m happy to be a damsel in distress with my God who rescues me and my Man of God who dries my tears when we’re oceans apart. I love that He’s shown me a new piece of the puzzle that He’s putting together for His glory in this deployment. I’m proud to say that my husband is now one of the 2 answers to prayer for the church service on his base in Afghanistan. He will be alternating weeks with another soldier as the piano player for the traditional church service. 🙂 Isn’t that so cool? I’m so happy for him! He worships with his fingers on the piano keys, and he’s been really missing that special time between God and Him. I’m excited to see how God uses this to further His kingdom and my husband’s overall morale. As for me…I’ll be alright. Just another day, right? I’m already cringing just thinking about the activity planned for next week…it’s gonna be slimy. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This week’s activity first! Shooting in Heels!

Headed out to go shooting!

So, I have been looking forward to this week’s activity ever since I booked it through living social a month ago! If you haven’t checked out living social before, you totally should! I get great deals on exciting activities all the time! This particular activity was a combined adventure of shooting, a delicious dinner of tacos, and an added bonus of beer for those that chose to accept (We did not. Beer can be delicious, and shooting is fun, but beer + shooting = not for me) I got to shoot a 22, a 38 special, a 45,  a glock 40, and an AK-47. My mom came up to visit, so she joined me. It was so much fun, and I plan to do this again and again! All of my stress left when each bullet exited the chamber. What a rush! And, like the Classy Cathi that I sometimes am, I did it all in heels.

Waiting in Heels
and Eating in Heels
The security briefing
Me Shooting in HEELS! (with a super obvious wedgie)
My mom shooting in HEELS!!!

We were taken into a room and shown the proper way to hold and set down a gun. We were taught the dangers and the safeties involved once we would set foot inside the range room. Pregnant women are not allowed to shoot, because (besides the obvious) the baby doesn’t have any ear protection, and the booms can cause hearing problems and even hearing loss. So, wait until you pop that little blob of cuteness out before you decide to pull the trigger!

I’m so ready to go back soon! This place was wonderful! The staff was great, the living social staff was awesome, and it was SO MUCH FUN!! I know I’m gonna have a nasty bruise from the AK, but it was totally worth it. Check out the video of me shooting the AK-47:

Mom burned her chest and bazoobies (this is just her chest, don’t freak out)
Got a blood blister from the AK-47, and it’s gonna be a beautiful bruise!

My target after the 22
Mom’s target after the 22

2012 – The year I shot an AK-47

Until next week, send your crazy to me since I’m going there anyway!

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26 Weeks and finding Peace on the River

     Recently, a friend of mine was going through some tough stuff at home. She was worried, tired, and overwhelmed by life. She didn’t quite understand how her situation had anything to do with God teaching her something. If God isn’t constantly teaching us something, then what is the purpose of this life? He created us to be close to us and to love us. Sin has separated us from Him, and He wants to close that gap. He’s always teaching us how to draw near to Him, but why do we miss that so often? Our fears, our loneliness, and our exhaustion…they’re all windows of opportunity to fall into His arms and allow Him to carry us. Some of my favorite memories are the ones that begin in pain and end in His arms. Why do we constantly try to fix things on our own? Do we fail to see how incredibly small we are? Do we not recognize how big God is? It’s foolish to think that we can do anything without Him.

     This week, I finally came to a halt and recognized my loneliness. I’ve been trying to go, go, go, and not focus on it, but He wants me to see it. He wants me to be surrounded by the quiet and listen closely for His whispers of direction. This world is so loud! We’re always surrounded by noise! I’m not cursed to be alone all the time. I’m blessed to have so much one-on-one time with my tender-hearted  Creator. I had so much on my calendar, and I finally grabbed my black marker and made a line through it all. I felt horrible cancelling plans and appointments, but it needed to be done. Some very good friends of ours (who actually feel more like family) invited the boys and me to go camping on a river with them, and that seemed like exactly what we needed. So, I packed up the boys and headed north toward bad cell phone reception and His symphony of crickets, waves, and the wind blowing through the trees. I didn’t get a whole lot of physical rest, but I found rest for my soul away from my calendar, my computer, and my to-do list.

     You never know how much you’re going to impact someone’s life until you have. I’m so grateful for the family in my video. They are so much more special to me than they’ll ever know. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I know that this family will always be in it. We were only up there for 32 hours, but was an incredible chunk of time, and not a moment was wasted. Even if there’s no one out there reading this…for the one person that might, please take the time to rest your soul in Him. Here’s what my soul-nap looked like:

     Thanks to “Biff”, I didn’t have to make the roadtrip alone. It’s been a while since I had a co-pilot! She helped calm my boys and fed my craziness on the road by joining in with me. It was nice to have someone else join us on our IHOP date too!

12 Down, 20 to Go!

2012 – The year I found Peace on the River in Blue Ridge

Until next week, send your crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway.