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50 Weeks and A Simple DIY Christmas Gift

   I started watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, and I just finished watching the episode where Meredith Grey flat-lined and had a purgatory experience. I couldn’t help but raise my eyebrow at the whole thing. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I tend to over analyze things, especially movies and TV shows. It drives my husband crazy! But, how could I not when they spent an entire episode focusing on the afterlife?  I saw where the writers were going with it and all…trying to bring back meaningful characters to get Meredith to examine her own heart on her death experience. But, they brought them back because these people died on the surgery floor, and could never leave, even after dying. All I was thinking was that there had to have been more than 4 people who died on that floor since the start of the series. That place should’ve been crawling with ghosts. I shook myself of the analyzing to try and soak in the episode as a watcher of the show and not a critic. I was doing well, but then the blonde chick started bleeding out of the wound that she died from. The afterlife was depicted as something that was exactly what life was like before, minus the people they loved, and plus pain that never ended. If this is what life is like after death, then people should be afraid of dying, but I’m pretty sure the writers’ perspective was solely molded around getting viewers to gasp and hold their breath until Meredith’s heart started beating on its own again. Of course, I couldn’t even allow myself to feel that suspense. I was too focused on the fact that the show is about Meredith Grey-and they weren’t going to kill off the main character in the middle of the 3rd season-to even worry about her actually dying. Ugh…me and my over analyzing.

   For the past few weeks, the pastor has been preaching on what happens to us when we die. He talked about Heaven, and he also spoke about the New Earth, where God will dwell among his people. What will it be like? What will we look like? What will we eat? What will we wear? What will we do? These are all questions that everyone has. Fortunately though, these questions have no reason to go unanswered. The bible has all of these answers. It’s so simple! All you have to do is go back to Genesis, and read up until the serpent even entered the picture. God created earth, and everything in it, for people. He created people so that He could hang out with us. That was perfected when God breathed life into humanity. Sin is what screwed everything up. When the battle of the end happens, and Jesus reigns victorious, we get to chill out, with God, on the earth renewed! It’s our beautiful creation, that God intended for us in the beginning, without sin, pain, tears, lies, broken limbs, paralysis, cancer, racism, sexism, prejudice, adultery…just Friends, Family, Food, Work without stress, Love, Warmth, Perfection.

    Sometimes, terrible things happen. Sometimes, we lose loved ones. Sometimes, we are diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Sometimes, our marriages fail. Sometimes, we have really crappy days or even a really crappy year. Then, there are times when our family laughs around the dinner table. There are times when we go on a 2nd or 3rd Honeymoon with our spouse. There are times when the biopsy is negative. There are times when the donor is a perfect match for your child’s transplant. For me, I can have a wonderful conversation with good friends and good food. We can sit around a table, playing cards, laughing while the kids are sleeping peacefully upstairs. I always hate that moment when it’s time to end the laughter and smiles. That moment when I have to kiss my husband goodbye in front of a couple hundred other sobbing strangers. On my nights when I miss him the most, when I’m crying the most, my assurance rests in the fact that it will be over with soon. In a few months, I will be reunited with my husband. When he does come home, there will be new good moments that will have to come to an end. There will be more tough times. There will be other crappy days, and possibly another crappy year. But, there will come a day when the laughter won’t have to end. The card game can go on and on. The sun won’t give blisters, and we’ll get to experience the life of perfection that was designed for us. How can we fear death for ourselves or others? Death, when you know Jesus, isn’t something to be afraid of. We shouldn’t root for death either, but it should be just okay. Turning 30 is okay. Turning 50 is okay. Turning 80 is okay. Turning into our perfect selves…it’s okay with me!

Activity #50:  Homemade Lip Gloss

     Another shout-out to Pinterest, great and powerful source of information for people in every stage of life –with colorful pictures! Because I’m a Younglife Leader, I have a lot of high school and college girlfriends. I am very attached to these girls, and want to give each one of them something for Christmas, but contrary to popular opinion, money does not grow from my deployed-wife leg-hairs. (Ew, she’s so nasty) So, I found this simple recipe for homemade lip gloss, using vaseline and kool-aid. Check it out!

activity

Until next week, send your crazy to me,

since I’m going there anyway!

Merry Christmas, Girls!
Merry Christmas, Girls!
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49 Weeks and DIY Christmas Ornaments

     It’s been 338 days since my husband first moved out of our house into this assignment and onto his deployment. I remember getting excited, 6 months in, when I found one of his shirts stuffed behind the dryer. It still smelled like him, so I found a new home for it under my pillow. It stayed there for 2 months until it got tangled up in the dirty laundry when I was washing the bedding. I did the laundry so quickly that I never noticed it until I was folding it on the couch while watching One Tree Hill. Immediately, I put it up to my nose and inhaled. Downy Simple Pleasures…the black bottle. I tried again. Nothing special…just clean. No Right Guard Extreme Arctic Fresh deodorant. No Axe Dark Temptation shower gel. No Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue cologne. No ACU mixed with motorcycle ride. No him. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I tried recreating the smell by washing it with his body wash, rubbing his deodorant on it, spraying it with his cologne, and then setting it on the bike for 15 minutes while letting it run in the garage. It smelled like right guard, Axe, light Blue, and motorcycle…but something was missing. Even though it had all the essential elements, it was missing the key ingredient…my husband. If I could just get him to wear it for 15 minutes, I think that would do it. I started to think about it and make calculations. I began to prepare a plan, in my head, on how to get his smell back into his shirt. If I washed it and then sent it to him along with his cologne, then he could wear it for a little bit. He could send it back to me that same day, and in just 2 weeks, I could have his smell back in his shirt. I could undo my mistake of washing it in the first place. I sat there, with his shirt laying across my lap, for a good while before I finally realized that my plan was stupid.
It’s not even so much of his smell that I miss. It’s what his smell means to me. His smell reminds me of my face buried in his chest. His chest reminds me of his hugs. His hugs remind me of how he turns this crazy and frustrating life into a fun ride. Sometimes, when I’m upset, all I need is a hug from him to put me back on track. I get so frustrated when I see wives arguing with their husbands. I know that disagreements happen, but if I had my husband standing in front of me right now, the last thing I’d be doing is thinking of the next insult or comeback to level the playing field. Even if we were in the middle of a disagreement, I’d have to end it right away by forcing him to give me one of his mood-altering hugs. Some wives tell me that they don’t know how we, military wives, do it. But, I happen to think we’re the privileged ones. We know what it’s like to be without our husbands, so we cherish the moments by swallowing our pride and giving up on winning an argument. No one has to remind us not to go to bed angry. We are just thankful to be going to bed with them (when we can).  It’s been another “missing-him” week over here. I just want my best friend back. It’s been too long. Can someone just fly over there and bring him home to me, please? I’d really appreciate that. I sure do miss him.

Activity #49: DIY Ornament

Of course, it's a patriotic ornament.
Of course, it’s a patriotic ornament.

     Like most cheesy moms, I like to make ornaments with the kids every year. I didn’t want to do your usual hand print ones (because I really didn’t feel like cleaning it up, to be honest), and I didn’t want to do just a picture surrounded by tissue paper wrapped around a pencil tip (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then your 2nd Grade teacher sucked). Cole’s teacher sent a note home saying that he needed to bring in a box of straight pins and a bag of sequins. I thought to myself, “Self, there must be some type of ornament possibility there.” And there was. So go to your favorite craft store, or Walmart if you feel like braving that madness, and pick up a couple boxes of sequin pins and a bag of sequins. Grab some styrofoam balls and a spool of ribbon, and get to stickin’!

sequins, sequin pins, styrofoam balls, and ribbon
sequins, sequin pins, styrofoam balls, and ribbon

ornament

Even the kids can get in on the fun!
Even the kids can get in on the fun!

     Depending on how bad your OCD is, this could take anywhere from 5 minutes to a couple of hours. Cole was very tedious with his ornament, and Idan’s chubby little fingers had a hard time keeping the sequins in place while he tried to stick them. So, he had some mom help with this project. If you’re looking for something cheap and easy to do this year though, this is great! And as long as your dog doesn’t jump on top of the table, knocking over the perfectly separated-by-color-and-size sequins, then it’s virtually mess-free! Until next week, send your crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway!

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48 Weeks and my Christmas Dog

     I’m a day late in my posting for this week, because I had family in town for my sister’s wedding, and then my video editor was giving me problems. So, I called it quits last night and tried again this morning. I finished editing the video, and sat down to write. Just as I began my weekly update, I received a message from a dear friend and fellow military wife. She was just given some difficult medical news, but she’s handling it with such grace. God’s strength shines through her in an incredibly remarkable way! Initially, I wanted to put my face into my hands and cry for her trial and the hurt of her family, but I took a deep breath instead and kept my head looking up. I’m constantly telling my Young Life friends the truth of difficult times. We aren’t to focus on the darkness and the pain, but the lesson that is hidden in the darkness through the pain. My friend has already set her mind to things above. So, I need to follow her lead, which is ultimately Christ’s lead.

     Ever since the day I got married, my life has been filled with one countdown after the next. Countdown til move day, countdown til delivery date, countdown til he comes home, countdown til move day again, countdown til move day after that, countdown til FTX, countdown til deployment, countdown til R&R, countdown til redeployment, countdown til move day, countdown til end of business trip, countdown til next business trip, repeat the cycle a few times, and now we’re back to countdown til R&R, countdown til redeployment… I exhaust my own self in all of my counting. My biggest countdown is “7 more years”. I say that to myself over and over again when I’m really missing him. “7 more years, Cathi. He retires in 7 more years. You can do this.” But, that 7 year countdown should, theoretically, mean that all of my counting down is over once retirement day comes and goes. But R-Day has come and gone for my friend and her husband. Now, comes another countdown…another struggle.(Focus on the lesson, Cathi…not the darkness and the pain).

     There’s a lesson in the countdowns. There’s something to be learned by the days gone by and the ones that I can see in the far distance. That red circle around a certain day on my calendar is not  my ultimate goal. The goal is today. What difference am I going to make today? Whose life am I going to touch today? I remember picking through the $1 bin at Hobby Lobby a few years ago, and I found a stack of note cards that had a picture of  a girl in her bed. Her arms were raised in the air out of excitement. It was morning, and there is a calendar on the wall behind her. The calendar doesn’t say what month or year it is. It just has the number 1. Our days should always start out that way. Every day is number 1. Every day is the beginning of whatever you choose. At the bottom of that note card, it says “DON’T COUNT THE DAYS…MAKE THE DAYS COUNT”. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to look forward to an exciting event in the future, so long as we treat today with excitement and urgency as well. I’m so grateful for God’s wake-up calls when I’m feeling my most frumpy and grumpy. Today, he has reminded me that my days are just as valuable apart from my husband as they are when we are together. I’m going to make today count!

Activity #48: Christmas Dog

     Hello, December! After my lack of holiday cheer during the Thanksgiving season, I decided that I needed to make up for it at Christmas time somehow. So, naturally, I bought Ace a Chrsitmas sweater, and taught him how to read. I didn’t know he had such a cool voice! He’s been wasting it by barking all the time! What do you think? Am I so clever and creative? Or have I really lost it this time?

     Either way, that just happened. Haha Feel free to share this video and brighten someone’s day! If they don’t think it’s cute, at least they’ll be happy that they’re not struggling from psychosis like I am. Until next week, send your crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway!

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