Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days of Peace, day 31

The Final Day

Welcome to the last day of my 31 Days of Peace series. To be honest, this was not an easy task. There were many days when trying to come up with something peaceful felt like a chore. Some days I was too busy to have to stop and think peaceful thoughts. Other days I was tired or frustrated or just in a bad mood, and the stubborn side of me wanted to say no to my commitment to find peace that day.
But I did it anyway. I searched my mind until I found something, even if it was small, which brought my soul peace that day. Admittedly, I often used my “My Passions” board on Pinterest or the inspiration app on my iPhone to come up with my inspiration for the day. But, in my defense, I only picked the quotes which truly spoke to me and which truly helped me discover peace.
Now, on the last day of the exercise, I am elated as to how this commitment which I made back on the first of October has helped me grow. This is the first time in a long time I have completed such a challenge. Over the past few years I have challenged myself to exercise more regularly, create better schedules in my family’s daily life, try more new recipes, read more often, pray more often, and work at tossing out some of my bad habits. All of those challenges withered. But this one was different. With 31 Days of Peace, I was held accountable to my promise by the hundreds of other bloggers writing their 31 days. I didn’t know how many others, if any, were reading my posts about Peace, but I couldn’t risk letting anyone down. I couldn’t take the chance that somewhere out there someone was looking forward to reading what I had to say each day about finding peace or even possibly needed my words to help them find their own peace. By completing this challenge, I have proven to myself that I can, in fact, complete the challenges I give myself with a little extra hard work and dedication.

What is even more amazing about how this challenge affected me is the way it actually helped me find peace. Not just a day of peace, but a heart of peace. In the beginning, my heart was unsettled. I was still adjusting to our recent move and the kids’ new school schedules. I was feeling discontent with our circumstances. I was emotionally distant, which is quite unlike me, and I couldn’t figure out why. But as I moved through the month seeking to find peace in every day, my heart changed. Little by little I felt more content. My energy and excitement began to return. I felt much better about our circumstances and rediscovered the appreciation I have for this military lifestyle. Before long, my old self returned but this time it harbored fewer anxieties and was enveloped in a feeling of contentment.

I am forever grateful to The Nester for providing me with the challenge of writing about one topic for 31 days, and I am thankful that God directed me to choose the topic of peace. It is exactly what my soul needed. I will no longer be writing about peace every day, but there is no doubt I will still be searching for it in my daily life.

I challenge you to do the same. Pledge to find peace every day, even when it seems out of reach. Perhaps keep a journal or tell a friend about the peace you discover. Soon, you too will find your heart shifting away from anxiety and discontentment and towards happiness and peace.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days of Peace, day 30

A Few Thing I Have Learned from Sandy

1.       Things will not always go the way we plan them to.  Every life has its share of storms. There eventually comes a time where we must accept our lot, batten down the hatches, and simply wait. The rest is in God’s hands.

2.       Appreciation for my husband. There have been two other instances in which I had to prepare for a hurricane without his help and without the comfort of his presence at home with us. This time, I was thankful for his help when we secured the house and made extra trips to the store for emergency supplies. And when the wind was howling loudly outside the windows, I was ever so thankful that he was home.

3.       To think of a storm like this as a family adventure, as something we experience together that will carry with us for the rest of our lives, and as an opportunity to spend quality time together. After careful consideration, my husband and I decided we should all go along when we made the trip to the grocery store for supplies. We got what we needed, but we also walked out with a box of chocolate covered pretzels and a huge tub of cheeseballs. What’s an adventure without the little extras that make us smile?

4.       How to slow down. Usually when we are all home, I feel guilty if I don’t get the kids outside to run around or take time for myself to exercise. But since going outside was not an option, I used it as an opportunity to simply relax. I allowed myself to not feel guilty if we cuddled up and watched movies or if the kids played games on our phones while I surfed the internet. I was reminded that sometimes it is okay to have a lazy, unproductive day, especially when the end result meant finally finding some much needed relaxation.

5. Not to complain, be thankful, and remember to pray for those who's storm is much worse.

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days of Peace, day 29

Peace in Friendships
Friendship, for me, is a matter of quality, not quantity. As one who tends to shy away from large groups of women, I find it easier, and more fulfilling, when I find those women with whom I really click. When that happens, it sometimes takes a long time for the relationship to develop to the point where we can tell each other anything, and where we know each other's best and worst traits. But when it does, the feeling is remarkable.
One of the hardest things about moving in the military is having to leave great friendships behind. There have been many tears for my best girlfriends who have had to leave me behind, and those I have had to leave behind. When I got married and moved away from home, I said goodbye to some of my best friends from high school and college. As a military wife, I have watched other military couples go off to new duty stations; I have seen that even non-military families move too, and grieved the relocation of two much loved neighbors. When I moved, I had to tear myself away from some women with whom I had formed a strong bond. But the great thing about these quality friendships is that even though we may be far apart, even though we can't find much time to talk on the phone, nothing truly changes.
When the time comes to see each other again, we still know the bests and worsts. We share the memories we've had together. We fill each other in with the missing pieces and within five minutes it's as though we were never apart. We share dreams and disappointments, laughs and tears. And the best thing about these great friendships is that we can lay it all out on the table without judgement but rather with pure acceptance for who we are. 
I miss my friends, but there is peace knowing that the next time I see them, everything will be the same.       

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 25

Thankful Thursdays: Thankful to God

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

"With thanksgiving." How easy it is to tell God about our troubles and ask Him to answer our prayers while forgetting to be thankful. I can't speak for everyone, but I myself do not feel particularly enthusiastic about doing things for my kids when I don't feel appreciated it. Imagine how God feels when we demand his power in our lives, but forget to thank Him for the blessings He has given. How could we possibly find peace without first being grateful? Fortunately, He is a forgiving God, but that doesn't mean we should take Him for granted.
This week, I am thankful to God for:
1.       My husband and kids. When I was younger I prayed simply to find love. I have been blessed with a husband who loves me unconditionally and two children who know what it is to give and receive love.
2.       The path my life has taken. In the grand scheme of things, my time as a military wife has only just begun. But already I have grown in strength, spirit, and faith and have learned the virtue of perseverance.
3.       Humility. He has shown me that I am not above anyone, but there is something to learn from everyone. Everybody deserves to be treated with the same kindness and respect with which I would like to be treated.
4.       His understanding. Try as I might, I continue to fail at my attempts to improve in certain areas. But He knows what’s in my heart and I trust He will guide me to where I need to be.
5.       Friendships, old and new, which continue to last even when we are far apart.
6.       Food, water, clothing, shelter. These are easy to take for granted, but so greatly desired by far too many.
7.       Good health. This is something that is guaranteed to no one. I feel incredibly blessed to have a healthy family.
8.       The strength to help pull myself back up when I struggle.
9.       Creating me with a positive mind and an inspired soul.
10.   Opportunities to learn and be encouraged by others. Click here to read about my evening with the Commandant’s wife. God always seems to know how to help me find a little more peace.

What are you thankful to God for?

Who Knew the First Lady was a Comedian?

Last night, I had the privilege of attending an event at which the First Lady of the Marine Corps, Mrs. Bonnie Amos, spoke to military wives about what she feels are the most important aspects of being a military wife. When she began speaking her voice was sweet and dainty, leading me to believe this woman, who has made it nearly forty-two years as a military wife, surely has never yelled or thrown fits about the trials of military life. But I soon learned that the Commandant’s wife is no different from the rest of us military wives who have our fair share of complaints about life in the military.

Within the first few minutes of her speech, Mrs. Amos had the crowd laughing hysterically. She is one funny woman! She talked about the time she met her husband and joked about how, at first sight, she really didn’t like him at all. It wasn’t until he walked into the bank where she worked and asked her out that she willingly accepted, but only if he would pay to take her roommate along as well. She told us he agreed, and then shocked us all when she said, “Here’s this guy thinking he’s going to have a ménage a trois!”
She continued on with her speech, creating laughter in the audience all along the way. She talked about how she threw a temper tantrum every time her husband got orders and they had to move. She admitted that she threw tantrums upon leaving the old house and arriving at the new house, all the while saying, “This is the last time I am doing this!” There is no doubt that a sense of relief came over many of us in the audience knowing that even the Commandant’s wife has had her share of hissy fits throughout her time as a military wife. Upon talking about her grandchildren, Mrs. Amos told us that we might soon see the youngest one’s name in the newspaper because they plan on sending him to prison, at which time she playfully rolled her eyes at the thought of how unruly the child is. One would expect a child’s own mother to joke about this, but for the grandmother to be saying it was especially funny because usually grandmothers think their grandkids can do no wrong!
When the time came for questions at the end, one girl asked how she has made her marriage work for almost forty-two years. Her initial reply was, “I’m very sexy.” You can imagine our amusement hearing these words come from this sweet little lady! In response to the same question, she also talked about the importance of saying “I’m sorry” and asking forgiveness, humorously noting “even though he should have been the one to say it first.” Even after forty-one plus years of marriage, the woman still understands the idiosyncrasies of living with a man, especially an ego-driven Marine!
In addition to the humor, Mrs. Amos also spoke more seriously about the aspects of being a military wife. Specifically, she talked about having a career as a military spouse. She used her own career path as an example, stating that despite her managing experience she was forced to take an administrative assistant job at one point because that’s all she could find. But because of her willingness to take that job, she eventually worked her way up to a managing position for a real-estate company. The message she emphasized to us was how important it is to be adaptable and flexible when it comes to a job. She told us to discover what it is we can do, as basic as it might seem, but “be flexible as you go along the way.”
Another point that was made, something which resonated with me, is that our deepest learning comes from the hard times. Mrs. Amos emphasized the importance of friendships, the people we meet, and the connections we make. Sometimes the reason we are connected with certain people is because of the difficulties we are facing. In the midst of struggle, we find them or they find us, and we learn a great deal from them. She also stressed the importance of becoming involved with other military wives and with events or organizations in the military community. Not only do we meet others who could potentially become best friends, we also have the chance to make a difference. The First Lady said that she didn’t become very involved with the wives community until her husband was already a Lieutenant Colonel, but once she did she realized how much she had been missing. Now, she said her favorite part of the military lifestyle is the wives she meets along the way.
Everything Mrs. Amos said touched me deeply, as it is only natural to heed the wisdom of someone who has been through so many years as a military wife. But the most poignant advice Mrs. Amos gave, for me, came when I raised my hand during the question segment and asked what things helped her to pick herself back up and keep going when life got tough. She told me it was her faith and spirituality, and “Knowing that the reason we are in this position is because God has put us here.” My eyes filled with tears as she spoke because that is exactly the thing which gets me through my hard times. I can whine and complain and have a tantrum all I want, but that doesn’t change anything. I can’t change anything. The only way to get by when life gets overwhelming is to trust that God has put me here for a reason. This is his plan for me and there is a greater purpose for this way of life that I may not yet be able to see. I felt so blessed to have heard those words coming from the First Lady of the Marine Corps, a woman who knows more than anyone what it is like to be a military wife.
When the evening was over, I was filled with inspiration and motivation. I was reassured of the plan for my position as a military wife. I rediscovered the reason why I really do love being a military wife. I felt as though I could get through anything the military threw at me. I thought that if this wonderful woman could make it through all those years as a military wife, then so could I. When I got home, I told my husband that if he happened to be chosen for Commandant someday, I think I would be okay with it. He laughed, but I meant it. However far God decides to send us on this adventure, I will follow.
I am humbly grateful to Mrs. Amos, for sharing her inspiration and wisdom, and for the great laughs. She has no doubt left a footprint on my heart.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 24

 Do You Stop?

"Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it. -William Feather

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 23

How a Road Helps Me Find Peace

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” –Charles Haddon Spurgeon
There is a road on the way to taking my son to and from preschool that delights me every time I drive it. It is a hilly, winding road that reminds me of the back roads from home, the ones I would drive with my little 4-cylinder stick-shift car, feeling high as a kite and free as a bird. My heart was so content.
 Now, I drive this road with my big, automatic, kid-towing SUV, always a little frazzled about something as I first turn onto what my son calls “the road with the funny hills.” But as I continue on, I am overcome with peace by the beauty that engulfs this slight stretch of road, with the branches of the trees arching overhead and the leaves turning more colorful each day. I pretend I am in that small, peppy car again, hugging the corners of the turns and giving a little extra gas at the bottom of the hill so I can get to the top with more enthusiasm. But I must use extra caution with this big car, not only because the extra weight makes it less agile, but also because of the precious cargo sitting behind me.
Still, for a few short seconds, I am home again, reminiscing in the bliss of that feeling of freedom and rejoicing in the wondrous beauty around me. For a few short seconds, I am taken away from the hectic, frazzled life and am reconnected with the contentment I felt as I drove those back roads so long ago.

Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 22

Just Keep Going
When your path seems too long and your body is tired, keep going. When your spirits are low and you want to give up, keep going. When there's too much to do and you can't fit it all into the day, keep going. When there's nothing you can do, keep going. Keep going forward, pick up your feet, and lift your head high. Walk as though you are unwilling to surrender and you might just find the tides turning in your favor. You might just find the comfort of peace.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 21

The Silent Voice

For the past week or so, I have been having some very vivid dreams. Some of them are strange, while others seem to be a simple reflection of the things which have been occurring in my life. But one of my most recent dreams was different. This dream spoke to me, sending a message about something I have been trying to figure out in my mind. This dream gave me an answer.

I was talking to someone in the dream, whom I do not recall, but I do know that it was someone I knew well and what I was saying was something I felt very passionately about. The words I spoke went as follows: “It’s not how much you know, it’s what you do with the things you do know that matters.” Though in reality my mind was asleep, inside my dream these words were pulling at my heart and I was eager to make sure the other person heard my message.

When I awoke in the morning, I considered what I had said in my dream. I wondered where it had come from. Questioning whether I may have read a quote on the internet and it was stored in my subconscious, I Googled the quote. I found some things which are similar, but nothing which was exact and certainly nothing I had actually read beforehand. What I find especially exciting about this message is that it seems to have been made specifically for me.

I have been thinking a lot lately about my future career path and the knowledge I have. I wonder if what I already know is good enough for the path I want to take. I wonder if what I know is good enough for anyone after being a stay-home mom for more than five years. I think about how much information is in the world and how much more I could potentially learn. I wonder if I will ever fulfill the extent of my mind’s capabilities.

I have come to believe that the other person in my dream with whom I was so eager to share my wisdom was, in fact, me. Something inside me needed to make sure I remembered the words when I woke up. That something was my spiritual faith. Every so often I get a clear-cut answer to my prayers and I believe this is one of those times. I often pray that God will help me with my struggles, and I also pray that He will give me content for my writing, content that I can use to continue my attempt to inspire others. Sometimes, if I am willing to listen, I am able to hear his answers. This time, He told me exactly what I needed to hear:  “It’s not how much you know, it’s what you do with the things you do know that matters.”
I was relieved after hearing these words. There may be a lot I still don’t know, and there may be more I will need to learn for my future, but these words have opened my eyes to all that I have been doing with my current realm of knowledge. I have been taking the opportunity to teach my kids what I remember about the leaves and the trees and the birds and the creeks. I have been using my health education to cook healthier meals for my family, talk about which foods are healthy and which are not, and encourage the kids to exercise regularly. I attempt, to the best of my ability, to speak to my kids and act in ways that will instill important values and morals. I use what inspirational wisdom I have to, hopefully, encourage others when they are struggling. I continue to write, a job which I have fully placed upon myself and which has no real obligation, because I believe in seeing the positive light. I believe that no matter how badly we might be struggling, there is always a way to pick ourselves back up. I believe in using the hard times to get stronger. And I believe in sharing these things with others in hopes that they, too, will see the positive light.
There will never be a time when I have finally learned enough, and I will always be open to new information. But now I see that simply having knowledge is not what matters. What matters most is that I take the opportunity to use what I do know to benefit myself and others.  

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31 Days of Peace, Day 20

Time Away
On this day, I decided my peace would be found in taking a break from the computer, from too much technology, and from writing. This is why the 20th day of peace is one day late. The delay was well worth it, as it was a much needed break which allowed me to spend more time with my family. We had a wonderful day!


Friday, October 19, 2012

31 Days of Peace,Day 19

Remember to take the time to reflect. Reflect upon your life, reflect upon who you are, and reflect upon your faith. It is during these times when our wisdom grows the most.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 18

Thankful Thursdays: Thankful for my Kids

Another week has passed and there is much to be thankful for. Specifically, though, this week I wanted to focus on my kids. It is so easy for a mother to complain about the whining voices, persistent demands, rude behavior, lack of listening, and absence of a simple “thank you mom” to make her feel appreciated. But it is also easy for her to focus on those things her kids do which make her smile and melt her heart if she is willing to look past the challenges.
It is common for mothers to have an idea of how they want their children to be, as though there is a predetermined mold they hope their children fit into. But if we don’t allow our children to be their own unique people, not only will we suffer but so will our kids. It seems to be a law of nature that children must get on their mother’s nerves as much as possible, but then act absolutely perfect for everyone else. We fight it, we get frustrated, and we wonder why. Perhaps we should just let it be.

Here is what I am thankful for with my kids this week:
1.       That they come to me for their needs, like food when they are hungry, comfort when they are sick, and a blanket when they are cold because it means they trust me to help them.

2.       That my daughter is happy to see me when she gets off the school bus in the afternoon because it’s likely there will come a day when she would prefer I not be there.

3.       The increasing knowledge they display when they are playing in the house and having conversation. It’s amazing how much information their little minds hang on to.

4.       Their imaginations.

5.        How they want me to play with their toys with them.

6.       The extra kisses they give me out of nowhere.

7.       The messes they make with the art supplies because it means they are expressing their creativity and having fun while doing it.

8.       The loud, obnoxious singing from my daughter because it means she has a song in her heart.

9.       Their persistence in venturing away from me at stores or asking if I can buy them a toy or candy because it reminds me that I did the exact same thing when I was little.

10.   The temper tantrums, because it reminds me that they are still little and one day, when those tantrums are no more, I will miss these years.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 17

What We Can Learn From the Changing Seasons

Everyone gets tired, eventually. We get tired from the demands of life. We get tired of the things in our closets. We get tired of eating the same foods. We get tired of the winter cold or the summer heat or the spring rain. We crave change, a fresh start, a new dress, or a new season. We desire to wake up refreshed with a newfound excitement for the days ahead.

It is not always easy to know how or when to change. Sometimes change happens to us whether we want it to or not. But sometimes we have the choice to make a change. We have the ability to refresh our souls and wake our tired eyes. Just as the trees shed their leaves, just as the snow creates a white blanket of purity, just as the flowers bloom into an array of new color, so too can we change our hearts and minds allowing us to find a new perspective, a new energy, and a new peace. Every few months, Mother Nature ever so gently gives us a cue for finding this peace.

Right now while the leaves are falling, allow your hearts to shed their anxieties. Let them fall to the ground and get blown away by the wind. Lighten the load which weighs down on your soul. Refresh your mind with this change of season. Then open your tired eyes and see clearly how exciting your life can be.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 16

Why a Zip Code Means Nothing
If anyone were to go through my blog posts from the past two months, an obvious trend would be found. Since our move, I have not hidden the fact that I miss our North Carolina home, the small-town feel, the quaint street we lived on, and knowing that I had friends closely surrounding me. Reminiscing about the times spent in that house, though happy, inflict a sense of grief within my heart. 
Growing up in NC

Our new place doesn’t impose the same feelings of comfort upon me, at least not yet. Our time here is still young, and I try my best to take it for what it is. After all, all of those great things about our last place occurred over the course of five years.

Today as I basked at the beauty of the ever-changing leaves, pondering how these gorgeous trees are one more thing to add to the growing list of favorites I have about our new place, I had an epiphany. I realized that it really doesn’t matter where I live. In the grand scheme of things, my zip code means nothing. What truly matters is that I’m somewhere on the map.
I’m here in this world and my family is with me. No matter where my location might be, I am home on God’s beautiful earth. My family and friends may be far away, but we share the same land. My current area may not be my favorite, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t just as many magnificent qualities as the last place. I have great memories of the past, but my mind does not remain in the past. It is continuously with me, allowing me the opportunity to create new memories wherever I go.

With this realization, my heart has found a little more peace. No matter where my feet may step, I am already home.    

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Monday, October 15, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 15

Visions of Sugarplums
As I lied awake in my bed last night as I often do, my mind drifting as it often does, I found my mind getting excited about thoughts of the upcoming Christmas season. Yes, I am getting way ahead of myself here, especially when we are in the middle of my favorite season and I should be enjoying the present. But this holiday season requires extra celebration. This year there will be nothing missing because daddy is home.
December 2010
There is so much joy in autumn that I don’t want to miss. But I cannot help but rejoice in the idea of finally being together again for Christmas. It is a reminder of how much we’ve been through and how far we’ve come as a family. It is proof that time will pass, even if we feel like it takes forever. It is the memory of a grieving heart but the hope that the next year would make up for what was missing. This is the next year. This is the year that will make everything from last year so worth it.   

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 14

How I Find Comfort in the Trees
There is something about this place, this new town in which we live, that feels like home. I recognize the trees. The oaks, maples, beeches, tulips, and elms that I remember from growing up. I admire their stately grandeur and am reminded of the memories.
I remember my middle school science assignment when I had to collect leaves, press them, and identify each one. Most kids would have balked at the assignment, but I was excited to get outside and discover all the different trees around me. Yes, I was a dork. But I also appreciated the world around me for its simplicity, is beauty, and its desire to be noticed. I noticed.
Today we ventured to the park as the morning sun sent its rays through the colorful leaves. It was delightful when my kids voiced their excitement upon asking them if they wanted to learn the names of the trees around us. They collected leaves with me. They ran to every tree with smooth, light-colored bark when I showed them how to identify a beech tree. Their little minds are so open, so ready to learn. I hope they have the same excitement when they get to middle school and are given their leaf-collection assignments. I can't wait to do it with them.

Friday, October 12, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 12

Happy Friday
Last year when the husband was deployed, I hated Fridays. The daytimes weren’t so bad, but the closer it got to Friday evening the more I despised it. Friday nights were supposed to be a celebration of the end of the workweek. They were supposed to mean pizza night or watching a movie together after the kids went to bed. They were supposed to mean excitement for the upcoming weekend.
But during deployments, Friday evenings were nothing out of the ordinary from every other evening. I didn’t look forward to the weekend because that was when my friends’ non-deployed husbands were home from work and I knew they would be spending family time together. I hesitated to interrupt anyone else’s family time because I knew how precious it was for them. On top of that, the kids were home from preschool on the weekends, which meant no break for me.
But now, I again find peace in Fridays. I have someone to watch a movie with and to make plans for the weekend. We play family games and let the kids stay up just a little bit longer. I look forward to the freedom of no school on the weekend and our ability to do whatever it is we want to do.
Tonight we are going to celebrate Friday with pizza and games. Tonight we are going to celebrate being together as a family.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 11

Thankful Thursdays 
Though the week has been busy and my mind is tired, there is always much to be thankful for. I couldn't pass up the chance to make a new list of gratitude for this week. It's a few minutes of peace in an otherwise hectic week. Here's what I'm thankful for this week:

 1. I may feel taken for granted sometimes with the lack of pleases and thank-yous from the kids, when I see on TV how young animals act with their mothers, I can't help but smile. I am thankful for my two little bear cubs.
2. Being able to see and appreciate the beauty in the world. Flowers and colorful leaves make me dance inside!
3. Having friends who connect me to places all over the United States, and other countries.
4. Warmth. The warmth of a bath or sipping hot cider or wearing a wool sweater.
5. A husband who loves me no matter what, even when I lose it!
6. Sipping red wine on the couch after the kids go to bed.
7. A visit from an old friend.
8. The love I feel knowing that a friend has cried over my absence.
9. The shadows of leaves dancing on the walls inside my house.
10. Seeing my husband's truck pull up at the end of the day.

What are you thankful for this week?

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 10

When There's Not Much to Say
Today has been one of my more difficult days. That’s why it has taken me so long to write today’s post. I started off with too little sleep because I just couldn’t fall asleep last night. Some people can do okay after a bad night’s sleep, but I am not one of them. An attempt to go back to bed once my daughter went to school backfired because it was continually interrupted by my three-year old son and when I finally decided I’d just get up for the day, at nearly 10:00, I had a headache because I still hadn’t had the coffee I usually drink as soon as I wake up.
By the time I finally got my caffeine fix and was ready to get my errands accomplished, it was already 12:00. I was usually getting home from running errands by that time. So the little guy and I set out to Walmart, of all places to go when I’m already behind in my day! I got what I needed, of course not without much bribing the boy with a matchbox car and Mickey-Mouse shaped cheese, but when I was checking out there was an issue with one of my coupons which took about 20 minutes for the cashier to figure out. I don’t think I need to explain how my preschooler was acting by this time. Let’s just say he was more than ready to leave.  So was I.
Needless to say, I only accomplished one of my three errands because of that Walmart trip. Clay and I were hungry so we needed to get home for lunch, plus any energy I was able to muster up from my coffee was completely drained. And to top it all off, Clay’s lack of exercise this morning due to my attempt to sleep left him with extra energy which he used to find all the ways he could get into what he wasn’t supposed to.
Sure, he's cute, but the monster was out in full force today!

 I have been putting off writing this post for most of the day because, frankly, I just didn’t feel peaceful and was having trouble trying to figure out what I could say. But then when I was putting the dishes away, something popped into my head which reminded me how to handle days like this. It’s a quote which says, “Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.” (John Wooden) So I had a slow morning. One unaccomplished morning here and there doesn’t hurt. So the trip to Walmart took longer than expected and I missed out on finishing the rest of my errands. I can do them another time. So I’m tired. I can try for sleep again tonight. Things didn’t work out the best for me today, but at least I have the choice to make the most of the way they did work out.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 9

Enjoying the Favorites
There is little that isn’t on my list of favorites this time of year.  Colorful leaves, cooler weather, bright pumpkins, hot apple cider, and caramel apples all have the ability to put me in a better mood with one glance.  I never hesitate to give my taste buds a joy-ride with those things I can eat or drink.
In life, we must continually allow ourselves to enjoy our favorites.  Whether it be stopping to stare a few moments at a beautiful site, breathing in the smells that conjure up great memories, listening to the music that makes our hearts dance, or tasting the flavors which make our mouths happy, when we take the time to nourish our souls we let a little bit of peace into our lives.  We are comforted in the midst of the demands which life puts upon us. 
What are some of your favorites? I hope you take the time to enjoy them today!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 8

I Am Not Alone
It seems I am not alone with my current struggle of adjusting after a PCS. The writers of several military wife blogs I follow have been voicing the difficulties they have encountered as a result of their recent moves. One of them is dealing with the adjustment to civilian life as her husband leaves the service.  Another is struggling to reach out to her new community because of past hurt. Still another is simply not content with the area in which has been selected for her and her husband to live. I myself am missing the sense of belonging and coherence I felt while living at our last duty station.

Still, each day gets a little better. I find myself willingly accepting this aspect of my family’s life more each day. I remind myself that I must endure hardship in order to become stronger.  I try to focus on the things which bring me comfort, like playing silly games at the table after dinner or taking family trips to the local fall events on Saturdays. 
A PCS is never easy, but the way we view our circumstances is our own choice. One thing that all of the above mentioned military wives have in common is that they are acknowledging their struggles and using them as a means to nurture their spirits and grow into stronger women. I am so thankful to have discovered their blogs and to have the opportunity to grow with them. I find peace knowing that there are many others who understand exactly what I am going through.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

31 Days of peace, Day 7

Smells like Grandma's House

Growing up, Sundays meant spending time with family.  They meant not feeling guilty about relaxing on the couch.  They meant going to Grandmas house and walking into a kitchen filled with the aromas of home-cooked comfort food and sweet desserts.

On this cool Fall day, I find peace in a house filled with the smells of applesauce cooking in the crockpot, pumpkin pie in the oven, and homemade soup on the stove.  All the while, I can hear the kids talking and laughing as they build a "castle" on the couch with their blankets and stuffed animals.  This is how a Sunday should be.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Days of Peace, Day 5

Turning Worry into Peace

On the morning of February 15th 2009, I was anxiously awaiting the birth of my son.  But it wasn’t just the excitement of meeting him that was on my mind.  I was also worried that he wouldn’t come in time.  My husband was deployed and my mom and mother-in-law were in town to help take care of my daughter when I was at the hospital, and to be there with me for extra help in the first few days after his birth.  This morning, though, was already their sixth morning in town and there was only so much time before they had to go home.
As each day passed, I grew more and more burdened with the idea that perhaps my body would not be ready for labor until after they had gone home.  I asked my midwife about inducing, but she said they would not do it until I was two-weeks past my due date.  By that time my help would be long-gone.  I felt hopeless, as I was at the mercy of nature’s timing rather than my own.  There was nothing I could do to ensure this baby would be born when I needed him to be.

That Sunday morning I received an e-mail from a friend who was passing along the following message: “Don’t tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is.” (Unknown author)  I read it over a few times and then decided to give it a try.  I found a quiet spot and spoke these words: “Anxiety, go away. You can’t cripple me.  My God has a plan, a plan that’s right for me.  No matter what that plan is, everything is going to be okay.  I am done letting you create worry in my mind.  My baby will come exactly when he’s supposed to.”  A few hours later, my water broke.
As soon as I confronted my problem, my worry turned into peace.  It reminded me to have faith in God’s timing.  It reminded me that we can go ahead and make our plans, but ultimately it is not us who decides our fate.  It reminded me that God won’t give me anything I can’t handle.
What problems are you facing right now?  Perhaps it’s time to pull them aside, look them square in the face, and tell them how big your God is.

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