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Monday, August 31, 2009

Plan B

This week has been so full I have hardly known where to start in regards to a new blog post. Therefore, I will just begin and somehow it will all come out and hopefully make sense.

First off, I want to say that "all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) With that positive note at the forefront, I'll delve into the past week.

I got a phone call from Brian last Tuesday while Wilder and I were visiting my family in Washington. During a team exercise (think "hell course", not "jumping jacks") with only three days left of the Special Forces Assessment and Selection he suffered a heat injury. He passed out and later woke to find himself on a hospital bed filled with tubes, a result of a combination of dehydration, exhaustion and liver failure. When the medics got to him his body temperature was 107. They packed him is ice and took him to the hospital where they continued to bring his body temperature down and rehydrate him. He said that if the medics hadn't responded so quickly his brain would have boiled and he'd have died. There's much more drama related to the story and the tale-teller in me would love to give you a play-by-play of the events as they unfolded, but the fact of the matter is Brian was unable to complete the course due to a medical injury, though he has the option of returning in as soon as 60 days to retry it.

It was a very common situation and Brian found himself in the company of many other guys who were just as shocked as he was, other guys who were rather like Superman and couldn't believe they got injured despite months of training and keen wits. With a couple days to commiserate with other injured SFAS fellows, eat and sleep as much as he wanted, and adjust to this major blow, Brian was in good spirits when he finally got his phone back that Tuesday and could call me. He was glad he was able to give Special Forces a whirl, and though he is confident that armed with the knowledge he gained from this time around he could pass SFAS if he tried again, he isn't sure that Special Forces is all he thought it would be. We've given ourselves the next three weeks to let life settle back to normal, begin putting his feelers out for new options, and then we'll start grabbing new plans by the horns.

We have been in this position so many times before. Plan A is golden and glorious, the best we could ever think up -and it falls on it's face. There's an immediate grieving and you're tempted to suck your thumb and stay inside with the blinds closed, whining about, "Well, NOW what are we going to do?!" But that never solves anything. Plan B or C or D or Z comes along, usually looking like a broken down pony compared to the Plan A Stallion you thought you'd ride off on into the sunset. You hop on your second choice, get down the road a ways and, lo and behold, you're entering the promised land. Much later you think back to that beautiful, shiny Plan A and wonder where you'd be if that had actually worked out. It vastly pales in comparison to the unimagined blessings of the Land of Plan B. It's still a blow that our original idea didn't work out in OUR timing or the way WE thought it should, but it leaves more room to let God prove Himself faithful as always and loving as ever. As well as a heck of a lot smarter than either of us.

We're working with one of the blankest slates that was ever quarried, but I have to tell you I've got an awesome feeling about this. It's scary as heck, but once I put it in perspective I can take a few deep breaths and relax because it's all going to work out beautifully. Keep our eyes open, keep moving forward, keep seeking God's will, and keep knocking on doors. If I accept my blindness or lack of correct sight and trustingly let God lead me as I move forward, I am in the best of hands and have no need to worry. The key, though, it is to keep moving forward. Stand still, freeze with anxiety and fear and where are you going? Nowhere.

So that's where we're at. Adjusting to Brian not having a ridiculous training schedule anymore, all of us being home once again, thinking about the future, and just being a family -which I LOVE.

This Wednesday I have another doctor's appointment and we will find out if I'm having a boy or a girl. VERY exciting!! I'll make sure I post the best photo from the ultrasound to introduce you to our wee little dumpling. I can hardly wait for Wednesday to come.

As you go about your week, I'd love for you to keep us in your prayers.
Please pray that:
A) We would draw close as a family and keep our focus on what's important
B) That Brian would have peace and clear vision as he seeks what's next for his career
C) That we would take heart and be strong in the Lord
D) That God would bring folks into our lives that would help pave the way for our next chapter

Thank you so much for your love, support, and reading this little updates. It's such a blessing to stay posted with you. May you be richly blessed this week!

Monday, August 24, 2009


The old analogy of storms and rough patches in life is so often used because it hits the nail right on the head. Sometimes we're so deep in the storm, the situation looks so dire that it is impossible to imagine it ever subsiding. We won't survive, there is no hope.

No hope.

That is a devastating, ugly and painful place to be. It drains you of life, it seeps the marrow from your bones. Hopelessness is no man's friend.

But we can shed our hopelessness, our despair, by taking the smallest action of raising our eyes. Stop looking into the apparent disaster and, with whatever shred of energy is left within you, look to the one who promises to see you through it. You may not have the answers, you may be clueless as to how anything good can come of the inevitable bad just waiting down the road -but Trust God. Challenge him with hopefulness in your heart to show you his plan and provide -to keep faithfully providing- each step of the way.

We can't do it all, solve it all, fix it all, nor can we make the world go away. But we are called to have hope, to have faith and to keep trusting that the one who loves us more than we can ever comprehend has blessings waiting just around the corner. And remember, nothing and no one is a lost cause; none of us is so far gone that we are irredeemable.

Don't do it alone. Ask others to come along side you to help you keep paddling, faithfully watching for the storm to break and the clouds to lift. No matter how crappy it looks from below, it's always a clear sky above the clouds. Always, and nothing can change that.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wenatchee VaCay: Bits and Pieces Part 2

So this is part of what we do at Grandmama's. There's a 3 bedroom house connected to the main home via a lovely covered walkway by the pool, so we have lots of space, privacy and quiet to keep Wilder's naptime and sleeping on schedule. We usually get up, play, take a nap, have lunch, play in the pool, hang out with family, go to bed. That's the jist of it! Not too rough, and quite a bit of fun. This is a snapshot from this morning.

Wenatchee VaCay: Bits and Pieces Part 1

A disorganized series of snapshots into our family visit and vacation in Washington. We are thoroughly enjoying being with my family and getting to play in Grandmama's vacation wonderland. She has a pool, a trampoline, a playscape and lots of big dogs to play with, as well as a beautifully lush garden brimming with all sorts of colorful flora. The weather is hot but not nearly as oppressive as our Texas August. It feels great. Here are some shots from yesterday evening, Wilder, Leandra and Derek playing in the family room. The kids are great helps with keeping Wilder entertained, whether around the house, in the yard or spalshing in the pool.

Wilder began posing for his little photo sessions with Leandra and Derek who were snapping away on their phones.

He climbed on to the couch to pose. What a ham.
And got some good wrestling in with Derek. It's fun having so many aunts and uncles!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Uncommon Interview

Uncommon Women's first interview is in the bag! Check out Jen Hoover HERE; she's all the rage.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fabulous Little Famlies

Check out my photography blog for some beautiful shots of this fabulous little family! Thank you, Carrie, Scott and Clayton, for letting me be a part of capturing memories!

Walking With Her

If you want to learn something, it usually helps if you have a teacher, someone to help guide you along as you explore your line of study. Self-educating is wonderful and we all ought to seek to help ourselves as much as possible, but be careful (ahem, Kelly) of being too self-reliant.

I was convicted of my need for a teacher -a guide, to be more precise- as I learn more about being a godly woman. This was a little hard for me to move on, but the wisdom of finding such a woman to help me over ruled my usual self sufficient nature.

Accountability can be a rather tough thing to seek out, especially if you're not proud of where you've been in your life. From being a strong Christian since youth through the beginning of college, then turning into a picture perfect example of the Prodigal Son (Daughter) until, truly, very recently, it's hard going to an older, wiser Christian woman -especially one who knew me when my life was "all put together." But if I let my pride, or, rather, my shame get in the way of growth I am going to cripple myself for life and I am dog-gone tired of being stuck in pointlessness. I've got to rest in the knowledge of God's love and forgiveness, and TRUST (such a hard thing to do, yet so simple) that He will gently lead me and Gina forward as we partner together in this mentoring relationship. I am prepared to lay myself bare, and that is a frightening thing to do. But, let me tell you something -I am excited about these growing pains I'm going through because I know with all my heart that it is going to break open a beautiful creation, one which I could never achieve on my own.

Gina is a wife, mother of three, grandmother of (soon to be) two, and now a full time artist. I have always admired her gentle way, her cheerful enthusiasm, her creative nature and her beautiful and hospitable spirit. She is truly an Uncommon Woman who has traveled many challenging roads with God and come out more radiant as a result. She's the kind of woman I want helping me as I walk with God, keeping me accountable in my marriage and with my role as a mother, and as I follow God's vision.

Here's something else, something you'd call "Totally God." During my first chat with Gina (by phone, since she lives in Alaska) she shared that about a month ago God put on her heart the responsibility to mentor a younger woman. She prayed about it and asked God who she should start this relationship with. Just about that time I sent her an email asking if she'd mentor me. Gina was the only person I could think of that fit perfectly what I was looking for. What are the odds that we'd both be searching at the exact time to fill this relationship? 100 to 1, in my guess. See, totally a God thing. Another beautiful testimony to God's faithfulness and that if we ask, He will answer.

So this is exciting! I already have homework from Gina and we've decided to have weekly phone dates. She's made herself completely available to me and has encouraged me to email and call spontaneously as the need arises to talk with my new guide. I am so blessed that such a good friend is now also filling this much needed role in my life.

I encourage you to seek a mentor and a mentee (that's not a word, but I like how it works.) Despite where we feel we are in our lives there are so many things we can share with others, as well as receive. It's humbling -we need others and others need us. Please spend some time reflecting on and praying about who God would like to bring into your life to have similar relationships with. We need each other. Let's not trap ourselves in isolation and false self-sufficiency.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Uncommon Women -A Reality

Here's the blog! Uncommon Women has a web presence and I am so thrilled that today, August 12, 2009, is it's first birthday (though, like a baby, it's zero right now.) Still, PARTY!!!!!

Please send this link to all your friends and please join, whether by subscribing, bookmarking or regularly checking it. Also, let me know if you would like your blog to be added to the Uncommon Community as a link.

Have ideas? I want to hear them!

Thank you for reading -and ENJOY!

Friendship Bracelets

Ever since I heard my niece and nephew (Hannah and Zaccai) were making friendship bracelets together -honestly, how cute is that?!- I have had a hankering to make some. I have several unfinished projects that are high priorities around the house, but, man, if I can squeeze it in I'm making some good ol' fashion friendship bracelets. If anything they could be used as luggage tags at least. But I bet I know some folks that would like some. Plus, I wouldn't be able to stop myself from adding in beads and there's not much cooler than friendship bracelets WITH beads.

It's so old school, ya gotta love it. Look for pictures of my fabric bangles coming here soon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Family Portrait -See My Photography Blog!

This weekend I had the lovely opportunity of doing several shoots with my sister-in-law and her beautiful family. Here is a small sampling with a few of my favorites. Check out my photography blog for more wonderful captures!

The Put-Away Gourmet

This is the second night in a row that Wilder has helped pick up his toys before bed. I'm sure I should have been helping him learn this ages ago, but what a thrill it's been now! I keep remembering Mary Poppins' adage, "For every job that must be done there is an element of fun,...and *snap* the job's a game!" Make it a chore and it will be like our nightly teeth brushing battle, but turn it into a song and a game, "Put the toys in the basket, toys in the basket, toys, toys, toys, we're picking up the room" (it really does have a melody, trust me) and Wilder gets a kick out of throwing the appropriate toys in their designated bins. *Ah* Bliss. If this is just a stage of cooperation, I'm LOVING it no matter how fleeting it may be.

And it has become quite apparent that Wilder loves: crab. When you're shelling crab, especially the kind with the really skinny legs, it takes ages. But Wilder, with outstretched hands, begs and begs for the next piece. It's a calorie burning exercise, for me at least. The satisfaction though of seeing him greedily stuff his face with crab is so worth the extra effort, seeing as how he generally lives on macaroni and cheese, top ramen and broccoli. A touch of the gourmet in him, I think. Perhaps stuffed mushrooms will be next on the menu. Then again, I think not.

The initial novelty of Brian being gone has utterly worn off and now it's just me missing him, a lot. Yeah, yeah, it's just a month. What's a month when we've done 15 months and most recently 12 months? It still stinks. I'm reduced to watching John Wayne films during the day and thinking about my husband every, well, five minutes. Brian loves The Duke. Plus his films are a tad less violent than Clint Eastwood's, another of his favorites. Wilder has been enjoying all the cows and horses, and the brawls, of course. But we leave in one week to Washington; hard to believe it's coming up that quickly. It will be great.

So that's our update. Just had to share Wiley's latest and greatest -he's also expanding his vocabulary to include "book," "shoes," and something else, I can't remember right now. It sure isn't "please." Must work on that one.

God bless your evenings and we're sending our love!

Friday, August 7, 2009

A New Set of Challenges

Wilder and I dropped Brian off this morning at the airport for his flight to Ft. Bragg, NC for Special Forces Assessment and Selection. He'll be gone for three weeks enduring more than the average bear; a lovely vacation of hellish conditions and challenges which he has been physically training and mentally preparing for over the past four months. I'm incredibly proud of him. His self-discipline and dedication are outrageously impressive, and I certainly don't mind all his chiseled muscles he's honed as a result. Oh, I will miss that man. I am anxious to learn the outcome of these three weeks but at the same time am confident that he will do a stellar job and the rest is up to God. I know that He has our future securely in His hands; all we have to do is keep seeking Him, doing our best, moving forward and all will fall in to place.

In less than two weeks Wilder and I head north to Washington for 10 days to visit my family, something I am greatly looking forward to. As Brian and I will have no communication until it's time for him to board the plane home at the end of the month, I welcome the trip whole heartedly -as a time to visit (since it's been over 2 years) and as a distraction. Much rests on the outcome of Brian's SFAS evaluation. If he passes and is accepted to go to the Special Forces school, we will be moving in aproximately 5 months to North Carolina. If for some reason it doesn't pan out, a whole new set of plans has to be looked at carefully and quickly. Again, everything will turn out perfectly, it's just very unknown right now.

For August my goal is to create and organize Uncommon Women. Through July I have been reading several books on examining God's purpose for my life and previous bits of vision have become technicolor and pieced together. Before I wanted to start my own charm school, after teaching for nearly 5 years in Alaska. It was something I knew I could do, I just had to get the material compiled and create the curriculum. If you've read the Dovanan Covey blog update, you'll get a refresher on my journey attempting to get classes started and forming the business. Through the past month I discovered that what I really wanted to do was to create a Christian based organization that inspires, equips, and encourages women to live fully with purpose and passion. The charms school is just a drop in the bucket compared to the vision I have. I want to provide the tools for every woman to learn how to be beautiful inside and out, to provide role models for women of all generations, particularly the ones to come. This month I am focusing on taking the first baby steps towards that vision by starting a local group and a web presence.

I am excited to see God's plan unfold as I continue pursuing a personal relationship with Him and seeking His passion for my life. There will be roadblocks, times of confusion and discouragement, but what are those things compared to Him? Nothing.

Your encouragement, insights and ideas are so helpful and I gladly welcome them. Feel free to email me or leave a comment here.

This month's goals may be the most challenging our family has faced in a long time, but I am confident there will be a wonderful and victorious end. So here's to the end of the month and seeing great things happen!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Shoot!

Check my photography blog for some wonderful new pictures of some really cute folks!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Liquid Happiness

Blueberry Banana Blast:

1 frozen banana
1/2 c (or so) frozen blueberries
Milk, enough to swoosh things around without it being too thick
Agave Nectar, to taste (est. 1-2 tablespoons)

For those of you, like me, who hadn't heard of agave nectar let me please be the first to introduce you. It is a wonderful natural sweetener that can be found in most baking aisles next to the molasses and caro syrup. It looks like honey but, fortunately lacks any distinct flavor -besides sweetness! It's pretty fantastic. My friend Jen likes to top her pancakes with it, I must try that.

Back to the Blueberry Banana Blast. Mix those fellas together and enjoy approximately two pint glasses full of liquid happiness. It's a great snack to tie you over between breakfast and lunch. Wilder was a big, big fan.

Note: To enhance your smoothie experience and keep you satisfied, add some soft silken tofu to the mix. You won't taste it (well, maybe a very light nutty flavor, which I think is always welcome) and it will add a wonderful thickness to your beverage. Milk allergies? Use soymilk and it will be just as delicious (or even better; I love the taste, especially the unflavored kind.)


Uncommon Women

It's big, it's bold, it's outrageously exciting!

Uncommon Women
It's a group I am beginning this fall. We'll meet once a month for some fun, inspiration, networking, and a touch of learning how to become more fabulous.

Our first event is scheduled for Thursday, September 10th.
Here is the list of events:

Dessert & Beverages
Make Up Demonstration: Fall Beauties
(Short) Inspirational Chat

Now, who wouldn't want to go to that?! It's free, it's fun, it's FABULOUS.
More details to come -hopefully I'll be announcing a very special guest artist who will be sharing some snazzy tips. Stay tuned!

Donavan Covey

New post on the Donavan Covey site. In it I share my heart about the charm classes I hope to begin and the evolution of its vision.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just Like Papa

Yesterday Brian cut Wilder's hair after he buzzed his own. Yes, the golden locks are gone, but they'll grow back. I know Brian's been wanting to take the sheers to Wilder's hair for some time now and it was too cute how -at least at first- Wilder enjoyed the feeling of the vibrating clippers on his head. Between the two of us the job got done and now Brian has a little replica running around.

Wilder fell and was fascinated with the result of his scraped knee.
As well as a little sad. But he keeps pointing to it and touching it like a war wound. He's a funny man.

Reinvention & Rediscovery: Part 3

July has come to a close and I am challenged to reflect on and assess my goal of reinvention and rediscovery. But I can't really begin without a cup of tea, so hold on a moment while the kettle boils. This will give me more time to think.

Though I did not start each day with the big question, "Who am I?," I have to say took a decidedly direct path towards finding greater purpose in my daily life. My spiritual journey was the main catalyst for change in my heart, no question about that. Here's the short list of what I discovered are of great value to me.

-Focusing more on God (and, subsequently, others) and less on myself.

-Becoming more cognizant of my passionate character and how I can continue to explore and use it to help others.

-Being more intentional in relationships.

-Realizing how much I love, enjoy and value being a mother and wife and finally being satisfied with my roles at this point in my life. (As opposed to constantly searching for outside validation and fulfillment -being more than "just" a mom and housewife as society -but mainly myself- pressures women to be. I mean, ANYONE can be a mom and a housewife. Piece of cake, right? Well, it takes a heck of a lot to be a good or awesome mother and homemaker and it's definitely something to take pride and great joy in.)

Phew. That's a lot of discovery and reinvention!
Wow, I'm very pleased with how far I've come this month in exploring what really matters to me at this stage of my life. Family, relationships, a passionate life, a rich spiritual life and a continually deepening relationship with God.

As I am contemplating August's goal I imagine it won't be nearly as grand as July's, but I am excited about my next challenge. I have a feeling it's going to have something to do with finally de-cluttering my house.

Take care and have a wonderful day!


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