Thursday, April 5, 2012

Two Years and Counting...

I just read a blog post from 2009 when we were interviewing with our mission board to see if they would endorse Stephen as a Chaplain. Then I read the post of his graduation from Chaplain school and can hardly believe it's been two years since we arrived here in Norfolk. We have been through more than we expected from that first post until this one! Relocating, miscarrying, getting pregnant two months later, experiencing our first deployment, having our baby two months after Stephen got home, learning about deployment #2, traveling to Florida-Texas-and California with our 2-3 month old :), saying "good bye" again :(, and growing through all the challenges, failures, and successes that have come our way. God is Good. I am not mentioning these things to get some type of applause or to compare with anyone else. I know that our paths are all different and everyone has their own stories they could tell. Which by the way, you should! :) I think it is so encouraging to hear about what God is up to in other people's lives. Maybe you like to journal too (leave your web address so I can follow you!), or sing/write music, teach/speak, lead, or however you were gifted :) lets use it to lift Him up! It has been neat to look back on the past three years of our lives via this blog (and my handsome hubby's blog). It's always a cool reminder of how God is faithful to his promise that "He will never leave or forsake" me...even when I tend to screw up and fail Him-He never fails me. I'm thankful for His Word, teaching, and amazing family and friends he's put into my life to help guide, direct, and love me. So stinkin blessed! :)
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." -Jer 29:11 NLT

Settling into our "normal" lives again since Stephen has been home from deployment as been wonderful, arduous, and amazing! lol Wonderful and amazing because I am extremely happy to have my other-half back, and I know Tierzah is happy to have the coolest dad in the world to play with. Stephen is one-of-a-kind. If you know him, or have talked with him for even 5 minuets than you know he is...special. :) His smile lights up a room (and not just because his teeth are super white lol), he rarely has "a bad day" and if something makes him upset...it doesn't take long for him to get over it or completely forget that he was mad in the first place, and his excitement for living life to the fullest is contagious. I love that man! I appreciate his authenticity, integrity, bold love for people, courage to fight for what he believes in, passion for what he does, persistence, patience with me, and also that he is smokin hot. ;) Someone like that, is sorely missed when they are far away!

I suppose the arduous part of homecoming is fitting two independent pieces to a puzzle back together again after they have taken on somewhat different shapes. I think that any married couple can relate to this. It reminds me of our 1st year of marriage how the "nitty gritties" of living together come to the surface and you have to learn how to function as "we" instead of "I". Since we are all constantly changing and growing, it's tough to share those experiences while living life long-distance. Much love and prayers go out to those currently in deployments or just in military life period. In the end, I believe in what we have the opportunity to do and it is worth it!

Here's a few pictures of what we've been up to over the past 2 months:

Our first date was to the shooting range. Stephen is quite an expert. :)


Our friends surprised us with a 1st Birthday party for Tierzah! They were all so thoughtful and generous. Thank you again, guys!! :) She turned one years old 2 weeks before Stephen came home so we wanted to wait until he arrived to celebrate. Tierzah LOVED the icing...this picture was just after she grabbed a handful.


Grandma and Grandpa came to visit us and brought more birthday fun with them. I love this face she makes!


My MIL, Linda, took this picture of the three of us when we went to MD to visit family in Feb. Stephen finally got to see all of his siblings, nieces, and nephews after a long deployment.  



We would probably go out for sushi a few times a week if we could afford to. Recently, we have tried making our own sushi creations. To be honest, I think Pinterest has empowered me with some kind of DIY superwoman spirit. lol It makes me think (key word) that I can create anything! :)   


BREAD! I got a super cheap bread machine off of Craigslist and decided that I was against preservatives and other words I can neither spell nor pronounce. Ha! My SIL, Cheryl, is a pro bread maker and gave me a recipe to make my first loaf that actually tasted amazing. We were also craving bagels so I made some of those too! It's been fun. :) ...Especially now that someone else is here to appreciate it. lol


For my birthday last month, Stephen took the day off and I got to spend the morning getting a pedicure. We spent the afternoon walking around the Historic part of Ghent. After dinner that evening, we watched Act of Valor. We were one of the last to leave the theater because it took that long to regain composure. I'm so thankful for our military! What a touching movie.




Tierzah loved going grocery shopping in the cool race car carts at the commissary. She is not one to sit still so she had a blast with all the distractions to play with. 



If you just tilt your head to the right lol (I can't figure out how to rotate it)...you'll see that my sweet hubby came home from work with flowers sticking out of his back pack. :) Now, to ride around on a Ducati Monster motorcycle with lovely flowers sticking out of your back...that is true love! xoxo


Last month we spent 3 days all by ourselves in DC. Grandma and Grandpa watched Tierzah and as Bruce said it, "we remembered that we were in love." :) This is above the canal in Georgetown.


Stephen officiated his cousin, RJ's, wedding on St. Patricks Day in Alexandria, VA. It was beautiful and very special! Above is Tierzah exploring Grandma's house all dressed for the celebration. Below is Stephen and RJ await his lovely bride-to-be, Karen. 




Tpot knows when daddy is almost home because we can hear his new bike from a mile away. :) She toddles around the kitchen laughing as she waits for him to come inside. It's a party when daddy arrives!


My SIL, Suzanne, signed me up for my first race ever, the Ukrop Monument Ave 10K in Richmond. I have always said that I wasn't a runner and just wasn't built for it. :) But Stephen and Suzanne encouraged me to try and it has been exciting to see what God has given my body the ability to do just putting one foot in front of the other. It was a cold and rainy morning, but there was a lot of nervous excitement buzzing around the 30,000-40,000 runners that made it exhilarating to be apart of...rain or shine! :) I had no idea that there was going to be SO many people cheering on the sidelines, passing out water, handing out energy food, and even giving away "free high-fives." lol At the 6 mile marker, I could see the finish line and there was something overflowing inside of me. The people on the sidelines were cheering and ringing their bells louder and louder as we got closer to the end. I heard someone shout, "Only .2 more miles!!" So I started running as fast as I could to the end. :) My time was 1 hr and 4 mins. I couldn't help but think of the verse, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us RUN with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne." Heb 12:1-2 NLT This made me think that perhaps those who have already gone on to Heaven, are now cheering for us who are still running our race here on earth. Like in training, life can be hard, tiring, and we don't feel like continuing on. But keeping our eyes on Jesus and running towards (and for) Him reminds us of our purpose and end goal to bring Him glory and to invite others to run with us.  Easter is just around the corner and I'm looking forward to celebrating how Jesus never quit, he "endured the cross, disregarding its shame" and is "NOW...seated in the place of honor beside God's throne!" 

 
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Much Love,
Julie

3 comments:

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing your ups and downs and lots of pictures! I love those! You two are such a special couple. It is so wonderful to see how God is using you and growing you! You're awesome!
    : ) Kara

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  2. Great post! I enjoyed catching up with you! Your family's happiness just pours out of your writing and pictures!

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  3. Thank you, Shannon!! :-) Hope you are doing well!

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