Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Three Years Ago...



"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Ps 139:16 (NLT)

...we traveled across the country and began our east coast journey. We had no idea what laid ahead of us but had faith it was what we were supposed to do. Our house in CA sold in November '09 and Stephen was accepted into the Navy in December '09. He flew from DC to San Diego, had his swearing in 'ceremony' in a taco shop parking lot near the airport, because he was literally on his way to Officer Development School in RI which began the next day in January '10. As a brand new Navy wife (who also just found out she was prego), I was devastated when we were separated for that month of training! Thankfully, I was reunited with my sweetheart in Feb '10 and was able to live with him in a hotel while he trained at Ft Jackson in Chaplain School. During his training, we lost our baby (#2) in a miscarriage. That shook our core but also deepened our relationship with each other and also with God. It was by His grace that we were able to spend those rare 2 months together at Ft Jackson, because neither of us knew what was coming up next. Stephen graduated Chaplain School on March 31st '10 and we drove straight to our new duty station in Norfolk, Va. We were in our new home and town for 7 weeks before I found myself waking up at 0400 with a positive pregnancy test AND getting ready to hug and kiss my best friend for the last time before he sailed away on the USS Elrod for the next 6 months. God was more than gracious in bringing irreplaceable friends and family into my life to support, pray for, and love on me! Thank you all!!!

"You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head." Ps 139:5

November '10 Stephen came home and January '11 our vivacious, beautiful, baby girl entered the world. :) Life as we had known it was amazingly changed forever. We enjoyed our time as a family for 3 1/2 months before we once again were waking up at 0-dark-30 to kiss and hug Stephen as he left for a 9 month deployment to Kuwait. One thing was different, as I drove away and looked in my rear view mirror, there was a baby sleeping in her carseat. :) I had no idea what it was going to be like living as a solo parent. Easy, no...worth it, yes. I had many days when I melted down, was fed up, exhausted, or was envious when other couples/families were enjoying the holidays while my most loved one was living in another time zone. But I also got the opportunity to grow as an individual being stretched to my limits, was encouraged by God-sent people just when I needed it, went to new levels of vulnerability and openness with Stephen through our long distance marriage, and humbled by the way God faithfully provided, protected, and loved on us. He is SO merciful!

"Give thanks to Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the world know what he has done." I Chron 16:8

January '12 our Tpot turned 1 yrs old and February '12 we picked up our fearless leader from the airport! She took her 1st steps for him that very night and she's been toddling after him ever since. ;) April '12 we found out that we are expecting again and this time it's a boy! July '12 we moved across town to be near the base and avoid traffic which has meant more time together. Having Stephen in the same country for the past 8-9 months has been SO wonderful. He works at the ministry center on NOB and also as the Chaplain for three of the ships at the pier. Baby Boy is due in December '12 and we are looking forward to what the next 3 yrs or so has in store. :)



In September we visited family in Southern Maryland and got to meet our newest nephew, Jacob.
In this pic we were getting yummy seafood with the family on St. George Island, MD


Ten days later we were flying to San Diego, CA for a Chaplains Conference/vacation. It was SO wonderful to see family and friends again. We left the land of fruits and nuts feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. We are pretty stinkin blessed to have amazing people located all over the world who love and encourage us constantly.
Love you all!!

Main Gate at Camp Pendleton, CA
Since we have orders here July 2013, we spent some time getting on the list for base housing and meeting with Stephen's future bosses. It was exciting for both of us to drive through our old stomping grounds. :) My dad was stationed on CP many years ago so my earliest childhood memories begin with living on the base housing. Stephen was stationed there as a studly, young Marine over 10 years ago too. Just thinking about all that God orchestrated to make our paths cross is incredible.
 Coincidence? I don't think so..."Ain't no body got time for that!" :)

 

I was SO excited to go to the Pumpkin Patch this year. For the past two years, Stephen was deployed during this season so I was stoked to finally experience it as a family. On the way there, Tpot was not a happy camper but Stephen and I were determined, "we WILL have fun and lots of it whether she liked it or not!" lol :) Of course, she loved it and couldn't get enough of the pumpkins, play ground, hay ride, and especially the animals.


 

30 weeks and some change in this picture.
We were at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Marine Corps Marathon!
(This is a picture of Stephen running a race while in Kuwait)
 This past Sunday he drove up to DC to run the Marine Corps Marathon. He had been training many months for it so Hurricane Sandy or not...he was running that race. I was extremely nervous for him because the weather was scheduled to rain throughout the entire race. In Norfolk, we already had strong winds and heavy rain so I was just praying that Stephen would make it through the marathon...alive! lol I wanted to be there with him SO badly but Tpot and I both already had colds and traveling this prego through a tropical storm is not ideal. Thank God, the rain in DC held off and not only did he finish the 26.2 mile race, he then hopped in his car, drove 3 1/2 hours back home, wanted to help put his baby girl to bed, and snuggle with his wife! God has given me an amazing man. Spartan warriors got nothin on Stephen! Proud of you, babe! ;)



Griffins in Nags Head, NC
We got to spend time with Stephen's parents and our Hawthorne family this month. It's been so great living  within driving distance of them for the past few years. I know God was favoring me when he gave me such loving extended family. Love you guys!


I'm sure I have lots more to share but I think it's quittin' time for now. :) Hope everyone has a great holiday season!
 
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