Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Bedtime was my favorite. I still remember not being able to go to sleep as a little girl until my dad tucked my covers around me real tight. He told the best, most animated, bedtime stories but what I remember the most was the way I felt as he knelt at the edge of my bed, put his big hand on my little head, and prayed over me almost every night. I felt so safe, secure, and protected knowing my dad was next to me. Thank you, dad, for taking the time after a long day of work to make sure I felt loved by you.

This picture is of my dad and siblings when we were on an apple picking trip in Julian, Ca. Ever since we were young, my family would take car rides all over San Diego. I remember getting ice cream and going to go watch the sunset by the ocean, or walking around various Marinas while my dad talked about his favorite boats. Who would have thought that I'd marry a guy who loves to do the exact same outings with our kids. :) Thank you, dad, for good memories to look back on!

I remember fondly...New Year's Day breakfast omelettes you'd make, our daddy-daughter dates, how you'd always tease us with "wet willy's", hide-in-go-seek games on base housing, the tree house you built for us, the boys you scared away from your daughters, the first time you showed me how to hold a gun, watching you draw and paint masterpieces, listening to you sing, and the way you knew how to make everyone smile and laugh.

I love you, dad! You are far from perfect ( lol me too!) But I wouldn't be where I am today without you. Thank you for your sacrifice and love!

Here's some more pics of the awesome fathers in our family:

My father in law, Bruce Griffin, is truly one of a kind. I love how dedicated he is to his family. He takes his role as a spiritual leader very seriously and seeks to disciple his children, sons and daughter in law, and grandchildren whenever the opportunities arise. Stephen has had such a great role model in his dad and knows if he needs sound advice...he can ask Bruce. Thank you for challenging us and encouraging us "to love and good works!" You are a wonderful dad and grandfather. I'm so blessed to be apart of your family!

We took this picture today at church. Look at that awesome dad and his two wee ones. :) He loves those babies so much and would rather be with them than off by myself most days. Stephen Thomas, I am grateful for the fabulous daddy you strive to be for our family. Our kids have so much fun with you and the party officially begins whenever we hear your motorcycle pull up the drive way. :) Thank you for jumping out of bed in the middle of the night to put a baby back to sleep, for coaching my breathing and cutting the cord as they first entered this world, for teaching them to be brave...even though it sometimes gives me a heart attack, for being the best team mate I could ask for on this journey of parenting. I know we don't always have a clue what we are doing but thank you for being humble enough to seek God for help when it is needed. I love the way Tierzah adores you and how big Micah smiles when he hears your voice! You are our hero!!

Last night, Stephen rescued Micah and this was the sleepy smile he gave his dad. Little stinker. ;)

This weekend we went to Busch Gardens and Tierzah road on her first roller coaster! She wasn't scared at all and kept saying, "higher, higher!" I'm sure having her daddy next to her made her feel safe.

I love you, Stephen! ~Your Baby Mama ;)

Here is my papa, Thomas Miller, at my wedding. He and my uncles live in Scotland so I haven't had as much opportunity to be around them physically. However, I know they are great fathers and and would do anything for their kids. I love you uncle, Thomas II and Joe! Tommy, your positive outlook on life is contagious and, Joe, one day I will make a steak pie as good as yours. ;) I look forward to my children getting to meet you all soon!!

Here's my dad again with my one, and only, brother, Jared! Jared is a soon-to-be daddy this October. I'm so proud of you, bro! I know you are going to be such a loving and fun dad. I can't wait to see how God continues to bless you and Rachel. Love you both!

My brothers-in-law! They are all incredible fathers and their love for their family is proved by how hard they work for them. Honestly, as I take time to thinking about all of these men I have mentioned so far...I am SO encouraged that there is a never ending list of wonderful things I could say about each of them!

Happy Fathers Day!! Speaking on behalf of all the mamas and kids out there...whether we like to admit it or not, we need great fathers like you and thank God for his provision of you in our lives!

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

A BIG "Thank You!"

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God." Phil 1:3

Where to begin? Our 3 years and nearly 8 months of living on the east coast is shortly coming to an end. We have had quite an adventure! In less then two weeks, the movers start packing our household goods and then two weeks later we PCS to Camp Pendleton. As thrilled as I am that "we are going-going, back-back, to Cali-Cali," :) I also am having a hard time with the reality of having to say good bye to some amazing people.

It has been very special to have had the opportunity to make precious memories with our Griffin (Corl, Hawthorne, et al!) family. Thank you for accepting and loving me in-spite of my introverted quirks. Lol I have learned so many things from each of you and truly am inspired by your lives, perseverance, love for one another, and your faith in God through all that I have seen you weather individually. I never imagined that I'd get to be apart of such a crazy, fun, and incredible family. I love you guys and am going to miss being within driving distance of all the festivities and gathering of the clans! Thank you for providing me with a stud to journey through life with...I know his parents and 4 sisters trained him well. ;) We don't know where we will be living when we get to CA, but wherever it ends up are always welcome! I know our official family farewell isn't for a couple weeks, but I guess this is me trying to put on "paper" what I may not be able to say while full of emotions. :)

My two sisters, Serena and Shantell, live in Indiana and Tennessee. We have all tried to take advantage of our proximity to visit one another as much as we could. It has been great to have made many sweet memories together...and some sour ones too. ;) I love them unconditionally and I know they feel the same about me (right? Lol). We have all been through a variety of challenging obstacles over the past 4 years and these beautiful, courageous, resilient, generous, and talented women have been a huge source of inspiration to me. I know with our move that I won't be seeing them as often but when you are sisters~you are always close at heart. Thank you for being a phone call away especially on those days when I am in need of a good laugh. :)

When we first moved to Hampton Roads, Stephen was getting ready to deploy, I just found out I was pregnant, and I didn't know anyone in the area. Unbeknownst to me, God was about to bless me big time with such an incredible neighbor! This lovely lady befriended me and introduced me to her awesome family and friends. She taught me what "loving thy neighbor" was really all about. I know if there was anything I ever needed...she would do all she could to help. Thank you, Diane, Shannon, Tammy, Chris, Brooke, Kathy, Cathy, Karen, and all my Churchland Bunco friends! I love and will miss you all dearly. Don't have too much fun without me! ;)

While living in Portsmouth, we found an awesome church (Point Harbor Community). I attended by myself for 6 months while Stephen was deployed and the first small group I joined accepted and loved on me right away. I had only known them for a few months and they threw me a baby shower! Thank you, Becky, Brandi, Erica, and Kim for making me feel at home and keeping me accountable. I will cherish those memories together with some great sisters!
Also, thank you Point Harbor, Moms on Point mamas, First Friday young adult crew, and the Pastors who were faithful to share the Word while we got to attend PH!! I love getting updates on what God is doing's always so encouraging. Please keep it coming!

Marcia, Paris, Annie, Kara, Lavonne, Krysta, Jen, Amanda, Melanie, Ginger, Erin, Virginia, and Katie are just a few of the women who I've had the opportunity to meet through the Navy. It has been a privilege to get to know them! Uncle Sam has already moved some of them on to different duty stations around the world but I love keeping in touch via Facebook. I have been a student of their lives and am continually uplifted by each of them! Thank you for the gift of your time for however long or short it lasted.

Last year we moved from Portsmouth to Norfolk/VA Beach area to live closer to base. It was a good move for our family and Stephen's job but tough for me personally. I didn't know if we would find a community to connect with in a short amount of time and after some unsuccessful searches I was getting discouraged. Then we decided to visit First Baptist of Norfolk and found exactly what we needed. It is going to be hard to leave our life group as they have challenged us in our faith and become great friends. I know that we are all pilgrims just passing through this life but it makes a world of difference when you get to travel with wonderful people along the way.

Mom to Moms was another awesome group that I got to be apart of. The pictures above were from our end of the year Tea and I had an opportunity to give a testimony of my experience. Here's what I said:

"I was invited to M2M by Carrie. She met me for the first time and talked about how encouraging this study was for her and how awesome her mentor mom, Barb, had been. :) It didn't take much persuasion because I was fairly new to 1st Baptist, I'm a navy wife without family in this area, I had recently moved, I was 8 months pregnant and I had a 21 month old. I came here not knowing anyone, feeling exhausted, lonely, and was filled with ideas or "lies" of what the perfect mom looked like...and I was FAR from it. Aaand I'm not gunna lie, the advertisement of "free child care" sold me right away. :) I had no idea that I was going to meet some incredible, faith filled-women, great friends, and have my perspective on motherhood completely changed. The lessons were all so challenging but what stood out to me the most was the importance of living everyday as a mom on purpose...not perfectly! ...but learning from God's Word, these mentor moms and from the moms here in this group how to develop a plan to work through areas where I struggle, receive prayer and encouragement, and get to see God slowly change me from the inside-out. In my heart I am no longer just trying to survive motherhood but I want to embrace it with the new dreams and goals M2M has encouraged me to envision for myself as a Child of God and as a wife and mother.

Thank you Mentor moms and the leader moms for putting this study together and sacrificing your time to invest in all of us. I especially appreciate the transparency of the moms in our group and the lack of judgment when I've confessed my pit falls . You all have resonated with my stories and encouraged me to focus on the bigger picture that we really only get to have these precious children for a short amount of time..."

Dear Protestant Women of the Chapel, thank you SO much for the ministry you provide. Reta, Deb, Kelly, Sandy, Rosemary, Kara, Heather, and many others took time to love on me and my children, bring us meals after Micah was born, and pray for our family. Thank you for being a "home away from home!" I appreciate each of you and will not forget my time growing with you all. I hope that our lives in the military pass again soon!

I suppose it is impossible to thank everyone who has touched our lives out here in 4 years but my feeble attempt has left me incredibly humbled by ALL the people God has used to love on us! I don't deserve such a blessed life. I pray that God gives me opportunities to love others the way He loves me.

Please pray for us as we finish our work here at Norfolk Naval Base and begin a new chapter on Camp Pendleton. Oh yes, and if you could lift up a prayer for us to get into a home out there...that would be awesome too. ;)

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