My little cowboy

"Snips and snails and puppy dog tails; that's what little boys are made of." I love masculinity...

"Sugar and spice and everything nice; that's what little girls are made of."

My sweet baby girl...

Reflections and projections

Today I took the time to slow down enough to reflect on "this time last year we were..." I like to do that from time to time in order to see how far we've come or how much we've changed, and also to trace the Lord's hand in our lives. This time last year, the final details were coming together for us for the Chaplaincy. Tim was getting ready to quit his "day job" and spend a month at home with Dylan before CH-BOLC started. We were "entertaining" the idea of child #2 (didn't take much entertaining!) and we were spiffing up our house to put it on the market. I can honestly say that the last year has had more changes in it than probably our 10 years together combined. Changing and quitting jobs, entering the military, conceiving a child, selling a home, being apart for 3 months, moving, buying a car, having a child (prematurely)...whoa, head is spinning! Life now is good, but it is very different. My days were once filled with nurse work from 0630 until 1900 and my "off days" were filled with a kiddo and housework. Now, I am a 24-7 nursing mommy :), maid, and cook. Making friends and setting up my "community" has been another task as I prepare for being a "happily married single parent" :) in the near future. I also spend some evenings each month at "coffees" (military wives term for "get-togethers). Soon we will be participating in a marriage retreat for the soldiers and their families in our battalion. My goal is to try to have an active presence in my husband's Chaplaincy ministry, in order to bring glory to God, to be a blessing to the soldiers and families, and use my gifts & talents wisely. Is this what I envisioned? I think so, but the more important question for me is "God, is this what you envisioned?" I have begun asking God that question on a daily basis, "Lord, is this what you envisioned for this day?" Breaking it down like that keeps me from steering off track before I realize it. For the past 3 days Tim has been out in the field doing deployment readiness trainig. He learned alot of important things about traveling in a convoy and had a great time in the process. For me, the past 3 days have been "single mom days". Not awful, but tough. This is my most important ministry roll, to continue on a somewhat normal life for the souls entrusted to me by God. I have a renewed respect for the women surrounding me in my neighborhood who are doing this for 365+ days at a time. It takes grit, guts, determination, but also a tender heart open to the Lord's wisdom and leading...and also it takes someone who sees the burning need for ministry to our troops and is instead willing to change diapers and wash laundry while someone else meets that need. It is not glamerous; there are no medals of honor, no recognition ceremonies. It is tireless and thankless at times. But there is that quiet, gentle voice of the Holy Spirit that so readily reminds us we are all working for the King, no matter what our role.
Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

And a beautiful note to end on, Jordan Nataleigh at 12 weeks. One of those precious souls entrusted to me... :) Lucky me!

The best laid plans...

Today I had 'one of those days'. You know 'em; not alot went right and everything seemed like a struggle. Upon wakening this morning, I had an extensive agenda for this day. A doctor appointment for myself, going to the Wally-Market, house cleaning, laundry, etc. All good things, nothing selfish, just trying to 'get it all done'. But I do believe I can say with confidence that the Lord had other plans for my day. My plans were derailed and I found myself on several detours. My son's coughing and neon green nose necessitated another doctor's appointment (2 appointments in one day, really!?!?) This turned into a 2 1/2 hours visit to the clinic with a sick 3 year old who does not feel his best and a 2 1/2 month old in tow. The funniest part was when they sent us for a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and the 3 year old exclaimed he needed to potty while the baby exclaimed she needed to eat...yes, at the same time! After fumbling through that, finding out that he didn't have pneumonia, and getting our medicine, we made our way exhaustedly to Wally's Market. As if our day wasn't wrought enough, someone saw fit to give me the cart with this worst wheel-issue ever in the history of shopping carts. So there we went, ka-dunk ka-dunk, through the streets of Wally-World. I'm pretty sure I could sense that God was smiling, or at least chuckling. Having experienced days like this one before, I know they can be handled one of two ways: with frustration or with surrender. Although, even though I've been down this road before, I found myself fighting surrender. As the Rich Mullins wrote, "surrender don't come natural to me". But as our outing came to a close and we headed home to quarantine ourselves, I finally made the connection in my heart that while things today seemed out of control, that were perfectly in God's control. How much more peaceful and at peace I could be if I would graciously bow out and usher in God's agenda and the Holy Spirit's presence in each day! Surrendering does not guarantee me smooth roads (neither did that shopping cart!) or easy passage. But it does put me exactly in the place I need to be of total reliance on God. And when your day is unraveling instead of unfolding, there is no safer place to be.

Family Pumpkin Carving 2009

In what has become a Raburn tradition, Tim spent some time last week carving out our family pumpkin. He really has a knack for this and Dylan and I just sit back and watch in awe (well, I sit back and Dylan circles Tim like a vulture!) With the reality of a scheduled deployment next year will have to find a way to carry on this tradition next fall. Maybe we will carve a Tim face in honor of our soldier. Hooah!

Mothering...and other memories

I recently read an article in a religious magazine about a mother who, much like an employee at a corporation, turned in her 'resignation, effective today' to her family. In the resignation, she detailed how she could no longer 'work under such conditions' and was feeling overwhelmed by the number of constituents under her. While the article was written completely in jest, it got me thinking about this life of motherhood. Mothering (in particular, family-making and the formative years) are quite the challenge. I myself am considering writing a book chronicling the years I am spending raising my God-given gifts called children. I do not have sufficient enough material yet to write said book, but I already have a working title. It will be called, "Outnumbered: raising kids without raising hell". But I digress... In my recent attempts to find the balance (that, I've been told, "will come") in dividing time between 2 kids and housework, I have been employing some new strategies. One of which is "Get up before the kids do and get a few things done". Whether its getting a cup of Joe, reading the Bible, or taking a shower, getting something done before the children awake and begin requesting things has been suggested as helpful. I have discovered that this is not possible. You see, the children either have a "Mommy-Cam" through which they see you when you attempt to rise before them OR they have a string which is tied to your foot, and when you rise it rings a bell like Liberty to awaken them from their slumber in order that they might greet you at your bedroom door before you even come into the hallway. Oh well, it was a nice try. I have found myself amazed in the last 11 weeks at what can be accomplished in one day with my hands and the Lord's favor. Serving up 3 meals a day, to suit everyones tastes and likes. At least 1-2 loads of laundry done, folded, and put away. The perpetually endless cycle of dishes in and out of the dishwasher. Remembering our vitamins. The perpetually endless cycle of diaper changing. Looking for hidden toys that I swear I saw out in plain sight just yesterday. Clamoring to find any bit of time I can to spend with the love of my life. Remembering to brush teeth. Looking for that toy again! Paying bills. Giving lots of hugs and kisses. Reading God's word. Slowing down long enough to play a game or to "watch this, Mommy!" Orchestrating naps. All this and more, while at the same time independently manufacturing my own brand of enough milk to keep a growing baby alive. Whew! Maybe I should change my working title to "Circus Cow: Moo!" Orchestrating naps, an oxymoron if there ever was one. When I was pregnant with my second child, I would often wonder what it was like to have 2 young kids. I dreamed of a magic place, one where the children both napped at the same time. And I thought, "Yes! That is how these Moms make it; they put their children down for naps at the same time." What I now realize is that when my son leans over my baby daughter to give her a kiss, he is also whispering to her about the "kid's code of conduct" which I believe states that one child must be awake at all times while Mom is in the house. My baby girl has willingly complied and my oldest has refused to change his ways. At the end of the day, after all the hugs and kisses have been doled out, after the last nursing session, and after all teeth have been brushed, when it is just me lying next to that love of my life...the circus of nap dilemmas and outnumbered situations give way to a heart of gratitude. The lives entrusted into my care, including my husband's, are priceless. As the mother of 2 wonderful children, I am overwhelmed with sweetness and affection. As the wife of an Army Chaplain, I am overwhelmed with pride for my husband and my country. As the child of the King, I am overwhelmed with His love. Maybe I should change that working title, yet again, to "Overwhelmed: blessed beyond measure".

Timely Words

"My understanding, my feeling, about the importance of the Chaplains Corps is so great that it would be difficult indeed to think of the most important of all of those things for a two or three-minute chat with you this morning. I would like to bring my thoughts right down to the present. "We know that America now must remain strong, by which I mean militarily strong, to sustain in the world the concepts on which our civilization is based, the ideas of the dignity of man, of a government based on religious faith. So it seems to me, as long as we have to do that, as long as our young men must respond cheerfully to their military duty, whether it be in the Reserves or the Regulars, and must do it as a national obligation, your task is especially important. It is to bring home to them, to their fathers and mothers, and indeed to the whole world, how much this is truly a crusade, a crusade for decency, not carried out on a militant basis but on one where we stand firmly behind the great concepts found, indeed, in every great religion but more especially, I suppose, in the Sermon on the Mount, by which this Nation has lived and which underlies its founding. "You bring to the men actually in the Service a sense of doing a wonderful thing-that their sacrifices, the performance of their duty, are important. You give them that sense of feeling, because you bring to them the certainty and the constant reminder that man is a spiritual being. You comfort the United States as it realizes that it has a long period of sacrifice ahead of it and giving of its sons and of its treasure and of its might, doing something that does not of itself advance the cause of human progress and human happiness, defending what we have. "This is a very difficult task, to take all of these complex ideas, these purposes, and put them before all of us in their proper perspective. And I can't conceive of anybody better-more equipped-to do this than the Chaplains Corps, both in its Reserves and active formations, because this is indeed a time of trial, when it tries men's spirits, not merely their pocketbooks. "So I think the one thing I would like to say above all else to you this morning is just simply: Thank you, thank you very much-personally, officially and every way I can speak. Good morning." An Excerpt of Remarks By President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Members of the Military Chaplains National Association May 9, 1956

If you're anything like me, before you got the the end you probably thought this was a speech given as of late. Not surprising, is it, that true words are timeless? They never lose their season and are applicable over and over again throughout time...much like the Bible. My husband shared this with me and I had to post it because it is such an elequently spoken piece of encouragement to our Chaplains and the core of what they do. My favorite line in this piece is :

"You give them that sense of feeling, because you bring to them the certainty and the constant reminder that man is a spiritual being."

This is one of the best ways to briefly state what it is that our Chaplains do. Their presence is a constant reminder to our soldiers that man is a spiritual being. That thought undoubtedly inspires a myriad of other thoughts which put the thinker on the road to deeper questions like "Why do I exist?" and "Is there a God?". It is this type of soul-searching quest that is the heartbeat of the Chaplaincy ministry: revealing hope to the men & women of the U.S. military and enabling them to come to God just as they are, where they are.

What is an Army wife?

The Lord is beginning to make me increasingly aware of those around me who are temporarily living alone while their soldier is defending our country's freedom. In my circle of friends, there are at least 8...and I've only been making friends here since early May. At a post like Ft Bragg, deployment is inevitable and more than half of the post can be deployed at any one time. Now, though, those soldiers who are deployed have names and faces that I recognize, and they have families and spouses that I know and love dearly. Those amazing women who, as the patriotic hymn says, "more than self their country loved" and have made the lofty sacrifices necessary to send the head of their house and love of their lives into harms way. What is an Army wife? She is one who endures obstacle and inconvenience for the sake of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and her husband's calling and career. She can persevere through lengthy absences with nothing but pride for her country and love for her family to spur her on...and the hand of God to guide her. Satisfaction in a job well done comes when she sees her children participating in those things which only happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave. She knows she makes her home with one of those brave...and that she too, is a woman of bravery. She prays for his return, but is glad there are men like hers fighting for our rights and protecting our freedoms. Whether her husband enlisted or was commissioned into the service, she received no schooling, training, or boot camp to prepare her for this life. Yet she finds a way to excel at supporting her soldier and sometimes being Mom and Dad to her children...and cook, maid, launderer, accountant, tutor, friend, nurse, etc. To the Brookes, Lauras, and Katherines of the Army, this has become all to real...yet I've heard none of the whine or complain. I can't help but picture the Father counting their sacrifice as equal to that of their spouse. By ALL means, we owe our love and appreciation to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. But their families who have loved and supported them, and made it possible and more probable for them to do their jobs well, deserve our gratitude as well. "If you can read this thank a teacher. If you're reading this in English thank a soldier." And thank their spouse, as well.

From Drowning in Disappointments to Upheld by Hope

It’s not supposed to be this way... I chose to revisit one of my favorite books yesterday.  (Love Lysa’s story!) And my whole heart resonat...