Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Cake Angel

You know sometimes people come in to our life that are, to me, affirmations that God truly is in every single detail.  I had the honor of meeting one of those special people while staying with my husband during his de-mob process.

Each morning after our husbands left the hotel, some of us wives would meet in the hotel for breakfast.  It was a great time of meeting, fellowshipping, and enjoying a good breakfast before we started our days.  As we sat at breakfast one morning we got to talking about how we wished we could make a cake or some cookies for the soldiers - you know just some good comfort food for them.  So we asked the breakfast attendant if we could use the hotel's kitchen to bake (we have done this before when our husbands returned from deployment)  The precious breakfast attendant, Ms. Berta, informed us that the hotel did not have a kitchen, just a microwave and a toaster oven...neither of which would work for what we had planned.  Ms. Berta sat down at our table with us and inquired why we were in need of a kitchen.  We shared with her that our husbands had just returned from a year plus long deployment to Afghanistan and we wanted to treat the entire unit to a special treat.  At this point, Ms. Berta's face just lit up with excitement.  She invited us to come to her home and do our baking there.  She shared with us that she is known as the "Cookie angel" because she bakes cookies and takes it to the camp for troops who are about to mobilize.  She shared that she has not been able to bake in a while and would love nothing more than to help us.  Here we all complete strangers to her and she is inviting us to her home to bake...tears.  So we all re-grouped and headed to the store to purchase the supplies we would need to bake a cake. 

We renamed Ms. Berta the "cake angel" because she was just so precious to open her home to us so we could bake a cake.  She was an absolutely precious lady.  Meeting her was such an affirmation that my lines do fall in pleasant places...that God is certainly in all the details and places some really amazing people in our lives if we just stop for a moment to realize it.  She made us feel right at home in her kitchen.  She shared so much with us and prayed over us and the soldiers.  Absolutely precious and I am so thankful we met her. 

Wendy, Ms. Berta, and Kim:

Kim whipping up the icing.

Wendy leveling the cake.

Just me spreading the icing on the Hershey Bar Cake...this cake is sinfully delicious!

Gotta add some extra candy bar on top of the cake :)

After we finished making the cake, we headed over to the barricks to serve it to the soldiers.  

Some of the guys enjoying the cake:

This is Justin, we found out it was his birthday....

So Wendy had to give him a special birthday treat ;)

The cake went fast I did not even get a slice...probably for the best, I made sure the scraps were cleaned up before we delievered the cake ;)

Almost caught post will be homecoming and surprising the kids :)


Monday, October 24, 2011

Awards Dinner and Ceremony

Last weekend was the Welcome Home Dinner and Awards Ceremony for the unit my husband is in.  As FRG Co-leader months of planning, phone calls, meetings, and fund-raising went into making this event worthy of our heroes.  I think everything turned out really well and most people seemed to really enjoy themselves. 
Below are a few pictures from the night:
My sweet husband and me (wearing the 4th dress I purchased, lol)

Another view of us...I forgot to get a picture of my shoes, but you can kinda see a little glimpse of them in this picture. 

Just us having a great time at the dinner.  We laughed a lot that night.  Had some great entertainment at our table...that and my husband was keeping up with the Alabama and Auburn football games for us - both of our teams won that night, yea!

A view of the decorations.  We were very pleased with how all this turned out.  It is hard to plan an event from 5 hours away to be held at a building none of us had ever seen nor were the pictures of the room.  We lucked out with renting the linens and the table runners were donated to us.  Wendy and myself had all the vases and candle holders we used so that did not cost us anything (yay!) And the business we rented the china from upgraded our china at no additional cost.  (we were renting plain white china, but they gave us white with gold rims...which made everything pop)  Everything turned out exactly how we planned and I could not have been more pleased.  We served Steak and shrimp for the meal and it was so good!  I did not hear any complaints around me. 

After the dinner and dessert was served, it was time for the awards to be presented.  Almost every soldier that deployed with the unit received some type of recognition.  (I REALLY missed my brother being there...) Each soldier was called up with their family and a little something was shared about their time in Afghanistan.  After that, the soldier was given their award by the Colonel.  Below is a picture of Jason and me while the Commander shared a little about what Jason did during the deployment. 

I am so proud of my husband and will brag on him because I know that he would never brag on himself ;)  He was awarded the Bronze Star medal and the NATO medal.  Proud does not even begin to come close to the right word to use to describe, but for a lack of better words, I am VERY PROUD of my husband and the outstanding soldier he is...not only is he an outstanding soldier, but an outstanding father and husband as well.  (we had a videographer and photographer at the dinner, so I can not wait to get back our videos and pictures from that)

One thing that really surprised me was the FRG officers were presented with a special gift from the unit.  I was completely not expecting anything and did not know until the day of the event that we were getting something.  It was very thoughtful and much appreciated.  We were given a flag that was flown in Afghanistan on Sept. 11th.  It was placed with a certificate in a beautiful frame.    Very special.  Very thoughtful.  I have enjoyed my time as FRG Co-leader.  It was very involved but allowed me to get to know people that I otherwise would not have met or been able to know on another level.  I am thankful for that.  I am a little sad that my husband is moving to another unit...with promotion that is what usually happens.  He has been with this unit for nearly 10 years.  So...looks like he will be "drilling" with another unit very soon.  I hope they have a good FRG for me to get plugged in to and meet other wives. :)

So, that was all for the awards dinner...still working on getting the blog caught up.  The past week has just been focused on family time and all of us getting adjusted.  So far adjustment has been pretty good.  We have not had the problems we did last time with the kids.  For that I am so thankful. I have said it before...homecomings are wonderful, but there is a whole side to it that most people do not know about.
I have 2 more homecoming posts to share.  A sweet one about the cake angel we met and then surprising the kids with Jason's arrival ;)  yay!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Arrival

Hard to believe that one week ago I was on my way to get my soldier!  Last Thursday it was finally my turn.  Our deployment was finally over and I could finally go get my man!  Sorry for all the "finally's" but it has been a long 15 months and I am glad it is "finally" over, hehe

I along with 2 other army wives left out on a 5 hour drive around 6 in the morning.  We meet up, got our maps and GPS's in sync then had a time of prayer for our travel and for our husbands.  It was wonderful and of course, I cried.  After we re-grouped, the caravan set off.  I put a status update on my facebook letting people know the caravan was on the road and to not get in our way, lol.  I loved all the comments I was getting.  "Clear the roads people" and "Go get your man!"  I loved reading all of them =)  We had a smooth ride with no problems at all.  We arrived around lunch time and went straight to the camp our unit was arriving to.  We met up with the rear detachment.  The FRG made goody bags for the soldiers and had the rear detachment place those bags on each one of the beds where the soldiers would be staying. Then we got the banners hung that we made for the unit.  After that, the rear detachment took us all around to get the info we would be needing (such as times and places) so that I could contact the families and let them know the details.  We finished up the business we needed to take care of on the camp and went to grab a late lunch and check in our hotel.  By this time it was after 3.  We decided to relax a little while then grab dinner because we were not expecting the arrival for another few at dinner our phones start going off...the unit is at the airport!  WHAT!  We knew at that point we had less than 2 hours to call the families, get ready, and drive the 20-30 minutes it took to get back to the camp.  We did it though.  We managed to get everyone notified of the time change.  We managed to get ourselves all fixed up.  And we managed to back to the camp with just a few minutes to spare.  Oh if a camera would have been on us during that 2 hours it would have sure made for great laughs!  lol 
Because of the time crunch we were in, I did not get to take as many pictures as I would have liked, but I am sharing a few of the pictures below:

Banner hanging in front of the building the soldiers were staying.  Love the scripture on it...

another banner:

one last banner welcoming the unit home:

I laugh every time I look at this picture of Wendy, myself and Kim.  We all showed up looking like we planned to coordinate outfits.  We seriously look like we could have Christmas card pics taken we coordinate so well ;)  We did not plan it at all.  None of us knew what we were wearing.  We had all actually told each other complete opposite outfits than we funny is that??? 

Me and Kim:

Me and Wendy:

Me and Amy:  Amy pulled off a big surprise!  A "voice" convinced her to be there when the bus arrived and her husband did not know about it.  yay!  The look on his face was priceless when he saw his children running for him.  I wish I would have gotten a picture but I was a little distracted ;)  I sure am going to miss this lady and her funny mis-hap stories hehe

We decorated the building with signs for our soldiers too.  It was a very last minute thought to do this.  I mean very last minute...we were seriously applying glitter as we walked out the door...which is why mine looks like I did it blindfolded =)

The unit finally arrives!!!  Off the bus and a quick formation:

I shared these next 2 photos on the previous post, but I thought I would share them again.  I was so excited to have my man!!!  Oh the excitement!  Oh the nervousness!  Oh the butterflies!  The feeling you have when you see your husband for the first time after a long deployment is amazing.  Its a feeling of complete relief, happiness, thankfulness, completeness, excitement, pride, love all rolled into one.  For me its like your wedding day amplified by 20.  There is just no other feeling in the world like it. I can still close my eyes and remember every little detail of watching the bus drive up the road and stop.  Then waiting for what felt like an eternity for the doors of the bus to open.  Then waiting some more because J was seriously one of the last ones to step off the bus (I thought I was going to have to get on the bus myself and go get him, lol)  The feeling of that first hug.  Seeing the excitement and tiredness in his well as the look of relief that this deployment was over and he was back in the US safe and sound.  Touching his face.  His real in the flesh face and not some grainy skype image.  Holding his hand. Hearing him say "I'm home, it's over"  There is just nothing like it in the world. 

Shortly after the picture was taken the unit had to leave.  Sadly, they were placed on a 24 hour lock down and could not stay with us.  So, as much as I hated to, I had to say good night and watch him walk away.  :(  It was sad, but I knew I could hang on 24 more hours.  Plus, 3 of us wives shared a hotel that night and we were so silly.  I am glad I had them.  It made the night so much easier. 

I will update tomorrow with more about my time "gettin my man"


Saturday, October 15, 2011


Just wanted to update real quick that I GOT MY MAN!!! 

I have been on cloud nine the past couple days and do not see myself coming down for a while.  The past couple of days have been really busy with FRG stuff as we prepare for the big awards dinner tonight.  I am looking forward to this event.

I appreciate all the calls, messages, comments, emails, texts, etc. over the last couple days.  If I have not responded to you, please understand...I will...eventually :)

A huge thank you to my precious friend Melissa for updating the blog for me Thursday.  Melissa- honey, you had me in tears and laughing at the same time! (only you!) thanks so much!!

So here are a couple of pictures of my man and me taken right after he stepped off the bus.  Bless his heart flying for 24 hours he was so tired.  I am so glad he is home (well...almost home but at least on US soil)  I am so grateful to the Lord that He brought my husband home to me and so thankful for the protection that He placed on my husband as well as the entire unit. 

Here are the pictures:

Now I must go get ready for this dinner!  More pictures to come of all the events over the last couple days and of course from tonight.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Operation: Retrieve My Soldier

This is Melissa Duncan.  Jessica asked me to update her blog to inform everyone that there is a caravan of army wives on a mission this morning to retrieve their soldiers.  Anyone on the interstate between AL and MS, MOVE OVER, these women are in a hurry!!! 


We praise you and thank you for bringing these men home to their families safe and sound.  We ask that you be with these ladies as they travel and keep them safe.  We pray they adjust quickly to civilian life and ask that you be with their families as they adjust.  Thank you Lord for ALL of our military and their families for their sacrifice.  Thank you for their committment to risk their lives to keep us free - - -Amen.

We all share in Jessica's excitement.  She is a woman of faith and I know of no stronger person than her.  While I know this journey has been a long one, I believe God has taught her so many things and I know she will use this experience for His glory and honor...(I'm sure we will be reading it soon in a future blog)...Thank you for supporting her and being there for her.  Thank you for praying with me that they have safe travels, speedy adjustments.  Join me in praying that ALL of our military return home safely to their families. 

Jessica, I love you girl!!!  Be safe, and I know it's hard, but FOCUS ON THE ROAD!!  LOL!! 



Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting Ready

The days are winding down...YAY!

THE day is getting soooo close....YAY!!!

I had a very productive weekend...YAY!!

I got a lot done....YAY!!!

Only a few things left to do...YAY!!

(Ok, sorry for all the YAY's, but I am just one excited excited that sleep is no where on my radar, lol)

I am in full "get ready" mode.  I am trying to have everything done so I am not stressing the last minute.  (ok, who am I kidding, I will probably be stressing anyway...hehe)

My precious neighbor, Jill, came over yesterday and made me get my act together.  After she folded all my laundry (and that was a task) she helped me go through my clothes and decide what was going in the suitcase.  I would still be looking at my clothes contemplating what I wanted to bring. I am so glad to have that task done :) 
I am a shoe girl.  I buy shoes and then I buy outfits to match the shoes.  I love shoes.  My saying about shoes is that they are faithful.  No matter how much weight you gain or loose, your shoes will always fit.  ;)  So...I have an entire suitcase of nothing but shoes.  I have my new prizes in the box and I found another new pair while shopping this weekend for $7!  Then I have a few more pairs in there for other outfits and of course the tennis shoes because I must continue exercising.  I am afraid I may want to pack a couple more pairs.  Jill said she did not have to sit on the suitcase to close it so we can possibly get a little more in there, lol.

Another step in the getting ready process was to get our toes "prettied up"  So, yesterday I along with 3 other military wives went to get a pedicure.  It was so relaxing and fun.  I think we each took our turns squealing like high school girls, lol.  I took a few pictures of us before my camera went kaput on me...of course it went out before I could get the after pictures taken.  boo :(  Here's to hoping it will work for homecoming stuff. 

Here's Kim getting ready for her pedicure:

And Angela getting pampered:

then there's me getting my toes "prettied up"

The other lady with us, Wendy, did not want her picture taken...I will get her though...;) 

Today, my Jack is on fall break so I am going to spend some special time with just him. (Madi's school is not on fall break)  It is so rare for us to do that.  I know he is sensing some things going on with me doing all this packing and preparing.  The kids know daddy is coming home soon, but we have decided not to tell them how soon.  They think that mommy has to go to a meeting for a few days.  They don't care because they are staying with the grandparents so they are making big plans for that (I hope the grandparents are resting up, lol)  I want to keep this as a surprise for them and our hope is that we will be able to surprise Jack at school.  I get all excited just thinking about that, then I tear up thinking about how great of a surprise it will be for Jack to see his daddy.  Oh, I hope it works out, but if it does not, it will still be great because the end result is daddy will be home. 

I wanted to thank everyone for the sweet comments on my previous post.  It is hard to understand reintegration if you have not ever been through it.  So, I appreciate the precious comments, the encouragement, and the prayers.  I am believing and trusting that we will be just fine.  And I know that every obstacle, hurdle and roadblock we face, the Lord is faithful to see us and strengthen us through every bit of it. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Warning Label and A Surprise

I shared in my previous post that right now I should come with a "warning label".  I don't know what it is about deployment, but my emotions are all over the place.  I seriously go from happy and laughing to tears.  For no reason.  Tears.  Seems strange huh?  But it is true.  Sometimes its tears for the feeling of being extremely overwhelmed.  Sometimes its tears of relief that soon I will have my husband home so I am not being everything to everyone all on my own.  Sometimes its tears reflecting on how much I have learned about myself and others during this deployment.  Sometimes I catch myself in tears and I laugh - I think "seriously Jess" (maybe I should not share this - I promise I may seem to not have it "all together" right now, but everyone is taken care of, lol)

My desire when I began blogging over 3 years ago was to be real.  I always want my blog to be real.  To be honest.  To reflect me.  To reflect the reality of deployment for me and my family.  It may not be every one's reality, but it is ours.  It's the realities of my struggles, my fears, and my worries.  So with that said, I want to be honest about my emotions right now as deployment is winding down.  Yes, I am beyond EXCITED that my husband is coming home.  Yes, I am HAPPY.  Yes, I am GIDDY like a school girl preparing for her first date.  There is NOTHING like the feeling you get when you are about to see your husband for the first time after a long deployment.  For me, there is no feeling quite like it....but with that said I am also nervous and worried.  For those who may read this and are not a military family, you may have a hard time understanding those feelings.  Most people watch the homecoming shows on tv and the videos all over the internet and see the happy tears and hugs and kisses, and while yes those are real emotions that really happen, what you don't see is the concerns.  I don't think that would make for very good ratings...who wants to watch that???  I wouldn't, I don't want to live it for that matter, but it is my reality.  Not everyone has the worries and apprehensions about homecoming, I am just sharing my feelings.  This is our 3rd deployment.  We are not newbies at this game.  The 1st and 2nd deployments I did not have the worries and apprehensions.  Our reintegration at 1st deployment was perfect.  We picked up right where we left off.  It was just the 2 of us, no kids, it was really easy.  2 kids later and deployment #2 happened.  I was not concerned about reintegration at all.  I was looking forward to getting back to our normal.  Boy, was I shocked.  Our reintegration was hard.  The kids had a hard time.  We had a hard time as individuals dealing with the effects of deployment.  We had a hard time as a couple. (by hard time I just mean I was expecting too much of Jason and it felt like we were always aggravated with each other)  It took a while.  It took a lot of communication.  It took me leaving the kids at home with daddy alone and forcing them to bond with him.  It took a lot of prayers.  It took a lot of tears.  It took a lot of trust in the journey that God was placing us on.  It took us realizing what was important and making a conscious effort to work through it all.  We made decisions that people did not understand....and that is ok...we don't need anyone to understand because we knew we were doing what we had to do at the time for our family.  And it worked.  We were overcoming the emotions, the kids were bonding with daddy, everything was getting back to the way we wanted it to be.  Then came the news of deployment #3.  When I got the news of deployment #3 not only did my heartbreak at the thought of another year of my hubby gone (and all the concerns that goes with that) but my heart was also breaking at the thought of another reintegration like the one we just overcome.  So fast forward to now...the reason for a lot of my tears is the thought of reintegration.  It concerns me.  I have really been praying about it lately.  Of course I pray for a smooth transition for J, for the kids, for us, but I also pray that if it is God's will for it to be a struggle again, that He will be with us through it all.  And I can rest in that peace.  Rest in knowing that He is with us and He will, again, see us through every bump, hurdle, and roadblock.  So why do I still worry over it?  I am not sure why...I wish I knew.  The worry does not consume me.  It just crosses my mind every now and then and I can seriously feel a queasy feeling come over me at the thought of going through that again.  So, I take a deep breath (like I seriously just did after I typed that sentence) and I say a little prayer...and I rest in the fact the He hears me and rest in the fact that He knows what is best for me.  So for today, that is what I think God is trying to teach me through it all...even the things I do not think I am ready to learn, that He knows what is best for me, always. 

Whew...I am not sure I have shared all that before...

SO on a lighter note...
I did shed some tears this afternoon...happy, surprised tears that is ;)
I got an amazing surprise today from my fabulous hubby.  He sent me 2 dozen roses attached with the sweetest note!  I am one lucky girl who feels incredibly blessed to have such an amazing, wonderful, fabulous, supportive, appreciative husband.

Yes, I have been grinning from ear to ear all afternoon...
Can you blame me???

My grin and I are off to pack...I have a big trip coming up :) yay!!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

So what do you do??

So what do you do when deployment is winding down???
You help a friend make welcome home signs!

This is me helping my friend, Kim, make signs for her hubby's homecoming (our husbands are in the same unit and will be coming home at the same time):

This is Kim.  We have been through 3 deployments together. Though I would never wish deployment on anyone, its awesome having someone else going through a deployment who gets it.  So thankful that God has allowed our paths to cross.  Don't know what I would do without all the awesome friends(military and non-military) in my life...

Of course, Kim may not ever want me to help her with signs again.  I had a little oopsie with the glitter glue.  I may have shook it a little too hard and the cap may have busted off and into a huge glob on the poster...oops!  I told her this poster better be front and center anyway, lol.

So what do you do when deployment is winding down?
You find the perfect dress for the Welcome Home Dinner and Ceremony ... or in my case you buy 4 dresses!  Yes, I bought 4 dresses.  I would feel ok in the dress...get it home...and change my mind.  I am struggling with my self image.  Who knew that loosing over 35 pounds would do this.  I still see myself at my heaviest.   Anyone else do this?  Surely I am not the only one.  I know I have frustrated my friends with the countless fashion shows and questions of "Are you sure my butt does not need a flashing caution light on it?"  "Are you sure my tummy is not poking out?" 
Anyway...I returned 3 dresses.  Then set out once again to find the dress.  I went alone this time.  I tortured the poor girl in the store though.  She probably had no idea what hit her.  But I bought the dress I will wear.  I can not return it.  It was so deeply discounted that it had a no return no exchange policy.  It is my dress.  I would love to share a picture, but I am waiting until the Welcome Home Dinner and Ceremony to surprise my honey.  I have never worn anything like this.  I wonder what he will think???  :) 

So what do you do when deployment is winding down???
Buy a pair of AWESOME shoes to go with the dress!  I have loved these shoes since the moment I laid eyes on them!  They are adorable and fun and sparkly and add that bit of color I need to go with my dress :)  I can not wait to wear them!!  Yes, I will be a foot taller than Jason, but I just could not resist these shoes.   

So what do you do when deployment is winding down?
I am on a mad cleaning washing walls and baseboards, cleaning out drawers and closets.  Up next...outside.  I have most of my fall decor outside up.  Gotta plant some flowers, get some pumpkins, and add some pine straw.  Then I need to decorate inside.  I usually already have this done, but with all the stuff going on lately I have not been able to get to it.  We have been so busy.  With activities, school, appointments, and as FRG Co-leader of my hubby unit, I have been busy planning the Welcome Home Dinner and Awards Ceremony...and that has seriously been a full time job that thankfully I have not done alone.  It is going to be a grand that this unit seriously has earned.  I am looking forward to it and looking forward to seeing the soldiers and their families.  yay!  Our deployment is almost over!!!

So what do you do when deployment is winding down?
you count trash in the number of trash days left until hubby is back on US tummy is turning flips thinking about that number!

So what do you do when deployment is winding down?
you have suitcases packed...I need to get on this.  I need to figure out what I need to pack so that when I get the call, I will be ready to go!  That's the downfall of being in the reserves...there is no base around us for the unit to de-mob at.  Each time we have had to drive a good ways to "meet the buses" (as we call it)- oh mess, I just realized I need to pick out my "meet the bus" outfit...maybe this will be easier I have 3 to choose from, ha!  Got to get on that.

As you can see, my mind is in a million places.  Which is why the blog has been neglected.  Which is why if I have not returned an email or phone call, please do not take it personally...I am just really busy right now and my mind is all over the place.  I told my friend Melissa the other day I should come with a warning sign...proceed with caution. hehe...hopefully it is not that bad-ok who am I kidding.  :)

I will try to update soon...there are some things I want to share.  Some things I need to share.  I know there are a lot of questions right now being asked about me...most are not being asked directly to me so I would just like to clarify and clear up anything that others may be wondering or assuming.  No big deal...I just have not had the time to sit down and really share my heart.  I will though...soon.  :)

Until then, hope everyone is doing well and having a great weekend!  I am off to play dress up in those 3 outfits and clean baseboards, lol...such a glamorous life I live huh??