Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rambling Thoughts

The end of a calendar year is always a time of scheduled reflection. We look back at the joys and sorrows of the year, the triumphs and the defeats, the ups and the downs. The year 2008 has brought me so much joy and so much frustration all at the same time. I'm also left to reflect upon previous years and all their joys and sorrows, mistakes and lessons learned, friends made and friends lost. There is a lot I could have, should have, would have done differently...but didn't. I'm glad I didn't though because it has made me who I am today. I view life through the contact lenses belonging to a 26 year old me (soon to be 27-eeks). I've learned that even when I didn't realize or acknowledge it God was there guiding me and those around me to become the me I am today. The me I am today has a lot of empathy and compassion for others. .oO(I've had it for longer than today, but you get the idea.) I heard this song probably about a month ago by Carrie Underwood entitled "This is Just a Dream". Every time I hear it my heart clenches, I get goosebumps, and I nearly cry. Why? Because of all that empathy and the fact that this is every military wife's worst dream...attending the funeral of the man she loves and being handed that folded flag. I have attended two military funerals in my lifetime that I remember) for men who were near and dear to me. One funeral was for a man I thought I would marry some day, although we had broken up when he passed away unexpectedly. I watched and cried as the folded flag was passed to his mother. When it was time for those final gun shots to ring out I felt like my heart surely must be shot and sobbed a little harder as each one fired. .oO(To this day my heart hurts when I hear the 21 gun salute-whether it is a ceremony or funeral. I find it odd that Dave's first job in the USMC was to perform that salute.) The second funeral was for the first man's father. Again, I cried as the flag was passed over and cringed as the guns were fired. My heart hurts any time I hear about anyone losing a loved one. I remember what it was like to lose someone who was so close...and yet even they weren't as close as others in my life right now. Anyhow, I finally watched the video to this song b/c every time I heard it driving down the road (nearly crying, but unwilling to turn the station) I wondered what the video must be like. If you clicked the song title link then you already know. I was a teensy bit disappointed that they decided to make it a 50's style video when this is a story I know many American women have faced in recent years as well. I had imagined all sorts of other things, but I won't say I'm unhappy with it either. Every time I hear this song I am reminded to pray for those currently deployed and their loved ones silently serving at home. I'm also reminded to pray for those who have lost loved ones and are grieving for all the things that will never be.

Another situation that has been on my mind the past two days has to do with losses as well. Sunday we learned a friend of Dave's from Junior High, Mallory, had passed away in a car accident. She was just 22 yrs old and the proud mother to two very young children. One child crawled from the car with only minor cuts and the other was still in ICU the last I heard with much more serious injuries. I'm sad for the family left behind and the children who will now grow up with only stories of their mother instead of her. I know God has a plan for this family and these children. Still, it makes my heart hurt. Added to the situation is another friend of Dave's who lost a sister in a car accident several years ago. Mallory was a mutual friend of Dave and this other friend. The car accident has reopened all those old wounds and the grief over the loss of her sister. It makes my heart hurt for her, but it also makes me pray for her and pray for Mallory's family too that God's plan will be realized through this loss and the opening of those wounds. If only hugs really fixed everything I would go around hugging everyone.

So, back to my reflections on 2008...

I've learned that even though I constantly want and wish for something else what I really have at the moment isn't bad. It is funny how time and experience changes things. When we lived in DC I liked our apartment alright, but thought we could surely have more room. We moved to NC and had a two story townhouse. Seemed like more room at first...but I was soon missing my DC apartment. I still do in fact. Just the other night Dave said "I wish we could have our DC apartment back" and I chimed in "yeah, me too." .oO(And yet I know I wouldn't feel quite the same about it if we moved back there.) Now that I'm limited to a guest room in AL my two story townhouse with only two very small closets sounds wonderful. Yet, I'm certain that in the future I'll look back on this time and wish I could go back.

I've learned that even though I move to new places and meet new people, some people will always be my friends. I may not talk to them as often as I'd like or see them nearly enough, but no matter they will always be there for me. And I've learned that sometimes friends are just as close to you as family.

I've learned that sometimes you can learn something from someone else easier than from your mom. (I love you mom.) My Mom tried to teach me how to sew (although I was always afraid to use her sewing machine and she was afraid for me to use it too) and I managed to create Dave's Christmas stocking, but the lesson didn't really stick. Maja has been teaching me how to smock and how to sew a bit. For some reason the lessons are sticking a little better than before. Maja even let me use her fancy sewing machine that is waaay smarter than me. I'll have to post a picture of my recent creation made at an all day sewing lesson with Maja, Melody, Michelle, and Melody's mother (whose name I have forgotten). The lessons have renewed my interest in sewing and I received some lovely sewing staples for Christmas...like straight pins, a pin cushion, a seam ripper (a perfect gift since I am a perfectionist), and some fabric scissors. I think I might like to purchase a sewing machine...and then I think it might be a big dust collector too.

I've learned that depending on a husband for certain things doesn't mean you can't do it yourself, just that it is nice to have someone to share your life with. Dave's deployment reminded me that I had not lost my independence by marrying him (which in some ways I did, but not in the ways that mattered), but I had gained someone to share the joys and sorrows of my life. I also realized just how much I had depended on him for certain things and how much I truly missed having him around when he was gone. I could indeed survive while he was gone, but I was overjoyed when he came home.

I've learned that a packing log is an invaluable tool to finding things once you have moved. I've also learned that sometimes you might want to make that packing log a little more detailed than you originally thought. Especially if your stuff will be sitting in storage for any length of time. "Shoes" and "more shoes" are great log details if you might only be storing it for a month or so..but 6 months later it is hard to remember which box you put the nice sling back black heels into (once you remember you own them to begin with) and you have to open both boxes only to find they must be in some other box...perhaps the one labeled "bags and a few shoes." When we finally move into our own place it is going to be like Christmas all over again discovering what exactly might be in each box.

I've learned you can have a plan...but God may have a different one. So I'm praying and trying and waiting and wondering what God's plan will be for 2009. I'm also rejoicing that Dave is here with me to share in the waiting.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Things I am Excited About

#1 Katie retook her LSAT in Dec b/c her first score "simply wouldn't do" according to her. She found out today she increased her score and is in a much better standing for admission to the schools she is looking at. (Prayer must now commence that she will get into one of those schools and if Jesus is feeling generous then some financial aid would be fantabulous!)

#2 I turn 27 on Saturday. I guess I am excited. It kinda makes me feel old...especially when I have to really think about how old I am.

#3 For my birthday present from my darling husband (who was deployed last year for my b-day) I have requested dinner for 2 at Cheesecake Factory. Yummy!

#4 Going home to Ohio to help Katie celebrate Siblings Weekend at OU for her senior year. (February time frame)

#5 Going home to see Mom, Katie & Maggie! (Yay! Katie-Hug me I'm cold. Mom-Just hug me! Maggie-I'm going to need a hug from you too.) No furbabies will be coming with me as I am flying. (Pray for weather that I can still fly in...)

#6 Athens, OH! Food=Bagel Street Deli, Goodfella's Pizza, and Pita Pit just to name a few.

#7 My job @ ATL. (Even after silly clients and the holiday rush I still love the job.)

#8 The day I won't have boxes in storage and my "living room" will no longer be a guest room in someone else's house. (Still no idea when this will happen, but I can be excited about the possibility can't I?)

#9 Airport Rendezvous Wknd Anniversary! (He was home for this last year too! We have a month and a half to wait for this.)

#10 My replacement cell phone! (It hasn't arrived yet. I need to call my Nana...she called me and left a message while I was at work and I haven't been able to call her back yet. I miss my Nana...)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'll Think of Something...

I feel you should be forewarned that this post will be a whole lot of rambles...I have several things I have been meaning to blog about, but haven't had time to write and some are really unrelated to each other.

Christmas Eve Service~a.k.a Congregation of Coughers
We attended service as a family. I was terribly excited-it is sadly the first time Dave and I have attended a Christmas Eve service as a married couple. It was a great service, but I kept getting distracted by the congregation of coughers. One person would finish coughing and another would start...I think the whole state of Alabama just might have what I'm going to call "the sickness." You don't really feel great, but you don't feel totally miserable-until you start coughing that is. Cough, cough, cough...we've all been doing it for a week now at least. It is b/c the weather is so crazy and can't make up its mind to be cold or 75 degrees...honestly.

ATL Clients~Who shall remain nameless.
Client A-She had a return to make. No big deal...she had a receipt. Unfortunately, it was put on her daughter's debit card. "Ma'am, we can give you a merchandise credit only since you do not have the card with you." Fine. We process the return. All of a sudden she isn't happy. Apparently, since the economy is bad "the government told her not to take a credit at any store." {I grumble silently in my head.} Ok, well if you can get us the debit card number we can try to process the return to her card, but that is all we can do. Lady calls daughter. Daughter grumbles to mother (or so I assume since mother says "it's just the way I want to do things") about why she needs number. {I'm laughing inside my head, her daughter thinks she's silly too.} We process the return and I am left to wonder when/how "the government" told her merchandise credits were bad.

Also, in case you were wondering-NO we aren't going out of business. In Jan 2008 Ann Taylor Co. released a list of stores that would be closing (ones that aren't making any money) and the Loft store at the Pinnacle is not one of them, neither is the one at Brookwood. The regular Ann Taylor stores located at the Galleria and the Summit are not closing either. .oO(This happened way before the economy went wacky.)

Client B-Walks in wearing pigtails about two inches long that have white bows tied around them. She is definitely too old to be wearing pigtails tied in bows. It makes it very hard to look at her without laughing. In fact, I can't even really look at her at all. {Seriously thought she was a 12 yr old b/c all I saw at first were the bows peering around the rack...} After she leaves the 3 of us working were trying to figure out why she wore the pigtails...we determined she must have lost a bet. {Think of your grandma in pigtails tied with bows...at her grandmotherly age, not a young age.}

There are other fun clients, but I really can't think of them at the moment.

Alabama Weather~If you read the Christmas Eve post you know the weather is going from 30 degrees to 75 degrees and back again in a matter of days. All of Alabama surely must be sick.

Cough Medicine~Is my friend. I am really liking the Tylenol Cough multi-symptom with the cooling sensation. It really seems to help and it doesn't make me drowsy (make sure you get the daytime formula) and it keeps the coughing/subsequent headache at bay. I do have to make sure I don't take it on an empty stomach or it makes me feel nauseous.

Cell Phone~Spoke to a delightful man when I called to complain about my non working phone and Dave's inability to send/receive texts on his phone. Talked to him for quite some time. Learned he can't keep up with his bank receipts/money, he is addicted to jawbreakers (sounded like he was rolling marbles, but I guess he was eating jawbreakers), and he was going to eat chinese food for dinner until he learned of his "bank error" which left him feeling sick. Also managed to get the number to call about the warranty on my phone (the microphone is broke so I can hear you, but you can't hear me-even when I yell), Dave can now send/receive texts, and we were refunded $80 in downloading charges we tried to get erased months ago. My replacement phone should arrive this week. When it arrives I would need to talk to someone (not part of the AT & T network and not on my "free weekends") for 86 hours to use all of our rollover minutes. Unfortunately, I would probably run up their bill trying to do that.

Hmmm...forget what else I was going to blog about, darn.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes

I'd like to wish all of you a very merry Christmas!! The saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words...so I'll try to let these pictures do the talking with minimal description.

This is the ornament that I sent Dave while he was deployed last year.

Christmas 2009



The ship & helo ornaments I bought last year while he was gone to represent the 22nd MEU deployment aboard ship.


We're so blessed to be together this year :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One More Song

I knew there was a song I had thought about sharing in my last blog, but couldn't remember what it was and what I wanted to say about it. Well, I finally remembered-aren't you excited my dear blog readers?

Big Girls Don't Cry
by Fergie will forever remind me of the drive home from NC to OH the day after Dave deployed. It had just been released and all the radio stations were playing it at least once an hour (it felt like much more than that at the time). Fergie you are wrong! Big girls do cry, they cry 85% of the 9 hour drive home because of your stinkin' song (and a few other sappy ones released at the time)!!

Ok, really...I think that might be the last song I wanted to share.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"I Go Back"

So I was driving home from work (and lately I've been listening to country music again at times) and I heard Kenny Chesney's song "I Go Back" and it made me think about a lot songs that take me back to special times, make me remember a special memory, or make me think of someone special. I thought I would share a list of songs that take me back. (If you click on the titles of the songs it will take you to a YouTube video of the songs so you can enjoy them if you would like.) This song itself always reminds me of a friend, Derek Sommers, who passed away in a car accident our sophomore year of high school. The lyric about the song only the good die young reminds him of the loss of a real good friend and the 16 summers he shared with him is the one that always brings Derek's smiling 16 yr. old face to mind. I say a quick prayer for his parents and wonder how they are doing.

Jack and Diane by John (Cougar) Mellancamp is also mentioned in Kenny's song, but this song always reminds me of my dad. My dad was always listening to a Mellancamp song. I know all the words to more than a few of the songs, but this one is a favorite of mine. It also reminds me of a time when my dad was "on his own" with my sisters and I for the weekend. (This is pre-divorce and Mom was gone on a ladies retreat or something.) Dad was making lunch and made really soupy mashed potatoes. We ate them anyway...or tried to. We also had the radio on while we were cooking and I remember dad singing and dancing into a large spoon. It was hilarious. .oO(It should be noted my memory is fuzzy so the singing and the soupy potatoes could really be two different times, but they are meshed together in my mind.) His love of John Cougar Mellancamp rubbed off on me and I now have "seeing John Mellancamp in concert" as one of the things I'd like to to before John Mellancamp or I die. Not sure if I'll manage to get that one crossed off the list or not though.

Life is a Highway is a song that reminds me of Scott Myer, a dear friend-who was more than a friend at one time-but he passed away suddenly. It was most recently recorded by Rascal Flatts, but I (and he probably would too, knowing him) prefer Chris LeDoux's version. I love Rascal Flatts and I enjoy their version of the song, but Chris just added something special to the song...or maybe it was just me. Scott and I were lucky enough to go see a Chris LeDoux concert at the Indiana State Fair one year. I've never seen anything quite like it and I doubt I ever will again. It was one of the best concerts I've ever been to and I never would have known who Chris LeDoux was if Scott hadn't loved his songs the way he did. Another favorite Chris LeDoux song is Western Skies...it is such a peaceful and relaxing song-but YouTube didn't have it so I couldn't share it.

This One's For the Girls by Martina McBride always makes me think of my mom, Katie and Maggie and the craziness of our house when we all get together. I love it because it describes a "girl's" life at all ages and celebrates the fact that they are "beautiful the way they are." Because we are. This song also makes me miss "my girls" (mom, Katie, and Maggie) a lot lately. Shhh, don't tell them, but I've been known to tear up a bit when I hear it on the radio in recent days. I miss those girls. Hopefully Santa will bring me an airplane ticket for Christmas.

God Bless the Broken Road
by Rascal Flatts will always remind me of "Bivins" and the wonderful, heartbreaking, soul searching, blessed journey that led me to a married life with him. I love the chorus about "every long lost dream led me to where you are, others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars, pointing me on my way into your loving arms, this much I know is true, that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you." I've said it many times, there was no other way for Dave and I to meet and fall in love than with God's intervention/plan. All of the previous heartaches and heartbreaks we endured taught us lessons about love and life that made us better partners in our marriage. I'm so thankful to have him in my life~whether he is near or far from me~because he is my anchor. He reminds me to lighten up sometimes, he reminds me I'm loved and cared for, and he only wants the best for me (and my family). I think if we had chosen a "first dance" song for our wedding (if we had done a tradition style wedding & reception) this may have been the song to receive my vote. Not sure what "Bivins" would have chosen.

Rascal Flatts songs in general hold a lot of meaning for me. They always manage to come out with a song that is perfect for whatever I am going through at the time. I'm Movin' On came out around the time we moved from northern Ohio to southern Ohio. It was a chance to leave the past behind and make some changes to venture out on my own a bit. The move gave me a chance to "start over" in a new place with people who didn't know me or my family for my entire life. They weren't aware of all the details of my parents divorce and hadn't formed an opinion about what kind of person I was based upon my last name. I could share the mistakes I had made with people on my own terms. It was refreshing! .oO(And it prepared me for many more moves to new places...with people I didn't know and traditions I didn't know anything about.) Mayberry reminds me of "Brookie-Lou," Brandon and Britt when they were much younger (Scott's neices and nephews) and lil Brook singing "sitting on the porch, drinking ice cold cherry coke." (Coke is the one word she would say well...she was maybe 3 or 4?) It was too cute.

My Ruca
by Sublime is definitely a Turtle song. Dave began singing this song to me very early on in our relationship. I loved it! He would also do his infamous "turtle dance" when he sang it. I had wanted to record him doing this prior to his deployment so I could watch in on days I missed him terribly (which probably would have been every day, lol), but I didn't get a chance to do it before they left. He's home now though so I can sometimes get away with a special request. It makes me smile. I never listened to Sublime until I met Dave. I love their music now.

Glycerine by Bush reminds me of either a Jr. High or High school dance when Felix Orbit played. For those of you who weren't blessed enough to go to school with me (j/k) should know that it was a band put together by some fellow classmates-Sam Courtney, Nathaniel (Something...), and the Henceroth boys (there may have been someone else too, but I can't remember). I remember wearing a flannel shirt, I was a teensy bit fashion challenged in those days-still am if you ask my sisters.

All I Want to Do
by Sugarland is a song that makes me happy. When I first heard the song I was underwhelmed...but boy has it grown on me! If it comes on the radio during my lovely 45 minute commute to/from work then I crank up the radio and sing at the top of my lungs "ooh-ooh-ooh-ohh....." and bob my head and bounce in my seat. I love this song! .oO(I'm sure I must make some people laugh when I sing in the car to this song...I try to restrain myself if I'm driving "in town.")

Ok, I think I've shared enough songs with you for one night. There is one final song I would like to share though, especially since my last blog about decorating for the holidays was kind of blah about my lack of excitement at the holidays.

Silent Night always makes me think of Christmas Eve services at Trinity Friends Church and the First Christian Church. We always ended the service with candle lighting and singing Silent Night. I'm sharing Faith Hill's version of this song, but I am sure there are a lot of other equally beautiful versions of this song. I think it just might be one of my favorite Christmas songs.

So...about sharing one last song I thought of a few more holiday songs to share that I do actually like.

Mary Did You Know just leaves me in awe. Can you imagine being the mother of a savior? If Mary had known all that her son would endure, would she have done anything differently? Oh and this song reminds me of my best friend (since before kindergarten) "Snickles" and her sisters. They sang it more than once at our church when we were growing up. It is such a lovely song though. The version I chose from YouTube has some great scenes in it.

Last Christmas is apparently a classic 80's Wham song. You should really check out the video if you would like an instant 80's flashback. It is the song that Katie, Maggie, and I could die happy if we never heard again. It is the song we would call from shoes to jewelry or vice versa to sing to each other at the oh-so-wonderful Z-ville Sears. Thank goodness we don't work there anymore. I had to laugh though when I sent out a text to the family to have them remind me what the "horrible song from Sears' holiday mix that we would annoy each other with" was and Maggie let me know that they are playing it at Staples this holiday season. (She happens to work at Staples this year.) Note to Self: Don't enter a Staples until January...that might be hard since I adore school supplies...but I think I can manage.

O Holy Night is my mother's absolute favorite Christmas song. Whenever I hear any version of this song I think of her. It is the one song she told me I must learn how to play on my flute. I did indeed learn how to play it (have you seen my mother upset? j/k) and she loved it. .oO(Of course she loved it, I was playing it, lol.) One of my favorite versions of O Holy Night is sung by Martina McBride so that is the version I am sharing with you.

This blog took a few days to create so I hope you enjoy it. I never managed to have enough time all at once the past few days to get it done.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Update

Working in retail can sometimes kill the joy and excitement of the Christmas season. I was never a person who was crazy about Christmas to begin with. You can ask my mom, I'll give you her phone number if you really don't believe me, but I really enjoyed sleeping in on Christmas and could care less about presents. I figured if they were there at 6am, they would still be there at noon when I got up...they had my name on them, didn't they? .oO(Yes, I know Christmas isn't all about presents...) I don't enjoy shopping this time of year either. In fact, Dave tried to get all of our shopping done before Thanksgiving, which at the time I thought a little overzealous...until I remembered I hate shopping for presents. I think we only have a few more things to buy, I have some checks to write, and a box to mail to the grand O-H...I-O.

I really despise Christmas music as well. It is another side effect of working retail for waaaayyy to many Christmas' because all of the stores get together and pick out the same 1-2hr playlist of songs and then they find the most terrible renditions of those songs to play in their stores nationwide. Wal-Mart has been playing Christmas music since Nov. 1st. Grrrrrrr! I hate Wal-Mart! (But sadly I know exactly where to find everything I need there, darnit.) I can't quite remember which song it is, but I'm hoping my dear sisters will remind me, about a particular song that we all 3 disliked greatly while working at Sears during Christmas. We would call each other and share the hideousness of the song...and we all knew the lyrics by heart when Christmas finally rolled around. .oO(I think Sears uses the same Christmas playlist every year...so after 5 Christmas' you really don't like those songs.)

Anyhow, this was a horrible way to start off a blog about the Christmas season, but I thought you should get an idea for my feelings about it up front. As you know (if you've read the past 2 blogs) Dave was deployed last year. I boycotted Christmas and did not put up our tree or decorate the house in any way...except by maybe putting up a delightful wreath I had purchased the year before at K-Mart for no more than $20. .oO(I refused to spend a ridiculous amount on decorations and our door looked so pretty decked out for the holiday.) I boycotted Christmas for a variety of reasons...#1 I didn't want to bother putting the tree up and then having to take it down right before he came home. #2 I was headed home for Christmas anyhow...p.s. Mom didn't put up a tree either though so I bought a table sized tree instead for her - also on sale from Hobby Lobby. #3 My cats are little terrors and try to eat/climb in/knock over the tree. I have pictures to prove it! (I just need to find them.) So this year the whole "B" clan will be gathered together. And like I said in a previous blog I am learning the traditions of his family. I have already been to storage and located our Christmas stockings to put up once we decorate. I'll have to take pics since many of you haven't seen the lovely stocking I made Dave for our first Christmas as a married couple. It coordinates nicely with a stocking my great-grandmother (Granny) made me when I was only a baby. We haven't put up the tree yet b/c it is only the 2nd day of December and we need to clear a space for it. Also, Bonnie would like a real tree...which means this shall be a real adventure for my tree climbing, light eating, destructive fur babies. Our goals will be to keep the tree alive, keep the cats out of the tree water and the tree, keep the ornaments in tact on the tree, and keep the tree standing. I'll update you on the progress. We did however manage to decorate the church.

It is apparently tradition for a group of ladies to gather together and decorate the church for Christmas. I was lucky enough to join them this year and I managed to remember my camera so I can show you pics. I arrived a little late since I had to work that afternoon, but I made it there in time to help and had a great time. So below are some pictures of the creativeness of the ladies.

Bonnie & Maja working their magic on the garland.

They didn't have enough magic so Ginger & Heather had to help. .oO(Really they didn't have enough hands.)

Ginger working on the other side. Chrissy talking on the phone while getting ready to iron.

Doesn't the garland look delightful?

One of the trees at the front of the church.

We had a great time socializing and decorating. It was fun to be a part of this tradition this year. I also made progress and "decorated" my blog :)