Friday, July 30, 2010

::What I wish I'd known::

Being a military wife...

  • reveals your true character...and your husband's
  • opens your eyes to the world's needs
  • creates fantastic friendships
  • lets you meet people you'd never otherwise meet
  • allows you to experience more of the country you've signed up to defend
  • means you have a room dedicated entirely to Army kit, including framed certificates and course platoon photos
  • litters your foyer with at least 4 pairs of Army boots and a gym bag
  • often leaves your bed half empty
  • means attending functions as one half of a couple, and being okay with it
  • means attending functions AS the "Army wife," and trying to remember ranks, who to call "Sir/Ma'am," and at whom to just smile and nod
  • brings emotional challenges most will never face
  • builds trust in a marriage
  • entails memorizing useless acronyms (2PPCLI, 1RCHA, PMQs, GSH, OCC, MFRC, DIT, PATA, PAT, ROOBDO, RCPO, TSM, BSM, TC, TL, FFE, etc. Yes, I know what all these mean, but there are about a million more than I've yet to learn)
  • requires listening to the artillery guns shoot in the field while trying to fall asleep, and feeling sad that some people in the world have to hear it every day WITHOUT living on a base
  • brings opportunity...
  • ...and heartache
  • means you have to find your place in the domestic side of military life
  • brings camaraderie in times of need
  • requires strength...
  • and thus, requires God's blessing

Friday, July 23, 2010

::in which Wayne gets a year older::

It's Wayne's 31st birthday. He never likes a big deal made out of his birthday. Which is lame because I love doing fun things for people. But being on a budget, and it not being a huge milestone, I used my daughter as an excuse to not come across as a lazy wife a way to buy him SOMETHING to unwrap. 

The idea began with an extra large water bottle, which he'd mentioned he has needed at work for a while. We picked that up at Canadian Tire the other day and I thought, "We can't get him a $5 water bottle and just say, 'Happy Birthday! Here ya go'..." So I decided to add to it.

Off to Dollarama we went. Heidi even sat in the shopping cart like a big girl and pointed out things she'd like to buy for her daddy's birthday. The pink polyester lei didn't make the cut (nor did the saran wrap, or clothes pins!), but as I "monitored" the contents of the Daddy loot bag, I think we came up with some cool presents for a first time gift-giver (that being Heidi, of course). 

Gift list included:
  • Long-armed, two-pronged picker-upper (the tool you'd use to pick up garbage)
  • water bottle
  • "Greatest Dad" hat
  • 2 packs Bubblicious gum
  • 1 box Kraft Dinner
  • 1 bag Lays salt & vinegar chips
  • Silly Putty
  • Giant bouncy ball
  • three-film DVD, featuring an old Army movie starring Ronald Reagan
  • a bug house/terrarium for all the disgusting vermin neat insects Manitoba has to offer
  • ...and, of course, a 15-pack of Alexander Keith's (NOT a Dollarama find!)

The man

The cake

The loot

I also spent the morning making a chocolate cake with blue buttercream icing. Because it looked a tad like a giant blob of toothpaste on its own, I decided to sprinkle it with coconut and add the blueberries hanging around the fridge from Sobey's $1 days. Voi-frickin'-la! It didn't taste all that bad, either.


Before dinner, Wayne decided to put some Miracle Grow on our sad tomatoes, and Grace, our next door neighbour (5), wandered over to see what we were up to. I caught Wayne on film letting her "help" water the tomatoes. Grace and her little sis, Lily (3), are super cool kids.

After supper, there was a GIANT storm! So much rain fell that our neighbours two blocks over actually had their canoe out on the road. I have never seen anything like it.

Happy birthday, my hero. Here's to another year closer to 40. May you always be ahead of me! xo

Thursday, July 22, 2010

::If God was a DJ::

"The correct prayer is...never a prayer of supplication, but a prayer of gratitude. When you thank God in advance for that which you choose to experience in your reality, you, in effect, acknowledge that it is there, in effect. Thankfulness is thus the most powerful statement to God, an affirmation that even before you ask, I have answered. Therefore, never supplicate. Appreciate."

"No prayer...goes unanswered. Every prayer, every thought, every statement, every feeling, is creative, to the degree that it is fervently held as truth. To that degree, will it be made manifest in your experience."


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

::beach-walking redhead::

We all know that if I was still living in BC, many of my leisurely summer days would be spent walking the boardwalk at White Rock Beach or somewhere in Vancouver, browsing the shops, iced coffee in hand. 

Who doesn't love to browse the boardwalk in style? But for a redhead, summer can be deadly. Here's my take on staying out of the sun and protecting your skin while looking chic and enjoying the outdoors.

Duwop Lip Venom
$16 -

I Love You 8 x 8 Print
20 GBP -

Sunday, July 18, 2010

::un·ex·pect·ed | ˌənikˈspektid::

Am I the only one who goes through a grieving/acceptance process when I discover something about my life that I didn't expect? Things I didn't envision accurately? Like my first love; my career path; the guy I married; moving to the Prairies; having a baby? You know, BIG stuff? 

Most of these things (okay, all of them) are aspects of my life I take for granted until reality SMACKS ME UPSIDE THE HEAD. That first boyfriend? He was around way too long. And even though the break was tough, it was for the best (well, for me - ha!). It taught me so much about myself, my family and friends, and my God. But at the time, I was beyond devastated. How could life go on without him? 

As for my career, it didn't exactly take me downtown to Vancouver, living in a Yaletown loft, wearing killer stilettos and pencil skirts, and finishing my days with gin martinis at the local lounge on Hamilton Street, did it? (Yes, this really was my vision as I signed up for Journalism school! I didn't know how underpaid journalists were until after I started applying for jobs, ok? Call me naive). 

Then there's Wayne. Yes, our relationship was a bit, um, one-sided for awhile (does over a year classify as "awhile"?). That's because I had grand visions of some tall, dark, knight in shining armour coming to sweep me off my feet in a swirl of passion and romance, not a blonde-haired, blue-eyed service technician with a friendly smile challenging me in a battle of wits and impressing me with his endless smarts. But boy, did I win the prize with that one! 

You all know I'm a "planner," right? Type A. Yet, the best things in my life have been the moments, situations, and people I never saw coming. In all these things, I have learned, in a real and personal way, that In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his stepsProverbs 16:9

So all I have to do is trust...right? See, what makes me such a "good Christian" (sarcasm) is that I'm constantly trying to take back control - it's just in my nature. Thus, I am constantly learning - over and over again - about how to give it back to God. 

Since last September, when our precious bundle was born, I have been on mat leave. That is, I am being paid to be a mom. Hey, that's not half bad! Plus, we're living on base, which requires only one car, and in a (bigger) house (with a yard!) that costs us less to rent than the interest alone costed us on the mortgage we held on our townhouse in Clayton Heights.

So what's the problem?

Reality sets in next month: E.I. payments stop and we need to live on a real, for serious, budget. I am here, raising Heidi, and Wayne is out, at work. Why is this so scary now that it's imminent? We joined the military specifically so I could raise our kids without the pressure to work. Why is this prospect suddenly so daunting?

Having thought about it for a few weeks now (yes, it transformed into a writers' block), I can see that even though we chose this lifestyle so I could be home with children, I truly, in my heart of hearts, did not foresee myself actually, for realsies, being a full-time mom. I always anticipated having freelance clients to bring in at least a small income, which we could put away for vacations, or add to our retirement plan, or whatever. Namely, I think I envisioned us still making enough money so that I could buy the nice goat cheese at the grocery store, fun but gratuitous things for Heidi, and maybe some brand-name clothes every once-in-a-while.

But this is not how it has turned out. Despite my self-promotion, my career efforts are returning nothing but an empty inbox, and Brandon isn't exactly the most competitive business market. My deepest fear now is losing the identity I held pre-Heidi, and embracing wholeheartedly my still new identity as mother. And ONLY "mother." Because, to be honest, I can't sit at the computer for more than five minutes without getting up to move Miss H away from the tv/outlet/fireplace/fan/dog/stairs/dust bunnies. And if she's napping, I have other things to do like cleaning/cooking/baking/shopping/driving/sewing/watering/laundry/showering/maybe-shaving-my-legs. How could I commit to a steady stream of clients right now? WOrking moms, tell me: does this get easier?

In the grand scheme of things, I know deep down that this time in my life is the time I need to learn:









And all the other things I really don't want to learn.

But in the end, it will build my character, and build Heidi's as well. As she watches us act responsibly with our resources, she can grow up trusting us as providers, respecting our authority (hopefully), and gleaning wisdom by saving for the future. She will start off on the right foot where provision is concerned, and will hold high standards for herself. Above all, I want her to learn to rely on GOD for all things in life, not image, paycheck, title, or status. It all comes down to our wedding verse again: Luke 12:22-26. "Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes." It's true that He has provided for me in all things; why would He stop now?

We are a home dependent on God for provision, the means to live another day. And if we don't model this to our daughter, who will?