Monday, May 25, 2009

At this time 6 years ago...

So I'm sitting in my room thinking about how much I miss Meg today. It was really hard for me. We had an easy day today at the shop. We watched movies, had a cookout and launched water balloons from a 3-man slingshot. But I found myself sitting alone for about a hour this morning thinking about how much I love Meg and how much I miss her today. I prayed for us as a couple and for us to be strong during this time. So after all the fun at the shop, we got released early today. As I poked around the room, I looked at my watch and saw it was 4:33 pm. Those of you that were there and remember our wedding, we actually started late. There was some confusion with directions with some of my family and they were late. And when I say some of my family, I mean the entire first 3 rows on my side of the church. Of course we needed to wait on them to arrive as they would of made quite the commotion when they did arrive. As I thought about just that one individual thought, I quickly remembered everything from that day. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. We had a party at my parents the day before since so many family members were in town. So we had a big get together. I remember getting to bed super late. We (the guys) had a plan to get up and go to breakfast at Bob Evans on Arlington Road. Sure enough, there were over 25 guys taking up a whole corner of Bob Evans. It was awesome! From there, the responsible thing would of been for all the guys in the wedding to go their respective ways to prepare to be at the church by 1:30 as the plan was laid out. Not us. I soon had roughly 8-10 guys back in our apartment playing Monkey Ball on the Nintendo Game Cube. In between rounds of Monkey Fighting, I got ready for the day. Fun right?

I can remember all of my emotions on that day. When I got to the church, I can remember hanging out and playing cards and my very soon to be mother-in-law telling us we shouldn't be playing cards in the church. I remember listening to music on a portable radio. I remember neglecting to stop at the store for some additional stuff and Tom R. had to bail me out (thanks buddy). And I definitley remember my parts of my extended family being late. And I remember Pastor Dave and his marathon prayers. But the greatest thing that I won't forget on that day is when I saw my bride for the first time. I remember how much I loved her at that moment and how wonderful she looked. I remember crying at the sight of the lady that was promising to stand next to me through it all, good and bad, highs and lows. When I'm being an impatient jerk or romantically sweeping her off her feet. I remember thinking how thankful I was to God for giving her to me. And as I look at it now, 6 years later, I am even more in love with my wife and she is even more beautiful to me today. She has taught me so much about myself and taught me so much about becoming the man I am today.

Meg-I couldn't be half the man I am today without you by my side. I love you more with each passing day and I can't wait until we are back in each others arms. You are my inspiration and my real life fairytale. I love you.

To my husband...

It was almost nine years ago that we met at the YMCA. You were one dreamy catch at that front desk. *wink* I walked past you day after day...turning down date after date. While we had gone to youth group together all during high school and yet not met, had mutual friends at Malone...and still hadn't met, and then there we were at the Y...with you fixing my car in the dead of winter, me coming back to work just to fold towels so I could talk to you and become friends...God had a plan and a purpose for it all. It was a complicated start to a beautiful relationship.

Three years later, we were standing at the altar, pledging our covenant to one another in front of our family, our dear friends, and God. The six years that have followed have not always been easy, but they have been fruitful, just like He promises in John 15. We have been blessed time and again by our needs always being met, situations given to us to stretch and grow us, and always knowing that God's unconditional love and grace sustain us.

We were also given the most precious gift in any marriage...a tangible reminder of our love...our son. As I watch him grow up, and grow into that big personality God gave him, I know that you are influencing him in the best ways. He is strong and independent, and yet gentle and sensitive at times...and all the time...just darn funny. He loves his daddy...

As I look over the past six years, I am unbelievably grateful for your leadership and example in our family, your unwavering faith, your constant integrity and honor, and the way that you cherish both Caleb and me. We could not ask for me.

Happy Anniversary, baby...

Song of Solomon 8:6a, 7a (Amplified):
"Set me like a seal upon your arm, like a seal upon your heart; for love is as strong as death...Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it..."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Because I know you will...

For all of the traffic we get on this blog...I pray it encourages you from time to time! We love you all so much for supporting us in and through this time...and now I know you'll help me to love and support another.

Megan (not me!...Megan R.) is a wonderful woman of God that I have had the pleasure of knowing since 1999. Though unfortunately our paths have not crossed since our time at Teen Mania, I can assure you she is a precious woman, wife and mother. Her faith, in the midst of many trials and tragedies, is amazing and humbling to me. I hope that you will join me in partnering with them in prayer and believing for a miracle for their family. Here's their story.

There is a beautiful song by Lisa Gungor that is called "Paradox of Faith." It talks about how we pray to God, come to Him with our needs, but already have the answers for if our ways were better than His own. I pray, as in the song, that Mike and Megan are uplifted by all of us....

"Whatever we ask in your name, we shall receive..."


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Who turned on the hair dryer?

The title of this blog may lead you a little astray to ask yourself why a bunch of soldiers in Iraq even have hair dryers and why in the world would they would be using them?! The truth of the matter is the temperature today was about 115 degrees and whenever the wind blew, it felt like a hair dryer in your face. Nice!! Can't wait to see what June, July and August bring...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here comes trouble...

So, I took a dear friend from our church, Melinda, to the Acquire the Fire in Pittsburgh this weekend...and we had a BLAST, if I do say so myself. :-) We left Friday right after school, and got home late late late Saturday night. We crashed in my bed as soon as we laid down. But there was one problem...

You see, Caleb has a teeny tiny crush on Miss Melinda. He wanted me to wake him up when we got home so he could see her. My thought process was that he was going to see her in the morning, so he could just sleep.

Well, in the morning, he was ecstatic to find Melinda downstairs...except for one small problem...

Caleb: MELINDA!!!!!

Mel: Hey, Caleb! (I'm sure a big hug and kiss followed this exchange)

Caleb: Melinda?

Mel: Yeah, buddy?

Caleb: You were supposed to sleep in MY bed last night.

Mel: I was? Why?

Caleb: Yes. Because I have TWO pillows.

Uh.....good thing my kid is only 4. We're going to have to nip this in the bud.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

From the mouths of babes

So, I've decided that holidays are especially difficult without J...just special days that I wish we could all be together. The best thing about Joshua is he knows how much I cherish the little things, so he would've made today the best...breakfast in bed, a back rub if I wanted, flowers...

Funny thing is, I have a little man who did all of that for me today, and more. The two men in my life are for SURE two peas in a pod. I woke up this morning (after an incredible, but super crazy, weekend in Pittsburgh) to breakfast in bed (an eggo waffle with Coke), flowers on my tray (dandelions that were rescued from perishing from the lawn mower later in the day), and a beautiful homemade card. Not only that, but as I awoke and stumbled out of the bedroom, Caleb came running to me, full force, yelling..."Happy Mother's Day, mommy!!!"...and wrapped me up in a huge hug.

Though the day was difficult without my best friend and hubby here with us, the BEST part came later that evening. Caleb and I were laying in his bed, singing to his worship CD when he asked if we could say prayers. Like I would ever say no...

Caleb: Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Its Mother's Day (just in case Jesus didn't know). So, thank you for picking me out for my mom. And thank you for picking my mom out just for me. You did a good job.

*heart melting*

Wow. And Jesus...I'd like to add...thank you for such a spectacularly sensitive kid. May he always live life with the passion, depth and love for the world that he shows already. He for sure makes BOTH of his parents proud.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone.

Mothers versus Moms

So I just wanted to take a minute to share my thoughts on moms since today is Mother's Day. First of all, I have to say that I have 3 amazing moms in my life. First is obviously my wife. She is such an amazing mom. She has given our son so much and continues to give in my absence. I love her more every day for the way she cares for CJ. Second is my own mom. She has done so much for me - from raising me in a Christian home to staying up all night long so I could have a co-ed sleep overs after Proms. Third would be my mother-in-law. I have called her mom from the start of dating her daughter and she has accepted and loved me as a son the whole time.

But as I think about what it means to be a mom versus a mother, I can come up with a list of differences. Any woman (I'm speaking in general here) can be a mother. They can carry a child for 9 months, give birth and that is that. She would technically be a mother. However, a mom is someone who continues to give past that 9 months. She loves her children all the time, regardless of the circumstances. She gives with no thought of reward. She is willing to sacrifice her comfort and even her life, for her children. I'm not saying that dads wouldn't do the same but lets be honest for a second; if guys had to be responsible for child birth, there would be a lot less people in this world. :-)

I have seen a lot of great moms out there and words can not justify how awesome they are. So thank you to all the moms out there...the ones that get up early and go to bed late, the ones that are willing to cut of the crust of bread, the ones who drive miles out of their way, and the ones that sacrifice just so their children have just a little more. You make the world better for all of us.


Monday, May 4, 2009

This is where I live

So now that I'm on up on the internet, I figured I would give a little preview of my life here in Iraq. My room is a modest 15' x 15' area that myself and one other guy live in. I actually am thankful for him as a roommate. We both like to keep the room clean and tidy, we observe each other's privacy and we both like the room about the same temperature. Plus he is a fellow ginger (red head) as so many people around here like to call us.
I mostly feel like my day goes by quick. I get up, go to work working on trucks, come home, go to chow, then I either workout or shoot hoops, take a shower and talk to the family. All-in-all, the days go quick. On my days off, I might watch a movie or play some Guitar Hero.
Anyway, here are some pictures. Enjoy!!!

Yep, twin size bed and wood paneling. Living the high life....

19" tv but at least I have my Xbox

The walkway to my room. Lots of concrete here.

One of my teams first projects was tearing apart the front end of this hummer. Good stuff!