Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

I had someone ask me if Memorial Day weekend was hard for me because of what my husband does for a living.  When I shared this with Adam, he said, "Well, I'm not dead..."

But it got me to thinking...

Because, let's face it, I never in a million trajillion quadrillion years saw myself as a military wife. 

And would you believe that I was 22, and had graduated from college before I knew that Memorial Day was a holiday to honor the sacrifice of the fine men and women of the United States' military? 

And that's a shame.

In my family, we used to use Memorial Day to decorate the headstones of the people who had died in my family.  There was something spiritual about heading to three different cemetaries to clean up a year's worth of weeds, dirt, and bird poo.  To replace last year's wreath of plastic flowers with a new one of brightly colored plastic flowers.  To spray weed killer.  To wander around, looking at old grave markers, visiting the one that looks like a (real) tree.  To pray.

My grandpa passed away before I was born, and I was the only one of the grandkids who didn't get to know him.  So we always had the tradition, no matter what color flowers we bought, to buy a single purple flower to put with them.  Since I stand by the belief that purple has been my favorite color since birth, it was always very symbolic and special. 

And that's all well and good.  But it's not the point of Memorial Day.

I don't come from a military family.  My dad and my uncle both (thankfully) avoided the draft during the Vietnam War. I, like most of our country, have had the privilege to live a life mostly sanitized from the realities of war.

So here I am, married to a man who enlisted, at the age of 27.  During a freakin' war. 

Life is funny sometimes.

When I think about the things that Adam and I really truly value in our life and in our marriage, one of them is just doing the things that we think are right for us, despite how that may look on the outside.  Sometimes that means bucking convention and having pie at our wedding, instead of traditional wedding cake.  Sometimes that means adopting your first child, despite never trying to have a baby "the old fashioned way." 

And sometimes that means enlisting in the military because you have this innate desire to serve your country that you've had for your entire life; and, you know what, it's just time to do it.  Because you want to be able to tell your kids that you served in the war, that you didn't shrink away from what you feel is your duty.  Not because of the paycheck or the acknowledgement.  But for something bigger than that.  For something that you cannot even articulate to other people. 

I had the privilege of hearing Joyce Meyer speak back in April.  And she said something about how sometimes God's movement in our lives isn't really about us.  Sometimes it's about God using our life choices to impact someone else's life.  I think about the ways that Adam's enlisting has changed the reach of my professional work. 

Last week, I got invited to speak in Chicago at a training about military culture.  I couldn't stop laughing long enough to tell Adam about it.  I just kept saying, "Can you believe that they would ask ME?"  I think about the amazing things that I've been able to be a part of with the Wounded Warrior Project.  What a complete honor to even be a part of this inspiring organization.

So, on this Memorial Day, I want to say THANK YOU to my husband, a true Patriot. 

For being adamant about what you needed to do. 

For loving our country, for being willing to serve. 

You are my hero.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moses' Momma

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to head down to Louisville to see Joyce Meyer speak.  Her conferences are free.  Seating is first-come, first-served.  You never really know the topic, until you get there.  This conference happened to be on the topic of faith and fearWhoa.  Talk about awesome timing, huh? 

I could use a good reminder about faith with adoption, and I'm scared outta my wits with this deployment stuff. 

The whole conference was based on Matthew 11:22 (Amplified):
And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly]. 

So, Joyce Meyer in her very straight forward, Southern way, basically said, "You don't stop having faith because it gets hard.  You don't stop having faith because someone hurt your feelings.  You get to stop having faith when you see God deliver." 

It should be noted that (often) God does not deliver what we think He should.  (Because our little pea brains cannot even IMAGINE the awesomeness that God has planned for us!)

So then Joyce went on to talk about some people in the Bible with pretty amazing faith. 

She talked about Abraham in Genesis 12.  And God basically said to Abraham, "Pack up your stuff and leave your home."  And Abraham said, "Okay, God, sure.  Where do ya want me to go?"  And God said, "Start moving, and I'll tell you later."  And Abraham did it!

I've heard of this in the adoption world.  Families who are facing tough deadlines and restrictions, pack up everything, and head to Africa to pick up their babies, not knowing how things will work out or how long they will leave their home.  Amazing!

The reminder that sometimes God will do things to get us where He wants us/needs us to be.  And she talked about Moses.  And, you know, I knew the story of Moses.  ('Cause who doesn't love the little felt baby Moses in a basket that you get to play with in junior church?) 

But this story took on a totally different twist for this pre-adoptive momma. 

Basically, Moses had to grow up with another family in order to see some of the things that God needed him to. 

And that's when I started to cry.  Because, why should my kids be any different? 

I have GOT TO BELIEVE that the only reason God would allow a child to experience and endure the tragedies that necessitate adoption is because He has something BIGGER PLANNED FOR THEIR LIVES

And for ours

And, man, that's BIG.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

We Have Amazing Friends

Sometimes I look around at my life and I wonder (outloud), "How did I get this lucky?"

Especially when it comes to our friends.

Boy, we got lucky in that department.

We were notified early in the month that we were "invited" to attend an informational debriefing about Adam's deployment.  Let me be clear that this is a 4-hour informational suckfest that includes slides on things like "Casualty Notification."  Barf.

I asked our friend Mindy to go, because I wasn't sure if Adam would be able to attend.  And, you know, I wanted someone else with me in the event that I ran, screaming from the room if the information got too heavy.  When I first asked her, she didn't even hesitate before she said yes.  Part of me wanted to be like, "Uhm...are you sure?  It's 4 hours.  Starts at 8AM...on a Saturday." 

And then, in true girl-friendship style she asked, "Do you want me to help take notes?  Or just be there to support you.  Because I can do either one." 

And it was fine.  Parts of the debriefing were hard to hear and took my breath away. 

But, you know what? 

I wasn't alone. 

'Cause we have awesome friends.

Life has been really busy lately.  Busy in a mostly good way, but crazy busy.

A few weeks ago, my best friend Jessica asked if I would be interested in going in on a garage sale with her.  And I really really wanted to.  Lord knows we have enough junk around here to get rid of! 

But I let her know that there was NO WAY IN HECK that I was gonna be able to commit time, effort, or energy into a garage sale at this point. 

She has some stuff left over from our wedding.  I told her to sell it, keep what money she made, and get rid of/throw away/keep/drag to Goodwill/burn whatever was left over.

She invited me to dinner last week.  I felt like such a jerk because I didn't have any time in MY LIFE to sit down and have dinner with her.  I invited her to join us for Adam's birthday celebration.  She said they would but that she wanted to spend time with me, just the two of us.

This girl really wanted to spend time with me.  So I scheduled her in on my calendar.  For 2 weeks later.  'Cause I suck as a friend.

Luckily, on Friday, I found a night where I wasn't working, and Adam was working late, so I asked Jessica if she would be able to meet me for dinner. 

Turns out, this best friend of mine had an alterior motive for wanting to meet up, just the two of us. 

The garage sale she had?  On a crappy, cold Saturday? 

All the proceeds went to benefit the Miller Adoption!!!!!

So she mostly just wanted it to be her and I when she handed me a Mother's Day card with money in it. 

So I didn't ruin Adam's birthday celebration by crying hysterically through it.

She knows me so well.

I am a mediocre friend

Sometimes I think I am a great friend.  Sometimes I'm a terrible, terrible friend.

I am inconsistent.

I am selfish.

I strive to be more like our friends.  'Cause, golly, we're lucky.