Monday, November 20, 2006

Last Post from North Carolina!

They'll be taking our computer tomorrow, so I figured I better update my blog before our trip home. Yep, the day is almost here. Our movers come tomorrow and pack us up, then they come back on Wednesday to move us out. We'll load our trailer on Thursday, and then start driving on Friday. Did I mention that we'll be doing all of this in the middle of a "noreaster" or some crazy winter storm that's supposed to cause lots of rain and wind the next three days...Perfect. Nothing could rain on our parade though! We can't wait to be home again, although leaving Camp Lejeune has been a little more difficult than we planned. We really have made some great memories and met some wonderful people, and that makes it hard to say goodbye. I had coffee with two of my dearest friends this morning, Jen & Amanda, and it's hard to imagine Starbucks without them!

Ryan wanted to make sure I mentioned that Jack is looking VERY forward to being a Texas dog again, and Harley is excited because she's never been a Texan but has heard lots of great stories. They both can't wait to see all their friends and family!

It'll be awhile before I blog again, so don't get on my case! (You know who you are!!) I'll keep you posted as our journey home continues. Until then, Adios North Carolina...Hola Tejas!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No Time to Blog!

I've been bad...I know. I haven't updated since we sold our house. I guess that's been what's kept me so busy lately because I swear it feels like yesterday that I posted that blog! Goodness. Life around here is officially nuts. There are so many crazy details involved with checking out of the Marine Corps and moving halfway across the country. I'm still teaching piano up until next Tuesday, and praise the Lord I had my last high school concert last night! What a relief. We also made a trip to Texas for Molly's shower, Kendall's shower, and HSU homecoming. It was so great to see everyone, and it made us even more excited to hurry up and move home.

Last weekend, we drove up to Virginia basically to have some closure to this whole Marine Corps experience. Quantico, Virginia is where it all began when Ryan went to Officer Candidates School in 2001. It's crazy to think that we were just dating then! We never could have imagined all that we would go through over the next 5 and a half years...good and bad. After we walked around Ryan's "old stompin' grounds" as he calls it, we drove up to Annapolis to see my friend Joanna. It was so good to see her, and as always she blew me away. Her husband, John, and Ryan were in Infantry Officers Course together. He was killed in Iraq in April 2004. She is one of the most optimistic and inspirational people I know. She has taken what was the lowest point in her life and developed a passion for helping other widows and family members in her situation with an organization called TAPS...Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. It's incredible to see how far she's come in 2 years. After Joanna's, we drove out to Robin & Will's new house in Manassas, VA. I got to go to Robin's baby shower, which was lots of fun. The Gazes' have been friends and "family" to us since we first moved away from Texas, so we didn't say goodbye to them...just "see ya later". Even though we'll be a few states apart now, they're stuck with us for life whether they like it or not! ha ha Before we headed home on Sunday, we knew we had one more stop to make. Unfortunately we know several people buried at Arlington Cemetery, so we went to pay our respects. It is so humbling to even set foot on that place. I can't stomach the fact that gravestone upon gravestone were names we friends' husbands, Marines Ryan served with, Marines who taught him, and Marines he led. All I could do was thank God that I was standing there with my husband who is home SAFE and healthy. I will never take that for granted as long as I live. we are 5 days before our movers come, and we have offically packed 3 boxes. Yep--that's it. I guess I still can't believe that in one week, we will be sitting in an empty house. Our furniture will be loaded and on its way to Houston, and we'll be following shortly thereafter with the last of our things. We'll technically be "homeless" for 2 weeks because we can't move into our apartment until December 8th. It'll be fun seeing family and enjoying some "us" time though. We are supposed to close on our house on Monday, the 20th, but things don't always work according to plan, so I'm praying daily for patience, sanity, and as little stress as possible. Hope you enjoyed the update...I'm going to go pack now. :-)

Thursday, October 19, 2006


We've been so busy trying to get ready to move back to Texas that I haven't blogged in awhile, but we got really good news this week that I just have to share. WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!!! I had been so nervous about it because we wanted to sell it ourselves without going through a realtor. But, I just didn't know if it would be too much of a hassle and it we'd have any luck. Well, last week, one of Ryan's platoon commanders came over after work to look at the house. Then, he brought his girlfriend with him on Sunday to look at it. On Monday, he told Ryan that he was pre-approved for a loan and wanted the house!!! So, we sat down on Tuesday night and started all of the paperwork. I didn't even get to put a "For Sale" sign out in the front yard! I can't tell you what a huge load off our shoulders this is. And it's kindof cool that our friends Mike & Amber bought it, so we know that we'll be leaving our first home in good hands! On top of that, we've just about settled on an apartment in Sugar Land that should work for us and our puppies for the 7 months Ryan will be in school. The logistics of moving across the country are just crazy, but thank goodness things are really starting to line up for us. I can't wait until all of this is behind us and we can just be HOME.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Brad's Visit

I know I'm really late posting this, but what's new?! Last week, Brad took a few days off work to come visit us. I'd like to say that he came to see me, but I have a feeling he REALLY wanted to see Ryan. It had been since New Years that they had gotten to hang out, so we were so excited that he decided to spend his vacation days in North Carolina. The weather was beautiful, so we hung out at the beach, played football (despite Ryan's hamstring injury!), and cooked out. It was really relaxing for all of us...I think we all needed it! I'm so lucky that Ryan and Brad are such good friends. It's going to be so much fun when he and Kendall get married, and the 4 of us get to spend even more time together. Here's a picture of Brad with his neice and nephew who LOVE their "Uncle Brad" very much!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Day at the Beach

Let's just say that Jack is his Daddy's boy, and Harley is her Momma's girl. Jack would chase the waves and swim in the ocean ALL day long just like Ryan would. Everyone on the beach stops and watches him...he's definitely the star of the show. Harley, on the other hand, didn't enjoy the water too much. Maybe she's scared of sharks!! She hates to be dirty, so she spent most of the afternoon licking sand off of her paw and "sunbathing". Jack was devastated when it was time to leave, but I'm sure we'll be back soon enough.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I guess it's about time I post some homecoming pictures! Let's see...on Monday the 4th, everyone started getting into town, so I knew it was really happening...Ryan was coming HOME. Ryan's parents flew in, and Robin, Will, & Jackie drove down from Virginia. We all went to hang his welcome home signs on the highway, ate dinner together, and tried to get to bed early. Ha ha!! The anticipation was literally just as much (if not more) as I felt the night before my wedding, so sleep was the farthest thing from my mind. At 1:30, I finally fell asleep, then popped out of bed at 3:30 to start getting ready.

By 6:45 am, we were all up at the battalion waiting to see him for the first time. It was horrible weather...rainy and humid...but nothing could ruin this day for us! It seemed like FOREVER, but finally at 8:15, we saw the Marines start walking up from the armory. It took me a little while to pick Ryan out, but as soon as I did, you better believe I was running across the parking lot like a crazy person! I could try to describe how amazing it was to see his face and hold him for the first time in 7 months, but words can't do that. It's just the best feeling in the world to know that he's safe and back in my everyday life again. The little things are what I missed most, and now that he's home, I'll never take them for granted. Knowing that this was his last deployment makes it even better!

We spent the next few days unpacking, looking at pictures, eating good food, playing with the dogs, and just spending time with everyone. Then this weekend, we got to celebrate our anniversary at the beach, which was wonderful! I never thought he'd be home in time for that, so it was icing on the cake. I find myself looking at him and pinching myself to see if he's really here. Then, at times, I feel like he never left. Even though Ryan is home, the majority of the battalion is still in Iraq for a couple more weeks, so keep them all in your prayers.
Here are some pictures of the past week.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My Busy Summer

I know, I last post was over 2 months ago. I don't know where June and July went! I had such a great trip home to Texas. It was wonderful seeing so many of my friends and getting to spend time with my family. My parents were nice enough to drive me back, and my dad spent a lot of time checking things off of my "honey-do" list. I forget how nice it is having a man around! Just going back for a month made me so excited to be moving back to Texas in December. It can't come soon enough!

After I got back from Texas, I went to Virginia to visit Robin, Will, & Jackie. We went to the Kenny Chesney concert on Friday night, which was a blast. Then we pretty much played Trading Spaces in her new house for one LONG day on Saturday. It was so much fun to watch her house begin to look like a HOME. It's really coming along, and it should be perfect by the time their baby comes in January. I miss having her across town, but it's great to be able to go visit.

Early last week, I got probably some of the best news of my life. Ryan is coming home advanced party, which means he should be home shortly after Labor Day rather than at the end of September!!! That means the countdown is really on! In just over a month I will have my husband back for GOOD. Luckily, I have plenty to keep me busy this month until he gets home. I started teaching piano lessons again yesterday, so that puts me on a schedule, which I definitely need. I've also learned that I start losing my mind about 2 weeks before homecoming, and I become this psychotic obsessive compulsive person about making my house perfect, so I'm sure that will take over pretty soon. Watch out everyone!! Until then, I'll try to be better about keeping my blog updated, and I'll post some pictures soon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My Hottie Husband

Oh goodness, Ryan will TOTALLY kill me for that title, but I just had to say it. Doesn't he look so great?!? I'm posting these pictures to commemorate the fact that he has been gone 3 months now, so time is slowly ticking away. By the time I finish out this school year, make my trip to Texas, and spend a couple of weekends with Robin in Virginia, this deployment will be over before I know it! In the 1st picture, that's the Euphrates River in the background...pretty cool. In the 2nd picture, you'll see a box of girl scout cookies...random, I know. A girl scout troop sent his company cases of cookies to share with all of the Marines, and they also sent a camera requesting pictures of the Marines enjoying the cookies. So, Ryan made sure to take a picture with the cookies and a grenade launcher...what a pair. I'm sure the girls loved it!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New York City!!

Molly and I had a BLAST in the Big Apple this past weekend. We saw 3 shows, shopped, shopped, ate, and shopped some more. We saw "The Light in the Piazza" the first night we were there, and it was really good. The music is beautiful & we got 1/2 price tickets, so I'm glad we went. Then, on Friday night, we saw Julia Roberts, Paul Rudd, and Bradley Cooper in "Three Days of Rain". To be honest, the play wasn't my favorite in the world, but I still couldn't get over the fact that I was seeing Julia Roberts in person!! Who cares if the play was good or not?!? On Saturday, we saw "The Drowsy Chaperone" which is up for Best Musical at the Tony's this year. It was of my favorite musicals by far! The whole trip was a great get-away from life here in North Carolina, and I was thrilled to get to spend the weekend with Molly. It was tons of fun! Everytime I go to New York City, I think I want to move there. It's just so energetic, and there's culture and great shopping everywhere you turn around! Then, I come back to my cozy house, my sweet puppies, my yard (not too many of those in NYC), and sometimes my husband (when he's in the country!), and I realize how much I love my life. We had a great time, but it's good to be home.
Here's an assortment of pictures from the trip:

Molly & me in Times Square

Being silly in the cab...that kiss is for you Ryan!

We just saw Julia Roberts! HOLY COW!!!

When we first got to New York, we grabbed a snack and took it out to Central Park to eat. Well, of course (because I have horrible luck with weather) it started pouring rain, so we decided to walk back to the restaurant. I'm SO glad we did because we saw Ty Pennington walking right toward us! We were such idiots and couldn't juggle our umbrellas and cameras very well, so I just got a really far away picture of him (that's him with the khaki jacket and big black umbrella) going to meet some really pretty blonde girl. Hmmm...wonder who she was.

We are so lucky that our friend Luke lives in New York City so that we could stay for free! We felt like locals taking the subway from Queens into Manhattan everyday. This is Luke with his broken foot. He just landed his 2nd role on Broadway in a show called "The Times They are a Changin" that opens in August!

Look familar?? That's Paul Rudd (from Friends, Anchorman, & 40 Year Old Virgin). He was awesome in the play with Julia Roberts!

OK...I know you really can't see her, but I promise that's Julia Roberts in the back seat of her Escalade...Crazy!!

I don't know if I'm at liberty to explain why Molly was passed out in the back of the cab. You can ask her about this one!

Random picture in Times Square

Sunday, May 14, 2006

In Honor of Brad

Here's a little blog tribute to my brother, Bradley Lane. Today, he not only turned 22 years old, but he also got his college diploma! That's a pretty good birthday present if you ask me. I also have to mention that we have matching tassels since we both got Business degrees from HSU. Do you know what they call that icky, brownish color? DRAB. Yes, that's right...we have "drab" tassels and we're proud of it! I wish SO badly that I could've been there, but it just didn't work out. Luckily, he had quite a crew in Abilene to help him celebrate. He has quite a year ahead of him. For a graduation gift, he and 2 of his friends are going backpacking all over Europe. So much fun!!! On top of that, he deserves all of this celebrating because he got offered a "real person" job where he'll actually get to use his Finance degree. He'll be moving to the metroplex (that's Dallas/Ft. Worth for you non-Texas people who read this). Then, on December 30th, he and Kendall get married! What a great year for him! Sorry for all of the bragging, but big sisters are entitled to do that if they want. Keep him in your prayers these next few weeks as he's traveling through Europe, sleeping on trains, not changing clothes very often (gross), and enjoying "bachelor's life" for one last summer! I'm proud of you little brother... Happy Birthday & Graduation!!!

My Future Sister-in-Law (Kendall) & Brad

Ryan Gibson & of the friends he's going to Europe with

Brad & My Parents...not pictured is ME (insert sad face here)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Girls' Night

I invited Robin & Jackie Rose over for dinner Monday night, and they beat me there, so I actually got to come home to people! It was so much fun after a long afternoon of teaching to pull up in my driveway and see my puppies and Jackie Rose waiting right inside the door for me. I forget how quiet my house can get with Ryan away. We had a great time eating chicken enchiladas and of course indulging in our traditional brownie sundaes. YUM! My dogs seemed to manage to make it into every picture...even when they weren't invited. In the first picture, Jackie is on her hands and knees posing like Jack & Harley...she's going through a "puppy phase"!

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Sometimes drama can be good. For example, I was SO proud of all the kids for the amazing acting they did this weekend in Beauty and the Beast. They made Jacksonville High School history by selling out every single performance. They were so excited! I just adore those kids. Here's a picture of "my boys". I've worked with all these guys for 3 years, and they just make me smile.

This is our "Belle", Anastasia Papanicolau. She was just accepted to Walnut Hill, a high school performing arts conservatory in Boston, and she's only a sophomore in high school! Look out Broadway, she's definitely on her way!

Like I said, sometimes drama can be good. However, the rest of my weekend was filled with the bad kind of drama. I found out on Friday that my debit card information had been stolen and $1700 worth of transactions had been made to Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven, and Exxon in AUSTIN, TX in a matter of a day and a half!!! $1000 of it was flagged by the bank, so it didn't get charged, but $700 was sucked right out of my checking account. I explained that I was in North Carolina at the time, with my debit card IN MY WALLET. And when they asked where my husband was, I laughed and told them that he was in Iraq and that his card was in his wallet in Ramadi. I have proof that Ryan is in Iraq because there's a paper that says so, but now they have to prove that I was in North Carolina on Thursday and Friday, which is funny to me. That shouldn't be a problem since I was videoed playing for the musical both days, not to mention my name is in the program. I know that this kind of stuff happens to people all the time, but when it's YOU, it's really scary. I feel so violated! I had to file a police report here in North Carolina, so the sherrif came to my house to start the process. But, because the "crime" took place in Texas, the Austin Police have to do the investigating. They assigned me a detective that will work with my bank to hopefully track down whoever this loser is. In the meantime, my card had to be cancelled, which means that Ryan's card was cancelled too. That card is what he uses whenever he has the chance to buy anything in Iraq, so I feel bad for him. He can get cash other ways, but still... Not only that, but the bank won't mail me his new card when it's ready. They say they have to talk to him personally on the phone, and since he doesn't really get that many phone calls, I guess we'll have to figure something else out. It's not the money that bothers me (well, that's part of it), but it's just the inconvenience of it all. All of this to say, BE CAREFUL with your credit card information!! I still don't know how mine was stolen. Luckily, we caught this the day after it happened, but it could've been a lot worse.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Singing in my Sleep

Ryan makes fun of me because he says that I hum in my sleep. I always say that I'm going to record myself sleeping because I don't believe him. Well, I guess I believe him now because I actually woke myself up humming Beauty and the Beast in the middle of the night. Seriously, it's sad when that's ALL I can think about because it's ALL my life revolves around...until this coming Sunday, that is. Then I will have my life back! Don't get me wrong, I love the kids, and I love playing for musicals, but we're all to the point that we're ready to kill each other. Anyway, forgive me if I don't blog much more this week. I promise there is nothing worth talking about anyway. Unless you want to read lyrics from Beauty and the Beast...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Sorry it's been awhile since my last update. I can't believe it has been a week! Nothing very important has happened...just enough to keep me busier than I'd like to be. That's LIFE, I guess. I spent the end of last week catching up on make-up piano lessons that I missed while I was on vacation. Then, I had "Beauty & the Beast" rehearsals Thursday and Friday nights. Saturday, I spent 3 hours at church recording a concert for a middle school choir director friend of mine. I can't play for her concert, and she can't find anyone else, so we recorded it instead. Then, I went to dinner with Jen & Amanda. We had a great time catching up as always. Those two can always put me in the best mood!

Sunday was a great day. Marine wives always use the term "retail therapy" as an excuse to shop extra while their husbands are away. Well, that doesn't always agree with the bank account, so on Sunday I found a way to shop for FREE. Claire, another choir director friend of mine, enlisted my help to go shopping with her for a more "hip" wardrobe. Her daughter left for college this year, and so she now calls me her surrogate daughter. She really is an amazing woman, and has kindof been a mentor to me since I moved here. She was instrumental in getting my name out in the community to start booking piano jobs. Now I have more than I can handle, so I owe a lot to her. Anyway, she HATES shopping with a passion (can you imagine?!) and doesn't know what matches what, but she knows that she wants to be in style. So, I got to go crazy with her Master Card. She was so open-minded and was willing to try on anything and everything. It was almost more fun to help her find clothes than to shop for myself because I could do it all without feeling guilty! Plus, I could see how excited she was. She is definitely the trendiest teacher at Jacksonville High School now. My reward: lunch, dinner, a new shirt and a pair of earrings. Can't beat that!

Yesterday and today it's been back to the same old grind. Between piano lessons, musical practice, my Key Volunteer stuff, and trying to socialize in between, I'm TIRED!! Today was sad for two reasons:
1. Starbucks was supposed to have their grand opening today, and when I went by to get my grande, 2%, sugar-free, hazelnut latte, they were closed!!!! I have been waiting almost 3 years for this town to get a Starbucks, and it's wearing on my emotions!
2. Today was also sad because it was probably my last hair appointment with my hair guy, George. Yes, he's moving to Phoenix to live with his boyfriend...imagine that.

My goal for the rest of the week is to get out of this funk I've been in. I miss Ryan a lot...not that that's a new thing, but more than usual I guess. I think I just need an attitude adjustment, and I'm scared to pray for one because I know I'll get one!! Know what I mean??? Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wake Up Call!

Don't worry, I'm not talking about a bad "wake up call" or anything...I got the BEST kind this morning when Ryan called me at 6 a.m.! We got to talk for about half an hour, and the satellite phone only cut out one time. That's a first! He sounded so good--probably the best I've heard him--and it put me in the best mood for the rest of the day. I wanted to go back to bed after we got off, but I couldn't quit smiling enough to sleep, so I decided to get up and be productive. I finished my laundry from my trip (finally!), went to the grocery store, walked both dogs, pulled some weeds, bought tickets to "The Drowsy Chaperone" in New York (for a great discount, might I add!), returned a shirt that I decided was ugly, and got my large Diet Coke with Sugar-free cherry from Sonic before I had to teach lessons at 3:00. Then I taught 6 piano lessons until 7:00 and flew to musical practice after that until 9:00. Of course, I TiVo-ed American Idol and watched Ace get voted off. I was sad because he's SO nice to look at, but he was definitely not the best singer in the competition, so I guess I have to let him go. Man! If my days keep going by this fast, Ryan will be home in no time!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

NC Here I Come!

After 10 days in Texas (that FLEW by!) I'm heading back to North Carolina tomorrow. It's always hard to leave, but I'm actually excited to get back in my "groove" because time seems to pass faster that way. I also can't wait to see my puppies!!! Here are some pictures of highlights from my trip including: Davis Soben's 1st birthday, Pappy's 83rd birthday, Starbucks with Thompson & Molly (not pictured: Brent, Peter, & Brad), and Easter Sunday with my family.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Sometimes I don't know where my home is. North Carolina has finally started to feel like home after 2 and a half years because it's where Ryan and I have our house and all of the "stuff" that makes it a home. It's where lots of my friends are, my piano students are, my church is, my bank is, and all that stuff. It's where I sleep every night, and it's where my puppies are right now. (I miss them terribly!!) Then I come to Texas and fly into good old Abilene, and something just feels NORMAL here. I love being able to come back to the place I grew up for 22 years and fall right back into the swing of things. People are so NICE in Abilene...or in most of Texas for that matter. It's definitely good to be home.

OK, Molly's griping at me for not updating my blog, so here's what's been going on with me. Since I've been here, it's been a little crazy. I was delayed for 3 and a half hours at DFW to start things off because of the high winds Friday night. So, I finally got to Abilene at about 10:30, which was really 11:30 North Carolina time. I pretty much crashed that night. I visited with Mammy and Pappy that next morning, ran around and shopped a little bit with my mom after that, and then went to the driving range with my Dad that afternoon. Let's long has it been since I've picked up a golf club?! I wasn't as bad as I thought I would be though, and it honestly kindof makes me want to start playing again.

On Sunday, I went to church with my parents and sang in Dad's choir. I didn't realize how much I love singing with a GOOD choir (no offense to anyone at FBC Swansboro who might be reading this). Then my family went to the Soben's house to celebrate Davis's 1st birthday Sunday evening. He is the cutest little guy ever, and it was so fun to watch him stuff his face with guacamole. He would've rather eaten guacamole all night instead of birthday cake!

On Monday, I drove to Arlington with my dad because he was taking my Grandma to the hospital the next morning to have a hip replacement. Ryan called on the way, so I got to talk to him for a good 20 minutes. That made my day! My Aunt Julie, Grandma, Dad, and I ate lunch, and then I headed to Flower Mound to visit Bill & Penny. We had dinner and I stayed the night over there. It was great to see them...kindof makes me feel more connected to Ryan when we're all together.

I got up early Tuesday morning and drove to Arlington Memorial Hospital where my Grandma was having surgery. She was being wheeled to recovery as soon as I got there, so we got to go straight in and visit her. She was high on anesthesia, so that was pretty funny. I don't think she will remember talking to any of us. The doctor said that her surgery went great and that he was going to try to have her up walking around on her new hip that afternoon! Isn't that crazy?! I was glad that everything went okay and that I got to be there. We went in and see her one more time, and then Dad and I drove back to Abilene yesterday evening.

So...that's pretty much what's been going on since I've gotten to Texas. Today is really the first day that I have no set plans, which is really nice. It's just nice to be home.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

7 Days Without a Phone Call Makes One "Weak"

I know, I know...cheesy title, but I couldn't resist. Really though, I was beginning to get anxious that I hadn't heard from Ryan in a week, but he finally called me yesterday. Hearing his voice on the phone is like medicine. I felt like a new person the rest of the day! The battalion had a tough weekend, so it was a relief to know that he was safe & least, as safe and sound as a person CAN be in Iraq!

Well, these days it seems like piano lessons and musical practice take up most of my time. I'm playing for Jacksonville High School's performance of "Beauty and the Beast", and it is going to be great! Those kids are doing such an amazing job. Most of the school concerts I play for are a chore, but this is FUN! I must really have no life because I actually look forward to going most of the time. The only thing I feel bad about is leaving my puppies alone all day. I know that's ridiculous, but they ARE my children...even though they're furry 4-legged children who don't speak English. After practice last night, I met Amanda for coffee at Moka Joe's. We are anxiously awaiting the grand opening of Starbucks because we'll be first in line. (That's heard me...we don't have a Starbuck's!) I usually don't have time to eat dinner between lessons and practice, so she totally made my night by bringing me homemade stuffed shells for dinner. Other than talking to my husband, it was the highlight of my day!!

Well, only 2 more days and I'll be on a plane to Texas! Home has never sounded so good.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Weekend Fun

This weekend was so nice and relaxing. I didn't have any real schedule, and everything that I did have planned was FUN. I love weekends like that! On Saturday, Robin & I went to a craft fair on base, which was supposed to be a really big deal. There were definitely a ton of vendors there, but unfortunately the items for sale were pretty sad. I really wanted to buy something but literally couldn't find anything worth spending money on. I was wishing the whole time that I had reserved a booth and made stuff to sell...I could've made some big money! We bailed on the craft fair and spent the rest of the afternoon having lunch and shopping, which is always fun.

Today, Robin & Jackie Rose came to church with me, so we went out to lunch at a great restaurant on the water in Swansboro called the Ice House. It's built on a dock, and it was such a beautiful day that we decided to eat outside. Jackie was so cute waving at the boats and telling us "Shhh...the fish are sleeping!" When I got home, I looked at my right arm and realized that I had gotten the most ridiculous looking sunburn from sitting out on the dock. Evidently the sun ONLY shone on about 6 inches of my right arm, so I look like I have the worst farmer's tan (or rather...sunburn) ever. It's supposed to be 80 degrees tomorrow, so I can either wear long sleeves and be hot, or wear short sleeves and look like an idiot!

I spent this evening having dinner with two great friends, Amanda & Jen. We took Jen out to Outback for her birthday, which was really 2 weeks ago, but she was out of town. Since their husbands are both deployed with Ryan, we have a lot in common these days. Not only do we share a love of margaritas (ha ha), but we also share the same emotional roller coaster called the Marine Wife Life. We're a pretty good support system for each other.

This week will be pretty low key until I fly to TEXAS on FRIDAY!!! I can't wait to be home and see family & friends. I'm definitely feeling the need for a break. Also, say a special prayer for Ryan & all of the Marines whenever you think about it. They need God's protection, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

True Confessions

Ever done something so ridiculous that you look around to see if anyone saw you...then you pretend you didn't do it? I think that's the story of my life. At least today, anyway! I left my house at 6:30 AM to go to Fayetteville, NC for a middle school choral festival. I could've ridden on the bus with the kids, but I knew that I'd have to literally fly back to make it back in time for my 3:00 piano lesson. So, with a full cup of coffee, I started on my 2 and a half hour voyage.

CONFESSION #1: When I listen to CDs of musicals in my car, I can't merely listen, or just sing along. I feel it's my obligation to "perform" the musical as if I'm living out my life-long dream in the spotlight. So...if I don't like the way I sing a particular song, I back it up and try again until I like the way it myself...alone in my car. (My brother does this too, so I think it's genetic!) Well, as I was singing the soundtrack to "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at the top of my lungs this morning, I failed to notice that I turned onto Hwy. 50 South instead of North. Not only that, but I proceeded to drive an extra 25 miles--in the wrong direction. I totally freaked out because I didn't think I was going to make it in time to play for my first group, so I called the director and...

CONFESSION #2: ... LIED and said that I had car trouble but I would be there as soon as I could!!! I know, Go ahead and judge me. I just couldn't possibly admit that I was so wrapped up in performing my musical for NOBODY that I turned the wrong direction on the highway...and kept going.

Luckily, I made it just in time (literally within 3 minutes) for my first group, and they did a great job. Everything else went fine at the competition. As soon as my last group finished, I jumped in my car to hurry home. I was deliriously tired and really hungry, so I stopped at McDonald's (my favorite place...not really). Thank goodness I don't know a living soul in Roseboro, NC: population 546, because I did something I have never done before...

CONFESSION #3: I walked straight into the MEN'S restroom like I owned the place!!! I don't know what I was thinking...I WASN'T thinking. It wasn't until I was in the stall and actually using the restroom that it dawned on me what I had done. There were no men in the restroom, so I prayed that none would decide to come in. I dreaded walking out that door and everyone seeing what I had done, so I left the bathroom and McDonald's without making eye contact with anyone. I was mortified!

I was about 3o miles away from my first student's house, and my eyes started getting SO heavy. My head was bobbing, I couldn't stay awake for the life of me, and driving through "Podunk-ville USA" wasn't helping! I looked at the clock, did some quick math, and realized that I had about 15 minutes to pull over and take a quick nap, so I leaned my chair back and set my cell phone alarm for 2:20.

CONFESSION #4: I OVERSLEPT!!!!!!! Not only did I oversleep...I overslept in a Family Dollar parking lot! I guess I need to figure out how to work the alarm on my cell phone. Frantically, I started driving again...this time WIDE awake with adrenaline. I pulled up to my piano lesson at 3:01 PM, thank you very much.

Some days it just doesn't pay to get up...then again, what would we have to laugh about later if days like this one never happened? Here's to a great tomorrow everybody!

Friday, March 24, 2006

"Be joyful always; pray continually." I Thessalonians 5:16-17

I had a wake-up call this week about how "continually" I really do need to be praying. I won't ever write too many specifics about Ryan and what he's doing in Iraq (mainly for safety reasons), but I have to share what happened this week. Ryan emailed on Wednesday and sounded SO beaten down, frustrated, and exhausted. His job right now is really testing him and is keeping him too busy to eat, sleep, or relax even for a little while. And to top it off, he's in a combat zone, which just adds more stress to the mix! The sole purpose of his job is to make things run smoothly for about 200+ people, and in order to do that, it's taking more energy than he alone can muster right now. His mom and I truly believe that he was experiencing some major spiritual warfare. When he is with Marines, he is alone in his faith for the most part. It's not the "Bible-belt" anymore where it's odd for someone to not be a Christian. He is definitely set apart from just about everyone he works with. It's not like him to let his guard down and tell me how hard things are while he's away. He always tries to protect me from worrying about him, but I'm glad he opened up this time because I learned a profound lesson!

I started praying extra-hard, right then. I don't think I stopped until I fell asleep that night. When I woke up at 4 am to let the dogs out, I prayed again. I woke up at 7:45 and prayed. I prayed on my way to the post office. I prayed while I drank my coffee. I prayed while my piano students were playing their scales. I prayed in the car on the way home. I prayed for his endurance. I prayed for his patience. I prayed for him to find REST. I prayed continually. Not only that, but I knew Ryan was praying too. When I got home that evening, I checked my email and Ryan had written again. This time he sounded like a new person. He said that the way his day had gone could only have been a miracle. He had only gotten 4 hours of sleep throughout the night, but he felt completely rested. He was in a good mood, and little things weren't getting under his skin as badly. He made progress with some "people issues" he was dealing with. His mind was clear for the first time. This all happened in less than 24 hours.

Now, I know that sounds so simple. We prayed...God answered. I don't know why I was the least bit surprised! Why does it take my husband literally hanging on to his sanity by a thread for me to pray that hard? Why do I not do that EVERY DAY? I can't imagine how much easier things would be. So, that's my myself and to you. Lately, my prayers happen to be for Ryan most of the time, but whatever it is you are facing, God answers. It's that simple.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Three's Company!

What a nice change of pace it was to have company this past week! Brad & Kendall flew in on Saturday afternoon (despite a delay at DFW...what do you expect?) and stayed through Thursday. Granted, I don't live in the most exciting area of the country, or the state of North Carolina for that matter, but we managed to have a good time just hanging out & visiting all of the little towns nearby. You can see in the pictures what an adorable couple they are. Watching them together reminds me of Ryan & me four years ago when we had just gotten engaged, and honestly it made me miss Ryan like CRAZY! I felt like such a 3rd wheel all week, which is silly because it's my brother & future sister-in-law for heaven's sake! No really, I appreciate them coming more than they'll ever house is awfully quiet now that they aren't here. When I got home on Thursday night, the dogs were running back to the guest room looking for Kendall, then they would pout because she wasn't there. (And Harley especially misses her "Uncle Brad"!) As much as I wish Ryan could have been here to hang out with the three of us, I can only be excited about all the fun times we'll all have once we're back in Texas.

OK, I can't honestly say that my house is really that quiet right now. After my company left, it was Jack & Harley's turn to have a houseguest. I agreed to keep Robin's puppy (a Jack Russell named "Pumpkin") until Tuesday, and let me just tell you...don't EVER try to have 3 hyperactive terriers in the house at once if you can help it! Luckily, the three of them are quickly becoming friends, and I think Jack & Harley are even teaching the puppy a thing or two.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Is "Busy" Really Better?

I've always been a busy person...I admit that I even thrive on it at times, though I'm not sure that's always a good thing. My rule of thumb has been to stay as busy as possible while Ryan is away because it seems to make time pass faster, which makes his homecoming sooner! But after the past week, I'm wondering if I can continue at this pace for another 6 months and 25 days. I shouldn't complain...I mean, I have the easiest, most flexible, and fun job in the world. I get to do what I love best (playing the piano) all day long, but maybe ALL DAY LONG is the problem. After rehearsing most days from 7:30-2:00, teaching piano from 2:30-6 or 7, sometimes 8, then adding church choir to the mix, I feel like if I have to play the piano one more second I might just have to eat my fingers off! My worst nightmare would be to get so burned out on music that I don't enjoy it anymore. (Molly, Mom, can you relate?!?)

I'm definitely looking forward to this choral festival being over on Friday because on Saturday, Brad & Kendall (my future sister-in-law!) are coming to visit me. They think that they're coming to relax and get away, but really it's a vacation for me too. It will be so nice to have most of the week off, and to have other humans in my home (no offense to Jack & Harley). I'm so honored that they would choose the lovely town of Hubert, NC to spend their Spring Break!

Friday, March 03, 2006

When Friends are Like Family

This week has proven to me how lucky I am to have such great family & friends in my life. I know everyone thinks that their family & friends are the best, but I know that mine REALLY are. In the midst of missing Ryan incredibly and getting used to life on my own again, everyone has been so great to check in on me and keep me busy.

In particular, I had the best "Girls Day Out" with Robin today. We went down to Wilmington & spent all day shopping and just playing around. It was a much needed getaway for both of us. When we met over 3 years ago, she was my loud crazy neighbor in Virginia. (Sorry, know it's true.) Little did I know, she and her husband Will (and of course their darling daughter Jackie Rose) would become our "family" away from Texas. We have definitely relied on each other during some tough times these past few years in the Marine Corps, and I can't imagine not having her right across town anymore! I'm going to have to figure out some way to keep them from moving this summer. Anyway, this entry is a big "Thank you" to all the amazing people in my life who really keep me going. You know who you are & I love you each dearly!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

To believe in the heroic makes heroes. ~Benjamin Disraeli

It seems unreal right now, but my husband is on an airplane on his way to Iraq for the 2nd time in 14 months. "Goodbyes" are never easy, but at least we know that the countdown to this deployment being OVER has finally started. Spending only 10 out of the past 30 months together isn't the way I pictured my life when I married Ryan 3 and a half years ago, but I can honestly say that it has done nothing but make us stronger as individuals and as a couple. I had no idea how much I could learn about myself in that short of a time. Life as a military wife is trying and tough to say the least, but there is nothing more rewarding than knowing my husband is a true American hero. I wouldn't trade this time in my life for anything. Ryan...we love you, support you, and are praying your way home. You are our hero!

Monday, February 27, 2006

OK...I'm in.

I have never been one to give into peer pressure, but I have to admit that the only reason I'm starting a blog is because "everyone is doing it". I guess it's time for me to quit selfishly reading everyone else's and start posting one of my own. Besides, it will keep me busy for the next 7 months. I hope you find my life interesting enough to check in once in awhile!