Born Today, 23 Years Ago…My New, Lil’ Tax Deduction

Today is the day my daughter was born, 23 years ago.

So please bear with me as I brag on her. 😉

This blogging is kind of like a life’s journal, right?

Anyway, I was scheduled to be induced as I was past my due date and had grown very, very LARGE.

And, as usual, (I had done this before. 😉 ).    I couldn’t sleep at all!!

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That morning was stormy and a tornado warning had just been issued. We joked about naming her Stormy. We had names swirling around in our head, but hadn’t chosen one, just yet. (Ha, I realized I used “swirling” around; that really was  coincidence.)

She was born at 5:35 on April 15th, and we named her Morgan.

Yep, she was our new, little, tax deduction. 😉

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Well, not so little.
She weighed 9lbs!!!! :/

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She was a joy from the minute she arrived; an easy baby.
AND SOOOO cute, I must say. 🙂

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Everyone always wanted to hold her. I got comments everywhere I took her.

As she grew, her eyes became so expressive. She had/has large, pretty eyes with super long eyelashes, just like her Daddy.

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She’s always been more quiet.  She’d just sit back and observe everything. So, at first, she seemed a little shy and rarely talked. (I used to be that way all through grade school…hard to believe now. ) But, she was also quiet due in part to her ACTIVE, TALKATIVE, big brother.

One day, she was caught talking to her little “boyfriend” (in first grade) and the teacher scolded her and said, “Morgan I always catch you talking to Quinn; do you ever stop talking?” And the teacher told me Morgan then put her little hands on her hips and emphatically exclaimed, “Well, I can’t get a word in edgewise at home because of my brother!”

Morgan never really gave us any trouble.

She used to be a cheerleader, violin player, volleyball and basketball player.

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She enjoyed helping in church by leading worship during the adult and teen services. She loves to sing and can sing harmony.

She’s always been quite the fashionista, since she was young. She would rather get jewelry and pretty shoes for her birthday presents, than toys. Every time we went shopping, I’d turn around to find her on the floor trying on shoes, even adult ladies’ shoes. HA

morgie kindergarten

Her kindergarten teacher told me Morgan would often notice what she was wearing and would even compliment her.

Later on, Morgan graduated early from high school (she couldn’t wait to get out of there) and sadly moved far away from us to Georgia. She had met a cute boy while visiting her cousins, through the years, and I think that was a big draw to leave Indiana.

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Plus, she said she always hated the overcast weather here in Indiana. I also think it was fun driving around on golf carts in that golf cart community down there.

Morgan's Graduation 10

She attended college and graduated with a 4.0 then went on to be a dental assistant.
She married that wonderful guy, bought a house and now has become quite the carpenter and decorator after watching all these shows on HGTV where they flip homes. (We’ve even decided to start our own blog together detailing some of her, and my work. I’ll let you know when it’s up and running. 😉 )

One, neat memory we share was when I entered her in a SUBWAY restaurant contest hoping to win a 529K college scholarship for her. She was 11. She ended up winning, and was one of ten national winners. They featured kids hoping to promote healthy eating.

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Maybe some of you younger bloggers saw those commercials.

Does the phrase “Play Hard Eat Fresh” ring a bell? She was featured as the ice skater. She had been a figure skater competing since she was five, so her sport was spotlighted in the commercials.

She first won a trip to Dallas where she shot in front of a green screen and met some phenomenal kid athletes from around the country. Then, later we were asked if we would like to travel to Hawaii to shoot commercials with Bethany Hamilton. She was presently working with SUBWAY and they offered to fly us to her home in Kaua’i.

Anyhow, it was all a fabulous blessing for our whole family to vacation on the gorgeous island of Kaua’i.

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Well, we vacationed while Morgan worked AND ate a lot of SUBWAY sandwiches. 🙂

 

I’ll end by saying my Morgan is a caring, compassionate person who can read people well and is good at tuning into peoples’ feelings. (I hope I had a part in training her that way.)

But, it makes my heart soar to see her reaching out to all types of people, from all walks of life, and going out of her way to think about them and finding ways to meet their needs. That makes me more proud of her than anything else.

Throughout her life, when people would compliment her beauty, I would always be quick to point out to her (and them) that a “pretty heart” was so much more important. I just didn’t want all the compliments to make her vain, and I do now believe my daughter, although so beautiful on the outside, is just as beautiful on the inside.

And that makes my heart happy and proud. 🙂

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Daddy and I celebrate the person you’ve become today!
We love you Morgie.

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There’s ALWAYS Two Sides to Every Story

There is always two sides to a story

Saddened by the Disrespect Shown to Another, Young Soldier

uncle-terry-recent

After recently visiting my Uncle’s grave, I was upset to hear, once again, about another young man who lost his precious life.

Another son had died.

In a foreign, far away place.

He fell as a soldier wearing the United States uniform, and now, his parents were bringing him home.

And the reactions of the plane’s passengers made me sick.

VERY SICK and VERY ANGRY!

The article describing the incident here.  

I wanted to cry. I felt horrified to think other human beings could be so calloused. Americans, at that!

I couldn’t even fathom this lack of respect, nor comprehend such a show of self-centeredness or whatever they thought they were trying to achieve.

What causes a person/people to treat a grieving family with such disdain?

What has happened to our America?

I tried to place myself in that family’s shoes; that frozen moment in time they will NEVER forget…

My heart was heavy for them.

But how can my heart be SO different from those that were on that plane?


My family is also familiar with this pain. They could tell you of profound grief.

We, too, lost a young soldier in Vietnam many years ago.

vietnam-wall

He was escorted home, finally.

It just happened to be decades after being listed as Missing in Action. (MIA)


It was the 60s and the Vietnam War was raging. My Uncle Terry had volunteered just as his two older brothers had.

Marine family of uncles, dad, and brother

He was part of a helicopter crew, rescuing the wounded when his helicopter was shot down.

Some of the men were thrown from the fiery crash, but Terry was never found.

We always wondered what the full story was.

terry

Then, in 1993, some Vietnamese farmers came forth with items from a crash. And the story began to unfold.

Forensics were then confirmed in Honolulu, and my brother–then a young Marine himself– escorted Terry’s remains home.

Terry could’ve been buried at Arlington. However,  the family thought it best to teach a community (and the younger generations) a valuable lesson.

A lesson we feared was being lost, not really taught in schools much anymore.

Teach about the cost of freedom flag poster.

Not just one lesson, but many:

That war was cruel.

Kids were still dying to this day.

That we should be there to support families, help where needed, invite a military family over for the holidays.

(You know, just be a good human.)

That this could have been anyone’s son or daughter.

And there were other countries losing their people, DAILY, due to lack of freedom.  Many picking up rifles to enter war as children.

Most importantly,

that freedom had a price. Always has, always will.

A HUGE price.


So, on that hot and humid July 4th, Terry’s high school gym was packed out.

He was remembered for his talented football skills, and his kind, gentle ways.

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His ultimate sacrifice recognized.

Our family, once again, was left with distant memories.  Terry’s parents (my grandparents) had wounds reopened all over again.

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People lined the streets, kids waved flags, and many a biker rode in from the surrounding states to finally return their MIA bracelets.

It was a memorable sight to see them piled high, on the floor, near my grandparents’ feet. It had to be so hard for them.

The news crews were there to capture it all.

The flag-draped coffin.

The thunderous flyover that moved you to your core.

The caisson; a solemn reminder as it passed through town to the beat of a sole drum.

COMPLETE RESPECT was shown that day.

Tragically, for this other family on the plane…

that didn’t happen.

There wasn’t much, if any, shown.


My Uncle Terry didn’t get to finish college.

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And I sometimes wonder what his life might have looked like.

What would’ve been his hobby to tinker with?

Who would he have married? How many kids would he have?

He wasn’t able to marry, have kids or enjoy a weekend with family.

(Just to have another day to show his own thankfulness.)

No, he CHOSE to leave a comfortable life to help in a far away land.

He wanted to show his loyalty.

He wanted to make sure we were ALL afforded continued freedom.

Simply put…HIS MOTIVES were PURE.

USMC, Marine soldier's gravestone


If I had been on that plane, I can tell you…

I could NOT have sat there silently!

I KNOW that I would’ve stood to speak for that family.

I KNOW, I would’ve cried with that family.

I KNOW I would’ve tried to apologize to that family.

AND, I would’ve thanked them and made it clear that this is not the totality of America, that my Uncle, nor their son, gave their lives for!!


Find a military family to reach out to.

Reach out to a grieving widow, a cop, a neighbor…your community.

Invite someone over for the holidays. Say a prayer for others.

Show some thankfulness.

Bridge the gap(s).

Teach your kids.

Show honor and respect.

I know my Uncle Terry would have,

if he could.

Written in honor of Terry who would have turned 72 on Feb. 4th.

Show some thankfulness this Thanksgiving poster.



For Terry’s military documented story:

http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/68081999KIA.HTM

United States Marine Corps

 

 

Changes, and A Good Cry

The leaves and needles are falling, there’s change all over my backyard.

Nature is transitioning, and the cold is coming.

Nature mimics our lives.

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Change/transition can sometimes bring the cold too:

problems,

heartache,

and pain.

At times, ABSOLUTE TRAUMA.

Life can change out of nowhere, with not even a hint of warning…

loss of a job, a bad report from the doctor, a friend’s unfounded betrayal,

death.

And with it, brings heartache.

Deep, deep sadness.

The deepest pit.

Heartache [only YOU know] because it’s YOURS.

You own it at its deepest level.

bird fighting the snow and cold in Indiana


Yes, people can offer advice, words of comfort, even wisdom…

BUT words feel like a band-aid. You can’t really take them in.

You don’t want any more words.

You dread to see anyone. I mean how do you answer?

You feel you just can’t take anymore.

Finally, your body breaks down in a good cry. A hard cry. A shaking kind of cry.

A cry your body can’t hold in any longer.

And it pleads for a meeting with God.

A quiet, still place where He brings His presence. HIS sweet, wonderful presence.

It’s POWERFUL.

No one’s talking. It’s just still.

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That undeniable presence consumes your space.

You KNOW He’s near.

You.Can.Sense.It 

in every part of your being.

Only GOD can do that.

Only GOD really gets you.

He knows your deepest pain like no other.

Only HE can comfort.

Yes, HE knows you intimately.

He promises to get right in there and feel your sorrow with you.

He’s present…He really is.

Right alongside you.


We live in a fallen world with many hurts and disappointments.

This isn’t how we saw our lives.

This wasn’t the plan.

People weren’t supposed to be so mean.

My loved one was to be here for many, more years.

But..life happens and you’re caught off guard.

There’s no stopping it, or asking for a do-over.

You can never be prepared.

Lean on God, pour out your heart.

Feel embraced and loved today.

He gets it. He really does.

More than anyone else.

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And yes, someday…

Someday…IT WILL ALL MAKE SENSE.

That is the HOPE I choose to lean on;

to cling to.

It’s my ONLY choice, really.

Her First Wedding Anniversary

wedding couple

Yesterday was our 29th wedding anniversary but today is my daughter and son-n-law’s FIRST.

My husband and I reflected on our first and thought of how many, many years have passed.

Some years seemed very slow. but as we age

and age…

THEY.SPEED.UP

Almost too fast!!

Sometimes, it seems sad.

We’re empty nesters now because our son just got married in August.

My advice to young people. (Yeah, you know you want to hear it. ha)

Barn wedding in Georgia

Yes, have fun.

Yes to adventure.

But don’t be going, doing, talking, moving so often that you don’t slow down.

You may just risk burning yourself out. And then, it’s too late.

Always take the time to be purposeful. Purposely slow down and take in the moment.

Be present.

Put your phone down.

bride and groom on a farm

<script
Have meaningful conversations face to face.

You’ll never regret it.

I promise!

Someday, you’ll be right where I am thinking about how you could

have slowed down even more.

wedding-couple

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Let things go.

Choose your battles.

Schedule in reflective time.

Make a memory.

family wedding picture

If you want to see more wedding pics,  I wrote about the wedding day here:

http://wp.me/p5ntHO-aZ


*all photos ©Haley Dawn Photography & property of this site thentherestwo.com

29 Years Ago, I Married

1987 weddin day

Today I’ve been married 29 years.

October 23, 1987. The year of oversized shirts, big earrings, and mullets.

We met at church when I was home for the holidays; I was a junior in college, and

he was a sophomore.

He was attending school, here in Indiana, and I was in Missouri.

He studied business, and I was in education.

Can you believe an old boyfriend introduced us?

Fast forward…soon after we were engaged, I left to teach in China for a year.

I was 23 and he was 22.

Yep, an entire year.

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(me and a few students)

Some people thought I was nuts to do so, but it all worked out in the end. 🙂 Obviously.

We both knew I had to go. Felt it was my calling, and I knew we’d both regret it if I didn’t.

I think it made us stronger, actually.

Long before we were serious, I had planned to teach there; so, off I went.


Communication was tough.

Oh, I did try to make a call this ONE TIME.

I had to “make an appointment” to get help with getting a call out to the US, and it had to be done through the government officials’ office. Three men sat around STARING at me as I uncomfortably began to speak. I constantly was trying to hear my fiance over the multiple Chinese voices I heard coming across the line.

I grew increasingly frustrated. :/

They were all  trying to talk over me as I struggled to hear my fiance’s voice; it was a true Chinese, party line!

I don’t know what happened but in the midst of that chaotic, but short call, abruptly the phone went silent. Ended!

Later on, I found out my hubby/fiance thought I hung up on him. Whaaaa?!

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Yeah, right. I finally save up money to call you, clear around the world, and in the middle of our conversation decide I need to hang up?

Anyhow, I found out that he really couldn’t hear me, thought I was in the middle of a big party, with a bunch of Chinese friends 🙂 , AND… I hung up the phone.

Clearly, that process was never attempted again!!

(I wanted to stay engaged. HA)

Plus, it was so expensive.

So, the only way we could communicate was by cassette tape.

Late nights consisted of me lying on my cot, head on a bag of beans (pillow) surrounded by a mosquito net, talking very low, into my handheld tape recorder. (I didn’t want to  disrupt my roommates, nor have them hear my conversations.)

Now that we were engaged, I had more serious questions.

I mean, we WERE still getting to know one another…

“How many kids do you want? What are your thoughts on where we should live? What did you do today?” Then, I’d rehash the day usually adding all the funny cultural differences and stories in full detail.

(I like lots of details.)

Then I’d WAIT.

Wait for weeks.

And another tape would arrive with all my answers. 🙂

It was fun, and a daily diary of sorts. It helped the time pass.

It was a lifeline, and  it helped me get through the year.

One Christmas tape, had me and my roommate singing all the familiar carols while adding our own hysterical lyrics that reflected living abroad.

Our families really got a kick out of that one.

We worked really hard on those lyrics.


me and tim

So, we still have all those tapes.

LOTS of them.

We haven’t relistened to all of them, in full, but a few years back I started to play one for my teenaged kids, and hubby walked in very confused asking whose voice that was.

He couldn’t quite wrap his head around it.

It was a time warp, really.

Finally realizing that low, “mushy” sounding voice was his own, he quickly asked  demanded we turn it off. 😉

I think he felt somewhat embarrassed as our kids listened intently, hardly believing what they heard.

I don’t think the kids thought that was truly him! 🙂


I remember times while living in China, I’d go outside and look at the moon (thinking about life) wondering what he, or my family members, were doing clear across the other side of the planet.

And thinking…we look at that same moon just at different times.


So, here we are 29 years later.

Still together. We’ve seen a lot of life.

We’ve weathered some really tough storms, too.

But, together.

That’s KEY.

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WE honestly grew closer, not further apart.

Through some of the toughest times that LIFE’s curve balls could throw.

Many of them my health battles.


BEST of FRIENDS, STRONGER!

That year apart just may have taught us a whole host of things that would later keep us grounded, and working together.

I think I’m just now realizing this as I type.

Perhaps, that year apart solidified a firm foundation for the rest of our lives and getting us through many more years together!

God has surely been with us the whole way.

family-wedding-pic

NOTE: I dedicate these reflections to you, honey. I thank God for the gift he’s given me in YOU!

When Your Dog is Jealous of Mom

No kiddin’ this is what my daughter’s dog does every time she tries to Facetime me.

Dog jealous of Facetime with mom.

Her name is Daisy. Daisy was in need of a home, a few years back.

They already had another dog from the pound (Tebow), but this puppy was being driven around the Walmart parking lot, by a couple, asking if anyone could take her.

Yeah, my daughter couldn’t resist.

They even got featured in their engagement shoot.

(pictures by Haley Dawn Photography)

The little brat (“the paw”) is bottom right. 🙂

Engagement pic with the Falcon fans.

But Daisy will either lay right on my daughter’s face, or put her paw over her face.

She’s even blocked the camera with her body.

Can we say S P O I L E D?!

Dog jealous of Facetime with mom.Dog jealous of Facetime with mom.

My daughter, and I can only see each other (via Facetime) as she lives in Georgia, and I’m in Indiana.

This dog is going to be so jealous when my first grandbaby arrives…Sure.of.it!

Be THAT Parent

caring kids

Be THAT Parent

I saw this on my friend’s Facebook page, today. (It was originally shared from the Scary Mommy page, I believe, but thought it too good to not share.)

I always had hoped I taught my children these important lessons.

Well, I know I had.

I saw them display this type of kindness from time to time as they were growing up.

After a prayer/object lesson each morning, I would say, “Now go let your little, light shine.”

Hoping to remind them to let God use them no matter who they encountered.

And when they’d return with a story, similar to this saying above,

well…it’d make THIS Mom’s heart swell!