December 31, 2005

Together again

I thought I would share a few of our family moments since Robert's homecoming to end out this year of blogging. Have a Happy New Year!

December 28, 2005

My Baby's Home!

I held Robert in my arms once again on Saturday. I was literally shaking as I ran to and then grabbed him around the neck for a long-awaited hug. Relief flooded my soul, just knowing that he was safe back on U.S. soil again. Now we face Round 2 of deployment--re-entry back into our lives. It will be challenging, but everything's going to be OKAY!

The children and I are nestled into a hotel room right now. Robert had to return to Camp Shelby on Monday to begin his de-mob process, and decided at the last minute that he didn't want to leave us again. So I threw some things into bags and here we are with him. We occupy ourselves during the day, and then Robert returns late afternoon and we enjoy our newfound family time together.

I had an amazing experience yesterday that I will share with you later. Let's just say that when total strangers show their support to your [soldier] husband and to you for the sacrifice your family has made, it's an overwhelming and very heartwarming experience.

I hope you all are having a fabulous holiday with your families. I know I am!

December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas!

May your home be filled with
  • family
  • love
  • laughter
  • fun
  • joy
  • good food
  • funny stories
  • memories
  • hugs & kisses

Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 21, 2005

Tending my Garden

Flowers grow out of dark moments.
- Corita Kent

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis quote makes me smile. As we reach the end of Robert's deployment to Iraq, I find myself reflecting on the last year-and-a-half. Let me tell you, I've had some dark moments.

I have been through more things than I care to go on about here. I've trekked many a mile through some dark, lonely, scary, disheartening nights. I've shed many silent tears. I've shed many tears accompanied by wails of frustration and anger.

2005 almost feels like a blur to me. It certainly didn't feel like it passed quickly. Every day seemed to drag on for years. Especially the tough days, the days when I needed someone--anyone--to be there for me, to help me, to encourage me. Nights, with a fever-ridden, asthmatic child whose breathing was so labored I feared he might actually die in my arms.

Yet, here I am--on the other side. I made it. That statement feels like it should be full of excitement and flare--I MADE IT!--but it just isn't. It's simply a statement. I made it. I've learned so many invaluable lessons this year.

I've learned that I'm much stronger than I ever thought I was. Even in the moments in the wee hours of the night when I thought I would literally snap under the pressure of a screaming boy, I maintained my sanity, somehow. I learned to trust myself, my instincts, and not second-guess myself.

I've learned that true friends are there for you, no matter what. They don't shrink in the background, just because they don't know the right words to say...because true friends realize that sometimes there are no "right" words to say. They're just there. And that makes all the difference in the world. I'm so thankful for my friends. You know who you are. You've helped me through this year, and for that I am so grateful.

I have learned that married couples are not meant to be apart. But when you are, if you work hard, your relationship can grow stronger than it's ever been. When Robert left, I think we both worried about what would happen between us. I can honestly say that these thousands of miles have only brought us closer. I feel closer to him than I think I ever have. I have realized how easy it is to take all the little things for granted, and I never want to do that again. I have the most amazing, best husband in the entire world. God broke the mold when he made Robert. He is my pillar of strength and support.

I have learned that like friends, family shines through in moments of adversity. And I've learned who really cares and who doesn't. Hurts in a way, but in my heart, I always knew.

I've learned that during those anxious moments of worry and fear for the safety of my husband, God really was my source of strength. Prayer can do amazing things, as Robert is a testimony to. There were several instances of "God-incidences", which Robert was kept safe from danger. God's power of grace and mercy will never cease to amaze me.

I think one of the more important lessons I've learned is that the mind is a powerful weapon. If you sharpen it, exercise it daily and keep it well-maintained, you have an ally within yourself. The mind is too great a thing to waste. I've learned that I can do anything, if I just believe in it and put my mind busy to work doing it. With God, all things are possible. He guides me, even through all my imperfections, and He has kept me and brought me through this year. Thank You, Jesus!

December 20, 2005

New essay

My latest essay, Trusting Me, is now up at

Lots better

This morning everyone is feeling better, with exception to Elijah, who is still congested and on the verge of wheezing. I think he probably just needs some fresh air. We've been couped up in this house since Thursday evening.

Speaking of which, today is going to be a special day for just me and the children. We are going to go to our favorite (not!) store and purchase posterboard, markers, maybe even some glue and glitter, to make Welcome Home posters for Robert. This will actually be Emily's project, and she's very excited about it. I'm excited about her doing it because it will keep her mind busy for a few hours.

My Baby's on an airplane today!!! Oh yeah!! Doing a snoopy dance!! This has been the longest year-and-a-half of my life. It's just not normal for married people to be apart, especially under such tremendously stressful circumstances. I will be relieved when he calls and tells me his feet are on U.S. soil.

I truly appreciate the prayers and well-wishes from all of you who read my blog. Prayers are truly the rock on which we stand, and without God I know I never could have made it through this year. He has been faithful in keeping me strong, even when feeble; joyful, even when sad; powerful, even when weak. Thank you for upholding me on your end--prayer does work!

December 19, 2005

On the edge...Part 2

And the sick saga continues. Apparantly the horrible bug wasn't finished with its work when it hit both kids, so it attacked me yesterday. I spent half the day and all night last night on the sofa. Well, when I wasn't in the bathroom. Today I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck.

I planned on getting up and working on the laptop, but I am scratching that. I can barely walk around, so I am going to take it easy today, and hopefully tomorrow we'll all feel lots better!

December 18, 2005

On the edge of insanity

It wasn't enough that Emily was sick with a terrible stomach virus, beginning on Thursday night, through Friday. Oh no, that wasn't enough. On Friday night, Elijah woke up coughing and gagging because of sinus draining down his throat.

But that wasn't enough either. Nope.

Last night Elijah caught the virus, so I have been up all night cleaning puke. The second and third time he puked all over me. Normally I have a strong stomach, but the smell of it all over me nearly did me in.

It was an hourly thing, with me and Elijah dozing in between bouts of vomitting. And because he doesn't feel good, in more ways than one, he has done nothing but whine and scream incessantly.

I've had enough, I tell you. Enough.

December 17, 2005

I Believe in Me

"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."
- Earl Nightengale

I was looking for a quote on believing, but when I ran across this one, I decided it would be perfect for my thought today.

With everything that was going on in our family at the end of 2005, I placed writing on the back burner and mostly wrote as a hobby. There was just way too much added to me this year for me to even concentrate on writing.

I've been doing lots of work over the last couple of weeks, in preparation for the new year. I am ready to get back on track. But what track would that be? 2004 was basically my first "official" year as a writer. I created my yearly plan, divided that up into twelve months of work, then broke that down into weekly and daily goals. Every morning I began my day by creating my daily goal list, and I accomplished a lot by following those simple steps.

By the beginning of this month, I felt pretty lost and hopeless. I felt like I didn't have any direction and as hard as I tried, I couldn't seem to get any goals down on paper for 2006. I grew frustrated and wanted to just quit altogether. But I pushed through to the other side.

I realized that I was trying to make it way harder than it has to be. I was so focused on minute details that I couldn't see the big picture. My internal camera's zoom lens was broken!

I've mentioned my creative group of friends here before. We've been burning up the email lines for a few weeks now. It's as if the end of this year is propelling all four of us into fantastic worlds unknown and unexplored. It's exciting--and scary.

For the first time, I am beginning to feel more confidence in my abilities and talents. I am feeling more sure of myself. I'm beginning to (literally and figuratively) stand tall and proud. I am squaring my shoulders, removing the slouch and slump of my neck and shoulders. I am breathing deep, and blowing away doubt, confusion, and fear. Instead of stuffing the questions I want to ask, I'm asking anyway, putting myself on the line regardless of whether the questions seem "stupid" or not.

For the first time, I believe in me. I believe I can do this. I believe I can do anything. Oh yes, it's going to be a bit frightening at times, and there will be times when I am unsure of myself. But that's the fun of it all, isn't it? Not knowing the end result, yet being brave enough to step my foot out on the water and believe.

December 15, 2005

Everybody needs a break

Today was the best day I've had in quite some time. My aunt kept Elijah for me all day. I had tons of errands to run, and even more housecleaning to do. It was nice to do the mundane things without having to lug Elijah in and out of the van all morning.

Emily's class Christmas party was this afternoon. I went early and was able to help Emily's teacher prepare for the party. This was the first time I've had the opportunity to do this, and I loved it! It was so much fun fixing their party plates (sugar mountains) and gifts.

I've been knitting scarves the last couple of weeks for all the kiddies. To be honest, I really didn't expect them to "love" them, because...well, that's just how kids are. To my surprise and delight, they LOVED them! Even the boys all had fits over their striped Bohemian scarves. That made my day.

When I went to get Elijah, I fully expected him to be whiney and cry for me. Instead, the little squirt was running around acting silly and cutting up. Seems to me he enjoyed the time apart from me, too!

Tonight I'm tired--but a good tired. My mind feels refreshed, relaxed, and ready...ready for anything (I think!). I like this feeling. I didn't realize how badly I needed a break.

Give freely

"Give freely without begrudging it, and the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do."
- Deuteronomy 15:10 (New Living Translation)

Recently, a group of artist friends and I had a discussion at great length about putting our work out on the line and getting nothing in return. By nothing, I mean no comments from our readership.

The lack of comments seemed to create this inner "demon" within each of us. We berated ourselves. We felt as though our work wasn't good enough. We beat ourelves up.

Then somehow our thinking slowly evolved. As we laid our thoughts and feelings out on the table, I began to see with new eyes. I realized that I do not write and create for the purpose of receiving a compliment from people who partake of my composition. I write because I am called to write.

My creativity comes from my Creator. He is my ultimate critic. If I do what He wants me to do, then I make Him happy. That's all that matters.

What an awesome lesson I learned. If I give just for the sake of hearing nice words from other people, then I am only a one-woman band, tooting my own horn. I must work and give freely as the Creator gives to me, expecting nothing in return. It is then that I will receive blessings from God.

December 13, 2005

Talking to yourself

I have always been fascinated by the way the mind works. More specifically, how certain dreams speak to us.

Last night I went to bed with a lot on my mind. I almost blogged about it, but I'm glad now I didn't. It really wasn't worth the time or energy. I thought I poured it all out on the page, but obviously I didn't because it came forth in my dreams last night.

After looking up certain important key factors in my dream, I had to chuckle. My mind was speaking to me while I slept. What was it trying to tell me? I'll list the bulleted points here:

  • I must nurture myself. My character needs to be nurtured, comforted, protected.

  • There is a part of me inside that is fighting to be heard. I need to listen to my intuition.

  • I need to acknowledge what is causing conflict in my life, take responsibility for it, then have the initiative to resolve these issues. (I know what they are, I've been avoiding them.)

  • I need to be self-confident in my ability to handle things. I am capable of taking control of the situation.

It's easy sometimes to get wrapped up in all the drama and then you end up forgetting what the core issue is. This morning I know what that is. I am going to take some time this morning to center myself, my thoughts. I am in control. I don't care what anyone else thinks or says. I know what I must do for me.

December 12, 2005


Yesterday was an extremely stressful day, to say the least. It actually started out pretty good, but things went downhill quick. I walked out of church crying at the end of the night. The stress and pressure snowballed all at once, overwhelming me, until it burst from within and came out in the form of deep, heavy sobs.

Sometimes that's all you need--a good cry. It's cleansing. It sort of washes away all the ickiness that's inside, and empties you out to make room for something good.

When we got home, I put the kids to bed and sat down, intending to not do anything but sit there and wallow. Instead, I grabbed my trusty journal. 'I need to get all this out, once and for all,' I thought. And that's just what I did.

Twenty minutes and several handwritten pages later, I felt much better. In fact, instead of whining on every page, I ended up actually creating a plan of action for myself. See, I have this rule that, when writing in my "writing practice" book (see Writing Down The Bones) I am only allowed one full page for whining and complaining. After that, no matter if I'm done complaining or not, I have to move on.

This morning I woke up feeling alive, rejuvinated. Yesterday is over and gone. Today is a new day. Today I will do what God calls me to do. Today I will not wallow in yesterday's pain, but move forward--because that's what God would want me to do.

I'm alive in Him, because He lives in me!

December 11, 2005

Drawing from the well

"Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within.
Proverbs 20:5 (The Message)

draw from the wellStruggling with the powers of good and evil is a daily confliction. The flesh wages war against the spirit. We each fight our own battles against the lusts of the flesh.

I am watching people struggle and fall continuously lately. Just when I think people can't surprise me, they do. Even people that I would never expect to give in, cave under the pressure. Yet they also seem to continue on, as though everything is okay.

A while back I began thinking to myself that if all these people can turn away from their morals and convictions and be okay with it, then why shouldn't I, too? Then the Lord showed me something.

He showed me that these people are not happy. There is a saddness in their hearts. There is an emptiness and void within that God's spirit used to fill. And the Lord showed me that not only do His people look and feel like this, but so does He.

He is saddened not only by the failures, but by the very fact that once a child of His has fallen, their brothers and sisters in Christ are not extending a hand to help them back up again. Instead, they are watching with a pious and uncaring spirit.

The Lord also pointed out this scripture to me. He opened my eyes. Even in my weakest moments, I must draw from the well deep within. I know what is right and what is wrong. James 4:17 says, "So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin." (Amplified)

Jesus, help us today to be strong in the power of the Lord. Help us to draw from the wells of righteousness. Help us to love our brothers and sisters, and to exhort each other instead of tear each other apart. Fill us with Your love. Make us more like You!

December 09, 2005

I'm grateful for...

I thought I would follow after Toni's lead. She blogged yesterday about what she's grateful for. What better time is there to reflect on such a topic?!

I am grateful for:

  1. My husband. He is the most unselfish, giving, loving, caring person I have ever known.
  2. December 22nd--the day I will (hopefully, if there are no delays) see Robert again. After spending close to one and a half years apart, and him being in Iraq for a year, I will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief and not constantly worry about his safety and well-being.

  3. My children. They have taught me many lessons in life, and because of them I am nuts have more patience. They have brough much joy to my life, and without them, I would be a shell of the person I am today.

  4. The bare necessities. We have a roof over our heads, clothes on our back, food for our bellies. All the rest is cream and sugar, and I thank You, Jesus for everything we have, little as it may be.

  5. Freedom. This year has taught me that we (Americans) take our freedom for granted. Freedom isn't free. Never has been, never will be. For our freedom, men and women have given their lives. There are wives, children, brothers, sisters, mothers, dads without their loved ones this Christmas, because of their dedication and service to our country. May we never forget that freedom comes with a high price tag. Let us never take it for granted. Remember to say, "Thank you," to a veteran, for their service to our great country, this United States of America.

December 08, 2005

For Immediate Release

Just received this email this morning and couldn't resist posting here. I'm so excited!!



December 7, 2005

CAMP SHELBY, MISS-Soldiers from the 155th Brigade Combat Team will start arriving in Gulfport at the Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) Friday morning. After a brief check-in process, the soldiers will be transported to Camp Shelby to continue inprocessing.

Once they arrive at Camp Shelby they will turn in weapons, receive a mandatory briefing and afterward be allowed to socialize with their families and friends.

The majority of the soldiers arriving the next few days are members of the 2/114th Field Artillery headquartered in Starkville. However, the rest of the flights will be mixture of different units. Family members are encouraged to greet their loved-ones at Camp Shelby.

Units are expected to arrive periodically starting Friday and continue through the middle of January 2006. Media who wish to cover the arrival should contact the MCS PAO at Camp Shelby at 601-558-2835.


December 07, 2005

Ready or not

They're talking sleet and snow here over the next day or two. I'm not thrilled at all! Emily, on the other hand, is praying for the snow to come. I went this morning and purchased a few necessary items, just in case. I'm hoping we won't get it, but it sure is cloudy! I bought a pair of gloves for both Emily and I also, because if it does snow, she will have to play in it. Oh joy!

My Reading List

I am a book fanatic. I love to read book. I love to collect books. I love to give books as gifts. I love to receive books as gifts.

Here's my reading list, just from books that are on my desk (this doesn't count all the unread ones hanging out on my bookcase):

  1. Double Vision by Randy Ingermanson

  2. Footsteps by DiAnn Mills

  3. What a Girl Wants by Kristen Billerbeck

  4. Private Justice by Terri Blackstock

  5. Shadow of Doubt by Terri Blackstock

  6. Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins

  7. Becoming a Woman of Beauty & Strength by Elizabeth George

  8. Life Principles from the Women of the Bible (Book Two) by various authors

And this, my friends, is only what's sitting on my desk. I have much, more more waiting on the bookcase to be read. And I still want more books. LOL!

What's on your reading list?

December 06, 2005

Baby steps

Have you ever felt like you know what you want and you can see the prize at the end of the race, but you don't know how in the world you're going to get from Point A to Point Z? Well, that's how I've felt lately. I know where I want to be with my writing and I know where I am now, but I'm not sure how to get from here to there.

Thankfully, I belong to a private group of four creative women in total, including myself. Sometimes we're chatty, sometimes we're not. But the purpose of our being in a "protected" environment is so that we can share our troubles and rejoice in our victories.

This week we've been super chatty, discussing important matters from all four ends of the spectrum. I made this statement:
"See, the "established professional writers" part tells me that it's
probably not for me. I don't think I'm established. I've only had a
few articles published, and they were for SMALL or online markets."

This has been my point of view since forever. It's always been easier for me to point out and focus on the flaws that I see in myself, instead of honing in on my skills and talents and concentrate on the good things about myself. But then Toni replied saying:
"But the commitment was there. I think that's the key difference, not necessarily where you've been published. I think it's more important to know where you are, which is what you seem to be doing,"

Thank you Toni! Until she made this profound statement to me, I never saw this! And probably never would have. I focus so much on what I haven't done, that I'm discounting all the things I have done. Regardless of whether I consider them to be big or small, they are accomplishments.

It's wonderful to be a part of a group of like-minded women who are able to point out the things I can't see!

December 05, 2005

Trusting in the process

I have struggled for weeks to set my goals for 2006. Last week I hit a particular "low" when I really buckled down and attempted to focus myself for an entire day on what I needed and wanted to do with my writing, so that I could compile my list.

Saturday I called my little sister and had a brainstorming session with her. She made some good points and directed my attention to things I'd never considered. I hung up feeling even more frustrated than ever, though. I couldn't understand why in the world it was so difficult for me to just sit down and write out some solid goals.

I've been praying, more than ever before, for God to lead and guide me in this process of goal-setting. I've been studying and seeking His face for direction. And it has felt as though I've been met with silence on the matter.

Yesterday morning I finally got my answer during morning worship service. The first Sunday of each month is Children's Sunday at church. It was one of those Sundays were kids were up and down, people were trotting in and out the whole time. To be honest with you, there was so much going on that it was hard to concentrate on the preacher, so I didn't get much out of the first half of his sermon. But something he said right at the end was like DING! -- a thousand beautiful bells went off and it was like God was saying, "Hello? You listening? I'm talking to YOU right now!"

Pastor was talking about how it's great and wonderful for us to raise our children and teach them the importance of going to college and getting an education and working, BUT--(here's the clincher...) we shouldn't teach them to put more value in working or money, than God.

And how does this tie into writing? Glad you asked. :)

That is exactly what I've been doing--attempting to work writing into a way for me to make money. I've been thinking and planning....meanwhile, placing more value in writing to earn money, than in God to do what He wants to with it, through me.

Make any sense? Well, it makes perfect sense to me anyways. And I think this is also probably why I have not been able to get my goals made out for 2006. I've been looking at the "money" aspect of goal-setting and that's it. I haven't had an even balance.

Then last night we arrived at church a little early and got in on the tail-end of choir practice. I like going early enough to get some of the choir practice. Music has always been a special form of communicating with God for me, so hearing it calms my spirit and helps me to get focused on God before church starts.

So anyway, the song they were practicing is an older song, but I had forgotten all about it. The words were absolutely perfect for me yesterday, and is the perfect prayer that my heart is singing today:
"Order my steps in Your word, dear Lord
Lead me, guide me every day
Send Your annointing, Father I pray
Order my steps in Your word
Please order my steps in Your word."

I don't ever want to get so caught up in my own desires and dreams that I forget to turn to the One who has placed the dream in my heart. I need His direction, His guidance. I need Him to show me what He has planned for my life. I don't want to go off on my own. I want His hand on everything I say and do. Without Him, I simply can't do it.

I'm that now I will be able to transform my thinking and write my goals during the next week or two.

Have you made your goals for 2006 yet?

December 04, 2005

It's going around

These memes are like a bad flu bug--one person catches it and sneezes on another and before you know it, we've all got it! I wonder if it isn't like the gossip game--by the time you get to about the 30th person down the line, the meme you're doing isn't the one it started out to be. If someone knows where this one originated, leave me a comment. It might be fun to see if we're still on track here. LOL!

Christa tagged me for this one, where I am to list 15 facts and personal preferences about books and then tag 3 more people. Here goes:

  1. I love books. Always have.

  2. I collect books. I usually have an enormous stack on-hand that need to be read, and yet will buy another one if it looks good.

  3. I am loyal to authors I know on a personal level. Even if I don't particularly care for their genre of writing, I support them by purchasing their new releases.

  4. My favorite series as a teen were: Nancy Drew (the original) and Sweet Valley High.

  5. The first book I remember falling in love with: The Secret Garden. The second: Charlotte's Web.

  6. I never have cared much for murder-mystery books. They scare me. I once read one of James Patterson's books while I was home alone at night, and I was afraid to go to sleep. Later, I watched the movie, and was afraid to go to sleep.

  7. I don't care for hardcover books. I'll read them--I just prefer soft covers.

  8. One of my favorite things to do with my daughter is go to the library.

  9. Emily loves books as much as I. We recently visited Goodwill and she brought home nearly 20 books--I kid you not. The one that she read all the way home? A huge, hardcover children's dictionary. I'm not kidding.

  10. I love getting books for Christmas. (hint, hint)

  11. The majority of what I read is Christian fiction.

  12. I don't like curse words in books I read. Once I read one, it flusters me and I rarely enjoy the rest of the book (if it's Christian fiction).

  13. I love Heartsong Presents books. I've been a member of their monthly book club for more years than I can remember. They are light romances that can be read very quickly.

  14. When I was younger (pre-marriage, pre-kids), I would stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning just to finish a book.

  15. I am a writer. I have several works of fiction in progress.

There you have it. Now who can I tag? Angela, Kelly & Toni, YOU'RE IT! (I won't blame you if you don't do it.)

December 03, 2005

That chill, that thrill

Last night Emily and I vegged out to watch a Christmas program on tv after Elijah went to bed. Being the multi-tasker I am, I couldn't sit still and do nothing, so I turned my laptop on.

I decided to go through some old writing files--maybe I'd glean a bit of inspiration to add to my goals for 2006. All week I have really been focused on creating my goals for next year, but still have gotten nowhere. So I needed something to jog my brain.

I opened a folder that contains several files of children's stories I wrote a couple of years ago. They were the catalyst for the first children's book I wrote. I figured that was as good a place to start reading as any.

I'd forgotten how good the stories are! As I read I thought, 'I wonder what Emily would think about these?' Now let me tell you, this was nerve-wracking. I mean, sending your work to editors and agents is difficult enough. Turning your "babies" out into the world to be eaten alive by red pens and rejections is tough stuff--but reading them to your children is even tougher!

"Would you like for me to read you a story?" I asked Emily.

"Yeah!" She's always up for a good read.

Emily sat through the first story I read, listening intently. When I finished, I looked up and her eyebrows were doing this funny wrinkled thing. Uh-oh.

"What did you think about that?"

"I like it," was all she said.

"Would you like to hear another?" I got a little braver.

I have about four or five of these, as my idea back then was to create a series of children's book, based on the same character.

"Sure!" Emily replied. Here we go again.

I read a second story. This time though, while I read, Emily began acting out each scene as I read it. I couldn't help but smile as I watched her from the corner of my eye while reading. My heart's wings fluttered.

By the end of the last story, she asked for more. I had to tell her that was it, because we'd come to the end of my "stash."

"Do you have a Christmas one?" she asked.

There's nothing like a good dose of support and encouragement that comes from a child, who doesn't even know that all the stories I just read to her were written by me, her mother.

December 01, 2005

Starting Over again

Okay, so I can't stay away. *grin* You knew I'd be back soon, didn't you?

When I visited Angela's blog this morning, I groaned in agony. I knew this topic would be popping up soon on blogs everywhere, but I didn't think it would be this soon. It's the pink elephant in the middle of my room that I've been avoiding.

Usually, around this time every year I'm like a happy pup. Tongue hanging out panting, tail wagging, all happy about the new year. This year is different.

After reading Angela's entry about goals, I started wading sifting through files and old blog entries to see what goals I set for myself at the end of 2004. Guess what? I can't find any! I'm sure I did because I am very much a goal-oriented person, but if I did, they're nowhere to be found. This could be a good indication of why I don't feel like I have accomplished very much this year.

As most of you know, this has been a stressful and eventful year. With Robert in Iraq, I have had a huge amount of responsibility on my shoulders. I'm not complaining about this at all. It's just one of those things that had to be done, regardless. With the added pressures, though, I guess I just let the one thing that's important to me--writing--slip to the side.

Something old
The one good thing I did do this year for myself was go back to school. I was able to do it all totally online, which was a huge plus for me. I'm not finished yet, but I'm nearing the end of this journey, which is an enormous accomplishment for me, considering I've started school many times and never managed to complete it.

I took this year (time alone) to focus on school. It was important to me that I finish something and have something to show for this time while Robert was away. I wanted him to come home and see and know that I did something positive and productive with my time.

Most of all, I wanted to accomplish this for me. On some level, I needed to prove to myself that I could do it, I could finish what I started.

Only a handful of people even knew that I had started my classes again. I kept it a secret mostly because I didn't want outside influence. This was something I needed to do on my own, and I didn't want to rely on others for support. I needed to support myself, and do it on my own.

Something new
I'm sure I'll still be pondering this the rest of this month. But I think the main thing I want to do next year that would be "new" is to truly become a "home maker." This has been on my mind for a couple of months, and I really don't know why because it's not something that I have ever given much thought to. Well, I guess I do know why--it's pretty evident that God has placed this on my heart.

I've been a stay-at-home-mom for nearly seven years now. I've worked a couple of part-time jobs several times, to help out, but they never lasted. I think the biggest reason is because I was fighting my calling for now--to be at home.

I want to learn how to truly make our house a home. It is now, but I want to make it even more so. I want our home to be a "soft place to land" (in Dr. Phil's words) for my husband and our children. I want it to be a safe-haven for our family. I desire for our home to be godly, a place where, when others enter, they feel God's presence and love.

So there you have it--my something old and something new. What's yours?