2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Last week, the unthinkable happened...

20 children were murdered in their classrooms...

6 adults, including teachers, a principal, and a guidance counselor were killed trying to protect the students...

A mother was killed in her sleep with her own weapon... By her own son...

There are many unanswered questions and many theories floating around. 

We are wondering about gun control and mental health issues.

We are wondering how and why...

We have few, if any, answers.

20 families don't have their children with them for Christmas, not this year or ever.

6 families also lost a loved one and even though they are adults who died, the loss is just as painful.

There are also 2 men who lost a mother and a brother/son and have the added grief that their loved one is the cause of this tragedy and the profound grief that HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS have to go through...

The children who survived and will at some point have to go back to school, if not in that building then elsewhere...

The teachers who saw a killer's face or heard the gun shots in the school and have to continue to teach with that fear in the back of their minds...

The police who responded to the unknown and quickly realized it was like nothing they have ever seen or imagined...

The medical examiner and his staff who had to perform too many autopsies on too many young people... and the officers who had to view those autopsies as well...

The firefighters at a station so close to the school who comforted family members for hours into the night...

The EMT's, doctors and nurses who were waiting and hoping to care for the injured but instead could only helplessly hear that there were so few injured...

The police and crime scene techs who processed a crime scene for hours in a location that should never be a crime scene...

The parents, siblings, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, students, community...

So much grief, so much hurt, so many unanswered questions...

Monday, December 17, 2012

2012- A Review of Our Year

This is the time of year where many people look back at what has happened over the year and then they look ahead to the coming year....

This blog post will be a review of 2012 and in a few days I will post a look at 2013, including some new goals I have...

Here are some highlights for our family in 2012!

  1. If I had to sum up our year with only one word, it would be... Adoption!  It consumed our time and energy from the 1st of January until the 31st of December.  We made many trips to meet the boy who would become the newest member of our family, logged many hours and miles in our van to transport for our weekend visits, we experienced many meetings and lots of paperwork and rules.  But we wouldn't trade it for anything!  Not only did we experience the process of adoption, we were also able to see that process in the lives of at least 4 of our friends!  What a vivid example of what God did for us when He adopted us as His children through Jesus' death and resurrection!
  2. A phrase that makes me think of 2012 is new friends!  Through a variety of circumstances, I've made some new friends and have enjoyed getting to know them.  It's nice to have people to support you and for you to rely on, to laugh and have fun with, and to support and encourage.
  3. Another thing I learned this year, whether through my own experiences or through my friends, is trust!  Here's the important part... That trust needs to be in God, not in people.  People WILL let you down and disappoint.  God is ALWAYS faithful and His ways are ALWAYS the best.  So whether you're dealing with marriage problems, health issues, needing provision, having family or children issues, problems at work... Nothing is too big for God to handle!
  4. Support is another word that sums up our year.  I have a great support system in my homeschool group, a core group of close friends, and some other ladies that live the LEO life like we do and understand those stresses on a marriage and family.
  5. Last but not least, Life is hard!  God NEVER promised us that we'd have enough money, no sickness or no hard times.  In fact, He did promise us that we WILL experience trials of many kinds.  The good news is that whether life is easy or life is hard, God IS always with us!


Monday, December 10, 2012

I'm a Fan of "Not a Fan"!

It seemed to take me forever to read this book that should have taken me 2 weeks or less to finish.  But it seems that these days of school and soccer don't leave me much time or energy to focus on reading... (And on a sort of related side note, it took me OVER 2 months to actually finish and post this!)

Now that I'm finished with "Not a Fan" (written by Kyle Idleman), I can say that it was worth the time!

This book really makes you look at whether you are REALLY following Jesus or if you're just going through the motions.  Are you REALLY willing to do WHAT He says, WHEN He says?  Is He your ONLY priority or one of your priorities?  

Sure, it's easy to read this book and start thinking of the people you know who NEED to read this book because you know they are going through the motions at best.  But when you put those thoughts to the side, you realize that YOU really need to read this book because we ALL go through the motions at one point or another.  We ALL need to be reminded that Jesus needs to be the one in charge and we need to be following what HE says, not what our friend says or what we "feel" is right...

A line in the book that I love is "They (fans) want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them." 

That should make you think of whether or not that statement applies to YOU!

What do we think are some of the "benefits" of following Jesus?
  • Good health?
  • Enough money to pay our bills AND have extra?
  • A job we love?
  • Stuff?
  • Vacations?
  • Well behaving, academically gifted children?
  • A thriving ministry?
 But what if the TRUE benefits are:
  • Strength to get through an illness or disease?
  • Faith to get through a job loss and bills to pay?
  • Comfort when our friends and family abandon us?
  • Wisdom to deal with rebellious children?
  • Patience to deal with a special needs child?
  • Encouragement when dealing with a failing marriage?
Sure, sometimes the benefits of following God ARE tangible, but sometimes they're not.... Regardless, do we ONLY want those benefits that are pleasant or are we willing to follow so hard and so close that we WILL go through hard times as Jesus promised us several times in the Bible so that we can experience God in a way we never have before?

That is just one of the questions you will ask of yourself as you read Not a Fan.

Even though the questions you are asked in this book can be difficult, it is well worth the read and the look into your life to see just where you have put God in your life!

I recommend reading this book and be prepared to search YOUR heart!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's Hard To Believe!

I'll warn you in advance that this is a long post.  We've got a lot of ground to cover.  So, get comfortable, get a cup of coffee, and enjoy!
This month marks the 17th anniversary that my husband has been in Law Enforcement...

That gets me thinking back to those early days...

- With no cell phones (how in the world did we live without them?)...

- With no clue as to the life I would be leading...

- Just married, with a baby on the way, in a new city and about to buy a house...

It's hard to be newly married to start with.  Then you add in starting into a life that is like few others.  I knew only one other LEOW and she worked so we didn't get to spend too much time together.  My husband's job was stressful, his bosses were terrible and I was a bit too self centered to be a helpful wife.  Sure, I took care of the house and the baby, but the long hours (14 hour days between the 12 hour shift and the commute) and the lack of a schedule (he was often called into work at the last minute) led to a very difficult first 2 years of marriage.

Thankfully, my husband was able to get his dream job at a different agency in our same area.  The boss was better, the hours were a little better (still 12 hour shifts, but less of a commute) and he was called into work less on his days off.  He spent a year with a "regular" schedule- 8am-5pm Monday-Friday.  That was lovely with a 2 year old and a newborn!

After that first year in the new job, he was transferred to patrol, with 12 hour days and a shift that rotated between days and nights.  Even though he had worked those hours at his first job, it was a hard transition back to that with 2 young children.  I didn't handle it very well.

I now knew NO other LEOW's and that was difficult.  There was no one to encourage me when we had no family dinners, no one to help me with dealing with crazy schedules, no one who understood what it was like to have their husband work all night and sleep much of the day...

Fast forward more than a decade...

- I have branched out and now know several other department wives and I am friends with a few of them.  

- I still get frustrated with schedule changes and long shifts, but I can manage those things better now.

- We make more of an effort to have a monthly date night.  Some months it is impossible due to my husband's work hours, but it still happens more frequently than it did when we were first married. 

- We were not able to have dates very often when the kids were younger because of money to go out and get a babysitter.  Once I found a very good friend with kids my age and a husband in a nearby agency, we traded off childcare and we were both able to have more regular date nights.

I've also learned that this career can change a person...  I can't imagine seeing and experiencing everything my husband has seen and experienced... In his 17 years in law enforcement, the following is a short list of some of these things, the good, the bad and the ugly:

  • He's been threatened several times, mostly by drunk people he was arresting.
  • He's been cyberstalked by a lunatic.
  • He's witnessed several autopsies.
  • He's investigated a murder the kids and I called the "freezer man" case... There's nothing like hearing of a man who was killed by his teenaged son, decapitated and stuffed in a freezer in the basement for a year and a half...
  • He held a man in his arms for his final breath before he died of gunshot wounds.
  • He has investigated several terrible murders.
  • He has been on quite a few high speed chases and foot chases.
  • He has pulled at least one 24 hour work shift... No sleep, just working.
  • He has missed more church services, soccer games, Christmases, Thanksgivings, birthdays, and anniversaries than I can count.
  • He has missed many hours of sleep.
  • He has lost 4 co-workers; 2 in on duty car accidents, 1 in a line of duty murder, and 1 to suicide.
  • He has made a few lifelong friends.
  • He has gotten an excellent reputation due to his work ethic and personality.
  • He has gone from the courthouse to patrol to property crime to person crime to Sgt back on patrol.
  • He has been tired, grumpy, stressed, excited... 
  • He has loved every minute (well, maybe not EVERY, but close!) of his 17 years!

So, as I look back over the past 17 years, I see how I was not at all prepared for this life.  It took me several years to figure it all out.  In many ways, I still don't have it ALL figured out.  Once you think you do, it changes... So, even with as rigid as I can be, I've still learned to be flexible.  The hours WILL be long, the stress WILL be there, the schedule WILL change.  I may not like it, but I DO have to live with it without making myself or my family miserable!

It's hard to believe that my husband is able to retire in 12 years.  Will he?  Who knows...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Plans and Traditions

My goal was to post on this topic BEFORE Thanksgiving, but a little "distraction" called Pneumonia changed those plans...

Here's a little peek into some Holiday plans and traditions at our house:

  • We always watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while eating yummy appetizers.
  • We usually have my parents and one set of my husband's (divorced and remarried) parents over for an afternoon dinner.
  • We put up our trees and decorations either a few days before or the day after Thanksgiving.
  • We rarely open gifts ON Christmas Day... Honestly, I'm the one who can't wait that long!  Last year, we would be away on Christmas so we opened our gifts on the 22nd.  
  • We have appetizers for lunch while watching a Christmas movie, playing with our gifts and cleaning up.
  • We usually spend the day with just our family.
  • For the month of December, we've had a Christmas Chain- green and red construction paper links with a fun activity for each day of the month.  We usually have things we're already planning on doing and then fill in on other days with things like watching a Christmas movie or roasting marshmallows.  Now we have a "house" with numbered doors and have activities printed out inside each door.
  • We go out to eat with my parents to celebrate my mother's birthday at a wonderful local restaurant that decorates beautifully for Christmas.
Now for the reality of this year....
  • My husband had to work Thanksgiving this year for the first time in probably 5 years so we had to change a few things up.  In fact, he worked Monday-Saturday of Thanksgiving week so there was no time to postpone the big dinner to another day.
  • We continued the parade and appetizers tradition.
  • We waited to have our Thanksgiving dinner with just the 5 of us until my husband got home from work.  Thankfully he was ON TIME for the only time all week so we were able to eat around 6:30.
  • We put our trees up the day after Thanksgiving.  I decorated less than usual, partly because I was still exhausted and also because my dining room, foyer and living room looked so beautiful from my friend helping me decorate that I didn't want to mess with it too much.  So, instead of taking out my 10+ nativities, I brought out my favorite few and used only those.
  • We still have quite a few trees: the tall one in the living room, the police one (blue lights and police ornaments) in the dining room, a table top with colored lights and JESUS ornaments in the living room, a lit tabletop "Places" tree in the kitchen and unlit tabletop in our bedroom, and one in both kids' rooms.  Technically, that's 7 trees!  But we love them all!
  • My husband is working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and every weekend in December.  We have to rethink our celebration time as a family as it's now greatly diminished from other years.  We'll still have fun, though, because we like spending time together.
  • I imagine we'll open presents on Christmas Eve so that my husband can be there for it... If he gets home from work on time!  Hopefully even the criminals will decide to take Christmas off!  ;)  I doubt any of us will complain about opening presents early!
  • We'll probably have a low key day on Christmas.  I might see what a fellow LEOW whose husband is working that day is doing and maybe we'll meet up sometime that day... 

With my husband working so many holidays this season (he's also working New Year's Eve!), we will have to adjust some of our traditions, but we'll still have a wonderful holiday season spending time together as a family when we can!