Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today is Easter!

Dear Gentle Reader,

When he left, he said he'd return soon, and I told him to hurry back!  I don't know exactly when he'll be back, and in truth, nobody does - if they say they know, I can honestly tell you they are lying!  

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 

While he's gone is not the time for me to sit back on my heels and moan about the situation, or fritter away our savings and do nothing.  I don't hide everything that reminds me of him and ignore my responsibilities.  Rather, I spend my days diligently preparing for his return.  Things need to be taken care of at the homestead, and I am the one who sees to it that all is accomplished in due time.  

But the wise took oil in their vessel with their lamps. 

I tell my little sisters about his letters, remind them about what he is doing; I put reminders by my door, by my bed, on my wall, on my ring finger,and I even wear a special necklace to remind me of him because I want to think about him constantly.  Pictures, chosen passages, every letter he's written to me saved, treasured, read and re-read.  In the morning I spend some time writing him a message, knowing that, while it brings me great personal joy to talk with him, and helps me to build our relationship from my end, it brings him even greater joy to hear from me.  

My voice you shall hear in the morning. 

He is constantly on my mind; I have so much love for him that it is hard to do anything without considering what he would think of the situation, or what his decision would be when I try to choose something.  He's left me some instructions for things I need to do while he's gone, and they are not obligations or duties.  Rather, they are personally fulfilling services, acts of love that I do for him because I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make things work.  I am a willing love slave.  

He that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. 

I yearn for his presence, but I take comfort in knowing that he is accomplishing what needs to be done for both of us.  He is making sure I am safe, our family is safe, you are safe, our country is safe.  He has given himself up for me. What can I do but love him and support him with all my strength in return?

My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning - 
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning. 

Marriage is a picture of the relationship Christ has with the Church.  But I think it is the military marriages that illustrate it best. 

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it. 
This thought is on my mind today as I consider another Man who gave Himself up for me, sacrificed his personal comfort, gave everything willingly.  My friends, the tomb is empty ... He is returning. 

Be ready!

In anticipation... 

Mrs H

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Next: The first trip: Seattle to Chicago for graduation

Verses I referenced above: 
Matthew 24:42
Matthew 25:4
Psalm 5:3
Psalm 130:6
Ephesians 5:22

Thank you to Sheila Carson Photography for the gifted photo shoot!

This post is linked up at Marriage Mondays - click the link to read more about a Christ-like marriage.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Journal Giveaway Announced!

Greetings to those who entered the competition,

The randomly selected comment was number 6, belonging to Jessica of Spokane, Washington!

In a giveaway inspired by Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts, Jessica will receive a beautiful blank journal.  In her book, Ann describes keeping a journal of thankfulness; every day, she keeps the journal open on her counter and adds to her ever-growing list of things she is thankful for!

Of course, Jessica's journal includes a few bookmarks from the Dotal Anecdotes collection - and just so you don't feel left out, I'll include a free download below if you want to print them out at home to use or share with somebody! 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway - these are such fun to hold and I am delighted to be able to give gifts away!  If you have a blank journal at home, start listing your gifts - you'll be surprised with how many you can think of.  And you'll find that, throughout the day, you'll start labeling delights that you see as gifts so you can remember to write them down in your journal - just the beginning of developing a true attitude of thanksgiving!

And now for your free gift!  Download and print these bookmarks to use and share!

Bookmarks Set One
Bookmarks Set Two

Thank you again for participating!

Mrs H

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

One Thousand Gifts - and one for you!

Dear grateful friends,

Everybody is dealing with something pretty challenging in their life, something that could potentially challenge their joy - a husband leaving for boot camp or deployment, a difficult landlord, a death in the family, miserable weather, a grave illness, or any number of other unhappy circumstances.

A neighbor's house, broken into and vandalized the day I
moved ... I can tell you, she was not too happy! 

And yet, we still have so many precious gifts - too many to ignore, so much that they outweigh our sorrows.  Even in the face of grim events, His glory and His majesty continue to surround us.

As long as thanks is possible, then joy is possible. 
                                                           Ann Voskamp
                                                                    One Thousand Gifts

I have thoroughly enjoyed receiving encouragement from one of my favorite blogs, Ann Voskamp's A Holy Experience blog.  Posts like this one remind me to push past my comfortable places to experience the painful places of growth, and to learn of His comforting.

I mentioned Ann's blog before; and now I'd like to let you know about her book, One Thousand Gifts.  This phenomenal little book rocketed up to the bestselling lists within days of its January 2011 publication.  I knew I had to read it; the publisher sent me a copy to read and review here for you.

In this book, Ann talks about learning to be grateful.  Not just generalized "I'm thankful for my blessings" type thanks, but specific, concrete thanksgiving - like for sunshine warming the car, for ice-cold water from the fridge, for the redemption of the cross.  Ann started keeping a journal to write all of her thanksgivings down in, numbering them one at a time - initially, her goal was to reach 1,000 ... but she couldn't stop there!

If you get a copy of her book, I suggest reading it with a pen and a highlighter in hand!  There are things you will want to remember, mark forever.  And as an added bonus that I do not charge extra for, you'll be pleased to know that thankfulness is good for the soul, and healthy for the body - science backs it up!

Ann has started a virtual journal online to start cataloging the gifts that we are all finding in our everyday life - visit the site and join the conversation!  Find an old journal or something you can use start listing your one thousand gifts in!

Here's something to be grateful for: I am offering a journal giveaway for you to start recording your own list of thanksgiving!  In the comments section below, post your name & email (like this: andrea . globetrotter (at) gmail dot com ... so that automated spammers don't find it) and one thing that you are grateful for, and I will randomly select a winner on the 17th to receive this blank journal.

I hope you enjoy perusing her book and her blog as much as I have!

Giving thanks,

Mrs H

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hello world - we're in the Navy now!

Dear friends and faithful prayer supporters,

Mr H has been at boot camp for almost two weeks now; he made it there safely and things have never been better!

He's finally doing it - achieving his dream, following his calling.  Somebody asked me how I can put up with him being gone; I had to honestly answer that I'd rather have him there than here.  Why is that?

I cannot emphasize this enough!  If he were here, he'd be a dried-up version of himself with no goals to pursue and no lifelong dreams to achieve.  He'd be working long, back-breaking hours at a job that he excelled at, but did not thrive in.  He'd have unrealized potential, unrecognized ability, unfulfilled passion.  How could I possibly ask for him to stay here, and how could I possibly ask for him to be in a better place than he is right now, training for his calling?

Of course ... I miss him dearly!  I think about him all day, every day.  I keep pulling out my phone to text him, and it's so disappointing when I remember that I can't.  I agonize over decisions, wondering what the best one would be - I've grown so accustomed to having his wisdom to turn to in everything.

But in all this, there is no regret!

The Anatomy of a Good Farewell: What makes a good-bye satisfying, comforting, and hopeful?  When Mr H left, there was nothing between us that was unsaid.  There was no hidden resentment or anger about issues unresolved in our marriage.  There was nothing we wanted to do before he left that we hadn't accomplished; there was nothing important or surprising that needed to be said in the last few seconds, just sweet farewells.

Why save it for special occasions?  In the weeks leading up to his departure, I would occasionally find something that was irritating or be annoyed with him over something, and I found myself deciding to let it go because it wasn't worth it to get into an argument when we had so little time left together.  I would say to myself, Focus on the important things!  Make this a memorable, wonderful time!  Then I realized how dumb I have been - why does it take my husband taking off for two years of training for me to realize that, truly, some things are not worth fussing over?  Ever!?  They aren't important!! 

Grace unsurpassed: Through everything, the Lord has blessed me!  I haven't felt a moment of anxiety, worry, or fear.  I feel completely at peace, fully at rest in my Saviour's care.  I know my husband loves me and cares for me, and yet Jesus loves me so much more.  Countless family members, friends, church members, and pastors have been praying for Mr H and for myself; several times before he left, groups of men gathered around him - at a men's breakfast, at his going-away open-house, at a Sunday morning class - and laid hands on him, uplifting him in prayer for the mission he was embarking on.  Simultaneously at these times, I would find myself surrounded by women, their beautiful hands outstretched in prayer as they joined their strength with mine, encouraging me to draw closer to both my husband and my Lord, sharing wisdom and visions for our marriage.

All of this prayer and support has had an impact on our lives that cannot be measured - events and needs have fallen into place and been handled felicitously.  People have emerged from the woodwork to ensure that I am cared for in Gary's absence.  A friend has been sending me a good-morning message daily (I haven't mentioned it to her, but I do notice!), checking in on me to ensure my sanity stays in place!  I have rarely felt more loved and cared for by my extended church family!

If you are one of those dear ones that has been praying for us, I cannot express enough thanksgiving for your ministry.  It has upheld us and strengthened us in what could be a difficult and painful time, but has instead become an empowering and enriching experience.


Mrs H
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Next: Countdown to the reunion!

P.S.  So many of you have asked for a picture of us to use as a prayer reminder that I am humbled and awed, and speechless in the face if His grace extended through your hands.  In this spirit I humbly offer that if you do want a picture for a prayer reminder, I will happily give you one (just email me here).  We will take all the prayer we can get!  



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