Military Life

Seven Years Later…

7 YEARS LATER - YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE YOUR STORY WILL TAKE YOU...

 

I was looking at my calendar last week, and I realized that it was seven years ago that my world came crashing down around me. My mind wandered back to that awful night in November when I discovered the heartbreaking truth about my first marriage. I had been so busy working on exciting new things that I had forgotten about that particular anniversary.

 

Seven years. Wow.

 

Chapter 5

 

I’ve taken some time since then to ponder all that has happened in the last seven years, and I am in awe. I never would have dared to dream about where this story would take me.

 

Seven years ago…

My Littlest Gift - justoneoftheboys.com

 

I was broken.

The future seemed hopeless.

I felt so alone.

I had three scared little faces looking up at me for reassurance.

I had to be strong… for them.

 

Seven years later…

Boys at St. Louis Arch

 

My heart has continued to heal a little more each day.

I have hope – wild and beautiful hope for the future – and now I get to share it with others.

I have learned that I’m not alone, and sharing the darkest parts of my story lets me help others know that they aren’t alone on this journey either.

There are three growing boys smiling back at me.

When I can’t be strong, I have my faith and the arms of my Beloved, family, and friends to hold me up until I can walk again.

 

Family at the Chicago Bean

 

The world which once felt so dark, scary, and lonely is opening up right in front of me! Somebody needs to pinch me, because I can’t believe what I’m about to tell you – 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year…

 

I’m going to KENYA in July!

 

And then I’m going to southern INDIA in September!

 

Everything has happened so quickly – but I am beyond thrilled to be joining our church in the work they are doing in both places. After years of learning about the situations and struggles that women and girls face in both countries, praying, and wondering what in the world a little mom from Kansas could do to help – I feel like it’s all getting plopped down right in my lap! I get to work with amazing women who are going through some of the very same struggles that we face. These women are just like us – they need to feel that they are seen, loved, and accepted for who they are. They need friendship, community, and security. Many of them are in abusive relationships. Many of them know the pain of their husbands being unfaithful in their marriages. These are male-dominated societies where women and girls are not valued, and my heart is aching for them.

 

My friend Joy told me stories of women who have to attend secret church services so their husbands do not realize that they are Christians. Sometimes the husbands will follow the wives to church – and beat them right in the middle of the church service. For their faith. It was when my friend told me about this that I immediately felt my heart drawn to these women. Seven years ago I didn’t have a voice, but healing, growing, and those who poured into my life were my voice until I found it again. My heart’s desire is to be the voice for others who can’t speak up for themselves, and to give them hope while they find their own voices again. Joy’s sister Elishba let me use her photo of one of these secret church services…

 

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This is Nalini. She is one of these precious ladies. When her husband found out that she attended church services, he would beat her and lock her out of the house at night so she had to sleep in the street. Thankfully, her husband has been changing and she has been able to attend services without any trouble from him recently.

 

Nalini

 

Dear friends, these women and girls are our sisters, and I hope that we will all stand with them in support. We’re all on this journey together!

 

Joy and Ginger

 

Another exciting piece of news is that my lovely friend Joy is translating many of my blog posts into her native Tamil language – to be a book!!! Her father is the pastor of the church above – and they want to share our story with the women in their city. I am still in awe of how things are coming together! I have been busy editing and putting together our blog posts into a manuscript for Joy to translate – and then share with whomever can be encouraged by it.

 

This is what I’ve been doing lately – printing, playing around with the order of the chapters, and editing with my handy red pen…

Manuscript

 

*Sidenote – Isn’t my new African journal beautiful? My friend Toni from Red Pen Travelers did a fabulous job – and I can’t wait to take it with me on my travels! She will be making leather India journals in a few months to help support my trip to India! Check them out for yourself – her notebooks would make perfect Christmas presents!

 

African Journal - Red Pen Travelers

 

I am so excited to share all of this with you because you NEVER KNOW what the future holds. You never know how your story can be used to touch someone else’s heart. To you, my friends, who are hurting right now – when you feel like you’re being pulled under by the unrelenting waves of your own pain, please know that there really is hope. There’s no telling who you might help by sharing your story with someone going through their own storm.

 

Seven years ago I never could have dreamed that one day my story of feeling so broken and alone would help anyone – especially women in other parts of the world. I feel so humbled that this Kansas girl gets to take a message of hope to our sisters in India and Kenya next year. I can’t wait to throw my arms around them and let them know how loved they are. Just like you, my friends, I want them to know that they are seen, they are loved, and they are not alone.

 

I am so honored to get to spend part of your day with you. Thank YOU for going on this journey with me!

Love & hugs,

~ G

 

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To Infinity and Beyond…

A Mommy's Love - To Infinity... and Beyond

 

Today I am honored to be sharing a guest post at my friend Cara Meredith’s blog! She is hosting a wonderful series called RITUALS – about the small rituals of our daily lives that make the story deeper. Here’s a little taste of the story I’m sharing today…

My shoulders fell as I stared at the dirty pots and pans in front of me.

The rumble of brotherly wrestling from my older sons traveled down the hall. That wasn’t the sound of boys getting ready for bed. They didn’t seem the least bit tired, but I was exhausted.

Sigh. Maybe I should just tell them goodnight so I can cross this day off the calendar. They’ll understand.

My husband was deployed somewhere in the Middle East with the military, and I had spent a long day worrying about my Beloved while holding down the fort here at home. I couldn’t wait until I could crawl under my own covers and finally let this day fade away.

“Mommy, may you please snuggle with me?”

My youngest just looked so cute standing there in his dinosaur jammies, big brown eyes looking up at me. I love how he still mixes up his words sometimes, and I couldn’t say no…

To read the rest of the story that is close to my heart, please click over to Cara Meredith’s blog! Hope to see you there!

*Hugs*

~ G

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Be Intentional With Family ~ In the Midst of Trials

BE-INTENTIONAL-WITH-FAMILY

 

Today I am thrilled to share with y’all a video interview that I had with my friend Alysha from An Intentional Future! She has been hosting a wonderful series this month on living intentionally, and I was honored when she asked me to be part of it! She has such a wonderful message – and I am so grateful to have connected with her through this crazy world of blogging!

 

This is what Alysha wrote about chat our on her blog:

Ginger of justoneoftheboys.com is no stranger to trials and heartache. From being left a single parent of three young boys as she watched her first marriage dissolve, to being transformed into a caregiver as her husband was diagnosed with cancer, she is no stranger to incredible difficulties. Despite it all, she has managed to thrive.

I believe the key to intentionality is effort. Ginger is constantly reevaluating how she can not only better serve her family, but herself. I hope you’ll watch and listen as Ginger shares specific tips for being intentional with family. I also hope you’ll visit and subscribe to her blog!

 

I had such a wonderful time chatting with Alysha! I had been nervous about my very first video chat, but she made me feel right at home. She even made me cry a little as I talked about my boys – in a good way, I assure you! Click HERE to watch our chat – and don’t forget to leave a comment to enter her FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY!

*Hugs*

~ G

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Aloha, Friends!

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What a month it’s been! After being married for 4 years, my Beloved and I finally went on our long-awaited honeymoon! I mentioned on Facebook that the resort where we had planned to stay in Mexico had been wiped out in a hurricane this fall, and our hearts sank. Joe made a few phone calls, and we received a full refund! He found us a cabin in the Volcano National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii, and we packed our bags!

 

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I really didn’t know much about the Big Island or Hawaii in general before we bought a book that was HUGELY helpful in our travels! The Big Island Revealed was written by a man who lives on the Big Island – and it a guided us to many amazing non-touristy places during our week in Hawaii!

We started out by exploring the shores of Hilo, gawking at the sea turtles, and finding nice people selling fresh coconut water – in the coconut! I can’t tell you how much better it is right from the tree!

 

Hawaii 1

 

We decided to head up to the beautiful Mauna Kea summit – more than 14,000 feet up – to see the international observatories that live way above the clouds. Wow. Just wow.

It was cold up there at sunset, and we were still wearing our shorts and flip-flops, so we made plans to go back another night to stargaze. When we went back a few nights later, our group was treated to a guide who pointed out constellations, stars, and stories in the sky. It was incredible!

 

Hawaii 3

 

The went on a couple of hikes one morning (6 miles altogether!) where we descended 400 feet through a rainforest, made our way over this frozen lava lake from when Kilauea erupted long ago, then climbed the 400 feet back up to civilization. It took years for this lake of once red-hot lava to cool and harden – and now you can walk across it!

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You can see the beautiful Mauna Loa looming in the background…

 

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The walk wasn’t an easy one – but it was breathtaking!

 

 

 

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We decided that we hadn’t punished our bodies enough after that hike, so we went on another trek to see a lava tube!

 

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We were sore and tired after our hikes, but I am so glad we went – and this Kansas girl learned that I love hiking!

 

Hawaii 4

 

The waves were too high for us to kayak during our stay, so we spent a couple of afternoons crossing off what I wanted to do in Hawaii – lounge on the beach!

 

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This is what we had waited four years to experience! I had a fruity drink in my hand, a book in my lap, my Beloved by my side, and a smile on my face! I even dozed to the sound of the waves. Happiest of happy sighs.

 

Hawaii 9

 

We also made the difficult hike to visit the hidden away Green Sand Beach near the southern tip of the Big Island. Wowzers – this was hard. It was three miles of climbing over sharp lava rocks each way, and we were only in our flip-flops! By the time we’d made it back to our car, I had 5 blisters on the bottoms of my feet – and sores where the rocks had poked THROUGH my shoes!

Yes, it was a bit windy that day…

 

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But seeing the gorgeous green sand was worth it!

 

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There were so many beautiful things to see and experience on Hawai’i – that one little blog post can’t do it justice.

Sunsets…

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Cliffs and valleys…

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An active volcano…

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Waterfalls…

 

Akaka Falls

 

My new buddy – King Kamehameha the Great (the first ruler of the Hawaiian islands)…

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And gorgeous black sand beaches…

 

Waipi'o Valley Beach

 

I am beyond grateful that I get to walk through life with this guy!

Hawaii 5

 

I have become obsessed with Hawaiian history since our trip! I’m reading a fascinating book by the last monarch of Hawaii – Queen Lili’uokalani – and eagerly looking for more stories of the Hawaiian past and culture.

Liliu08

 

Joe and I have even begun dreaming of one day moving to Hawaii! I could definitely cozy up to the idea of writing and sipping coconut water while watching the waves at sunset from my lanai! It did my heart so much good to just get away. We were able to finally relax, letting all of the stress of the last several years – broken hearts, divorces, deployments, custody battles, cancer, living apart – melt away. Ahhh…

Thank you so much for indulging me today – and for staying with me during my long absence this month! I can’t wait to get back to sharing together every week now that life is finally starting to get back to normal after the rush of the holidays!

I’ll be back later this week for the December Edition of What I’m Into!

Hugs,

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ November 2014 Edition

It’s here! It’s here! The November Edition of What I’m Into is finally here! I love this link-up hosted by the lovely Leigh Kramer! Fix yourself a cup of hot cocoa, curl up in front of the fireplace, and check out the other awesome link-ups this weekend. That’s what I’m doing right now!

Our Little Corner of the World

A little laundry time…

What I'm Into Nov laundry

A little hot tea in my jammies…

What I'm Into Nov pajamas

A little writing here, a little bling there, a little dark polish that’s perfect for fall…

What I'm Into Nov 1

A few science experiments… (Pop Rocks and Sprite)

science experiment

And a whole lot of snuggling…

What I'm Into Nov Snuggles

Between the Pages

What I'm Into Nov As You Wish

As You Wish, by Cary Elwes – Favorite book of the month! I listened to this book with our Audible credit – and I can’t recommend the audio edition of it enough. Cary Elwes, (aka Westley) takes us on the journey to filming the much-beloved classic movie The Princess Bride. I love this audio version – Cary Elwes does incredible accents, and most of the movie cast lent their voices to reading their own memories from this amazing movie! I laughed until I cried during stories about Andre the Giant and Miracle Max! It has pretty clean language. Fair warning – it may have contained the d-word (as my boys call it) once or twice, but my two oldest boys have enjoyed listening to it with me as we cook and clean up in the kitchen, and when we’re in the car running errands. If you loved the movie (I still haven’t read the actual Princess Bride book yet!), I’m betting that you’ll also love As You Wish!

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull – This was a fascinating look into Pixar – the history, the ups and downs, and the things that have made it great! I’m not a boss in business, but it gave me some ideas for cultivating creativity and teamwork in my own family!

Sheltering Rain, by Jojo Moyes – I’m a big Moyes fan, and my friend Jan was nice enough to lend me her copy of this book! It wasn’t my favorite book by this author – that title still goes to Me Before You – but it was still enjoyable.

Yes please

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler –  I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book for years! It was an awesome look into her early life, her work on SNL and Parks and Rec, and laugh-out-loud funny!

Food: A Love Story, by Jim Gaffigan – Looking for more laughs? Check out Jim Gaffigan’s newest book! I listened to this on a road trip, and he kept me in stitches – and made me pretty hungry!

On my Nightstand

I’m about to dive into several books this month:

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, by Molly Wizenberg

#GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso

Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder

What are you reading this month?

Screen Time

My Beloved and I went to see the new Hunger Games movie on opening night with my siblings. The six of us plus a few of their friends really enjoyed the first installment of Mockingjay, and I can’t believe we have to wait a full year before we get to see the second half! Mockingjay was my least favorite book in the trilogy, but I was pretty impressed with the movie. Go figure!

We also saw Jon Stewart’s directorial debut – Rosewater.  Wow. The true story of a journalist who was imprisoned and tortured while covering the 2009 elections in Iran. We were the only two people in the theatre, which was pretty sad considering this is still going on all over the world.

Interstellar – Whoa. Buckle your seat belts, folks. This movie is a wild ride! I can’t tell you more than that – but it left me wanting to see it again!

Top Gear and Top Gear US are huge favorites in our house full of men. Joe and our boys have been watching past episodes whenever they get the chance – and I enjoy watching it, too!

And we’re still catching up on this season of Homeland. Let me just say this – If the Taliban lays one finger on Inigo Montoya (Saul), so help me, I’m never watching it again!

On the Blog

Once upon a time

I shared how forever can finally begin!

Chapter 12 ~ My New Friend

My New Friend ~ Chapter 12 of Our Story

Chapter 13

She Began to Twirl Once More ~ Chapter 13 of Our Story

Building Your Nest Together - Williams Sonoma

What I wish I’d known all those years ago about registering for my wedding! Don’t make the same mistakes I did!

Coming Up

We’re going on our honeymoon! After being married for four years, we will finally get away together, relax, recharge, and celebrate the wild roller coaster of our life together so far! Hawaii, here we come!

How about you?

What have you been into this past month? Have you read any good books? Seen any must-watch movies? What shows are you watching these days?

I’d love to hear all about it!

Have you signed up to have my new posts delivered straight to your inbox yet? Just go to the Subscribe Now section to the right – and you won’t miss a thing! It’s as easy as that – and nothing makes me happier! Don’t forget – you can also find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, & Twitter!

Until next time,

*Hugs*

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My New Friend ~ Chapter Twelve

*Ding*

What are YOU doing up this late?” My friend Joanne messaged me online.

I glanced disbelieving at the clock. It couldn’t really be that late, could it?

I’m just chatting with Joe… I typed back.

I could almost hear her Kiwi accent through my computer.

Ohhhh, really? Again? Don’t stay up too late 😉 – she answered as she disappeared offline.

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I smiled. This freedom was such a wonderful change from the immense stress of the last year. I couldn’t help it – I was finding myself smiling even more lately.

For the first time in forever, I was happy!

And I had a new friend.

I had met my friend Amy’s brother Joe at her wedding. We started texting back and forth, checking on each other. Then came the phone calls. We commiserated over the ways our marriages had ended, and we bonded over the devastation that infidelity had torn through our hearts. Instead of dreading the dark and empty house at night, talking to my friend Joe at the end of the day had become something that I looked forward to.

I sent him a birthday card – a funny rockstar bulldog on the front, and I included a little blue robot magnet for his refrigerator inside. I knew how horrible that first birthday after divorce could be, and I hoped it would brighten his day even a little.

Slowly our conversations went beyond our exes and our pain – and we started to learn more about each other. We had both grown up in similar large families. Homeschooling had played a huge part in our youths. We covered many topics during our evening phone calls and found that we also shared similar views on life. Because I had known his family for over 10 years, I knew that he was being genuine – and not merely agreeing with everything that I said. Refreshing, I thought.

Why did you decide to go into the Air Force? 

Do you plan to homeschool your boys?

What is your favorite childhood memory? 

Where would you most like to travel?

What do you want people to remember about you, after you’re gone? 

What is something on your bucket list?

Who would play you in a movie about your life? 

Do you like sushi?

Joe was becoming my buddy. Even a kindred spirit. We certainly shared many of the same values, and we were also healing from devastating betrayal and divorce. Even though our hearts had been broken by the ones we had held most dear, we found it oddly easy to trust the other. I humbly thanked the Lord for sending me a pal to go through this with me.

With each conversation, I sensed another layer of my heart was mending with the help of his friendship.

And then it happened.

I did it. I just signed up for another six month deployment to Afghanistan. I leave in November.

Joe military 2

I felt the wind rush out of me. He had mentioned this possibility of volunteering to deploy again. There was nothing and no one to tie him down now, so he had thought about getting away for a while. It had been decided.

It was at this moment I realized that he was no longer my friend Amy’s little brother. He was my friend. My good friend. And soon he would be off to war for six whole months.

We had talked about meeting halfway someday. Kansas City, maybe. As we realized that the time before his upcoming deployment was getting shorter, he brought up Kansas City again. Was I still interested in meeting up at some point?

Actually, I told him, I was going to be in KC over the next weekend visiting my friend Joanne. Joe had also met Joanne in Texas earlier that summer when she went down to photograph our friend (and his sister) Amy’s wedding.

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Joanne and I were planning a girls’ weekend complete with shopping, chick flicks, and laughter. Something told me that my Tribalwoman wouldn’t mind terribly giving up at least part of our weekend to let me see Joe. In fact, when I brought it up with her, she offered to let Joe stay at her house too.

I could hear the teasing smile in her voice. “No sense in him driving all that way just to see you for a day! Tell him he can stay in the basement, if he wants.” 

After I made sure that she was perfectly fine with nixing our girls’ weekend, I nervously relayed her message to Joe. Poor guy. He probably didn’t want to spend the whole weekend together, I thought. But maybe…

To my surprise, Joe actually seemed excited when I mentioned her offer! We started talking about what we could see and do in KC, and for the first time in forever, I felt it.

Something was stirring in my heart. This had begun as a friendship between two broken spirits, but for the first time I was starting to wonder if it could possibly be something more…

~ Our Story ~

There’s No Place Like Home ~ Chapter One

Letter to the Other Woman ~ Chapter Two

The Nightmare ~ Chapter Three

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan ~ Chapter Four

With this Ring…Saying Goodbye ~ Chapter Five

A Letter to a Graduate ~ Chapter Six

Over the Miles and Years ~ Chapter Seven

Someone Like Him ~ Chapter Eight

In the Quiet ~ Chapter Nine

A Different Kind of Anniversary ~ Chapter Ten

Are you on FacebookInstagramPinterest? I’d love to connect with you! And don’t forget that you can get my new posts delivered straight to your inbox – just go to the subscribe button on the right!

*hugs*

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Forever Can Finally Begin…

“So how long have you and Joe been married?”

About four and a half years.

“And you’ve never lived together? Why not?”

Well, long story short…

Once upon a time

 

Our wedding day. Our once broken hearts were full of hope, excitement for our future together, and awe at where our journey had led us – into each other’s arms.

My boys were so little when Mr. Joe became their friend – and they believed that it was their idea for us to get married!

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“Mr. Joe, will you pleeeeease marry Mommy and be our step-dad?”

He did! And we became a family.

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We began the process for the boys and I to be able to go with Joe when he was stationed in California for the first year after our wedding. We hoped against hope that we’d be able to begin our married life together on the West Coast, and we were crushed when that couldn’t happen because the boys and I needed to stay near their father.

As soon as my Beloved’s year in California was over, he requested to be stationed as near as he could be to us – still five hours away. Every Friday after work for the last three years he has packed up his car and made the long drive to be with us in Kansas. That’s a lot of miles, friends. And I’m grateful for every single one of them.

Just like every other military family, we’ve also had to be apart for deployments, long periods away for training, and work trips abroad.

Facetime, Skype, texting, and e-mails have been a lifeline during our time apart, but it isn’t the same.

“I miss Daddy Joe.”

“How many days until Daddy Joe gets to come home?”

“I’m gonna go take a walk to Afghanistan. Daddy Joe won’t make me take a nap!”

Even though they were too little to understand why we had to be apart so much, our little guys and I have been so proud to become a military family!

Military Family

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I look at the handsome, funny, loving, helpful, and awesome young men they’ve grown to be over the last four years, and I feel like the luckiest mommy in the whole world.

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It has just been me and the boys for so long… (That’s partly where the name for our blog originated – Just One of the Boys, btw.)

I can hardly believe that our time together as just the four of us is finally drawing to a close. Waves of special memories over the last four years have begun washing over me…

Carriage rides at Christmas…

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Science experiments in the backyard…

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Building a gingerbread Parthenon

Why Homeschooling? ~ Gingerbread Parthenon

Fun times in the car…

What Im Into

And sleepy times…

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Watching the world through their beautiful eyes…

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And learning how to be Mommy to these three camo paint-wearing, Wimpy Kid-reading, tree-climbing, always-laughing boys of mine.

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I’ve changed over the years. Because I had little ones depending on me, I had to become more independent.

I’ve changed flat tires, repaired the roof, removed dead squirrels from the backyard, attempted plumbing, made trips to the emergency room, mowed yards, shoveled driveways, painted walls, and lit firecrackers. I knew that as much as my Beloved wished he could be here to help me, I had to do things on my own. I had to become stronger.

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Fourth of July

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I learned to take better care of myself, even when he wasn’t here to see it.

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Week #20 b

I started this blog to encourage women. I was scared to share my story, but I pulled down the walls around me brick-by-brick, and shared my heart and my story with you. And I am so grateful for the loving and supportive community that we have here!

Week #16b

We have eased into blending our family over the years. The transition has gone even better than we could have imagined, and I believe that is largely because of his respectful attitude toward our boys’ relationships with me and with their dad.

Having Daddy Joe home with us on weekends became a treat. He taught the boys how to change the oil in the car. He built a Ziggurat temple for a homeschool project. He has climbed trees, read bedtime stories, and carried tired kiddos on his shoulders.

Joe and boys changing oil

Joe and Aiden

Week #16a

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Daddy Joe's Bedtime Story

Back Camera

Daddy Joe and Quinn

When we became a family, that beautiful day four years ago, we didn’t know the journey to being together would take this long…

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But we are now counting down the DAYS until my Beloved retires from active military duty! I can hardly believe it as I am telling you now… He is moving home to be with us THIS WEEK! We are ecstatic to finally step into this new chapter of our lives under the same roof…together!

Quinn (our youngest) says it best, “Daddy Joe is coming home FOREVER! I’m never letting him leave again!”

This week as we remember to celebrate, honor, and thank our veterans – I will be extra grateful that my veteran is finally coming home…forever!

Let the honeymoon begin!

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That’s what is going on in my little corner of the world this week! I’d love to know what is happening in your life!

Have you signed up to have my new posts delivered straight to your inbox yet? Please just go to the Subscribe Now section right under my picture – and type in your email address. You won’t miss a thing, and you will make my whole day! It’s as easy as that! Don’t forget – you can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, & Twitter!

Until next time,

*Hugs*

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He’s Coming Home!!!!

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Soon!!! I can’t wait to be in my Beloved’s arms again! Finally knowing that there is light at the end of this tunnel is incredibly thrilling!

This deployment has been rough, but I started thinking back over all the different memories from this summer…

I had to climb up on the roof when critters were getting into our attic ~

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Spent nearly every day at the pool for swimming lessons ~

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My friend Joanne, (otherwise known as Tribalwoman), asked me to color her hair. Yikes!

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But none of her hair fell out, and she’s still speaking to me – so I’d call it a win!

Joanne and Ginger again

I became healthier and stronger ~

Week #20 b

Learned natural ways to take better care of my face ~

Natural facial cleanser - justoneoftheboys.com

Spent quality girl time with my sister (relaxing by her pool) ~

Retro red and polka dot swimsuit - justoneoftheboys.com

Removed some wallpaper ~

Removing wallpaper - justoneoftheboys.com

Managed to lose my hearing when a firecracker blew up in my face ~

Fourth of July

But we still stayed out late celebrating Independence Day ~

Fourth of July - wiped out!

I changed up my hairdo to a sassy asymmetrical cut… I hope my Beloved likes it!

Asymmetrical bob haircut - justoneoftheboys.com

FaceTimed with Daddy Joe whenever his schedule (and internet access) allowed ~

Week #22a

Played at the park ~

He's Coming Home 5

Gave our master bathroom a facelift ~

DSC_0137

Saw a lifelong dream come true and visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in Independence, Kansas!

He's coming home - Little House

Spent a lot of time at the zoo ~

He's coming home 3

He's coming home zoo

Shared from my heart, and answered some hard questions about the Other Woman ~

Dear Ginger

Made patio cushions with my favorite New Zealand Tribalwoman ~

Measuring out fabric

Took a road trip with the boys and my dad to visit Woolaroc Museum in Bartlesville, Oklahoma ~

Woolaroc

Visited our old house – my little house of memories…

Facing the memories... 1

Picked out new specs ~

August What I'm Into ~ New Versace Spectacles

Went to the State Fair ~

He's coming home 2

Studied ancient Egyptians ~

He's Coming Home 4

Enjoyed a relaxing and refreshing trip to Nashville to see my lovely friend Crystal – aka Money Saving Mom! (Photo is courtesy of MoneySavingMom.com)

Ginger and Crystal

Visited an awesome pumpkin patch ~

He's coming home 1

Learned that the writer inside flows out of me, whether I know it or not…

I'm not just a mom... Journeying to find out who I was made to be! From justoneoftheboys.com

And I spent so much time playing, laughing, learning, and loving my crazy guys!

He's coming home 7

You should have heard the commotion and shouts of joy when I told them this morning that Daddy Joe really is coming home soon!!!

I am so grateful for these wiggly, giggly, sweet, silly, thoughtful, generous, ornery, musical, loving balls of energy! I have seen us grow as a family and individually over the last few months. Even though this deployment was long and difficult at times – it’s comforting to know that we embraced this time and made special memories together!

I just might be a little scarce for a few days – but I think you’ll understand! Now to nervously clean our house from top to bottom to pass the time! If I finish with my house, maybe I can come clean yours! 🙂

Are you on Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? I’d love to be buddies! And don’t forget that you can get my new posts delivered straight to your inbox – just go to the subscribe button on the right!

Thank you for coming alongside me on this journey! I can’t tell you how much YOU have helped me during this deployment!

Nearing the finish line – I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

*hugs all around*

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Nothing is small, in fact…

Today I am excited to be guest posting at Cara Meredith’s lovely blog! We have become blogging buddies, and I am so honored that she is allowing me to take part in her awesome series – “Nothing is small, in fact…” (from Les Miserables). Cara is helping us recognize that even the smallest things in life, as she puts it, “ARE the BIG things.” Be sure to follow Cara on her blog and Facebook for more of her encouraging and inspiring posts! (And to see pictures of her adorable kiddos!)

Nothing is small, in fact...

It was the time that every divorced parent fears – the moment when your heart is ripped from your body as you say goodbye to your precious little ones. His Friday evening had rolled around again, and it was time for hugs and farewells as my boys left to spend the scheduled every other weekend with their father. These are the times that I dreaded the most.

“Bye, Mom! See you Monday! Love you!”

Our middle son jumped down the last three stairs and gave me a high-five as he started toward the door. I caught him and planted a smooch on his freckled cheek. “Blech,” he giggled as he wiped the back of his hand over the place where I had kissed him. He’s not a fan of showing affection through physical touch, so I’m used to him brushing it off.

He turned around and smiled up at me as I gave him a quick hug. “I’ll miss you, Mom! Tell Daddy Joe HI for me and that I miss him, too!”

 “I’ll do that, Buddy. I love you so much!”

To read more about how this painful weekend turned into one of my most treasured memories , please join me over at Cara Meredith’s little corner of the world! I’d love to see you there!

*hugs*

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What I’m Into ~ August 2014 Edition

So, it’s the turning of another calendar page, and one of the things that I have been looking forward to all summer was writing this post. I am genuinely excited to be linking up again with the lovely Leigh Kramer to share what we’ve been into this week!

Is it September yet?! Honestly, this summer of deployment has been dragging for me. Please don’t get me wrong, the boys and I made so many good memories together. I taught them to sing in harmony to Ed Sheeran’s song “I See Fire” from The Hobbit, we shot off fireworks together, we spent most days at the local pool, we laughed and snuggled and cooked and played… but I’m tired. So very tired, and ready for the weight of the world to roll off my shoulders.

I haven’t been around much lately. It seems that by the time the end of each deployment comes around, I am just spent. I tried taking a little time off to recharge, but it left me missing our little chats each week! I think I need to come back here and rejoin our little community, if you’ll have me! 🙂

Deployment Update…

I shared that we learned earlier in the deployment that it was a possibility that Joe might have to stay longer, but later we heard that he would be home on time. I was trying not to get my hopes up, just in case, but I let myself get a little too excited about seeing him soon. We found out this week that his deployment has been extended. We don’t know for sure how long it will be, but it could be several more weeks before I am finally in my Beloved’s arms.

I felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me. I miss him so much…

I’ve had a couple of days to let the news sink in, so now it’s time to pull myself up by my bootstraps again and keep marching. This deployment can’t last forever. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it has to be there…Right?

New ‘do!

I had the crazy idea to try something a little sassy when I had my hair cut. I asked my hairstylist magician to give me an asymmetrical cut! It took a little while for me to get used to it, but now I love how it looks and feels. It’s just a little something different as I grow it back out.

Asymmetrical bob haircut - justoneoftheboys.com

New specs!

I once was blind, but now I see! After six years with my red pair, it was time to upgrade my prescription and my frames. This Versace number jumped out at me. The opticians explained how larger frames are becoming all the rage – but I liked the lighter look, and ever-so-slight cat-eye shape of my new glasses!

What I'm Into ~ August 2014 Edition

So soft!

I’m head over heals for this new lotion that I found – The Naked Bee! I picked it up while daytripping in Oklahoma a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t be a bigger fan! I love the silky feel and the light scent of my Pomegranate & Honey lotion! I haven’t looked for a place up here in Kansas that sells them yet, but I need to before I run out!

August What I'm Into ~ Naked Bee Lotion

Bling!

I sent off my wedding and engagement rings off to be cleaned and have the prongs tightened recently. I hate not wearing them, but it gave me the opportunity to wear my special placeholder ring on my left hand again. My Beloved gave me this ring before we were engaged, shortly before he left for a six month deployment to Afghanistan. This color-changing garnet means the world to me, and it sparkled at me every day while my rings were gone.

August What I'm Into ~ Placeholder Ring

But I sure liked putting them back on my finger, where they belong!

August What I'm Into ~ Wedding Rings

Handmade goodies!

My lovely friend Krista from Rambling Tart makes the most beautiful hand-burnt wooden pieces, and I was thrilled to order one for my very own! Be sure to stay tuned to learn how YOU can win the other one for your own kitchen! Check out her Etsy Store for even more beauties!

August What I'm Into ~ Wooden Spoons

 Sweat!

Yep, I said sweat. I’ve still been getting my groove on most days to AKT in Motion streaming videos. I took a few days off recently…Did I mention that I fell off a ladder last week? Um, yeah. You’re not looking at the most graceful of girls. I am so thankful that it wasn’t worse. I’m sore, but nothing else.  Thankfully this picture was taken after a long cardio session, and not after my disagreement with the ladder!

August What I'm Into ~ Exercise

 Books!

I finally read Olive Kitteridge! Now I know why so many of you have loved this book! A big thank you to Sandy for encouraging me to delve into Olive’s story! This was my very first time to read Elizabeth Strout, but it certainly won’t be my last!

August What I'm Into ~ Olive Kitteridge

For a while I wanted to only read fluff – no wars, abuse, thought of suicide, or teens dying of cancer… but I went ahead a picked up a little of everything from the library the other day. Just in case.

Right now I’m reading Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn. Fluffy, it is not, but I have to finish the book before the movie comes out in October! It’s the rule that I have for our boys, and I try to follow it, too.

I have these lovely ladies waiting for me… Which should I start on next? Have you read any of them? I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of them!

August What I'm Into ~ Books

 

Then Again, by Diane Keaton

Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger

Glittering Images, by Susan Howatch

I Shall Be Near to You, by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Friends!

I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated all of the love and support that everyone has given us. Emily made my day when she sent me a Starbucks gift card – so I could take care of myself. I’ve been out to dinner with my brother, Erin brought me chocolate and a candle, tiramisu and chatting with my sister-in-law, sushi with friends – Fran and Traci, and I have spent wonderful girl time with my sister. I called my friend Amy this week, (Joe’s sister), and I was able to vent to her. My mom sent me an encouraging email at the perfect time, and my mother-in-law has had just the right words my heart needed to hear… “This is not wasted time.”

Your comments, messages, hugs, and prayers have helped me through this deployment more than you will ever know. Thank you so much for being there for me – and I hope you know that I’m here for you. I am so grateful that you have let me be a small part of your lives! *giant hugs all around*

What about you? What have you been up to this month? Have you read any good books lately? Seen an amazing movie? Found a must-have beauty product? Drop me a line – I’d love to hear all about it!

Let’s get through this month… together! *fist bump*

~ Love,

 

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I’m Ginger ~
I'm a wife to my Beloved, mom of three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas Girl. It is my desire to encourage you. No matter what storm you're going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.
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MY GIFT TO YOU!