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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

I wasn't sure if I was going to do a gratitude post today as it's a little hard to find things to be grateful for when your husband deploys! The more I thought about it though I realize there are some things to find to be grateful for (and yes, some of these are just tongue-in-cheek!)

1. I'm grateful for the surprise phone call I received from Joe during his layover in Bangor, Maine. I wasn't expecting to hear from him until he actually got in country. The surprise phone call was made possible because of the Maine Troop Greeters. I remember seeing a video news clip of this group several months, maybe even a year, ago. I had tears in my eyes watching this story of this group, not even realizing Joe was going to experience this first hand. They are a group of volunteers who greet every troop leaving and returning from a deployment. As it says on their website that Maine is the last stop on US soil for troops leaving for a deployment, and the first stop on US soil upon returning from deployment. They are welcomed with cheers, handshakes, cookies, free cell phone usage, toiletries etc. You can read more about them on this link. What a wonderful thing this group does!

They also try to take pictures of every single person from each of the flights, of course that is not always possible, but they do their best. Today I got on to the photo gallery and found pictures from Sept 6 and thought I would check to see if I could find Joe in any of them - and I did!

Ugh! As soon as I copied these 2 links the site went completely down and hasn't come back up since! Not sure what is wrong with their photo gallery site. I should have saved the pics to my desktop instead of just copying the links! As soon as the site comes back up that's what I'm going to do! (ok it seems to be working now!)

Joe #1

Joe #2

I can't believe how wide-awake and full of energy he looks in those pictures! Especially considering Maine was the 4th stop since he left here! Maybe he was just so appreciative of all the greeters. Thank you Maine Troop Greeters for the service you provide to our troops!

2. I'm grateful Joe has safely arrived in country - what a long couple days that was! Once he left here he had 5 layovers before finally landing and then a 6 hr wait to clear customs - ugh! He was able to call for a few minutes to let me know he was there and talk to Kayla too.

3. I'm grateful that this is only a 4-month deployment. I know the Army deploys for 15 months and I can't imagine that. A lady on our MOPS Steering team just found out her husband is leaving for 3 months of training and then 12 months of deployment. He just got back from a 6-month deployment in Jan and is going for 15 months now. They have 4 girls and their youngest just turned a year old in July. Putting things in perspective 4 months really isn't too long.

4. I'm grateful Joe will be back in time for the birth of our 2nd child; I know a lot of guys miss out on that special event.

5. I'm grateful we'll be able to easily keep in touch with phone calls and emails.

6. I'm grateful there will be less groceries for me to buy with Joe not here! LOL Less things to worry about buying for lunch (especially because Kayla eats lunch at school 4 days out of the week!)

7. Grateful there will be less laundry to do. Admittedly Joe does wash his own uniforms, cycling, and PT gear, but still. Without him washing all that the detergent will last longer! And I don't have his regular clothes to wash.

8. I'm grateful the thermostat can stay where it is and not be turned down at night (like Joe likes to do!) and make me feel like I'm freezing when I go to bed LOL (and FYI honey, in case you're reading, I've actually left the thermostat exactly where it was when you left- so I haven't turned it up!)

9. I'm grateful for extra money. Joe will get some extra pay while he is deployed. Not only will he get this extra pay, put his paychecks will all be tax-free while he's gone. How nice! I'll be able to sock that money away in savings and maybe we'll take a nice vacation next year!

10. I'm grateful Kayla and I had a nice time yesterday during the kids workshop (see post below this one).

11. I'm grateful football starts today! Ok I know the season technically started Thursday (and I know college already started as well), but for me, the season starts today! I follow 3 football teams (long story) and two of them are televised in my area for today.

12. I'm grateful I was able to get Kayla's sports physical done on Friday and get her registered for soccer...it starts Monday. I think she's going to enjoy it! It's only 1 day a week for 6 weeks, so it's not too long, but something to keep us busy!

Ok I think that does it for my list on this Sunday!

Oh yeah, I'm 16 wks today - this is pretty much what I looked like when Joe left so imagine how big I'll be when he gets back! I know it isn't much of a picture, but I'm still trying to figure out the best place to put the camera, get it centered and focused, and then use the auto-timer for me to get belly shots while Joe is gone! And yes I purposefully cut my head out of the frame because this was first thing this morning!

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ChupieandJ'smama said...

Totally love the tummy picture! And the pictures of Joe are great too. I can't believe you can find all those things to be greatful for with Joe deployed for 4 months. I feel very selfish for complaining when my hubby goes out of town on business for a few days.
I'm praying for Joe, but I'm praying for all of you!!

AZ Chapmen said...

I wish your family the best og luck during these months.

Mommatude said...

I will still be thinking about you and Joe and Kayla and praying too.

Love the pregnant belly pic!!!

Julie aka Gigi... said...

Your little tummy is too cute!
I think it is so neat that you got to see the pictures of Joe and talk to him on the phone, unexpectedly. What a blessing those precious people in Maine provide!
In my prayers and thoughts,

Much More Than A Mom said...

Those are great pics of Joe! How fantastic that you got them and got to talk to him!

Your belly is adorable.

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

Joe does look so full of energy! Amazing that it was his fourth stop! What a great program they have going on in Maine - truly astounding for this part of the country. Glad he's over there safe and sound. It's nice that he'll have internet when he gets a room, it makes the days apart a bit easier.

Great belly picture! You are so tiny!! I went and looked at my 4 1/2 month belly picture I had put on my blog....I'm wiping away tears, I want to look like you. Someone told me the other day that I look like I'm almost ready to deliver. It was like a knife....

Glad you found so many things to be grateful for. I hope this week coming up is a wonderful one for you and Kayla.


Anonymous said...

I am thinking about you and Kayla while Joe is away. I hope he returns safely!!

Rachael & Anna

Dori (Aviva's mommy) said...

Joe looks very handsome in uniform...he is in our thoughts and prayers.

Cannot wait to see pics of Kayla playing soccer.

Love the belly pic!


Anonymous said...

im praying that joe returns safely.
and i like the tummy pic.
and also im still working on the doll dress im having to work on it in between times and keeping the baby up too.
xoxox tasha

Karen said...

Those are great pics of Joe, yes he does look 'chipper' and what a mega watt smile! You look rather great - or rather your pregnancy tum! It just touched my heart as you shared your grateful grains. May God's peace rest on your household like a gentle dove, may there be a joy and a peace in your heart that surpasses all understanding.

Omaha Mama said...

First of all - I think my tummy is bigger now at zero weeks pregnant! But it's exciting that you're starting to pop out, can't wait for updates.

The humor in your post made me smile - thinking of the things I would mention if my hubs were going to be gone for 4 months. Like the grocery bill, and the snoring (him), and the dirty gym laundry (ew). I think a little tongue-in-cheek humor is healthy.

Take care and have a great week!

Leslie said...

Thank you for the belly shot!! ♥

You probably know this...but you can order those pictures from SmugMug! They're such good pictures!


Mayhem And Miracles said...

SIGH. That's about my size on a good day, NOT pregnant and before I've eaten. Anyway, I too am glad for you that you were able to find Joe's photos and get your surprise call! I am praying so much for you right now! Tonight we are having our church send-off for our Marine, who also is being deployed for 15 months. He gave a testimony this morning and somehow it was so much harder than the last time he went, also for a year. It is more somber when you know there is a family back home. But like I said, every time I pray for A., I pray for Joe and you and Kayla and the baby. I love reading about yall's adventures! I used to take the kids to the Home Depot Build-It Workshops too! Boy, do I miss their little-ness! It's so fun to see God mold their individual personalities, but I am REALLY MISSING spending each day staring at them while they take in the world. Sorry, I guess I'm a little reflective today. Wish I could be there to hang out with you while you wait. I'm so glad you have other military wives to keep you company! :) O.K. I'll shut up now!

Jen said...

You are so grateful for so many things.....I'm thrilled Joe was smiling in the photos...I dont know you very well...but understand military...since Scott was in the Air Force. I will be praying for him.

Sandra said...

Love the tummy pic, can't wait to see the little one....

Hope the time flies by, it's so hard when they're gone :)

I was giggling through your list though because that's the kind of things I think about when Curt deploys LOL


Jessica said...

I wish my tummy was that small right now, lol!!
I'm so glad you were able to see pictures of Joe! That is a great thing for that group to do! Lots of hugs coming your way!!

Linda said...

It is wonderful that you can still find so many things to be grateful for right now Michelle. I think that is an inspired idea for that group to greet all of them in that special way. We're a military town so there is a lot of that here too. I don't think we can do enough to express our thanks to all of you.
That's an adorable picture. It looks like the baby is growing - although you still look nice and slim to me!!
You girls have a good week. Keeping all of you in my prayers.

Brenda said...

Rian made it back on US soil. Thanks for your prayers. When did Joe leave? Im sorry I know it is hard with a child and one on the way. I'll pray for you all.

Katie said...

I am very impressed by your good spirit through such a hard time!
Thank you Michelle for re-ordering my life perspective today.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle,
I wish I could give you a hug. I know the feeling. Our ds spent 2 years in Iraq. He missed the birth of his children. I guess I best explain that. LOl he got to come home on a 2 weeks leave so she got pg on that leave then she was pg when he left. LOL
If you need a friend I am hear to support you.
Blessings in Christ,

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle,
Your dd is so beautiful. She is a special angel.

Tarrah said...

Wow Michelle, this post touched me in many different ways for different reasons. What a great list to be thankful for!

I've been away for a while but enjoyed catching up on your blog. I pray these 4 months go very smoothly for you and I look forward to reading more of your greatful heart. Oh, & being grateful for the food & laundry, I'm with ya on those :)

annie said...

I'm glad he'll be back before the baby comes, and that it is only four months... I'm praying for you guys.

chelle said...

Your tummy is awesome!!!!! How fun!

You are so awesome to look to the grateful parts of a not so grateful situation. HUGS!

Tammy said...

Oh Michelle...I know it's hard right after your husband deploys...
Good for you, Michelle, for thinking of everything you can to be grateful right now!
I don't remember hearing about the Maine Troop Greeters when my husband was in the military- but what a great thing that is! Love the pictures, too!

Your family is in my prayers in the coming months, Michelle! (((HUGS)))

Christina said...

I am so sorry I have not caught up with your blof int he last few days. I did not know Joey had to leave so soon? Where did he go?

That is so sweet how Kayla was saying good bye as he got on the bs!
I hope the time passes by real fast!

And you look great!

Ladyblog said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel b/c my dh deploys for 4 months every 6 months. It is hard and I am grateful for the same things. I will be thinking about you and praying for all of you while he is gone. We military wives have to support one another!
Keep busy!
~Rebecca Long

Kari said...

The belly picture is funny! I know Joe will appreciate the updates as you "grow". lol
That's so great about the Maine Troop Greeters! I remember a story of my son and my husband having to go through customs somewhere in Spain when they deployed in Oct. '01. Nick (my son) was only 21 and, obviously, a little nervous about going to war. He is a member of the air crew on C-130's so he knew he'd be flying over hostile, enemy territory and there was a possibility of getting shot down. Well, all of the air crew carry guns, of course, just in case - but Nick decided that he'd carry along a little "extra" protection. So he put I don't even know how many knives - of ALL shapes and sizes - in the various pockets of his flysuit. My husband said it took FOREVER and A DAY to get through customs because Nick was pulling weapons out of his pockets for about 15 minutes solid. lol He said the customs people just stood there staring at Nick like he was a lunatic!

I'm praying for Joe's safe return and for you and Kayla to stay strong while he's away!

Deb said...

OMG Michelle, I had no idea! We'll be keeping you, Kayla, and your sweet hubby in our prayers.

LauraJ said...

look at that cute little tummy!
Wishing you all the best during Joe's deployment.

T*mmy said...

What a great group! I'm so glad they do that for the soldiers.

That Joe is a charmer with the nicest smile!

I hope this time goes quickly for you both!

Kathleen Marie said...

Awww... a baby picture! lol!

Well, you sure thought of a lot of thanks! God is so good and what wonderful photos of Joe! That is awesome.

Know that many people are praying for you and Joe during this time!

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Such a cute tummy! :o)

Loved the pictures of Joe being greeted. What a wonderful group!

Sue said...

What a nice thing that group does in Maine. I'm glad he arrived safe. Loved your laundry bits. :) You're right it's all perspective. I won't complain at all with J going on a business trip next week for 3 days. Soccer will be fun for Kayla - is it her first time playing? You're in my thoughts!
Love your belly!

Joy said...

Thanks for the link to the Maine Troop Greeters. I found my husband's picture too. It's a very awesome thing they are doing there.

AZmomto7 said...

My prayers are with your family while daddy is deployed.

Susie Q said...

I am thinking about all of you...praying too. Bill's longest deployment was 10 months, the shortest was 6 weeks. It is never easy I know.
You take care of yourself!

Thanks for the photos...gotta love a handsome man in uniform!

You, Kayla and Joe will be in my prayers.


Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

Hi. I am new to your blog...I found you during the Dog Days of Summer....and I was just looking back at your archives. I didn't realize your hubby was in the military.

I just wanted to take a quick second to tell you my heart goes out to you....I have the deepest empathy for military wives left behind while their hubby is away.

Its not the same, but my ex husband was in the Army (we were stationed at Ft. Hood) and although at the time, we were not at war...I know how it is for your husband to be gone and it tears my heart out to think about it.

Anyway, at least now you have communication with email and such where you can hopefully get updates, etc.

Your daughter is beautiful by the way and I pray for your husband's safety and your sanity (ha ha) while he is gone.

I'll be back because I really enjoy reading your blog!

Dana in TExas