Friday, July 30, 2010

The Station

In the absence of any life-changing thoughts going on in my brain this morning, I thought I'd share one of my favorite essays... I think I first heard (read) it when I was in high school and it struck a chord so I've held onto it and it still means a lot to me. Enjoy~!

The Station
Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day, at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true, and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering--waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

"When we we reach the station, that will be it!" we cry. "When I'm 18." "When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz!" "When I put the last kid through college." "When I have paid off the mortgage!" "When I get a promotion." "When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live
happily ever after!"

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us. "Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24- 'This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.' It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We're back! Physically... maybe not mentally quite yet

Um, hi.

It's been awhile.

How are you guys?

We got back from camp with our YL high schoolers late Saturday night (early Sunday mornin') and it has taken me a few days to recover. Seriously. I can't do this stuff like I used to.

Especially because I haven't really let myself recover. Sunday was spent at church and then with friends till late, then Monday we had a post-camp lake party at our place complete with tubing and hamburgers. A girl can't ask for more.

So... our week. It was SO fun! So utterly, numbingly exhausting and packed full of awesome stuff. SO life-changing for these kids. And me.

Our relationships were tightened. Faiths were strengthened... and created. Laughter. Oh, the laughter.

It was unbelievable sitting around and talking with these kids. The stories they brought were heartbreaking. And this wasn't a camp for troubled teens or anything, just normal high schoolers. But it is what life is now handing kids these days; they have a lot of hurt. Abandonment, drug addict parents, absent dads, wrong choices, divorces... so we just sat there and listened to them. It is so beautiful to see what actually being heard can do for a person's self-confidence.

Here's our awesome group- the girls rockin the 80s and the boys as the tough men of Braveheart. Anything in the name of a volleyball competition

Me and my man at the dress up dinner

Our group of 30 was just a drop in the bucket of the total group of 500- SO fun!

We make this look good.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

And we're off

Goodmorning, friends!

I hope you have had a FANTASTIC weekend! Ours has been pretty jam-packed, but so fun.

I am going to be out of commission for the next week because we are about to leave for a little trip. More like an adventure.

My hubster runs a non-profit organization called Young Life here- it's a Christian organization that works with high school and middle school students, and college leaders. We are about to head to the beautiful mountains of Colorado with about 500 of our closest high school friends for a week of chaos, laughter, relationships, and absolute STUNNING beauty.

It will be a great time.

It will be EXHAUSTING.

But these kids won't go back home the same. That makes it worth it.

If you're the praying kind, we'd appreciate your prayers for sure!!! Kids will hear about God's love for them in a beautiful setting, process it with their best friends and adults who care about them, and have so much fun their little hearts won't even know what to do with it. Safety, changed hearts, FUN... and sleep for me. ;)

Have a great week, and I'll see you when we get back!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dear Army

Thank you for all you have given us, experientially, monetarily, everything. You have expanded our borders.

However, you realized that you overpaid us and are now asking for that money back.

Really? From us, who have given so much to you in return? Can't we just keep it and call it good?

I know you're just trying to keep books straight and there needs to be integrity and all. But really. Ouch.

It's a good thing that we're responsible with our money and pretty much throw all of it into savings so we can handle a thing like this.

However, this hurts. Especially when it's to the tune of $3,000!

I know it's just money. We'll be fine. There are a lot worse things in life and there are so many people in this world who won't make that much in a year or maybe their entire lifetime. It's just money.

But still... that's painful.

Sincerely, respectfully, but also a little bit angry with you,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Won't you be my neighbor?

I love our neighborhood.

It was by total accident (and by accident I mean total, undisputed, so obviously Jesus, non-coincidental awesome set-up) that we landed in this place. We never could have afforded or had the chance to even make a decision to live here. But we stumbled (were sent) into this AMAZING neighborhood, and stumbled even deeper into a very cool cul-de-sac with very cool families.

And just recently, our neighborhood has taken on a new and even more amazing persona. Up till now, we'd all been the neighbors who wave hello when picking up the paper, etc, etc. But one night we all just ended up at one of our houses and started talking about how we need to be in better community with each other.

How it is so easy to just live our lives in our house, shut our garage door, and to just be closed out to neighbors but that there is a much better way.

There is such a higher potential to being neighbors. We could be in each others lives.

Ummmm, hello? Yes please.

So we've started doing Sunday night dinners together. It's so chill. And it is so fun! It's a total inter-generational thing too, which I love. It's intentional. It's life-giving. There's laughter. And wine. :)

For the first time, we are really getting to know our neighbors. And not only as friends, but as an intentional community.

It feels like that's how it is supposed to be.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Something is seriously wrong with me...

I was prepared.

I had snacks in my purse to prevent unnecessary stops for food.

I had converted my leftover change sitting in my kitchen into cash so that I didn't really feel like I was spending money and could be getting things for free! (Which I know isn't true, but it's easier to live in delusions sometimes.)

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon just begging to be filled with new sundresses and tank tops from cute stores.

And I didn't find a single thing.

I walked into Target, a.k.a. my mecca, and only walked out with ONE thing. And it was a practical thing at that!

One thing. From Target. I strolled through the aisles feeling lost, confused, and helpless.

I just knew I didn't need any of that stuff. Sure, it'd be fun to have and would make me happy maybe for an hour or two, but I just didn't NEED it. Consumerism was kind of making me sick, knowing the conditions that others in the world live in. If they could see my closet, they would freak out. I don't need new things at all! So I didn't buy any of it.

Am I growing a conscience when it comes to shopping? Alert the authorities. Something is seriously wrong with me.

Or right with me. But it was weird.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beautiful weekend

I should be hopping in the shower right now to be getting ready for church, but in typical Sarah fashion I am trying to cram way to many things into a non-equal amount of shrinking time.

I made homemade tortillas this morning. Hmmm. Not sure they turned out right; they don't quite look like they did on the lady's blog. I haven't tasted one yet, but hopefully it'll still taste yummy. I'm all about making homemade bread. It's an addiction, really.

The boy is off playing Army this weekend again. So that means that I watched High School Musical 3 yesterday. Cheesy confession- it made me cry. Just a little! My eyes just teared up, I mean. Really.

And that also means that I am going shopping this afternoon. Maybe just to TJMaxx and Marshalls. Bargain shopping so I'm still being fiscally responsible. He'll be proud of me.

In other news, I'm abnormally excited for tomorrow night to get here so I can watch The Bachelorette and see what Ally does. I'm kind of ridiculous.

I really should go now. I just do not love showing up to church by myself and finding a place to sit... by myself... so maybe this is me procrastinating.

I'm going to go clean now.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Backpacking is Favorite

I'm sitting outside on our back porch, sipping some coffee, listening to people laughing on the lake, staring at the mountains while typing away on my laptop, and trying to be productive yet fighting the urge to dream my afternoon away.

Doesn't get much better than this.

Unless I had a slice of chocolate cake sitting next to me, but other than that.

And also unlimited spending money on clothes.


We had an AMAZING backpacking trip with our friends. Jena and I have been friends since we were in high school, then husbands came along and joined our crew and this was the first time the four of us have spent together. (Lane missed their wedding because he was deployed, then all of the following big events of friends weddings, etc. that we would have done together because he was deployed! Boo deployments!) This made up for any lost time and more though.

They're a phenomenal couple. They're just EASY to be around. Conversation flows, they share easily and ask questions back, laughter is abundant, hearts are shared, struggles talked about... we love them! Couldn't have picked a better couple to join us in exploring the Colorado mountains! It was an adventure to be sure.

As always, it was just GOOD to get away. I feel like L and I have done a good job of enjoying our summer together. Unplug. Appreciate each other. Enjoy creation. Sift through life. Check and re-check priorities. Nature speaks to both of us so loudly that it is hard to ignore what we hear out there.

Even Sophie got to join us on our outdoor adventure! This pic was just from a day-hike after we found our camp, but she had her own little backpack that she carried her own food in. Adorable!

We got hit by a MASSIVE hailstorm, but we all thought it was awesome. Wouldn't be a true Colorado adventure without a little fight from the elements.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth. Fireworks. Fantastic.

This past weekend was a three-day-long celebration of the fourth for us. I loved every second.

Friday night: Lane and I got some great tickets from my parents to go to a Colorado Rockies game. Brats. Beer. Baseball. Fireworks. Lane. Perfection! (not necessarily in that order). The Rox won, then Coors Field put on one of the coolest fireworks shows either of us have seen. Such a fun date night!

Saturday: Fourth of July parade with the whole fam. Firetrucks, marching bands, politicians, churches, clowns. True small town fashion. Back to the parents house for some bbq, then home to hang out with some friends.

Sunday: Church- which was just incredible. I love our pastor, and he BROUGHT IT this weekend. Then up to Estes Park with friends. More fireworks! And just a little piece of S & L trivia- Estes Park is a super cute little mountain town in Colorado... important because it is where we met in October of our freshman year of college. And then where we spent the first few days of being married in an amazing Bed and Breakfast. Yay Estes Park!

Monday: Because of bad weather in some parts, there were a lot of fireworks shows canceled so we got to do a third show on the 5th! Our neighbors took us out on the lake in their boat and we watched 3 shows at once.

Lane reminded me that he had missed the last 2 fourth of Julys because he was overseas, so it was fitting this year to make it up in a big fashion and see 3 in one year! I agree. :)

I really wanted to get up pictures of our last weekend, but we are on our way out the door (as in- Lane is in the car waiting for me and is so annoyed that I am this addicted to blogging that I have to post one as he's busy packing, packing the car, getting supplies, gear... funny. I'll just let him do all the work!). We're going backpacking for the next few days with some dear friends of ours. Should be super fun!

Hope you guys have a great Tuesday!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Why do we do what we do?

Anyone else reveling in the afterglow of July 4th on this beautiful July 5th Monday? MMmmmmm. Deep sigh of contentment

This morning I'm putting up an article that I have posted on CinCHouse right now as it seems to fit well in the celebrating of our nation's birthday and honoring the military. It's about the pride of being in the military and why we live the life that it requires. I know not everyone out there is of the military persuasion reading my blog, so if you aren't, maybe it will show you some of military life, and if you are, hopefully it rings true for you too!


Uniforms. Gunfire. Humvees. Saluting. All a part of a typical day.

Some non-military friends came to visit us and since we wanted to give them a taste of the military life, we took them on a tour through post. Of course we had to show them all the cool landmarks like the Airborne jump towers, where Ranger school takes place, and where basic training is held. They were absolutely impressed with all of that, but the aspect of post that they were most amazed by surprised me. The soldiers. The fact that guys just walk around all day in uniform was incredible in their eyes. Walking through the PX and getting to see people sitting in the Food Court, shopping, and getting haircuts in uniform was awe-inspiring.

I think it’s amazing too, but it becomes so normal that I tend to forget that we really are in our own little world here in the military.

If I think about the fact that for my friend, her husband’s job entails going into an office, processing loans, then coming home at 5 p.m., it gets weird. Then it gets especially interesting when I think about my husband’s job and how it entails jumping out of planes and walking through the villages of Afghanistan carrying a weapon.

It’s definitely not the most normal of professions.

If this is such a different life than what many of our friends from home are living, why did we go this route? If this is a lifestyle that requires strength, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice, why do we, along with thousands of others in the nation, choose this? Wouldn’t it just be easier to find a job at a store down the street from our families and call it good? What is it about the military that draws so many different people from so many different walks of life into it?

Why do we do what we do?

So others don’t have to.

Because you make life-long friends.

Because you came from a military heritage and other options weren’t as fulfilling.

Because you believe in the cause.

Because it develops an awareness of the world that you would not have been able to possess otherwise.

Because of the camaraderie created from sharing life with those who are standing by your side through the good, the bad, the funny, and the tears.

Because there is something significant in devoting your life to a bigger cause, to something greater than yourself.

Because you get to see the world and the country.

Because we know that we need to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

Because we fell in love with a soldier.

Sometimes living a life devoted to the military is as complicated as politics, economics, or family dynamics. But sometimes it is as simple as a love story. There is a powerful purpose in what we do, no matter what the reason is that got us here in the first place.

This is a life-changing profession. I believe for both us and for those we serve. I think that it is impossible to leave the military as the same person you were when you entered it, whether service member or spouse. You get to experience things that you never would have had the opportunity to otherwise. It expands your worldview, forges friendships, and instills pride. It develops compassion, patience, and grace. It cultivates selflessness when you help others in need, and then gratitude when you receive help that you needed too. It changes you.

We could continue to list reasons of why we do what we do. But, there is one very important reason: It matters.

This life makes a difference. And it’s worth it. Sometimes a reality check might come when you look around your post or base and realize that not everyone in America is used to seeing people wear berets, salute officers passing by, or pull to the side of the road to let a patrol pass. But we are the few fortunate ones who get to experience the immense pride that comes from serving. And I am grateful.

It is at the front of my mind constantly, but especially so during times such as these when we just celebrated Memorial Day and the Fourth of July is around the corner. So if military life has just gotten normal for you, pause for a moment the next time you’re on post to look around and truly recognize the importance, the power, and the beauty of what you are surrounded by.

The uniforms. The formations. The soldiers. The Sacrifice. The Pride.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I know it's not Christmas, but the 4th of July really is one of the most wonderful times of the year!!!

Growing up in small-town America with a parade that would rival any other, a grandpa that was born on the 4th of July and enjoying homemade vanilla ice cream with family on the lake, being a high school history teacher, and traditions of bbq's and fireworks in my heritage, LOVING Independence Day is in my blood. Add in a husband that has been overseas serving on the 4th and it adds up to a very patriotic gal. :)

I hope all of y'all are having a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Ours has been wonderful- full of baseball, fireworks, parades, family, friends, and food. I couldn't ask for much more.

I'll be sure to post pictures soon, but for today I wanted to share a quick article with you guys about the beauty of our country. Many times I've talked about how much I like the CBS Sunday Morning News program, and this morning Ben Stein had a great commentary on Independence Day. If you have a free 3 minutes, read this and think about how great of a country we live in. One that speaks to the deepest desires of the human heart- freedom and individual dignity. It's good stuff. There's an actual video with him talking, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to embed this correctly; if you click the link it will take you to CBS' page with the article, and the video will be there too if you want to watch that instead.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shenanigans of the mouth

Remember my trip to the dentist on Monday? Well, I had to go back.


I had a cavity. Ugh. This was not my proudest moment. I feel like a failure even just admitting that fact. It was my first one.

Have any of you guys ever had to get a cavity filled before? Well, it's not the most fun way to spend your Wednesday afternoon. She told me I would feel a little 'pinch' and then shoved a needle halfway through my gums.

And my mouth went numb.

Remember my 'Active Salivary Glands' problem? Try getting control of that issue with numb lips. Hah!

So I got the cavity filled. Drilling. Not fun. Then afterward my poor, poor self didn't know exactly how bad the numb lips were all afternoon long. I felt fine, so when I checked out of the office I was my normal chatty self with the receptionist, smiling and laughing.

I then ran errands all afternoon- Kohl's, Target, Wal-mart, Arc Thrift Store, etc... checked out there too and talked to the cashiers there too. My lips felt funny, but I thought it was just me.

Then I came home. Lane was in the kitchen, took one look at me, and burst out laughing. Once he smartened up and regained composure the first words out of his mouth were...

And I quote:

"I would still love you even if you looked like that for the rest of your life."

So I freak out not knowing what he's talking about, but then we both die laughing and of course, have to document the freakishness that was my mouth.

I was out in public like that, people. I am trying to smile here, much like I would have when checking out and smiling with the many people I encountered.

After laughing for a good 20 minutes Lane apparently felt the freedom to again put his foot in his mouth and say:

"You know what, it's actually probably a good thing you don't look like that all the time."