Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Life

It's been awhile. This goes on record as the longest amount of time in my 5+ years blogging that I haven't posted! Yet, I'm back! Baby is napping and though I'm surrounded in clothes to fold and a billion stuffed animals that need to be picked up, I said to myself, "Nope. Let's sit down and write something." So I am. Thank you for reading! 

It's been a busy few months. So much has transpired that I truly don't even feel like the same person. Maybe a little older, wiser, tireder, more thankful, responsible.... etc. It's been almost one year since Josh got out of the marines and we moved home. We lived with my parents for 10 months and enjoyed the time to be together. However, we longed for our own home and own space. The process of building and getting into our home was unbelievably stressful. I won't lie and say that I wish I could go back through those months, but my dad was our angel from Heaven and did so much to make the experience less burdensome. We moved in the last week of May. In March, we found out we were expecting baby #2. I was and am amazed at God's mercy as I have learned each baby is a miracle whether in or out of the womb. I experienced weeks of intense morning sickness which made watching an active toddler almost impossible, but my family was there to help, blessedly.  Last week we found out that this baby is another girl! Two November sisters! Charlotte is in for a surprise!! Life has settled down some and we are enjoying our new home on the hill. We take many walks across the yard to Nana and Papa's weekly though and would have it no other way. 

It's surreal to me that I'm finally where I always wanted to be. I'm married with a child (soon to be children) of my very own in a house that I can call mine. The blessings are uncountable. My life isn't fancy. I don't get to go and do all the things I used to, but somehow, that's okay. It's not always easy staying at home and living on a single person income, but it's worth every moment with my daughter. Occasionally, I mourned the loss of doing "big" things and being free to do what I wanted basically when I wanted and how I wanted. So I encourage single young people to live and do and let God lead you to do all the things that you're free to do for now while you can actually do them.

But see, for today my big thing was kissing Charlotte's toes when she stubbed them and giving her all of the Teriyaki chicken from my Japanese takeout my sisters picked up for me. (The latter was harder. Haha!) My big thing is looking over the side of her crib last night thanking God that He has given her to us to raise for Him. It is working on one small task at a time to equal something huge. It's the little bits and pieces that make a full, beautiful life. 

I guess this post sums up to this....Wherever you are and whatever you do, "work as unto the Lord." Today is where the journey lies, so live it while it's here. 

Okay, I really need to throw away that stinky diaper beside of me that I forgot to throw away 30 minutes ago. Till next time.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Had A Choice

Every once in a while I have someone come to me and ask this question:

"Did you have a choice? Ya know, did your parents arrange your marriage? Did they tell you that you weren't allowed to go to a college campus at 18-years-old? Did you have a choice as to what you did with your life?"

That question doesn't make me angry, in fact, I'm glad people ask. I see how it must look. I just want to set the record straight for anyone who has wondered. 

As a young teenager my parents looked me in the eye and said, "What we want what is best for you, but in the end, it's your choice what you do with your life and your heart. If you want to have "turn-style" dating relationships, we won't stop you. We just want you to be protected from getting hurt." There, I had my choice. People have always joked that I was sheltered. Someone offered me an energy drink at 13 years old and I turned it down, as I was not entirely sure it wasn't alcoholic. Now I laugh. Better safe than sorry, right? :) 

My dad stood in front of the church he pastors for years encouraging young people to live a biblical lifestyle regarding purity. And though it's shocking, I actually wanted to strive for not just what he taught, but more simply... what the Bible teaches. I wasn't perfect, but I decided to try - with God's help - to be pure until marriage. I married someone who my daddy certainly didn't choose for me. Josh was all my idea (God's idea really, but you know what I mean). I married very young because at the time, I knew if I didn't get married I was going to be a very lonely and hurting young woman. I knew without a doubt that Josh was the man for me and to put off marriage for four years until he was out of the military and I was through college just to please the social norms was preposterous. We discussed many times back in 2011 and 2012 whether we should wait to get married in the fall of 2015 when he got out of the Marines. It didn't take long to realize we might easily compromise our standards and boundaries if we waited that long. We were both ready to start our lives together and I'm SO thankful we did in 2012. 

I chose this path and I'm glad I did. I don't look down on others who do differently than I did. For some ladies, four years on a college campus (maybe more) is good. Some God allows to stay single till they are in their thirties or older (maybe not marrying at all). Some never have children and others have many. Some make a lot of money at a white collar job, while others make minimum wage. It's all okay. Because God's Word is ultimately what I encourage anyone to follow; it is absolute truth. No one forced me to marry young and be a stay-at-home mom. I realize it is unusual for a teenage daughter to actually agree with her parents on things, but regarding many many things, I did and still do. Just because I married young, had a baby young and chose to take my college education at a slower pace while choosing to teach music and write doesn't mean I was lead around by the nose without any say in the matters. The path I chose is the one God told me to walk. I was faced with very real and scary challenges early on and I am thankful that I had chosen the path myself or I likely would have become very bitter toward my parents. Yet, I knew that challenges come in all areas of life and that it was normal to have hard times even when you follow God's plan. 

I'm in no way perfect nor think that I am. The way I did things, while I believe closely followed Scripture, was still flawed. There were things I wish I had done better... differently. Yet, all in all I'm thankful I was guided. Yes, guided not forced to do as I did. 

Like I said in my book, there is nothing wrong with having an "unbroken" heart on your wedding day.  There is NO shame in being pure. These days young people seem to push that the more scars the better. It shows you're tough and resilient and you know what? Stories like that are amazing and God uses them and He heals their wounds and puts hearts broken back together. However, the story of the person who doesn't have the scars is also a beautiful testimony. It too is of redemption... from what could have been... from what God protected you from. 

I encourage you to rejoice in all testimonies. In the end, as long as they end at the feet of Jesus, that's all that matters. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Moment By Moment

Back and forth. Back and forth.

One day I want time to move. Just speed up and move so that all the things I want... will happen. I see a big muddy hole out the window. That's my basement. Meanwhile, cold rain blows and I know there isn't any work happening on it today. My dreams to once again live in my own home hang in the balance. I just want time to hurry up... spring to come and to finally put my daughter to sleep in her own room. 

Then, I don't want time to move. My baby is already 14 months of and I really thought babies didn't grow this fast. They do. She brings me what I ask for and and laughs and plays and doesn't need all the milk she did and I just want to cry when she wiggles out of my arms and runs away. 

I want to cry, "Baby, come back! Back to laying in a tiny ball against my chest with the sweet smell of newborn drifting to my nose. Come back!"

And Josh and I. I love him more everyday. Looking back, I was such a child when I married him at 18 years old, but when asked if I would do it again through all the struggle of being so young, "Yes, a million times, yes." Has it really been pushing three and a half years, though? Time, PLEASE slow down! 

We all know it won't. Since Adam and Eve, people have prayed for time to speed up. The wife longing for her husband away at war. The child aching to be a grown up. The mother in the eighth month of pregnancy. And then they have prayed for time to slow. The elderly watching their grandchildren play at their feet. The cancer patient. The college student studying for exams. 

Push and pull, back and forth. Yet, it moves all the same. Second by second, minute by minute.... year by year. I'm learning that God, in His mercy, is gracious. I learn to accept that the days gone by are days gone by and that my chance to treasure them has come and gone as my head lies on my pillow.  The past is unchangeable and the future is untouchable. Ah, but the present, there is something we can do about that. 

Let not the past become our regret, nor the future our fear, but the present our priority. If we can't find joy right here, we will likely not find joy somewhere out there. 

Let the hole fill with mud and let little Miss grow day by day. I'm learning to be undaunted by it. When the day is over I pray I say, "I didn't miss a moment. I was all there and present to witness each miracle." Moments, be they sweet or bitter. Soon, "time" as we know it will be nothing, but for now I'm resting in the omnipresent hand of God.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Catching Up

It's amazing to me that it's been three months since I last posted a blog. In a way it seems like it has been much longer. Someone please explain to me how it is possible that in less than a month we will be celebrating our THIRD wedding anniversary and in a little over a month our Charlotte will be ONE year old!

The last three months have been a wonderful season of getting back into life where home has always been. It took two months to get used to not having to pack to go back "home" every couple of days! I love being able to spend so much time with my family. I don't take it for granted.

Charlotte has grown so very quickly. She was eight months old when we moved here and now she is almost 11 months old! She has a lot of new tricks up her sleeve and can walk and communicate well through her babble. Her six teeth give her a whole new look. We are still waiting on hair. What she has is so blond, it is almost impossible to see. I can't say she is a "laid back baby." Being held for about 10 seconds is way too long for her.... She has an incredibly strong personality and I can't wait to see how God will use her as she grows. It will take her kind of determination to do great things in the world. I love her more everyday.



Josh has a part-time job and is expecting it to become a full-time position soon. He enjoys working for Wilkes Communications here in Wilkesboro, NC and though he misses life of a Marine many days, I know he is happy to be here and moving ahead with God's plan for our lives. Unfortunately, part of the nature of leaving the military is starting back at "square one" with your career. Going from a Sergeant in the USMC to a having to find his place again is hard, but Josh has handled it so well. Over the last few months I have realized, there were a lot of hard things about being a Marine Wife, but in the end I couldn't be prouder of all Josh accomplished. Sometimes I pick up his uniforms that have been folded and put away for three months and actually.... miss it. I know I'll always look back and remember all the lessons I learned those four years and be grateful the military is a part of our story.

With all the joys of being home, there have been some hard places to walk through as well... things we didn't expect and burdens we didn't know we would have to carry, but God has been faithful and we know He will be, always. We look forward to building our house as we plan to start next month! We have land beside my parents and know we won't have to miss them too much when we are "on our own" again. They have been so generous to let us live in their finished basement for now. They are taking full advantage of Charlotte's company!

I continue to be amazed at God's goodness and faithfulness. I really can't say it enough, "It's good to be back."



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Home!

A week ago today I said goodbye to my home of two and a half years. Josh and I had made it a home since November 2012. We had been married only five days when we entered it for the first time. We prayed as we held hands in the living room that cold fall day that God would bless that house. He answered that prayer.

We cried there and laughed there. I cooked countless suppers in that kitchen as the late afternoon sun streamed through the living room window. We prayed diligently for a baby there. I wrote my book at the desk in that house and the books were later delivered to that door. I went into labor in our bedroom and brought Charlotte home there. We grew and learned and lived in that house.

I can't say I "loved" the house for what it was. It was nothing more than a townhouse built exactly like the dozens around it and only meant to be lived in temporarily. Yet, a part of my life sunk into that place and something about walking out that door for the last time hurt a bit. That morning Kandace (who had come to help us pack and get everything ready to move), Josh and I rushed around like mad men wiping down everything, sweeping and moping one last time for the inspection. I watched all our worldly possessions hoisted up into the U-Haul by Josh. Then there was the inspection and our keys were handed over and it was... over.





That night, we stayed in a hotel across the road from our old house and Friday morning Josh went on base and received his final papers from the USMC. Let me tell you, Sergeant Isaacs was and is an incredible Marine. Those he worked with were sad to see him go. There are many things about the Marine Corps I could've lived without, but I will miss Josh coming home each day in his uniform, the way he rolled his sleeves each night, pining his ribbons... the honor and pride I saw on his face at the Marine Balls as the Marine Corps Hymn was played, I'll miss that too. I was proud when he brought home his Navy Achievement Medal he had worked for for so long. I couldn't be more proud. He served well.

We made the five hour drive home. I could hardly wrap my mind around the fact that we wouldn't have to make that trip again in a few days. I had waited so long and it was finally happening. The tiny town of Havelock disappeared behind me.

Once home we unloaded everything into my parent's finished basement and settled in. The excitement was contagious and Charlotte basked it the attention with her giddy laughs.

There are many unknowns ahead, but I'm so happy to be where my heart is. It makes me think, if it can be so good to move home where I've looked forward to being for only a couple years, imagine the excitement we will feel when we are finally in our final Home, the one we've waited for for a lifetime.... The joy we shall feel if we know Jesus as Savior and Lord... But for now, the journey here continues. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Right Where He Placed Me

It's been awhile. I have missed this place. I think about writing often, but life sometimes doesn't permit it. There is a season for everything.

In fact, I was sitting on the couch last night folding clothes when I had the thought, "Tomorrow is Saturday. I can't wait to sleep in and relax." Then I remembered that I am a mother of a six-month old. This precious, lively, blue-eyed and way too cute six-month-old who simply doesn't need sleep... apparently. She hardly naps at all and wakes up frequently each night to just look at me and smile. This darling child. But her mama loves her some good sleep... she hasn't gotten it in ole about six months and really seven and a half if you count that last month and a half of pregnancy. I can't complain because this is exactly what I prayed for. Yesterday while running around trying to clean up around the house during the fifteen minute nap Rosebud was taking after getting a text that Josh would be working late... again, I just felt down. That's when it dawned on me that I was doing something that was bringing me down. I was expecting myself to do everything and do it all perfectly. I don't know how many times I've thought, "How can I keep a house clean with several children if I can't with one baby?!" I just kept telling myself to work harder. Beating myself and then scolding myself for beating myself up. Can you say "vicious cycle?!" One thing after another. Just not good enough. 

That's the lie we often believe, isn't it? 

Is my life as fun as so-and-so's appears to be on social media? 

Do I make enough money? 

Do I have nice enough hair? 

Do people think I work out enough or keep my kids well clothed?  

Enough. Enough. Enough. 

This isn't one of those blog posts where you're going to get told it's okay to not try to be good and you're "free" to be "whatever" you want to be because you're saved and sanctified.... No, there isn't an excuse for sin and we do need to strive to be like Jesus in all we do. Grace isn't a soft, fluffy pillow that we can lay on while we sin. But what I am saying is: don't sweat the small things of life... and small things are usually material things. 

It sounds so simple, but it's hard to apply to life. So. Here I am admitting that maybe I can't make baby food all natural and do cloth diapers and cook and clean, pack to move home and a million other things and then wonder why there isn't time to just sit beside the hubby on the couch or maybe write once in a blue moon or even touch that keyboard I haven't hardly glanced at in months. Just maybe life is going to pass me by and what will I be able to say? Boy, I sure got all those clothes washed and look how much money we saved making baby food? None of that will matter. Time. Time will matter and what I did with it. Did I make a difference? And I used to think only "differences" could be made on extravagant mission trips or on big stages.... Ahh, that was a foolish thing to think. The biggest differences are made not from podiums or classrooms. They are made right at home. 

So here I sit in my little home (only to be home for two more months) and savor each moment for what it is: a precious gift only given once. That is precisely why I shall stay home with my Rosebud as she grows never to leave her, for she is my legacy and a legacy can only be made with a whole lotta time, effort and love. I may not be good at this mommy thing all the time, but it's right where God placed me and that helps me know... He thinks I'm good enough for the job. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

When I Meet the Girl in My Shoes

I guess it goes without saying that I have learned a lot the last 2 months and 2 weeks. Ever since Charlotte Rose Isaacs entered the world I have learned more than I thought possible. I suppose that is how most new mothers feel. Yes, I have learned how to not stress every time she cries, sleep while she sleeps instead of scurrying around the house tidying up, multitask and everything else new moms learn. But I have learned other things too, maybe because I live far from home these lessons are even clearer. Though they are sometimes painful to live through, I'm glad I'm learning.

I've learned that I want to be different from the norm. In this way: In ten, twenty, forty years I want to be the woman that 20 year olds like me come to and trust for help and for support. If I meet a young lady far from her home one day when I have a few kids of my own, a few years under my belt and tricks up my sleeve, I pray with all my heart that God will open my eyes to her desperate need for support. Because if you've read my book, you know how much I prayed to be here... when I say "here" I mean with a baby. Charlotte is a gift and one we waited for longer than I had planned, but now that I have her I am more thankful for her than I ever could have been if she had come to us easily. Yet, even though I have my miracle, I won't lie, I still live beside of a dirty, gray marine base with the loudest planes flying over our house 24/7 waking my baby, I am still a marine wife... a dependent of a US marine and linked to a military that is sometimes thoughtless, I still go weeks and months not seeing my precious family, I am doing this alone. There aren't babysitters or opportunities for Josh and me to ever get some time alone. Do I have any friends here in Havelock? No. And it isn't because I haven't tried. I had one and she moved to California with her marine husband. Church is the only place we go. Josh and I do everything for ourselves and by ourselves. It's the life we live right now.

So my point? I am living the life of a young wife and mother trying so hard to do this thing right. My house is a mess and I'm wearing spit up. But this is what I prayed for and I am so happy in a tired sort of messy way. :) But here is what I've learned: If I ever see someone who is in the shoes I'm wearing now, I pray I will be there for them in a big way.

Our Christian culture is self-centered. We don't show hospitality and we don't encourage the young man who's family is lost. That young man? He was my husband and if it hadn't been for my family supporting him, we wouldn't be married. If we only had the slightest idea the impact we could have on those who are lonely, lost, searching, hoping... whatever they may be. We could change their lives forever. I know we are all busy, but when are these people going to be worth our time and effort? I take back what I said about waiting until I'm older, I am ready to be a blessing now. Behind those smiles may be tears. If we would only stop to find out.