Friday, April 23, 2010


How days do fly. To think about time in comparison to the vast expanse of history, we occupy but a mere fraction of a second. A mere fraction and our life has come and gone and the world moves into the hands of an entirely new generation. Our chance to realize our dreams or change the world is gone... Wasted? Or accomplished? The majority will end their life with regrets, things left undone. The minority will strive and fight until their final breath, and in that, they will succeed. Which will you be? At your funeral how will your obituary read? What will people say about you? What would you say about yourself?

What brought this on you ask? Well, nothing quite so deep as the above would suggest. :) My daughter wants her ears pierced. She is 7-1/2 years old. Already. There is something about this event to me that just screams how short time is. Wasn't she just born!?!

I'm sure there are many moms who would tell me if I had pierced them when she a baby I wouldn't have to go through this rather ridiculous emotional response. Haha! And they are probably right. But I remember the day I got my ears pierced. I was nine-years-old and the excitement of picking out my first pair and even the sacrifice of pain for that little bit of girlish vanity was something I wouldn't trade, nor would I steal that experience from my daughter.

She is getting older every day, closer to that day when she will no longer be a child, but a woman. Excuse me if I shed a tear. It is bittersweet, these wonderful years of motherhood.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Days of Innocence

How I miss them. Those innocent days of childhood, when life was simple and the emotional struggles of my day consisted of a missing toy or a push from a sibling. What would it be like to go back? To forget about the hectic low paying job, the mounting bills, and the leaking roof?


And yet, I remember those days. Every year looking forward to a new age. I could hardly wait to turn 13, then 16, then 18. It seemed to take forever! And then I was grown, in love, married, then a mother. And now looking back at the years I so willingly wished away, wishing only to take them back, if just for a moment.

So it is with life, with us humans who inhabit this less then perfect world. Our nature longs for something else. Always something else. If we are old we wish to be young. If we are young we wish to be older, wiser. If our hair is straight we want it curly. If curly we want it straight.  We long for more, what we have is never enough. More money. More possessions.

Contentment might be in our vocabulary but not in our hearts. But it should be...

If you are reading this, you should be content because you live in a country that provided you with the education to do so. If you are reading this, you live in a location that gives you access to the internet, which you are either blessed with the funds to pay for or are provided free of service by such wonderful gifts as your local library. If you are reading this you are most likely not among the poorest of the world accounting for 40% of the earth's population. If you are reading this you are alive and not one of the 24,000 children who die every day due to poverty.

Maybe it is time to put things in perspective. Instead of comparing our lives to the minority of wealthy individuals we should be comparing it with the majority of needy and impoverished. Maybe we have more to be thankful for then we thought...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sisters in Arms

Six years ago, a friend of mine lost a cousin who gave her life in the fight for freedom. These are the first few pages from her father's memoir which is due out in print soon. Thank you to all those who have given their lives and those that continue the cause in their absence.

John Witmer: The Book: Sisters in Arms - A Father Remembers


Raising five children has been the greatest adventure of my life, yet, when I started this journey, I never dreamed it would bring me to a day where I would say goodbye to all three of my daughters as they marched off to war—not as part of a women’s auxiliary, but as part of a fully-trained, fully-equipped fighting force. There was no fanfare to mark this change in the way the U.S. military operated; it came quietly, born of necessity. As America’s military struggles to recruit the soldiers it needs, America’s daughters have stepped in to the gap, training alongside our sons and taking their place among the troops. Yes, women are still barred from the infantry and other “frontline” roles, but these rules have little effect in wars without frontlines, like those we are, at the time of this writing, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just like their male counterparts our women are frequently under enemy attack and like their male counterparts they return fire with their M-16s or their turret-mounted machine guns.

In 2005, the House Armed Services Committee held hearings on the role of women in the Military. It was prompted by rising female casualties. At that time over 35 women had been killed in action in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and another 260 had been wounded. There was some brief grandstanding on the part of some committee members expressing their concern and proposing legislation designed to make sure female soldiers would be removed from harm’s way. But the controversy quickly dropped out of the news. I suspect it was the result of some five-star general giving the Representatives this simple math lesson: one in seven of the 150,000 troops stationed in Iraq at the time were female. Removing all of them from hostile fire zones would have crippled Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This book is not a political statement; it is simply my story, a father’s story about sending children off to war and waiting for them to come home and what it’s like if they don’t come home.

Chapter 1 – Up on My Roof

Baghdad, Iraq, 2003

Rachel and her squad took their positions on the roof of the battered concrete building that served as the neighborhood police station. In recent weeks, insurgents had focused their assaults on these fragile beacons of law and order. In this war without frontlines, the 32nd MPs were given the task of providing security for the Iraqi Police, so attacks on police stations were both an attack on the post-Saddam regime and the U.S. government. Police stations were a convenient and efficient target.

The sun was low and the day-shift convoy had just pulled out heading back to Camp Victory after their twelve-hour watch. The police station, in Al Adamia, was just large enough to house a few cells and some dingy offices. It was far from inviting, and Rachel never completely trusted the IPs (Iraqi Police) she worked with; if she found herself in the unfortunate circumstance of needing to use the dilapidated commode, she kept her sidearm ready.

She began her routine, setting up her M-16 and scanning the streets below in slow, rhythmic sweeps, watching for anything that seemed out of place: a truck moving a little too slowly, a pedestrian moving a little too quickly, or a moment that was just a little too quiet. In the months that preceded this one, Rachel and her team had taken small arms fire and mortar fire and had dealt with their share of grenades. She was just a few minutes into her watch when she heard it, a sound she couldn’t place. It was like the sound of the surf in the distance.

Rachel struggled to understand where the sound was coming from. Her apprehension grew as she attempted to find an explanation. Her eyes carefully traced the streets below until she saw it—a wave of humanity, off in the distance, making its way toward the station. Not the roar of the ocean, the roar of the crowd, an angry, roiling, gun-waving mob.

Now she could make out the voice of the mullah (a religious leader) crackling over a loudspeaker. The rapid-fire words seemed to be urging the crowd on. Rachel could only imagine what was being said, but the words erupted from the primitive speaker with anger. The streets of Iraq traded in rumor and conspiracy, and this uprising could have been sparked by any one of the wild stories that routinely circulated about American soldiers: that they desecrated mosques, molested children, or spread pornography. It was clear that the gun-waving mob was heading their direction, hell-bent on taking revenge on this handful of soldiers, the most visible manifestation of the American military. The sergeant radioed the day shift and told them to double-time it back to the police station. Rachel was grateful for the reinforcements, but still, there was no way they could fend off an armed mob of this size. As Rachel took her stand on the roof, time began to expand, seconds passing like minutes, altered by the adrenaline that now pumped into her bloodstream. In that heightened state of awareness, in a moment of clarity, Rachel accepted the fact that it might end here, that this might be her last stand, her last day on Earth. As she prepared herself, she was suddenly calm. Peace came over her as she reflected on the people she cared about, bringing their faces to mind, one-by-one, as the pounding of her heart subsided.

Her sisters came to mind first. Michelle served with her in the 32nd MPs. Michelle’s platoon was pulling the same kind of duty in a different part of Baghdad. Then Charity: she was a medic with the Company B 118th Medical Battalion, stationed at BIAP, Baghdad International Airport, on the other side of town. She brought her brothers’ faces to mind, little brother Tim, just two years younger, and baby brother Mark, now a senior in high school. Then she thought about Mom and Dad and aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins. She wondered what it would be like for them if it all came to an end, here, on this rooftop in Baghdad.

This was not the first time Rachel had experienced this: time standing still, recalling the faces of those she loved, making peace with death, bracing herself. There had been a mortar attack on her barracks, in the middle of the night, that had shaken her awake. As she lay on the floor calculating how long it would take the insurgents to dial in the next strike, which would likely be dead-on target, this same sensation came over her. Fear left her; she was resolute, ready to accept her fate. Then the choppers came in and she heard the report of a big gun and she knew the insurgents would not fire another round. The threat had been neutralized. The chopper hovered, standing watch over the barracks, and the sound of helicopter blades sang Rachel to sleep that night.

A new noise pulled her back into real time: the unmistakable thudding of helicopter blades. The Blackhawk hovered above the crowd, and all forward motion stopped as its guns were trained on the crowd. The mob continued to shout and wave their weapons, but now tanks were rolling up the side streets, blocking the way to the police station. The standoff continued as the sun inched toward the horizon. But slowly and steadily the crowd thinned, melting into the twilight.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


April is Autism Awareness month. It is a month that has special meaning to me.

In was around this time four years ago when my son was first diagnosed. 

Though deep down I myself had been concerned about Autism to hear a doctor first suggest it was crushing to me. Not for me, I would love my son no matter what the disorder or dis-figuration, but for my son. I felt as if they, in one hesitantly spoken word, had swept away my little boy's future. I spend the next week crying, holding and kissing him, all the while with him seemingly oblivious to my nearness or even my existence. It was as if he lived in a world apart from mine, and in a sense I guess he did.

When the week was over I dried my tears. The only time I cried over my son's condition following was with each leap and bound he made. Tears of pride and love as no one can cry unless they witness the hard work and success of a beautiful handicapped child.

The past four years have been filled with uncounted hours of speech therapy, occupational therapy, and in home early education teachers. I have watched him struggle first with resistance, then acceptance, and then with change.

The best day in my life was the day my son, for the first time, called me "mom". I had grown to expect that I may never hear those words from his lips. No word spoken since has ever had so much meaning to me.

My little man has come so far. I would not trade him for the world. He is the light of my life, my joy, and my hero. God trusted him to me and I could not feel more honored!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sweat and Blood

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
~ Theodore Roosevelt From a speech given in Paris at the Sorbonne in 1910

Failure is inevitable, the critic will always be there, but ultimately it is you who decides to either succumb to the opposition or continue on in the face of it all. Only one of these has a guaranteed result. If you quit you will never see success. Guaranteed.

"Never give up, never surrender!" - Galaxy Quest. It may come from a comedy but I find it a handy phrase! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Family

A little about my family and myself. I will try and keep it short. :) My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years. I, thankfully, still enjoy his company and am very grateful to him for all the hard work he has put in to support our family.

I have three beautiful children. My oldest is 7-years-old and in first grade. A beautiful girl who is too quickly growing up and looking more and more like a young lady.

My son is 5 and is an amazing little guy. He was diagnosed with Autism before he was two years old. He has worked so hard since then to overcome his many obstacles and I couldn't be more proud of him!

My youngest little girl is 3 and she is both the light of my life and my strongest contestant!

Overall, parenthood is a joy! I love them dearly!

Flowers in the Desert

Welcome to my blog! I will do my best to post here at least weekly. I have found that as a mom my consistency with other things in my life have been a little less reliable then I would like. Starting a blog is something I have wanted to do for sometime so, I will do my best!

The title of my blog has a meaning to me. I tend to think of this world as a desert and the flowers that manage to survive and thrive in the extreme temps, scorching sun and lack of water,as those who do the same against the trials and turmoils that seem so prevalent in life.

I hope that the contents of this blog will inspire. That is my goal! With all the depressing happenings in the news it is time we heard something good!