Hope in a Failing Marriage

img_8193I realize that we have the tendency to put our best-foot forward and social media seems to fuel that tendency. We upload our best pictures, our best stories, the best part of our lives, but rarely is anyone’s life that perfect. The honest truth is that my life is nothing close to what you might see from my Facebook timeline or what you might even see from me at church. I don’t have it all together. My life is messy and it is a rollercoaster ride of falling and getting back up and I have quite a few skeletons in my closet. One of those is that my marriage came dangerously close to failing, to being another divorce statistic.

I am writing this because there are many of you who are struggling in your marriages and are suffering in silence. You are afraid of what people might think of you or what the church might think of you. Some of you might even think that divorce is the only way out. And I am here to tell you that that was me and that you are not alone.

My husband and I had a very good marriage for the first nine years. We fought sometimes and got on each other nerves, but it never got so bad that I would have the desire to leave.  We survived living in separate states for several years, the unpredictable nature of the military, his deployment to Afghanistan, a significant reduction in our income when I decided to leave my full-time job. We even survived the fact that we were “unevenly yoked.” I was an evangelical Christian and he was not, but we seemed to make it work.

And then year number ten came and my “wonderful” marriage came crushing down. There were a series of circumstances that were pushing my husband and I farther and farther apart. Before we had a chance to realize what was happening, I found myself in my bedroom with my husband asking me directly, “Do you even love me anymore?” As I sat on our bed, I looked down at my feet and said, “I don’t know.” I wanted to have compassion for this man that was only a few feet away from me, but all I had was disdain. I felt the hypocrisy of my Christianity weighing heavily on me and I felt like I was drowning and that I was slowly losing my faith.

At the time we had bought a house in PA, but I was still living in VA with my daughter at a friend’s house. He was working out of NJ because of the military. He was in the Marines at the time. Initially, we had agreed that I would come up every week for a long weekend while our house was getting renovated. However, as time progressed I found myself wanting to visit PA less and less and I was reluctant to fulfill my husband’s wishes to finally move in permanently.

I justified my actions with a million excuses. “Whenever I am home, he is always mad and upset.” “I don’t know anyone in Pennsylvania and my family and friends are here in VA.” “The students at Sunday school in VA need me and if I leave there is no teacher to replace me.” “He had the choice to stay in VA had he wanted to but because he wanted to go off to war, now he is in NJ and I am paying the price for it.” “My real estate business is thriving in VA and I can’t do it from PA.”

The only thing I did right during that time period is to go see a friend. I needed to unload completely and I knew that she loved God and that she wouldn’t judge me. She listened quietly as I went off on a rant about my husband. After listening for awhile, and maybe even losing patience with me (although she did not show it), she said, “You need to let go of the business, of the church here in VA, and move in with your husband. The Bible is clear, it is God first, then husband, then children, then church, then everything else.” I resented her words, but deep down I knew she was right. A few weeks later, my concerned parents told me the same thing during a trip with them to Puerto Rico (I later found out my husband had reached out to them for help). I still didn’t accept the correction very easily; however, eventually I would take their advice. In my stubbornness, it took several days to tell me husband, but I finally let him know that I was moving to PA and I was going to stay.

I would be lying if I said that the road to restore our marriage was easy after that. It was not. After finally moving, I would spend hours laying on the bench of my dining room table crying while my daughter was at school. I had to force myself to be kind to my husband and to make him his morning coffee. I had to force myself to put my best foot forward for my little girl. I had to force myself to sit down and read the Bible and pray. But looking back now, God rewarded my obedience and he gave me a sign of hope the day after I made the decision to move to PA. I found out I was pregnant.

One of the stresses that had led us to such a broken place was the fact that we had been trying for a few years to have a second child, but to no avail. I had given up hope.  But as I made that first step towards reconciliation and things were still very rocky between my husband and I, seeing that cross on the pregnancy test gave us both something to smile about. I always say, I should have named that child Grace. In that gesture, I felt God saying, “Yes, you sinned and walked away from me, but you have repented and now I am extending my grace towards you.”

Fast forward many years later, I found out the reason behind my husband’s apparent bad moods that had been one of the reasons I had started to pull away from him. During that time period, he had been going through a very difficult time at work. My husband has never liked to talk about his problems nor open up. While he was trying his best not to bring work issues home, his frustrations at work and the effect it was having on him emotionally was causing him to be quieter than usual and it was manifesting itself in grumpiness. I felt like he was rejecting me, but from his point of view, having me there, even though he didn’t feel like doing anything, was comforting. When I started to not want to visit him, it would cause him to fall into an even greater depression that I would interpret as disdain for me. It was a horrible cycle.

By my obedience and moving home, he began to feel comfort from it and he was able to face work head on. And his mood changed for the better. I also changed. All those feelings that had disappeared starting coming back and my love and respect for my husband has grown exponentially. Eventually he also accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. God pulled us through but it took an act of obedience on my part and my willingness to take the first step.

It was a very difficult time in both of our lives, but good came out of it. We both have learned wisdom in the ways to best guard our marriage and we both have gotten closer to God. I also learned the importance of having good godly friends (and parents) who are willing to provide that gentle but honest correction when you need it most. Reaching out was instrumental. I reached out to my friend and my husband reached out to my parents. We will be forever thankful for their wisdom.

My final words to you is that if you find yourself going through a hard time, find a trustworthy and godly person to talk to and someone that can pray with you. God has given us each other to provide edification and support and to help remind us that no matter how dark it may seem, He is still there.

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Avoiding Food Wars

FOOD WARSHow do I deal with friends and family that continue to eat “bad” food?  And worse, what do I do when they try to give my kid their food?

Believe it or not, I have seen these two questions pop among other moms that are health nuts like myself. If you are not a health nut, I know that it may be hard to understand, but think of this way. To feed a kid a blow pop is the equivalent of feeding them a toxic chemical to “healthy” moms.  That is how their brains internalize it (at least it is how my brain internalizes it). It is no surprise then that a lot of “healthy” moms are now finding themselves in this predicament: What do they do when their friends and family do not share their food values?

Although I know many will disagree, here is my take. Healthy moms, stop worrying about it so much. Don’t misunderstand me. I am all about pushing daycares and schools to provide more wholesome foods for our kids.  I am about pushing our leaders to stop subsidizing bad food practices. I am about pushing restaurants to provide better options. I am about educating people about food. It is one of the reason I have this blog. And yes, if a family member or friend watches your kid on a regular basis, then it is important to lay out your expectations as far as what they can and cannot eat. But there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with people. The wrong way is to be confrontational. The right way is to be gracious and loving.

People do not need a lecture about how bad they eat. They also do not need to be belittled because they may not have the same food standards as you. The more time that friends and family spend with you, the more they will notice how you eat without having to hear it from you.  With time, they may even come to you for advice on how to be “healthier.” Better yet, you might find that when you go visit, they will have some of your foods on hand. I know, because that has happened to me. Even if they do not, that is okay too. Enjoy and be thankful for the relationship.

FoodWars.001

On the flip side, if you constantly refuse what friends and family offer your kids, feelings are going to get hurt and that can turn into bitterness. They are more likely to sabotage your efforts rather than help you. I will never forget an incident when I first started on this health journey. A “healthy” mom came to my house and asked if she could have some of my kid’s baby food. She then proceeded to read the ingredients and lecture me on how bad that was for my kid. I now know she was not trying to be mean, but I was so hurt at the time and it certainly did not help our relationship.

A few years later, I found myself in her shoes. I chided family members for giving my kids unhealthy foods and then I saw the hurt in their eyes. I was rude, obnoxious, and arrogant. Thankfully, I came to realize that what matters most is building and establishing relationships.  Yes, I get it.  Once you know that yellow no 5 ( found in popular kids products like Kraft food’s macaroni & cheese) is toxic, you cringe at the thought of your kid even having a bite.  However, the reality is that your kid is not going to die from it because you spend 90 percent of the time feeding your kids only healthy and nutritious food!  The exception is not going to be the demise of their health, but letting bitterness build up and letting relationships fall apart because of food will affect your health and your kids’ health.

I encourage you to read this article to put things in perspective and learn about the women who refused to leave the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. They live in an area where the soil, water, and air are the most contaminated in the world.  If anything will kill you, it is living in the area affected by one of the greatest nuclear disasters of all time. Yet the women that returned to Chernobyl have outlived those that never returned.  Why? They were happier.

My toddler with her Uncle Richard.

My toddler with her Uncle Richard.

I think about the relationship my toddler has with her Uncle Richard.  I found him giving her a lollipop when she was about 10 months old and who knows what else he has given her when I had my back turned. Yet my toddler and Uncle Richard have an amazing bond.  It brings my daughter joy and that joy is more important to me than the junk he likes to feed her when I am not looking.

All of this can be summarized in one simple proverb:

 

 

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Proverbs 17:22).

 

 

Sleep Victory!!

If you are a parent, you can understand the relief that you feel when your kid finally starts going to bed without any issues.  For the last six weeks, our toddler has been doing this:

My husband and I have been jumping up and down! I cannot even begin to express how excited we are. There was a lot of hard work put into getting our toddler to go to bed without a fuss and we finally have sweet victory.

When we had our first kid, by three months we were able to get her in bed for the night without a fuss.  If you read read my blog on letting babies cry it out, you will see the struggles we have had with our second child.  Yes, by three months we were able to get her to sleep through the night, but not without some crying before hand. Through her first birthday and until about six weeks ago, there was still crying involved.  Sometimes, she wouldn’t cry and sometimes she would cry only a little bit, but other times she would cry a lot.

What finally did it?  We don’t know, but I know perseverance had a lot to do with it.  We prayed for her. We have taken her to her regular chiropractic adjustments which I know helped her a lot (especially when she was still an infant). We have tried different techniques. We have been consistent with her nighttime routine.  What we have NOT done is given up on the idea that she can go to bed peaceful and happy.

And so here we are.  The day has arrived and we are thankful and joyful! If you are a parent having trouble getting your kids to go to bed, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Stay the course!

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A Healthier Fruit Tart

My husband’s favorite dessert is a fruit tart. Usually, I make the trip to Wegmans and pay a ridiculous amount of money so that he can enjoy it for his birthday. This year I decided to make my own. Although my first attempt was not made with the most wholesome ingredients, I combined and revised a few different recipes for a delicious but more wholesome version of this yummy dessert.

This is NOT a fat-free or low-fat recipe. Those of you that follow my blog, know that I am not a calorie counter and I do not believe or follow fat-free or low-fat diets. I do believe in using the best and most wholesome all-organic ingredients and eating things like desserts in moderation. What makes this a better-for-you dessert is that I used sprouted grain flour instead of white flour for the crust (more information on why sprouted grains are better can be found on my blog on breads). I also used coconut sugar instead of regular sugar for the glaze and filling.

Coconut palm sugar comes from the sap of the coconut plant. Unlike regular sugar which has no nutritional value, coconut palm sugar retains certain key nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium and potassium. Keep in mind, however, that coconut palm sugar may be better for you than regular sugar but it is still sugar. As you enjoy this dessert, it should still be eaten in moderation (or at least that is what I keep telling myself as I try not to go for seconds). Also, because it is a brown sugar, it will give the filling and glaze a brown tint.

You can easily find these ingredients at Wegmans, Whole Foods, and/or Trader Joes. However, if your grocery store does not yet offer these options, you can click on the links in the ingredients list and order them from Amazon.

 

Ingredients:

Supplies:
12 inch tart pan with a removable bottom

Crust
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar ( I could not find a good alternative for this so if you have one please share!)
1 1/2 cups of sprouted grain flour
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted organic butter (softened and cut up in chunks)

Filling
1 (8 ounce) package of organic cream cheese
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tsp organic vanilla extract

Glaze
3 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
2 tsp organic corn starch
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup organic limeade (Any non-pulpy juice should work. I didn’t have it on hand for one of the tarts I made, Instead I just used juice from one of my kids’ juice boxes and it came out fine).

Topping
assortment  of kiwis, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, and/or raspberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, combine sugar, flour, and butter until a ball forms.  (If you use regular flour a ball will form really nicely, but with the sprouted grain flour you get more of a ball with a crumbly mess.  Just pick up the crumbs and ball with your hands and form into a smooth ball. ) With your fingers press the dough into the tart pan. Pat with the palm of your hands until the crust is even. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly brown. Let it cool completely.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Spread over the cool crust and place the fruit on top. This is your opportunity to be creative so do not feel like it has to look a certain way.  For example, I personally just cut the strawberries in half before putting them on the tart, but you can slice them or leave them whole.

The coconut palm sugar gives the filling a brownish tint.

For the glaze, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a sauce pan. Stir in the lemon juice and limeade until smooth.  Bring to a boil and stir for two minutes or until it thickens. Let it cool completely.  Brush the glaze over the fruit tart and keep in mind that you will not use all of the glaze.

This is the unglazed tart. If you want to cut down on the sugar, skip the glaze. It will still look beautiful and taste good too.
Now stand back and admire your master piece!

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Winter Storm: Blessing in Disguise

Our home after the ice storm.

This winter, one of the many winter storms that passed through Pennsylvania hit us very hard.  There were hundreds of thousands of people without power.  I was one of those people.  I woke up Wednesday morning to a very silent, dark, and cold house.  I just wanted to crawl back into bed, but I knew I had little ones that had probably kicked their blankets off in the middle of the night.  Both my toddler and seven-year-old jumped right into bed with me.  We cuddled and stayed warm until the sun started shining through the window.  As I lay there in bed, I smiled and thought, boy, is this going to be an adventure.

I don’t know why I was so happy, but I was. I could have been miserable.  I could have thought about how without electricity, we had no water (because we have a well and rely on the pump), we had no heat, and we had no access to our septic tank.  I could have focused on how this all happened on the week that my husband was out of town and I was alone with the two girls. I could have been mad at myself for not buying that generator we have been talking about for so long. I could have been miserable. I could have even broken down and cried.

The reality is that there was a lot to smile about. I had my two pride and joys right there with me holding me tight with their big bright smiles. I had a car with all wheel drive that I knew would get me through the bad roads. I had plenty of bottles/jugs of water and a collection of MREs in case we needed to go into survival mode.  I had family within a three-hour drive who still had electricity and would welcome a visit. I had neighbors who would try to help me anyway they could and with an old fashioned fireplace if we needed warmth. Most importantly, I had a God who I knew would not let me down.

As soon as the sun was up, I got the girls dressed and we proceeded to do some recon to assess the roads and plan our exit strategy if need be (sorry, I spent too much time working for the military). The first thing I did was stop at the nearest gas station to fill up on gas. The roads were bad, half the lights were out, and trees were down left and right, but thankfully I was raised in Chicago and I am pretty good driver on snow and ice. I knew I could make it to VA where my family was if I needed to. I took my princesses somewhere where we could get a hot bite to eat. Wegman’s was opened and hot coffee and hot chocolate were available. We had a blast. The girls were happy because they were eating sweets, something I do not allow on a regular basis, and I too was happily enjoying my favorite pumpkin muffin.

When we got back home, we stopped at our neighbors to see how they were fairing. We stayed there for awhile, enjoyed the good company, and a warm fire. I got the strong feeling that power was going to be out for a few days. When we got home, I packed up the car and drained all the pipes to avoid burst pipes. With our two dogs and all, we headed down to my brother’s in VA.

Amazingly, even though we left at 4 PM and hit DC at 6:30 PM, we hit no traffic and this is after an ice storm! The other amazing part is that no one needed a potty break!  Those were two miracles in and of themselves.  We spent the first part of our trip with my brother and the last part with my sister.  It was such a sweet few days and just what we needed.

My husband had been gone for six months and had gotten back in December. When I received the news prior to the storm that he needed to go for 10 days on an emergency trip after barely being back two months, I was pretty bummed.  The girls and I missed him terribly for those first three days he was gone so to now be in VA surrounded by family was such a special treat.  Since schools were closed due to the severity of the power outages, we did not have to worry about coming back to PA any time soon.  We finally made it back home the day my husband returned from his trip and by that time the power was back.

The experience reminded me of Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”

The lesson here: You can sit there and mope and wonder why things happen or you can get up and let God lead you.  Thankfully, this time around, I chose the latter and the girls and I ended up being very blessed. Yes, blessings can be found even in a powerful winter storm.

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Crayon Hearts

Those of us with kids have this!

Instead of throwing them in the garbage, we can re-use them to make crayon creations.  For Valentine’s Day, we made crayon hearts.  I originally got the idea from Pinterest but I changed it around a little bit. Instead of just mixing all the crayon pieces together, we experimented with color combinations.  The results were awesome!

Supplies: muffin or cookie molds and old crayons (I used a silicone heart mold that I bought at Michaels but it is also available through Amazon)

Step 1:  Peel the crayons, break or cut them in little pieces, and separate them by colors (reds with reds, yellows with yellows, blues with blues, etc).

Step 2: Think about what color combinations would be cool such as purple with black; red, purple and pink; or yellow and green.  Place your color combination into the molds.

Ideally, you want to have dark and light colors in the mix.
Crayons in the molds.

Step 3:  Once all the molds are full, pop in the oven at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Wait for them to dry and your crayon creation is complete!  You can now admire the cool marbling effect :o)

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God in School?

A recent incident with my daughter at school has reminded me of the importance of keeping the lines of communication open with our kids. I am thankful that my daughter goes to a good school and has a good teacher.  However, even in good schools, our kids will deal with a wide range of issues and we (parents) need to make every effort possible to be informed so that we can address those issues with our kids and the school if it becomes necessary.

Here is what happened.  My seven-year-old daughter loves God. We are a Christian family and we do talk about God all the time in our home. She has a friend in school that shares her views and the two of them were talking about God during recess. Two boys sat in front of them and somehow got involved in the conversation. However, those two boys do not share the same respect for God that my daughter and her friend do. They started making fun of Him.  For my daughter, it was the equivalent of making fun of me, her dad, or her little sister.  Because she was so upset, she went to talk to her teacher about it.

After the conversation with her teacher, my daughter left with a certain impression. She did not believe that she could talk about God at school anymore. My daughter’s teacher is an exceptional teacher and I do not believe that is what she meant. However, the important part is what my daughter believed about what she could and could not do and the worse part about it is that initially, she did not think it was important to tell me!!

Thankfully, I did find out several days later because my daughter and I came across the subject in a book we were reading together.  Only then did she say, “Mom, I am not allowed to talk about God at school.” I have come to realize that there is a lot that goes on at school that I do not find out until much later –if I find out about it at all, and I happen to have a very good relationship with my daughter.

You are probably now wondering how I responded to my daughter’s statement.  “Honey, if you want to talk about God with your friends all day long, you go right ahead.  No one can tell you that you can’t. Sometimes people won’t always like it. Sometimes people will make fun of it, but we must always do what we feel is right in our hearts because our rewards come from God. Also, know that your daddy and I support you and we will fight anybody and anything that gets in the way.” (Yes, the mama bear came out a little bit) Of course I also talked to the teacher and addressed it with her.  I wanted to make sure that the school did not have some sort of policy that infringed on my daughter’s first amendment rights.  Had that been the case here, this very quiet parent would become very vocal and would do everything in her power to make sure my daughter’s rights were not being trampled on.

If you are wondering what rights kids have to talk about God in school, I should tell you that they have every right. As long as they are not interrupting a lesson plan, or speaking out of turn, kids can talk about God all they want and they can tell whomever they want.  They can even bring their Bibles to school if they so desire. Believe it or not, schools and teachers have tried to discipline kids for talking about their religious beliefs and have tried to institute policies that prohibit free expression of religion.  All those policies are unconstitutional and would not stand a chance in court as students’ rights to freedom of speech/religion have been upheld by the Supreme Court.  For more information you can visit: Sharing Your Faith.

In the end, neither the school nor teacher were trying to silence my daughter.  The misunderstanding, however, led my daughter to think that she couldn’t talk about something she felt so passionate about.  Without continued conversations between with my child, it may have been months before I would have found out if at all. It was a great reminder to keep the conversations going so I can help her navigate all the issues that may arise in her life.

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Easy Craft: Letters Designed with Yarn

These letters made out of yarn can be a great addition to a kid’s room or as a decorative piece in your home. Thankfully, it is a very easy craft to put together.  I have painted letters before, but I like the look of yarn letters much better because of the added texture.  All you need is yarn, a glue stick, and either cardboard or wood letters.  If you want to embelish it, you can add things like little paper bows, buttons, or felt flowers.  BE CREATIVE.  I used multicolor yarn, but feel free to stick to one color if you would like.

Supplies:
Yarn
Glue Stick
Cardboard or Wood Letters
Buttons, Paper Bows, Felt Flowers (Optional)
Glue Gun (Optional)

Directions:  Add glue to the part of the letter where you are starting (preferably one of the ends) and start wrapping the yarn around the letter.  As you advance, add glue to the letter a little bit at a time so it does not dry out and cover the entire surface of the letter.  That is about it. The best way to add the embellishments is with a glue gun.

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Prayer Duty

My New Year’s Resolution is to become a prayer warrior.  I typically pray every day but I was finding myself spending less and less time in prayer.  Some days, I would only get about 5 minutes in.  What a terrible state of affairs!  So for the last couple of weeks, I have been getting up about an hour to an hour and a half earlier than usual so that I could spend that time in prayer and reading God’s word. It has been a tremendous blessing. However, one day last week, I accidentally slept in.

I got up in time to get my girls dressed, fed, and get my seven-year-old out the door for school, but there was definitely not enough time for an hour’s worth of prayer.  I had my whole day planned already. Get the girls ready for the day; go to the gym and be back by 10:30 am (because that is the time that my toddler starts to get grouchy); have play and relax time with my toddler; make lunch….You get the picture.

I had put on my workout gear and was ready to jump in the car as soon as the bus picked up my daughter, but then something stopped me.  I just knew I had to put God first.  Those of you that know me well know how important my workouts are for me.  They are my stress relievers and my me time. They are an important part of my day, but this day, the workout was going to have to take a back seat.  I turned back around, put in a movie for my two-year-old, and I began to pray.


After I was done, I decided to attempt to go to the gym anyway even though it would put me back at the house at 11:30 AM.  I was not sure how my toddler was going to handle that, but previous experience had shown me that when she is over-tired or over-stimulated, she can be almost too much to handle.  I was playing with fire….so I thought.

When I picked her up from the day care she was in good spirits.  On the ride back home, she was peaceful and quiet. During our relax and play time, she was such a pleasure. In fact, she was so well behaved, I thought I had probably picked up the wrong child.  The rest of the day proceeded without a hitch and I still had the time to do everything that I needed to do, mostly because my toddler was so cooperative.

And that is the way it is with God.  When you put Him first, He takes care of the rest.  What a lesson that was for me. What a wonderful sweet lesson.  As a mom, my first duty is to pray because only in God can I trust for everything to fall in place. And it if it does not fall in place, only in Him can I trust to have the strength to endure it.

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Welcome Home Dad!

My girls waiting for their daddy to arrive.

Today was a great day. It was the best day.

There are so many great things about being a military wife, but there are also so many difficult moments that we endure. For me the worst has been watching my children ache for their daddy when he has been gone. My seven-year-old is a daddy’s girl. She always has been. Mom is okay, but dad is amazing. Six months ago when she said goodbye as he was getting ready to leave, I was heartbroken for her.  This would be her second deployment.

During the first, when he left for Afghanistan, she was only two. And yet, as young as she was, I could see the void take a toll on her. The temper tantrums started. She became a different person.  She couldn’t express with her words what she was feeling, but I could see with my own eyes the effect his absence was having on her. When he returned, she had just turned three.  She was very shy, but within fifteen minutes, the shyness was gone and she was glued to him.  She would not let him out of her sight. If she could just hold on to him, it would keep him from leaving again.

When my husband told me earlier this year that he was going to be sent to Japan for six months my heart sank.  I was thankful it was not Afghanistan, but I dreaded having to tell my daughter that her daddy would be leaving yet again.  It have tried my best to distract her while he has been gone, but nothing can replace her dad in her eyes. Some days I would just find her silently crying in her room.  What could I do but kiss her and hold her and try to be strong for her? Yet, inside, I was crying for her and for her little sister.  Even though my 20-month-old is too young to understand, in her own way, I have seen how her daddy’s absence has impacted her.

There are thousands of families across this great nation of ours who have gone through these same experiences.  There are thousands of little girls missing their daddies.  There are some that will never see their daddies again.  Today I am more thankful than ever to my God for all those who sacrifice so much.  And I am grateful that for us those tears are gone.  Today we celebrated.  Daddy is home.

Nothing but love in their eyes. He is reunited with his princess.

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