>My Nana


Nana, myself, Grandpa Ted

My Nana, my great-grandmother, Bernadine Irene, will be 95 years old next month. 95. She’s outlived many people in her family, including her first husband, five out of six siblings, her son and her grandson-in-law. She stands at barely five feet tall, with a shoe size of 4.5 (I asked her one time). There’s not a mean bone in her body, and back in the day, she was quite a looker. (Some say she’s where I got my curves…)

The man on the right is my great-grandfather, Ted. Technically he’s my step, but they’ve been married since way before I was born. My real great-grandfather died of heart failure in 1957. Grandpa Ted is Polish, and came from Chicago. He didn’t learn English until he was about 10 years old. He’s also a veteran of the Second World War.

I remember going to their house when I was little, and of course it seemed much larger than it does now. We played on the deck, ate warm tomatoes from the garden, and explored the field behind the house which is now a built-up subdivision. I helped Grandpa Ted rake leaves.

When I got older, we’d spend more time chatting and reminiscing, always over a cup of Folgers coffee. She always had her hair done, nails painted and makeup on. She says the reason her skin is still so pretty now is because she wears moisturizer every day.

Aaron and I went to visit yesterday. Those two were at the top of our list for visits. We had a nice time, and Aaron and Grandpa Ted talked a lot about the military. While Nana has a hard time getting around (although she still passes her driver’s test!), she is completely coherent. I can’t imagine what it must be like to look back on that many years… many people are lucky to have lived a fraction of that. I mean, it’s almost a century. That is an amazing accomplishment. What must it feel like to look into the eyes of your great-great-granddaughter (my cousin’s daughter Adeline)? Five generations… Nana is 40 years older than my aunt, and 70 years older than me.

As we were getting ready to leave, we hugged and kissed. She squeezed my hand and I realized that may be the last time I see her, or him, alive. It’s very possible. However, I’m confident they know Jesus and so I feel a peace, even now. But there was a look in her eye that she was thinking the same thing. I can only imagine what that is like, and pray for such a long life.

I am so blessed with having had my grandparents and great-grandparents around. Currently, I still have three grandparents alive, and two great-grandparents.

I love my Nana.

>Brief update

>Sorry, friends, as I’ve been MIA recently on the blogfront. I’ve been trying to catch up on what’s going on with everyone.

Aaron got in Thursday night to O’Hare, and we stayed up there for a couple nights at this hotel. It was great to get a couple of days where we could just be together and not worry about anything moving-related.

Since he’s been home, we’ve had a couple meals with his family and mine, been to church, and gotten most of the apartment ready for the move. The movers are coming Friday to pack everything up! It’s a little surreal.

We’ve also managed to do very well with eating. We’ve been out to eat only three times in the past five days, which for us is an accomplishment. We went to the store yesterday and got lots of fresh produce and meat to make meals for ourselves and also to contribute to the all-church picnic on Sunday and also Fourth of July with his family. (Scotcharoos anyone??)

We went out yesterday morning for an easy 3-miler, and today we went for a 3-mile hike at one of our favorite parks. For once on “vacation” I don’t feel like I’ve been overeating the whole time. It’s nice that we both love healthy food (though are tempted by goodies!) and that we love being active. We’re excited for all the outdoorsy things to do in El Paso when it’s not 107 degrees!

I picked up this book at Target last week.. it’s amazingly written and gives wonderful insight to what life is like for our soldiers.

>It’s over

>Now, I know planes haven’t landed and all connections haven’t been made quite yet, but we’re considering this over. Done. Finished.

I haven’t blogged this week because I’ve been so busy preparing for his return and also for the move. I’ve wanted to get as much done as possible before he comes home so we’re not so overwhelmed.

Today I’m calm, collected and ready to experience the next chapter in our lives. It will be different, amazing, challenging, but I’m ready.

I just can’t believe it’s over! Thank you, Jesus, for Your provision and grace.

>grown up


so is this what it’s like to grow up?
to look on life from the outside
just watching and waiting
and waiting and watching
to find some semblance of order
and mercy of life in the aftercalm of
near death experiences, bipolar tendencies,
clanking beer bottles, cigarette butts and
three Little girls, the product of love
so is this what it’s like to grow up?
to realize that parents and their parents
aren’t getting any younger
they aren’t getting any stronger
and they still aren’t as wrong as we think sometimes
to realize that prayer can work
that the past cannot be rewritten
but still can be redeemed with
three Little girls, the product of love
so is this what it’s like to be grown up?
to just be thankful for the time we have
the laughs we share, and
that we’re all ok, we’re all fine, we’re all making it through
parents who still love each other
thirty years later
and three Little girls, the product of love

>How could I forget?!


The W family is growing!! Aaron’s oldest brother Bruce and his wife Katie are expecting their second baby in October…

The baby will be the fifth grandbaby on this side of the family, and this little girl will be a big sister to….


I can’t even describe how excited we all are that they’re having a boy!

>Not sure what’s out there…

>…for me in Texas, but it’s all gonna be happening prettttty soon.

Within a week I’ll have my husband back.

Two weeks from tomorrow the movers come.

Three weeks from yesterday we say goodbye to Illinois.

The stress of moving fell upon me last night after I got back from St. Louis. It was definitely a reality check. So, like I always do, I made a list of everything that needs to be done…

  • schedule appointment to repair rock chips in windshield (USAA will be billed directly for this! LOVE this insurance company/bank)
  • schedule oil change
  • call lodging and reserve a room at Bliss
  • get hair done (duh! essential before hubby arrives!)
  • get cash envelopes ready (we got most of our travel money advanced to us.. thank you random finance person in Korea for doing your job)
  • schedule vet appointment for Luthor
  • pack bag for Chicago next week
  • make list of food to take to Chicago (yes, “making list” is on my… list)

I normally don’t make posts like this, but I’m a little overwhelmed. I’ve emailed some properties in Texas, but I can’t schedule an appointment to see places until we’re down there. Who knows what will be available in three weeks’ time.

No idea where we’ll live… no idea where I’ll work… there are only a few certain things. Here’s another list…

  • We are indeed moving to Texas. Though I’ve heard of orders changing en route. Lord, spare me.
  • I will be with Aaron. Every night. For a long time. 
  • I will miss my friends.
  • I will miss my family.
  • I will miss my church family.
  • I will love the heat, seriously.
  • I will love getting settled in our new place and decorating it.
  • I will love our road trip… just us + kitteh. I love driving around with Aaron.

Things are already beginning to work out…

>Hillsong United :: Aftermath Tour :: St. Charles, MO

>Oh my goodness. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to worship with Hillsong! For those of you who aren’t familiar, they’re a worship band from Australia. They make amazing music… the lyrics are heartfelt but convey the simple message that Jesus came to save.

We bought tickets for this show back in April, and planned it so it’d be our last hurrah before things get hectic around here in the W household. We booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express in St. Charles, just a few miles from the Family Arena.

Woohoo! Girls’ night away!
Pit tickets! We only paid $38 each!
Waiting outside.. we got there at the perfect time.

 Yep. We were right there. Be jealous.

 Amelia sat down for a little bit right before the concert.. picture from the floor.

 I’m not sure what kind of sweet setup this guy had.. but it was awesome.

(Amelia, I told you I’d steal pics!)

The members of Hillsong have such fervent hearts for Jesus, and it shows in their music and stage presence. If you want an amazing worship experience, there’s none better.
I know this was more of a photo blog, but pictures say it all… and part of Hebrews 10 from The Message.
It was a perfect sacrifice 
by a perfect person 
to perfect some very 
imperfect people.

>Darn perfectionism

>Now that summer is upon us and most people are wearing less clothes (some are significantly more revealing than others, ahem), I find my little friend called Perfectionism whispering into my ear.

Before I had lost 40 pounds, all I could think was, “If only I could lose 20 pounds, then I’d be happy.” Then when I’d lost that much, I’d think, “If only I could weigh what I did in high school… I’ll be happy with myself then.”

I hit my goal, and surprise, surprise, I realized this morning that my body does not reach my ridiculously high standards. I even find myself dillydallying (yes, that’s a word) at the grocery store to compare my completely normal, imperfect body with those of the magazines’ “best and worst swimsuit bodies”.

What in the world? I worked hard to lose those 40 pounds, and darn it, I should be proud. I should be confident in my own skin instead of wishing I looked like someone else. Who wants to be one of those super-skinny emaciated models anyway? They don’t have real curves, and Lord knows they don’t eat real food. They also don’t have much muscle tone from marathon training…

I’m not willing to give up my occasional every-other-day ice cream for the absolute best and most trim body…  and that’s fine. On my good days, I look in the mirror and am proud of my curves and my height, though sometimes it’s difficult finding clothes that fit just right.

I realize that there are many people out there who have much deeper struggles than I do. More weight to lose, more health issues that get in the way of exercise (thank God my heart issue does not prevent running!). I’m also not fishing for compliments… I’m just being real, maybe saying what others are thinking about themselves. The point I’m trying to make is that if we let ourselves, we can get so caught up in how we look that we miss out on appreciating the amazing benefits of losing weight and exercising.

I will never be the fastest runner… I will never be the most fit woman… I will never have my “ideal” body… but I’m healthy, fit, strong and have done things I never thought I’d achieve like run a marathon. I enjoy being active and [most days] I like what I see in the mirror. That’s something to be celebrated!

>Week in review, June 6 – June 12

>This week, I’d say I was pretty active, adding in a couple different activities…

Monday: rest
Tuesday: ~3-mi hike with Megan and Patrick
Wednesday: 2.6 tempo run with Gabi, and then a 1 hr 45 min trail ride with Becca. We didn’t bike that whole time.. see a previous post for a review on that. It was tons of fun.
Thursday: rest, my butt hurt. Whining, I know.
Friday: rest
Saturday: 10-miler with Gabi this morning; I love those runs where you’re sore later. Longest distance we’ve done since the marathon in April.
Sunday: I’m going to plan some sort of cross-training for the gym.

I really really really love the idea of Run Less, Run Faster of doing three key runs per week, and sandwiching in two cross-training workouts. Because of the intensity of the runs, you need a day between each run to recover. However, the runs don’t wear you out so much that you need to take the next day completely off.

I want to get faster, and I want to keep my tempo and long runs at decent paces… Maybe 5-7 miles for the tempo and 8-14 for the long runs for right now. If I do a 3-mi interval run each week, that would give me 16-24 miles per week, plus cross-training. I have no race planned at this point, so I just want to keep up a good base so when I start training for the half around September/October, I can really kick it in the butt!

I admit that my eating has not been the best. I don’t think I’ve been eating too much from day to day.. it could possibly be the opposite. It’s summer, and I don’t have to take my lunch so I have a hard time being motivated to cook. Also, the movers come in less than three weeks and I don’t want to have a ton of food to throw away. I’m really bad about thinking I need to keep a full cabinet and fridge all the time. I don’t have to cook, necessarily… but I do need to make sure I’m getting enough fruits, veggies, and proteins instead of filling my calories with leftover Texas cake and ice cream.

Hydration with this heat and humidity is also a key issue. Sunday night I had a prolonged SVT episode and to make it stop I jumped in a cold shower. (To snap the heart out of the rhythm it needs to be “shocked” in some way.) Because my iron is better now, I think the problem was hydration and possibly lack of balance of vitamins and electrolytes. Also, the occasional drink can slow heart rate, and if I’m already dehydrated, my heart freaks out. Live and learn, I suppose.

This entry is quite long enough so I’m going sign off and enjoy the rest of my day. Enjoy the cooler weather while it lasts!

>The beginning of the goodbyes

>Tonight, my amazing [and tall] friend Megan hosted a little get-together after practice for the worship band.. kind of a going-away party. Megan made this ammmmaaazing ice cream pie with Oreos, ice cream, homemade fudge sauce, Spanish peanuts and Cool Whip (Oreo Orgy, anyone? Haha). She also made the first guacamole I ever liked. Leigh Ann, Pastor Rick’s wife, made this lovely strawberry pie with whole strawberries and real whipped cream. Kim, one of the vocalists, made hummus and brought rice crackers… I want the recipe!

I seriously love the members of the worship band… and I give a huge shout-out to them for all their hard work. We’ve really gelled as a band in the past few years, and I have been amazed at my own progress as a musician and vocalist. It’s so fun, too, when you are actually friends with people you play with… it makes it all worth it.

This Sunday was going to be my last on stage, but because of Aaron’s delay, next weekend (the 19th) will be my last. We then will be around for two more Sundays before heading to Texas.

I cried a little tonight.. I realized how much I mean to many people, and I know they’ll miss me. Sometimes I feel guilty because I’m not all that sad. And I don’t think I should be. At the same time, I have no idea of what it feels like to move more than 15 miles away from my hometown, and all my friends and family. It will be an interesting journey.

I’m looking forward to the dinners, movies, hanging out, runs, and bike rides before I leave. Late night talks, ice cream outings, lazing around the pool. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a great set of friends. Thanks, Faith, for being so amazing! I will miss all of you, but I know God has great plans for wherever we will go.

Leigh Ann told me that after Aaron’s out of the Army, we should come back and raise our family here and the church will be our home base for world missions. Tempting offer….

Amelia, Steve, Leigh Ann, Megan, myself, Terry, Joe, Andrew, Kim, Aaron, Patrick