We got a dog!

There were so many nights he would come home from a shift and he didn’t have words to express what he had seen or been through. He just wanted a dog to come and lie across his lap and be there…something to pet and hold and not have to say a word.

…and Thunder is his name! Who could have known what a blessing a little miniature poodle could be! I am totally a big dog person, or at lease I was until this guy came into our lives. Growing up with dogs I knew the work it takes and I was NOT looking forward to having dog hair on everything. The constant sweeping and sniffling from my dog allergy did not make having a dog one of my top priorities, but my husband wanted something to help him through those tough days. There were so many nights he would come home from a shift and he didn’t have words to express what he had seen or been through. He just wanted a dog to come and lie across his lap and be there…something to pet and hold and not have to say a word. At first I wasn’t on board but the more I saw those nights and the stress the LEO life was having on our family I gave in and the search began.

I still wanted a big dog. I knew there would be hair (everywhere) but as we did our research we started looking for a dog that did not shed and offered the least problems for my allergies. I went to the local shelter and we searched rescues all over the U.S. trying to find the right dog. I had friends looking and family wondering what we were thinking! Then the text came. One of my good friends had a dog she thought would be perfect for our needs and she found him in the one location I hadn’t looked…Craig’s List!!! I called the lady that had Thunder and got the low-down on him. He was almost 2 and was living in a home with two young kids with #3 on the way. The owner didn’t want a dog anymore so she asked this friend to take him. The friend already had two dogs of her own so as much as she liked him she just didn’t want three dogs. She sent a picture of a fluffy-headed little pup so we decided to meet.

We met at a local Petco so we all felt safe and when we walked in I saw a lady with a scrawny, shaved, black, over-sized-rat looking thing that somewhat resembled the dog in the picture. I introduced myself and she explained that after the picture was taken the kids had gotten gum in his hair and he had to be shaved to get it out. Wow…this was NOT the dog I wanted and I actually told my husband I didn’t want him, but the boys and my husband were already hooked! The smell of cigarette smoke and lack of hair was all I saw, but they obviously saw something more in this little guy and that night in November 2016, Thunder became part of our family. We took the trembling pup into our arms, bought him a new harness (I was not keeping the one that smelled like cigarette smoke!), a bed, some food and a few toys and headed home with the newest member of our family.

Police Pup
Right at home!

We had been considering names since our search began but somehow, despite the size and look of this little tyke, Thunder fit, both as his name and into the hole we didn’t know had been missing in our hearts. Today I can’t imagine our lives without him. Thunder sleeps at our feet, usually with my younger son, but sometimes with me. He knows there are four of us in the house and he is never settled for the night until he knows everyone is home. He actually paces and sits as lookout (as shown in today’s heading picture) waiting until every one of us is home safely. Only then does he rest peacefully. He waits outside the bathroom doors for us and when one of us is gone he knows and will sit by that bedroom door wondering “where are they??” It is amazing how much he takes care of us. He knows when someone isn’t felling well or something is bothering one of us. He stays at the foot of the bed (actually ON my feet) when I’m not feeling well and today is hanging with my older son, who has been sick for several weeks. He has been following me for the past 15 minutes as I did tasks around the house and he finally stopped to eat only after I was seated back at the computer. He is our protector and even if he is only 10 lbs., he has the fight of a lion and will do whatever it takes to keep us safe. My husband is out bowhunting right now, so after doing his rounds to check on the other three of us, Thunder has resumed his post on the arm of his blue recliner, faithfully watching out the window for my husband to return and that is where he will sit until he hears the garage doors open and knows that his family of four is all safely home.

IMG_0142

What an amazing visual reminder Thunder is of the way our Heavenly Father is always aware of our needs and where we are. It is so easy to forget in the craziness of life, that just like Thunder, God knows our every need. He is there with us in good times and bad and even when we don’t have the words to express what we are feeling, He is there, like Thunder on my husband’s lap, to just BE THERE for us with no expectations! No words are needed. All we have to do is lean on Him and he already knows what we need.

I know God’s almighty love for us is much greater than what Thunder can provide but I don’t mind the cuddly little reminder every now and then, lying across my feet and just being there for me. What a warm feeling I get both from Thunder’s love and from the love provided on a much larger scale by my Father in Heaven who is also always watching over me, and my family. He’s there for you, too! All you have to do is ask.

Joshua 1:9 ~ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

 

I just couldn’t write…

I was supposed to be helping others, not whining about my problems.

When I first started writing this blog it was with the intent to share my experiences with others in law enforcement families to let you all know you are not alone. I did not set a schedule of when I would write or what I would write about, I just wrote when the feeling came over me. I mean literally…I would have a thought that I just had to share and I’d sit down at the keyboard for hours typing and editing. Then came the change… no inspiration. There were lots of things going on but I started to move into a place where I didn’t think others wanted to hear about my struggles. I was supposed to be helping others, not whining about my problems.

I have gone over a year without posting and I’ve decided it is time to break out of that rut and write. I’ve got so many things I want to share with you I have decided to make a list and tell you all about it when the inspiration hits so here we go.

*We got a dog!

*You want to move WHERE???

*We’re actually doing this?

*What was I thinking?

*First year teacher at the age of 39?!?

*Getting there…

*It is well with my soul.

Ok. As you can see there have been a few big changes in our lives since I last wrote in June 2016 so I’m going to take it step-by-step and let these feeling flow. If you’d like to come along on the journey, buckle up, grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and get ready for some honest, deep-down admitting that I need you all as much as I thought you needed me. Here goes…

 

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Photo credit to Jacob Abshire Wednesday Wallpapers

https://www.jacobabshire.com/musings/wallpapers/wednesday-wallpaper-heart-locked/

Sleeping Alone Again Tonight 

And while these disrespectful, unstable and unbelievably out of control criminals do their deeds I simply force myself to go to bed, just waiting for that sweet sound of him breathing next to me once again.


I’m going to bed alone again tonight. He’s finishing up another late call. At least I know he’ll be here but I’m not sure when.
Most nights I can’t sleep until he’s here beside me, but 6 am comes early and the kids need to get to school in the morning. Doctor appointments and work tomorrow tell me I need to go to bed. The headache doesn’t help either.

Tomorrow is June 1. School is almost out but this year the type of calls he usually doesn’t deal with so frequently have started early. Three drive-by shootings in the past month. Stabbings. Major drug busts. Rescuing young children from very dangerous and potentially deadly domestic situations makes me wonder what else is to come. Summer isn’t even here yet but the level of violent crimes has risen in the last four and a half years since we moved to Green Bay.
I try to figure it out. What draws people to such horrendous acts? This past weekend an officer was shot in Appleton, just to our south. Thank God she is going to be ok. These kinds of things don’t usually happen in our cities but it is coming. And while these disrespectful, unstable and unbelievably out of control criminals do their deeds I simply force myself to go to bed, just waiting for that sweet sound of him breathing next to me once again.

Every night it is the only thing that really lets me sleep… The sound of his breath and the feel of his arms around me once again telling me he’s home… Until he leaves to fight the fight another day and leave me lying here again longing to hear him breathe and feel his arms around me, home safe once again.


Sleep well my friends, for men and women like mine stand watch and guard the night so at least YOU can sleep peacefully, blissfully unaware of what they are protecting you from. That is the way it should be. Sleep well. At least one of us will. And the next time you see red and blue lights in your rear view mirror or find something to complain about the police for, remember what they do while you live your lives and what they protect you from. You will probably never really know the ways our police have helped you or the sacrifices his or her family make for you, but that’s what we do. All I ask in return is your respect and understanding.

When you meet an officer, you never know what they may have just seen. You may not know that this is his 22nd call of the day and shift isn’t even over. You didn’t see the body he just saw in the car wreck or chase down a drug dealer while leaping over fences on an empty stomach because crime doesn’t stop just so he can eat supper.

So sleep well and go about your day tomorrow in peace. We’ll carry the burden. IT IS WHO WE ARE, IT IS WHAT WE DO are the words my husband and I tell each other every day.

Good night, all. At least some of you can get a full night of rest. Whenever he does finally make it to bed I’ll be happy to catch the few winks I can until the 6am alarm sounds much sooner than it should. And when I wipe the sleep from my eyes I’ll remember again, like I do every morning, we live this life because we are called to it. It is our choice, it is our calling and it is an honor… But it sure can be hard sometimes.

 

Lessons from Health Class

Our LEO life reaches into our boys’ personal lives. I never saw it that way until my son opened my eyes.

Health ClassLessons from Health Class…

 

My (almost 15 year old) son came home with an assignment that really got me thinking this week. He had to write out for Health class what his views and thoughts were on dating and relationships. If he brought his assignment back with a parent’s signature on it he got extra credit. His teacher said it was his way of getting kids to talk with their parents about topics that may be difficult or awkward. His assignment starts with these words… (he gave me permission to share this)…

I believe that people should date each other in order to get know each other better, find out if the affection they feel for each other is real and will stay, and to enjoy one another. The characteristics of someone I would want to date is that they are Christian, smart, adventurous, like to spend time outside, are not against hunting, are somewhat fit, are dating not just to date (they are dating to get to know me), are family oriented, and that understand the police/first responder family life.

He goes on to describe some activities he thinks are good to do, what he feels our guidelines are as parents for his dating life and what he has set as his own personal standards for a dating relationship.

I must say I got emotional as I read it. It has always been my hope and prayer to be the best mom I could be and to raise my kids “right”. I want them to choose appropriate behaviors because THEY think it is right, not just because it is what Mom and Dad say is right. I look at my “baby” who is about to turn 15 and I thank God for blessing us with such an amazing young man. I pray for him as he grows up in a world that just keeps getting more and more evil, and I pray he holds true to the standards he has set for himself. But while reading his assignment, one thing caught my attention… I wondered what exactly he meant by she will “understand the police/first responder family life.” So…I asked him. My husband and I were there with him so I asked my son what he meant when he wrote that. He explained…

“I want her to know the type of life we live. I want her to know that if you say we need to do something or I need to be somewhere, I need to do it. She needs to understand that we live a little differently than most families and I want her to understand that if we have to go…we have to go.”

Imagine my awe at his thought process. I never really thought about things like how us being a LEO family would affect things like our son’s dating life. He opened my eyes to a whole new world and thought process. Our children are a reflection of us, and the choices we make affect them in ways we don’t even think about.

ripple

When I married my husband he was working on a farm. I never lived as the kid of a LEO and I don’t have the knowledge of what that feels like. My husband got into law enforcement one month before our first son was born so that is all our kids have ever known. What a mind blowing thought for me to think that my husband’s law enforcement career is shaping them into who they will be and that includes their future spouses and eventually their children and extended families. Our LEO life reaches into our boys’ personal lives. I never saw it that way until my son opened my eyes.

People outside of law enforcement sometimes have a hard time understanding why we do things the way we do. I am very vigilant and watchful. I am always scanning for danger and watching people. I am always looking over my shoulder and choosing my restaurants, driving routes, routines, etc. with care. People don’t know some of the things we know. People don’t see the evils we see, but that is how it should be. Law enforcement families know more about the dark side of life than anyone should have to, but knowing my son gets that and is thinking about how that will follow him in life makes me wonder…what else has he picked up that I don’t fully grasp?

How does he see me in my Christian walk?

What does he think of how I treat others?

Am I being a good example of kindness, compassion, strength, encouragement and love?

How is who I am and who are family is, shaping him into the man he is becoming?

The past few months have been pretty busy and crazy around our house. I feel like I’ve failed so many times at being the “best” mom I could be, but this health assignment has brought me back to a good place of realizing that there are always eyes watching me and the person I am, even within my four walls.

Thinking about my son dating used to scare me. I didn’t think I was ready to move into that phase of being the mom of a young MAN, but now I am more at peace about what is to come.

Who knew a high school health assignment could do so much for me? Thank you, Mr. Health Teacher, for providing those “awkward” conversations that turn out to be not so awkward after all! We have always had open conversations in this home and I am now ready to keep working on being a better me, so when my son does bring home that special young lady, she too will see what our family is like and how we live. She will need to understand that things are a little different for our son, living in a LEO family, but I am confident that any girl my son chooses will already know what she is in for. I just have to make sure I live up to the standards my son has set and don’t let him down. Sometimes I wonder who is teaching whom in this home…this week, it is my son teaching ME!

 

 

Health class picture found at:

https://media.victoriaadvocate.com/img/photos/2009/08/17/N_Procon_16X9_081709_C_61574_t640.jpg?a6ea3ebd4438a44b86d2e9c39ecf7613005fe067

 

Ripples picture found at: http://cdn1.theodysseyonline.com/files/2016/02/13/63590923851571493549820049_ripple.jpg

A Diamond in the works…

I am not dealing with seeking the approval of one specific individual. I am struggling with finding the approval of MYSELF.

I’ve had a revelation. For years I’ve been told to “not care what other people think.” “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” “It only matters what the people you love think.” Well, this morning I’ve decided that all of those people, for all of those years are wrong. It DOES matter what other people think, but not in the way that most of us think about.

If I love a certain blue shirt and want to wear it, but my friend says she hates it…it DOES matter what she thinks. What she thinks helps define what I think and how I am going to choose to think about myself and value myself in my own eyes. If I let her opinion change my mind and I don’t wear my favorite shirt just because she doesn’t like it, it has changed how I allow other’s opinions to affect me. On the other hand, if I choose to disregard her disapproval and go with what makes me happy I am telling myself that I matter! I am choosing to value my own opinion and stand my ground and this will eventually influence how I allow what others think mold me into the person I am meant to be. I have dealt with self-worth for years. I have always cared what other people think of me. It has had both good and bad influences on my life and I’ve had to learn to evaluate the source of opinions and decide whether I valued the person that was giving the advice.

I grew up in a home with a father who provided the primary income and a mother who, along with taking care of the three of us kids, worked side jobs to bring more money in. She never worked full-time out of the house and was always there for us when we needed her. My husband also grew up in this type of home. His father had the income and his mother raised the four kids. She has done seasonal and other jobs but was always available for the kids fulltime. We grew up in a town of about 900 people and I am happy to say we had about the best childhoods kids could ask for. There were bumps along the way, as in any family, but we had it good.

But, I am a mom of a different generation. Women’s liberation movements tell women they can do it all. The changes I have seen in the past 20 years and advances even before that show the strides our country has made in giving women almost every opportunity a man has. We can vote, we can have almost any job out there, we can have babies and a job or we can choose to be a career woman and live the single life. It is all up to us. The problem this brings for someone like me is I’m stuck in the middle of a giant revolution for women and I just don’t know quite where I am supposed to fit.

I want to be a mom but I want to work. Family values and the way I was raised tell me I should put a career on hold and raise my family first. Society tells me that I can have it all and I should do what I want and the family can just follow. This is where my beginning statement plays a vital role in my life today…IT DOES MATTER WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. I am not dealing with seeking the approval of one specific individual. I am struggling with finding the approval of MYSELF.

I want to be the best mom I can. I want to be there for my boys and I want to give them everything they need, the traditionalist shines through and tells me to put off working and be there for my family…but then the feelings of wanting to be successful and important lurk in. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with a woman working. I WANT TO WORK! But I also want to be a full-time mom! I’m stuck between that proverbial “rock and a hard place” and I’m feeling the squeeze.

I see many women who work outside of the home and raise their families very successfully. But I also see the difference it makes in the kids. I have many friends who stay at home full time and many that home school. I also have many friends that work and balance the rigors of daycare, family and a career. Each woman I know is strong in her own way and I respect each of them for the way they are handling their situation but I find myself stuck in the middle wanting it both ways.

I am not here to judge anyone. I am not here to tell anyone at home that they are missing out by not working and I am definitely not here to condemn those who are working. I “get” both sides. I have been working on my college degrees online as I raise my children. I have spent many nights, up until 2 am writing papers only to get up at 6 to get the kids moving. I have homeschooled in the past and right now I have both boys in public school. I have lived both ways and I love them both. What I need is to find that peace that tells me it’s ok. Right at this very moment I am taking 7 graduate credits, working part time, doing in-school student observations for a class, being a wife, being a mom and trying to do it all. Some days I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get it all done, so that is when I stop. I stop to think about those people who do matter to me and how I feel about what they think about me right now. Do I want them to see me and say, “Oh, look at her doing it all! She’s so successful.” “She’s such a blessing.” “We can always count on her.” Actually, yes, that is what I want but at what expense. My stress level lately has been sky high. When I just stop and take a breath I realize I have to dig deep inside and find how I feel about myself right now. If I don’t like how I’m feeling, there’s probably something wrong with the big picture. Life shouldn’t be about working to please others or appear important so they’ll find value in you. It’s about being the best “YOU” you can be. For me right now I think it’s time to just stop and take a good look at what’s “on my plate” and if I can “carry it.” If I have too much on my plate all it’s going to do is wear me out or ultimately break the plate and that’s a lot harder to fix than it is to just take something off the plate and maybe come back for it later.

Ladies, and especially girls, don’t let what you think others want from you become so important that you forget to decide what you really want out of life. Dig deep and find what makes you happy and chase after that with all of your might. I will never regret the years I’ve had at home with my boys and that number is getting smaller and smaller. My older son is a freshman which means I’ve only got a few years left before he’s out on his own. I am proud of myself for completing my Bachelor’s degree (at 33 years old). I have taught my boys that it’s never too late to learn and that hard work pays off. I’ve also shown them that I can balance between pursuing my dreams and being their mom. That’s where I am finding my true self-worth. Sometimes I need to just take a break like this and get things typed out to really see what’s going on in my heart. Emotions pour out and when I see what I’ve written it reflects who I am and what I find important.

I’m going to keep working on finishing my Master’s degree. I’m going to keep showing my boys that hard work pays off, but I’m not going to let the things that I think others are looking for in me determine my happiness. My happiness is found within these four walls, with my husband and my sons and with what works for US. I’m going to push through this semester, somehow, and do it because I want to and not because society tells me I need to. I’m going to keep on keeping on and do it for the right reasons. I do care what other’s think of me but I’m going to let that be a matter of helping determine who my friends are and not who decides what I do with my life. And most of all I can rest peacefully, even among the high levels of stress, because I know I was created by a loving God who doesn’t care what degree I have or what type of house I live in…He cares about what’s in my heart…

Psalm 139:14

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Marvelous are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

Time to continue on with my day and get it all done, but now with a more joyful heart, because I’m not doing it for the praises of anyone else. I’m doing it for me and my family.

Sometimes beautiful things come from the results of time under great stress…just look at a diamond!

diamonds-loose-certified-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture of diamonds from:

Follow your Heart photo from:

Career and family photo from:

AREN’T YOU AFRAID??? (I get asked that a lot lately)

I CHOOSE not to live in fear, because if I did it would consume me. Let me explain…

fear-dictionary-definition-word-31315033

AREN’T YOU AFRAID?

This week I have been asked several times about my fears. “How do you handle being married to a police officer? That must be hard. Doesn’t it scare you?”  “Your husband has a motorcycle? Those are too dangerous. Aren’t you afraid he’ll crash?” I actually get those two specific questions about fear several times a year and every time I have the same response… I CHOOSE not to live in fear, because if I did it would consume me. Let me explain…

I’ve been there. I’ve lived in fear. I’ve gone through the “what if’s” and dwelled on all of the bad things that could happen: He could get shot. He could get hurt. He could crash his bike. He could, he could, he could…. and yes, HE COULD! BUT what people don’t think about is the fact that no matter what job he has or what form of transportation he chooses, there are still risks.

Factory workers get hurt. People get into car accidents every day. And in all honesty…he’s gotten more concussions from playing high school sports than he’s had injuries from being a police officer. (He even got a concussion while play slow-pitch softball!!!) When you really think about it we all live with dangers every day. Yes, the fact that he is a police officer puts him at a greater likelihood of injury statistically but what people don’t realize is the number one reason I tell them I don’t have to worry…HE’S NOT ALONE.

When we lived up in northern Wisconsin and he was working part-time on the road he was alone. When he was working in the jail it was him and one other officer in the entire jail and for the most part he was alone. Here in Green Bay he is NEVER alone. Even when he is sent to a call by himself his partners on the road know where he is and they have a brotherhood/sisterhood beyond explanation. They can read the tone in each other’s voices so well that they know when the other needs help without them having to ask. They have learned how each one sounds on the radio and what type of calls they need to back each other up on. Then on those calls that he is sent to alone, if he does need help I know that when he does call for backup it is never far away. There are so many other officers with their eyes and ears looking out for each other that I can sit here right now knowing that he is as safe as he could be out there on the road. That helps me sit here and go on with my daily activities without constantly wondering if he’s ok.

But then there’s the other way he’s not alone. My husband and I have talked about this intimately and often and we have an understanding. The Lord is ultimately the one who has complete control and it is up to Him whether we are all here to live another day. The Bible tells us to not fear. He tells us in Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

English Standard Version (ESV)

This has become one of our family verses. My son wears it around his neck on a necklace. My husband has a sign hanging in his locker at work. It is on a sign on our dresser at home. It is the life verse we have given our sons and it has gotten us through countless times of fear. Now, I’m not saying living without fear is easy, but as I shared in an earlier post, I used to live in fear when our boys were younger and it was of no use to me. It did not bring peace, it surely didn’t let me sleep well at night so I had to give it up to the Lord. I ultimately cannot stop anything from happening, good or bad. I can’t prevent illness. I can do things to try to protect myself. I can take precautions to be safe but ultimately I do not have the power to prevent or allow the things that happen in our lives, so why spend my time living in fear?

I tell people my husband was born to be a police officer, and I truly believe that. He is an excellent officer and the world needs men like him out there fighting for what is right. If I were to tell him I didn’t want him to be a cop and he was to go work another job, how would that be fair to him and how would that show my true faith in the One who commands our days? If Jesus could control the waves during a storm who am I to question if He has control over what happens in my life?

When our boys were babies and wouldn’t go to sleep there were two songs I would sing to them over and over until they were sleeping…Take me Out to the Ballgame and His Eye is on the Sparrow. Two completely different songs, I know, but one shared our love of our earthly passions, sports and one shared our love of our Heavenly Father.  Singing this calmed my boys as I held them and rocked them in my arms, but it also calmed my fearful heart on those dark, lonely nights he was working and I was home deciding whether or not to fear. I encourage you to consider the options that come with choosing or dismissing fear and then work and pray to dismiss it. It is life changing and I’m not looking back. I come back to this song often and I encourage you, if you deal with fear to carefully consider its words and then focus on the One who delivers us from our fears. There are days when fear tries to creep back in and I have to battle to kick it back out of my life but these words help me every time and I hope they can help to bring you peace, too…

“His Eye Is On The Sparrow”
(feat. Tanya Blount)
[Tanya Blount:]
Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home

When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is he
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches over me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me

[Lauryn Hill:]
I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow

And I know he watches
[Tanya:] He watches me
[Lauryn:] His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches
[Tanya:] I know he watches
[Lauryn:] I know he watches me

[Lauryn & Tanya:]
I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow

[Lauryn:] And I know he watches me
[Tanya:] He watches me
[L&T:] His eye is on the sparrow
[Tanya:] And I know he watches me
[Lauryn:] He watches me
[Tanya:] He watches me, I never thought…
[L&T:] He watches me

 

If you’d like to listen please click on the link below, click on the orange “play” circle near the top, then close your eyes, listen to the words and let the fear melt away.

God Bless!

~Kelly

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/laurynhill/hiseyeisonthesparrow.html

 

Fear picture from:

https://ninacsmall.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/screen-shot-2012-10-27-at-11-15-31-am2.png?w=397&h=136

Photo of Sparrow on barbed wire found at:

http://www.birdingisfun.com/2015/04/sparrows-many-shades-of-brown.html

 

IT’S WHO WE ARE, IT’S WHAT WE DO

Helping people is part of my inner being, it’s who I am, it’s what I do. But sometimes it all catches up with me and I just need to sit down and let my mind stop spinning.

 

IT’S WHO WE ARE, IT’S WHAT WE DO… Sometimes life just gets crazy. I am a people pleaser. I like to make other people’s lives easier and I tend to put my own health and sanity on the back burner to make sure I do all I can to help others. I love serving. Helping people is part of my inner being, it’s who I am, it’s what I do. But sometimes it all catches up with me and I just need to sit down and let my mind stop spinning.

Balance street signs

 

I just started a new part-time job last week. Being the new office manager of a small credit union is a new adventure I’m eager to embark on. Three hours a day, three days a week still leaves time for me to be there for my family. I have a few days off to do homework and balance my other jobs being a wife and mother. I substitute teach when I want to and I am also finishing my master’s degree. I am also the Preschool director at our local church. When I do think of each role I am in individually I am fine, but when something big happens in each of these roles all in the same day it gets to be a bit overwhelming. Today when I got home from another day of training and learning to do the important monthly paperwork at the credit union I had a phone call for a second interview as a substitute teacher at a local school district. Getting this extra part-time job would mean I would no longer need to drive half an hour or more to substitute teach. I never expected to get this callback so after placing all of my roles in front of me in an imaginary puzzle I started to realize just how many coals I have in the fire and I got a bit flustered. I am excited for each role I play but there I sat evaluating the importance and my desire to be in each role and I found myself having so many emotions I almost wanted to just sit there and cry. I wasn’t sad at all, but all of the stress of trying to please everyone in each of these roles was too much to take all at once. Looking at my calendar for the week makes me wonder how I can do it all and it was only 1:30 on Monday afternoon! Wife, mother, student, director, office manager, teacher, and so much more…how was I going to do it all?

That’s where my LEO comes in. He is the one that helps me find balance. Being a law enforcement officer, my husband has to juggle many things all at one time. Talking to someone in person as he has voices talking to him through his ear piece, writing reports and responding to calls, keeping tabs on where his partners are and often times driving while always being aware of his surrounds and what is going on around him…it is what he does, it is who he is.  He has trained. He has studied. He has practiced. He is amazing at what he does. He is continuously taking in as much as he can to learn to do his job to the best of his ability. He learns from his and other people’s mistakes and always strives to do what he can to serve his family, his church, his partners and his city. He also has many irons in the fire.

He is part of my inspiration and one of the reasons I am able to continue when I come home on my Monday and wonder just how I’m going to get it all done. He is my support. He listens when I need an ear. He gives advice when I need it. He is my advisor, my psychologist, my shoulder to lean on, my wall to bounce ideas off of, but most of all he is my partner in life…the one person I can count on NO MATTER WHAT. He is the father to my children, my partner in life, my protector, my husband and most of all, my example of how to live out the life God has called us to with honor and integrity. He is by no means perfect, but I don’t need perfect, I just need someone who is always there for me whether I’m having one of my “Mondays” or a day of calm relaxation.

…I let these words sit on the screen this week and now that it is Friday and the craziness is almost over I look back and wonder how I got through it all. The number one thing that I can think of is I wasn’t afraid to let someone know how I was feeling. My someone was my husband this time. Some days I call and talk to one of my sisters-in-law. Actually, Monday afternoon I Facetimed with my brother’s wife and got to see the adorable face of my 9-month-old niece. Just taking that break to let someone know I was “going crazy” and having them listen helped in more ways than they will ever know. It helped me take a break, sit back, take a deep breath and trudge on through the hectic week. Letting someone in on what we are feeling can be hard but I have learned over the years that when I keep it all bottled up nothing good ever comes from it. It is the days that I do let someone know I’m struggling and just let it out that I’m able to pick myself back up and continue through the stresses of life.

not going to be easy coin

 

I am a servant. I also have to remember that I am a willing servant. I am choosing to do all of these things, even when it can get overwhelming. I love my life, as crazy as it can get and I don’t want to give up any of the coals I have in the fire. I am choosing to keep them all burning but I am also learning that sometimes I can let some of them sit because they’ll still be there when I get back from tending to the business at hand. I have partners in life that can help me know when I need to just let them all simmer for a bit and take time for myself, but it is because of those people in my life that I am able to let it all out and then continue this journey we call life. My husband, my sisters-in-law, my children…we all get ourselves into these tough days but we aren’t alone and we help each other through. As my husband told me…IT’S WHO WE ARE, IT’S WHAT WE DO. But it sure is good to know I don’t have to do it alone!

 

Images found at:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10088174
http://theimagineproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Screen-Shot-2014-03-25-at-8.59.12-PM.png

 

 

 

I SMILE

I lost count of how many times I’ve purposefully stood with my wedding ring in their sight so I could maybe avoid the question asking if I was married.

I AM USED TO SHARING MY HUSBAND WITH THE WORLD. He misses birthdays, holidays, family gatherings and just regular life experiences to serve as a police officer and I get it. I make sacrifices so others can be safe. I go to family events without him. I take my boys to see the new movie at the theater without him because he’s at work. I know a lot of other families both in law enforcement and not, do the same. We usually eat supper without him. It’s all part of the job. I have had people think I was a single mother or separated from my husband when we started at a new church because my husband was either working or sleeping after the night shift so often. I lost count of how many times I’ve purposefully stood with my wedding ring in their sight so I could maybe avoid the question asking if I was married. We have chosen this life and we take all that comes with it.

The issue I am dealing with today comes after a night of a 12-14” dump of beautiful Wisconsin snow. As he backed out of our garage to head in for shift yesterday, I watched as a single snowflake lazily fluttered to the ground. Up until now we’ve had no snow that would stick and only a dusting at a time. The weather predictors told us to expect 10.9 inches and we almost wanted to laugh. They said it would start at 3 pm so at 2:09 pm I did laugh as the snow was doing all it could to tell the weather predictors who was boss. And boy did it show the city of Green Bay who was boss!

The boys and I watched out our windows as that single little snowflake was joined by every relative it could find and decided the wind should come along for a visit, too. The birds and squirrels had rushed to get their fill so they were now in hiding and by 8 pm we already had about 6 inches on the ground. I was grateful for our neighbor who had given us his snow blower to use and for the teenage son that couldn’t wait to use it. We didn’t get our White Christmas in Green Bay but it had finally snowed and as my other son had exclaimed, “At least we’ll have a White New Year!”

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So my problem comes when I texted my husband to ask him how bad it really was out there. We were down to our last bag of milk and I had considered driving to the store for a few items when he basically demanded that I not go ANYWHERE! Some highlights of our conversation included that there was a layer of solid ice under all of that snow and that people were being absolutely unsafe! Police cars were driving 25 mph to get to help people and yet other drivers felt they could handle going 50 mph and were going around the police cars!

To those drivers let me say this… Really people?! Let me get this straight…You are smarter and better at driving than the men and women that have been trained in EVOC and are working to save others in the storm? What makes you think you are so invincible, and that going around a squad car is the smart thing to do? With today’s technology, just about anyone should be able to know how much snow we were going to get and how bad the storm was…and for those who couldn’t find the time or technology to get the answer…eyes and ears are the best clue to know that when the wind is blowing snow horizontally and coming at an inch an hour, you probably don’t NEED to go shopping for non-essentials or drive to the casino! Is it so important to be at the casino that you put other peoples’ lives at risk by being on the road? Unless you have to get to work or have a legitimate necessity to drive, there is no reason to be on the roads in those kind of conditions. When you are out there you are only making the job of the police, fire, ambulance, etc. harder because you are causing accidents that could have been avoided had you just stayed home and off of the roads or you are simply in the way of them getting to help those in need. I don’t mind sharing my husband with someone that had to get to work 3rd shift and went in the ditch or couldn’t get up the hill, but yes, I do mind sharing with those that have no common sense and choose to only make my husband’s job harder, and more dangerous! To know that he was using himself and his squad to block off roads until salt trucks could come makes me proud, but to know that people don’t think and don’t care enough about others and will disregard his safety or wisdom and training and just drive around him to get to their unnecessary fun makes me angry!

IMG_0275 edited

 

Ok, there’s my rant.

But…

…in reality, I am sharing my husband with other people every day he goes to work. Even on a bright summer day I hear about all of the different types of people police have to deal with. The ones who can’t control their children and expect a police officer to fix in 5 minutes, the mess they made by years of not parenting their children. Those that are fighting over property after the fifth boyfriend has moved out or the divorcees that can’t even do a child exchange without fighting so they need the police to come and supervise. These are the times I get frustrated. But then I stop and choose to change my focus. If I dwell on all of the bad things happening, it changes my day and makes me mad, but when I remember the ones he truly helps I am reminded why we are still in this profession…this life.

There are those who genuinely need help and I have no problem knowing he is out there helping people in real need. When he comes home all amped up and I find out it is because he saved a man’s life by holding pressure on a wound until the paramedics arrived and then helped even more, I SMILE. When I hear he found a child wondering all alone and was able to keep the kid safe until the parents were found, I SMILE. When he glows as he tells me about how he visited with a group of kids that wanted to say hi and see his squad car…how he handed out Packer cards and made a connection with a neighborhood of kids, I SMILE. When I hear that he stopped something small that was beginning to bubble into something potentially dangerous from becoming a fight, I SMILE. But mostly, whether it is the menaces out there with a desire to cause trouble or the good citizens that just need help, when I see my husband walk in the door after his shift, I SMILE.

He is home. He is safe. He will wake again tomorrow to fight the good fight for another day. I don’t know what he will face each day that I have to share him with the world, but no matter what he winds up dealing with I know he loves what he does and he is making a difference in the world. The bad need to be dealt with and the good need him to help them. It is because of this, and because of his response to the calling that I continue to share him with the world, and…I SMILE.

Christmas is December 25?

This year we almost don’t know what to do. My husband got to watch everyone open gifts and then STAY. We are spending time with both his parents and mine. We are actually doing Christmas on Christmas Day! How does this work?

As I sat at church last night for the Christmas Eve service I couldn’t help but think about the fact that this is the first time in four years that my husband has actually been off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For the past 14 years we’ve squeezed in our gift opening to a slot of time before he had to leave for work or the day before.  The kids played with their toys and my husband left for shift. Occasionally he gets the day off but it is not a yearly experience.  Christmas is always celebrated but rarely ON December 25.

This year we almost don’t know what to do. My husband got to watch everyone open gifts and then STAY. We are spending time with both his parents and mine. We are actually doing Christmas on Christmas Day! How does this work?

I’ve gotten used to either staying home or traveling with just me and the boys so we could be a part of the Christmas Day traditions.  This year we are all together and it feels weird to be celebrating on the actual day that the calendar tells us is Christmas.

Family is starting to arrive here at Nana’s house. Aunts, uncles and cousins will fill the house. We’ll eat turkey and ham. We’ll exchange gifts. We’ll play bingo with 35 people and have our yearly wrapping paper ball fight that one uncle is sure to start. Everyone will leave but us, and when I get packed up to head to my parents’ house for the evening my cop will come with me this year. I won’t be worrying about if he’s safe and being so far away. I’ll have him by my side. I think that is why I’ve found myself holding his hand, walking arm in arm and snuggling just a little closer when we sit on the couch to watch It’s a Wonderful Life with everyone. It’s been four years and this opportunity probably won’t come again for another six years so I’m taking it all in while I can.

So on this Christmas Day 2015, if they are off, hug your LEO a little tighter. Snuggle a little closer. Just watch as he/she gets to spend time with family and cherish it. And if your LEO is working today, Thank You for your and their sacrifice. Know that you are not alone. Hold on to those memories of the Christmases you DO have together and stay strong. It is your turn this year but we’ll take the shift next year. This year we’ll absorb our hugs so we have them next year and we’ll be praying for your safety today. Stand strong. Be safe. And Merry Christmas.

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Christmas balls image found at:

https://www.planwallpaper.com/static/images/Choose-One-FOr-Celebration. jpg

John Piper and Jerry Falwell, Jr. – Christians and Carrying Guns

When browsing Facebook today I came across an article a friend had posted, written by Chancellor and Pastor John Piper, about whether Christians should be encouraged to arm themselves. Having sat through video recorded Sunday School lessons by Mr. Piper, and finding this article right up my alley as a LEO wife I decided to read it and then share my thoughts. I can tell you right now that I have a very strong opinion on it but I invite you to read it for yourself first if this is a topic that at all interests you. Please feel free to read my response and reply or discuss, but most of all please do your OWN research before just taking someone’s advice. (including mine) After all, we all are entitled to our opinions. That’s what makes life interesting…

Mr. Piper’s post…

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-be-encouraged-to-arm-themselves

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And my response…

I can honestly say as the wife of a police officer and a Christian woman I am boiling mad at the statements made in this article. I have felt for quite some time that Mr. Piper is listened to because of his long standing time in the church. He has written some very good books and created some wonderful Bible studies. He does have some very good teachings on Biblical truths but I have taken issue with several over the years that just did not sit right. None have hit me so personally until now, and in this one I wholeheartedly think he is very misguided. I can see how he could take such a stance, coming from his position as a Pastor and Chancellor of a Bethlehem College and Seminary, but coming from mine and what I have seen and lived through being the wife of a cop, I almost could not read past number two. I was getting very frustrated and even angry that so many people are going to not arm themselves simply because Mr. Piper says he doesn’t think it is a good idea. I am glad he makes some of the statements he does, especially when he talks about the sheep and the wolves, but let me tell you about the one very important element he has left out, the Sheepdog.

At the very end of his article Mr. Piper references Luke 10:3 where the Bible talks about Christians being “as lambs in the midst of wolves”.

In the law enforcement community, the police officers who are willing to lay down their lives for others are sometimes referred to as Sheepdogs. This is a term I first heard of from my husband after he read a book written by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who talks about the Sheepdog’s role in being an intermediary between the sheep and the wolves. Lt. Col. Grossman writes…

“If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizen, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath–a wolf. But if you have the capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens, then you are a sheepdog.”

He goes on to say,

“The sheepdog lives to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”

Sheepdogs are the ones who keep the sheep safe by guarding them and keeping watch for dangers they may not even know exist. I find it interesting that my husband and I just had a discussion on this topic today, well before I even knew about Mr. Piper’s post. In reading Mr. Piper’s article I do agree with one thing, the sheep are not meant to fight the wolves. That is what the Sheepdogs are there for. If you do not feel you are equipped with the skills or knowledge of knowing when it is appropriate to use a handgun then do not use one.  But God has given us Sheepdogs; law enforcement officers, military members, but also regular people with the heart and soul to fight the evil that is among us. I personally am one of those Sheepdogs. I have taken the class and been trained. I carry a concealed weapon and I am rarely without it. I am not willing to watch as a mass murder kills innocent people when I have the ability to do something about it. If faced with the unfortunate occurrence that I need to pull my gun I will not think twice about defending myself or anyone I am around to stop the “wolf” that is attacking. Not everybody is a Sheepdog. The majority of people on this planet are not equipped to fight the wolves. The wolves prowl around looking for the weak and if there are no Sheepdogs, who is going to protect the sheep? I understand the need to love one another and let God take vengeance into His hands. I do not walk around with my gun in my hand letting people know that if they mess with me they are going to pay, but let it be known, if someone shoots at my family, friends, fellow church goers or even a stranger at the mall who I happen to be by, I WILL PROTECT THEM. I WILL LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR THEM.

The thought of being able to stop a murderous gunman simply with love is preposterous to me. By the time you are facing a gunman who is killing people indiscriminately, that time has passed. Now is the time for action, to defend innocent lives caught in the crossfire. By protecting those innocent lives you are showing Christ’s love by giving them the chance to live another day.

I understand Christians are told we are going to be persecuted. The reason we are talking about this topic at all is because of what has been happening in our own country by both those who claim to be fighting for their religion and by others who just simply are doing it to kill people. If I ever happen to find myself in either of these situations with a chance to defend myself with my gun, I won’t think twice. That is what makes me different from Mr. Piper. According to the definition above, he is a sheep, and that is ok. There are very few inside and outside of law enforcement that are called to be Sheepdogs. Unless you ARE a Sheepdog you probably cannot understand what it is like. Few are called to fill that role but those that are get it. I am honored to carry that burden within me, for when that day comes that someone pulls a gun I will be ready to defend myself and anyone around me. As Mr. Piper quotes in his article, “God is our refuge and strength.” (Psalm 46:1). If the time comes when I have to use my gun, I know He will give me the strength to stand firm and take out the wolf that is attacking the sheep.

To be fair…No, I do not completely agree with the quoted statements of Liberty University President, Mr. Jerry Falwell, Jr., encouraging EVERY student to go get a gun. This is not smart thinking. Many of them are not equipped and it is very dangerous to start arming people just to be armed. On that point I agree with Mr. Piper. But if you are, like me, a Sheepdog, please join the fight we fight against evil. I do not believe God calls for us to just stand there and take it when we are attacked. Love has its place but I will choose to show my love by protecting the sheep against the wolves. I do not expect everyone to understand or agree with my opinion. But I know that you are either a sheep, a sheepdog or a wolf and I don’t think a sheepdog would be doing a very good job if it just let the wolves have free reign over the sheep. The wolves would just grow stronger and braver. The pack would grow even larger. The Sheepdogs are already outnumbered. The battle is already hard enough. By asking the Sheepdogs to just try to love the wolves and then think the wolves will leave the sheep alone doesn’t make any sense to me.

I am a very strong Christian myself, but I take issue with the words and advice of both of these Christian leaders. I applaud their efforts to guide their students and congregations. We need Godly leaders in these troubling times. We need pastors to help us, I just don’t think advising people on whether or not they should choose to carry a gun is within their realm of expertise. (And please, by all means correct me if I am wrong). Mr. Falwell, advise them to carefully consider the choices, the responsibility, and the consequences of the choices that come with arming oneself. Encourage them to take a class, handle a firearm and see if carrying is right for them. Mr. Piper, encourage them to read the Bible and see what it says for themselves about loving their enemies. But do not make blanket statements to large masses of people who do not understand the big picture of carrying a weapon. People listen to you Mr. Piper and Mr. Falwell. Remember that and choose your guidance very carefully. It will affect more people than you think.

 

Grossman, Lt. Col. Dave. “On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs.” Killology. Web. 23 Dec. 2015. <killology.com>.

Piper, John. “Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?” Desiring God. Desiring God Foundation, 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 23 Dec. 2015. <http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-be-encouraged-to-arm-themselves&gt;.

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