Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wherever Life May Lead Me

Hi friends, I have been so busy lately.  Derek has been on his last vacation before he leaves for Afghanistan.  I never thought I would be writing this but here it is...Life has been really amazing lately.  There isn't one thing that I can pin point and say has been my turning point.  Honestly I think it is a culmination of a whole bunch of things changing.  Derek and I have begun to make friends outside of the Army and from our church.  I have begun to crack away at my sadness, I don't know if it has been the amazing onset of lots of sunny days this summer or if it is just Jesus or likely both, but it is nice to not feel like you are just surviving from one day to the next day.  I realized this summer that I can be the person I am back at home right here in Washington where God has planted me for this season.  I used to think I could only be who I am with my friends back home.  At one point I longed for home.  I longed for my friends, I longed for my life I had back home.  Then it hit me, I realized I am worth people's time.  I have been so guarded and scared of people the last few years.  I have felt like the only people who would understand me are the people who walked with me through those tough and very dark times.  God has really placed it on my heart in the last few weeks that vulnerability begets vulnerability.  I have finally gotten to the place where I am somewhat okay being vulnerable with others.  This is a huge step for me since I am the type of person who prides themselves in having it all together. I think this has made it a little easier for Derek and I to put our walls down and friendships are beginning to bloom!  I am so grateful that there is life after death and that dark seasons allow for incredible opportunities for growth.  This summer has been such a time of growth and gratitude.  I wanted to leave y'all with a list of how incredibly blessed I have been this summer:

1. Derek and I have made a priority to have a date each Saturday, we have enjoyed spending time together running each week.
2. Faith has been developing such an amazing vocabulary and it is incredible to have actual conversations with her.
3.  Faith is my heart.  She is loving, kind, stubborn, and oh so wild.  She is so my child and she keeps me laughing!
4.  I have been able to speak my heart so much this summer and it has been like a healing salve to my soul!
5.  Derek and I have joined an amazing life group at church and are beginning to make friendships and are actually starting to put down roots.
6.  I am beginning to feel like life is amazing!
7. Derek and I are finding our love again.  It was never gone just trampled a bit by life's circumstances.
8. Washington is starting to feel like home for now.
9. This year I will have been able to visit my family and friends back home 4 times.
10.  The painful layers are being peeled away and life is becoming happy again!

Sometimes life requires a perspective change, prayerful insight, and  few moments taken to count our blessings.  So friends take some time today to reflect, find some insight, and count your blessings, because in the mist of it all life can still be good.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Strong Enough

Tomorrow is the the day that changed our families life forever.  The day that Derek and I chose to turn off the life support for our sweet Zechariah.  There have been many moments the last few days that I have had the urge to go and sit on the floor of the pantry and eat Oreos.  I however have not done that.  I have recognized my feelings and moved on.  I have not medicated those feelings with food.  I want to honor my son and his memory by being healthy, after all, he didn't have a choice in regards to his health, but I have a choice.  I have been choosing to live my truth as well as living a life where I am present and to do that it means feeling those painful feelings.

I truly believe Matthew West song "Strong Enough" describes my last few years.

I know I'm not strong enough to beeverything that I'm supposed to beI give upI'm not stong enoughHands of mercy won't you cover meLord right now I'm asking you to beStrong enoughStrong enoughFor the both of us
Well, maybeMaybe that's the pointTo reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finallyFinally at rock bottomWell, that's when I start looking upAnd reaching out
I know I'm not strong enough to beEverything that I'm supposed to beI give upI'm not stong enoughHands of mercy won't you cover meLord right now I'm asking you to beStrong enoughStrong enough
Cause I'm brokenDown to nothingBut I'm still holding on to the one thingYou are Godand you are strongWhen I am weak
I can do all thingsThrough Christ who gives me strengthAnd I don't have to beStrong enoughStrong enough
I can do all thingsThrough Christ who gives me strengthAnd I don't have to beStrong enoughStrong enough

Good news is God is truly strong enough to meet my needs, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  I just need to believe that God has not forgotten me, which I do, but in the midst of the excruciating pain it has been easy to forget.  I choose to remember that when the rains and storms come there is always a rainbow at the end of it all.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

2 years, 92 pounds, and a New Lease on Life

In 6 short days it will be have been 2 years since our sweet Zechariah passed away.  In the last few weeks I have been trying to focus on how far I have come in the last 2 years.  It has been painful.  God has allowed so many aspects of my life to be stripped away so I can learn to be truly dependent on Him.  I have had to rely on God in so many aspects of my life especially in the last 2 years but one aspect I am truly proud of is the journey to health I have walked through.  In the last 2 years I have lost 92 pounds (somewhere between 92-95, depending on the week).  It has been a hard.  Weight loss is hard.  Learning to cope without a vice is hard.  Learning how to stop emotionally eating has been the hardest lesson for me.  I love to eat.  I love to eat when I am happy, sad, mad, angry, you name it I love food for all reasons.  I am truly recovering from a food addiction.  I have had to realize that I need to start facing my stuff instead of stuffing my face.  Zechariah has been the driving force for this huge change in my life.  I remember sitting on airplane heading back to my home in Texas after Zech's funeral thinking life is going to be different.  I am going to be different.  It was then I realized that Zechariah didn't have a choice about his heart, his health or his life, BUT I DO, I HAVE A CHOICE!  So I chose my health.  I took my life back.  I got so many rewards in the process; I got my health back, I was able to have skin removal surgery, I became confident in who I am as a person, gained confidence in my body and living in my own skin, and I gained fitness.  I am now a person who longs for my morning cycling classes, Saturday runs, and a life full of happiness and health!

It has been amazing to watch my body and life change.  It is truly amazing to see how your life can change with a lot of hard work, dedication, prayer, and commitment.  As the 2 year mark of Zech's death approach's in 6 days, I can rest assured knowing that his life was not lived in vain.  His life was a catalyst for change in my life and my families life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Running To Remember

16 weeks, that is the approximate amount of weeks that this family has until Derek goes to Afghanistan.  Derek and I don't spend much time alone together because we don't have family in Washington, we have many acquaintances but very few friends here so we definitely lack in the babysitting department.  Derek and I had been have been talking a lot recently about spending more time together and have realized that over the course of our marriage we have had so little help that we have neglected our marriage.  It wasn't something that happened purposely, I think it is something that happened out of life's circumstances and to some extent it is the price we pay for moving often with the military. In an attempt to have more one on one time together Derek and I have trying to find new ways to spend time alone together.  Last month Derek and I did the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Down and Dirty Mud Run Series.  It was so fun!  There is nothing like running with your best friend and acting like real life G.I Joe's (I guess I should say I get to act like a G.I Joe, Derek is a real life G.I Joe)!  

Mud Run!  Derek and I holding our participant coins!

Derek and I enjoy running together, and our love for the outdoors, as well as running and hiking is something that we have always had in common.  So, in my effort to spend more time with my hubby I planned a date for us each and every Saturday.  I signed Faith up for hourly daycare for 2 hours each Saturday and Derek and I joined a running group.  We joined a group in DuPont, Washington called Wear Blue:Run to Remember. The group was founded by Lisa Hallett.  In 2009 Lisa lost her husband in Afghanistan.  In an effort to survive her loss she turned to running.  She found that there was a need among the military community, a need for support and a way to deal with grief and way to move on.  So each Saturday Run to Remember gathers at a park in DuPont and the names of the fallen soldiers for that week are read off, a prayer is said, and a sea of blue shirts run through the streets of DuPont.  Each Saturday Run to Remember runners run with the purpose of remembering the fallen, the fighting and the families. (Run to Remember is actually spreading nationwide and chapters are popping up all over the United States.)

Wearing Blue, Running to Remember!

Last Saturday as Derek and I ran through the beautiful town of DuPont, Washington, I thought about the fallen, those I know who are in Afghanistan fighting right now, and I thought about my family.  Because the fact of the matter is, as a military family, it could be me.  It could be me answering the door to 2 soldiers standing there on my doorstep to deliver unthinkable news.  So, it is my honor to lace up my shoes, put on my blue shirt and to run each and every Saturday.  It is my honor to remember.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Transitioning and Finding Balance

Hi friends, it has been a while since I have blogged. Life has been in such a transition these last nearly 2 years. We have lived in Washington for a year now and I would love to say we have adjusted and life is wonderful, however, that isn't the case. My family is in such a weird place and it was only until recently after having a conversation with my in-laws that I realize what it is that has been so hard for us. I was having a heart to heart with my mother and father in-law and I was able to share my heart. They aren't Christians so they don't understand our life from that regard however, I was able to tell them how lonely we are. My mother in-law understood where I was coming from but my father in-law didn't quite get it. I think the issue for us has been there is really no one that understands what we are going through, not even our families. We have been so lonely, in the last nearly 2 years since Zech's death. We have walked this life after Zech's death pretty much alone. Very rarely has our family or friends called to check on us. I have one friend from California that has called regularly but other than that we have lived a life that has been falling apart piece by precious piece. Putting together the pieces of our life back together has been the hardest thing we have ever done, especially alone. We are a military family, we lost a child, Derek is going to Afghanistan, and moving away from Texas and all the people that walked through Zech's death with us has been heartbreaking. Since moving people have often said they know someone who is a military family and the husband is deployed, or they know someone who has lost a child. I can appreciate those people and them wanting to be kind but the truth is my life is compounded by the military, the loss of a child, and truly not having any friends here in Washington. I have a lot of acquaintances but I have not made any friends here, no one to have coffee with, hang out with, shop with, go to a movie with. I don't say this to make you feel sorry for me, it is just a lonely place. This place in life is lonely. I have realized lately especially with the day of Zechariah's death approaching that I have been stress eating and my weight has been going up and down. Don't get me wrong it has only been 5 pounds or so and I am still hitting the gym but I have been dealing with my feelings with food. As those feelings of Zech's death begin to suffocate me, the memories begin to crush me, the thoughts and flashbacks of holding him as he took his last breaths, the feelings of how we chose to turn the life support off, the thoughts of what would happen if something happened to Faith, those thoughts have had me running to the fridge or snack cabinet. I have to chose better for my life rather than being swallowed by sadness and sorrow. I have to chose health because my little Zech didn't have a choice. I am rather proud though that I can recognize what I am doing...stress eating. So I realize now that this season has been the darkest season. It has tested my faith, broken my heart, and shattered my dreams. However, I am choosing to remember that God is still good, and instead of food, I will pray, exercise and reach out more. Life will get better, and God has not forgotten me, even though at times it has felt like He has. Hug your children a little tighter friends, because life is so precious.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Refreshing

So dear friends, I am back.  I have been going through the hardest season of my entire life thus far.  My crazy way of dealing with hard things is to keep to myself.  Kinda the whole, "if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all."  I didn't have really anything bad to say but more or less a lot of complaining, and nobody wants a Debbie Downer in the bunch.

It has taken awhile for God to really strip the layers of my onion back to reveal my true feelings about Zechariah's death.  It has truly been a heart wrenching season.  I have really realized though that I have been doing everything in my strength.  I have been running from God.  I basically have been acting like a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum.  We have been in a stand off.  What I should really say is I have been in a stand off.  I have felt so much hurt, disappointment, anger, resentment, and bitterness.  I have let it rule my thought life, spiritual life, physical life, basically everything.  I have let stress affect my life so much that physically my body has taken a beating.

The last few weeks have been eye opening for me.  God has really spoken to me through his word for the first time in a long time. The first scripture that really spoke to me from last nights reading.

"Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

I have not come to God recently for rest.  I have not given Him my burdens.  I have not taken on His yoke and learned from Him.  Nope I have not done any of those things.  I have held onto my hurt, my resentment, and especially my anger.  The second verse that really spoke to me this morning went along with what I had been thinking on all weekend.

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.  You brood of vipers, how can you say anything good?  For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  A man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  Matthew 12:33-35

Saturday we went to Mount St Helens.  As you drive up to the farthest point in which you can drive we began to find snow still up at the top.  I saw dry brushes coming up out of the snow but I also saw new growth.  This has been the driest most difficult "winter" season of my life.  However, I have been reminded that after dark depressing rough winters spring always comes.  I have been thinking on my "fruit" and what the out pouring of my heart has been speaking.  My heart has certainly not been speaking well of life as of lately. I want to bring out good things that are stored in me not evil.  So where do I go from here?  For now, I dig back into God's word and I wait. I begin claiming God's promises over my life again each and everyday.  I believe that God has his best in store for me!   I wait anticipating a new season to come.  I am waiting for life to flourish again!  I chose rest, peace, joy, and surrender, all these things after all are choices.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wedding, Family, and Fun Oh My!

Hi friends!  It has been awhile since I have blogged and boy I need this catch up session.  A week and a half ago Derek, Faith and I went to California!  It was surprisingly a great time.  Derek's sister Jenny got married.  It was a beautiful wedding and the whole entire Reese family danced the night away.  Our little Faithie was the hit of the wedding.  Everyone commented on how well behaved she was (which of course stroked this Mama's ego) and what a joy she was to have around!  Derek and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary while we were there!  We had the opportunity to go to a fancy restaurant called Zin in Westlake Village.  Derek's Uncle Larry was too cute, he taxied us across the lake to the restaurant on his boat and then taxied us back.  We had a delicious dinner, complete with calamari, Cesar salad made table side, cocktails, and Bananas Flambe for dessert!  As a family we just absolutely enjoyed ourselves.  It was so nice to catch up with family, some we haven't seen in 5 years.  We hung out played bocce ball, enjoyed the weather, and celebrated our wedding anniversary, and celebrated Jenny and Gilbert's beginning to their marriage!

Now I am back to my daily grind!  Back to the rain and the cold.  However, I think a week with a little sun gave me a little boost to change up my perspective a  bit, since I have after all been in a bit of a funk!  More to come on my perspective change, keep reading!  Love y'all!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The last few weeks have been so very hard for me.  I have struggled for 2 weeks with my emotions and choosing to eat my feelings.  I feel frustrated with myself when I allow myself to go down that path because I have worked so hard and that is certainly not a way to honor my dear Zechariah.  I have a choice with my health, but I been so torn with my life lately I haven't cared.  Don't get me wrong I haven't let myself stray too much, but enough to make me want to kick myself.  Yesterday was one of the hardest days I have had in a long time.  Faith and I were in the car, we were on the way to the store to exchange her shoes before our gym time.  Out of the blue Faith says, "Mommy I want Zechariah to have a dinosaur party like the dinosaur from Toy Story."  We continued to talk and we both agreed that we miss Zechariah, I went on to tell her that she was such a good big sister.  We sat quietly for a moment and before I knew it a song came on the radio that took me back in an instant to Zechariah's memorial service and as I was drove down the highway I turned up the radio and quietly sobbed to myself.  I cried for Faith, for Derek, for myself, and for a life that was and will never be.

I have really struggled with putting my life back together.  I naively thought that when we moved here that this would be our new beginning and it was going to be all sunshine and roses.  It sure hasn't.  I have struggled with making new friends in Washington.  I have found myself wanting to isolate myself to the Army base and just do my weekly everyday things, take Faith to school, swimming, ballet, gym repeat.  I have struggled making friends at church, which is unusual for me since I usually make friends quite easily.   I have struggled with my faith.  I just don't understand sometimes why God's words says that His plans are not to harm us but to bring us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11), but for my family our lives have been left in shambles and I don't see the pieces getting put back together anytime soon.

I feel broken and somewhat defeated.  However, I am choosing to believe that life has more for me.  I am choosing to know that this is just a season and just like after a hard winter comes spring and with spring things begin to flourish again.  I am believing for a life that FLOURISHES again.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Have you ever thought, "Where did the last few years go?"  That is where I am right now.  I don't know where the last 3 years have gone.  It seems like it has been so long since we moved to Germany, found out I was pregnant with Zechariah, moved to Texas to fight Zech's Congenital Heart Disease, lost myself in the process, only to find myself a few years later completely changed.  If someone would have given me the story of my life up to this point I would have called them a liar.  I would have never in my wildest dreams imagined in my lifetime that my family would have lived through the hardest season of our lives; better yet actually survived it!  I realized just this week that my life has totally come undone.  I have also realized that if my life hadn't come undone, I wouldn't have let Jesus meet me exactly where I (was) am at.   I have been thinking on a song called, "Here in Your Presence."  I have been really thinking on the chorus:

Here in Your presence, we are undone

Here in Your presence, Heaven and Earth become one
Here in Your presence, all things are new
Here in Your presence, everything bows before You
Isn't that the truth, in the presence of Jesus we are undone.  Thinking about my life up to this point I have either, a) truly come undone in the presence of Jesus, or, b) pushed Jesus away and done everything all myself.  I have been thinking on how to move forward this year and let 2012 be better than the last 2 1/2 years.  The bridge to this song has been just as thought provoking for me.

Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way

Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way

What if we believe that Jesus is as good as His word says?  What if we believed that he was wonderful, beautiful, glorious, and matchless?  If I believed this more often would life be easier?  What if I believe that all things are possible with God?  What if I believe that there is a joyous passionate life after such heartache?  If I believed all these things life would be TRANSFORMED!  Today I am going to let my life continue to be TRANSFORMED!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Holy Cow!"

"Holy Cow!"  Those were the first words out of my four year old Faith's mouth this morning when her eyes fell upon the snowfall that accumulated overnight.  School has been canceled, work has been cancelled (after Derek was required to report), so what do we do?  We make cake and eat it too!  I guess I should say I made blueberry streusel for my family and they ate it too!

"Holy Cow!"  The blanket of snow we woke up to this morning!

Blueberry Streusel for my loves!

Faithie enjoying her blueberry streusel!

My egg white scramble and apple cinnamon oatmeal.  Not as exciting as streusel but still delicious!

Next up on our agenda, a sweet guilt free treat!

As I sit here watching the snow continue to fall it makes life feel so peaceful, if just for this very moment.  However, I am then reminded that for snow to fall you need a storm.  This crazy snow storm has been such a good reminder to me that storms can bring peace, if only we choose peace!  Peace is just a prayer away.  Today my friends, I choose peace and joy!

Cheers, Tab

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

4 Years Ago...

4 years ago I gave birth to my sweet daughter Faith.  4 years ago today I traded my title as solely a wife for the titles of wife and mother!  As my sweet girl naps I have been sitting back reflecting on how many things have changed in the last 4 years, and how many things I have traded in.

So, in no particular order, here goes my list...I know most people know how hard life has been for us these last few years. The last few months, I have been daily trading my sorrow for the joy that comes in the morning.   I have been trading my role as solely a mother for one of a mother and advocate for my children.  I have been trading my grief for a new life with a new meaning.  I have traded unhealthy eating habits for healthy eating habits with the help of Weight Watchers.  I traded my regular workout shoes for spin shoes.  I traded my raggedy gym clothes for nice form fitting ones that I make me feel HOT!  However, most recently I have traded my "squishy" stomach (in the words of Faith) in for a flat stomach!  

I decided for the purpose of continuing to live my truth this year that I would be vulnerable and share with you all the fabulous trade I made with my stomach!

There it is, my "squishy" stomach all marked up for the surgeons!  Getting ready to trade my extra skin for a flat tummy!

Drum roll please.... DA DA DA!  Here is my flat tummy! I traded in a few old scares for a few new ones on my new flat tummy!

Life is all about compromises and trades.  We trade one thing for the next, some trades are fabulous and some not so much.  However, as I sit here reflecting on my trades and compromises the last 4 years I smile because I wouldn't trade all the love, joy, heartache, and lessons that I have learned these last few years.  I don't know what your trades are but just remember friends, with every trade you make God is still good and He is willing to walk along side of you and all the crazy trades that life has to dish out!

Cheers, Tab

Monday, January 9, 2012

Feeling Lonely

Right now I am so lonely...I miss California.  I am going through some really hard things right now and I feel so alone.  I know I have support from my friends and family, but life is just getting to me.  I feel as if I have to hold it all together for my family.  I have support back home in California, but here is Washington, I only have one true friend I could call up and she would be here in a heartbeat, and of course she is on vacation.  I have made some friends from a ladies fellowship group I am in from church.  However, I feel like the odd ball out, all the other ladies in the group are in ministry with their husbands, they can relate to one another.  They're having babies, and while I am happy for them my heart hurts.  A few comments have been made to me along the lines of, "well be grateful you have a girl, boys are so messy."  Or my personal favorite, "just wait until you have a boy."  With each comment my heart breaks a little more.  I feel like, who can relate to a 30 year old who has been married for almost 5 years and has had 2 children, a girl and a boy, one of which has passed away.  My whole identity has changed.  Truly my whole life.  It is weird, I am not in ministry, I am not a typical Army wife, I am not a typical mother, and I just don't know where I fit in anymore...If I could pin point it I would say it is 2 different feelings, one being the feeling of being unloved and unappreciated.  I know that I am not either of those things, but sometimes it is just nice to hear it once and awhile, you know.  The other being that of trying to fit in the world again after such sadness and defeat the last year and a half.

Okay, enough whining, I am going to count my blessings.  First, I have wonderful friends and family back home and even though we go through periods of not talking because of busy schedules and life getting in the way I know I can pick up the phone and call and they would listen and care for me.  I have a wonderful friend Audra, she is more like family than a friend.  I am so blessed by her, she blessed me and came to Washington to help me after I had my surgery.  She left her 4 children, husband, and life that she has in California to come and take care of me.  She has truly taught me what a servants heart is and I pray someday I can be as much of a blessing to her as she has been to me.  Secondly, moving often has given me the opportunity to met wonderful people, I am so blessed to have my friend Chelsea, I don't think she knows this but I treasure her.  She is a wonderfully prayerful friend and her cards that pop up in my mailbox all the way from Germany always encourage me just when I need it. Last but not least, I have a wonderful daughter and husband.  Derek and I have been through hell and back these last 2 years.  It is truly by God's grace that we are still married, at times I felt like our relationship was just falling apart at the seams.  I praise God that we are still married, there is an 80% divorce rate among married couples who lose children.  Our marriage is not perfect but worth fighting for and I want to get back to the place were we can remember the reasons we fell in love instead of just surviving each day and suffering separately as we deal with our sadness of losing our dear Zechariah.  My dear wonderful Faith, I am so blessed to call her my daughter.  She is so full of life and I know that someday she is going to set this world on fire.  She brings me such joy, and I am so touched by her kind heart and loving spirit.

Be blessed my friends...This is my truth, this is where I am at.  I hope this year we can all be more open to living our truth unashamedly.

Cheers, Tab