I woke up this morning and I lay there thinking 'What will I talk to them about today? 'Tis the Sabbath so it should be something really good.' As I lay there pondering my query, Pete cautiously walked onto the bed and licked my face a few times as if to say Mom! Hi! It's me! Remember? I need to go potty now!!!!! (He was able to just walk on the bed because the bed I've been sleeping on is actually an air mattress on the floor of my old bedroom, because a single bed is just not big enough for myself and the beast of a man that I married.) As I took my Petey Pie outside, I heard what I thought was a woodpecker (it wasn't), so I looked up and this is what I saw

Do you know I lived in this house for a good 22, almost 23, years and not once do I think I ever looked up at the trees in the front yard and actually appreciated what I was seeing? I thought 'I need to get a picture of this' The sun just looked so beautiful on them. Had I not returned to take a picture or two, I wouldn't have been yelled at by this guy:

Sadly, my picture taking abilities, and my knowledge of the camera I am using, are not very good, otherwise you might see the way he was shaking his fist at me. Also I'm pretty sure this is the same squirrel that my little sister, when she was about 3, saw and came tearing into the house screaming because a squirrel just looked at her like he was going to eat her. I'm pretty sure he was sizing me up to be his breakfast. It appears I owe Holly an apology for thinking she was crazy.

Back to my pondering from earlier, I realize it's tomorrow, but I'd like to make mention of Independence Day. I have always been patriotic. My dad went to the Air Force Academy (He left after two years and served a mission for our church and met my mom and couldn't go back and worked in a cheese factory, but that's a story for another time) and my mom has this ability to get one line into 'The Star Spangled Banner' before she can't sing because she's crying (I have inherited this ability...) Anyways, I was raised with feeling pride for my country. Then a year ago happened. Well, more than a year ago. April of last year to be exact. That was when I found out, in some form or fashion that might've had to do with me bringing it up first, that my dearest husband had the desire to join the National Guard. One thing I have learned, since getting married, is to stop saying never.

I was never going to get a dog.

And I was absolutely never ever EVER going to be a military wife.

(That man smiling like a fool, heads above everyone else? The one wearing a pair of BCGs on his face? That would be my eternal companion)

I would've immediately put my foot down and said no a million times over, but something told me to stop and consider it. That was the mistake I made. The Spirit stuck its foot in the door, and He was not going to leave any time soon. We fasted, we prayed, we talked to friends who were already Guardsmen, and before long I knew, without any doubt in my mind, that I was going to be an Army wife.

(I don't know why this font is suddenly smaller by the way. I've tried everything to fix it, so we'll just embrace it shall we?)

Are you adequately prepared to see my most favorite picture of my husband and myself? It's not an engagement picture or a wedding day picture (those are soooo 30 pounds ago) Are you ready? Because it's just fantastic.

This was the first time I'd seen that wonderful man in 10 weeks, after sending him off to basic training. We had been married about 2 and 1/2 years at this point, and while that's not long, it was long enough for us to come across bumps in the road and deal with problems in life together. I think that old saying 'The first year of marriage is the hardest' is so dumb. Our first year was a breeze. Our second year was a breeze. Actually, everything is like a breeze when you compare it to supporting the person you love most in the world as they go through hell. That was hard. It was hard to be away from each other, it was hard only communicating through letters (we sent one to each other everyday), it was hard only talking for 10 minutes every Sunday. There have been so many times that Mike and I have looked at each other and I know we're both thinking 'We never should have done this' but neither of us has said it out loud. You know what else, though? For every time that we have thought that, we have agreed, out loud, that this is one of the best choices we've ever made. It has been a TREMENDOUS blessing.
It has been amazing to watch Mike transform into a soldier. I love hearing him talk about the pride he has for what he does and how honored he is to work with such great men and women to defend our country.
Which brings me back to independence. (Have I mentioned that I'm long-winded and I inherited that from my dad?) I've always known 'freedom isn't free,' but, before, I was not the wife of someone who helps defend that freedom. I have a greater appreciation for it.
I had an experience once with my dad, I think I was 12 or 13. He was going to visit a family that we went to church with and asked if I wanted to come along (actually I think it was a Wednesday night and he was my ride to the mutual activity, and he was stopping there on the way so I didn't really have a choice... and he had the freedom to do that as my parent) This particular family that we were visiting was from China. It was a husband and wife and their adorable, fat little baby girl (who they had named Liberty). They spoke very broken English, but my goodness they were 2 of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. After we left, my dad told me about how the husband had been involved in the Tienanmen Square protest, and before running away from China (they literally ran for their lives) the wife had been forced to have an abortion because she had been pregnant with a girl at that time too. At that moment, in my impressionable teenage mind, that family made an impact on my life. I think that was when I realized just how blessed I was to be born in this country. I realized I was truly free to believe what I wanted, to say what I wanted, to live how I wanted, to have as many babies as I wanted! I have wondered, many many times, over the years since then what happened to that family. I hope they found a safe, happy place to raise their adorable, chubby daughter where they wouldn't be killed for having her or for joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On a somewhat different note, I had a couple of moments of pure happiness at work this past week when a British mum complimented me on my haircut, and a lovely Irish woman and I discussed the finer points of not driving a car around Dublin.

Did you have any moments of pure happiness in the past week? Think about it, post it in the comments, and we can bask in the joy together.