Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Friday, December 23, 2011

I'm feeling better and am slowly getting into the Christmas spirit. Today is Christmas Eve Eve! We celebrate it all around these parts! I am almost ready. Just a few gifts to wrap up, some more cookies to make (with the kiddos) for Santa of course, lots of laundy to finish up and then the festivities can begin.

I'm honestly looking forward to Christmas. I love celebrating the birth of our Savior, sharing the joy of Christmas with my kiddos and seeing their faces light up on Christmas morning.

As for right now... I'm exhausted. I am going to bed. Night Night America... Sleep Tight!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


This year has been a difficult one. This past month has been an emotional struggle for me. I cannot pinpoint what the trigger is, let's just say it's been hard for me. This week in particular has been the hardest by far. I've don't ever recall a time in my life when I've not been in the Christmas spirit. I'm a huge kid at heart and love love love this time of the year. I love the shopping, the decorating, the baking, the parties, the wrapping of gifts. I love it all. This year it is not the same. I'm hurting and I don't know why. I've been doing my best to shove it deep down within me and put on the good Christian/mother/wife show. Honestly, my acting skills stink.

I've been praying a lot more than usual lately. Surrounding myself with positive encouraging women, and I'm still here in this funk. Then today cruising through Facebook I found this link.

My eyes already swollen with tears began to flow again. and again and again. I do not know this Marine family, but it really adds perspective on my life.

But I'm still in this funk, during this beautiful season of joy, Christ's birth, and I'm just here. My joy is hard to find to find right now. I've been Praising God through this storm and this season in my life. Though this entire year, I've been positive and held my head up. Pushed forward refusing to retreat or give once ounce of satisfaction to satan. I truly do have so very much to be thankful for, I do not doubt that one bit. I know the truth, I know my future, I know my God has me covered by His plans and purposes for me and my family. I truly rest on this knowledge.

Please pray that satan gets off my back, releases the grip he has on me and my joy is restored this Christmas season (and for the rest of my amazing life that is before me!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7, 1941

Words cannot describe the overwhelming sense of grief I felt as I visited Pearl Harbor. This was the place I needed to go for myself when I was in Hawaii in May.

Today is the 70th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I'm so very thankful for the men and women who sacrificed their lives, their families and their future for the freedom we have today. I will never forget and I will make sure my children's children's children will also never forget... Thank you. May you all rest in peace knowing that today and everyday we honor you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

White Elephant

Youth Group Christmas Party 2011!

I still have a hard time with the fact that I have 3 children in the Youth Group. It truly isn't possible, is it? Moving forward. Tonight was the annual YG White Elephant Christmas Party. They had a blast, ate some yummy food, heard a great word and exchanged gifts. The kids left the house with an old TV, a Storm Trooper Voice Changer Helmet, and the Cheese Touch board game. They arrived home with a teddy bear, a computer Bible program, and last but not least a cell phone that appeared as though is was run over by a motor scooter and then backed over again by a little Japanese car! Merry Christmas!

I'll pay it forward... it's the year of the recycled gifts... whom shall I pass this fabulous phone on to... what name did I draw again in the Francis/Garvey gift exchange? I'll check my records and get back to you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29, 2011

The United States Marine Corps. That is a complete sentence as it stands. I am so very thankful for our military and especially the Marine Corps. This is our home, we belong here. For the past 6 years I've worn a necklace daily that has the core values of the Marines on it... Honor Courage Commitment. Mark and I have tried to pattern our lives after these values. They are not only true to the Corps but to our family life, our faith and each other.

I remember about 12 months ago being asked about my necklace. The woman was shocked and somewhat appalled that I would wear the values of the Corps around my neck when I in fact was not a Marine. She told me I was a wannabe. I didn't reply and almost felt ashamed that I had worn this. Later that day when I was still stewing about this conversation God reminded me that I bring honor to Him, my husband, my family and my Corps by wearing it. It's an outward daily reminder that we are the ambassadors of Christ. That my daily actions of loving my family and putting His will ahead of my own is a quiet witness.

I've worn it every day since. It's battered, old and needs to be retired, but it's part of me. Of who I am, and I'm humbled by wearing it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stress Less with Stress Relief!

I've taken nutritional supplements most of my adult life. I've slacked off for the past several years taking them here and there. Today I'm going back on them. This product will save my life, my sanity and the life of my dear sweet family. You've heard me complain for the past 6 months about the joys of surgical menopause. This product right here is seriously like crack cocaine to me. It levels me out, reduces stress and hot flashes. This also helps me sleep at night and above all keeps my family loving me!

Today I'm thankful for StressLess (aka StressRelief)!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A beautiful man...

Isn't he dreamy? A true thinker, or is it stinker... I'm not sure. But I do know I love him more than I ever dreamed possible. He's more than a best friend could ever be. I praise God daily for this man. Today, as I am every day, but today especially I am thankful for him. Today was a very rough day for me and he was there for me, as he always has been. Today, tomorrow and forever we'll be together! I love you! Thank you for being the man that you are, your incredible, and mine, and I'm so very very thankful.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankful for Family Photo Day

Today is day 26 of 30!

Obviously with this photo I am very thankful for digital cameras, and being able to see the photos prior to printing them all. To say the least this photo is not printer worthy. Thankfully, we were blessed to have friends travel with us to take some family photos. We took about 130 photos of them on our camera and they took about 150 of us on our camera. Plus they had their camera, and who knows how many they took. Let's pray that at least 5 of the 200+ photos taken today of our family are worthy of actually seeing a printer! And possibly a Christmas Card or two!

I guess I should have also paid attention to see that Caleb wore black socks like Seth. Apparently I am not as observant as I used to be, and I'm much more chillaxed. In the past this would have sent me over the edge. Maybe just maybe menopause isn't gonna kill me, the kids or poor Mark! And don't even get me started on the eyes that Caleb is sharing with everyone!

Friday, November 25, 2011

All my Christmas shopping is done for the family stateside. I've gotten all the packages wrapped up and ready to ship home. So today I'm thankful for mission accomplishment, and now I can sit back and relax! I've gotten some really neat gifts in all our adventures from Alaska to Hawaii to the crevasses of Okinawa. So family stateside... be on the lookout for Santa's sleigh!

If only we had free shipping!?!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Extravaganza Francis Style

What a GREAT looking group of people... our family here in Okinawa. Believe it or not 7 people aren't pictured here in the photo that joined us. We had 39 amazing people share their Thanksgiving Day with us. We truly feel blessed!
Here's the spread of the delicious food. Sorry I didn't take any of the desert table. There were so many desert, and lemme tell ya they were superb! Hannah made my favorite pie... Pecan! I'm gonna beg her for another one for Christmas.

We played a little football. If you see there was 3 against 1. The reason... good odds huh!

We had lots of little peeps, like this one, my Sebastian. He's mine b/c he tells me no all the time. Just like my 3 and he's blond and fits right in with my crew!
Here's Mr. B, my other sweet little man. He's all smiles all the time, at least until I made him cry later that night. I'm such a mean Auntie! He loves me because I wear a necklace and he likes to chew on it. He loves me that's all the matters right!

Look at that little man sittin' on the table with is mama, Becca. She's a fantastic new mom and lil' Gabriel just loves to giggle. He's a whopping 11 weeks old. What a sweet potato pie he is! I could just eat him up!

A little chow time going on, the kids ate and ate and ate all day long. Come to think of it so did the adults. That's what Thanksgiving is all about right?

My sweet K80 havin' some ham, turkey, green bean casserole and of course her favorite STUFFING! (this is not a paid advertisement for Coca Cola, unless they want to send me money cuz I'll take it!)

We had a fantastic day. I really cannot describe how blessed we were with the company, the food and the wonderful fellowship. These peeps carried us through a really rough year, they stood in the gap for us, prayed for us, loved on us, watched our kids, took us to and fro the airports, cooked many meals for us and just loved us. I'm forever thankful for each of you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving 1992

A week (or so) after Thanksgiving 1992 I was driving back home from college for a "Celebration of Life" party. My friend, Jason Sprague, pictured above with me in '88, had just passed away from a severe asthma attack. I am blessed to say he was (is) one of my best friends and brother in Christ. I was truly in shock for weeks over the events that had taken place. I couldn't believe he was gone, I needed another conversation, another bear hug, just one more moment with him. I needed advise about Mark. I was falling head over heals in love and it scared me. Seriously scared.

It was over a month later that I heard one of the songs that was playing at his 'party'. It was as if he was sending me a message, having another conversation with me. The song "Go West Young Man" by Michael W. Smith was playing across the hall. I knew that night that the direction I thought my life would take was going to change to a completely unexpected road with a beautiful view. A life with Mark. I was very thankful that night, talking to God, hearing His voice, hearing Jason's voice talking to me telling me it's okay to take a new direction. It was His direction, His will for my life. I'm so very happy I took this road. Thank you Jason for one last conversation.

Today I'm thankful for following the will of God, even when society said it wasn't the most sensible thing to do, I did it anyways. Go West Young Man!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 22 of Thankfulness

Clean bathrooms... last night all 3 boys (yes including the big one!) got sick within 20 minutes of each other. Thankfully I had cleaned the bathrooms that day so they were nice fresh and sanitized for the 7 hours of head hanging over the toilet bowl extravaganza.

All 3 are feeling much better, still very weak and tired but are resting comfortably in their beds.

I know it may not mean much but when you're sick a clean potty makes life a just little bit better.

(Not exactly sure what it was... probably a bug, but Katie and I never got sick... and we don't plan on it either, AMEN!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Super Mom Me Really?

Today I'm thankful that my kids see me as a positive role model and as a good mom. I don't always know what my kids think of me. They are in puberty; so your guess is as good as mine. But on this day (the day K80 drew this) I was a Super Hero in her eyes! And that my friends makes me feel pretty dang special.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Caleb... oh how I love thee

How could I not be thankful for Caleb. He makes me laugh, he's addicted to video games and he stands up for what is right and wonderful and beautiful in this world. What does he talk about most right now? Whether he should be a Chaplain or a Marine first. I love this kid. He has a pure heart and the the most adorable dimples. Today I'm thankful for Caleb.

Friday, November 18, 2011

a Season of Thanks

Way back in the beginning of November I mentioned that I would create these scrapbook pages that would document our month of thankfulness. Well here it is... it's was a lot more time consuming to create than I first had thought. I hand cut each pocket and stamped everything. I attached the pages to a 16x24 piece of wall art canvas. I use canvas a lot around the house for various projects. It's adds a unique dimension and charm I think to Scrapbooking on the Walls! Each day has 3 tags in the pocket so we can all write on them. For now the kids are keeping a record on a sheet of paper on the fridge. If all goes according to plan and there isn't much rebelling they'll be written on these tags by Thanksgiving!

I was technically finished within 3 days of my "assignment"! I am ashamed to say it's taken me 16 days to take a picture of it and post it online.

So today, November 19, 2011, I am thankful for scrapbooking.

Creating releases stress, I'm the wife of a Marine and a mom to 3 middle schoolers... yep I've got stress!

So if you'll excuse me I've got to switch the laundry (only 6 loads to do today!), pop the tab on an ice cold Coke and get to creating... I've got to make some Christmas cards!

(are you on my list?... wanna be? make sure you send me your address)

Day 18... My Seth

My Seth... I love this photo of him. Not because he talks a lot and we had to tape his mouth shut. Which isn't the case, he did this to himself. However, he definitely quivered a bit when he ripped off this duct tape in one quick rip. And I may or may not have seen a tiny tear well up in his eyes. It was at this moment he finally realized that the little bit of peach fuzz he had on his upper lip was now gone! I admit that I pointed and laughed at him. Luckily he laughed too!

So today I'm thankful for Seth, how he makes me smile and laughs with me when I laugh with him. I mean at him, nope I was right the first time... Yep, I laugh with him!

Next time I need to wax my lip, I think I'll borrow some duct tape from Seth!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

17 of 30

Thankful that Katie still adores her Daddy! Love that that they are best friends and still hold hands in pubic. I love the sweetness that surrounds them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16, 2010

No words can express the heart ache I have for this man and his family. I am thankful with the knowledge they will be reunited because of their faith in God and their relationship with Jesus Christ. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten, you will forever be in our prayers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Amazingly Thankful

I am forever thankful for having dreams. Without dreams we have no vision, without vision we perish! I cannot imagine living my life without dreams. I'm looking forward to my future it's filled with wonderful things, lots of memories and my husband.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Teachers Care

Today is day 14 of 30! I am very thankful for teachers that care about their students. Another successful round of parent teacher conferences completed. We are so blessed with fantastic teachers again this year!

Thank you to all the teachers who put their heart and soul into their students... this mama recognizes it and I'm very grateful!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thankful for Cheerleaders!

These photos are in reverse order so just pretend that you are watching/reading in rewind.

Great photo of the entire D-Now Weekend Group, complete with high school, middle school and all of the fantastic volunteers. Amazing as it sounds this is only about half the size of the actual youth group at the church.One of the Youth Leaders flipping upside down on the final zipline. Crazy young thing!

Jordan performing his turkey dance for us on the zip line!The first youth to do tricks. Never thought Joshua had it in him. He surprised us all with his daredevil feats of craziness! Go Josh! This is a view of the obstacle course portion of Forest Adventure from ground level. Well sort of ground level, it's down in a small valley that is sitting just below us. Once you climb up to the first obstacle you can take two routes. An easy route (which really wasn't that easy) or you can take the challenging route. This sent you on the Tarzan swing... you landed on this net. That you then had to climb to get to the platform. Everyone did this route accept Mark and I and one youth! Yes, the two old people of the group and the youngest youth member with us. It's all good, we all finished it!

This is the view from the highest point on the obstacle course, the final Zip Line! I took these photos. The view was amazing. I tried to take a photo in each direction. This one is looking down at the 'easy' side of the course.
This was the view over my right shoulder. Love the landscape of Okinawa, it's beautiful.

This is the best view, you see some of the course as it over looks the ocean . Not a great picture I know, but if you know me I was very much slightly overwhelmingly skerd so I was shaking like a wicked earthquake taking these photos!
Still standing on the platform for the final zip, here's the view down. You can barely see Mark's blue jeans standing out in the plush green grasses. It's a long ride!

Another view of the obstacle course!

Here's Mark walking on one of the many bridges from zip to zip. The first part of the adventure (not the obstacle course) is a zip line course. This is one of the many bridges we crossed to get to the next zip line.

Another great photo of my Mark!

We are officially half way through the zip portion of the adventure. Here's a partial group shot at the resting tent. Ice cold soda... ohhh tasted so good!

Every trail we went on we saw these signs. It was very encouraging to me the girl who hates snakes! Youth leader, Andrew said is was worning the Habu to stay away from us!

Mark again on a rope bridge. Have you noticed that you haven't seen any staff. You don't you get a 5 minute orientation at the beginning then you don't see them again until the obstacle course. That would never happen stateside.

Just another zip line with a few youth.

A view from the starting line. Do you see all the zip lines crossing the photo and the ocean in the background. Breath taking, and shocking. It was far more than I was expecting and so much more awesome.

I admit it. I was scared and if it weren't for Youth Leader Jenn I'd be still sitting on the course somewhere. The first climb/zip one was emotionally the hardest; the rest were more physically challenging. Jenn was my cheerleader. Thank you Jenn. (If you are wondering where Mark was, he was a head of me. Hard to cheer from across the valley on the other side of the zip line!)

Today I'm thankful for the cheerleaders we have in life. We all have them, but so often we do not thank them enough. I've been blessed with many of them, this weekend it was Jenn. Thank you!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

12 November 2011

This is the before shot of the group that went to Forest Adventure.

They were all high school students with a few adult leaders tossed in for flavoring!

By far the most tremendous group of students ever. My heart swells when I think about them. More details on that later!

Here is the same group after the adventure. We have a lot more craziness going on, a ton of sweat and many bonding moments.

I am so very thankful that we agreed to be a host home for this fall's youth retreat. It blessed me in many ways. Working with youth is a lot of work, but just like parenting it provides even bigger rewards. I learned a lot about myself this weekend. I discovered somethings that I really don't like about myself and I'm going to work together with God to change those things. I want to lay down my own issues and see the world from His eyes. He has a far better view!

I am very thankful for this retreat.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 November

I'm thankful for all our veterans. Our freedom we have today is from the sacrifices you made yesterday, so from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful for these Men

These men (5 high school boys and 2 youth leaders) are staying at our home this weekend as part of D-Now. They are such gentlemen, so polite. Thankful that God has placed them in our home for the next couple of days. Hope we can bless them as much as they have been blessing us. More pictures to follow!

(BTW... my house currently smells like feet, boy feet... gross!)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clean the Turkey!

I love this photo for many reasons...

  1. My Mom is in this photo. She's like me, not many photos of us to be found. We'll regret that later in life. I regret not having more of her now!

  2. My Junior is in this photo. Me love me some Junior!

  3. It's Thanksgiving circa 2003-ish.

  4. We lived in Virginia Beach.

  5. In the background you can see the pass-thru window that my kids would through their sippy cups through in attempts to put them in the sink which is just below the window! We found them by the computer all the time.

  6. My mom is helping Junior make yams from the can... that's how we do it!

  7. I still have that can opener that is sitting on the kitchen table.

Now lets get to the real reason I posted this photo. Mom... I hope you remember this! This was the year that Katie begged us to help wash the turkey. And we wouldn't let her, she got mad and said in her Katie huffy little attitude voice ...

"I can't wait til I'm old enough to wash the turkey!"

And this memory is what I'm thankful for on day 9 of my 30 Days of Thankfulness.

Junior's old enough now, think she'll want to clean the turkey with me this year? Clean out the guts and reach in to grab the giblets bag? I'll keep you posted, but don't get your hopes up, I know I won't!