Monday, September 19, 2011

How I wonder what you are...


The beauty of the sound of her voice resounds within my soul.  You see, she does say words but not often.  When we hear them, we rejoice.  Small victories produce huge rewards for our, at times, weary hearts.  I love you Bella.  I love you even when you don't speak.  I love you when you bang your head in frustration.  I love you when you bite your hands in anger.  I love you when you slap your face and are upset that I don't understand your needs.  I love when you grab my hand, without using words and guide me to get you something.  I love when you look into my eyes...for that, I know, is hard for you to do.  I love when you give us kisses.

I love you every second of every day.  I love that God loves you even more...

I especially love you when you sing to me...

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001
A day that changed my life forever...

It's amazing that one day, one moment can change everything about the path we take in life.  I remember life before this sacredly horrific day, and I remember life after.  One momentous event, one person out of millions and millions. This is my record of September 11, 2001.

Yesterday marks the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  I am often in awe of the fact that I was alive to witness such events, to be forced to comprehend the word "terrorism" in a very real and raw way.  I am just one American girl.  But, on this day I feel like we were all "one" with eachother.  It's hard to explain this feeling.  I guess the best way to paint this picture is to be present in a room when footage of 9/11 comes on TV.  It's painful. You want to look away. Everyone understands the resounding silence that hits the room.  It's quietly sad.  I can still barely watch it without tearing up.

Before 9/11, I was a vivacious 20 year college student attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. I was starting my Junior year there and was extremely excited to be back at school with the people who I had missed over the summer.  I was living in my favorite ghetto fabulous townhouse, 118B Watergate with my roomates: Amber, Niki, and Kirsten.  I was plugging away in my Communications program and working part-time at Isabella's Italian Trattoria.  I loved the people in my life.  I did not know what the future had in store for me and I often pondered: who I would marry, where I would live, what job would I get out of school, what jeans look best on me, why couldn't I cook without starting a fire, why wasn't I more direct with people, why were relationships so complex and why did it hurt so badly when you loved and lost, why were boys so confusing, why did I take God for granted sometimes??  Life, was packed full of beautiful questions that were waiting to be answered:)

8:46am- Tower #1 is hit ... and life starts changing forever...
I was getting ready for work that day, it was a splendidly beautiful morning with pure blue skies full of billowing white clouds.  My roommates had left for the day so the house was empty.  The kitchen smelled of the hazelnut coffee I had made earlier that morning.  I received a phone call at about 8:55 from one of my guy friend two houses down, he just said---turn on your TV....his tone was somber and it frightened me.  I turned the TV on and he came over (or I went over there, can't remember).  I saw the smoke coming from one of the towers and was immediately in shock.  I dropped everything in my hands and stood motionless, hands cupped over my mouth.  We briefly wondered how this type of accident could happen.  Then, the second plane hit.  I saw it happen live on TV and I looked at my guy friend and realized our nation, America was being attacked!  How was this even possible?  I blinked and felt the hot tears streaming down my face....I could barely speak.  This changes everything and this is no accident, we remarked.  I was so angry, but didn't know where to direct those feelings.  When the Pentagon was hit and the plane went down in PA, I honestly felt like something huge was happening...something terrible....but was uncertain what it all meant.  I wanted to know who did this, and how, and why!?  One of my guy friends Mark, was concerned because his dad worked in the Pentagon.  My roommate Kirsten's family lived very close to it as well so I remember being very concerned for them both immediately.  I was thankful when everyone reached their loved ones.  I had to go to work that day but could barely peal myself away from the television.  I was afraid more terrible things were going to happen.  I showed up at Isabella's and my manager, Andrew looked at me and lovingly said "go home, we are closed today".  I was thankful.  I wanted to find everyone I loved and hug them.  So, I went back to 118B.  I sat with my roommates, boyfriend at the time, and guy friends in front of the TV for hours on silence.  It was the quietest few days.  It's like we were all in a state of mourning.  Time paused.  I remember everyone calling their families and telling them how much they loved them.  I remember listening to President Bush give this speech and screaming YES! as tears of anger ran down my cheeks...

After 9/11, life started changing.  Traveling was NEVER the same.  Airports became huge security checkpoints.  I would sit on the plane sometimes and wonder if the man or woman next to me was a terrorist.  America had been violated and it was evident in my thoughts.  Whenever I saw planes flying in large cities like DC, I'd wonder if they were on course, were they flying too low?...a strange thing to think, unless you lived through 9/11.  I think these attacks made me love those in my life more vibrantly.  That fall I decided to never take a day for granted.... to say sorry to people I had hurt, to make sure those I loved knew it, to make necessary decisions that were hard but good.  I felt renewed.  Late that next spring I met Josh.  It's weird that I didn't know him during this time, but it was all in God's plan.  I think I learned to never hold back my love and Josh experienced this part of me.  Today, I have a beautiful little girl named Isabella (not named after an Italian resturant I promise), a husband who loves me endlessly, and wonderful life full of family and friends.  Did I ever think my future hubby would be in the military? No, but do you know how honored I am to be his wife!  On 9/11 there was a call to serve and protect.  My husband answered this call and sacrifices a part of himself daily because of it!  As his wife, I feel like in some small way I am fighting for our country too!  Praise God for his provision in my life and may he continue to bless America!
My Navy Boy
Here are some pictures from our recent trip to New York City

Walking into Ground Zero, 10 years later... I had goosebumps.
 The new Freedom Tower under construction
 The construction site is blocked off but you could peek through cracks
 Getting chills imagining what happened on these streets as the towers fell.
 Busy construction zone, making progress.
 I cried when I read that this bench was a bed for some weary firefighters who had been searching for bodies and finding....rubble.
 This collection is located in the church across from
Ground Zero. 

 This is inside St. Pauls church, right out those doors stood the Twin Towers.

 Make-shift beds for rescue workers.
Standing outside Fire Station 10

View from above Ground Zero

Friday, September 9, 2011

Strange Things

Hello Bloggity Friends!

It has been quite a while since our last post and for that, I apologize (notice I said "I")... yes, Josh Earls...the actual Chaplain... does own this blog but, it seems as though he's being held hostage by a group of chaplain hating ruffians*! I can think of no other reason why he has not posted something for you chaplain loving folk.  I do however realize that you don't wake up on the edge of your seat every day waiting for these blog posts and if you do, you may need counseling.  Let me prove it.

*who uses the word ruffians?

Lately with the crazy Earls...

What do: chaplains, earthquakes, hurricanes, Bret Michaels, Lindsay Lohan, explosive poop**, spatula's, 1/2 marathons, Williamsburg, Annie's master's program, God, and autism have in common? Well, that's what's been happening lately at the Earls house.

**Josh, I said explosive poop on your blog, I'm so can I ever make it up to you? ;)

This list is both odd and exciting to me.  If our life was composed of just these words and phrases, I would want to know what came first, the explosive poop or Bret Michaels....

1. Earthquake- Yes, in Virginia...while I was babysitting.  I knew it was an earthquake right away when the light fixtures started swaying.  I had crazy California flash backs for sure.  Luckily, I stood up and started flailing my arms and screaming in tongues (poor kids thought I was crazy).  Essentially I was saying "get under the table" but it sounded like "you, run, table aaragghhh".... If one could have taken a secret video clipping of the Earls earthquake footage, they would realize I clearly am not the girl to hang out with during natural disasters.  I get all crazy.  On the other hand, I would be a great person to have on the news if you wanted your natural disaster to seem totally epic (see #3).

2. Chaplains- We had all of the chaplains from Josh's office over for a huge chaplain party. Bahaha... I know, a bunch of chaplains under one roof, oh the jokes that could be made.  But, it was really fun and was a great time for me as a chaplain's wife to meet all of the families in the area.  Our little place had almost 40 people in it! It was a blessing to us...

3. Hurricanes- Oh Irene.  I'm pretty sure the news casters wanted you to annihilate the entire east coast.  I understand that it could have been worse so we needed to be prepared but, I love how epic every shot had to be.  This shot made me proud to be a Virginia Beach resident (NOT) Why VA Beach?  The news guys sounded all sad when it got moved from a category 3, to a category 2, and then a 1.  I did evacuate to clearly I was responding to their epic news casting.  I will say, autism and hurricanes have the potential to clash in a major way.  Yes, I drove (with Bella) by myself to MI for 14 hours (Josh had to stay in town).  Bella did great.  I almost died of boredom...and from the awkward looks I was getting from truckers (picture below) but alas, I made it!  It was a blessed time up north with family and old friends.  I love that place:)

4. Lindsay Lohan- Josh, Bella, and I went to Busch Garden's with my college friend Kori this last weekend.  It was Bella's first visit and she LOVED it!  She played in the kids water area the whole time.  They had an Elmo sing along and she watched the whole show (standing still)...that never happens.  She had a hard time waiting in lines for the rides so we gave up and she didn't ride any:( The lack of line movement paired with the tightness of the lines equalled a "no go" for her.  We did find out that she can get a pass because of her disability.  This pass allows her to go to the front of the lines.  I think they do this at other theme parks as well!  We will get these passes from now she can have fun on the rides as well!  Ok... after Josh left with Bella, Kori and I went on some serious being the the log ride.  I was wearing a sun dress (smart) and having a dandy time until we got off the ride, went the the screen that shows the picture of our "big drop".  There was a group of people standing and pointing and laughing at one of the screens.  So, like anyone good paparazzo would do, I looked at that picture....oh, it was me...pulling a Lindsay Lohan.  Yep, full shot up my dress for the world to see.  I have posted the picture but blocked the view of my.... lederhosen :(

5. Spatulas and 1/2 marathons- My college friends (especially Kori) had an ongoing inside joke about kitchen spatula's.  I'm not even going to try to explain this joke because it would make no sense no rational human beings.  Oh, and Kori (being the awesome girl that she is) ran the 1/2 miler on the beach.  She did great!  If I didn't have the lower back of a 90 year old man, I would soooo run with her:(

6. Williamsburg- I find it funny that we took Kori to Williamsburg.  Only because it reminds me of this...WANNA BE COLONIALS

7. Explosive poop- Today I took Bella to Chick-fil-a and we had a poop situation.  All I'm saying is NEVER check to see if your child has a dirty diaper by sticking your hand down their pants.  Furthermore, never do this while eating in public.  This reminds me of this: ANOTHER GROSS TIME

8.  I am still doing my masters!  I only have a few more classes before student teaching.  It's hard to believe all this hard work might just pay off one day....

9. God & autism- I put these together because God is so much a part of our Bella's journey.  He formed her in my womb and has guided and protected her since her first heart beat:)  Bella had some rough weeks last month and it was really a testing time for Josh and I.  She experienced a regression Click here to learn more about it...  Well, after many prayers from family and friends and by God's grace, she is back to her old sweet and brilliant self.  She is saying more words, making more eye contact, and trying harder and harder to communicate her love towards us.  She was just registered for special education preschool.  We got to visit her school and all of my specific prayers have been answered!  It's a small class with energetic and educated teachers.  It's reverse mainstream which means there are 5 kids with disabilities and 2 kids without (those 2 kids provide a peer model that helps the others know how to respond to the teachers and each other).  I am so thankful for God's provision with this school and I am so excited to see how Bella grows while attending it:)  She will still get her ABA therapy.  She will be one very busy little girl!  Pray for her.  Preschool is a HUGE adjustment (for her and for us).  I love my child.  I love that she is who she is....  I praise God for her uniqueness.  I can truly say, her autism makes her special.