In AWE.

I am thrilled…no exhilarated…IN AWE of God’s grace and provision.  Oh, these moments are so great….they connect me to the most wonderful characteristics of God in such a deep way that wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t live the sort of crazy nomadic life we live 🙂

Brian came home two nights ago…he stared at me, in DISBELIEF….”Dawn,” he said, “not only do we JUST have to clean the fridge and microwave and bathrooms, but we will have a FULL move…a carpeted house (so nice for Emmy’s sweet first steps!!), a newly built home (hopefully, not too many maintenance issues and perhaps cleaner air), neighbors with EXACTLY the same aged kids!!, a 4 bedroom house (the housing gentleman originally prepared me for a 3 bedroom home from our current 4 bedroom home), a garage, and a backyard!!!”  I began to chuckle earlier that morning, as I prepared to move not knowing when we needed to move out, and was quite relieved in the evening, when Brian reassured me: WE HAVE 2 WEEKS.  Thankfully, I had only removed the pictures off the walls 🙂

2 weeks is plenty when you think you might be moving in a few days! 🙂

Oh Lord, you are my song, my rescue and most wonderful provider!  You never cease to amaze me.  You are so beautiful to me, in each situation we walk through in this life.  You are there.  You are always there.

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A fall season so amazing and so full…

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Lewis' first photo!!! :)
Lewis’ first photo!!! 🙂

IMG_0654This fall was so precious to me…so full of counsel, change, growth.  I feel God so near to us right now…but often ponder, “why.”  I think it is just who He is.  He is so merciful.  I am so thankful for His presence and everything we are learning about Him.  This assignment has been the “promised land” for us.  I really never want to leave.

Here are some pictures and a bunch of things that God has taught us…in parenting…in marriage…in life.

COUNSEL: In my marriage I have learned to be a reverent wife, to walk by faith in the hard moments, to know that God is enough…and that my husband is a blessing on top of that, to help restore my husband’s leadership (rather than usurp?!)…when he is struggling…I have come to see the enemy attack him..and to see the difference that encouragement, compassion, and restoration of HIS leadership makes in our family.  It is SO worth it.  I see what happens if I see the good in my husband, allow the Holy Spirit to convict…and then watch him grow.  I am delighting in my marriage right now and all that God intended it to be.  Aren’t God’s commands SO good?!!

*In parenting I have learned what happens “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie!”  🙂 God is teaching us how to be the instrument of self-control in our children’s lives the past few months.  I have learned that “I am not bound” to their struggles…that God loves them more than I do…that God is a God of Order..and Unity…He establishes the order and unity…and we must maintain it.

*I have loved my Ephesians Study through PWOC…it is growing me as a member of His body.  I learned to “learn in full submission.”  I learned to submit to God’s design for each relationship in my life.  I learned about God’s desire for His children to be a unifier (maintain His unity).

FREEZING DAYS, HUDDLING NIGHTS:  The kids and I LOVED fall this year.  This Christmas was the most memorable Christmas for our family.  And this winter is turning out to be much more joyful than last winter 🙂  It started out as freezing days in our home as the heater was delayed (we have central heating)…and it got cold early here in Kansas (come to think of it, it was -9 degrees out this morning!)…we all huddled around the house, and I found myself holding the kids and cuddling them until they fell asleep at nights…and then bringing Emmy under the covers later for some baby cuddles…with her toes and fingers curled into my arms and legs…oh, I love these moments…it was so cold though!  We have had colds most of the time this fall and winter…but with some antibiotics, we are all finally kicking these colds.  Just this morning, Emmy showed up with an ear infection, and fortunately we were able to make it to the doctor for some medication..at a well baby appt. no less…  I am thankful for medicine..I am thankful for Jehovah Jireh..who is continually healing us.

CHANGE: I sense God giving me more of a strength of mind…although some days it seems my thoughts still cave…I think there are more days where I turn to Him for strength…and focus on Him alone…and think His thoughts…learning to walk in His light.

GROWTH: I see God growing us.  I see Him changing the way we look at things…and calling us to love Him more and show more grace to each other.

Everyday is so different for me the past few months.  I am learning to surrender…

The kids LOVE Cubbies.  Lewis is growing so much and maturing.  Hannah loves to say her verses.  She is so serious compared to Lewis’ silliness…(it’s really a bit of an adjustment!)!  She loves the games and crafts.  She loves Jesus.

Here are some pictures of our Flock this fall!

Fall adventures of Lewis and Hannah Cottontail!

Walking "The Path"
Walking “The Path”
Basking in God's glorious creation...
Basking in God’s glorious creation…
Apple Picking Time!!!  Right Across the Street!!!
Apple Picking Time!!! Right Across the Street!!!

I am loving entering fall this year…it is bringing much change already…exciting change.

We’ve all been sick the past two weeks, but are all coming out of it now!  🙂  Sweet Lewis had strep and a small fracture in his wrist from falling from the monkey bars (mommy and daddy had a little miscommunication… 😦 ), and the rest of us were sick with different things, but daddy was healthy and carried us through once again.

We enjoyed getting ready for fall–a sweet day of decorating with my littles…boy was it fun doing that together!…it brought back memories of my mom’s LOVE of decorating and love of holidays and celebrations.  We made cranberry muffins, decorated the house, went apple picking RIGHT across the street from our house (more on that later!), and made an apple pie with all those apples with Lewis, which he couldn’t wait to make!  Brian and Hannah went to the pumpkin patch and brought back the most beautiful pumpkins and more yummy apples. I do LOVE fall.

We went to the zoo and experienced a surprise parrot attack!!! and just soaked up God’s incredible creation together.  I love spending that time with my Lewis, my little joy child.  I LOVE the gift and joy of teaching him and telling him all about the Lord, the Lover of his soul, and His beautiful creation.  He LOVES to learn from me…it is such a sweet, sweet gift to be able to be this little boy’s teacher…to lead him through life…well, at least the first 18 years…he has so many questions, so many dreams, so many desires…and I know that God is BIG enough to teach him and be everything to him…and will show me my part in all of it…moment by moment 🙂

On nights when Brian is at class, God provides in so many real and tangible ways–sometimes with a red helium balloon that goes up and down until it runs out of air…entertaining Lewis for long enough for me to feed Emma :-), or an awesome rain storm, delighting my little children’s hearts, as they climb into our “garden room,” onto the window sills to watch the incredible display of God’s glory and power, or a sweet neighbor who brought by tons of books for our children to read one night…or one that really topped them all–Christ’s romantic apple picking date, waiting for us one evening, with an unexpected empty picnic basket just sitting on a bench right across from our front yard (for two days in a row)….right in front of two apple trees, just ripe for picking!  And behind them, a very old church that mysteriously burnt down in the 1980s…so much history…so many questions running through my mind…about the church…and the apple trees…  We had a delightful time filling up the basket full of apples and making our yummy apple pie together and galavanting to the mailbox singing, “Follow the RED brick Road.” 🙂

The kids and I have been heavy into God’s Word lately–learning about why the Lord’s servant must not quarrel and the lengths we must go to obey in this, being still (in which, Lewis usually responds with, “Shh, mommy, God is talking to me!”), staying on THE PATH–why our hearts can only handle the path that God has given us–the safety, security and blessings that come from that, and the Lord disciplining those He loves.  I am learning so much…mostly about the depths of God’s grace and how to teach these littles the deep riches of God’s Truth.

In my marriage (and parenting) I am learning that my life is not my own…

I am EXCITED about the service God is calling me to….all that God is going to do…ready for Him to lead me, ready to become less that He may become more, humbled and burdened by all that will be brought to me, and really excited to see God grow people in faith, hope, love, and trust…and to see His glorious power displayed.

Sweet Adventures….

Lewis' new bed...he outgrew his old one...just in time for sissy to move in :-)
Lewis’ new bed…he outgrew his old one…just in time for sissy to move in 🙂

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sleeping beauty :-)
sleeping beauty 🙂

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As the summer season ends…we tried to soak up the last moments…although this week has still been in the 90s here!  We went on two last trips to the waterparks–Schlitterbahn and Tiffany Springs…had campouts on the floor…Hannah in her new room..and bed… (she often is found making her bed on the floor…), and Lewis as a special treat in the living room :-)….as well as celebrating his new room and new bed!….and some fun face painting…mommy is trying her hand at it (supposed to be a lion and sweet kitty!) 🙂

Race Car Date with Daddy!!!

A fun daddy date to the racetrack!!!
A fun daddy date to the racetrack!!!

DSC04889 DSC04891 DSC04892Daddy and Lewis LOVED going on this trip together….to a racetrack at Legends in Kansas City!  The cars were LOUD…and they saw a close call happen right in front of them….it was captivating and Fun, Fun, Fun for the boys!!!

The girls and I went on a shopping trip…which I don’t dare very often…but it turned out GREAT!  🙂

Field of Flowers…

dream come true!
dream come true!

My Lewis LOVES to pick flowers.  He stops everywhere to pick them, running to give them to me and Hannah…and any other lady he sees nearby 🙂  He even asks us to stop the car to pick them.  We indulge this whenever we can…but there are so many times we can’t!  So there was a period of time when it seemed whenever he wanted to pick them, we were unable to stop…I kept telling him, “buddy, I bet you we are going to run into a FIELD OF FLOWERS soon…and you are going to pick to your hearts’ content.”

Well, we did, and here is our beautiful field of flowers…right next to a fun playground on post!  🙂

At Last!!!

Here they are…at last!!!  Pictures of the Tinklepaugh Flock extravaganzas with the Tinklepaughs 🙂

What an incredible visit…I cannot even express all the wonderful love and adventures we had…it was a full 5 days and SO perfect….  Here are a few pictures to reflect those precious moments…and lots of fun!!!

We love you grandma and grandpa!!!  We can’t wait to see you again!!!

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10 Years….Our Journey in the Army

Tomorrow Marks 10 YEARS for Brian and our family in the Army!!!

As Brian and I reach the halfway point in the Army, so many memories of our journey together, and my journey as a child in the military are flowing through my head…so many exciting stories, and also memories of the struggle and heartaches as well.

I wrote a bit more on the calling page of our blog about the Lord’s journey for us in the Army…and the heart He’s given Brian for it.  I love the heart Brian has for the Army 🙂  He’s been steadfast, determined, committed, and loyal to the Army, despite hopes and dreams being buried early on.  He’s been dedicated to serving and leading Soldiers and protecting His country.  The Lord has given him such a driven heart for his country and a heart willing to sacrifice much.  I am in awe of His passion and dedication to serve His God and Country 🙂

I love the heart He’s developing in me as an Army wife…the vision He’s giving me…the plan He’s revealing to me about my place in it all…how He’s going to use my gifts and Brian’s gifts, and the gifts of our children, to glorify Him in this calling He has for us.  It’s exciting to think about.

The Army is an exciting life.  It holds much adventure, fulfillment in serving, wonder, many twists and turns, struggle, and some heartache….

Here’s a little bit of my story growing up as an Army child, in the Army, and as an Army wife—an exciting story of adventure–

My family made many moves growing up…in the teens or twenties…we moved about every year and a half …our lives were exciting…traveling all around the world…to Wales, Germany, Norway, South Africa…and my parents continued on to South America and Kuwait after I left home.  There were countless moves stateside…in Kansas, at one location, when a high category tornado came and leveled much of our base, I think we moved schools several times just in that year alone…and when our original school was ready at last to attend again, we moved to another location.  My life growing up was full of many changes, a lot of new experiences, and so many memories made beautifully together as a family.  We loved exploring this world together 🙂  I loved galavanting around the world with my favorite buddy–my brother–who is still traveling all around the world with his own family.  And now I love doing this with my own family too.  From my time in the Army and as an Army wife, we’ve moved at least 8 times in the past 10 years.  Brian and I were so blessed to meet and start this adventure together as young lieutenants 🙂

I come from a long line of brave men–warriors–dedicated to serving their country–we’ve traced this lineage of service even back to the Revolutionary War. I have several cousins and uncles who have served as well, and a brother who is serving now.  The Lord has continued this passion for service, duty, honor, and country through many generations in my family heritage and in my immediate family as well.

I am so very proud of my lineage and of my husband, who has persevered through the past 10 years of service, all of it served during a time of war for our country.

I cannot fathom what the next 10 years will bring….the past 10 have been hard to comprehend!  I truly hope it is a time of much PEACE for our country and family.  I pray we might fulfill God’s plan for us in the Army right now, and Lord willing, be able to serve in the mission field outside of the Army in the future.  We are excited about His plan for our family, and anticipate hearing anytime where we will be 6 months from now 🙂

Little Nuggets of Joy :-)

This past weekend, we went to Great Wolf Lodge and had a nice respite together at the water park there.  I went in faith.  Faith that the littles would do well in the hotel, faith that my body could handle the trip, faith that my mind would be strong to weather the hiccups that are inevitable in traveling.

This morning, as I have time to process, God gave me so many little nuggets of joy to remember.  My husband was so strong in serving the family so selflessly, so joyfully.  My kids were so strong and joyful!  They did so well in the car, so well in the hotel.  They had so much fun.  It was wonderful to see the delight in their faces.  Lewis was the brightest light and was so selfless and tender with all of us.  He is developing such an obedient heart.  Hannah slept in a bed for the first time and slept all night long!  This was mommy’s greatest concern 🙂  There were hiccups along the way, but the Lord brought us through them all, and gave us surprising REST throughout the whole time.

I am so blessed to have a husband who wants more than anything for me to be happy and encouraged and provided for.  I am so thankful to rest without any stress or burden on my heart to get things done.  I know he will be content with whatever I get accomplished during the day and strong to do the rest of what needs to get done.  The kids gave me their horsey pole to hobble around on as a crutch, as deep sciatic nerve pain on my left side has really crippled me the last week.  The Lord also provided so graciously through a friend who is a physical therapist and showed me some exercises I can do, and through some tylenol.  I am almost through another long sinus cold…and I have hope that this might be the last one, as the pollen subsides and summer arrives 🙂

I know as these memories of pain grow older, all I will remember is how sweetly my family has loved me….with perspective, it is actually quite comical.   My kids really have the concept of the importance of rest!  Hannah tells me often she needs to go rest….Lewis has been so sweet and understanding to give me some space while I rest 🙂  The kids hold my hand as I hobble around the house to get things done.  Their favorite place to be is with mommy resting 🙂  And jumping on the bed 🙂

Getting things done has always been so important to me; it has always given me such deep fulfillment.  Most days have gone by the past 9 months and I  haven’t felt accomplished whatsoever!  I have found contentment in learning to peacefully rest, and finding little ways to bless and love my family.  And you know what, they are just as happy and fulfilled with the little things I do to bless them as they are the big ways.  As I joyfully serve them and love them in little ways, I see a real contentment develop in their faces, and I see their little spirits blossom with real joy—joy in being with family, loving each other, serving each other, and learning about God’s ways together.  I see pure hearts.  I see deep contentment.  I see a greater love for Jesus and appreciation of God’s blessings.  My husband is changing in so many ways right now.  His relationship with the Lord is deepening.  He is learning to rely more on the Lord’s voice and direction and less on his own understanding and to walk in faith.  How hard that is to do as the leader of our family.  Our hearts crave understanding.  I see my heart changing in so many ways too, my walk deepening and maturing.

This week and perhaps today, we are to get clarity for our months ahead.  We are supposed to find out whether we stay or go next December, and we have a possible hint of where we might go if we move in December.  We are learning to follow Jesus, step-by-step, even if and when the journey takes us on a different turn than expected…than where we felt led.  We are following faithfully with the understanding and direction we are given each day.  And this is the journey and life that He asks us to live–in FAITH, trust, and obedience.