Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Laurali with her Grandma's on Thanksgiving
Getting ready to take Mimi to the airport
Happy Thanksgiving!
Laurali eating her peas and spinach mommy made
We're ready to go to church
Watching the Saints game (sorry about my pants Pittsburgh family)
In the swing Papa and Grandy got her. Check our her two little teeth!
Getting ready to go get Mimi at the airport
Getting ready to board our last plane of the day to Oklahoma
I apologize for not being the best blogger the past five months, or should I say the WORST blogger. But I've felt the nudge and I know the Lord can do great things through my fingers soooo...I'm going to do better ;-)

Since June we've been in a couple of different states, I've gained another year, Laurali has gotten three teeth, and we are five months closer to seeing Braden! We are in Oklahoma right now with the Merritt's enjoying the Holidays and this last hump of deployment. God has been doing some amazing things in our lives. It is really neat to see His purposes unfold for both of us, even though we are many countries away from each other. I think we both see His will more clearly during these times of separation.

The Lord has become my best friend. I've been a walking Christian for seven years and I feel like I have finally grasped what it means to have an intimate relationship with Christ. The Holy Spirit has a grasp on my heart and I am so thankful for that. Today I was reading a devotional my sister, Nikki, sent me. In it there was a line that said "We need to persevere in our desire to love the Lord." That is something I have been praying for. My mind wanted it, but my heart just wasn't there for quite some time. Recently, that prayer has come true. The desire is so strong and I am not living if I am not walking with my Father each day. The devotional then proceeded to say "This faithful lover never gives up on us." I am so grateful for that truth. There have been so many times when I have been lazy, rebellious, and foolish with my life. My God has NEVER left me, He has NEVER forsaken me, He has NEVER said "Alissa, there is no potential left in you and I've given you a thousand chances to grow...I'm done! There is someone better." Instead, He says "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) Praise God for his Grace.

"We need to persevere in our desire to love the Lord."

This is what God revealed to me about is my journal entry today during my quiet time:

"I feel ashamed because as of late I have let my constant communication with the Lord fall to the way side. In doing so, I have also been quenching the Spirit. I cannot and do not want to live moment to moment without communication and intimacy with my Heavenly Father. Please forgive me, Lord. These moments are for you, Lord, not for myself; I pray for that constant reminder each moment of the day. I pray that I am always "in step" with the Holy Spirit. "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25

The Spirit and I need to be in sync. The world can distract and cause me to get out of step; this quenches the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says "Do not quench the Spirit." What a precious gift from God - the Spirit is our Helper and our Comforter. We have God with us ALWAYS. What is there to be anxious about?"

God talks to me and God leads me. I will continually pray for open ears, an open heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith.

These verses about perseverance inspire me.

1 Chronicles 16
"Look to the Lord and His Strength; seek His face always."

Job 17:9
"Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger."

Psalm 37:24
"Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand."

Matthew 10:22
"The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day."

John 8:31-32
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Romans 2:7
"To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give you eternal life."

Romans 5:1-5
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through out Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Thanks for letting me share my walk and faith with you. Blessings and peace with you all;-)

God is good...

Here are some updated pictures!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A God of Comfort

I know I say this all the time, but I truly feel peaceful and blessed beyond words. There are many different seasons in life; trials and tribulations; triumphs and successes. No matter the season, the Lord has chosen you to experience it for his purpose. It is not always easy to discern what he is trying to teach you. I am experiencing a season without my best friend and other half. I have never heard God as clearly as I do now. These are some phrases I've heard from him "Be joyful in all circumstances," "My cup overflows," "Never grow weary in doing good," and "I am your source of comfort." Thank you Lord for speaking to me. Hearing these words has given me such a sense of peace.

A truth that God has revealed to me is that he is the God who comforts all. As you will see in the photos I have added, he has given me so many loved ones who have demonstrated such compassion, support, and unconditional love for our family. My wonderful friends and family have comforted me through trials I have faced. He brought my brother home safely from Afghanistan and reunited him with his beautiful wife and daughter. What a God we serve! As I was reading a book about a military wife's journey of faith, she talked about the Lord being a God of comfort. He has truly shown me comfort through loneliness, friends, and family.

2 Corintians 1:3-7 says "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Them you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God has given us." How many times have you been through a season of tribulation and had someone who faithfully comforted you through it all. God refined you and made you even stronger for the next person who needed you for the same reason. I don't know about you, but I have felt so much purpose in being someone's comfort or shoulder to cry on. That is how the Lord designed us. His word proves it:)

Thank you Father, for being so faithful. Thank you for the relationships you've created in order for us to be your hands and feet. I praise you for all you have given my family. We are humbled by your blessings and I pray that we can thrive and be true to you as we experience the troubles that will never come close to what your Son endured for our salvation.

God is good...

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Home of the Free because of the Brave

Today we honor those who have given their lives for our freedom. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and pride as I remember our close loved ones and many others who have laid down their lives for our sake. I sent Braden an e-mail this morning asking him if he could write something that would honor these brave men.

This is what he had to say:

"The Ones We Can't Afford to Lose"

"Some men have in inimitable ability to bear the challenges and trials of life with a smile. They not only survive, but thrive in the face of hardship, mental stress, and physical fatigue. With dirty hands and faces, sweat soaked uniforms, and hungry stomachs they approach the day's work with a spirit of joy, camaraderie, and vigorous enthusiasm. Come nightfall they stand their turn in vigilant watch as their brothers rest at their feed in the solace of their protection. We all hear the call; we all rise to the challenge; precious few do it with a joyful spirit as sure and as bright as the desert sun. The best among us, these are the ones we could not afford to lose.

1 April 2010- For the first time in my career, one of my Marines would return home beneath an American flag. Sgt Frank World would not experience the excitement of the plane ride home. He would not kiss his wife, hold his son, or meet his new daughter when he stepped off the bus. At our company's mess night, he would not be present to laugh and remember the months of trials gone by. A violent explosion marked the beginning of a dark hour when no strength or perseverance or will of man could change what had come to pass. He would be remembered that mess night for his indomitable spirit and infectious enthusiasm.

5 May 2010- A sniper's round took my classmate, teammate, and dear friend as he worked shoulder to shoulder with the Marines of his platoon. Bull Barrett established himself as a force for change in Helmand, fearlessly and persistently engaging the local population to establish mutual respect, trust, and understanding. He has touched the fond memories of many Afghan children, who will vividly remember the man who stood exposed to the hate around him as he gave them candy and a warm, friendly smile. I will never forget our days traveling for road games, the pre-game locker room, or the excitement we shared during our football games. I will never forget the fond memories of home and days gone by we shared during truck rides back to Annapolis. I will never forget the memorial service in Marja when the roll call came to Captain Brandon Barrett's name, and the reply was silence.

12 June 2010- Life is precious and fragile, and surviving the enemy is no guarantee against the perils we daily take for granted. While moving his family across the country, a tire blew on his moving truck, setting in motion a disaster that would take the life of Capt Nick Bourgeois. I remember how he spoke of his deep love for God, his wife, his sons, and music. I remember his positive attitude during IOC exercises specifically intended to cause fatigue and frustration; his demeanor was easy and cheerful, and he truly expressed joy in all circumstances.

I wanted to add my Uncle Frank who gave his life while fighting in the Vietnam War. Here is an excerpt from the article that was written for him after he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

8 April 1972- PFC Frank Brochetti distinguished himself by gallantry in action while serving as Radio Telephone Operator of the Third Regional Assistance Command's Nui Ba Den Radio Relay Site, Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam. On this date, the radio relay site suddenly began receiving extremely intense mortar, rocket propelled grenade, and small arms fire from three directions. Taking immediate action, PFC Brochetti ran to the radio relay building fearlessly exposing himself to this intense fire. Upon reaching the building, he engaged the attacking force with small arms fire while his Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge prepared to destroy classified equipment and publications even though the building was receiving intense fire and was burning. PFC Brochetti was wounded by an exploding grenade. Although wounded, he still directed fire on the attacking enemy forces until he succeeded in reaching the fighting position. Numerous enemy assaults were directed at his fighting position until it was totally demolished by satchel charges and RPG fire. He continued directing fire at the enemy until he was mortally wounded and his position was overrun. PFC Brochetti's conspicuous gallantry in action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflected great credit upon himself and the military services.

The best our country and Corps has to offer- these men we could not afford to lose. They are remembered today. They are remember forever.

Semper fidelis. Until we meet again, brothers.

"For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."
~Romans 13:4

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."
~Job 1:21

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
~John 15:11-13

Friday, May 27, 2011

I am never in any pictures because I'm always the one behind the camera. I've got to take lots of pictures of Laurali:) So last night I was sure to get some for Braden.......Love you so much sweetheart <3 Anna took pictures of us and caught Laurali's smile! There is nothing better than that precious smile.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And until next time, always remember... God is good!!

And here our some photos of our growing little girl.

Friends are Gems:)

Emory 6 months, Laurali 6 weeks

I swear there is a baby in there:)

Last week I had one of my best friends from college and her family come visit me. Her husband has family in Florida, so they made a stop off of 95 to come see the Merritt's. They have two kiddos- Taylor 2 and Emory 6 months. We had such a GREAT TIME. Amanda and I had girl time and Chris did some man stuff around the house that I haven't done since Braden and his family left. He took the trash out and mowed my lawn. He even surprised Amanda and I with a MASSAGE!! What a wonderful man:) And I mean it, seriously!! He watched all three babies (three under age 2) and when we came home, they were all sleeping. I don't think Nanny 911 or whatever her name is could have accomplished that! I loved watching Chris and Amanda be parents. I was observing and getting tips for when Laurali has her own thoughts and ways. Taylor was so well behaved and charismatic-it brought so much joy to my heart. Emory is such a handsome happy little boy. Here are some pictures from their visit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Aunt Leslie got us this book called " Prayers and Promises for my Little Girl." The first prayer is titled "Prayer of Gratitude for My Little Girl." Such a WONDERFUL gift. Thank you Aunt Les:) It takes the words right out of my mouth.

"Lord, I thank you for this precious gift of my daughter. You have given her to me and now I dedicate Laurali to You. You alone know what she needs. I release her to You to care for and protect, and I committ myself to pray for everything You put on my heart. Teach me how to pray, and guide me in what to pray for with regard to her life. Help me not to impose my own will when I'm praying for her, but rather enable me to always pray that Your will be done.

Because Your Word says that every good gift comes from You, I know that You have given her to me to raise. Help me to do that. I invite You to be in control of her life. I rely on You for everything, and this day I trust my child into Your care."

God promises "I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring."

~ Isaiah 44:3

Of course it has been tough having Braden gone. My heart aches for him more than anything. But how can I feel anything but grateful for what God has given us? I wonderful home, beautiful daughter...we are provided for, loved dearly, and supported indefinitely. God has given me such a grateful heart. After we dropped Braden off to deploy, God whispered in my heart "be joyful in all circumstances" and that is what I've been striving to do. Let me tell you, it changes EVERYTHING. Thank you all for loving us and bringing that joy to us. As Braden and I sign all of our letters...God is good <3