Monday, May 17, 2010

Wounded Warrior Games

Brent's team wins GOLD in Wounded Warrior Games (Click for video)

     It's pretty safe to say that Brent was severely missed over the past 15 days.  He went to the Olympic Training Facility in Colorado to coach the Marine volleyball team in the Wounded Warrior Games.  I can't say that I was completely supportive of this decision.  I also can't say that I was as nice as I could have been when he was able to call and catch up.  I can't believe I am admitting this, but I actually resented him some for choosing to take 2 weeks of vacation time from work and leave his son and stay-at-home wife.  I told him how he's the bright spot at the end of my day and I just couldn't imagine going through the day knowing that (honestly) there'd be no relief, no shared responsibility, no break.  I know Satan was sticking his ugly head in my thoughts and emotions.  He went as far to say that "Brent only took a week and a day off when Asher was born and yet he can take 2 weeks off to go away and have fun without his family!?!"  The good thing is that I'm able to recognize Satan's voice and use my Christian knowledge to push him away.

     This morning I took time to watch videos of the games, look at pictures, read quotes, and cry.  I am so blessed to have a husband who would sacrifice time from his family, work, routine, and change lives of those who've lost so much.  Brent is the bright spot at the end of my day but why not share that light?  He changes lives wherever he goes.  He is so positive, energetic, crazy, and he is amazing with words.  He has the knowledge and skill of volleyball that guides others to gold medals!  I only wish I had taken the time to look at all the videos and thought about all the lives that he was changing instead of selfishly thinking of how he was changing mine?  As I watched this video (and others), I saw soldiers crying as they achieve a great victory that they may have thought was lost with their mobility.  So, this morning my thinking is different.  I am so thankful for Brent's opportunity.  I am so thankful for the wounded soldiers who have a new found feeling of accomplishment.  I am so thankful for the memories that have been made.  I am so thankful that my eyes have been opened.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day to this "Mama"

So, I want to begin by thanking my husband for his dear posts.  I've struggled with him away but I know that Brent lights up a room with his energy and positive attitude and I'm glad he's been able to share that with some wounded warriors.  I know that this day may have been difficult for Brent since it's his first without his mother but I am glad to see that he knows she's having a better time in Heaven than she could have ever experienced here on earth.   
 I'm taking a moment to reflect on Mother's Day. This is a day that children show appreciation and make their mother's feel special. Well, Asher didn't quite get that memo, but his daddy did try to make it special from afar.  I took a moment today to appreciate the gift of being a mom.  What Asher means to me and what the future will hold for us.  There are many who struggle with infertility or even those who are still searching for their soul mate.  I am so thankful that God has allowed me to find Brent and experience the joy (and many other emotions) of being Asher's "Mama."   

My Precious Boy...

Always Busy...

Always ready for adventure...

Lots of personality...


And he sure knows how to make his "Mama" proud!

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day Mom...Thank you for everything that you have done for me and for all that you have taught me.  I love you and miss you.

Mother's Day

She is my strength, my sustenance, my safety.  She is my fun, my tears, my laughter, my fears, my cuddle, my sweepy, my baba, my mama.  She is my more, my all done, my cleaner, my wiper, my ride, my everything…she is my mom!  And I am her Asher for now and always.  Happy Mother's Day Mama!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Peaks and Valleys Vol.2


I sit here typing this blog with a welling of tears in my eyes, the song “What do I know of Holy” playing in the background, and my head spinning with thoughts and emotions.  I am a full week in to my journey in Colorado Springs now and I have never been so amazed at the power of God, and the power of human will.  I am surrounded by miracles everywhere I look. 

The wounded warriors that I am working with are all soldiers who have been injured during duty.  The extent of their injuries extend from gunshot wounds, lost limbs, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), loss of vision, loss of hearing, paralysis, and the list goes on.  I am so honored to be in their presence and constantly in such awe of them.  Yes, I have always been conscious of the dedication, risk, and sacrifice of the men and women in the armed forces, but seeing them day in and day out, I have a new perspective.   I will never see the word HERO again in the same light.  Not only for what they have done for our country, for us, for me, for my son to live in freedom and grow up with hope; or because they have lost what we each take for granted on a daily basis, or for the lives lost, or even for their continued service to the country; these hero’s have redefined HERO for me because they have not given up, not on themselves, not on others, not on life.  In the week I have been here, I have yet to hear a single warrior complain, make excuses, or even give me less than 100% of what I ask.  They press on with pride, with dignity, and with a desire and purpose that I could only dream of obtaining.  I am so honored to be a part of this event.  I hate to say, as a coach I am sure I have only taught my athletes a mere fraction of what they have taught me.  This is so much bigger than a competition for medals and for the promotion of the Marine Corps; it is a true celebration of the spirit of Man!  

I want to share an example of the Spirit I have seen present in these men;
Chuck, a blind, double amputee, who has terminal brain cancer, refuses to be helped down the stairs.  He is competing in 3 swimming events and has never been seen here without a smile on his face.  He was chosen to carry the torch for the Marine Corps and due to his lack of vision, it was suggested that someone assist him.  When asked who he would like to assist him, he chose a good friend of his, also a warrior, who has lost the use of his legs.  With the hint of skepticism in the meeting evident, Billy, the soldier without use of his legs said come on Chuck, wheeled over to where Chuck was waiting and proceeded to push him across the room.  Chuck raised his hand in triumph and we all broke in to applause…Who am I to be blessed with the company of such people? 

I Love you Kristen Petersen.  Thank you for your sacrifice and for allowing me this opportunity.  What you do for our family, for me, and for our son goes overlooked and unmentioned more often than not…You are amazing!  I miss you and adore you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Peaks and Valleys Vol. 1

I was doing so well with the blog…and I could list a slew of excuses as to why I have been so slack, but I chose not to.  I am going to try to do better. 


I am on my way to Colorado Springs, story later, and I can’t get over my life.  I guess everyone’s life is full of the same ups and downs, but is fascinating to me the depth of life’s valleys and the altitude of the peaks.  I read this book that was not so great titled Peaks and Valleys.  In the book the author states “What you do during your valleys, will determine your next peak.  And what you do during your peaks will determine your next valley.” I am a firm believer in this and try to learn from my valleys and make the best of them, while not forgetting to look closely at what got me there in the first place and how to get out of it as soon as appropriate.  The same goes for the peaks, look around and enjoy the time there, what good is it if you do not, but also look at what got you there and how you can make your stay there longer and more frequent. 

My first peak, that I have been on for quite some time, is my marriage.  Now, we do have our peaks and valleys, but when your valley is still far above sea level it is not that bad!  My wife is amazing in so many ways and I want to be better at showing it.  It is amazing to me how easy it is to lose sight of the beautiful and blessed things around you everyday.  She works so hard day in and day out to raise our son Asher, and then has to deal with her second child…ME!  She sacrifices sleep, sanity, order and sometimes-needed socialization to give Asher everything he needs to grow into a great boy.  She is doing an amazing job and I am so proud to be her husband and father of her child.  With Mother’s Day approaching, I want her to know more than ever how great she is and how much she does for our family.  I have the easy job!  I hope she knows this now and for always.

Speaking of Mother’s Day and Valleys, My mother, Carole, passed away on the 13th of March.  She battled pancreatic and lung cancer for over 20 months.  There is no feeling in the world like losing your mother.  I say the word “losing” with hesitation because one of the most wonderful things about my mom is that she has taught me so many things that will never leave me.  I am human, and there are the things that I miss;
Our conversations
her amazing smile
her laugh
her outstanding cooking
her female perspective
the way she made my dad smile
the way she looked at my son
her beautiful garden
the feeling of security that only mom can give you in her arms

I think about her often. I know she is with God and is happier than she has ever been, that alone makes me ok with this.   My mom is amazing, and I remember how wonderful she was each time I think of her.  Raising three boys and a husband…Petersen boys nonetheless!  Working all of her life, providing so much stability for us, teaching us, training us, molding us into who we are today.  I asked her on more than one occasion, “What did you do to make me who I am today?”  I am proud of the person I have become and though I would have done some things differently in the past, I am so blessed to have the life I have, the morals and values I believe in, and the courage to take action when needed.  She would always say that she was blessed with amazing children and an amazing family; she said she didn’t do anything but love us to death.  And she did.  Even in her final days, when it would have been easier for her to take the hand of the Lord, and go to the place of no pain or suffering, she stayed for us.  I had not spent that much time with my family since  before Chris went to college, 1989-1990.  Day after day we celebrated mom’s life, reconnected, laughed, cried, played, ate…we enjoyed our time together.  Our family is close, but this was amazing.  My uncle Bill, mom's brother, and aunt Brenda were there and I have never felt so close to them in my whole life.  Mom did that for us.  When there was seemingly nothing left to give, one of the most selfless people I know continued to give more.  She is and has always been an inspiration to me and I only hope I continue to make her proud by living a selfless existence, and by making a difference in this short time on earth we call life.