Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pilot Training, Part 3 of 3

This is the article that was on the August 25 edition of the local paper. I supplied the content and the photo, and they did it up proud for a hometown boy.

Mulligan Completes Pilot Training

After successfully completing Undergraduate Pilot Training with Training Squadron 31 at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, 1st Lieutenant Brett Mulligan, USAF, was awarded his Aviator’s Wings on May 20, 2011. Following the address at the Aviation Designation Ceremony by the base commodore, Captain Scott P. Cooledge, among family, friends, dignitaries, commanding officers, and fellow pilots, Lt. Mulligan had his wings ceremoniously pinned on his uniform by his father, Kevin Mulligan.

Two weeks later, Lt. Mulligan wed Miss Lydia Weatherly of Wichita Falls, Texas. The honeymoon was shortened by his assignment on June 16 to Fairchild AFB for survival training. He is currently in C-130 training at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas. Following completion of this training, he will be stationed at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs.

Brett Mulligan is a 2005 graduate of Jenkins High School. He is the son of Kevin and Cyndi Mulligan.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Seven Months

It's been seven months since I lost my mom. Sometimes it feels like seven years. Other times it feels like seven minutes. Always, I miss her. I can't look at her picture for long because it makes me cry. Even writing this causes me to press back at what wants to rise up.

My goal is to nurture a heart of gratitude for an end to the constant pain she was in, like my dad does. Like I told him though, he's a bigger man than I. It's at least my goal anyway. Sometimes there are sparks of it. I was looking at a picture of Brett with a humongous pack on, and the look on his face is painful to witness. I was glad she never saw it; it would've broken her heart. When Dad pulled his hamstring, she would've hurt for him for days.

It pulls at me to know that my dad is lonely. He seems WAY too dependent on Raymie for company. Yes, Mom talked to him a lot, and he has a big vocabulary for a dog, but he's something like 8 or 9 years old, and the day will come..... He has an enlarged heart that Dad gives him medication for, but it's just so scary that he puts SO much stock in an animal he will indeed lose.

Some mornings I wake up and remember that she died and think, Oh, yeah, it's true....... I know it'll take time. I know it won't always be like this, just like it won't ever be like it was. In the meantime, I hope to honor her life and give God the glory just like Dad does.

Friday, August 12, 2011

So, Bye and Stuff...

Ryan left for Helena today to visit Amy for a couple of days before he has to show up as the Chi Alpha House director. Last year's director also experienced being an RA, so he was able to tell Ryan that this job is less work. He has to provide his own eats so it'll cost a little more, but he can't afford to let his grades suffer, so this was a good option.

When I try to think of what we did these past three months, how the summer went and how we took advantage of him being home, I can only conjure snatches of memories and generalizations of how it all went. The 48 hours after he leaves has me thinking of all these good ideas, should'ves and could'ves I wish we had done and things we planned on doing and never got around to actually executing.

I hate regrets. Ryan said not to go there, that we had a GREAT summer with really solid time together, both as a family and one-on-one. He's right, of course. It's that deep satisfaction of knowing they're home that trips me up when the time comes for them to leave. It just always feels so right when they're here, even though I know and truly do want him to continue this track of life he's on--it's a good thing he's doing, normal and challenging and good. I can take those regrets and comprise a list of things we can do another time, a time that'll be that much more precious because it won't be hosted inside three months but only a few days.

We said goodbye about four times in our typical family style, and it was just like him to hug me and then hug me even closer and just stand there like that for a bit, finally saying, "I'm sure gonna miss you when you die...!" I said, "Hopefully, that won't be for a long while, right?!" It was a great final sendoff.

A gracious blanket of gratitude lighted on me as he took off down the driveway. Three months. Three really, really good months. Jylle reminded me that he wasn't even supposed to be able to come home this summer. Three bonus months!
I'd been pushing back at the cry that kept rising up in me all morning. Honestly, every time one of the boys leaves for long periods of time, I die a little inside. (Love--the greatest curse and blessing of motherhood!) I've often gone downstairs to the room of whichever boy just left, curled up on the bed, and let out all the sadness. Instead, this time, I was delivered into a thankfulness so sure and solid that the demon pain of missing him was booted clean off the premises, and I was left with a heart full of worship.

Would that they would all go this way............ Relationship. Gratitude. Worship. That's a really great summer harvest for anyone.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Aunt Ila's Victoria

Kev's Aunt Ila lives in one of the prettiest cities I've ever seen. She's going to be 90 in February, we haven't been to Victoria in over 25 years, and--double bonus--Ryan and Jyllea were available--so we made a plan: Pick up Kev's mom and float up to Vancouver Island.

Not as direct a route when you drive and ferry, but you get the picture.

Edmonds to Kingston

On the way from Kingston to Port Angeles, we went through Sequim, hometown of my precious friend, Mae. We're writing buddies, and I've heard stories of her childhood and the memories she holds so dear, so it was a treat to pass through. I even mailed a letter to her from there, so I hope she notices the postmark!

Leaving the U.S.

These beautiful hanging baskets are literally everywhere.

The Empress Hotel is a vital destination, even if you don't stay there.
They love their UK roots.

Loving our time in the photo albums. Aunt Ila is a treasure trove of stories, lineage, and the heritage we hold dear.

Trekking around the University of Victoria

Dinner at The University Club

Fresh steelhead salmon with a parsley butter pat, potato pavè, and Julienne veggies--fabulous!

The beautiful pond off the lounge at The Club.

Breakfast from Tim Horton's our last morning there... Aunt Ila said the coffee is so good you just want to bite it. Boston creams, Canadian maples, and maple glazeds--eeeyum!!

Our goodbye photo

Busker, street entertainer--parkoured up the wall, and this was his dismount!

Harbor sights

Liked the name of this ferry home...

Sweet USA

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


I never ever knew how important it would be to send a sympathy card or make that phone call to inquire or deliver a roasted chicken if not for what I've experienced these last couple of months. Actually, the impact was impressed within the first week after losing my mama, but as the cards and phone calls continued to come in weeks after, the lesson was embossed in my heart, and I will forever acknowledge the importance of reaching out, even if words seem empty and useless to you at the time in your attempt to comfort the grieving.

Sometimes I think I'm over the immediacy of tears, of how ready they've been. I think Okay, I can do this. This is how it is afterward... Then I'll hear a song or read a fresh card or glimpse her precious face in a picture, and I'm completely undone. I am almost desperate for my next dream with her in it. I wake as if from some purchased time with her, analyzing the scenarios and attributing whatever meaning or symbolism they might contain.

I need her life to mean something lasting in mine. Such a loss requires the justice of a profound legacy. It is my co-honor and co-responsibility with the One Who loves her perfectly and eternally to see that that happens. I don't mean to imply that I intend to act as one equally yoked. I only mean that I want to cooperate as He prompts and gives direction. T-H-E-N it will be done with the honor and meaning that He bestows on every one of His ends.

offense, defense, and the truth


Do you know how much damage can be done when you expect to be the Center of someone's universe? Do you realize how complicated you make it when your level of expectation exceeds Reason? Where is this Grace you preach...? Where is this Love you speak of...?

You are so young. But you have experienced a great deal:  Depth. Life. Miracles. Grief. Sorrow. Confusion. Complication. Tenderness. Courage. I don't consider that lightly. But this is a wounding thing you've done.

This seems to be three steps forward, three steps back. This no longer seems worth it to me. Maybe it's a good thing I'm not much in the scheme of things because I would no doubt make this situation worse than it already is. I thought I knew your heart. Obviously I don't. I got caught presuming.

When Mary's heart was pierced through, did anyone remember the prophecy? Did she even, until the midst of it? To see your child suffer is a grief no parent can bear in a lovely way. It stinks. It's a mountain of misery, and more often than not, this mother's knee jerk reaction is to slap at the hornet rather than to be still and know that He is God, at work, alive, revealing...


Psalm 103:11-12 was written on a note left for me in the kitchen. “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

I needed a fresh reminder of my own sin and level of unreasonable expectation.  If I find that I am unwilling to forgive, if I have uttered the words, “How could you…” then I need the tender revelation once again of which world I belong to. The rules and tools of that other world have no function or place , like using a tennis ball to build a house, or a sock to magnify. The rules of the Kingdom, of the Overcoming Life, are the tools of the Redeemed—humbled at being saved, forgiven, and given the scandalous privilege of walking as Daughter or Son, that to walk in any other manner than that of Abiding is not an option.

Where is this Grace I preach if it does not begin with me? Where is this Love I speak of if it isn't seen immediately in my own life? I have been forgiven of far worse, and so I drop the stones I would hurl in a red hot hurry as I acknowledge that my board is greater than your sliver. I sincerely
wish you sweetness and roses as you bear with your self in this walk as we all must. xo

Psalm 32:6-8  For this forgiveness let everyone who is godly pray—pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely when the great waters of trial overflow, they shall not reach the spirit in him. You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance.  Selah.  I, the Lord, will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

[I wrote this after someone shattered the heart of one of my children.]