Archive for 2014

That One Road.

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Have you ever hit a point in your life where you sat and thought...

"What the hell am I doing?"

I hadn't...not really...not that I can remember, anyway.

Until today.

Today I went to the local burger place, waited for freaking ever for a grilled cheese sandwich dinner and then went on my way to deliver dinner to my husband in a field somewhere between here and nowhere. I made my way out to a road I've been down more than a few times before and drove a lot faster than I should have, just to feel the butterflies as I passed over a few hills. I kept my eyes on the horizon, looking for the cellars that Harold would be at, waiting to get his dinner before making another pass through the potato field.

After waiting for a few minutes for him to get a quick break, we had made our trade: kisses for food and hugs for more kisses. He kissed his Baby Girl goodbye, went back to work and Taylor and I were on our way...back down the road, back to town...back to waiting for him to be done...

...and that's when it happened...

Somewhere between the second hill and the end of the gravel, my butterflies turned on me.

The fun fluttering was gone...and where was I? Driving down a road that I had been on more than a few times before, being passed by a tractor while my Baby Girl stared at me in the rear-view mirror. I pulled over as she held my gaze, her big blue eyes giving me a curious look. I stopped the car and looked away, watching the tractor slowly make its way over the next hill. 

"What the hell am I doing?"

My stomach started to turn, what had felt like butterflies before began to swell into a slow, heavy hurt. How did I get here? The hurt, the heaviness, formed a knot in my throat, making it harder to breathe.


I tried breathing through the sudden sadness and frustration that had taken over as tears began to well.

"Is this even right? Is this even where we are supposed to be? After 5 years of sacrifice, 5 years of hard work...of focus...5 years of budgeting, of planning, of this REALLY what God had in store for us!?"

The tears were streaming down my cheeks as the questions ran through my mind.

"Patience...I need to have patience...should I even be questioning what's going on here? Is this some kind of test, some kind of thing where I stay strong, where I look for the opportunity to learn? Where did my life go? I thought I was learning plenty! I struggled with patience as it was, and now...what in the world am I supposed to do now?!"

My head ached and my chest hurt as the tears fell and my mind raced. Where did this even come from? Was I really crying into my steering wheel? Ugh...

"Come on, you big, dumb this a Mom Car or a Baby Carriage...??"


"...maybe I've seen The Lego Movie a few too many times..."

I sat up from my steering wheel and calmed myself. I took a deep breath, and with my Little Girl's eyes still watching me, waiting for some kind of cue that all was well, I wiped my tears and gave her a smile.

After getting back on the road, heading into town, I gathered my thoughts and began to settle the heaviness of worries I had long tried to set aside. Passing fields of gold and green, I savored the comfort of autumn, of harvest. With the windows down, I welcomed a cool breeze and the smell of freshly gathered crops. It had been 10 years since I had made this same trip, taking dinner to Harold as he worked harvest. 10 years since I had driven down that road, back to town, back to waiting for him to be done.

It had been 10 years since we sat together, late night after late night, dreaming of the future we might be able to have.

10 years since we had dreamed of the life that we have now.


And that's when I realized...

"This is what I wanted. This is what I prayed for. This is what I dreamed of."


Today, as I drove my Daughter back to town in my beautiful Mom Car, passing homes of friends and familiar faces as we went...I made sure to remind myself of the blessings in my life. I took a moment to wrap my thick, selfish head around the idea that though it was in a different package, served up in a different manner than I had imagined, than I had planned...God had given me everything that I had asked for...

...and more.

Together Harold and I have a beautiful, strong and healthy marriage.

We have two incredible children who have far surpassed anything my imperfect human mind could have even dreamed of.

We are together, we are healthy and we are surrounded by love.

We are surrounded by family and friends.

5 years of sacrifice...5 years of hard work...of focus...5 years of budgeting, of planning, of dreaming...

This is what God has given us...this is what He had in store for us...

...and more.

Our story hasn't ended, we're simply changing chapters. Is this an opportunity to learn? Yes. Does it require patience? Oh heck yes. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. I know that one for sure. Because I'm selfish, I'm stubborn and I'm not a big fan of my plans not working out as I imagined they might...and God really doesn't seem to care much for my plans. 

10 years of waiting, of wondering, of dreaming...growing...learning...

We are well on our way to our happily ever after.

"...and it took just one more drive down that road I have been down more than a few times before, to realize that all of my dreams were coming true..."

Learning to be thankful, patient and kind in my everyday...



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Change of plans, pals.

Because we can, we have chosen to follow our hearts. We finally have the freedom to choose, and we choose family. We choose hot summers, cool evenings and cold winters. We choose mountains, glacier lakes, clear water rivers and peaceful valleys. We choose comfort, security and love.

There are still unknowns. But that won't last long.

We will be ok, because we will always are..

Goodbye, Virginia.



(Harold is staying here in Hampton until our house sells. The kids and I will be in Idaho sooner than later, and this's for good. Watch out, Idaho...the Phythian's are coming back!!)


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I'm back. I'm here...and I'm ready to

It's been a little while since my last post asking for your thoughts and your prayers. Life has been busy, messy and a bit overwhelming for me. I've been waiting, writing, re-writing and thinking about all of the changes going on with my little family right now. It's been one big roller coaster around here...

Emotionally...I've practically been bipolar. I have absolutely no idea how my husband handles that...
...and the fact that he still loves me after one of my weepy-laughing-yelling-pouting-joking fits is absolutely amazing to me.

Mentally...I've been completely blank. COMPLETELY exhausted. 
Harold asked me the other night, "What are you thinking about?"

I sat there, staring at my hands trying to remember the last time I actually thought about anything of worth...

"...well, that's a first."

[[It's true.]]
I actually specifically remember this one time, when I was a little kid, sitting in my room just trying to make myself not think about anything. I couldn't get my mind to shut off. It just kept going...and going...and going...

Physically...well...I haven't been to the gym in a few weeks. And it shows. Uggggh.

Even though I have been trying to come up with some way of letting out all of these emotions, thoughts and frustrations, I'm actually glad that I have waited to post anything about it. Sometimes it is better to allow yourself to work through things in the privacy of your own mind, your own home, within the safety of your own marriage. It's something that I have to actually remind myself of, that it's ok to keep some things to myself. Especially when it is so easy to publicly vent, through one or all of these ridiculously addictive social media outlets, I really have to take the time and make the effort to keep myself from over-sharing.

Now, after taking that time and sifting through my own thoughts and feelings on the subject, I'm feeling better. I am feeling good. There are still a few moments where I have to fight off the worry, the uneasiness about stepping out into the world with questions unanswered. But overall, for the most part, Harold and I are happy and ready to move we go...

Harold is being discharged from the United States Navy.


Such a lot to say in so few words.

I know there will be a lot of questions, a lot of rumors, a lot of emotions...and I am going to just say right now that we have a lot of questions, have heard a lot of rumors and are still dealing with a lot of emotions ourselves. We will do the best that we can to answer, confirm, deny and listen...but really, we don't know much more than what I am going to post right here, right now...

And when we do know more, about what we are going to do, where we are going to go, we will tell you! 
I promise.

I'm going to make this next part short and to the point...because I'm just not in the mood to talk about it anymore. Seriously...I could go the rest of my life without telling this story in detail one.more.time. PLEASE, if you care to stay friends with me, do NOT ask me for any more details than I am giving you now. Thank you. I love you.

1. Harold carries concealed, and has a permit to do so.

2. He carried onto the ship.

3. Realized he had it, hid it while he went to a meeting.

4. It was found. He confirmed ownership.

5. Investigation was started & ended with him at a Captain's Mast.

6. Captain discharged him, General under Honorable conditions.

7. He is leaving the Navy with his benefits and GI bill.

8. Peace out Navy. It's been real.

We don't want to pursue any kind of legal action against the Navy, thanks for asking. We don't care to attract any sort of media attention to the issue. It's not something we are really all that upset about, actually. Harold made a mistake and was handed the best possible outcome, which we are absolutely thankful for. It could have been worse, much worse. It's time to accept the reality and move forward the best that we can. 

So...what now??

Good question.

One that I can't really answer right now...

Our hearts are telling us to run home. We are free, at last! And then, our responsibilities remind us that we aren't quite free just yet. We own a home here in Virginia. Our son goes to school here, where we have already paid a deposit, reserved his spot. My sister and her daughters have moved in with us and she has an excellent job that she loves. Our friends are here, our little Navy Family is here, the people we have shared our lives with for years are here. So at the same time, our hearts are telling us to stay. 

We are torn.

We haven't made any concrete decisions on what comes next. Harold is in a transitions class this week, learning how to become a civilian again. And after that...we have absolutely no idea what is happening. We may be in the Navy for another 2 months, we may be finished come Monday. I think at this point, Harold is going to begin the process of finding a new job. We have so many options to consider, to pray about and to think a short amount of time.

Things are happening, friends. Our life is changing and we are pretty excited.

Yes, it has been overwhelming. Yes, I have had my moments of uncertainty. Yes, I have cried a lot...worried a lot...prayed a lot...

But at the end of the day, God is good. He is in control and right now I am absolutely sure that everything will work out.

We are ok. Because we always are.

Thank you for your thoughts, for your prayers and for your love.

<3 Allison

[[Here's to finally enjoying the freedoms my husband has served to protect.]]


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The past couple days have really sucked.

Life is so good...until it isn't...and then you have to find the good...even when life just...


As I sit here listening to my tunes, thinking back on this week, on the day before yesterday and the things that have come about, all I can do is just that...


Once upon a time, I had everything figured out. Anyone who knows me can probably attest to the fact that I am someone who appreciates having control. 

(Some might even say that I am just flat out controlling...a select few are even brave enough to look me in the eyes and tell me straight up..."You're Bossy.")

And who I am to disagree? Sure, it stung the first few times...but now? I can't even try to deny it...because I know. I am controlling, I'm bossy...that's who I am. It's what I do...I boss. I plan. I'm a planner, a doer...

I don't sit. I don't nothing...

I do. I go. I make things happen.

Which is why this week has been so difficult for me. Because in the past few days, things have changed for our little family. It's all sort of up in the air right now. We don't even know what's up, what's down, what's going on all I'd appreciate it if you know...don't ask. [[I know you mean well...and we love you for that...but it's easier this way.]] We'll fill you in when the time is right. I mean, I didn't really even want anyone to know that anything was amiss in our lives, but when I promised myself that I would write when I felt like writing, that I would be honest from this point on, open with myself and my readers, I wasn't kidding around. 

This is my life. The ups, the downs and the all arounds.

This is my heart.

This is me.


As a controlling person, someone who thrives in a world of labels, order and schedules...when life turns down a road unplanned, leaving me sitting on the sidelines, watching people I love deal with things I cannot change, I end up overwhelmed. I stress. I worry. I'm a worrier, after all. It's also what I do.

[[I also cry. A lot. At everything. But I like to think I'm not the only one...]]

I shared this on my Facebook page last night, at the end of one of the longest days of my life. I took this picture, wanting to remember the peace I felt in my heart at that very moment. Wanting to always remember the prayers of my heart, the thoughts in my mind and the relief that took over my entire body. 

Whenever I write, I try to write from my heart. I want to reach out, to help my friends, family, readers understand how I feel so much that they might feel it with me, and last night I wrote from a place of thankfulness, of peace and of humility. It is so fitting to post those words with this picture that I'm just going to share them again...

"Today I was reminded that no matter what I'm feeling, no matter my fears or even my reality...God is big. 
Prayer works. Love heals and storms pass.

Today, after hours of sitting in our garage, resting my heart in the calm of a summer storm, I prayed. 
I listened. I waited. God heard me and I am so thankful.

I am so thankful that this day is done and that no matter what happens in this life, God is always in control. 
It is truly the greatest relief and blessing."

There is truly nothing greater than the relief to be found in handing over our burdens, letting go of the control and trusting that everything will be ok. It is hard, it is scary and it isn't a choice I make lightly, easily or without a good tantrum...or two. Choosing to set aside the things that make me who I am, my comfort in control, the appearance of perfection [[I admit it, peeps...I like to think that my family is perfect. I like the idea of perfection in every aspect of my life...ironically, it's one of my greatest faults.]] in order to allow God to take over, to allow His plan to unfold, for His grace to flood my is the most difficult thing for me. 

It's usually when I am backed into a corner, knocked to my knees with a sucker punch I never could have seen coming, that I finally admit that I am not strong enough...that I need help.

It's when I have no other options but to string up my pride along with my white flag, waving it around for all to see, when I am finally willing to say that I just...can' it.

It's when I have exhausted all of my other options, when I have nowhere else to turn...when I have said all there is to say, heard all there is to hear and cried all of the tears that I ever did have...

...that is when I finally give up.

That is when I say...

Ok, God...fix this. Fix me. I need you.

Take this from me...I'm failing.

Hear my's breaking.

Love me. Forgive me.

Help me.

And that is when I say...

Ok, friends...pray for me.

I love you. I need you.

Remember me and my family today, this week and next.


<3 Allison.


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It's a beautiful, sunshiny Tuesday here in Virginia. My kid and his cousins are sitting in their 'quiet time', which really just means that I make them clean up their toys, pick out a bed in their room and they stay there. I don't even care what they do. As long as they are quiet...and stationary. For two hours. 


Unreasonable, you say? No, you don't. 

You nod. You give me an, "Amen". 
You 'clink' my glass and give me a 'cheers'.

You don't judge. Because you know.

[[...and if you do judge, it's ok. I've been there. I was a perfect parent once...and then my son was born.]]

[[...and if you're still a perfect parent, long after your cherub's birth...God bless you. You've done what I cannot. Forgive me for my faults...or you know...'clink' anyway? We're all just doing our best here, right?]]

You know that these next two hours are the only reason why my Son still lives...the ONLY reason why he lives and he loves and he knows that I love him. Because, try as I might, I am nowhere near perfect.

And my Son (bless his sweet little heart) is annoying. Often.

And these two hours are just for me.

[[ I really want to say, "b*tches", after that...because I like to be funny, and that would make me laugh. But it's probably also inappropriate. Especially since 90% of any readers I might have are devout Christians...and though I am a Christ follower and I'm pretty sure He never said 'b*itches' in His time here on Earth, and probably frowns upon me even considering saying it, I still think it's funny. 

But this time I will just keep it to myself, because I'm not sure I'm ready to admit to everyone, everywhere that I say 'b*tch' sometimes...

...but I digress...]]

This morning I woke up feeling like I needed to write about something that is very important to me, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about it. I've written and re-written this so many times, in every single way that anyone possibly could ever even attempt to do. So many times, in fact, that I almost gave up.

But I can't do that. Not this time. This is my 2 hours, this is my thing, this is my time.

So buckle up, because here we go.

As I've been living life these past five years, a wife to a Navy man, I've lived in a few places and seen a lot of things. I've met many people and made a handful of friends. We've been given so many opportunities that we never would have had, had we chosen to pass up this military life. Yeah, yeah...I'm thankful, I'm blessed...really, I am. I say it all the time, because it's true and I'm being honest...and I don't ever want to even for a second forget just how fortunate I am, and have been. But sometimes, I'm not super excited about the bits and pieces that go along with the blessings, the places, the people...the friends. 

........the friends.

A long time ago, when we made our first move to South Carolina, I left behind everything comfortable. I left behind my friends, my family, my life. My husband and I said goodbye, we loaded up our moving truck with our few possessions and we never looked back. We couldn't...we had no choice. We had to go, we had to leave. And I was excited! I was nervous, terrified and sad...but I was excited. I was ready. We had so much in front of us, so many new things to discover, to see and to experience. 

I saw our future and it was BEAUTIFUL.

And it has been beautiful.
And it has been hard.

Along the way, we have met SO MANY people. We have had to open ourselves up, learn how to begin new friendships, how to accept people for who they are, sometimes setting aside our own judgments, preferences and opinions just to avoid feeling lonely. Even now we are still learning...sometimes it works, sometimes it clicks and sometimes friendships have come around so easily and run so smoothly you just KNOW it will last a lifetime. And sometimes, it's just too much work. Sometimes it's nobody's fault and it just wasn't meant to be. 

They were your person...until they just weren't, anymore.

It happens.

Distance happens.

Moves happen. 

Goodbyes happen.

And then...

Your friends move on. They find new friends. They have birthdays, parties, cookouts..they have babies and more babies...they buy cars, they get new pets, new furniture, new coffee spots. New hangouts, new drink news. Their families grow, change and leave. 

Deployments happen.




Sh*t happens.

[[...sometimes I say that.]]

This is life, right? This is how it goes. This is the military. We chose this. Yeah, yeah...I know. Thanks for the reminder. But...

What if I don't want to leave? 
What if I'm not ok with my person not being my person anymore?
What if it kills me to see my friends leave, move on, move forward...without me...?

What if that deployment crushes me just as much as it crushes them, but instead of showing up on their doorstep, like I wish I could do, I have to watch through Facebook pictures as their new neighbor brings over a bottle of wine and a movie to lift their spirits...what do I do? What can I do?

Or what if another friendship is so necessary to my stability while my husband is gone, serving HIS deployment, that when distance takes it's toll, when my life becomes irrelevant to theirs...I almost lose it...

...mentally...emotionally... every single way...just...lose it...?

What if my friends all move away, leaving me to sift through the struggles of deployment...on my own, in a new place, with a toddler and a hurricane or two...?

What happens when my heart is so broken, so torn...when so many pieces of my heart are in so many places all over this big, beautiful country that I can't hardly keep track of them all?

I know, I know...that's a lot of What If's...

It's a lot of questions, a lot of hurt, a lot of learning...

But it's necessary, it's reality...and it's all good.

There have been so many friendships that have been so important in my life. So many people who have given me parts of their lives, in years, minutes, hours, moments. They have given me lessons, blessings, prayers and advice. I've learned how to love, how to forgive, how to accept and move on. 

I've learned that sometimes, I'm not meant to be that person with the bottle of wine on the front porch. Sure, I definitely want to be there. I want to be the only one that my friend needs. But maybe my friend has bigger, better things that need to happen in their life. Maybe the neighbor on the porch needs that girl just as much as I do. Maybe my pal is there to be their savior...and maybe they are there just to be a shoulder to cry on.

I've learned that I'm selfish. Sharing is hard for me.

I've learned that sometimes, being relevant in someone's life depends on what you bring to the table. Sometimes people only need you for your talents, for your advice, for your outlook. Sometimes you're there just to help them move forward. Sometimes, you aren't their person...and sometimes, they can't or don't know how to help you. Sometimes they don't want to.

I've learned that I expect a lot, sometimes too much, from people I call friends.

I've learned that sometimes you have to almost lose it, so that your husband can save you. Sometimes you have to be at your lowest low so that you can recognize your highest high.

I've learned that sometimes it's important to know how to stand on my own two feet, especially when there are little feet standing beside me. Sometimes a girl just needs to know how to handle a hurricane...or two.

I've learned that I am strong. I am smart. I am independent.

And most importantly...

I've learned that no matter how many pieces there may be, my heart will always be one. It will always be steady, strong and full. I have learned that no matter how far these pieces may travel, the love will always be the same, never changing, always there. 

I've learned that I have a big heart. 

I've learned that I have come a long way, grown so much and that I have a long way to go. 

I have had so many friends, and I am thankful for them...even those that have long gone. I have so many friends now and I love them. I am so thankful for them, for their love and for their friendship.

I'm so thankful that even when I get caught up in my life, in my struggles, in my worries, that I always have friends to love me, support me and listen to me. I am so thankful that even as I have seen people come and go from my life, the people who truly care, those that really get me and are willing to look past all of my weirdness, awkwardness and occasional curse words are still here for me. 

Thank you, friends. Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for keeping me around, even when I forget to send you your gifts, your packages and your cards. Thank you for remembering my birthday and my kids' birthdays. Thank you for your patience when I promise to skype and it's cut short by my wiggly baby or my noisy Boy. Thank you for making sure to get our new address every time we move.

Thank you for being my friend. 

I love you.


...I made this.

-Allison <3

Because I Need This.

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Good morning, world.

It's hot, humid and overcast here in my corner of the universe. This morning began at 5:38, when my Baby Girl woke up screeching, yelling into the darkness every few seconds, as if she was waiting for an echo. She wasn't upset, but she was awake...and loud...which meant my June 9th had arrived.

Ready or it is. Here we go. Let's do this.

This morning I laid in my bed, staring at my sweet Girl and her beautiful smile, thinking about what we would do today. I browsed Facebook, caught myself up on everyone's lives as mine crept forward with the sunrise, my bedroom filling up with the soft light of a cloudy day. I hit the 'select all' button in my G-mail Inbox and marked them all as read as I thought to myself,

"Why do I even have e-mail?"

With a handful of hair in her hands, my Daughter finally convinced me to get out of bed. We came out into the living room, opened up the windows and started the coffee. It's a day like every other...everything is normal, usual, routine. It is comfortable and beautiful and safe, here in my little brick house with my children, and my coffee with cream and sugar.

Something, though, caught my heart this morning. Something different, something not comfortable, caught my attention and I can't ignore it anymore. Which is why, as my children sit on the floor with a pile of blocks (my Son woke up a few minutes ago), I am sitting on my comfortable couch with my laptop and a need to write but no idea of what to write, or how to begin. What do I say when I'm not even sure of how I feel, what do I write when I'm not sure just how much I even want to tell?

{insert a full hour of writing and re-writing, an hour of thinking and re-thinking...and a few minutes of getting breakfast for my kids...}

Ok, I'm ready. 
I know what I want to say, I know what I want to write...and today is the day that I finally...



I've spent a lot of my life worrying about what others think of me. I've worried about opinions, thoughts and words of those around me...I've considered the lives of others more important than my own, keeping things to myself, hidden in my own mind or spoken only to my husband, written only in my journals or on the never-ending notepad in my mind. I've kept a lot of myself locked away, waiting for a day when I could muster up the courage to actually come out and 'speak' my mind...writing honestly, openly, as I feel I am meant to do.

This morning, as the world spins around me, as my coffee cools and my children learn and play in front of me...

...I am coming out and saying what I need to say, writing what I need to write...

My name is Allison Jean Phythian. I am 25 and I live in Virginia, one of my least favorite of the fifty states. I am a wife to a guy I met in high school...he is a Sailor in the United States Navy but neither of us are very big fans of this military lifestyle. It's a means to an end for us, a kick-start to the life we want, a future we have planned. I am a mother to two adorable kids...Aden and Taylor. I have bills, a mortgage and a day that the garbage goes out. I have a mailbox full of ads and a backyard full of weeds. I have two dogs that drive me nuts, but they love me anyway. I have a coffee maker and a shelf full of medications, vitamins and weight-loss aids.

I'm a person living life, doing my best to do my best in this big, beautiful world. 

I am a dreamer, a thinker and a doer. I am a friend, a sister and a talker. I am a worrier, a planner and a Christ follower. 

I am a writer. 

I am a writer.

I am a writer.

It's something I've been ignoring for a long time. Something, I have told myself, that is just a hobby, something that I can set aside until I have the time, energy and courage to really commit to it. It's something I have told myself that I will be one's a dream meant to be pursued when I am not caught up in the needs of my children, my husband and my daily life. It's a dream meant for my 'somedays', for the future, when life is less busy, when things are easier and I have time for myself, my wants, my needs.

But today, this morning...right now...

...I am taking the time, using the energy, finding the courage to commit to this dream. I am committing to this part of myself, realizing that my somedays will always just be somedays unless I choose to make it happen today. It's time to be honest, to be open and to stop worrying. It's time to do something for myself, to come out in the open and say what I need to say, write what I need to write...

Good morning, world...

Ready or not, here I am. Here we go...let's do this.