Follow by Email

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Next Chapter

How do I summarize all the thoughts and emotions of the past five years serving on the force?
Bear with me as I reminisce through the years...I hope you can enjoy the stories!
It was my whole life's dream come true.  I was accepted and trained by one of the top agencies in the country.  The first day I was hired, I was asked by my Major, why I wanted to be here?  I answered because I wanted to work with the best of the best.
The Anne Arundel County Police Department did not disappoint.
After the seven long months at the Academy, Chief Teare pinned my badge and that was the proudest moment of my life.
I was so proud...I took an oath and accepted my call as "Police Officer".
I was able to share those exciting accomplishments with the man of my dreams
and we encouraged each other greatly as we started our careers.  
Our engagement pictures were taken on the grounds of the academy where we met and fell in love!
Thank you Mandy Sroka these pictures are so special!!
I knew each day going to work either Brian or I might not come home.  We lived and still live knowing that our family may have to pay the ultimate sacrifice.  And that's ok...
This job has taught me such valuable life lessons I would never give up.
I have learned to be brave.  To live out courage daily.
To show compassion to the hurting.  Keep a light heart in light of darkness.
To start each day on my knees and each shift in prayer, because I couldn't have gotten though some days without the strength of the Almighty and the Peace that passes understanding.
Always trusting God wouldn't give me anymore then I could handle
and whatever would happen He would help me handle it!
I learned how to deal with death, decay, and bloody scenes.
I sought to bring peace into chaos.
And all of this in a days work,
I've tased and fought people.
I've been bitten, cut, bruised and hurt.
I hugged those who were crying and wiped their tears when they were handcuffed.
I've yelled and screamed at people.  And my nasty side is not the best, but was necessary.
I wrote over thousands of traffic citations (mostly warnings though cause I'm nice).
Arrested all sorts of people of all ages.
I loved talking to children because I could make them smile, and help them not to fear.
I loved our active shooter training and am so thankful our Officers have the skills to stop killers.
I found that I love people.  I loved hearing their stories and seeing their homes.  I would talk for hours if I had time.  The elderly especially had some great stories to tell.  I even got to meet a WWII warrior from the 101St Airborne division (Band of Brothers) which was a dream come true and an honor!
The number "1796" is my badge number, and I'll miss signing my name, Ofc. Arnold.
"1796" and the name "Officer Witherspoon" is documented on a plaque that hangs on the walls of the academy.  I'll forever be a part of this departments history.
I've tried to save lives as their loved ones were begging me for help.
Some I did, and some I didn't.
I will never forget the ones I lost.
I'll never forget the faces of the ones who took their own lives.
I've stood out in the rain, snow, hurricanes, blizzards, and scorching summer heat
to direct traffic and close down hazardous roads for hours on end.
Sometimes when roads are closed it's because somebody DIED, no I'm sorry you can't drive through my flares and traffic cones, I'm sorry I ruined your day because you had to make a u-turn...real life.

I was assigned to Eastern District.  We patrolled the area from Pasadena, Glen Burnie, Severna Park, Arnold, and Annapolis to the Bay Bridge. I worked two years on the midnight shift, shift four; and three years on a rotating day and evening shift, shift two.
Driving lights and sirens down a major highway at rush hour is crazy.
Driving lights and sirens to try and get to your buddy who's fighting for his life is scary.
Visiting your buddys in the hospital after their fights is sad but I always had to make
sure my boys were ok.
And they were, they would be back on the job the next day, sore but always ready to work.
I was their sister, their daughter, their friend.
They didn't like it when people disrespected me or threatened to fight me.  They eagerly stepped up to protect me.  When I had to call for help on the radio I knew they would come as fast as they could to help me.  And I knew they would fight for me.  I trusted them with my life.  I loved my side partners.
We loved each others families.  Our favorite hangouts were at the Breakfast Shop,  Hero's and Mother's.
These bonds do not easily fade.  
My heart will never forget the hours, days, and years I spent in this uniform, sitting in my cruiser, wearing my badge, carrying my sidearm, listening to my radio.  Waiting for the next call, waiting to respond to the next emergency.
And I had the best funniest smartest supervisors.  They always encouraged us, their squad, and did their job as Sergeants very well.  I'll miss getting their phone calls about work stuff and me answering, "Hey Sgt." I respected my Lt.s and Captains, my Major and all the command staff.
Spent many days and nights keeping my side partners company as we talked and laughed about life.
We teased and annoyed each other to no end.
We encouraged and cried together too.
YES I'm going to deeply miss them.  Miss the calling, miss my identity as an Officer,
miss my cruiser that I've had for years parked outside my home.
Miss both Brian and I being "Officer Arnold".
Real life as we rush off to work...
So why am I giving up my dream?? Why close this chapter?
God started moving my heart almost a year ago.  Giving me new desires.  And causing some discontent to what my life was.  Had I still been single as I was when I started this career I'm sure things would be very different.  But my calling to my husband, to my marriage, and God's plan is a higher calling then to this government.
One particular conversation I had with a heroin addict who wanted to jump off his roof reminded me of what my calling was.  He was crying and was so upset that he was addicted and it was ruining his life.  He cried out, "I'm broken!!"
I wanted so badly to comfort him and shout, yes you are broken but Jesus came to save the broken hearted!!  I didn't that day, I have shared with people on other occasions but in the right timing.
I kept telling myself  I have to be free to give an answer for the hope I have.

So I'm accepting a position where my job will be to build relationships and encourage student in their faith.  I'm going to start working with our youth group again!
I love that God has brought me to a place, a hard sad place, where I can give up what I love most to honor and obey His calling.  Because being in His will and following Him is the desire of my heart.
I spent months and weeks praying and crying about this and He opened the doors just like I asked Him to.
I believe He has awesome plans for His work in His church and I want to be apart of that process.  He gave me the desire to want to help people and what better place than His own church.
I'm looking forward to the better schedule.  After five years, this life has been very hard on Brian and I and I'm excited to see my husband more!
We are still struggling with infertility and I still have health issues. It is very hard to do this job with issues and always feeling weak.  And the stress wasn't helping either.
So the hope that maybe we will have a better chance for children is worth it to me.  
So I've cried...I've wept a lot.
As I'm mentally closing this chapter, it hurts to say goodbye.
It hurts to return all my equipment.  It hurts to think I'm letting my department down.  I have always been so loyal to my shift and it was very hard to tell my Commanders
I was leaving and to turn them down when they asked me to stay, was horrible for me.
So this is bittersweet.    I'll never forget my friends.

I'll always have them on my heart and in my prayers.
But I know I'll make great new friendships and I look forward to all the Lord has planned.
I was honored to uphold this position and I'm glad I did it well.
I'll keep the memories of my wonderful friends
and the darkness and horrors of the job will fade away.
I hope to always keep in touch with my brothers and sisters in blue!
After all I'm still a Law Enforcers Wife ( a LEW) =)
Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end.  
But in my hearts the memory, and there will always be.  
(Fox and the Hound)
Will you all be praying for me as we transition into a new phase of life.
This verse hangs on our wall in our Police room.
I read it everyday as I put on my vest, uniform, boots, and belt.
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm. To give you a Hope and a Future! 
Jer 29:11   
And we will trust Him for His plans with our future! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Catching Up

Wow summer just flew by and was a great few months!   Now I'm excited for the cooler days ahead. We love fall!  Brian's been gearing up for hunting season and I'm excited to stock our freezer again.

Summer was busy and fun.  We didn't plan or travel for vacation but instead saved money and had two short "stay-cactions" at the beginning and end of summer.  My sisters and their kiddos came to visit us in August which was a blast!  We had a full house and had lots of fun and cuddles with the kids.
Summer for Police work is always the busiest, hottest, and longest days.  You pretty much get drafted to work several extra shifts a week, so the 6 days you are working turns into 60+ hours a shift.  And that's just my shift, Brian did totally opposite hours and days and extra overtime.  So we always know summer just means hard work and not much relaxing or socializing.  If we weren't around much it's because we were either sleeping or working =)

So I thought I had our schedules planned out but in this job there is never any consistency, so Brian has been back on the midnight shift for the past month.  It could be permanent, we are waiting for his orders and assignment to come through.  Thankfully Brian sleeps really good through the day so he's hanging in there and hasn't been too exhausted.  It's been challenging for me because after sleeping at night, all I want to do is curl back up with Brian when he goes to bed and sleep all day with him...haha I know I can't sleep all the time but it's tough not be together again.  

Here are some of my favorite memories from the past few months:

In July, Grandpa Arnold passed away to be with the Lord.  
We were able to go and stay a few days in West Virginia to be with the family. 
It was a very special time.

I loved watching my sisters interact with their children.  
They are such caring and loving Mothers, it's so endearing.  
I'm so proud of them!

 Sister Love

 Hubby love

They clean up very well

Fun times at Auntie Laura's home! 

We have started the kitchen project!  It's taking much longer then we excepted!  But it's going to be beautiful, organized, clean, and fresh!  
  Right now we are living in a construction zone but thankfully our plumbing is working 
so I don't have to keep doing the dishes in the bath tub.

Can't wait to reveal the finished project.  We are finishing up the small details and still painting!  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring 2014
 These past few weeks have been some of my favorite yet hardest.  Spring is definitely my most favorite time of year and we've enjoyed seeing all of our flowers and plants bloom to make our yard beautiful again!
I love the warm sunshine and cool nights.  It's very relaxing...
So what have we been up to? 
Brian and I seem to always be looking for ways to improve our lives.  So in April and May we've been working in major areas like our marriage, home, health, and our spiritual well being.  All of that been said it's been very emotional but producing great results!  

One way of healing that I've been told is helpful is to be vulnerable and open about our struggles.  The more I talk about them and process things the more I find I'm healing. I want to share my story and be open about these struggles and I want to remember this and blogging is one of my ways of remembering =)
So about our Marriage...
We had been dealing with a lot of major and serious issues and we both really needed help.  
I know God's been more heart broken then glorified and it makes me feel like a failure.
We are both still dealing with issues from childhood that continue to play a role in our struggle for a healthy relationship.  But we sought help from our church and have been blessed week after week as our pastor shows us straight from God's word, our calling as Christians and specifically as husband and wife.  
I've been so encouraged by God's work in our lives and I know its a long process to change hearts but God is Faithful, Compassionate, Loving, Steadfast, and Forgiving...and He's teaching us to live out those attributes to each other!

Another very painful and complicated issue we've been dealing with is our infertility.  
It's very hard for me to admit this because I've never not been in control of my life and God is showing me clearly...that I'M NOT IN CONTROL!  

I never thought this would be an issue that I would have to deal with.  I thought I was healthy and normal and we could just get pregnant and start a family right away!  Well almost four years later, its just not happening that way.  I never wanted to admit this was an issue...for the whole reason that I didn't want to seem "out of control".  I knew we've been struggling with this but I had kept it a secret for so long because I didn't want to deal with it.  It was too painful to admit I had problems...But if I don't talk about it and face it then it will secretly consume me.
We have started all those lovely invasive tests and the results have been discouraging.
I need to get healthy, I need to get my hormones balanced, I need to be "stress free"...
I've been diagnosed with several problems which all cause infertility.
But I'm physically burned out...literately cause I'm suffering from adrenal fatigue, which makes work and life so physically and emotionally tiring.
My duty to serve and protect have pushed me beyond the stress levels that my body can manage.  This ever changing shift schedule and my years I spent on midnights made everything in my body dysfunctional.  So many fertility articles talk about stress being a major factor and sleep needed for hormones.  And that's something I can't change right now.
I'm obsessing over supplements to restore health and I'm drastically changing my diet to be all natural and taking the holistic approach to purify, cleanse, and restore everything.  So I'm doing as much as possible on my end...the rest is up to God!

I'm having major identity issues with figuring out my calling and accepting God's plan for my life.  This job that I wanted my entire life is now the reason I can't be a Mother (for now).  I don't know where God is calling me and I don't know how long we will have to wait for children.  I am waiting on the Lord and trying to figure out what Brian and I can do while we wait with patience and acceptance.   And in the mean time I have to honor God in my work and trust in Him to keep me safe...and continue to try and get healthy!

This struggle has brought Brian and I closer together in a sweet and tender way as we grieve and support each other through this sadness.  We both have times of depression but normally one of us stays strong to support and encourage the other.  So God has already used this burden in a way to help heal our marriage which I'm thankful for.
Another reason for sharing is so that you all can participate in seeing God's faithfulness through this journey to whatever the results may be...

Still my soul be still and do not fear though winds of change may rage tomorrow.  
God is at your side, no longer dread the fires of unexpected sorrow. 
Wait upon the Lord, and strength will rise, as stars appear when day is dimming
God you are my God and I will trust in you and not be shaken 
Lord of Peace renew a steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone.
"The Gettys, Still my Soul by Still"

 So while we wait on the Lord...we are ever fixing and upgrading our home!  
The most recent project was pouring a new concrete patio.  
 Brian did an excellent job building the frame and leveling out the ground!

 We poured the concrete ourselves and it turned out perfect!  

So in light of everything God continues to sanctify us to reflect His Glory and teach us reliance in a new and desperate way.

This verse is my daily encouragement in my job and in my life as I slightly deal with PTSD from some of the calls I've had to handle and the infertility I'm facing... 
"I remember my affliction and my wondering the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the Lord's great Love we are Not consumed, for His compassion's never fail.  They are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness!  I say to myself, the Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him" Lamentations 3:19-22

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 2014

 March 2014

We have our sights set on warmer weather and springtime!  I loved winter and enjoyed all the snow, however we have so many new projects to get started on that require warmer temperatures!  
I started up running again this month.  I've been running a mile a day which is a good start for me.

Our running spot at Greenbury Point during Sunset

One of my goals this year is to enjoy more hobbies and learn new skills.  I started this "quilting" project OVER a decade ago and it's been shoved in a drawer collecting dust for years.  It's supposed to look like a stained glassed window quilt.  I have to cut each black square out and add a bright colored fabric in.  It's going to be lovely when its finally finished!  

Our first big project of 2014....THE BACK YARD! 
 As you can see all the grass has died off or been trampled by our Lyla puppy.  In this picture you can see the garden area, the fire pit, and the rabbit hutches.  
We are tearing down the deck, building a patio/ fire pit, leveling the yard, expanding the garden, and laying green lush sod!  Walking barefoot on thick green grass is one of my favorite things.  I also need a relaxing peaceful patio we can use during anytime in any season.

The first step was demolishing the tiny deck.  
It only had enough room for the grill and no sitting area so it had to go.

Brian had the whole thing torn down in one day!!  I don't have the after picture to show you yet but its just a bare muddy spot and it looks great!  

We had the evening off for St. Patrick's day and enjoyed some 
home cooked corned beef thanks to Chef Brian!  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My 27th Year

I love that my Birthday coincides with the New Year because it can be a fresh start to a year as well as the next year of my life.
I have so many wonderful plans for this year and we have started planning and prepping for some of our goals.
These are not so much "resolutions" as they are just more our life goals that we have been working on but are now putting more energy and time into them to make them our priorities.

Here are some of our goals:

~Preparing healthy meals from scratch:
We have started our "30 Day Cleanse" again.  The last time we only held steady for two weeks before a vacation but we both lost weight and loved the results of eating fresh prepared food everyday.  I went grocery shopping last night and the majority of the food were vegetables with a few items of meat!  Love this diet, it encourages organic, free range, grass-fed, and local foods...makes me feel very environmentally friendly and a great steward of the resources God has granted us!

~Gardening and growing our own food:
Our garden last year was very successful.  This year we will grow more of a variety and then continue growing all year round.  Right now we still have fresh Kale and Onions we are eating. 
I want a huge herb garden for teas and medicinal purposes.  I'll also plant more flowers, fruit trees, and berries to encourage bees and butterflies to come to our yard!
I would love a bee hive but I'm not sure if I can manage that yet!

~Back yard:
Our yard is going to be transformed from a sloped hole filled dead land into a level grass filled paradise! Seriously we need grass growing!  We plan on leveling some areas, planting sod, and building a patio space for out door living.  I'll be adding a few new garden beds to the area too.

~Church involvement:
We are so happy to be members now at Annapolis EP Church.  It's a very special place to us and we need to get involved and start serving there.  We are considering the Youth ministry and each attending a bible study.

~Enjoying Hobbies!
I haven't touched my sewing machine all year because of a bobbin problem...but I'm ready to start sewing and creating again!  I also want to learn to knit and crochet!  Its the perfect hobby for long car rides and sitting in front of the TV. 

~Home improvement:
One of the last projects we have is to remodel our upstairs bathroom.  Complete with a new vanity and tub!  The bathroom is dated with bright teal floors and needs some major design help.  We are planning to tackle this in the spring. 

2013 we accomplished major projects in our home and major hurdles in our marriage.  It was a hard year for sanctification and a hard time learning to be humbled and waiting on the Lord.  I'm so thankful for the lessons learned through these trials.  I'm thankful for the encouragement of friends and wisdom from women who came alongside me.  I'm thankful that God has refreshed my soul and led me to such a peaceful place of constant reliance on Him.  Our sorrow has truly been changed to Joy and Brian and I have had such great bonding times through the trials. 
Needless to say I know 2014 will be filled with new trials but I'm confident in the Promises and Faithfulness of our Father because He has led us through so much already!

Lastly, we said goodbye to our precious beautiful Grandma Dorothy.  I don't think I've processed fully the weight of her passing.  We will be flying out to Colorado next week to celebrate her life with the family.  I have been so comforted by God because He has restored her health and she is in her everlasting paradise! I'm excited and filled with wonder as I try to picture her with my Jesus. 
I've been singing and using music to help grieve when I start feeling emotional...but over all I am filled with peace because I rest in God's promises and Love!  I know we are to set our eyes on things of Heaven and not this world because it is all for a moment!  Grandma has helped me set my sights on what is important, leaving bitterness and grudges behind and not entertaining my own self-righteousness any longer.  Thank you Grandma for reminding me of our call to Love and our obedience in Christ.  You lived a life others want to emulate and your legacy lives on in me and my Mother, and your other children and great grand children!      

They were in deeply love to the very end...