Who writes this stuff?

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I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure.  I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at bethylovesandy@yahoo.com

My Blog Title Verse

"For the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 NKJV 
The Message translation puts it this way "God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding."

Verse of the day

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Listening

 I love how God reminds us that we don't know as much as we think. 
 
 Over and over again :)

 I am currently "facilitating" a ladies bible study on parenting. That is not the same as teaching - I am supposed to just keep it organized; ask questions, encourage others to speak, make sure we end at the proper time each week. 

 I called to volunteer with PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) for this semester less then two weeks before it was supposed to begin. I had been involved over the last several semesters, (making up for the lost time of the first 13 years of military life having never even heard of it) but hadn't been asked to facilitate again over Christmas break so assumed it was time for me to do something else. 
 Then I realized that they may not have asked me because I missed the last 6 weeks of the fall semester, in GA for family stuff, and they might think I was still out of town. So I called, just to check, and the adorably cheerful and enthusiastic coordinator bubbled over with passion talking about the classes they had chosen for this upcoming semester and which ones they still needed facilitators for... and I was hooked, of course.

 I don't think I would normally volunteer to lead a group on parenting. I am still in the middle of it. 

 On the flip side of that, I have been practicing for 14 years now, and I am still in the middle of it. I have been part of some amazing classes taught by women who have completed a phase in their life and are passing along the wisdom they have gained. However, sometimes the wisdom you need passed on is still being learned. 

 So, here I am, passing on what I am still in the middle of learning.  

 Because I am very much still learning

 And we will come back to that....

 I know most of you are FB people. I link this blog to FB, and that is where most people read it, and comment on it. With that in mind, most of you know that FB and I are often not friends. I am a lover, not a fighter. I seek joy, and desire to pass it along. I want to find the good in every situation. 

That is sometimes hard to do in a digital world, where everyone feels free to vent their frustrations loudly, and passionately. The reality of those passions, the pain they can and DO cause, is easily missed. Because digital words just don't seem as real as spoken ones, and things that I think people I call friend would never speak loudly and forcefully in person are typed in BOLD letters with multiple exclamation points. 

 My ability to find the good, to seek the joy, to pass along the love.... well sometimes it just gets overwhelmed. 

 Simple truth: I got my feelings hurt. 

 A generalization was made. People were lumped together in a group. I felt accused of being hateful, and uncaring, and mean, simply because of one choice. 

 And I got angry. 

 Which is rare, and complicated, and confusing. I don't know what to do with anger.  

 Then I got defensive. 

 I was listing things in my head to prove I was a good person. 
 Not just a good person, a better person then the person who had made the comment. 
 A loving person. 
 A giving person.
 A Godly person. 

 I was thinking of ways to type up how good I was. To show that I was worthy of love. Those words just ran around in my head, lists of my qualities, for days. 

 My identity was threatened. 

 Then God reminded of me of a simple truth. 
 I love how He does that, right when we need it. 

 Canaan and Zion were playing video games, like every afternoon. I was washing dishes and prepping for dinner like every afternoon. My worship music was playing on my iPad and life was outwardly calm. 

 Then suddenly, life was not calm. Zion was storming off and telling his brother to "BE QUIET" and Canaan was practically yelling the "SHUSH" sound, and listening to each other was not a desired goal. Listening was replaced completely with expressing their own opinions. 

 Both of their own opinions were healthy, and worth listening to. However, if both of them wanted only to speak, and not to listen, then neither one was going to be heard. 

 I launched into the automatic mom speech about taking turns, and listening to those around you, and sometimes putting your own opinions aside for a few moments. Then I stopped, in the middle of my speech, looked Canaan in the eyes and said, "You never get to stop learning this lesson, and it never becomes easy". Because I realized that truly, that is what I was doing. Listing my own opinions and arguments in my head. 

 They were worthy arguments, with some points that I am absolutely convinced of. 

 However, my own worthy arguments can't be heard if I am speaking at the same time as someone else. Their own worthy arguments can't be heard either. 

 All we are doing is both speaking at the same time, yet hearing nothing and learning nothing. 

 Obviously, the internet allows both to speak at the same time. 

 But, if neither of us, if none of us, take the time to listen to the words others are speaking, then absolutely nothing will be accomplished. 

 We all get to vent our feelings and express our passions. Facebook is wonderful for that. 
 
 But are we actually learning anything? Are we actually even trying? 

 By now, we all know that there are quite a few different opinions. Quite a few different ways of expressing them, too. There are, absolutely, always, going to be people who disagree with us. (Sometimes, just because they want to) 
 
 My feelings are still hurt. I am pretty sure they will get hurt again. 

 I still have my own opinions. Pretty sure people disagree with me. 
 
 But, I get to make my own choices, to go with those opinions. 

 Listening. 

 That is my choice. 

 I am trying. 

 And those beautiful children that God gave me will continue teaching me what I need to know while I try to teach them the same. One day at a time.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The son shining in my eyes...

 I started this post over a week ago, then decided to wait, to let things "calm down" in the world around me. But, they aren't calming down...so here goes.

 There is a lot of angst on the internet lately.

 I suppose that can always be found, angst. But right now it feels as if it can't be avoided.

 During the Inaguration a few weeks ago different tv channels had different points of view and different ways of sharing that point of view. How they reacted to each word, facial expression and gesture was according to how they perceived it.

 One station compared Trump's speech to a Rorschach ink blot... saying that most people interpreted it according to their prior opinions and emotions concerning Trump himself.

 That got me to thinking- isn't that true of every single moment?

 Our point of view determines how we view (and react) to many things.

 Our physical point of view can be determined by quite a few different things; Where we are standing, if we are wearing glasses or a hat, if the sun is shining in our eyes, what distractions are happening around us.

 Our emotional point of view is similar. It can be influenced by our family history, our faith, our health, or our joys and pains... if the son is shining in our eyes.  It can change from moment to moment, from situation to situation, just as our physical point of view can.

 I have been paying attention to different approaches to point of view recently.

 With that in mind, I want to tell you two stories, both completely true, just from different points of view. Not serious, or important, but a truthful example of how we choose to look at the world.


 Story one: My husband made absolutely irresistible, delicious, fresh homemade potato chips last week. I was on the phone with my mom, so when he got hungry he left me in peace and started digging. He discovered potatoes that were starting to sprout and really needed eaten, so he washed, peeled and sliced them, then used up the last little bit of coconut oil to fry them up. He knew our growing boys need some protein too, so he found hotdogs and buns, and even got out the condiments to top them with. I am so very blessed!


 Story two: My husband made greasy, unhealthy, fried potato chips last week. He has no respect for my health. While I was on the phone he got hungry, and rather then asking what the plan for dinner was, he started digging around. He made a huge mess, splashed oil all over the stove top, and used the last of the coconut oil, so I can't make the cookies I was planning to make. He even finished off the potatoes, which I had planned to make mashed potatoes with! So much for that meal plan. Argh!



 The exact same thing happened in those two stories.

 Exact.

 And yet, they sound very different.

 The details I choose to point out and the attitude I presented them with changes the story.

 That can be true about almost every single story, and perhaps even almost every moment.

 I am not really concerned with how you feel about Trump, or the very un-ladylike behavior of the women marching with vagina's on their heads, or whether we should have guns, or a ban on people entering the country. That is not the point of this blog. I am not even planning to share how I feel about those things. (although calling someone un-ladylike is about as harsh as I get, so you can guess how I feel about that one)

 What I want to talk about is our personal response to things. Most importantly, my response.

 As I said, angst is everywhere.

 You can't go out without hearing it. You can't stay in without hearing it.

  Because, guess what?! We are all different; each and every one of us. Some of us have more in common then others. Most people who will read this have something in common with me- they homeschool, have children, love Jesus, love my family. Some people even have ALL those things in common with me.

 Still, we don't agree on everything.

 Because we are different.

 Beautifully, amazingly, powerfully different.

 It is wonderful!

 It is those differences that make this world exciting. Differences makes us learn more, feel more, try more. Differences make us challenge what we believe and why we believe it.

 Obviously, I love to hear about things we agree on. But that is easy. Hearing about things we disagree on makes me question the what and why. If I never question the what and why, how do I really know what I think or believe?

 Change always brings fear. That is an absolute and anyone who disagrees, well, they are welcome to their opinion, but I don't believe them. Whether you let that fear control your words and actions - that is the part that is adjustable. The part you have the ability to change.

 During this time of transition, of change, we all have some fear.

 We also have the freedom to face that fear with excitement.

 With HOPE.

 With the desire to bring good, and the strength to stand up and actually do something about it.

 We all have a different point of view. We all have different hope and dreams. We all come from different history, different blood, different desires.

 And yet, we all have something in common.

 No, strike that: Many things in common.

 I am doing my best, every day, to find the common. The make the things that are the same what my point of view notices.

 Then, to take those similarities, those shared passions, and find a reason to pass along a smile, or a hug, or an offer to meet for coffee and just laugh together.

 That is the challenge of the week- find the similar, then make the choice to help it grow!

 Blessings my friends! 
Bethany 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Where does the time go?

 I suppose that every day is an anniversary of something. It holds a memory, whether good or bad, of an event, or conversation, or even just an emotion that brought change.

 January 18th is an anniversary for me.

 Technically, it might be strange to declare it something to celebrate, but on the other side of that is mourning, and that is not accurate either.
 Even after 25 years, it is still changing me. Creating me. Defining me.
 But, in all honesty, I wouldn't change it. So what is left but to celebrate?

 I rejoice in my diabetes!


 Twenty-five years ago I was 12 years old. I had had strep throats a few weeks earlier and just couldn't seem to get well. I had lost weight, but my mom thought "must be puberty"... until I just stayed tired. So we were back at the doctor- And it only took one finger stick, one drop of blood, for the doctor to know.

 At 12, I knew absolutely nothing about diabetes. It was a foreign word that sounded just as scary as cancer or leprosy. So my first question was "Am I going to die?" (But very quickly behind that followed "Can I still have babies?" I knew my priorities even then.) 😊

 Then, almost immediately, diabetes became part of who I was. I have talked to people who hate that; Who fight against letting a disease "define" them. To me, making it part of my definition accepts it, rather than fights it... and let me tell you, fighting it will not change anything.

 So, I celebrate it!


 Things change, obviously.

 I grew up. Got married. Had those babies. 😊

 New medical problems were discovered, and treated, and became part of my definition.

 Twenty-five years later I am still learning.
 I am still growing.
 Some days I am, sad to admit, still fighting.

 But who I am, what defines me, is completely in the hands of God.

 How can I do anything except celebrate it!?



 My diabetes decided to rebel a few weeks ago. My blood sugar hit 500, and anyone who knows anything medical knows that is not good. For a few minutes in the middle of fighting with my body (for several days of a very frustrating rebellion) I forgot Who I belong to. I forgot that I am beautifully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) I forgot that every part of what defines me is made for a reason. 

 All I had, on my own, was hate for my body. And a very strong jealousy of healthy people. 

 Thankfully, I also had a Savior who is full of grace, and family who is not afraid to point to Him, and His Word, when I need it. 

  The Psalms are my retreat when I am struggling. They seem so heartfelt and real- so aligned with my sometimes faulty human emotions- crying out for help. So I have read a lot of Psalms in the last few weeks. (And a lot of Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman, if anyone else is looking for someone to share in their emotions) 

 I have been reminded, over and over, that sometimes the need to wait quietly, when you would rather be yelling enthusiastically, is the answer. 

 So, through grace, and some intense time in the Psalms, the unexplainable peace has returned. 

 The ability to celebrate my faulty body is renewed. 

 And today's anniversary is perfect timing. 

 I am not physically healed. For that I continue to wait quietly, with my hope in Him. (Psalm 62:5)
 But my spirit is healed, and that is far, far, more important. 



Today, like every other day, is an anniversary. 

 Whether you see it as something to mourn or to celebrate is up to you. 

 Choose today, and every single other day, to find something to celebrate. 

 Choose Joy! 

Be blessed my friends! 
               Bethany




Saturday, January 14, 2017

New year, new words

The desire to write has returned, and permission, even encouragement, from God has followed. The only thing missing is the remembering of how.
 How do I take these words running around in my heart and head and turn them into something understandable?
 How do I organize them to be, not just readable, but worthwhile?
 How do I weed out the ones that are not needed, and make sure to express the ones that are crying out to be heard?

 I am not sure yet, but I am working on it.

 So we will start with someone else's words.

"My God, behold me, wholly yours. Lord, make me according to your heart." Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

 I think I sometimes fall into a habit of behavior that, while not evil, is no longer striving for more. I have lots of practice at being a follower of Christ, and sometimes I am content to just keep doing what I have always done. Which is comfortable, and safe, and maybe slightly boring... but easy.
 Then I receive a reminder, usually from someone like Brother Lawrence, that I should be asking, every day, for God to make me WHOLLY His.

 Not just partially.

 Wholly.

 That is the challenge for this new year. I'll keep you posted as I discover how it applies to life :)

 How about you? Does God have a challenge for you this year?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Party time!

 I have a 12 year old!!
 I think I struggle with this every single year. He continues to get older (which means I do too!) and I continue to be shocked.

 He originally wanted an Indiana Jones birthday party, but I struggled to find decor and games for that.
 We were going to go river rafting... but then it called for rain all weekend.

 So, he had to settle for third choice. But I think it still turned out pretty good!

 Jurassic Park was the theme. The new Jurassic World comes out this summer and dinosaurs are everywhere!

 We played "Pin the tail on the velociraptor".


 Zion "accidentally" pinned the original tail on his head instead. Made him quite an interesting character! 

Strangely, R2D2 Sorry was the most popular game. Nothing to do with Jurassic Park, but lots of fun. 
 So serious!
 Lots of laughter, which is the most delightful sound.

Ian (above) drew this fabulous card for Canaan. 

As always, Andy got creative. 


 Isn't that a fabulous dinosaur watermelon?!

 Beautiful Smiles!
12 candles!

We had almost as many grownups as children, so Andy and I had fun too.
I believe a "good time was had by all".

Life is good.... and now, four days later the internet is finally letting me upload pictures!

Blessings, 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A few moments of memories

 Twelve years ago, right now, I was in California, about to fulfill my biggest life goal.
 I was about to become a mother.
 I had been attached to the little one growing inside me for months already, but I was finally going to get to hold him!
 He was a stubborn little thing, and waited until "tomorrow" to actually make his entrance though.


Before things got hard...


 May 15, 2003, just after 1 in the morning, he finally arrived!

 9lbs, 4oz, 20 1/2 inches

Proud grandparents

 One of my sisters got married just one month later, so he got to come to GA and meet a lot of my side of the family while he was very young!



 And his Uncle Josh on Daddy's side. 
 How could anyone resist that face?
Matching daddy

He was a well traveled little baby. 
 The Freeman grandparents took him to Lake Tahoe.
 My sisters took him to Florida.
 We visited my grandparents in Indiana, and stopped in Nebraska on the way home to visit wonderful friends. 

So for his first birthday we made him a cake of the USA, showing all the places he had already travelled. (If you count the ones we just drove through, he had already been to 9 states!)

He enjoyed it.

In the morning we will celebrate 12 years of loving him. 
I am so very glad that God allowed me to have my greatest desire. 
I am so excited to see the man of God he is growing into. 
 I miss those baby kisses, but the smiles I still get are just as sweet. 

I love you Canaan Andrew. 

Blessings my friends, 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Promotion time!

It's official. 
We had a party, so that makes it real!


Andy has been in Captain's Career Course since January, even though he wasn't technically a Captain yet. He has been training in anticipation. 
There were four other soldiers in class with him who promoted to Captain in May also.
We all joined together for a celebration.
 In alphabetical order :)
 Andy's parents came to visit and were able to "pin on" his rank. 
Happy times!


 I am so proud of my hard working man!
Such lovely smiles!


Sadly, I left my camera at home, the cupcakes I made were horrible, and my hair would not submit to me. 
Luckily, other people have cameras and are willing to share, other people made cupcakes that were delicious, and everyone is use to my hair. 

So, even with my less then stellar contributions, "A good time was had by all!" 

Blessings, 


Monday, April 27, 2015

Miller Cave

 Friday evening Andy and I met some of his classmates for dinner at a local bbq place. While we were all chatting one of the couples told us about a local cave, open to exploring, right here on post.
 She gave us the basic directions of how to get there and said, "If you come to a part that looks like you are about to drive off the edge of the earth, you have gone too far."

We found that part. :)
(This picture does not do it justice. It really does look like you are going to drop straight down!)

We turned around.



 At first we thought this lovely little overhang was the cave. 
 So we enjoyed the view for a while.


 But there was more!

 This lovely little window...

had a beautiful view!


 I adored this tree, and how it adapted to the situation it was given. 
So inspiring, and simply beautiful. 

There were two entrances to the "main" cavern - 
 Up and through...

or down and through.
We tried them both. 
I had to take the camera bag off in order to fit through, but I made it!


 I didn't get many pictures of deeper inside the cave. I don't have fancy enough equipment for that! There was a good bit of water, several neat little tunnels, and an unfortunate amount of trash. 

 Canaan "discovered" a part that Daddy didn't fit in, and Mommy wouldn't try to fit in. He got deep enough in that I couldn't see his light anymore! Fortunately for the sanity of mommy, there was a spider blocking the way and he came back. I am sorry that he inherited that fear from me, but this one time I was glad for it! 

Just a few hundred feet away was another cave,
 but it wasn't open for exploring.

 So I made my boys enjoy a few flowers instead.


I love my boys. 
I love their daddy. 
I love the adventures we discover, right around the corner, every day. 

Life is a little crazy sometimes, but life is good. 

Enjoy your adventures my friends!
Blessings,