Who writes this stuff?

My photo
I try to keep my priorities in order: Jesus, my Andy, our children, everything else. I homeschool our boys, love to read almost all written words and have been challenged by the military life for 18 years. Right now my faulty human body is demanding a lot of attention. One day at a time, learning as much as possible every day and remembering to look for JOY when other things threaten to overwhelm.

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."

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbyes, and Hellos

 The end of the year is always bittersweet. The excitement of the coming new year is contagious, and those around me, with their courageous lists of resolutions and bright outlooks on the possibilities that await.... well, they rub off on me. But there is a part of me that mourns also. Perhaps I am a little too emotional. Perhaps I hold on too long to things that should be let go of. I think that I feel bad for the old year. Just 12 short months ago, she was greeted with such enthusiasm. She was the one that everyone had big plans for, just a few breaths ago. We blinked, and suddenly, her time in the limelight is over.
 Don't get me wrong, I am full of big plans myself. 2009 is an adventure waiting to happen, and I am eager for her to arrive. However, 2008 deserves a moment of respect. A proper goodbye, I suppose. 

 My closing devotion for the year in "Streams in the Desert" talks about the shepherds of the alpine mountains and a beautiful tradition they have of singing to one another - "The air is so crystalline that the song will carry long distances. As the dusk begins to fall, they gather their flocks and begin to lead them down the mountain paths, singing, 'Hitherto hath the Lord helped us, Let us praise His name!' And at last with the sweet courtesy, they sing to one another the friendly farewell: 'Goodnight! Goodnight!' The words are taken up by the echoes, and from side to side the song goes reverberating sweetly and softly until the music dies away in the distance. 
 So let us call out to one another through the darkness, till the gloom becomes vocal with many voices, encouraging the pilgrim host. Let the echoes gather till a very storm of Hallelujahs break in thundering waves around the sapphire throne, ant then as the morning breaks we shall find ourselves at the margin of the sea of glass, crying, with the redeemed host, 'Blessing and honor and glory be unto him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever!'"

 I especially loved that last little bit. We should be like the shepherds, and call out to one another, even in the darkness (but also in the light!). Encouragement, reminders of how great our God is, simple praise for our Savior - Out Loud - so that those around us can hear, and join in with us "And again they said, Hallelujah!" Rev. 19:3

 I will do my best to be loud for you my friends. Please, when you hear my weak attempts, join with me, and make my voice stronger. Together, we are strong. Together, we are something to be feared. Let's remember that as we say goodbye to 2008 and welcome in another new year. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A flash in the pan

Today I had to deal with something that is rare for me.
 I, Bethany Ruth Freeman, quiet, soft-spoken, laid back and easy going, (although slightly hyperactive and definitely NOT shy) was angry. Anger is a rare emotion for me. 
 I not trying to be "holy holy" or anything - it's just not my personality to get angry. I get discouraged, and frustrated, moody or sad along with the rest of the world. But good old ANGER is a rarity for me. 
 Today I was plain old mad. 
 I was disappointed, and discouraged, and confused - unsure of what was next, and how to get there - but over all of that was just plain anger. 

 I guess I should back up a step and explain. 
 Andy has been working on his package to become an officer in the AF. He has worked really hard to finish his college (only two classes left, and he will graduate in March), has done lots of extra paperwork trying to prepare himself, and just recently took the AFOQT, which is a test, similar to the SAT that tests you on lots of different things. He got his score for that yesterday, and although it wasn't brilliant, it was sufficient. We were thinking positive thoughts about his package being accepted. 
 Today he had a meeting with a higher ranking person who told him that he does feel that Andy's package is worth submitting. Every six months in the AF you get a "grade" basically. A number from 1-5, with 5 being the best. About 18 months ago, when Andy was last deployed, the person who was over him gave him a 4, rather than a 5. Andy was deployed - he didn't even find out about his "bad grade" until it had been turned in and was not able to be questioned. He did not give him a chance to ask why. He did not give him a reason for the 4. There was not "fix this, and I will give you a better score". Nothing. 
 That 4 has already been a huge bone of contention for us, because it was what kept Andy from getting Staff Sgt. last year. He had to wait another whole year for that rank, simply because of that 4. But, we dealt with it, and survived. But now, once again, because of that 4, we are being told we cannot have what we want. 
 So, some idiot, that I have never met, and never will meet, because he isn't even in the AF anymore - some idiot has been able to basically destroy the plans we had for our future. Without even giving a justification. If he had written out "Andy is awful at this, and failed at this, and deserves this 4 because...." I think I could handle it better. But he didn't. Or, if Andy had been in the same country with him when he wrote it, that would have made it easier to bear. He had worked with him in the past, but at the time it was written, they weren't even in the same country. 

 But when I stop, and take a deep breath, and read what I have written the part that stands out the most is "the plans WE had for our future". That is the part that makes me stop and think. And pray. 
 Obviously, Andy and I have prayed about this officer package a lot. Over and over we have prayed about it. But have we listened for an answer, or merely asked God to do what we wanted Him to do? We have asked Him for wisdom, but I can't be assured that we have taken the time for listen to that wisdom. 

 Right this minute, we have no other choice. Wait - Listen - Pray - and at least on my part, Forgive. That idiot, whoever he is, wherever he is, maybe he was just making it possible for God to get our attention. 
 I wish there was an easier way for God to get our attention, but while He has it, I hope I learn what I am supposed to learn. Please God, teach me. 

 Teach me.  

Monday, December 29, 2008

The clean-up

Today was insanely full.

 Technically, I guess it was yesterday that was full. Today has only been 17 minutes long so far, so it hasn't been so bad yet... 

 Co-op was fun, and yummy. We played with bubbles, and made bubble bread. (aka, monkey bread) I'll load pictures later. 
  While I was on that side of town, I returned things, exchanged things, bought more things. Basically just ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, while dragging my children with me. The crowds have died down, and the sales are still fairly decent, so it was fun. 
 We left the house around 9 this morning, and didn't get home until about 5! Then, after supper, we tackled the big job... (can't you just hear the music, dum dum dum....)  taking down the Christmas decorations!!! 
 I was going to go to bed around 10:30, when the decorations were mostly down, and the house was about half clean, but then I remembered that I still hadn't checked my E-mail. After three days at my parents without checking it, I knew it would be awful. Anybody want to take a guess? 

  110 messages!!!

How is that even possible?! I will tell you how... Facebook. And let me just tell you, that is addicting! Don't log in, unless you have some free time available! 

 That is why it is currently after midnight, and I am just now getting around to my blog. And that is why my posting tonight is super super boring. Just blame it on the lack of sleep. 
 My faithful readers will love me anyway, right? Don't hold one lame posting against me!! 
 I promise, tomorrow will either have pictures, or a funny story, or something meaningful. Perhaps all three~ But tonight, I am going to bed. 
 Until then, Blessings! 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Recovery time

It is SO good to be home.

 Christmas was absolutely fabulous. We had a wonderful time visiting with a lot of family, and even a few friends... although perhaps we should just call them family too, since I think Andy and Corey are practically brothers! We ate delicious food, opened fun presents, found a few great deals at the after Christmas shopping, ate some more delicious food, stayed up WAY too late over and over again.

 Now, we are home. 

 And it just feels so good. 

 I loved the visiting and the game playing (side note: Quelf is hilarious - check it out if you get a chance), the eating and the laughing. But for some reason, coming home just feels really nice. 
 I have laundry to do, and unpacking to tackle. There are presents to find permanent places for and shelves that are going to have to be cleaned out. My fridge (finally) does not stink anymore, (for anyone who cares, it was black beans that decided to play a huge game of espionage, and trick me into thinking they were much much fresher then they actually were... but anyway) -  I totally forget where I was going with that sentence. Oh yes - food must be thrown away. Christmas cookies are no long yummy when they are two weeks old! 
 Tomorrow is Monday, which means homeschool Co-op. We need toothpaste and body wash for Canaan, and I know that there is no way that I can walk into Target and walk back out again with ONLY those two things. Which means, my day tomorrow is pretty much shot. 

 However, even with that huge hodgepodge of craziness hanging over me, (and that doesn't even include the fact that I still have to feed my family regular meals now... no more eating cookies and candycanes, or the lovely meals that other people make!!)  even with all that, it still feels good to be home. 

 There is just something about your own four walls. 
My own pillow- which is calling to me. 
"Bethany... come... I have missed you." 

Friday, December 26, 2008

A traveling Christmas

Christmas was wonderful. It was very busy, very full and included stops at three different houses. But, it was full of JOY, which is our goal for every day. Jesus' birthday was celebrated with a large portion of our family, and we were very happy to live the day full of laughter and love.

My boys and I, the night before Christmas An enthusiastic Andy
Canaan with a silly face Andy with a silly face too

Zion, checking out the goldfish Andy and his Dad

Emilee, Andy and I- Emilee loves the camera!!

Emilee, Me, Mom and Mary - just missing one of the Binkley girls

Emilee, Daddy and I
Emilee made these aprons for us.

I have more pictures, of course, but the computer is slow, and I am tired. We stayed at Emilee and Kevin's until nearly 2am last night, so we didn't get much sleep! The bed is calling to me, and the pictures will be there forever.
I hope your Christmas was full of JOY also.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

1 Corithians for Christmas

I saw this on a friend's blog, and I just wanted to pass it along.

"If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, sing carols in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits menothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust .. .But giving the gift of love will endure.
You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving."

"1 Corinthians for Christmas" Written by: Anonymous

Merry CHRISTmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow in South GA

For our homeschool co-op on Monday, we had a Snow Day. We all wore our pajamas, made "snowmen" and snowcones, read books about snow and had a warm and cozy time.
(This is Zion's Snowman)
I realized after starting to load these pictures that about half of the time I was using Mary's camera! Unfortunately, I don't have her memory card with me, so I can't upload her pictures right this minute and put them on here. I only have pictures of a few of the finished showmen. My apologies to the snowmen who do not get their fair chance in the limelight!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My creative children

This morning, while I was in the shower, Canaan took some pictures of his brother. 
This is the Zion, from Canaan's point of view. 

(You will have to excuse the chocolate milk mustache. After all, it was still breakfast time!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the second day of Christmas...

I got a new couch! 
 Technically, there was nothing wrong with my old one. It was just, well, old. And dingy. 
Andy had won a $100.00 gift certificate to a local furniture store when he won Airman of the Quarter, and this couch wasn't too terribly much more then that. (oh, the joys of FAKE, right?!) So, we took our $100, and treated ourselves to a Christmas special. 
 Merry Christmas to me!  
(I love that it already has a toy under it... just a few hours after it's purchase. Ah, real life!)

On the first day of Christmas...

Our gift opening will be a little spread out this year. Rather than drag all of our gift up to Mom's house, then all the way back again, we decided to open them together as a family on Sunday. We did stocking and a few presents before church, and the rest Sunday afternoon. 

Here is the tree, before the rush of opening. 

I love Andy's new hat. It is always hard to get a picture of him, without him making a silly face. In fact, he has even started a "training class" for Canaan. Take these pictures, for example.
I have to coax smiles out of Zion, but when I get one, it is very real! 

Both boys got mittens and sunglasses in their stockings... 

... and they were proud to show them off! 

Lastly, here are my boys and their "stash". 

 I don't have any good pictures of my surprises. Andy got me beautiful earrings and a lovely necklace. I will try to get a picture of them sometime soon. Mostly I just want to brag on my adorable husband, for being such a good man... shopping for me, and finding good deals!! 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Christmas "Card"

Murphy's oil soap

For anyone who is interested....
 Murphy's oil soap takes crayon right out of carpet. It really is amazing. Of course, you have to then take the steam cleaner to your carpet to get the Murphy's out... but at least it is the right color! And.... while you have the steam cleaner out, you might as well do the whole living room, right? 

 The answer to that is actually a big fat NO! (or as Canaan would say N.   O.   spelled out, one letter at a time) This time of year is entirely too busy for extras! Luckily, I have a fabulous husband, who took it upon himself to clean the carpet while I cleaned the children last night. He said it was even - he would "bathe" the carpet if I would bathe the kiddo's. I lucked out - he even had time to clean out the frog tank too. You know, I may get all the day to day yucky, thankless jobs, but he very willingly volunteers for the big chores, so I won't complain! 

 Another huge project we took on yesterday was cleaning the fridge. It has had a slightly funky smell coming from it for the last few days, and I have been randomly throwing away leftovers, hoping that would solve the problem. 
 It hadn't worked. 

 So, Andy pulled it out away from the wall so that I could open it wide enough to actually pull the drawers all the way out, and remove the shelves. I am pretty good at staying "on top" of keeping it clean, (I am slightly OCD) but it had been at least six months since it had been fully scrubbed, so it was time. We tossed slightly sour dairy products, overly ripe fruit, veggies with a hint of mushiness, more leftovers, even though there was nothing wrong with them. We changed the baking soda box. We washed EVERYTHING. In front, behind, above, below. 

 But my fridge still stinks. 

 That is really really frustrating! 
 If I don't figure out what it is soon, I am going to lose my mind! 

 Any suggestions? 

Friday, December 19, 2008

back from the land of blah

Yesterday was no fun... at least for me. I had a 24 hour stomach bug.
My children seem to have survived none the worse for the wear. They ate pretty much whatever they wanted, watched movies non-stop, and for some unknown reason, decided to color the carpet in the middle of the living room bright orange. 
Bright Orange. 
Zion was the culprit. Someone suggested that he just wanted the room to match his hair. 
(this is a picture I forgot to post from his "real birthday", with his sad little cake I whipped up on Monday)

According to the wonderful world of the internet, Murphy's Oil soap will take crayon out of carpet. I have been feeling better today, but not that much better, so that hasn't been tested yet. Just trying to catch up with the other destruction my children orchestrated during my "down time" (not to mention the fact that I hadn't fully finished cleaning up from our two days in a row of cookies!) was enough for my recovering body to take on today. 

 It seems that God didn't agree with that theory though. 
Although I felt that my recovering body deserved a tiny break, He however, did not seem to think that my recovering brain, deserved the same. 

 I cannot ever remember what I have, and have not, mentioned on here, so let me back up a little. For at least six months now, the LDS missionary boys have been stopping by on a regular basis to "reach out" to me. I really don't mind. This may make me a liberal, but I truly believe that everyone who truly seeks Jesus with their whole heart will find him. He wants to be found~ truly He does, so I don't mind hearing what they have to say. I am not threatened 
 Anyway, I listen to them with respect. Argue with them as respectfully as I can. Disagree with them, but still, with respect, because when it all boils down, I believe that they are my brothers in Christ. I think they are misled, and are misleading others along with them, but I can't help but respect the honesty I see shining out of their eyes, and the true belief I hear in their voices. 
 Over and over, we play this game. I have gone through at least four missionaries now. They finish their time on the mission, move on... one as even gone home and gotten married now, but still, they come to me. I don't think Andy has even met these last two. 
 My friend Emily, who was here baking cookies with me on Tuesday is actually Mormon. We have a close enough friendship that I love her, and she can love me, despite our differences in belief. So we talked about the missionaries while she was over, about how I love to feed them, and talk about their families with them, and she is actually the one who gave me the update about the one who is now married. As I mentioned before ~ she can love me, and accept me, without trying to convert me. 
 Usually they will not come inside, because it is not considered appropriate for them, as young, unmarried men to come inside my house while my husband is not home. So we stand out in the yard, and I try to give them something to eat. I figure they are away from home, and miss their Mom's cooking, and I almost always have cookies, or banana bread, or something around. 
 I hadn't seen my boys since before Thanksgiving. I was slightly concerned about them actually. But today, they brought someone extra with them. I guess he an elder in the church, or something. A slightly older guy, I assume married, because they said it was okay for them to come inside when he was with them. 
 I wasn't ready today. I wasn't prepared. I wasn't prayed up today, like I normally try to be. I hadn't even read my devotions today, for crying in the mud. 
 And I felt outnumbered, and outmaneuvered. 
 They were not rude. They were not overly pushy. They were just their usual, absolute selves, plus one more. Absolute. That is the best word I can think of to describe them. 
 I think I was just still tired, and hadn't eaten a real meal in over 24 hours, and my house was a mess, and my children were noisy.... overwhelmed is a good word. 
 I didn't even remember to give them cookies. And I had tons of them, all over the house! 

 I feel like a failure. What does God want from me? Why does He send them to me? 
 I told them I would read some more, and try to have an open mind. I don't know that I can be completely honest about that. I am not sure my mind is open at all. I don't know that I can minister to them, without openly looking at what they have to say, but truly and honestly, right this minute.... I don't want to. 
 I will give them this. They do challenge me to learn more about why I believe what I believe. What scripture EXACTLY is my theology based on? A lot of what I believe is simply "that is how I was taught", and I can't point out "WHY" in the Bible. 
I should be able to. 

 For now though, here is what I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Jesus came to earth, freely sacrificed himself for absolutely everyone, and will gladly cleanse anyone who asks Him. The moment you ask, you are forgiven. You are not perfect, and never will be... but if you wake up every morning, and with your whole heart ask "please God, help me be more like you want me to be", He will help you be more like He wants you to be.
 That, plain and simple, is my theology. 
And I guess, for now, I will just wake up every morning with that prayer.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

8 days until Christmas...

Around the world, winter time is quickly approaching.
Christmas cookies are being baked. (two days in a row for us!)
Sprinkles are being sprinkled.

Somewhere in the world, snow is falling....

but not in South GA. Today, it was 80 degrees outside. And while Christy and I were making Christmas cookies, we sent the kids outside to play. 
 They were creative...

Leftover rainwater is loads of fun! Who knew? 

(I keep that old trash can under the eaves, to catch the rainwater runoff, so that during the summer months I can water my plants with the extra water. It was completely full of rainwater, leftover from the last storm we had. Kinda gross, really, but they had a blast!)