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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vacation, here we come!

Tomorrow afternoon is the official beginning of winter vacation, 2010.
My parents are getting off work early, coming down, and kidnapping our children.

Oh Joy!

They are going to visit my grandparents at the beach on Sat, then on Sun. they are heading to every kids dream land. Yes, you guessed it. Disney World!!
In preparation for the weekend I have been running around trying to anticipate every possible item my children might need over the course of a three day weekend.
Swimsuits: check.
Sunscreen: check.
Toothpaste, bodywash, children's tylenol, just in case: check.
Gameboys, coloring books, DVD's for the car: check.

We had all of this at the house. But today we took a special trip to buy supplies for the trip. Yummy, "rarely get to have" treats.
My kids thought that mommy had lost her mind today at the commissary. I kept saying "yes" - and I think they were about to go into shock!

Applesauce, Lunchables, Fruit snacks, Sugar cereal, Jello, Pretzels, Juice boxes and baby wipes to wipe up the mess: check.
A lot of these convenience foods are things they have maybe once a month or so. Thinking that they are going to get to have them ALL in the same weekend, AND go to the beach, AND go to Disney World, WITH their grandparents whom they absolutely adore.

Well, let's just say that we have some very excited boys here.

While the boys are otherwise entertained, Andy and I are going to explore Savannah.
This will be our first "just us", kid free vacation, well, ever. We haven't gone anywhere, just the two of us, since before we had kids.
Similar to the boys, we have a very excited mommy here too!

Especially after the last few days, I am really feeling the need for a vacation.
While I was out I stocked up on a few of my favorite snacks for the car too.

Before I close and finish packing for my mini vacation, I wanted to share my Valentine photo's.

Canaan made me a necklace. He is so very proud of it, because he made it all by himself. It was his idea, and he found the material, created the beautiful necklace and presented it to me with love.

(I don't know why this picture won't get any bigger... but here I am wearing it.)

Isn't beautiful? I was so proud!
Six is a really great age.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Patience my love

Have you ever failed? Forgotten something? Messed up, and had repercussions that follow you down the line?
They tend to stick around in your head, don't they? Those pesky, annoying voices, shouting at you, "Failure".
I messed up months ago and just found out this week. Not fun. Now I have paperwork to fix, and we have decisions to make. (about our adoption)
I was sharing with our home church tonight how I was both saddened by my own lack of knowledge that led to the problem, and worried about what comes next.
One young man pointed out the verse in Matthew 6:25, "do not worry" and reminded us that anything God says "do not" is absolute. If we do not obey, then it is sin. So when we worry, it is sin.
We have a Savior who forgives, and all we have to do is "confess our sins and he is faithful and just" to forgive. (1Jn 1:9)
So I confessed my sin of worry, and they laid hands on me and prayed for clarity about what comes next. When I got home tonight I was looking for one of the verses we talked about. I couldn't find it, but instead I found this one. "Be patient then my brothers until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." James 5:7-8
Right this minute I am waiting for my child's (or possibly children's) coming. But I think the verse still applies. I am supposed to wait for the rain, and stand firm in what I know God called us to do. When things don't go as I had hoped, that doesn't mean we quit.
And that doesn't mean we worry.
We just trust.

When they prayed over me tonight several people felt that God was saying that even with the delay, or perhaps even because of it, we would receive a double blessing. Obviously, I am hoping that means two children. But perhaps the double blessing is just another step in maturity to go with gaining a child.
Either way, I will gladly take a double blessing.
First I have to figure out the maze of paperwork that I messed up, fix it, and get this train back on the right track.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A "trip" down memory lane

I have been "tripping" down memory lane today, and I mean that more literally then you might think. It is dangerous to think baby too often, to reminisce, to sigh and remember - ESPECIALLY when you still really want another. Tripping, leads to falling. Falls leads to bumps and bruises. None of that is pretty.

So instead, let's try to walk nicely down memory lane. No tripping allowed.

I got to hold a baby this weekend. 6 weeks old. Perfect for cooing, and gazing up into nowhere with those big eyes that seem to see everything. I asked Zion if he thought we should have a baby like that and his expression was something like this...

with an emphatic "no" afterward.
He wants a little sister that already runs and plays. Not a baby.

I think Canaan felt the same way when we first brought Zion home.
He was about 5 weeks in these pictures.

"What do I do with this thing?"

"He looks funny."

"Well, maybe he's not too bad...."

"Awww"

"What did I do? Make it stop crying!"

Where did four years go? Sigh...
We went to a birthday party this weekend. A first birthday actually, for the son of one of Andy's troops. This little boy was born while Andy, and the daddy too, were deployed last year. It was a really wonderful party, celebrating both the first anniversary of his birth, and the fact that they were together as a family to party. I love how military life makes you appreciate moments. Moments that sometimes you might not think to appreciate. How many parents get annoyed spending a Sat. at a children's party? I am pretty sure that my husband never will. Because he has missed too many.
So, for every moment we miss, we gain something too.
We gain appreciation for what we do have. A chance to hold on a little tighter. A chance to smile a little wider, laugh a little bigger, love a little deeper.
I may not ever be able to truly be thankful for the moments we have missed together, but I will choose to find the good. And that gift I am grateful for!

Friday, February 19, 2010

An Apology

I think that words have been slow to come this week because the words I have been supposed to say are ones that are easily tripped over.

You see, I need to apologize to someone. Humbly admit that I was way off.
Why is that always so hard?

The problem is, the person I need to apologize to... I haven't been able to find their E-mail address. I know I could get it if I went to the proper places. It is not unattainable. But for now, the apology is just sitting there, blocking my brain. Holding everything else back.

So maybe they read my blog. (or more likely one of their relatives, but hey, it may make it to them in a round about way, right?)

"I am so sorry I didn't respond positively when you shared with me your intention of going to seminary. I am very short sighted. I only see the ministry right now. It is very hard for me to think about the need for training for later. I only saw the amazing job you are doing where you are. I forgot to imagine where God could take you.
And that is selfish.

This is only an excuse, and doesn't make it better, but when I was in college I saw Christian ministry majors, studying their theology, sit at their table together in the lunch room and get smarter. But they forgot to look up, and look over, and see the ministry (which is one of the words in their major) sitting one table over.
They were 20. They were focused on grades, and learning, and they were entitled to make mistakes.
I sure made plenty of my own when I was 20.

Unfortunately though, that picture was the main one emblazoned on my brain as to what "Theology" meant. Studying books, and ignoring the people around you.
Those kids have grown up, gone to seminary and some of them have amazing people oriented ministries now. Some of them seem to still have their noses stuck in books. And perhaps, that is what God made them for.
I think what I am getting at in my apology is that I am sorry it took me an entire decade to realize that intently studying who God is, and what He said in an organized setting does not make you less likely to talk to Him, and share Him with others.
I am such a hippie. I want to learn about God from watching the caterpillar transform into a butterfly, and hearing the birds sing His praise. But sometimes we have to sit down and read about the details.

I am so proud of you for giving up what you have already established in order to follow where God is leading you. Wherever He takes you, I am behind you, always. I may not always be literally behind you, because I hate being confined in buildings, but emotionally and spiritually, I am with you."

They shared this video short at church this week, thus triggering my need to apologize.

The Word says, "study to show thyself approved". (2Tim 2:15) I want to show myself approved, so study I shall.
I just hope God doesn't ask me to do it in a organized setting. Please Lord, let me be a home schooled Christian!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Completion!!

Well, I did it. I finished "The Blithedale Romance."
Strangely enough, after all that talk of it practically putting me to sleep, when I f i n a l l y hit the good part (around chapter 14) I couldn't put it down. It is still heavy reading, but when the plot finally "thickens", it thickens nicely. It goes from a watery chicken broth to a nice thick potato soup with chunks of carrot and celery for flavor. Yummy!
And really, I think that the last line is my favorite in the whole book. Totally worth the work of the rest of the book.
So, after all my negative talk earlier, have I now inspired you to go pick it up and give it a try?

I am ready for something lighter now. I need a slight rest for my brain. Teaching medieval history, multiplication, and trying to keep with Hawthorne has worn me out. When Andy tried to talk me into Tolstoy as my next read I only considered it for about 2 seconds.
Then I decided that since Hawthorne had already kicked my butt this month, I think my butt deserves a break. I am moving on to the Percy Jackson series. Books written about Greek mythology for middle schoolers - surely they can't be too overwhelming!

Andy is actually reading "The Art of War". It seems that war has not changed much in 2400 years. Or at least the tactics behind organization, and leadership, and long term winning... which is more what the book appears to be about.
Andy thought it would be useful reading in preparation for becoming an Officer. Just a chapter or two into it now, he thinks it should be required reading for officer training school.
And that leads up to.... The decision has been officially made now. We are moving forward to apply for the Army Officer program. We still have some paperwork to do, and letters of reference to wait for, and the AF has to actually release him. But, we are planning to officially apply within the next month for a position as an Officer in the United States Army.
Positions are available there.
They are not, for him, in the AF.

Nothing is promised. Nothing is certain. But it holds potential, and we are hopeful. It feels right, and it seems time for Andy to use this education that he worked so hard to achieve. Three deployments and a remote tour, plus the addition of two children to the family, working full time always, and he still managed to complete his degree. I think he deserved to at least have the chance to apply for the program.
Prayers would be greatly appreciated, because our life is sort of a waiting game right now. How long will the paperwork take? Will they accept him? If so, when will they get him into training, and what career field will they place him in? (his degree is in management and logistics) Overall the question is, where will we end up?

As any of you who are military already know, that thought already hanging in the back of your mind plays havoc on your ability to be much of a friend. People you already know you start backing away from, just for "practice", so it doesn't hurt quite as bad when you have to leave. New people, well, who needs to meet new people? Run inside, close the door and paint a red cross (proclaiming black death... I told you we were studying medieval history!) to scare them away. I am working very very hard to NOT do this, but I catch myself on occasion backing away from people, rather then walking toward them.

AHEM

I think that is enough confession for one night.
The book was great.
The Army is a hopeful possibility.
I am fighting my demons!

Life is good. God is great. How can I ask for anything more?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bursting with undefined emotion

I have a tendency to deep clean when I an upset. Things like mop, and scrub bathtubs, and clean baseboards.
Fortunately for my family, I am a laid back person. It takes a lot to get me angry.
Unfortunately for my house, I am a laid back person. It is not a pretty situation for my kitchen floors. And the bathtubs. Because for some reason, perhaps some internal wiring malfunction, I have no desire to clean when I am not angry. I am perfectly able to keep up with the laundry, and dirty dishes. I can even handle the "regular maintenance" of toilets and sinks. But for some reason tubs and floors are stuck in my head, some sort of freudian thing, as an "angry" job. Perhaps because they require so much energy, and I have so much energy to burn when I am upset?

Today I mopped.

I don't think I am angry, per se. However, there is some undefined emotion floating around, trying to find a place to land.
I figured I might as well put it to use.

After four loads of laundry, and a completely clean kitchen including a mopped floor, I am mostly just tired.

But my kitchen sure does look good! (Just don't look at the living room, where the kids have had free rein while I have been otherwise occupied!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Expansion

I think I made Andy sound slightly caveman-ish in my last posting. He isn't really a neanderthal. Perhaps I should expand upon what I think he really meant by "Why don't you go talk to your adoring fans on your blog about it?"...
In reality he was saying, "I just worked over 10 hours outside in 35 degree weather, while rain poured down. No gloves, because my hands had to be free to turn a wrench very precisely. When I got home my AF issue steel toe boots were so wet that my socks were soaked enough to wring out. It is two days before Valentines Day and since there is no way I am giving you what you have asked for on the holiday every man despises, (for him to read my blog on a regular basis and maybe have a deeper understanding of how my mind works) I loaded you and the kids into the car, drove to the mall in the freezing cold rain and tried to find something else to give you, in the crazy crowds of other men doing the same thing. On the way home we had snow flurries - here in the deep south - SNOW FLURRIES! Now it is nearly 11pm, and I have to get up in 7 hours and go back to work, on a SAT and do it all again, maybe in snow. Now, I love you, but please, stop talking and let me go to sleep."
Now, obviously, I am a woman, and he is man. So I can't say I exactly interpret what he is saying correctly. But I think that might be the gist of it. Who knew you could pack so much into "Why don't you go talk to your adoring fans on your blog about it?"

I think we need a vacation. I currently despise his job. (Not the AF, just being a Crew Chief.) He is exhausted. My patience with him being exhausted is, well, exhausted.
Two more weeks until he can get some time off!
Please God, let them go fast.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Adoring Fans?

I started reading Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Blithedale Romance" several weeks ago. Then the library called and said that a book I had requested had come in, so I put the classic on the shelf and read a vampire slayer series instead. And really, the first two books were pretty good. The third one got a little out of hand. The fourth one was really quite vulgar. So, I googled the rest of them to get plot lines, just trying to see what was going to happen with the main character later on.
I will definitely not be reading the rest of the series.

It was time to pull "The Blithedale Romance" back out. I am only half way through, but I really don't have anything positive to say about the plot line. As far as I can tell, there really isn't one. The story itself is pretty boring.
But the quotes, and the references to other pieces of literature and bits of history are just amazing. I keep reading it not because of the story, but because of the vocabulary.
Andy simply shrugged his shoulders and grunted when I tried to explain that to him. I believe his exact quote was "Why don't you go talk to your adoring fans on your blog about it..." (in other words, he doesn't care, so stop pestering him about it!)
So, for lack of a better discussion group, you, my "adoring fans" get to be tortured with Nathaniel Hawthorne.
One of the characters, Hollingsworth, feels he has been called by God to a "mission" - details are not important. What is important is that he is very driven, very focused, very sure of his path. Hawthorne describes men like this...
"They will keep no friend, unless he make himself the mirror of their purpose; they will smite and slay you, and trample your dead corpse under foot... They have an idol, to which they consecrate themselves high-priest, and deem it holy work to offer sacrifices of whatever is most precious, and never once seem to suspect - so cunning has the Devil been with them - that this false deity, in whose iron features, immitigable to all the rest of mankind, they see only benignity and love, is but a spectrum of the very priest himself, projected upon the surrounding darkness. And the higher and purer the original object, the more unselfishly it may have been taken up, the slighter is the probability that they can be led to recognize the process, by which godlike benevolence has been debased into all-devouring egotism."

From what I have read of Hawthorne, I am not sure he really understood the saving grace of Jesus. But he seems to have hit that nail on the head, dead on.
I have seen "godlike benevolence debased into egotism", and it is not a pretty picture. No matter how much it begins with good, it never ends that way.

Just a small, or not so small, reminder that we can't do anything on our own.
So, my "adoring fans"... I am nothing. Please, don't expect anything from me. This blog, every line of code and paltry sentence, is just the spilling out of my heart. Hopefully it shows the overflow of HIM inside of me. But sometimes, it will just be me. Because I don't always overflow the right things.
Thanks for listening, and sharing in return. You have no idea how much I appreciate you!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bridges and barbershop quartets

This weekend we drove south just a little bit and met up with a friend who was visiting FL for her birthday. Lara and I have been friends since Kindergarten - even though I have moved 15 times since then, she has kept up with me and loved on me always. So far she and her husband Daniel have made it to every single base that Andy and I have been stationed at (except of course Korea). So, when she called and said she was going to be near by, I jumped at the chance to see her.
Unfortunately half way between where she was vacationing and where we live was precisely the middle of nowhere. So we picked a spot on the map that looked like it had something on it. Unfairly for them, our leg of the trip was shorter. But, since we got their earlier, and we had two young boys who had already been in the car and were next going to be expected to behave nicely while the adults "caught up"...We decided to put "state park" in Andy's new toy, the GPS, and see what was close by.

At first we just let them use some energy on the play area provided at the campground. We were serenaded by a barbershop quartet practicing just a short walk away under a picnic shelter. We checked out a statue, and a memorial garden.

Then, the boys spotted "the bridge". It was just crying out to be crossed. A lovely wooden suspension bridge, over a flooded Fl river, with signs warning of alligators.
Just what I wanted to do.

I can honestly say that I have very few fears. Heights - no problem. Enclosed spaces - Not my favorite, but I can handle them. I even went spelunking, just to prove to myself that I could do it. Snakes - no biggie. Roller coasters - Adore them! Even spiders, which I use to abhor are now just a pesky annoyance, instead of a scream inducing terror.

But bridges, well, bridges still get me.
Especially suspension bridges.
Wooden suspension bridges.
That my husband stands on and deliberately makes sway back and forth and up and down while I am trying to cross.

Yeah, NOT good.

The problem is, once you are across you have some time to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and the enthusiasm of your children exploring wildlife all around, but always in the back of your mind is the thought - "Eventually I have to cross that bridge again. If I want to return to the car, and arrive at the prearranged meeting place to see my friend, I am going to have to cross that bridge."
Definitely one way to spoil your fun.
However, I think I got some great pictures of the boys.

My big men, exploring the "wilds" of Florida.

Watching the water go by.

Tying his shoes - isn't that lighting beautiful?

My boys love every minute they can catch with their Daddy.

If you look up you can see the edge of the bridge - ominously hanging over our heads - literally!

I think it shows on my face that I can't quite let go and enjoy myself....
(sidenote: didn't Canaan do a good job taking this picture?)

Obviously, I survived the bridge. Andy was torturous on the way back across, but I made sure I was in front of him that time, so I could run, and be done with it!

Then, we made it to the meeting place and I had a blast spending a few hours with Lara - but of course I forget to get pictures with her. Oh well! At least I got to see her, and for her birthday too. Happy Birthday forever friend!

As for my fear of bridges, that is something I will work on. I say I wouldn't mind jumping out of an Airplane, and I mean it. Why then are bridges so scary? Perhaps because I would be in control of a parachute, and not the swaying of a bridge?
That's some psychology to explore, and some questions to ask my Savior. What am I holding on to, and how can I let it go? What bridges am I refusing to cross, and what kind of kick start will I need to take the steps I am suppose to?
One bridge at a time I guess is the best I can do. Both the physical ones and the spiritual.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Jump start, or stop

Sometimes I think that Zion's goal in life is to see if he is able to bring my heart to a complete stop before I hit age 35. The fact that I have a heart murmur and already "skip a beat" now and then doesn't matter to him. Hmmm - maybe he is trying to cure me. If he can just scare me bad enough, often enough, that pesky murmur will cure itself.
Why didn't I think of that?

On Thursday he literally ran out in front of a car. Truly. I nearly peed myself.
Thankfully, we were in a parking lot, and they were going slow, and Canaan was very visible, thus making them aware and cautious already. However, Zion didn't look. He didn't pause. He just ran out in the road.
Scared me witless.
Scared the other car pretty bad too I think.
Luckily, I think it actually scared him. But not that much....

On Friday Canaan came running in from the backyard crying "I didn't mean to, I didn't mean to - I poked Zion's eye out with a stick!!!"
Thankfully, he only poked his eyelid with a stick, not his actual eye. It seems the sticks had progressed from being firemen hoses to building tools to guns to swords and eventually had ended up smack in an eye.
I try to focus on the creativity. The imagination. The ingenuity. Let's not think about the violence, right?

On Sunday I was cleaning up Lego's when I heard the most terrifying THUNK and Andy's shout from the living room. I run to find Zion just being scooped off the hardwood floor where he had fallen from the back of the couch. It seems that rather then sit on the cushion he had decided to sit on the back. Then promptly fallen off. Straight onto his head. With his mouth full of cheese. I think that was the part that scared me the most. His head is hard. It will be fine. It was the mouth full of cheese I was worried about - choking him!
After my heart started beating again, I was mad first. I had just told him to finish his food at the table. JUST TOLD HIM. Then of course he goes and eats in the living room and falls off the couch. Of course. But after feeling the bump on his head I couldn't stay mad. I had to sit and hold him for a second.
And a second was all I got. Ice on the head and hugs from mommy last just long enough for mommy to feel better. Z man is up and ready for the next adventure almost immediately.

How can I next jump start, or stop, mommy's heart?

Let the creativity begin!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs

My friend Nikowa has been posting some beautifully artistic blogs, telling stories through pictures.
She had one last week when they went out to eat that looked simply delicious, both artistically and simply to eat. So, the next day I set out on a mission to create a story with pictures too. I had some wonderful helpers. Canaan loves to cook, and Zion adores being the photographer. Together, the three of us make a wonderful team.
I have a cheap camera, and have no idea how to use photoshop, so you get the pictures in their original form. But, it sure was fun!

First we made the pancakes, with molasses and ginger to spice them up.

Bacon.

Canaan loves that~ (ewww gross)

Fresh Veggies, from Zion's view.

Chopped up nicely


for the Omelet.

Zion's view of the chefs,

and a self-portrait.

A finished plate, eggs with salsa, sour cream and avocado, pancakes, and bacon.
Of course, nobody actually ate a plate like this, but it made a pretty picture.
(I don't eat bacon, the boys don't eat avocados)

Now to get down to the good part - EATING!!

Big brother's are good at helping


Don't accidently eat the glue

Mr. Manners, with his knife and fork




The end! (aka, all gone)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Why's under the rug

Every night before bed I read to the boys. The variety of books changes. Library books on different subjects, according to what they are interested in at the moment. A chapter or two of a "bigger" book. (Right now it is "The Horse and His Boy", by C.S. Lewis) But always, no matter how late it is, and what time restrictions we have, I read them a piece of God's word.

We finished a children's version of "The Message" not long ago,

and are now re-reading "The Young Learner's Bible Storybook".
It is a little young for Canaan, but sometimes Zion deserves to have things on his level. I can't expect him to always be on a first grade level!

A few days ago we read the story of Rahab hiding the spies in Jericho. They, in turn, told her to display the "slippery red rope" she had used to help them escape, and she would be protected. The memory verse for the day was Psalm 37:39 "The Lord protects His people, and they can come to Him in times of trouble." The activity for the day focused on protection - what kind of things protect you every day? Seatbelts. Bicycle helmets. Sunscreen. We take protection for granted on a regular basis.
Just a few weeks earlier, when we were finishing our other Bible storybook we had read the story of angels breaking Peter out of prison. You can read the more detailed story in Acts 12, but my kids were content with the simplified version of God sent angels to protect him.

These stories combined reminded me of the old Amy Grant song that I grew up with, Angels Watching Over Me.

It is 1984 cheesy, but the truth is still the same. We sometimes take for granted the bad things that don't happen. A line in that song has stuck with me my whole life. "A reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way". I have had enough "near misses" to appreciate the protection of God, even when I can't see it directly applied to my life. I guess I owe Amy Grant a "thank you" someday for making me appreciate the angels watching over me.

I have been struggling greatly with questions. Disappointments make questions so much harder to understand. I prefer to just shove the "why" under the rug and pretend I never heard it. But that doesn't make it go away. That just makes the rug look really ugly and lumpy.

So I am going to air out a few of my "whys". Beat the rug, in a way.

For instance, Why, oh why, did God ask us to start the adoption process if he was just going to take our daughter away. We were content to wait several more years. It was definitely a long term goal to adopt someday. We were saving money. We were scouting out countries, and agencies, and ideas. Then, out of nowhere I got an E-mail that set off a chain of events that fast-forwarded our nicely laid out plans. Of course, things have changed multiple times since that original E-mail anyway... but I never thought it would end with my heart breaking.

Here is another question. How many times is your heart able to be glued back together and still survive? How many times will the glue work? I want to keep moving forward. I want to find my "next" child. But at the same time, I can barely stand the thought of risking my heart again. How many have I lost now? Three siblings. A child from my own womb. My Gladdy, whom I know is still alive and well and for that I Praise God daily - but still, I lost her.
Can I do it again?

Now it is not a why, but a where, and a how. What comes next? I got an E-mail from Pierre today - our contact in Benin. Do we keep going forward there? I don't know that I can just walk away, but at the same time, I am terrified to give my heart, or my time to something that may not ever work.

Wow - we haven't even gotten into the pile of "why's" under the rug concerning Andy, and how I am supposed to help and support him. But I think that is enough for tonight.

Here is what I cling to, what I know is truth: "'I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord!" Jer. 29:11

That was the memory verse my children had tonight. In an activity bible, which was teaching counting and rhyming.
God speaks when we need Him. We just have to listen.

And as Amy Grant reminds us, it is the things we don't see, the things that don't happen that we need to truly be appreciative of. He does have a plan for us... whether we can see it or not.

Failure! - amended

See bottom for addition...

My friend Carrie has been talking about "make overs" recently, so I was inspired last night to create a new header for my blog. I actually want to create an entirely new layout, but I need a little technical help with that (Nikowa, want to drop me a line with some advice, hint hint).
For those of you who are regulars here, you may notice that there is nothing new about the header. So, what happened? I went searching through my folders of photos for a few good shots to use on my new header. After a quick glance through I couldn't find any family photos. Hmmmm. That's strange. So I decided to do a more in depth search.

I found the four of us with my side of the family, soon after Andy returned from Afghanistan.

I found the four of us with Andy's side of the family, at his brother's wedding.

But after searching every single folder from 2009 I had to sadly admit to myself that there isn't a single shot of our family. I can make excuses for myself. "Hubby was in Afghanistan for five months". That gives me some leniency. "I was diagnosed with epilepsy..." hmmm, that one might be pushing it a little, since that has NOTHING to do with photography. Oh yeah, I remember my main excuse! "We were supposed to have five people in our family before the end of the year."

Still, I sure do with I had a picture of the four of us.
Oh well - too late now.

Mommy gets a big fat F in "family picture- 2009."

The first comment after I posted this blog was from Carrie, who insisted that she had a family photo of us on her fridge from THIS year. So, I pulled out a folder of Professional pictures that I keep stored somewhere else and discovered this...

January, 2009
Thank goodness for J.C. Penny!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Four Staples

As has already been established, Andy works strange shifts. Since he hadn't gone in until 6pm last night, I knew I would be going to sleep without him. It never really gets easier, and that deployment habit of sleeping with the telephone never dies, but by a little after one I was curled up in bed with a book, just starting to nod off. Suddenly, I heard Andy's ringtone start singing to me from the Blackberry. You know it isn't going to be a good conversation if he calls you at 1am. Especially if the first words out of his mouth are "I just wanted to give you a head's up...."

It seems that the "crew chief killer" had finally gotten a bite out of him. It is a unfortunately placed antennae that many a good man has fallen to. He knew he was in trouble when he hit his head, reached up to grab it and the blood had already soaked through his beanie hat.
He insisted on finishing the inspection he was in the middle of, and signing off on all that paperwork, since they had already had someone leave the shift sick that night. After that his boss insisted that he go to the hospital. One of his buddies drove his truck down for him, and caught a ride back to work with another guy. So Andy just sat in the ER by himself, got his head inspected, stapled, and ushered back out the door. He doesn't complain - he's a big tough manly man, but he did say it was really annoying when the doctor put the first staple in (with no pain killer of any sort) then decided she "didn't like the look of it" and pulled it back out. Four staples later, he drove himself home, finally got to take meds (they gave him Percocet) and crashed into a deep slumber. Unfortunately, it was 3:30 by the time it was all completed. No matter how tired I was before the first call, it is really hard to snuggle down and go to sleep when you are waiting for the next call! Besides, he was afraid for a few minutes that they were so shorthanded at work that I was going to have to wake the kids up and come get him to take him to the hospital! (He thought he could drive fine, but the higher-ups didn't want that on their conscience) Luckily they let him drive home from the hospital... I really didn't want to drag two children out in the middle of the night if I could help it!

I am proud of him for calling me. It was late, and he probably didn't have to. I suppose I should wish that he hadn't, so that I could have gone to sleep and missed the whole adventure. But, last time he was injured at work he didn't call me. When we were stationed at Beale he got a "Dragon bite" - very similar to the wound last night actually. He thought he would just wait and tell me after it was all over. Get the stitches, the paperwork filled out, all the hoops you have to go through when you are injured on the job in the AF. Unfortunately for him, it was a small base, and some people choose to go home for lunch, tell their wives about what was going on at work, and those wives call other wives....
By the time he got home I was so incredibly worked up about what exactly had happened to him, and how seriously he was hurt, and the fact that I knew next to nothing. Truly, he wasn't hurt that badly. I think that one might have been 5 staples. But he was in BIG trouble for scaring me to death. I guess last night proves that he learned his lesson.
Always tell the wife before you head to the ER. Just in case someone else is going to have a chance to tell her first.
I literally fell asleep with the phone gripped tightly in my hands a couple of times last night, but by the time he finally got home, I was wide awake. I had to see the wound, and take care of my baby just a little bit. Now I am exhausted. I think I will be calling it an early night tonight. Andy took his Percocet to work with him, on the hope that they will be fully manned and he can do a non-essential job and take pain killers. But he wasn't holding his breath. Which means he is going to be in pain all night, and thus g r u m p y tomorrow. I'm thinking that a full eight hours is sounding more and more like a good idea.
But just in case, I'll keep the phone close by. You never know when it's going to start singing his song...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Rambling, rambling, Oh what fun!

On Sunday afternoon we were one of the last families to leave the church, and our church is not one of those "get out at noon on the dot" type of churches anyway. We went home, changed our clothes (because I couldn't wait to get out of that skirt with the way the wind was blowing!) and decided that it was time to do some foraging. Maybe we should be further up in the food chain then simple foraging, but some days it doesn't seem that way. Our mostly empty fridge and completely non-creative brains were no help at all. Eventually, we loaded back up in the truck and headed south - into the no man's land of dum dum dum.... Cracker Barrel, late on a Sunday afternoon.
What were we thinking?

After a 30 minute wait, one broken decorative item, a round of checkers, two packs of raisins for my low blood sugar, listening to a talking robotic bird chatter annoyingly and buying stick candy on the promise that the boys could eat it later, we were finally seated.
We order, and I even branched out a little. I still got breakfast, of course, but I got a skillet thing, with potato and peppers and even some turkey sausage thrown in with my usual egg and cheese.
Then we wait some more... color the kids coloring page. Play the peg game, which declares us to be everything from "plain eg-no-ramoose" to "purty smart". None of us were able to achieve the Genius ranking, which is only one peg left. Perhaps if the food had taken a little longer? Ah, the world will never know.
But eventually, the food comes. Everyone chows down and is thrilled. Obviously, the place is hopping. Crazy busy. But we only have grape jelly at our table, and I really really don't like grape. So when I can finally catch her attention, I ask the waitress for some honey, or another flavor of jelly. Something. Everyone finishes eating. Except for my biscuit. The waitress comes back and asks if we want a to-go box, which of course we do... and I was so brave. I asked, again, for my jelly.
Normally I would have just packed it up and ignored it. But I really wanted to have some biscuit. Of course, by the time I had some the meal was over, and it was cold, but I was proud of myself for not being afraid to ask for what I wanted. Plus, she brought me three, so I got to bring two of them home. Nice little sample size blackberry jelly. Go me!

It's funny. I really really don't like purple grape anything. I like muscadine grape jelly. I like white grape juice. I will eat grapes plain in any color, but if given a choice I pick green. But I can't stand purple grape jelly, or juice. Somehow, Andy didn't seem to know this. How he could have been with me for 10 years and not know that... well, just goes to show that I am not very vocal about my dislikes. After the Cracker Barrel incident I was thinking about it, and I realized that grape juice, and grape jelly, taste like communion. I think that is why I don't like them. Not that I don't like to partake of holy communion. It just seems somehow wrong to drink communion juice in gulps out of a regular cup on a regular day.

That is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

In the meantime, my boys are going to guzzle a gallon down every day. I guess they will say, "more for us!"

Monday, February 01, 2010

Deltoids and multiples of 2

Earlier today Canaan was working on a word find. You know, a jumble of letters that you have to search through in order to find and circle the words you are assigned. It was his "homework" sent home last week from the P.E. class we are a part of. He was very frustrated with it. Daddy helped him for awhile. Mommy helped him with a couple of words. We finally declared that he really needed to work on it by himself. After searching for "deltoids" with no luck for at least two whole minutes (which is an entire lifetime when you are six) he declared quite emphatically and with tears in his eyes that "God just didn't make me for this kind of thing".

Poor kid.

Unfortunately for him, Mom and Dad didn't agree. We insisted that God made his brain perfectly capable of finding words in a jumble of letters. It was just a matter of sitting still and concentrating. (Imagine that!) He was heartbroken. But he sat still. Concentrated. Lo and behold, he found deltoids. And Pectoralis. And even Myocardium.
He also learned about the word procrastination. Eventually, everything catches up with you, no matter how you hope it will just go away! Daddy defined that word for him, and "beat it into his head" several times today!

Later in the day I introduced him to multiplication. Well, that's not exactly true. I had already introduced him. He and multiplication got to know each other a little better today. I wouldn't say they are exactly friends yet. That will take years still. But at least they know each other's names. And more then just the first name. The whole thing. First, middle, last. And perhaps a nickname thrown in for good measure.
Canaan and math are on pretty good terms.

Just don't ask to see his handwriting...

Time flies on sunny days in the south

My friend Tricia has a tradition she calls "snapshot Saturday". Every week she posts an older photo and tells a little about what was going on during that time in their life. Lately she has also been taking a "matching" one to correspond with the present.
The boys were playing on the driveway this weekend and I was snapping away like the paparazzi. I had a memory of doing that on another beautiful winter afternoon... so I decided to do my own "Snapshot Saturday", even though it is not Sat. I don't expect it to become a routine either. I'm not good at starting blogging routines.
For now, it is just a "because"...

Jan 2009, my little mechanics

Jan 2010, still working away

And of course, the man they mimic!

Poor scooter - 2009

Always in the shop- 2010

It use to be just Canaan...2009

But now Zion is old enough to work too... 2010
But once everything is fixed, then the fun can begin!

2009

2010

Life is good on sunny days in the south. Even in January.
(although I still needed a jacket... perhaps I should be running more, instead of sitting and taking pictures?)