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, April 29, 2010

A really long day

You know those days that literally hurt... today has been one.

When I hit the 12 hour mark today I realized that, other then a quick breakfast at Burger King with a friend (and I ABSOLUTELY NEVER eat fast food for breakfast) and driving, I had not sat down all day. Nor had I eaten a meal, other then that fast food breakfast. I had grabbed a piece of banana bread. Munched an apple. Even put several slices of cheese in my mouth at some point in time. But at seven pm, I realized that I had not sat down, nor eaten all day long. Unless you count sitting down to get blood drawn.
No, wait, I did sit for at a few minutes of Canaan's Tang Soo Do class. So I guess I am not completely telling the truth. Chasing Zion around and entertaining him while Canaan practiced his kicks and blocks only took part of the time.
Either way, what I am trying to say is that by the time dinner rolled around, I was exhausted. Plain old hurting. Luckily, I had a chicken in the crockpot, and mashed potatoes, carrots and peas are all easy to whip up.
While the boys took their bath after dinner, I sat in Andy's miracle working massage seat, and now, here it is, almost midnight and I am still functioning.
The chicken bones have been picked and taken out to the trash. The dishes have been loaded into the dishwasher. I even checked my facebook, which is a very rare thing indeed.
So, the question is, if I am so exhausted, why am I still up? Why do I do this to myself? Why don't I just go to bed?

Good question.

Andy isn't there.

You would think that when he spends months and months away I would get use to sleeping alone. When he is gone, and I have to get use to it, I do. But right now, I don't want to get use to it. I want this stupid shift to end. 6pm to 6am is just plain annoying. He works all night, sleeps most the day, and with the army stuff he has to get done right now, has about 10 minutes for us in the afternoon between all his errands before he has to head back to work again.
So, I just dread that empty bed because it reminds me that I miss him.
Which in turn makes me feel guilty. Because I know what it is to really miss him. I have been the wife whose husband is gone. I hate to try to claim any of their pain.
But seriously, I think I talked to Andy more when he was in Afghanistan this last time then I have this week.
But, it is Thursday night already. That means tomorrow is Friday - and after that comes the weekend! Rain always brings flowers, right? I'll count on that.
Ending on an up note - the same thing I put on my FB status.
My boys have been singing Bible songs all afternoon, because of the CD I was playing in the truck while we drove all over the town. Zion especially likes "The B-I-B-L-E", which just blesses me. It is wonderful to have your four year old singing the word of God, or simply spelling it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Finally, a button~

I have been working on making a button for ages. I created the picture, then figured out how to create the code, but it took me ages to figure out how to make the little box below, so that you can copy the code... I am trying to be technologically savvy, but sometimes it takes me awhile to catch up.

Anyway, here it is, if any of you want to post a button linking to me.

Living, Learning, Laughing, Loving

Now if I can just figure out how to create multiple headers on my page... With Andy working 6pm to 6am this week I have plenty of free time, all night long, to work on it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Don't Blink, part 2

For some reason death, and of course, it's beautiful counterpart, life, have been on my mind quite heavily lately.
You see, I feel like I should have a two year old right now.
Several years ago when I first found out I was pregnant, I signed up for one of those "weekly update" E-mails. I have never taken myself off that list. At first I was just too busy, moving, and unpacking, and after several weeks, finally taking the time to mourn. Then, I sort of enjoyed watching the updates - seeing the pictures of what my baby's development should look like by now. After all this time, it is just habit. I'll go weeks and weeks without even opening the E-mail, but occasionally, I just scan through the "advice" for the age.
What "should" I be doing right now....

But those aren't the sort of questions you should ask yourself. In all honesty, I am doing what I am suppose to be doing. Or, to the best of my ability, what God wants me to be doing. Still, every once in awhile, I ache for little two year old chubby fingers.

My friend Abby lost a really good friend to eclampsia just recently. Her name was Kylee, and she left behind four beautiful children. I never met her. Until she died, I had never even heard of her, except maybe in a passing comment by Abby. For some reason, I have been irresistibly drawn to her blog, and the writings she left behind. I have been mourning, just a bit, for a friendship that I wish we could have had. I know that is totally unfair to the people who did know her, and love her, and miss her with an unbelievable pain. I don't mean to downplay that at all. I truly can not imagine how her husband breathes still. I suppose only because of the promise that we dance to so joyfully as followers of Christ - that this is not the end.
I think part of the reason this has affected me so strongly is because I am the "sick one". I have always had something or another wrong with me, physically. I suppose I have always thought I could die "young". I remember not long after I was diagnosed with diabetes I couldn't sleep one night. I walked through the house, praying blessing over my little sisters, and then my parents too, as they all slept - just in case I wasn't there to do that forever. I was only 12.
I have had a "just in case I die" letter on every kind of disk, from floppy to memory stick, and on multiple hard drives of personal computers. Of course, no one knew where they were, so if anything had happened to me they wouldn't have been found, but I always felt better writing out my letters of love.
I don't think I have ever been afraid of death, just very aware of it's reality. (Which probably means I am going to live until I am 110!) Somehow seeing someone about my age, with kids about the age of mine, who was serving Jesus with her whole heart - yet is gone now - well, it reminded me that it doesn't matter if you are healthy or not. It doesn't matter if you are ready or not.
The point I am trying to get to is that this life, whether 6 weeks gestation, or 30 something years, or 110 - this isn't the end. It is only a blink, truly. Right now is just the preparation for the part that counts - being in the presence of The KING!
Kylee wrote a beautiful post about how this world is not our home. We are only passing through. If you have a chance, please, read it and appreciate how fleeting our time here is.
Spend every minute wisely. Dance with joy. Sing praise with your whole heart, whether you are in key or not. Give with abandon. Generously share what you know, so that in the end those you love will be worshiping before the throne with you.
Please, don't blink.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day, every day

Being the Captain Planet that I am, I have a hard time getting excited about Earth day. Yeah, sure, the world of careless, uninvolved people take a day to pretend to care about God's beautiful creation that they are destroying 364 other days of the year.
I want them to care every day.
But, at least there is an effort, right?

So, in honor of Earth day, I decided to share a few photo's of our "garden" this year. These were taken about two weeks ago, so you will have to trust that some progress has been made.

We started a potato and sweet potato in the window, then planted them when they began to root. The green bucket is the regular potato, and one of the planters on the right is the sweet. To the left is either squash or zucchini - I can't tell which is which. The other (squash or zucchini) is across from it in the other planter. Smack in the middle is our Citronella, an attempt to keep Mosquitoes at bay this summer.

Andy was a goof off, of course, during the planting.

Are we surprised?

But he talked me into a spoof too.

Here is our haphazard version of American Gothic.

We didn't even have the Rosemary in the bucket yet!

Today when we watered we had two strawberries already showing their little green heads, and the tomato plant is looking great. I am not sure the peppers are liking being upside down, but we will give it some time.
We are in a rental, so I didn't want to tear up too much of the back yard - at least I have some fresh produce to look forward to.

Also, as an extra bonus for Earth Day today, I finally remembered to stop at the little road side market between here and the base. I got fresh, free-range eggs. The chickens were running around in the yard while I paid for the eggs. So so exciting! If I hadn't just been at the Commissary I would have bought some of her produce too. She is definitely on my list of places to stop in the future.

Well since I couldn't get this to post for Earth Day, I decided to add some other pictures: When we were planting this garden my friend Amanda was here, along with her daughter Emily. She and my boys had a fabulous time in the sandbox while the grownups planted. And really, kids are so much more fun to take pictures of! (perhaps the reason I often have such great pictures of Andy- he is a giant kid?)

All working together

So serious

Who couldn't love that smile?

I think she was checking to make sure that Mommy hadn't left her sight...

Sunshine -

What a focused look!

Dig deep, Build strong. Good lesson, hmmm.

Words, from the sword

I have been having computer issues around here. I keep writing blogs, and then when I try to upload the pictures that will complete them, Safari locks up, and has to be "force quit". Very annoying.
So for now, I am going to write just words. Imagine that...

I am trying to read through the Bible this year. Well, most of it. I got a late start, so I know I won't finish the whole thing. You see, my Mom has read through the Bible, every verse, almost every year of my life. Over the last few years she has been using a set-up called The One Year Bible (the link is a MUCH newer version). It breaks it down every day into Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.
After multiple years of reading through it, often as a team with my Dad, it literally fell apart. It is in three pieces right now. So, my parents decided to move on to another reading ritual this year.
Which afforded the perfect opportunity for me to swoop in and carry off the abandoned, yet much loved, Bible.
Since it is in three pieces, I don't have to carry the whole thing with me all the time. I figure since it is only April, I don't need to worry with the last half of the year yet. It sits on the bedside table for now. I didn't "steal" it until I was home for Easter, so I missed the first three months of the year. Obviously, I am not going to make it through the entire Bible that way, since I missed Genesis through Deuteronomy, Matthew, Mark and a portion of Luke, as well as the first 80 or so Psalms and multiple chapters of Proverbs.
But, I love having it all laid out for me. It has been at least two, maybe three years since I read the Bible cover to cover. As my Mom pointed out to me when I told her I was taking this one after Easter, even after 50 years of reading the Bible, she still finds new things. I LOVE to see what He is going to reveal, just by the simple obedience of opening it up and reading.
Joshua hasn't really been that exciting. So and so received this land, and so and so fought for that land, and the border ran from the rock shaped like a goat to the river that gurgled, etc etc etc.
BUT, one thing I found absolutely amazing was this promise that Joshua gave near the end of his time as leader - "And I have divided to you the land of the nations yet unconquered as well as the land of those you have already destroyed. All the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea shall be yours, for the Lord your God will drive out all the people living there now, and you will live there instead, just as he has promised you." Joshua 23:5

Did you read that... He divided the land, doled it out, promised to individual tribes, even that which was yet UNCONQUERED. That took faith. Joshua had that faith. He didn't say, "when you win these battles", then you should share this land equally, or divide it this way, or whatever. He said - God will drive out the people living there, and you will live there instead.
He didn't say tomorrow. He didn't even say during his lifetime... but he had faith, and he divided the land.

Here's another verse God pointed out this week. In the Psalms, David seems to either praise, or complain. He is often pouring out beautiful poetry of praise. Heartfelt, flowing, amazing. Other times he is pouring out his fears, and stresses, and, let's face it, complaints that he isn't getting what he wanted. But still, heartfelt. I think we can all relate to the Psalms, because they are so very emotional.
I read one this week that was a lot of complaining. My enemies hate me. My friends have deserted me. Will you hide yourself from me forever? But then, after all the complaining, David says, "And yet- blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and amen!" Psalm 89:52
He knew, as we should, that no matter what, we should praise. God gladly listens to our complaints when we don't get our way. He understands our pain. But, He still deserves our praise. No Matter What.
I am so glad that we have God's Word.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just a little bit about where we stand

I was going to blog about Earth Day, and share some photos of our garden, but every time I try to upload pictures tonight, Safari locks up.
So, that leaves me with words, and words alone. Like I have a problem coming up with words!

Tomorrow is a slightly "big day" for us here. Andy leaves for MEPS, again. Who would have thought, 9 years ago when he left for the AF MEPS that he would be doing it again. But, the Army wants him to do it again, so we will. They will poke him, and prod him, and make sure he is healthy and sane. He already had his PT test. It was slightly amusing to watch. He was out there with about 15 other people, kids really. They were youngins, hoping to join the Army, ready to take the PT test. Andy was this "old man" in comparison.
Yet, he smeared them all. Big buff man on the push-ups. Nice strong sit-ups. He actually lapped some of them completely in the run. I was so proud of my baby.
After MEPS we will just have to wait for his board interview. Hopefully that will be next week - but no guarantees. As the slogan goes, "Hurry up and wait". That one goes across the board, AF, Army, Navy, National Guard - I think they all live by that motto!

As for adoption news... well, that one is harder to talk about. Our homestudy for Benin expired in March. We did not choose to renew it. Right now we don't know what we are doing. If someone called me tomorrow and said, "I know a baby that needs a home", I would be filling out paperwork within the hour. I already have a lawyer picked out, and someone to do a local homestudy standing by. But, that doesn't happen very often, and we are not actively pursuing it. DFCS is an option, and something we are very willing to do. But that takes time that just isn't in Andy's schedule right now. His hours are insane right this minute, and he is hoping to leave for Army Officer training school within the next six months or so, which leaves us waiting still.
Confused is perhaps the best word to describe my feelings about adoption right now, because I thought I heard God so clearly say Africa: however, for now we just take one breath at a time, enjoy every second we have with the boys we are blessed with, and wait and see where God takes us.
Tomorrow I get to spend several hours playing with a baby, getting my fill of cuddles, and pacifiers, and bottles and burping. Then, I get to give him back and sleep in peace. I guess I will be thankful for that...

For now, I need to get to sleep. I better be well rested if I am going to be holding that precious cargo tomorrow!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Belated Easter pics

I finally got around to looking at the Easter pictures that I uploaded last week. I had barely glanced at them, so when I finally did, I certainly enjoyed the show!

This is a long tour of pics, which I suppose is mostly for my family since no one else really cares to be tortured.

Preparing for the first hunt - at Grammy and Poppy's

Canaan and his new "hand on hip" pose

Zion finally got the hang of hunting -

Their Easter baskets - full of goodies

Canaan's bunny eraser

Zion had control of the camera for awhile - this is his self portrait
The family shot: the boys with Andy's parents

After Saturday and Sunday morn with Andy's side of the fam, he had to head south. So, he dropped me off at my sister's, where most of my family was already partying!

First the boys hid the eggs for the grown-ups.

Emilee got pretty enthusiastic
Then the boys got to hunt
(for some reason, I just love this shot - something about the tilt of his head, like he is studying his brother...)

Zion was a pro by then...

Of course, the classic Binkley foot shot - Canaan wanted to be a part too

The three sisters who were "home" - and yes, I know that I cut myself out of the pic, but it was just so cute of my sisters, that I had to post it!

Em and Zion

Kelsey and Canaan

Last, but not least, a family shot of the four of us.
Good times!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don't blink

Every day brings new signs of age:
I had a friend tell me that songs we liked when we were younger are now being called "oldies" by the youth she works with.
My knee aches something fierce in the mornings, pops like crazy, and often has to be rubbed a little at night before bed.
I have even started prepping for the inevitable by using anti-wrinkle cream around my eyes.
However, nothing makes a person feel slightly ancient like receiving a wedding invitation for someone you use to babysit.
There once was a small boy - I remember clearly the day he was born. I remember changing diapers, and watching Mr. Rogers and cutting foods into small bites just for him.
We lived just down the street from them, so even though I was a little young to babysit, I use to watch him on a regular basis when he was about two.
Today, the invitation to his wedding came in the mail. I nearly cried.

When I was driving around this afternoon I heard that country song - "Don't blink" by Kenny Chesney. It seemed fitting. Life certainly goes by fast, doesn't it? I try to be reminded every day to appreciate the little moments.
I want to enjoy the fact that yellow pollen coating the world is actually sort of pretty. You can trace patterns, and draw pictures, and then blow it away to start over again.
I want to eat popcorn and watch a movie with "my boys", while the dishes from dinner are in the sink just waiting... on a Thursday, for no special reason.
I want to watch squash and zucchini, tomatoes and potatoes grow in my back yard, then harvest them, and sit at my table and thank God for the bountiful food that He provided - grown with my own two hands.
I want every moment to matter. Because every moment DOES matter. You never know when it might be the last. Maybe not the last moment ever. But the last time your six year old needs you to help them with that math problem, because they will understand the concept and never need your help again. Or the last blossom of spring, before the summer sun turns everything to heat and humidity. Or just the last kiss before he walks out the door for work, and it takes hours and hours before he comes home again for another kiss.
Every last one counts, just as much as the first one. And deserves to be appreciated too.

The dishes do have to be washed. The laundry as well. Just don't blink. Next thing you know, someone is getting married, and you start feeling just a little old.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time keeps ticking away, tick tick ticking away

It seems to be a recurring theme around here for me to write like crazy for a day or two, then disappear completely for a week. Once again, I literally went an entire week without touching the internet at all. No blog. No FB. Not even E-mail.
While it is free-ing as it is occurring, the backlash of messages you must try and dig back out of later really is slightly overwhelming.
But, I had fun visiting with

my in-laws,

my parents,
and my friend Amanda (whom I didn't get a single picture of... just of her daughter!)
- so it was a good week.

I don't want to ramble too much, after a week off, but I am overflowing with words.
Let me share a quick verse. 1st Corinthians 10:13 says "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
I think we, as humans, like to focus on that first part "He will not let you be tempted...." and leave off that last bit about "beyond what you can bear". And I don't think it means temptation to sin in just the obvious, blatant ways like steal, kill and destroy type things. I think The Message version puts it nicely "No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He will never let you be pushed past your limit; He'll always be there to help you come through it." So, even the sin of doubting His will for your life - that temptation will not be more then you can bear. More then I can bear. That is reassuring.
I feel like I am having quite a few tests right now. I really wish I could hang onto that first part - saying that because I have Jesus, my life will be all peaceful and easy. But that isn't what it says. Bummer, huh?
The Bible does say, however, that He will be with me every step of the way. Until I can figure out where He wants my feet to land, I will try to hang here, feeling like I am in mid stride with no where to put my foot, KNOWING that my Savior is right beside me. In fact, He is even holding my foot up - so it doesn't get a muscle cramp while I wait.
He will provide a way out - He will help me come through it.
In the meantime... Still human. Still hard to wait. Still lots of unanswered questions as to where God is taking us, and why we have to take this exact road.... but the assurance that we never walk alone is priceless. We are "standing up under it". We will take one day at a time, as time ticks away.

Friday, April 02, 2010

So, here's what really happened

On Andy's birthday I wrote a little piece about his birthday party. We really did have a small party for him, with cake, and a few friends, and streamers handing from the doorway.

But that wasn't his birthday present. He had already gotten his birthday present a few days earlier, and just didn't want his parents, or mine, to find out about it through the blog.

Andy talked to a talented artist named Tito, and had several Ukrainian symbols drawn up into a collage.

He also had a Martin Luther King Jr. quote translated into Ukrainian. "If a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live."

Here is the finished product.
Spiders are a Ukrainian symbol for good luck.
I HATE spiders, but luckily, that little guy has grown on me...

When we went "home" the weekend after, his mother first punched him, then yelled at him, (in Ukrainian even), but then decided that she liked the quote, and the symbols he had chosen, so if he was going to get another tattoo, at least it was a decently good one.

We went to a really fabulous pizza place, Big Pie in the Sky, while we were home. It is owned by one of Andy's childhood friends, Chris Day, and has some HUGE pizzas.

Didn't I tell you they were HUGE!

It was also just a fun place to hang out with friends.

We try to take a picture of Corey and Carrie's two, and our two all together at least once a year. Right now they still fit in age order/height order. I am eager to see how that changes over the course of time.
All in all, I think Andy ended up with a pretty great 30th birthday. Two birthday parties, and a present that will last forever! (plus a wife that didn't complain about it either!)