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."

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Sacrifice of Praise

 I have gone back and forth on whether or not this post is supposed to be written. Andy always says both the good and the bad; I'm a real person, and can't be fake on here. So perhaps a little bit more to the story as to why I haven't been writing as much...

 This morning in my quiet time I actually had a few minutes of quiet. The first verse that stuck out to me was "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually". Heb 13:15


 I am afraid I have failed at that lately.

 I have been telling Him I trust Him, begging Him to help me see what it is I am supposed to be learning, and trying my hardest to remain encouraging for those around me (which is why I haven't been on here - I have been failing in the "positive" thing far more then I care to admit)
 And I have definitely slacked off in the praise. Perhaps that is why it is called a sacrifice of praise? It doesn't come naturally, or easily, or just as a habit. It has to be something we think about and mean.

 So I cried out to my Savior, and asked for forgiveness, and immediately found it freely given. That is the most freeing feeling, and you can't help but let the praises flow after that!

 Here is a little of the back story of my stress recently.
 Last night as I was skimming through Facebook posts I ran across one that said "Please re-post for at least 1 hr if you or someone you know has an invisible illness (Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type1, type 3, Lupus, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, Schleroderma, Thyroid disease, Crohns, Fibromyalgia PCOS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Kidney Disease, Epilepsy, MS, MD, Depression, Autism) Do it for all who have an invisible illness. It's a daily struggle feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside."
It was freeing to me to realize that I am not the only one that feels this way. My "silent disease(s)" (since I have three on the list) have been torturing me lately. I have had blood sugars from 30- 430 in the last two weeks. I once had to change my infusion site four times in one day. I am still terrified to drive on the interstate, because my mini-seizures pop up without warning, and being able to pull over is a necessity. I am sick of taking 6 different prescription drugs, multiple times a day, and knowing that if I don't, it is a big deal.

 Andy being gone, having an injured his knee, and being unsure whether he will be able to get into the next class; our credit card account being hacked and having to be closed and re-opened with a new number; my medical issues simply compounding on top of each other... I was already an emotional mess. When I got a letter from Tricare, the military insurance provider, saying that the forms I had faxed them over a week ago were missing one page, thus making me ineligible to be placed back in the program until NEXT month - I literally broke down. I threw my hands up to God and asked Him what in the world I was doing wrong. What in the world was I supposed to be learning, and couldn't I just learn it please? I called Tricare and sobbed on the phone with the poor operator. He talked to his boss, but they insisted there was nothing they could do and I wouldn't be covered until April 1st.
 (side note, I am not completely without insurance, just the lesser form of Tricare. It is not a super huge deal, really. I just have a 3 month supply of diabetic supplies due to be mailed tomorrow, and Prime normally pays for all of it. Standard won't cover the first $300, or an additional 20% after that. It's not the end of the world, I was just upset because they could have notified me in time. I contacted them to make sure my paperwork arrived. They knew I was paying attention. They FOUND a way to not cover me, and chose snail mail to inform me so that I did not have any possible way to get the form to them in time. Perhaps this is my reminder to appreciate how blessed I am to have insurance at all.)

 Anyway, insurance was the final straw on a really bad string of events medically. At some point in time that night I even told God that I quit. I didn't want to do it any more. I had given diabetes 20 years. Thyroid disease almost 10 now. Epilepsy has only had 2 1/2, but still - I quit. Please, just let me die and be done.

 Of course, I didn't mean it. Don't go calling the suicide watch line on me. I simply wanted someone to recognize that it is hard just to live.

 Then I realized how insanely self centered I was.

 2 Cor 5:1&4  says that "we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, and eternal house in heaven... for while we are in this tent we groan and are burdened." These bodies are only temporary. We don't have to keep them for eternity, and as they break down, praise the Lord, a better one is being built somewhere else. So I cling, constantly, to the promise that "In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes." (Rom 8:28)

 I have been inspired several times recently by the words of C.H. Spurgeon. He pointed out "There is a limit to affliction. God sends it, and removes it. Do you sigh and say, "When will the end be?" Let us quietly wait and patiently endure the will of the Lord till He cometh... (and here is my favorite part) Let us sing Hallelujah by anticipation."

 That goes back to the "sacrifice of praise" we started with. A sacrifice of praise was written about in the old testament and again in the new. I think more than anything else, God wants us to trust Him, and be joyful in that trust. I am working again on remembering to praise, even when I can't see how things are going to work. I have taught my children to thank Him at the end of the day, for all the little things that we tend to take for granted. I will focus on those little things, praise Him for those little things, that I know how to be thankful for. After that, I will just have to choose to trust Him for the rest.

 "Oh brethren, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your souls." C.H. Spurgeon

 I am seeking heaven for my soul. Won't you come and seek with me?

Friday, February 25, 2011

A little bit of this, a little bit of that,

 I am not sure why I have lost my ability to blog.
 I might be able to blame it on this...

My favorite valentine's day present. (and definite time waster!)

Or perhaps an afternoon at the Chatanooga Zoo...

with the cousins.

Maybe it was 14 hours in the car leading to this...
 My cousin Meredith's wedding!
A family picture: Of course, you can't get everyone looking at the same time. 
I hope the professional got one better than I did, because this is the best of mine. Sigh. 
 Four out of five of the "Binkley girls". Kelsey was in Yemen, which I suppose was a decent excuse to miss your cousin's wedding. 
 Have you ever seen such handsome boys?
 Collin had his eyes closed in the family pic, so I thought he deserved one showing how handsome he is. He was always "my" cousin, since we are only a few months apart in age. 
And this is his precious little boy, who was just a little afraid when he walked down the aisle, but did a wonderful job. Just turned two and already big stuff! 

We then had 14 hours home again, immediately followed by a wonderful visit from friends from Valdosta. 

We spent a full day at the Aquarium in Atlanta.

 This penguin seemed to like Zion.
 There were several whales that would come right up to the glass. 
It almost felt like you could pet them! 
Gus, who is not quite one, was fascinated! It was more fun to watch him then to look at the creatures! 
 I couldn't seem to get good lighting on both things inside the water and outside too. It was one or the other. Still lots to learn! 
The other boys said this was the "Zion fish" since it was the same color as his hair.
I tried editing in iphoto, and my pics looked better there, but the kicker is I don't know how to upload the saved photo, only the original. Sad, isn't it?
 I told Canaan, "say cheese". This was the face I got. When I asked him what in the world he was doing he said, "I am eating cheese mommy." I thought that one deserved to be posted. 
Five children in a window into the water. They were some very happy campers! 

I have so much to talk about, so many stories to tell. I do hope things calm down a little so I can! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, monday, where did you go...

As any of you who know me well have already realized, no news = bad news.
 But first, let me back up on the Andy story. When he set out on this Officer Candidate School journey, the AF and the Army were having difficulty working together. Surprise! The Blue to Green program is supposed to be a smooth transition, but, like anything the government has a hand in, there are some things that don't go as smoothly as we would hope. His approved "exit" date from the AF expired in March. The next available opening for OCS was in July. The recruiter declared that didn't really matter. They could transfer him on over, give him a job at his current rank (E-5) while he waited and hopefully they would find an opening in an earlier class.
 We assumed, since he didn't have any training in a specific Army job, they would stick him in something boring that anyone can do. Yard work, answering phones, handing out balls at the gym. He would work 9-5, be off in the evenings, and drive up here on the weekends. It's only about two hours away.

 In the meantime, we took the two months of leave he had accrued during his time in the AF and enjoyed some family time. All of Dec and Jan were free time. Feb 1st was his last day in AF. Feb 2nd was supposed to be his swearing in for the Army.
 Our problems begin there. His recruiter, although he had two months while Andy was on terminal leave, had not checked Andy's package thoroughly and it was missing one piece of paper. Andy frantically called, and searched, and managed to get it faxed from the AF to MEPS, but it was 45 minutes too late. So, he had to wait to swear in until the next day. He was officially not in either branch of the military for one entire day.
 That is causing huge problems for our insurance. Argh!

 Then, when he got to Ft. Benning, he was thrown into a room full of other guys who had arrived for OCS, told to turn in his truck keys, and walked through a mini basic training style "reception". Shots given, head buzzed, uniforms handed out, curfew strictly enforced. With no warning. I got a txt saying. "It's lights out. I'll call when I can." That's all I heard for nearly 24 hours, and after that communication was still very spotty for days. What is funny is that all of these guys are prior enlisted. They have been through this already, in one branch or another. It seemed slightly over-kill. But, of course, they went along with it. However, they were held for 10 days.... and weren't allowed any PT. For fear they would hurt themselves before classes began. Seriously?

 Here is the kicker. They were transferred over to the OCS dorms on Friday. There they found out that with the newbies coming straight from basic, as well as the candidates from the Reserves and National guard there were close to 200 people trying to get in this class.

 There were 120 spots.

 Andy, who isn't supposed to start a class until July asked on Sunday if he could bow out, and not steal a spot from someone who is supposed to start this time. Because he had a hacking cough and was on antibiotics at the time, the 1st shirt approved his choice; but, he has to try in 3 weeks when the next class starts. That does not guarantee him a spot however. The 80 guys who didn't make the cut this week will be stiff competition.

 The way they made their final decision was with the PT test. A score of 300 is perfect. I believe that 180 is passing. Andy usually gets 240-250. They were not taking anything less than 270. That is not just a good score - that is fabulous. And the poor guys who had been held for 10 days without PT? Only about half of them made it into this class.

 At least Andy knows what he will be doing with his free time during the next three weeks!

 When he is not working out, or studying for the future book work he will have, he has been put on a special duty as a teacher's helper in the public school on post. He was helping to grade 4th grade papers today. As the son of a teacher, it is a perfect job for him, but he says it makes him miss his boys dreadfully!

 Since all of our assumptions were incorrect, and he will not be working some insignificant job, then free in the evening and weekends, we have had to adjust our way of thinking. The thought of waiting until July for him to even start his class is slightly overwhelming, when we have no access to him at all. So, we hold onto hope with both hands that he will kick some butt on the PT test in three weeks and be able to move up with that class. In the meantime, I have been able to talk to him every night this past week. 30-45 minutes isn't much, but it is more then I had last time he was in the desert, and at least I know he isn't in danger. And - txt messages are part of our cell plan. I annoy him all day long, and occasionally he is able to send me three words in reply. I take what I can get!

 On a completely different side note:
 We have been married for 9 1/2 years. Andy has been in the military for 9 years. Yesterday was the 6th time he was gone for Valentine's day. It is always this time of year. Always. He misses V-day and his birthday (which is St. Patty's day) and Easter every single time. Poor guy.

 And with that, I bring us to the end of my exciting/boring update on military life. Until next time,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dancing the night away

 A little girl that I have known since she was in diapers got married yesterday. She and Mary Faith (sister number four) are just a few months apart in age, and through all our moves over the years, we have stayed in touch with their family.

 Just a reminder, once again, how quickly time passes by.
 I need that reminder some days when I am missing my Andy!

The bride, Hannah, and her Andy. It was funny, really, how much he reminded me of my Andy. 
Must be a similar sense of humor that goes with the name! 

 When we get the family together for a wedding, all spruced up and looking good, it just makes sense to take some pictures.
 Of course, in the only family picture on my camera my boys look crazy... hopefully one on Emilee's camera is better. Sigh. 
 These boys LOVE their Auntie Em and Uncle Kevin!
Aren't those two of the most gorgeous women you have ever seen?

A few comments on my clothing. 1st - My beautiful dress was given to my by my MIL for Christmas. She bought it, then added some beautiful additions, personalizing it just for me. Thank you Ellen! I wish it could be seen a little better, but I was cold, and have a shrug on over my shoulders. 
2nd, when we were getting ready to leave one of the boys looked at me and asked, in all seriousness, "Mommy, what is that on your legs?" I looked down and realized he was asking about my pantyhose. I have worn them so rarely that he had no idea what they were! Mom had to go to the dollar general and buy them for me right before the wedding, because I didn't actually own any. 

 Little cuties, sharing a chair. 
Also, in the background you can see the bride's dress. Isn't she just the tiniest thing you have ever seen?
 We have known this couple, David and Madeleine, forever. 
(Seriously, she and my Mom grew up together!) 
I love to see couple's dance, especially couples that have been together "forever", and still love to be together. 
It's even more fun when they love to dance!
These two, on the other hand... 
getting him to dance is like pulling teeth. But, he loves this woman, so he dances at least once every wedding, just because it makes her happy. 

This face epitomizes Zion's original feelings about dancing.

But eventually both boys warmed up to the idea,

and in fact became quite enthusiastic little dancers.

Very enthusiastic...
Technically, those are horrible pictures, but it shows how much energy my boys put into the dance - and this was during the "slow dance" time. Notice how there was only one other couple on the dance floor?Once the music got peppy, well, it was worth the price of admission!

To top it all off, the wedding "favor" was a candy bar. Take a bag, fill it with whichever candies you prefer (all different kinds in shades of purple to match the wedding theme) then take it home and enjoy. 
Canaan declared that this was definitely the best wedding he has ever been to. 

Next week we head to Dallas, TX for my cousin's wedding. 
We'll just have to see what kind of adventures wait for us there!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Andy asked me a few days ago if I was ever planning to blog again (hint hint). I think he was hoping to see some pictures of his children. I told him I can't blog when I am depressed, or as Anne would say "In the depths of despair". He replied that a one sided blog was boring. It deserved to have both the "trials and the triumphs". And yes, I just gave my hubby quote marks- his words are definitely moving up on the world!
I am moving out of my funk, and perhaps even past the pouting phase. Those of you who are military might recognize the adapting stages of a deployment. The thing is, he isn't deployed. We thought we would have free access to him often, at least for awhile. WE WEREN'T PREPARED! I guess what I am saying is that it is really bad timing to catch a dreadful cold that makes you feel like dying the same week you find out that you might not see your husband again for three months. Three months that you hadn't really packed for, or done the goodbye routine for, nor do you know FOR SURE. That whole not knowing thing is a real booger! In fact, we won't know for sure until this upcoming Monday- valentines day. Won't that be a wonderful gift? To finally know, and not be stressed out, waiting for answers any longer?
Truthfully, him getting into this class is a huge blessing. Not having to wait until July is fabulous. It's just that we had several days last week in which communication was limited. Then, many many things to BUY all week this week. And all the while the question hanging over us- is this really going to happen?
Monday. Monday is the day to know for sure. It looks good. So please, say a prayer. Both that Andy will get to stay with this group of guys he has already spent so much time with, and that I will retain my sanity just a little whole longer.
On a side note. This post has been typed entirely on my phone, so please forgive any strangeness!
Until next time,

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Last minute play time

Well, Andy is "gone".
 It's funny, really, how seriously we have been taking these last few days. He isn't going far. He is only switching branches - from Air Force to Army, and going down to Ft. Benning, about 3 hours from where we are right now. But our next year is very much "up in the air". Technically he becomes Army tomorrow. However, he doesn't start his Officer training until July. Which leaves the next five months very open. What will he be doing for the next five months? Where will they have him live? Dorms? Can we visit him there?
 And the questions go on and on - because even after he finishes his officer training, we don't know where his next set of training will be, or how long it will last, or if we will be able to follow him or have to stay here.
 See what I mean about "up in the air"? In a way it is almost a relief to have him gone. Not because I don't want him around, but because some of the questions will start to get answered now - and that sounds wonderful!

 These last few days have been almost funny. It suddenly hit us that we may not see him for several weeks, depending on how the paperwork flows. We suddenly felt the need to pack as much fun in as we could.
 First he had to bring himself out of "vacation mode" and shave.
He hates having his pictures taken, but I wanted one last shot of those crazy sideburns. 
We won't see something like that for another 11 years or so. 

Goodbye Wolverine -
Army, here we come!

 Andy will be storing his motorcycle at my sister's while he is gone. Their garage has a tiny bit more room then the one here at my parents - plus, my BIL rides, so it will actually get some TLC on occasion! We took the bike up there and spent Saturday afternoon exploring the mountainsides of N. GA/Southern Tenn.

 Andy's bike is the one in the front, but Travis' is more comfy for two, so we were riding it. I like having the sissy bar- it makes me feel just a little bit more contained or something

I wish I could ride and take pictures at the same time, but I love my camera too much to risk it. But oh, oh, the beautiful things I saw from the back of that bike. Oh well, I am pretty sure I am not advanced enough to get a clear picture at 65 miles an hour anyway...

 Daddy and his boys took advantage of the nice weather one afternoon and build a fort in the back yard. Can you see it down at the bottom of the "mountain"?

 A kind gentleman guided me through the woods, and taught me the secret password to enter the realm of wonder. 
 Some teens (we assume) had left behind their "stash" of stolen road signs, which we had noticed in the snow a few weeks ago.  
 Such amazing things can be found in a creek bed in the woods...
Used Christmas tree - check. Rotten boards from construction on the house - check. Miscellaneous rocks, sticks and moss, all propped against a fallen tree - check. 

 Little boys, covered in mud,
 pretending they are off on an adventure, (I think he looks like Huckleberry Finn!) 
with their stash of "treasure" stacked near by- check. 
That, my friends, makes a perfect fort, down in the bottom of a dry creek bed! 

The next day Andy brought home a new toy
 Can you tell from this picture? 

 Maybe this one, with a different focus?
It was a B.B. gun! 
They listened very intently to the rules and safely instructions, but then they were ready to get down to business. How, precisely, do you work the thing?!

 Find something to aim at (bottles daddy hung from trees work well)
 Find a position you are comfortable in
 Line up your shot, so that they little white dot thingy on the front of the gun sits in the right cradle spot near the back (This is my memory and understanding of the explanation - don't blame Andy for the crazy wording!) 
Brace yourself - and take your shot. 
 Most importantly, have fun with Daddy! 
Yep, Andy is "gone" now. But we sure did pack in the fun those last few days!