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

My Blog Title Verse

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

Verse of the day

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Don't blink!

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

(Also known as California...)

 When I was a brand new military wife, at our first duty station, and far away from my family, there was another military wife who took me under her wing. She was an "older woman" (probably 32, which at the time seemed so very old) and had two children, probably ages 12 and 2. She seemed to be in such a different world then I was. She knew military terms, had survived deployment, and raising children, and trying to be a mother, wife and employee, all at the same time. These were new to me, and she made them all seem like something I could survive.

 She took the time to introduce me to ideas. She had us over for dinner. I babysat her toddler a few times.

 I had my 23rd birthday right around the time that I met her, so I wasn't a child, but she seemed so much older then me.

 This week I realized that I am now her.

 I am the older wife, who has survived deployment, and military moves. I have raised kids in multiple locations, and learned how to make friends wherever I am. I have seen the ability to communicate with a deployed husband evolve, along with the conflicts he has been part of. (Any other of you "old wives" remember when our men had to wait in line to use a phone, with a 15 minute time limit, and video calls weren't even invented yet?)

 I am an experienced military wife, who has lived in both the enlisted and officer world, both the Air Force and Army.


 I got a reminder of my age a few days ago and it was quite striking.

 I recently mentioned the bible study group I am part of, about being a mom. One of my ladies missed our group time last week and I knew her husband was currently deployed, so I texted her, just to check in. Turns out she had ended up in the hospital several times, dehydrated, from Hyperemesis, which is basically really bad morning sickness. Or, in reality, all day sickness.
 I already had a soft spot for her. This is her first base, first pregnancy, first deployment.... she has a lot going on in her life right now. Adding Hyperemesis simply broke my heart for her.

 But one of my best friends had Hyperemesis during her pregnancy, so I had a walking encyclopedia, ready at hand. I tried to educate myself, and offered my morning to help her out. She needed food that was more likely to stay down (and less damaging if it comes back up) and was feeling too yucky to drive for the last few weeks, so I took her to the grocery, pushed her cart and loaded the heavy water bottles. Super easy, mindless help, mostly just so she would have company.

 While we were out Canaan called, to ask what he could have as a snack. After I hung up I joked with her, about my 13 year old always being hungry. Her response, "My 13 year old brother is exactly the same way!" gave me pause though. Her having a brother the same age as my son suddenly made me feel extremely old. And made me realize that she was probably very, very young!

 I was right.

 She is very, very young.

 When I turn 38 in May I will be double her age.

 She is only 6 years older then my son.

 And I suddenly realized, I am very old. :)


 I can't remember the name of the woman who helped me, all those years ago. Facebook had not been invented yet, and we both moved multiple times with military life and lost touch through the years. Her toddler that I babysat, Jacob, would probably be a junior in high school this year.

 The reminder that time flies is fresh.

 The importance of taking the time to enjoy every moment is pressing.

 Don't blink!

 15 years ago I couldn't have imagined the path we would have taken to end up here. There have definitely been some moments that I stressed too much in the midst of.

 But, all these years later, I am so full of memories; of moments that are worth remembering, and celebrating, and rejoicing in what we learned through them, even if they were difficult in the middle.

 I am thrilled to be the "older woman".

 Let's hope I can live what I have learned in a way that is helpful to these new, young, excited military wives. :)

Blessings,
Bethany

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Listening

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Because I am very much still learning

 And we will come back to that....

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

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

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

 Simple truth: I got my feelings hurt. 

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

 And I got angry. 

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

 Then I got defensive. 

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

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

 My identity was threatened. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Listening. 

 That is my choice. 

 I am trying. 

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

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The son shining in my eyes...

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

 There is a lot of angst on the internet lately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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



 The exact same thing happened in those two stories.

 Exact.

 And yet, they sound very different.

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

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

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

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

 As I said, angst is everywhere.

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

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

 Still, we don't agree on everything.

 Because we are different.

 Beautifully, amazingly, powerfully different.

 It is wonderful!

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

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

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

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

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

 With HOPE.

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

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

 And yet, we all have something in common.

 No, strike that: Many things in common.

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

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

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

 Blessings my friends! 
Bethany