Amish adventure

We spent some time today with some of our new friends from Fort Campbell and hit the roads of Kentucky on an Amish adventure.  There is a loop of roads not far from our home that lead to one Amish farm after another.  Everything from tomatoes to honey to beef to giant mums!  We were able to count this trip towards schooling as a field trip.  Not only did the kids get a great lesson in agriculture but also in CULTURE as well!  We saw cattle, sheep, cattle dogs, pumpkins, flowers, gardens, a greenhouse, an Amish bakery, a buggy, and a bulk food store.  While visiting the cows at one of the farms, the kids and I took note that one particular cow had a cow tag on its ear that read "12-24-11" (its date of birth, we assumed) and was named "Noel".  Too cute!

I couldn't resist this we were walking away, a group of them seemed to approach rather quickly, as if to say, "Hey! Where ya goin'?"  To which I wanted to reply outloud, "To eat more chicken!"

Alas, not many pictures were taken during this escapade.  At times it was all I could do to wrangle my two and take in the sights myself.  I find it refreshing to drive to rural areas such as this one and soak in the scenery of the simpler way of life that the Amish lead.  The fields that go on forever, the green pastures, the quietness, and yes, even the smell of farm life!   It is good for the soul.

We finished up our outing as the cows would have wished...eating more chicken!  Our gaggle of kids played their hearts out while us Army wives enjoyed some good food and conversation.  Perfect way to end the morning!
Thank you, God, for this new group of gals you've brought into my life.  Thank you for how they are making the foreign seem more familiar.  Thank you for the sights and sounds of rural life.  Thank you for the touches of grace that abound in nature. The whole earth is full of Your glory! (Is 6:3)

Trash to treasure

The school year is marching forward at a steady pace.  Homeschooling is in full swing and so far things are going well.  My biggest challenge is keeping our 3 year-old occupied and calm while I attempt to work with our first grader!  I knew it would be this way so it is no surprise to me.  Last week I saw evidences of both of them falling in line with the routine we've been trying to establish, which is a VERY good thing!  The Lord provided a preschool opportunity for our sweet 3 year-old girl, so 2 days a week she gets to go hang out with her new friends and do her "school" with Ms. "Esser" (Esther).  The highlights of this week will be our first homeschool field trip and a road trip to see grandparents.

Chaplain recently returned from an field exercise back on the east coast, affectionately called a JOAX.  He got to see his men and women close up in action as they piloted, supplied, refueled, and air assaulted.  It was a great introduction for him being so new to an aviation battalion. He even got to go up in a "bird", as they call them. Soon he will be heading out again for more training.  This time for even longer.  Every soldier is called upon to be ready at a moment's notice, but what does that mean?  LOTS of training.

Everytime I look at this picture I can hear his voice say, "This is your captain speaking..." Oh, I crack me up.

We are continuing to try to find our niche here at this new post.  We have connected with a few families in our off-post neighborhood, but most of our neighbors seem to enjoy their serenity and anonimity.  Which is completely fine and is within their every right.  We are finding other outlets of connection and community: Taekwondo, PWOC, Chapel, AWANA, Adult Bible Study, Worship Team, etc.  Most of those activities mean a trip onto post.  Our frequent trips through the gate have had me contemplating the fact that we live off-post but have such an on-post lifestyle.  For me, it is important that we support my husband and his ministry, as well as the ministries of the chapels and chaplains.  So we NEED to be on-post.  All of this, though, has equated to me questioning our decision to live off-post.  Chaplain and I discussed and rehashed all of this recently and came back to the same conclusion that God has us here for a reason. (Duh! Surprised?)  Too many incidences point to the fact that God wanted us here. Or at least wants us here for now.  I can't say that we may not move onto post at some point.  But I can't focus on that right now.  I have to stay honed in on blooming where I'm planted now, not thinking about transplanting!  Seeds of discontentment grow too easily in the soil of regret and second-guessing.
I thought I would share a few an obnoxious amount of pictures with you of a recent Sunday afternoon.  Our project was making a tire swing (and by our, I mean his).  But I also snapped a few photos of the kids and one of our dogs doing their own thing while Dad flexed and sweated.  Stay tuned to the end -- their is a moral to this story!
This tire used to belong on my SUV.  But a run in with a certain curb rendered it useless to me.  But I'll get to that later.  Said tire is now set to become a swing...
 Wow, he has alot of muscles...Oh, I digress already?!  Anyways, first step was putting drainage holes into the bottom of the tire/swing.  You know, for rain and stuff.

More drainage holes.   I just wanted to show how big this drill bit is!

First coat of spray paint.  Who wants a black, rubbery booty? 
 What's 'a matter, dog?  So bored it's like watching paint dry?

Second coat.  That is SUCH a good hair cut.   Again, I digress!

Out with the old hardware...
...and in with the new.

Chain leading to the tire swing.

Here's where I really digress.  Forsaking all that was going on outside, leaving children to fend for themselves and dogs to run willy-nilly, I headed inside to finish/make dinner.  Corn had been roasting on the grill outside and was perfectly done.  Yumm!

More digressing...Let me just say I am SO glad that I let a dear friend talk me into getting one of these.  They are wonderful to cook in.  I can't wait for cold weather and slow cooking in this baby! 

This is the delicious product of slow cooking in that baby!  Enough with the digressing! 

 And this is what happens when you go inside to finish dinner.  Your husband finishes his project!

Our clan enjoying a yummy meal and celebrating Dad's workmanship.
Now, for the promised moral.  This tire, which had to be taken off of my vehicle due to a run-in with the curb, had become useless to me.  What's more, it was a source of embarassment (my own fault!) and had cost us quite a chunk-o-change to replace.  Now?  It has been redeemed!  It is going to serve as a source of joy and fun for my sweet kiddos.  Sounds alot like what God does for us!

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