Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Needs of the Army"

Our mild Tennessee summer is quickly turning into what seems will be a fierce winter.  With that change of seasons has come a few changes for this Army family as well.  Shortly after we settled in to our on-post house this summer, the winds of change started to blow.  The aviation unit that Chaplain was with was on a schedule to deploy sometime in January.  But through a turn of events (what we like to call God working behind the scenes) the "needs of the Army" came first and hubby was moved from that unit into another here at Campbell - a unit that is not deploying anytime in the foreseeable future.  While that may seem like it would have been a huge relief, it was actually a mixed bag.  My chaplain had spent a year building relationships with the soldiers in his battalion, training up with them and establishing a trust factor with them.  Due to the needs of the Army (specifically, needing a Catholic priest in a certain region of OEF), another chaplain would be stepping into deploy without having that trust factor and very little time to build relationships.  Our hearts were somewhat disappointed and saddened by this.  But we trust that God orchestrated all this for a reason and He can overcome any obstacles this change may bring about.  Also, as a soldier, hubby was looking forward to deploying - not being gone from family but being with his soldiers during their greatest times of spiritual need.  In trying to explain this to friends and family, I used the analogy of it being like a missionary who has just had his mission field taken from him.  Chaplain and I have always said that we did not decide to go into the Army at a time of war with a plan to dodge deployments.  We had come to grips with the upcoming deployment and were making adjustments to ease the transition.  But again, we trust in the omniscient God and His higher ways.  Hubby has settled into his new unit.  He is with an engineer battalion and the job is going well.  Hubby has an interest in moving to the special forces side of the Army so, Lord willing, we may be here at Campbell for awhile.  Suits us just fine - we really like it here!

Meanwhile on the home front...homeschooling is in session and we are 63 days down!  We made a decision to keep princess at home with us (no preschool) and it has been a good but challenging (for me) decision.  She is eager to learn and in some ways is more teachable than her brother.  But her attention span and need for large amounts of my attention have forced me to be proactive in having things prepared and planned for her to do.  Some days are great; others are a struggle, big time.  She has learned a lot and is so eager to do her "kindergarten worksheets", as she affectionately calls them.  The greatest joy in her life is the gymnastic class she attends once a week.  Through a program for kids on-post, she enjoys participating in a preschool gymnastic group, which she calls 'nastics'.  They are learning the basics of tumbling, bars, floor, and beam.  Big brother is doing well in school, growing more independent each day (when Mama remembers to let him be!).  He has continued with his taekwondo and is now a green belt.  His social side is being fed quite well with the abundance of kids in our new neighborhood.  He is one happy boy!

Chaplain and I have had the privilege of being very actively involved in our chapel here at Campbell.  While it is not exactly the same as a local church, it is the closest thing we have had to one since we left civilian ministry.  Our family has been blessed by the chapel ministries and we have had many opportunities to bless others.  It has truly been a joy.  From music ministry to children's ministry, adult Bible study to AWANA, grief share group to ladies Bible study, fellowship meals to VBS, our chapel has had much to offer the soldiers and families of Campbell as we seek to help them grow spiritually.  This has been especially good for me since up until recently there wasn't much of a chance for involvement alongside Tim in his battalion.  Each unit is so different, and I never know from one place to the next how much involvement I can/will have.  This weekend we will be putting on our first Strong Bonds marriage retreat in over a year.  We used to have the opportunity to do them almost monthly, but due to budget cut-backs and the cycle of training that his unit was in we have not had one on the calendar for quite sometime. 

That is a wrap-up of our last 5 months!  God continues to be faithful to us and shower us with blessings.  We can't wait to see what He's gonna do next!




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We moved!

Yes, I realize there are more cobwebs on this blog than in the crawlspace under our house...but I'm coming out from the dusty bunnies long enough to blog that "WE HAVE MOVED!" It's a long story that I hope to have the chance to tell someday soon, but for now suffice it to say that we are living in a single-family dwelling, built in the 1950's, original wood floors, Army house on Fort Campbell.  It is in a great neighborhood with wonderful neighbors and LOADS of kids.  We have been here for just over a month and love the location.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's to being succinct!

Give us this day our daily banana bread...

My husband and I were deep in the midst of a comatose-like sleep in the early hours following first light when I faintly heard the light clanking sound.  It had been a long night following a long weekend of camping with our two li'l arrows.  We'd been awakened three times - twice to the sound of our CO detector chirping (bad batteries!) and once to the sound of Cindy Lou Who needing help with her sheets 'cause she'd had an accident.  In my sleepy-stupor, I assumed the light clankity-clank was the sound of dishes but drifted back to sleep before that thought aroused any anxiety within me.  Soon after, we awakened to the sound of our bedroom door popping open as a shaggy brown-headed boy with the longest eyelashes you've ever seen moseyed into our room.  He gave us hugs and good morning love, and then proceeded to inform us about all the deeds he'd been up doing.  I wasn't surprised, but rather delighted, as a lot of our recent "talks" have centered around responsibility, chores, and taking initiative.  Somewhere in his list-of-pride I heard the words "set the table and made breakfast".  My heart smiled while my nerves cringed.  I quickly gave my self a self-talk and reminded said self that initiative was more important than perfection.  Or a clean kitchen. (which, I might add, had been cleaned just before going to bed.)  His father and I gave him verbal praise and encouraged him with words of affirmation.  Our son smiled broadly and went on about his morning.  And a few minutes later my husband and I were both up and starting down the hall.  That sweet, seven-year-old boy had indeed done many helpful things all of his own accord - made beds (yes, plural!), let our dogs out, dressed himself, etc.  But the one that touched me the most was breakfast.  He had set the table (with our good dishes, not our breakfast dishes) and had done it "fancy style".  You see, we have two ways of setting the table.  #1 - just getting the dishes and utensils to the table. #2 - Fork on the left atop a napkin, knife on the right, spoon next to that, and plate in the middle.  He had chosen the latter.  Each place setting had a FULL, LARGE cup of that person's favorite beverage (hubby had sweet tea for breakfast!).  And atop each plate was a pop-tart and a slice of the banana bread I'd made the night before (carb loading!).  The bread slices appeared to have been cut with a jig saw - disfigured, misshapen, crumbly -  so I followed the trail of bread crumbs back to the kitchen.  I was relieved to find no jig saw knife anywhere, but instead a dull butter knife next to what remained of the loaf.  I turned to look at that tan, handsome kid and noticed his look of pride as he gestured with a Vanna White-like wave to show me where my chair was. 

And that was when it hit me.  Is this how God feels?  We children- who love Him deeply and want to serve in His Kingdom - we do our best with our finite resources and our human limitations to love with all our heart, soul, and mind.  We take what we know and combine it with what we are capable of doing and ask His blessing.  We.Try.So.Hard!  And then we step back, to admire our work and to await the praise of our loving Father.  Then He - who loves us more than life itself - blesses our efforts (He gives the increase!), and continually showers us with grace upon grace.  He continues to call us into His service and chooses to use us, in spite of our short comings and failures.  He.Delights.In.Us!  In that moment, I was reminded that the weight is not on us to achieve perfection or to do our tasks exactly as a perfect, omniscient God would do.  After all, even our best efforts are still like jig sawed banana bread slices.  Paul says in the New Testament that our righteousness is as filthy rags, and that we are saved by grace through faith, not by our works so that no one can brag on themselves. Jesus is our righteousness!  It is not because of what we do that make us His beloved; it's because of who we are: blood-bought souls whom He redeemed through the sacrifice of His very Son.  Now we can give our best efforts, not in order to seek His approval (we're already approved!), but because we are crazy in love with the Lover of our souls and His love compels us to action.  No, it's not our attempts at perfection that make Him smile.  God is interested in our hearts - eager to be obedient, passionate about His Kingdom, and joyful to serve others. 

And with that realization, I sat in my chair, which now felt more like a throne.  The royal family joined me and we clasped our hands to pray.  I thanked our King for little hands eager to serve, for the "feast" before us, and for the gift of the day ahead.  With the close of an 'Amen', we began to eat our royal vittles...one crumb at a time.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Little Man

To our sweet D-boy,
You are about to turn seven?!  That blows this mama's mind!  Your birthday invitation says you will be "transforming" into a seven year old soon, but it doesn't feel like a transformation to me.  It seems like you were born yesterday and some magic trick happened to turn you into a little man overnight.  You embody everything that is "boy".  You are noisy.  You love to kiss on your mama.  You like to sweat.  You have a voice and you long to be heard.  You are fiercely protective of your little sister.  You are a leader looking for a people to lead.  You are handsome.  You have your daddy's muscles and your mama's eyelashes.  You love cars, action figures, Legos, and of all things, you like to read!  This year I have had the privelege to do what few mama's can: watch your mind expand and grow through homeschooling.  What a delight it's been to watch as you discover something new or finally understand what was once foreign, and on goes the light bulb.  You are good at math and you could do science four times a day.  You love Jesus, and though you haven't yet trusted him as your personal Savior, you are SO close to that "aha!" moment too.  I have a prayer card just for you and I pray it over you every chance I get.  Some of my petitions to the Lord are that He:
  • show you that Godliness with contentment is true greatness
  • stir within you a hunger for His word and a passion for prayer
  • show us how to help you develop the talents and gifts He has bestowed upon you
  • help you to one day be a faithful husband (or single man) in a fallen world
  • allow you to experience first hand the rewards of keeping your word
  • impress upon you to take hold of the abundant life He has for you
  • show you love from lust, and that you choose love every time
Little man, your daddy and I love you so very much. You are to me what Samuel was to Hannah.  We look forward with excitement and anticipation for the years to come, longing to see how you'll grow...inside and out.