Saturday, September 29, 2007
The movers came bright and early and my job was to check off the 220-something boxes that came through the door. I wasn't sure how well I'd do with the boys gone to school and Kevin off at work, but it seemed to go rather smoothly. They were fantastic movers and made the craziness of the day seem rather fun.
While they were on their first break, I got a little bored and decided I'd open a box or two. I could not believe what I unwrapped and pulled from the very first box - it was a beautiful, ceramic plate my sister-in-law, Charlotte, had made for me almost 20 years ago; where she had dipped my son's tiny baby hands and feet into paint and then pressed them to the plate. It's his 20th birthday today...
Once I dried up the tears, I began to unload more memories from the box. I pulled out a hand-made, egg-shaped decoration that my wonderful friend, Kathleen, gave to me long before we were such close friends. We had just finished a seminar that forever changed our lives and we've become life-long friends. I pulled out gifts given to us by friends in Maine and Germany and Oklahoma that reminded me of some great times we had together. I pulled out gifts from my parents that they brought back from trips to Africa and India. It made me think about how grateful I am that I have parents who aren't afraid to share their faith.
I pulled out pictures that my daughter took and then framed for me, and it made me think about how talented she is and how much the boys say they know she would love to be taking pictures everywhere we go. I pulled out my ceramic horse-head that my parents got for me because it looked like my horse, and it made me think about my childhood and all the fun I had riding my horse and going to horse shows.
I pulled out things I kept when my children were babies and it made me realize how quickly they grow up. They were all beautiful babies, but I guess what I love most about watching them grow up is seeing how beautiful their hearts are. I'm so proud of the wonderful people they've become! I could go on and on...so many boxes, and so many memories; so many great times, and so many more to be had...
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
After spending a little time at the house, unloading a few more items from my car, I decided I had better get to the gym before it became too easy to just skip it for today. As I drove to the gym, I talked on the phone (hands-free) to one of my good friends back home who always lifts me up and makes me laugh and that was good for me. I walked from the my car to the gym door, fighting back the tears, thinking, "I wish she was here."
Typically, when I feel a little down, I just try to get lost in the work out...run it out, lift weights, feel the pain, then leave. This morning was different...I almost left when I decided I'd go over to the stretch area and do some sit ups. As I was stretching and almost ready to leave, I began to talk to one woman that I've talked to several times before and, as we were talking, another woman walked up to finish up her routine. Anyway...to make a long story short...we started talking and discovered she lives across the street from me! We can look out our kitchen windows and see each other. Small world! Sure, we both live on the same post...but what are the chances! I considered it a God thing! She's really nice and it felt great to finally meet someone who would be close by. More than anything, it was great to know God heard my cry.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
On Friday they will deliver all our "stuff". It'll be nice to settle into a house again. My husband is especially happy about not having to live out of a suitcase anymore. It's been four months since he's lived in a house!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Praise the Lord!!!
Monday, September 24, 2007
I spent an hour and a half in a new class at the gym this morning. It was tough, but good. I'm not sure if they think we should be as fit as our husbands or what, but I'm game. We plan to do a lot outdoors, living in such an awesome place, and I want to be ready for the long hikes. It wasn't so good on me taking care of everything while he was away and still working full-time and eating out a lot. It's nice to be back to cooking in the evenings.
The twins had another great day at school. It seems like the days fly by here and I'm back picking them up from school in no time. I never get everything I want to accomplished, but it's sure fun knowing I don't have to get up and go to work every day so I can put it off until the next day if I need to! I'm lovin' it!!! I'm especially loving that I can just be here for my husband when he needs me. I know it means a lot to him right now.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Once home, we decided to check out the fishing on the lake on post. It's a really pretty lake and we had so much fun. I caught 19 fish...and was the only one to catch a beautiful rainbow trout!! DJ came in 2nd with 12, DR came in 3rd with 9, and my husband was too busy getting them off for us to count his (poor guy!). I told them my worms just looked better than theirs! I'd wrap those slimmy worms all pretty around that hook and almost as soon as I dropped my line in they would start biting. Most of the fish weren't very big, but that didn't matter to the twins...mom was catching them and they weren't. They would make me laugh so hard as they'd watch to see what I was doing and copy me, or drop their line right beside me (and I'd still get the fish). I finally stopped so they could try to catch up. ha! (Unfortunately, I can't prove any of this because I forgot my camera in the car...oops!...oh, isn't that what they all say?!)
A few minutes before we leaving the lake, a couple came down where we were fishing. He had just returned from Iraq and she had reserved a cabin for them to get away for a while. My heart sank as he shared with us that he just returned yesterday, after being there for 15 months, and that this had been his second tour. My husband and I both welcomed him home and told him we wished them the best, but I walked away wishing I could have said or done more for them. I can only hope and pray it will be a wonderful reunion for them and that all will be fine. I know this is a really tough time for our soldiers and I hope people everywhere are lifting them up in prayer!
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Check out this houseboat, pops! The twins thought you would appreciate this picture...Some of the homes around here are wild! Their cars can be pretty far from their homes. We saw one walkway that probably had 200-250 stairs headed up to their driveway. I wonder how often they get out!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Our room (what I could fit in the picture)...
After we checked into the hotel, we walked along the boardwalk and ate at a really nice restaurant on the southern part of Puget Sound. It was AWESOME!!! The twins felt really special. We let them order their own plates. They were four-course meals and we felt a little out of place, but that's OK. It was a lot of fun!
On a more serious note, my husband is so excited about the retreat tomorrow. He's actually going to do the introduction. I'm so excited for him! We're really looking forward to spending some time with the soldiers and their spouses. We pray this will be a wonderful time for them and that they will all be ministered to this weekend.
I feel as though this is the beginning to a beautiful ministry...
We've been asked to come observe a marriage retreat, lead by the chaplain my husband works with, since we will also be doing them in the very near future. I say "we" because they encourage the chaplains that are married to have their spouses help lead the seminars. We were thrilled to hear that!! They do quite a few seminars for married and single soldiers and I think that is awesome...especially during this time of war when many soldiers and their families face some pretty difficult times.
They aren't requiring anything of us so we'll just come and go. The twins will be with us so we don't want to take away too much time from being with them. They're excited about the weekend, too. We won't be putting them in child-care, but for anyone who attends the marriage retreats there is free child-care. I'm looking forward to seeing how these retreats are done!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tonight, while we were eating dinner, they were telling us about the funny moments at school today when they were talking about older/younger siblings and how they think of each other that way even though they are only 16 minutes apart, and the younger said, "I'm so glad we have each other. I would be lonely without him here." I know they both feel that way, but it was so sweet to hear it being spoken. They are having so much fun together here!
My husband will have his first official day at work tomorrow. The best way we know how to describe the last three and a half months is like this - it's like someone hitting the pause button on your life. There's been so many uncertainties, and so many things that have had to be done to get to this point, that it's a bit strange to realize the day you've been anticipating and working towards is finally here. It's exciting and scary!
We also went from #11 on the housing list (for a 3-bedroom house) to #3 (on a 4-bedroom house) today!!! As long as our daughter is a full-time student we can get a four bedroom house. And...the houses are being renovated so we'll get to move into a newly renovated home sometime in the near future!
Thank you, God!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
While cooking, the twins and I met another family who lived in our same home town and they've been here (in a hotel) since MAY! Not only have they been here since May, they have four children in a room identical to ours (two beds). The wife talked a lot about the tough transition, especially when it came to finding a church and making friends. Their eyes lit up when I told them we were Christians and my husband was a chaplain. I look forward to getting to know them better and thought about asking her if she would like to cook together sometimes. We originally met when they started smelling my cooking and stopped by to tell me it smelled good. I wished at that moment I had cooked more. Eventually they came in with their food to cook and we talked for probably 30 minutes.
It's not the ideal kitchen or home for that matter, but it's the home God has chosen for us for now and I'm grateful for community (the very thing the sermon was about at Chapel Next on Sunday!).
Monday, September 17, 2007
Blessing #5 - I got to spend more time with Kevin than I expected today. That's always good!!
Blessing #6 - I was able to get our "home" reorganized to make for more room to move around. It looks nice!
Blessing #7 - I was able to do laundry in our FREE laundry mat here in the hotel! Free is always good!
Blessing #8 - While doing the laundry, I met a really sweet lady from Russia. I enjoy meeting new people!
Blessing #9 - Quite a few of my friends emailed me today. It was so nice to hear from them and so wonderful to know we are being lifted up in prayer. We really appreciate it!
Blessing #10 - It's beautiful here! The sun is shining and I'm so at peace. I'm sitting here on my bed, feeling the cool air coming through the window and watching my family working on their "to do's"...and I don't have ANYTHING I have to do!!! I haven't known what that has felt like in a long, long, long, long time!!
Blessing #2 - it doesn't take long to clean your house when all you have is one room! Not to mention the maids do all the dirty work for you and even make your beds!! We returned to find the maid had already come in and cleaned and all I had left to do was a little organizing (I'm trying to make this room as big as possible!).
Blessing #3 - I had uninterrupted time with the Lord this morning! That doesn't happen too often and it sure was nice. This morning as I was praying about the many things we still have up in the air - like them getting my husband's pay straight, our house back home needing to sell, us getting into our house here and so on - I came across the scripture printed at the bottom of my journal. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still (Exodus 14:14). I can't tell you how many times over the last few months God has used those scriptures printed at the bottom of my journal to speak to me. I'll write as I pray and when I stop to read the scripture the answer is right there. Today it is BE STILL. I can't change anything that is taking place right now, but God can. I need only to be still!
Thank you, Lord, for speaking your truth to me. Thank you for caring for our family, both here and back home. Thank you for your protection, your grace and your mercy. Thank you for loving us and fighting our battles for us. We trust in you with all that we have and we thank you for your many blessings. I will rest in you today and cling to your promises. Thank you for your presence. Amen.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Yesterday evening we took my husband out to dinner for his birthday and had a really fun time. The twins kept teasing him that they were going to tell the waitress it was his birthday so he could get a free dessert and be sung to (their goal - to embarrass dad I'd say!). It was so funny to watch the three of them. My husband didn't really believe they had the guts to do it, but I assured him they did. There was one moment when one of the twins (DR) just couldn't stand it anymore and he just blurted it out to the waitress. Knowing how my husband really felt, I told her he didn't want to be sung to and she assured us it was company policy that they couldn't sing. She failed to mentioned that she would come back with balloons and dessert and a birthday sign! We laughed harder than we have in days (at least the twins and I did...)After we returned from dinner, we came to the conclusion that this hotel room may be home for a while and that we needed to be content in all things...ALL things! We looked everywhere for an apartment yesterday, but nothing felt right. Not only would another move be really tough (meaning we would either have to get a few furniture items to get by or have our stuff delivered and then repack when the time came to move on post), but most places wanted at least a 6 month lease and our house could be ready anytime in the next one to three months. The more we talked about it, the more we all felt this is where we needed to stay. Today I told my husband this place was sort of growing on me...and he agreed. This was before chapel...
We went to two different chapel services this morning - Chapel Next (contemporary) and one other that was extremely small, but where my husband might be preaching in the near future. (The sermon title...Patience!) The first chapel reminded me of our church we left when the Lord called my husband into the military, and the second one reminded me of the little country church in Oklahoma (great acoustics!) where he was interim pastor at one time...but even smaller and a lot younger people. The services were very different, and I enjoyed them both. More than anything I would say it was about the opportunity to worship the Lord today. It just felt good to focus on God, who IS the same yesterday, today and forevermore! If there's one thing I'm certain of during this transition, it's that my God is constant. He does not change! As we drove home from chapel, I turned on Big Daddy Weave's hit - Every Time I Breathe (since we found out they're going to be in concert here on post next week!!) so my husband would know who they were talking about and we all sang and praised the Lord.
After chapel we came back to the hotel, changed clothes and headed to the PX to eat lunch and get our twins their school supplies. While we were there it began to rain (the first time since we've been here) and as I walked to the car, leaving the rest of the family to stay dry, rain drops falling, I felt such a sense of belonging. I KNOW all things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose and I am excited about serving the Lord (with gladness!) here - come rain or shine, good days or bad days, easy days or tough days...
Saturday, September 15, 2007
This morning, as I spent time with the Lord, I decided to focus on not complaining. It means I've had to bite my tongue a few times, but I'm trying to be positive and not look at the things around us that are difficult right now. We're most thankful that we can be together and continually pray God will work out all the other details.
Friday, September 14, 2007
We did, however, get the boys enrolled in school and they will start on Monday. It's a very small school and everyone who worked in the office was REALLY nice - especially the twins' counselor. Talking with her was the highlight of our day. She was a super nice, strong Christian woman and we both left there feeling our boys would be in good hands. They are excited about starting on Monday.
We went out to dinner and talked about keeping our chins up and smiles on our faces. We plan to look for apartments tomorrow and pray our post housing becomes available very, very soon!!!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
We've driven many, many miles and seen some of God's amazing creation over the last 10 days, but it was at about this point in the trip when I realized how truly far away from our older children we were and began to cry. The emotions welled up so strongly that I finally couldn't hold back the tears any longer. They were tears of joy - because over and over again we've seen God's hand in all of this - and, yet, also tears of sadness - because our other children aren't alongside us to see and experience this with us. I know it's all a part of "growing up" but it's sure not easy! And I thought high school was tough...
Here's a few more pictures of the drive here...
Watch what happens here...Keep your eyes on the sky...
At this point in the drive my husband asked if we were ready for the next six months. It looked like a forest fire from far away (like in the first picture), but the closer we got the more we realized it wasn't. It was the strangest thing I've ever seen!
About 15 minutes later I was praising God for the sunshine and clear skies as we neared the post! I realize it may look more like this, and that's OK...I won't have to worry about the sun being in my eyes too much or getting a really bad sunburn...I'm looking at this cup as half full rather than half empty! :) Honestly, it is a beautiful place to live and a beautiful place in my life right now.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
We're all very excited to be here. The drive was absolutely beautiful and I'll download pictures to post later. For now, I'm going to kick back and relax! Hot cookies are being served downstairs!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
My husband will sign in and begin in-processing, and the twins and I will look into school and remain flexible and supportive until we get this whole thing figured out. We've talked a lot about the fact that we still can't believe we are actually doing this. I know my husband has a lot going through his mind right now and I'm praying all the time for him. I don't have a doubt in my mind that God called us to do this and that he will be an amazing chaplain to the soldiers. I can't wait to see him in action!!
I really miss my older kids. We talk on the phone every day, but I miss being with them. I'm trying not to really think about it too much and am just counting the days until I see them in November. I'm so excited...on our drive here we decided to fly our son up for a week or two before he leaves for training, and we already bought tickets for our daughter to visit the week of Thanksgiving.
Several of our friends and family have emailed or called to encourage us this week. We really appreciate all the love, support and prayers. It's not easy to be thousands of miles away from those you love, but it's a great feeling to know you are being lifted up in prayer!
The suite we stayed in was really nice. From the bedroom we had a balcony we could sit at and see the waterfall. On the third floor they had leather couches and chairs to sit on outside your room.
OK, so I know this might seem cheesy to blog about, but our twins thought it was an awesome place to stay. Every time we stop to get a hotel they get so excited and wonder what it'll have to offer for fun (while we're just looking for a comfortable bed...haha). One of the twins spotted this place from the road so we agreed to see if it was nice and the price was right. It turned out to be the best place yet! It has been such a blessing to see the pure excitement in their eyes as we've traveled along. We are all very excited and anxious about tomorrow - when we will arrive on our new Post! Here's a couple of pictures we took along the way today. I couldn't get a good shot of the rivers and lakes we saw from the highway, but it was beautiful.
The place we camped was called "Bear Country" and they warned us not to take anything at all in our tents since five days earlier a momma bear and her two cubs were in the area (we saw the picture). We joked about our tent being camouflaged and an animal stepping on our little tent because they couldn't see it. I'm not sure which we worried about more - animals or freezing to death as we slept! When we woke up it was 33 degrees and we had our tent packed and were back in the truck with the heat on in less than 10 minutes.
The following day it snowed, not a lot, but some. We fished, hiked to a natural bridge, saw a lot of geysers (including Old Faithful...that wasn't exactly faithful, but was worth the freezing cold wait...probably didn't help that we had ice cream before heading out to watch it). We also saw several waterfalls, a huge canyon, and animals. The picture below is of the natural bridge. The twins immediately noticed the shape below the bridge looked like the shape of Africa (which made them think about their sister). On Monday when we woke up it was 22 degrees! Thank the Lord, we found a room available at a nearby hotel! We didn't even care if it turned out to be a dump...luckily, it was a really nice hotel!! We fished in the rivers and then headed towards Montana where we're resting in a REALLY nice hotel that has 5 hot tubs, two pools, waterfalls in the lobby...and is less expensive than all the others we've stayed in! The twins say we have to take pictures of this place, too!