Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pics!





We finally updated pictures! I tell ya, we have been taking pictures left and right... and there they sit on the camera... you can go to the Fisher family website (again, please email me for password info) for all of them, but here are just a few to enjoy!

In other news, congrats to Jacki on winning the delivery pool! Jon was actually the closest with December 25, but since he got his prize (a new baby!), I thought I would officially award Jacki, who guessed the 26th. I haven't had a chance to get to the post office yet, Jacki, but it's coming soon!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Christmas Story

Jon and I were talking about something the other day, and he mentioned looking for answers on the internet. Funny thing- I used to Google every other thought I had, and after several days of dealing with this situation, it hadn't even occurred to me! I used to spend a significant portion of each day online... now I barely check my email!

We had a great Christmas with Sophie! As much as we missed not being able to see family, we really really enjoyed it being just us. Jon led the music at the installation Christmas Eve service Monday night- it was a beautiful service. During the lighting of the candles, Jon and I played special music- he on guitar and vocals, me on the flute. It was going great until they shut off ALL the lights once all the candles were lit- we couldn't see anything! Seeing how we had just chosen the song late that afternoon (and neither of us had ever played it), it was a bit stressful... but we made it just fine.

We came home and enjoyed Christmas Eve packed with all the things I grew up with on Christmas Eve- summer sausage and cheese, A Christmas Carol (HAS to be George C. Scott), and simply spending time together. I even bought a popcorn tin, which the Fishers always had on Christmas Eve. It was lovely!

Christmas morning we made cinnamon rolls (another Nave tradition), read the Christmas story out of Luke 2 (Fisher tradition), opened gifts, and had a relaxing morning! Jon then spent the rest of the day cleaning the house and cooking (I spent the rest of the day doing what I do EVERY day- spend every other hour getting Sophie to eat...), then we had some friends over for dinner. It was the first time we have hosted a holiday, and it went great! I am indebted to Jon for working so much to make Christmas be how I wanted it to be, even having company less than 2 weeks after delivery...

This was my and Jon's 4th Christmas Eve together... 3 years ago at the Christmas Eve service, we met for the 2nd time. Jon says he wooed me with his slick charm... which is... pretty much true. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the romance of the holidays. Little did I know then that in three short years, we would be sitting in our living room holding our child. It was so neat to be able to play together Monday night- we have never really done that before, just the two of us. If you are a musician at all, then you know that working through a piece of music (wait, did I say a piece of music? What I meant to say was a printout of the lyrics with chords... which weren't even the right chords, because Jon capoed... not that chords help a flautist much anyway...) takes a significant amount of communication and patience- the fact that we did this 3 hours before the service (and I didn't even get teary once!) is a testament to how much our relationship has grown over the past few years. In fact, at that very first Christmas Eve service, Jon sang O Holy Night with the Kent City Baptist band (of which I was a part) backing him up. At the rehearsal, I remember thinking that he was kind of a jerk- I think I was too used to working with Josh (Jon's brother and KCBC worship pastor), who is (or has learned to be) quite laid back in working with other musicians. Jon seemed arrogant. Again, little did I know...

In other news, we passed another milestone this week- we paid off our last credit card! Well over half of our debt is gone (excepting the house, of course...), and in the next year and a half or so it should be gone. I have to say, I have been opposed to the envelope/cash system for... well, forever. I don't need that, I thought- I don't spend money flippantly. But I have to tell you, I don't think we could have gotten to this point without it. Suddenly, we know where our money is going, we control it- and at the end of the month when there's some left in the envelope, all the better! It all started back in the beginning of September when Jon decided to sell the truck- and it snowballed from there. You can read more about it at Jon's blog.

I suppose this has gone on long enough... I will try to post more frequently so they don't get this long! :-)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Things You Do For Love...




What a week! I have a whole new respect for parents, let me tell you! I can't imagine doing this alone- or with another child to take care of! You know, I don't know any of the words to that song except the title- "The Things You Do For Love"... that line has gone through my mind many a time at 3am, or doing one of several other things that I wouldn't otherwise choose to do. But hey, the trade-off is way more than worth it- I have the best baby in the world! :-) (no bias, of course!)

A quick recap...

We took her in for a weight check-up on Tuesday (she had lost 8oz before we took her home, and they were a bit concerned since she started out so small). She weighed a wee 5lbs then! She had lost 10oz- 10% of her birth weight. Her jaundice level had soared- badly enough to be treated, but not badly enough to have to admit her for the infamous lighted bed. Instead, we had a billiblanket- basically it's this plastic paddle with blue lights that has to be on her back at all times- it's connected by a hose to a box that plugs into the wall. Kind of hard to explain...

Anyway, yesterday she weighed 5lb 3oz, and today- 5/5! They took her off the billiblanket and the formula supplement we've been using- suffice it to say we're ALL happier! I still have to wake her up every 2 hours to eat- hopefully soon she will be able to wake up on her own, and it won't be quite as often!

My parents came down for a couple days, which has been a huge help. They have no qualms about holding the grandbaby- ever! Since I've been using the bottle supplement, they can feed her, allowing me to do other things. (Though it's not that easy, because I'm also still nursing- basically, feeding has become a multi-step process taking an hour each time...)

She has the greatest expressions! She has her hands up by her face ALL the time, and she LOVES sleeping on Daddy's shoulder. She got her first Christmas presents tonight from Grandma and Grandpa Nave. For some odd reason, she didn't seem super excited... I'm sure next year will be a different story! :-)

We (ok, Jon...) set up a new site with a ton of pictures, movies, and updates- here's the thing- it's password protected. But, we don't want to leave you out- if you would like access, PLEASE email me, and (if I know you at all...) I would be more than happy to give it to you! If you don't know my email, just leave a comment with yours and I'll send it.

Ah, I'm off to rest for a few minutes before the night process starts again... the things we do for love...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

And then, there were three...

Thursday evening after dinner, Jon and I were sitting outside, catching up on the week (he just got home from Mississippi at about 6:30pm), and I had a sudden realization: I was ready to be done with the pregnancy. People have been asking me for a few weeks if I was ready to have her, and really, I wasn't. I was enjoying being pregnant. Thursday night, that changed- I was ready.

Little did I know, Sophie was ready too! We got to the hospital at about 2am, and the midwife broke my water at about 8:15am. Up until that point, the contractions hadn't been that bad. A couple different times, the nurse would be talking to me, and would see my contraction on the monitor- since I wasn't "acting" like I was in labor, they were starting to question it! But... after my water broke, well, that's another story! After about an hour, though, I felt like I should be pushing. "Hm, this must be the pain of contractions people are always talking about!" I thought. Since they thought I had several hours of labor left, the nurses were rarely even checking in on me, so I didn't have anyone to tell me otherwise! During one particularly painful contraction, I couldn't keep it in and screamed... that sent the midwife and nurses running in! They quickly realized I was already at the point that I should have been pushing (I could have told them that!). They all threw on gloves and gowns, breaking down the bed as quickly as possible. Sophie's heart rate had dropped into the 60s (she was averaging in the 140s before that)- they think from me trying to hold her in, so it was pretty intense there for a while...

Skipping ahead a few of the details... at 9:56 am, Sophia Anne was born! She was 5'10" and 19" long... tiny tiny tiny!

We got home yesterday around noon and are all doing great! Jon has a couple days off work, which is immeasurably helpful. It is so amazing how much our lives changed in such a short amount of time- we will never be the same as we were- only better.

I'll post some new pictures hopefully tomorrow. Until then, go to Jon's blog to see pics of her first two days of life, and even a couple videos! (She's adorable. You need to go look at her now. Trust me.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stress and Fickle Uncle Sam

Have you ever taken one of those stress inventories? I have in the past, then had to again last week for my social psychology class. There are many variations, but this is the one I did. I scored a 358... that's in the highest bracket...

Thing is, I don't FEEL stressed. Sure, when you have me mark off all the life-changing events that have happened in the past 12 months, it seems that way... but I don't live on that level daily.

Until this past Friday, that is.

When we got the email that we're not going to Ft. Leonard Wood, the floodgates opened... for several hours... I know myself well enough to know that I just needed to get out the emotion, and really, in many ways I'm glad that happened before labor! (not to say it won't happen again, but still...)

The first month after we found out that's where we were going, I didn't believe it. I didn't LET myself believe it- it was within an easy day's drive of family, and- more importantly- non-deployable. Then... I did let myself believe it. See, if they would have told us four months ago that he'd deploy soon (which hasn't been said, but I'm assuming at this point), I would have been prepared... Friday, I was not.

I suppose I have always been that way. I let things build up inside me until it all comes crashing down. I have learned over the years to monitor it and not let it get to that point... this time, not so much...

There are actually several positive things about not going to Leonard Wood. One is simply that we have several more PCSes (Army moves) in front of us- living closer to family might be even better a couple tours down the road than now.

Another is that, honestly, I married a soldier. A soldier who wants to be with infantry or other combat arms battalions, who really, in his heart of hearts, wouldn't mind deploying. I don't for a second question his desire to be with me or the baby- I know that we matter more to him than anything... which is why I don't hold it against him. I know way too many wives who resent their husbands for the career they chose and hate the Army because of it. Me not accepting his desire to deploy would not only be denying reality... it would be denying my husband of the joy and satisfaction he finds in his job.

So, though disappointing, it wasn't devastating news... but I couldn't have admitted that Friday night. Friday night, I felt like my world had crashed around me, that all that was good was gone. (What? Dramatic? Me?) I suppose that happens when you score in the highest bracket on stress tests...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Closing Time



Today I officially stepped down as the PWOC president, and we installed Misty as the new one. I'll admit, it was a bit more emotional than I was anticipating. I was really glad today wasn't my last day there- that would have been awful! Misty has been our 1VP of Programs and will do an excellent job as the president. Her husband just got back from Iraq about 6 weeks ago, so she is in a good position to serve these ladies, as many of them just said good-bye the same week Misty's husband came home. Really, PWOC had a lot to do with me enjoying the Army; it got me integrated and connected much sooner and easier than anything else. And though my husband was home this past year, seeing how the deployed spouses supported each other gave me much hope for our next deployment.

Sunday is my last day at Kids Church. I am a little more readily giving that one up than PWOC- though I won't miss having to get up early and miss church (well, the first half of it anyway...) every Sunday morning, I will miss the kids. It took a few months to really get into the swing of it, and I feel like I am just now developing relationships with the kids and parents. Oh well, there will be more opportunities at the next place...

I have learned so much this past year being involved in the chapel ministry. More than anything, I've learned a lot about how a chapel runs- this has been invaluable to not only me, but Jonathan as well. I've learned to be more professional and formal (working so closely with senior officers demands it) and to allow for more grace. Then there's the Funds Office... this is run by Chaplain Assistants, who have a oftentimes thankless job. They will have upset folks in their office all the time when things aren't going right, but most don't even notice all the effort they put into that happening as little as possible. I have learned that giving them plenty of notice- and doing everything in my power to help- goes a long way.

I really have been so blessed to be here this year, as it was such a great learning experience. I now feel that when we go to the next place, I will be so much better equipped and prepared. There will be plenty more things to learn there- the FRG is a world largely unknown to me- so I'm glad I'm ahead of the curve in the chapel community.

It's so funny to think that, just under a year ago, we were leaving Grace. It seems like a lifetime. I had no idea what this Army life would be like; I had no idea about a lot of things! I knew it was sad to leave, but I was excited about what was ahead. I would say it's pretty much the same now. Though this chapter isn't quite closed, I'm at the point now where I'm not so much worried about board meetings, curriculum, and teacher schedules as I am the baby. That's a good place to be, I suppose.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pot of Gold


I was honored today at the Commanding General's Pot of Gold Award ceremony. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but this wasn't it...

Different groups on post nominate volunteers to receive this award. The majority of recipients- probably 95%- come from FRGs (unit Family Readiness Groups). I was nominated through the chapel, which I considered a high honor. There were 83 recipients, about half of which were there today. I got there and looked through the program, thinking, "Oh, this shouldn't take more than a half hour or so." Boy, was I wrong! The General gave his two-minute "thank you" via video from Iraq, then the Garrison Commander spoke for a couple minutes. Not bad. For the award presentation, I figured we'd line up graduation-style while they read our names. Nope. For each person, the Colonel called her (with the exception of 3 men) name, she came forward, the General's wife pinned a pin on, hugged her, the Colonel recited the same message while shaking her hand, handed her the certificate, then the three of them posed for a picture. THEN each person got to choose anyone from the audience to come pose for a picture too (most brought guests... unfortunately, Jon was en route to Mississippi for the week, so I had another chaplain who was there to give the invocation be in my picture). It took TWO HOURS... over an hour and a half of that was just the award presentation. We ended with a rousing singing of the 3rd Infantry Division Song and the Army Song.

Ah well. Like I said, it's always an honor to be recognized for what you do, and the fact that I was chosen of all the chapel volunteers was a good feeling. And now, I have this nifty rainbow pin to wear! Yes!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Without a Hitch!!

Whew! I am breathing SUCH a sigh of relief!

I don't remember if I posted about this... but a few months ago, something inexplicable came over me, and I decided to put on a children's Christmas program. Well, long story short, it ended up as only a small part of a large installation chapel Christmas Music Fest. Which was tonight. Kids Church sang two songs, then a couple narrators read the Christmas story from Luke 2 while other kids acted it out. After seeing how the practices went the past few weeks, I was REALLY nervous... but they did great!! They were super cute in their little shepherd and angel outifts, and the kids sang louder tonight than they ever have.

And now, I can breathe.

I learned A LOT through this. I'm not sure I will ever do it again... though, if I do, I have a lot of good dos and don'ts! Okok, sooo... more "don'ts" than "dos"...

Have you placed your guess in my delivery pool yet (see below)? You can go here to see the calendar with the dates everyone chose. Again, it's fine to have more than one person on the same date.

Now for the matter of the prize... I have no idea what it will be- that depends on who wins! (So no worries, Rhonda- if it's you, I PROMISE it won't be coffee! :-) I mean, don't expect some fantastic grandiose award... but it will be cool nonetheless!

ETA: If you tried the calendar earlier tonight and google tried to make you sign in, I changed to a different calendar program so you won't have to do that- try it now!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pregnancy Pool

Alright, I want some fun in my life, so I'm running a pool for my delivery! (btw- if you haven't read the post directly below this one, please do so now! :-)

Here's how it will work:

~ Post in the comments section of this post the date you think I'll deliver

~ Deadline is Sunday, December 16

~ I'll send a prize (yes, a real prize...) to whoever gets it right!

~ If more than one person guesses the right date, I'll draw a name to decide the winner

~ Only one guess per person

~ Open to everyone- even if I don't know you! :-)

Keep in mind, my due date is January 6, but the doctor told me today she thinks I'll go early.

Good luck!!

Expecting the Unexpected

This has been quite a day. We got lots of new information and news... with mixed feelings...

You can go to Jon's blog to read about one part of it. But I shall not write about that. At this point, it would really be best that I not think about it... welcome to the Army...

Onward and upward...

We are in our final countdown! Yesterday marked one month until our due date! Yes yes, I know that a very small percentage of women actually deliver on their date, that two weeks either way is normal, and that most first-time moms deliver late. Yes. I know.

We had a doctor's appointment today. First of all, I must say that we love our doctor. At the last appointment, she spent extra time explaining things to us (mostly fears which had been instilled from the previously mentioned birthing class...), which was immeasurably helpful.

Though there is no sure-fire way to tell such things, she told us today (based on 27 years as a midwife) that she expects our baby will weigh within ounces of 7lbs (give or take), and that she would be very surprised if I make it to my due date- to pretty much plan on going early. This was really exciting... albeit full of yet another dose of reality... that we are actually having a baby. Soon. Very soon. As in, pack-your-bags-write-out-your-birth-plan soon. Well, I suppose the bags don't have to be packed QUITE yet... but you get the point.

On the house front, we also heard from our realtor today that the couple who looked at our house earlier this week loved it and would have immediately made an offer... if it weren't for the next door neighbor's big, loud, obnoxious dog. That was the deal breaker. Fantastic.

Well, it's showing again in the morning, so I best be off to cleaning...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Seriously??

This morning, while reading blogs for my daily "wake-up time," I came across this widget on another site. You can go here and enter the url for your blog to see the level of readability. I was sure mine would be elementary, but...

cash advance

What?? That is quite the sad commentary, I must say. What is even more surprising is that my husband's blog, with fancy-schmancy words like "metanarrative" and "requisite fear and trepidation" scored in the elementary category.

Now, I fully realize that this is just a gimmick and probably completely random. But, still...

ETA: A quick google search made me realize what the gimmick is- When you post this on your site, it automatically posts a link to a "Cash Advance" site (which I had actually realized before I published this and had already deleted the link...). I then tried several other sites' URLs just out of curiosity... I wasn't convinced, until a site that shall remain nameless that is probably one of the worst I've seen (most pages read "This Feature Coming Soon!!") rated genius. Ah well, it's fun anyway...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thanksgiving Leave

Wow. It's been a while. Last night, Jon told me I needed to update my blog- you know it's bad when that happens!

I suppose I feel like I have nothing to say. "Yep, still pregnant." That's about it. I am starting to hand off all my responsibilities with Kids Church and PWOC. Just today, I had a 20 minute conversation with a lady about some issues involving PWOC... while I was happy to lend a listening ear and offer some suggestions, I'll admit, it felt good to know that it is no longer my problem! ;-)

We had a fantastic time up north! My family had a baby shower for me, which was really a blessing. Loading up the car with all that pink made it seem just that much more real that this is happening- in a month! At the shower, we played a game where each person cut off a piece of yarn the length they thought it would take to go around my belly. Much to everyone's chagrin, my two nieces actually got the closest- most people were like 10 inches too long. I'm happy to report, though, that when I had Jon do the same thing later that evening, it was exactly the right length!

If you read Jon's blog, you saw all the snow- it was great! A little unnerving driving in it up to his dad's, but it was gorgeous the next morning. I went outlet shopping with Amy, Jon preached at his dad's church, I had breakfast with two great friends from high school, and we ended our trip by relaxing at my parents' for a couple days.

I could keep going, but since I've started to get bored just writing this, I'm sure you have reading it... more later!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Once again...

I.hate.moving.

Have I ever told you that? Get ready to hear it a lot more. Fortunately, if all works out according to plan (which may or may not happen...), the Army will pack and move us this time, and every time for the next 20 years. That will be nice.

What the Army ISN'T doing, though, is getting our house ready to put on the market. The realtor is supposed to come by this afternoon to take pictures for the online virtual tour... and I am nowhere near ready. You don't have to know me well at all to know that not only does clutter not bother me, but I really don't notice it. I will walk into a room and think it is clean and clutter-free, until my loving and patient husband points out the hour's worth of work it would take to actually get the room to said state. I am much neater (and cleaner) now than in my earlier years, no doubt. But, well, suffice it to say my eyes float right over piles without giving them a second glance.

Which is making this difficult.

Anyway, back to moving...

We finally stripped the wallpaper and painted the bathrooms a couple weeks ago. Isn't it funny how we have all these grand plans when we first move in, but then the motivation wanes until we have to sell?

On the up side, as of December 31, this will be the first time I have lived in the same place for a year since high school. Now that I think about it, I did live with my parents for about 13 months after college- but the last 5 of that was spent knowing they were selling their house and I would have to leave at any time. Even still, this is my 16th move since high school graduation- a mere 6 1/2 years ago (that is, if you count the month I lived out of my car as one "move"). I'm ready to settle down; unfortunately, our way of life doesn't allow for that.

In other news, the baby is doing great. She's bouncing all over the place! It's now to the point that I feel her at several different places all at the same time- I can tell she's growing! We went to our first birthing class the other night (not at all the tv lamaze class I was expecting- it was actually lecture-style in an auditorium with about 50 people), which was, oddly enough, much more beneficial than I was anticipating. We're down to 8 weeks until my due date- that will fly by!

Ah, well, enough procrastination... I must at least make an attempt to de-clutter...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pics from Savannah




My parents came in for a few days last week. They bought tickets for last weekend's Nascar race in Atlanta last year when we were living near there- about 5 miles from the track, actually. But, as is our lives, we moved four hours south right after they bought the tickets... but, hey, what's another 4 hours after driving 10 to get to a car race, right?

We had a great time with them here. We spent one day walking around Savannah and ending with a seafood buffet... what a great way to enjoy coastal Georgia! Right on the river is this section of shops and restaurants- including THREE candy shops! Gotta love free samples! Here are a few pics, especially for those of you who have yet to see me pregnant...


















And if that weren't proof enough...


Friday, October 26, 2007

PWOC Fall Focus

After an hour and a half of fitful sleep, my alarm went off at 2:15am yesterday. We rolled out of the Walmart parking lot at 4, and almost 10 hours later were here in Tennessee. What a day.

We're at a Marriott in Franklin, TN, and it is beautiful. The colors aren't quite in full bloom, but anything is better than the greenish-brownish of South Georgia! It made me even more excited to go up north in a few short weeks.

The conference (which is for the Southeast Regional of PWOC) has gone pretty well thus far. Of course, that is tempered by the fact that dinner was fantastic. Between the lasagna, chocolate cake, and extremely good coffee, my mood barometer went up tremendously...

I think the funniest part, bar none, was when Kathy Troccoli was singing a heartfelt emotional song and fell off the stage. Yep, right on the floor. It was stinkin' hilarious. Of course, she was laughing- it's not like I'm some creep who delights when others get hurt. Still...

Then, today I found myself at a workshop that was, shall we say, not exactly what the description in the conference materials presented. How in the world can I get out of this class early? I thought. Then, the fire alarm went off, so I spent the next half hour sitting in my car while the firetrucks rolled up. We were quickly allowed back inside and I snuck up to my room. Apparently God heard my plea and divinely caused the fire so He could bless me by letting me out of that class. Yes. That's it.

More later...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

thoughts on a dreary evening...

Do you ever find that the more you have to do, the less motivated you are to start??

3:00am is going to come WAY too soon, I'm afraid. Yes, I leave in the morning with 11 other women for a PWOC conference in Tennessee. The house is a mess, I'm not packed, there's laundry to do, and... here I sit...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Weekends and What Not to Say

Sorry it's been a while. We've been busy, but nothing blogworthy (as my last post demonstrates). Well, by "busy" I mean Jon had a 4-day weekend last weekend... gotta love Federal holidays (Christopher Columbus Day? Who knew?) We enjoyed it, as it was- quite literally- the last weekend we have until December 15/16. Not even kidding. I don't mean that, like, we have plans on Saturday evening or anything- I mean for the next NINE weekends we have WEEKEND plans away from home. Then, we have a couple weeks to rest (during Christmas), followed by a birth, him changing jobs, and moving. Oh, hopefully in that time we'll also sell the house, which means we'll also be packing and finding a place to live. Nice.

Now that you feel sufficiently bad for me, moving on...

On Thursday we went to UMT (Unit Ministry Team) Training at a local mega-church. There were some things we gleaned, and some things we weren't exactly impressed with.

Based on that experience (and others), let me just say this- if you're not military, no one expects you to be military. If you can understand that, we all will be happier.

The fact is, no one knows exactly how to act around military- especially wives whose husbands are deployed. And the fact is, I'm not sure what to tell you- everyone wants to be treated differently.

Here's a couple general rules of thumb, though:

~ Don't act like you know what it's like, unless you do. (I'm sorry, but your husband's 10-day camping trip in Canada just isn't the same thing...)

~ Ask questions. Again, we don't expect you to know what it's like- so if we start talking in military lingo, ask what in the world we are saying!!

~ Accept our emotions. Yes, we knew what we were signing up for... that doesn't mean we LIKE deployments (or extensions), constant moves, or "The Army Way" about everything. There are bad things about the Army, just like there are about your job... we don't have to take those things with a smile. Saying, "Well, you knew this before..." doesn't bring my husband home, and it doesn't make it any easier.

~ Acknowledge that there is more to life than the Army. Just because my husband might be deployed (or is out in the field, or even simply wears ACUs to work every day), that doesn't mean I can't have a life and interests outside the Army. Normal just looks different, that's all.

Again, these are general rules. If you're in the military or a spouse and would like to add to this in the comments section, please feel free!

Basically, just as in anything, act in love and respect, and itsallgood...
---------------------------------

Just a disclaimer: If this post seems disjointed, it's because I have written it over the past 4 days...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Day

Whew! What a day!

First of all, if you haven't read my husband's blog in a few days, you really need to go over there and check it out. We have news. Big news. Well, bigger to me than to you, but nonetheless... I wrote a whole entry about it, but wasn't really happy with it, and he really summed the whole thing up well. Hint: It tells of a MAJOR happening in our future, which affects him going to Iraq...

Anyway-

It's been a long day. Jon made breakfast, as is typical on Saturday. Blueberry pancakes. Does life get any better?

We then trekked to Savannah, stopping on the way at the Korean Presbyterian church for a yard sale- got some really cute baby outfits and an infant bathtub (plus some yummy... um... Korean snack of some kind...)

Then- the moment I have been waiting for- we registered! There's nothing better than "shopping" at Target and not spending a dime... We didn't get to register together for our wedding (being 900 miles apart makes it difficult), so it was a lot of fun to be able to do that with him today. (And for all of you thinking, "Yeah, I'm sure it was great for you, but I bet he hated it!"- not so much... He's actually more of a shopper than I.)

Add to that a stop at a craft store, Barnes & Noble, Bargain Books, a Milka (if you don't know what that is, get in the car and go to the chocolate aisle at World Market right now...you'll never want Hershey's again..) and Pad Thai, and it was a fabulous day.

Though a tiring one... but again, go read Jon's blog! It's a lot more interesting than this one, let me tell you...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Coffee, Anyone?


Yesterday I experienced another "first" in my Army life- I hosted a Coffee.

A "Coffee" is basically any get-together with a specific group of people. Unit FRGs (Family Readiness Groups) will have them typically once a month- they can be at someone's home, a restaurant, an outing or event, and can range from formal to a backyard barbeque. Someone even told me yesterday that she hosted an FRG coffee, and the theme was a slumber party- everyone came in their PJs! It is entirely up to the hostess what it will be like. Things like FRG Coffees tend to be less formal (and official etiquette followed less strictly), but there are other occasions where they are much more traditional. Because of the oddity of Jon's unit, the FRG isn't very active- I don't think they've actually done anything since I got here! But, more on FRGs later, as the time comes...

The Coffee I hosted yesterday was for the Chaplain Spouses group. We meet once a month as well, and they're pretty laid-back. There are actually 43 Chaplain Spouses here (most with deployed husbands), but at any given Coffee we'll have 10-15. It has been a great way to get to know these women, most of whom I would never have occasion to meet. It's a unique group, too, because our experiences range from those whose husbands just went to Chaplain School earlier this year, all the way up to the Installation Chaplain's wife- he's a full-bird Colonel who has been in the Army for 24 years.

At a Coffee, there is "official business" we do- introducing the new ladies, giving gifts to those on their way out, updating on who's having babies, who's husband is leaving, etc. There is also this thing called "Opportunities"- which I have realized is just the Army word for raffle! Instead of our group collecting dues, we do opportunities- everyone pays a buck for the chance to win the prize (and the honor of bringing the prize next month!). We talk about the next Coffee, and, well, that's about it. Last month the business led into a fantastic conversation about dealing with deployment in the context of being a chaplain's wife.

So, the house was cleaned, the lunch was made, the guests came, and two hours later, it was all over. I'm really glad I did it- with every Army experience I have, I realize more and more how much I enjoy this lifestyle. Even writing this, I had to think through how to explain things that have become second nature to me. When I started this entry, I had planned on telling all about the event, but it became more of an explanation of what exactly this ambiguous "Coffee" is.

I think one of the things I enjoy is the tradition that goes along with it. Yes, Coffees now tend to be informal get-togethers... but they date WAY back. They even have their own chapter in The Army Wife Handbook:
The tradition of military wives getting together for coffee dates back to the establishment of the first military posts. Wives of the frontier Army had to endure many hardships, and an hour or two spent sharing a cup of coffee with a friend must have been a welcome respite. Like so many of the social customs of the nineteenth-century military, this social tradition survived and evolved.

They have seen many different forms over the past two centuries; like everything, they have changed with the cultures and trends of the day.

Yesterday afternoon I mostly started blankly at the TV screen. Such activities have a way of taking it out of you... but, it was a great time, and now I have one more checked box on my list of things to do as a spouse!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Crayon Box

I have started about three posts, only to realize none of them were interesting enough to publish. So, instead, I have decided to grace you with several of my here-and-there thoughts, a "crayon box" of sorts...

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The last few nights, Jon and I have sat out on the deck... and I could wear SOCKS! Yes, and long pants, and - get this - long sleeve shirts! Ah, bliss.

On that note, I purchased a homemade pumpkin spice candle from a PWOC friend, and she delivered it to me today- can't wait to try it out! (Every fall, I spend like $3 on the Walmart version, which kinda smells a little for about 10 minutes, then it just burns. Glad I went with quality this year.)

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If you read my husband's blog, you remember him posting a couple weeks ago about a Derek Webb song. Yes, to calm any family grumblings, it was in fact my brother-in-law, Dave, who introduced me to this favorite of mine a couple years ago (by the way, Dave, I don't think it was KFC- I think it was a mom&pop diner that took about an hour and a half for us to eat at...) Derek Webb used to be in Caedmon's Call (and is married to Sandra McCracken of the same fame), then went solo. His album "She Must and Shall Go Free" is all about the church and has incredible lyrics. Both Derek and his bride are also a part of the Indelible Grace project- if you've never heard them, look them up on iTunes!!

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There is another brigade out of Ft. Stewart getting ready to deploy next month, so the train behind our house has once again been busy transporting various fighting vehicles. It has been a long road for this brigade, as they were "supposed to" deploy in July, then it kept getting delayed... the only thing worse than a deployment is an incessantly delayed deployment... the more time they spend here now, the longer it will be before they come home...

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The pregnancy is going well. I'll have to take a picture so y'all can see! It's funny, I now weigh what I did on my wedding day. Today someone told me my nose is getting bigger. Has anyone else heard of "pregnant nose"? Apparently I'm out of the loop on this one. I am pretty sure, though, that the wee one has changed her sport of choice from soccer to gymnastics- sorry, Dad!!

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Kids Church is going well, too. After starting to plan the Fall Fest, I was made aware that MWR (Morale, Welfare, & Recreation- they're in charge of the "fun" stuff of the Army) is doing one as well, so I'm just going to set up a booth at theirs. Easier for me. We're also doing a Kids Church Christmas program that will be a part of the Installation Chapel's Christmas Music Festival. It should be pretty cool!

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And, in closing, courtesy of MASH, "Be brave, be loyal, be true... and keep your white flags handy, just in case..."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

When "God's Will" isn't God's will

"The Lord is leading me to..."

"The Spirit is guiding me..."

We've all heard it. Many of us have probably even said it. God is directing us to fill-in-the-blank.

I think my personal favorite was when it was commonly used at Bible school in reference to dating. "The Lord is leading me to date you"... and subsequently, "The Lord is leading me to break up with you." Since when did God impart divine wisdom through fickle 19-year-old hormones?

My brother has a friend who had a similar situation. Wanting to marry his girlfriend, he approached her father. The father said that God told him it was not His will for her to marry him. The boyfriend responded, "Well, God told me that it is."

I do not doubt that there are times that God really does direct and lead people to do things.

I also do not doubt that such words have been uttered not at the Spirit's prompting, but instead as a manipulation tactic.

You don't like your daughter's boyfriend? Say it's not God's will.

You don't like the decision leadership has made? Claim God's leading otherwise.

You aren't happy in any given situation in life? Attribute your feelings to God, and no one will have a leg to stand on.

I mean, come on, when someone tells you that God told them to do something, what do you say to that?

I strongly believe that God is not impressed at all when people use His name to further their own agenda, and I believe that it happens more than most of us would like to admit. Not only do the church's "troublemakers" do it, volunteers do it, deacons do it, pastors do it...

And no one questions it.

It is a matter of the heart that is not only personal, but deeply spiritual.

This thought came to me this morning, as there is a small... ahem... "issue" surrounding a decision I (and others) made last spring.

This is incredibly frustrating to me. How do you know when it's God and when it's not? More so, how do I know when it's God telling you to do something?

I mean, unless asked, I do not make any attempts to tell you what God is saying to you. However, when what you claim God tells you directly impacts my life, I feel like I should have a say.

You know, there are very few people who I would without question (or at least with few questions) accept what they told me from God. Very.few.people.

But can I tell you how difficult it is to even allude to someone that I wholeheartedly believe they are hiding behind alleged spirituality to get their way?

There is, as you can probably tell, much more to this situation, as well as to my thoughts and feelings on it.

Suffice it to say that it's at times like this that I'm thankful I have the thick skin which comes with the experience of being a pastor's kid.

By the way, you'll be happy to know that the boyfriend and his young love mentioned earlier have been happily married for several years.

Guess God decided to bless after all...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Answers

Here are the answers from last post's game.

By the way, for those of you who commented- yes, this was my original blog layout two years ago... I was looking for something more "fall-ish" than "mac-ish," as my last template was. I'm currently trying to figure out how to import an outside template in to blogger... I know it's possible, I just haven't had the patience yet to actually do it.

Anyway, here are the answers to the 4th graders' attempts at spelling:

nurse=nresce
battle=batfall
pennies=penerd
confusion=kufshanr
discovery=bufen
resident=rebet
visible=vizetfall
trapped=chraped
distance=bistis
fever=feful
phone=phoesph
charge=jrash
drawing=braign
fraction=freken
scrape=craep

Monday, September 03, 2007

Are you smarter than a 4th grader?

Alright, folks, ready for a little game?

I just read Diesel's blog about a diagnostic spelling test his wife just gave her new 4th grade class. Again, in the students' defense, they did not have time to study (nor was it actually graded)- it was just so she could see the proficiency level at the beginning of the school year.

In the left column is the list of actual words... in the right, the students' attempts at spelling the words. Can you match them up? Feel free to leave your guess in the comments section. If you want one answer to get you started, click the link to Diesel's blog.

He notes that most of the kids did fine; obviously, not all... And by the way, no, I don't actually know this person- it's a blog I sometimes randomly read...

I'll post the answers in a few days.

Spelling Words...... Attempts at Spelling
nurse........................... kufshanr
battle.......................... penerd
pennies ...................... rebet
confusion.................... chraped
discovery................... feful
resident..................... craep
visible ........................ nresce
trapped...................... batfall
distance..................... vizetfall
fever.......................... phoesph
phone........................ bufen
charge....................... freken
drawing.................... bistis
fraction..................... braing
scrape....................... jrash

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Curse you, Gary Paulsen!

When I was in elementary school, I loved to read. I read every book in the church library (which was quite well-stocked, by the way) for my age group, and then some. The school and public libraries served to supplement any literary need that was not being met by the volumes I borrowed from the church. I pored through the Scholastic Reader flyer, longing for more books for my personal collection. I would sit outside under the shade tree in the front yard, on my bed in the privacy of my room, and in various places waiting for my parents to end their dull adult conversations.

Then, 7th grade hit.

What happened?, you may ask...

One word: Hatchet.

Have any of you ever read this book? I'm sure that it is a fine read in other contexts, but Mrs. Blauw's Language Arts class was NOT an amusing one. We read, studied, analyzed to death this book... for an entire semester.

Spelling and Vocab words came from Hatchet.

Daily journal entries were inspired by Hatchet.

We had to do a Hatchet panorama.

Act out scenes.

Write incessantly.

Again, let me emphasize: An ENTIRE SEMESTER: January through June.

When we finally finished the book, we spent two days watching the movie.

In 8th grade, our teacher told us we were going to read The River, Hatchet's sequel. We cried out in agony. The next day, he told us we could individually choose a book to read and report on. We sang his praises.

Hatchet single-handedly ingrained into me a hatred for the written word, specifically in the realm of fiction. I have since tried to read, I really really have. I am sorry to say that in the 11 years that have passed, not counting required reading for other English classes (which were, oddly enough, always my favorites...), I have read a whopping three novels: Alas, Babylon, The Giver, and Cry, the Beloved Country (all fantastic reads, by the way). I have worked in various John Piper (though I have not cracked a Piper book in several years... but that's another story...) and a couple other non-fiction writings, but nary a novel.

My husband, on the other hand, is an avid reader. One of the (many) reasons he was delighted to complete his seminary was so he would have more time to read books of his choosing. He has inspired me.

Let me back up a bit to say, too, that I have never read any of the classic "girl books" (nor have I seen the movies...) Anne of Green Gables, anything by Jane Austin, Little Women, etc...

So, with this newfound inspiration (and the fact that it has been rainy the last few days, making me want to curl up with a good book... only to realize I don't really read...) and the idealistic notion that, before introducing my daughter into the world, I should have more "girly" literary experiences, I removed Jane Eyre from its place on one of our five bookshelves. Well, I removed it about three weeks ago. It has since been sitting on the floor in a pile with my textbooks from last term...

But tonight, I cracked it open. I have to say, I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would... I found myself interested by the time I turned the first page, and read 40 more without even realizing it.

Maybe... hopefully... my old friend will not disappoint, and it will be a sweet reunion... and if not, well hey, at least I tried!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's a...

I apologize to my regular readers who have been waiting for the expected news...

um... well...

(I have to use some space so that the preview feature from feedblitz doesn't give it away...)

First of all, everything is great and healthy! Kidneys, spine, brain, heart, other things that I'm not sure what they were... all developing normally and healthily.

So, without further ado, meet our little girl...




In that second picture, please note how she is getting ready to punch me...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Autumn is upon us, and an update on the baby

Today's high is only 88!

Of course, the heat index is estimated at 101 and we are currently at 100% humidity, but hey, seeing a number under 90 is always a good day! Bring on the apples!

Speaking of a good day, today is the big day! Well, maybe not THE big day... but we will *hopefully* (if the wee one cooperates) find out what the baby is!! I have had this appointment planned for WEEKS and have barely been able to contain my excitement... (just ask Jon... I have been reminding him several times a day) I'm trying not to get my hopes up, just in case the wee one does NOT cooperate (which would be my luck...) but it's not working very well.

I told Jon the other day that, according to the week-by-week guides, the baby is about 10 1/2 inches long. He didn't believe me. I told him s/he's all curled up. Still, no. Speaking of, if you see me soon, tell me you can tell I'm pregnant. It will make my day. (Though, a word of advice: saying "I don't really think your stomach is bigger, but your face looks chubby" is NEVER a good thing to say to a pregnant woman.) Seriously, folks, my clothes have not fit in 2 months. I'm pregnant. My belly is bigger. I swear.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Emma and Ayi Sara

Here are the promised pictures of Emma and me. Unfortunately, we waited until I was getting ready to leave to take the pictures, and Emma happened to be quite tired at that point. You can tell, though, that she's used to getting her picture taken, as she wasn't in a smiley mood, but was trying to put it on for the camera! :-)

















I actually like the left one- she looks so modest- "Nope! I'm not going to give you a kiss!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fun for Guard Kids!

I came across this really cool site today for Reserve & Guard families...

See, on an Installation, during deployment (and otherwise) there are a ton of activities to keep the kids of the soldiers occupied, having fun, and out of trouble- as I've said before, the sense of community and support is unparalleled.

Unfortunately, Reserve Component families deal with the same deployment without the added benefit of the military support, of being around people who are in the same situation as you. Just ask me. I did it for a year.

Anyway, this organization called Our Military Kids awards grants to families of deployed RC soldiers, allowing them to participate in some of the same activities other military kids do on post (sports, tutoring, fine arts, even driver's ed!). If you know any Guard or Reserve families, be sure to pass this on to them!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

OSC and PWOC

It is nights like tonight that I love being an Army wife- as evidenced by the acronyms of this post's title...

Tonight was the annual OSC/ESC (Officer/Enlisted Spouses Clubs) membership drive. The planners of the event are wise enough to lure people in with free stuff... it's like a community fair, with the addition of catered appetizers! PWOC had a booth, which I manned for 45 minutes- of course, there were those who took our free Hershey's truffles without giving me a sideways glance, but I did get to speak with several women who are interested in PWOC. And Ginger, one of the PWOC ladies, had her homemade candle booth set up back to back with ours, so I got to enjoy her as well (and...uh... purchase a pumpkin spice candle in great anticipation of the coming holiday season...). I was also able to connect with a couple women, such as Jon's new commander's wife- which is never a bad thing. After my shift was over, I sat down with a few friends (AND our fruit with chocolate fondue) and had a fun time- we were there until most of the booths were completely torn down!

Speaking of PWOC, our Fall Kick-Off was yesterday. It went wonderfully! We had 12 new women there, which was really encouraging. I'll admit, it does feel good to have it over with and be able to get into the groove of the weekly studies now. It really is a great group of women to work with- I'm so excited to see what happens in the next year!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Airport Spirituality

Home again, home again. I was dreading my return trip, but fortunately, it was not nearly the struggle as last week. My sister got up to take me to the airport at 4:30am, and I was safely in Savannah a mere 5 hours later!

Spending that much time in airports last week (close to 24 hours over 2 days) gave me a lot of time to think. On Monday, after not getting on 2 flights, I was getting nervous. I threw up a couple quick "God, help me on this plane!" prayers, though I actually felt a bit guilty, because I don't necessarily believe that God is in the business of making someone else miss his flight so I can get his seat (weird, I know...). I'll admit, they were half-hearted prayers.

I didn't get on the flight.

Next flight, two hours later. I was sitting at the gate, thinking. At this point, I had held it all together pretty well... but after not getting on 2 flights the day before, sleeping only four hours, and arriving at the airport at 7am only to not get on another 3 flights, by 4:30 I was starting to lose it. I felt myself falling apart inside. How much longer could I sit there?

Then, my old instincts started to kick in...

Maybe God is teaching me a lesson. Maybe he wants me to pray more sincerely, or... talk to someone... or... learn patience... or... something...

So I prayed. God, pleeeaaase let me on this flight. I was humble. I was sincere.

And I didn't get on the flight.

So what then?

Well, then I removed myself from my subjective desperation, making the shift from the overly emotional back to the cognitive, and reminded myself of what I actually believe...

That God is intimately involved in our lives on a daily basis, but that that involvement has more to do with guiding us in how we react in situations than it does getting him to "pull strings" for us- get me on this flight! help my headache to go away! don't let me run out of gas! (I saw somewhere online today that Calvinists shouldn't use the phrase "car accident" because it's contrary to their theological belief.)

Sure, God intervenes. Sometimes. When? That's for him to know, and us not to. What I do know is that I'm not going to attribute things to him that may not necessarily be his work.

I know, I know... I'm treading tricky water here. This raises a debate on the sovereignty of God that I have discussed with many people, from varying sides of the issue...

I believe God is sovereign, in absolute power. Omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. No qualms there. And yes, I know ALL the passages that point to his intervention (back in my Moody days, I could argue the point of absolute sovereignty with the best of 'em...). I believe those to be true. I believe the man in John really was born blind so that God's glory may be revealed. Why do I believe that? Jesus said so.

But does that mean that EVERY person who has EVER been born blind has been so for God's glory? I think they can glorify him in their reactions and attitudes- but in John, Jesus was talking about his ability and decision to supernaturally heal in that unique situation.

I digress- back to the airport...

It made me wonder... if I start behaving in a certain way after a minor pseudo-crisis, a mere inconvenience, what would I do when tragedy really does strike? How does that apply on a universal scale- what changes when hard times come?

I suppose that, on a personal level, Jon's deployment- and the peripheral marital stress it caused- was probably the "hardest" thing that has happened to me. And I have to say, it was at that time, the times of the most wondering and questioning, that I came to rest more than ever in the fact that God does not cause pain. Sin causes pain. Even more often, the indirect result of living in a fallen world causes pain. Why do we feel a "lesson" must be gleaned through every difficult event? I have known people who adamantly believe that God causes every thing to happen and we should never question him... and yet, the only way they get through hard times is by convincing themselves of some divine fortune cookie wisdom. Again, I need to caveat- God does indeed discipline his children; he certainly can and does interact with circumstances to teach us lessons. Sometimes. Again, I can't say when.

Why did I sit at the airport for two days last week? Because I made the decision to fly standby, and the flights were overbooked.

Or... maybe, the guy who had a ticket and made it on last minute just prayed harder than I did...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

And the curse shall be upon thy children, and thy children's children... (Or, Why I will never again fly standby)

When I was growing up, there was a perpetual joke that my family had been cursed by the vacation gods. From major car failure to Hurricane Opal, something always seemed to go wrong when we tried to leave the state.

I thought that, having gotten married and changing my last name, I would evade such fate.

No such luck.

I had decided to come up and see Emma Mei, my new niece from China. Amy, my sister-in-law, has a cousin who works for Delta and graciously allowed me to fly on her buddy pass (standby). Here was how my traveling went:

My plan was to leave Sunday at 4:45, hop on my connecting flight in Atlanta, and be in Grand Rapids by 9pm. That idea was WAY too good to be true. Well, the 4:45 flight- and the one before it- to ATL were canceled, which way overbooked the 6:20 flight. I finally left for ATL at about 8:30, getting there an hour later. Rocky & Carolyn were kind enough to come pick me up and let me crash with them for the night! Of course, I stayed up talking to Carolyn until 1:30, allowing me to get a whopping four hours of sleep before getting up to head to the airport early Monday morning. Long story short, I got there at 7am and finally flew out at 8:30, after trying to get on FIVE flights. (A couple GR flights I attempted to get on were overbooked and had standby lists of around twenty-five people. Yes. A 50-passenger plane had 79 people vying for the seats.) I then tried Lansing, Flint, and ended up going to Chicago. Jon's brother Ben came to get me and took me to his dad's house in St. Joe, and Amy came and got me Tuesday morning. So, my Sunday evening arrival turned into a Tuesday afternoon one. (of course, it prompted me to extend my stay, so itsallgood). I will say, I was pretty impressed with myself. I didn't cry at all on Sunday, and on Monday, other than a few brief tears, I didn't start to lose it until I had not made it onto 4 flights and I had been there for 10 hours. And, then, I DID start to lose it. Have you ever seen The Terminal? I suddenly understood.

That said, I'm having a great time! Emma is absolutely adorable! She is a smart girl who picks up on a lot. Whatever you say is liable to come out of her mouth... makes you think twice! :-) The shower went really well last night, and Jon's two sisters (one from Virginia) were able to be there as well. I'm going tonight to hang out with my family, though my parents weren't able to make it up.

Hopefully I'll be ably to fly under the radar (no pun intended) of the vacation gods on the way home...

Friday, August 03, 2007

At long last...

Today stinks.

Quite literally. There is a paper mill about a half hour away, and depending on the direction of the wind, its stench reaches our house. It seems to be this way especially after it rains, which it did all night. I'm sitting in the living room- not even outside- and it stinks. Blech.

On a much happier note, Jon was promoted this week! I have been waiting for him to post, but if you frequent his blog, well, you know there's not much reason to frequent his blog. Maybe tonight. We'll be sure to get some pictures up.

If you have talked to him about his rank, you understand the frustration... chaplains in the Active world (or Reserve, for that matter) are promoted from 1st Lieutenant to Captain within a few weeks to a few months (at the most) of graduating CHOBC (Chaplain School). This is because, in order to be an officer, you have to have a Bachelor's- but in order to be a chaplain, you have to have a Master's- since chaplains come into the Army with that education, they are quickly promoted... unless, of course, you are in the Georgia National Guard, in which case it takes a minimum of two years. Yes, I said a MINIMUM. Regardless of whether those two years are spent in drill time (working your civilian job and drilling with the Guard once a month) or in Active time (as in Jon's case), it's two years. This is particularly frustrating when you're activated, because people see you are a 1LT chaplain and assume you have JUST graduated CHOBC...

So, finally. FINALLY. He was up for promotion in March, but like everything in the Army, it takes a few months for it to work through the system. Tuesday morning, he called and said he had received a phone call that his promotion orders were in. Two hours later, we were pinning him! (well, with the new uniforms, it's more "velcroing" than "pinning"...) Yes, it is the wife's privilege to actually pin the new rank, while all the soldiers are standing at attention. There were probably about 25 people there (not bad considering it was so last minute- and DURING lunch...). His Brigade XO (who happened to also be his Battalion Commander in Iraq) gave a speech basically about how Jon is the best chaplain ever (what? biased? me?), which was actually quite moving.

I pinned him from 2LT to 1LT the day before he graduated CHOBC, which was 3 days before our wedding. Hopefully in a few years, we'll get rid of the Captain bars and put on the Major's golden maple leaf!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fall Festival


Alright, so I need your help. I'm beginning the brainstorming of this Fall Festival...

What carnival games did you like as a kid (or your kids like)? I'm trying to come up with ones for which I wouldn't have to build things such as a clown that you can throw bean bags through... think "laying around the house" or "Walmart." Here's my list so far:


face painting
painting mini pumpkins (ok, I admit... this is in itself the reason I'm doing this whole shindig...)
bucket bonanza
ring toss
duck pond
cake walk
moonwalk (the big inflatable bouncy thing... I can rent one from the post)
football throw

Any ideas??

Friday, July 27, 2007

Lions, Tigers, and Bears- goodbye!

It's over. It's been two months in waiting, postponed once, and now... finally... it is in the past.

Yesterday I took 37 Kids Church kids and adults to the Jacksonville Zoo. Because of a miscommunication, the bus was an hour late... but once we got there everyone had a great time. Though I have to say, I wasn't super impressed with the zoo. Of course, I don't think I have ever been super impressed by anything animal-related, so that's not saying a whole lot. I had four kids in my group, from 4 to about 8. I think Abigail, the 4-year-old, was the best part of the day! Her eyes got huge and she started jumping up and down every time she spotted an animal. "Look what I found! Look what I found!" she would yell, pulling on my arm. It was cute.

I'm planning a Fall Festival for October. I have decided I'm not much of a field trip person, what with permission slips and buses and such. But, a big party with painting miniature pumpkins, face painting, games, apple cider, donuts, and hot dogs? Now, that I can do!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

As American as Kimchi

If the heated controversy over illegal immigration has ever gotten to you, go over to Kimchi Mamas and read this humorous and touching story about a young girl helping her Korean mother become an American citizen... It's a good reminder of all the people who have followed the system and made the U.S. the wonderfully diverse place it is.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

a Day Off

Last weekend was long. Well, not so much for me... it was pretty much like every other day for me. Jon, on the other hand, was pulling triple duty. He was at work from 9am-8pm on Saturday (with a couple hours off in the afternoon), then pretty much the same on Sunday (leading three services and teaching one class). Suffice it to say he earned some comp time!


So, Tuesday we packed up two gallons of water, the camera, and sun block, and ventured down to St. Simon's Island in Brunswick. Here in Coastal Georgia, it's not like you can just drive to the coast and hit a beach. Instead, open water is protected by miles of marshland and small islands. Each island has its own flair and attraction.








On our way, we stopped by The World's Smallest Church... complete with the small church smell! It has six pews in it, enough to seat 12 people. It's open to visitors all day... on the sign-in sheet, we were the 17th visitor that day!















Our main point of interest at St. Simon's was Fort Frederica. This is really an amazing place. In the mid-18th century, it was a British protective fort against the Spaniards living just below in Florida. What is most amazing about it is that it was destroyed by a fire and has few remains. The historical society put street signs to mark where the roads probably were... a bit eerie to walk by the markings of each building, as though it's a cemetery of a city. At its prime, it housed nearly 1,000 soldiers, families, and businessmen.

Of course, we couldn't go to a coastal city and not have seafood! After checking out every restaurant in a several-block radius, we ended up at the second one we saw! And man, was it good! Fried seafood and homemade ice cream- can't get any better than that!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Curves, Cravings, and Clothes

As I wrote last time, I went to the doctor earlier this week to discuss how my scoliosis (three curves in my spine and uneven hip) could affect the pregnancy. The doctor literally apologized to me for making me drive over 2 hours round-trip for him to not be able to do anything. He looked at my xrays, looked at me, and said, "You'll probably have pain, but maybe not. If you do, take Tylenol. There really isn't anything else we can do." I just looked at him. Exercises? Shoes? Brace? (These were things my ob/gyn suggested) Nope. Probably a belly brace in the third trimester, but other than that, there's nothing anyone can do to prevent or help the pain. He was really nice and didn't make me feel dumb for being there or anything (unlike other doctors I have seen in the past), but it was still a disappointment! Ah well, at least I know...

Several people have asked me if I've craved anything. Yesterday I met several of the PWOC women at the park for lunch, and one of them even brought an extra pickle just in case! Though considerate, I enjoy dill pickles no more now than I did before. I have, however, eaten three whole watermelons (Jon doesn't like them) since I got pregnant. Craving? Eh, probably just that I love watermelon! (I literally chop it in half and grab a spoon!) My new thing is potato chips and dip. Again, I don't think it's a craving so much as it is that we NEVER have such things in the house, so it's quite a treat that I bought them!

Lastly, at 16 weeks, I am at that dreaded point where I am too big for my clothes, but too small for maternity. Thank goodness for pajama pants! :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Chaplaincy!

This month happens to be the 232nd anniversary of the Chaplain corp. That means that, as a corp, it has been in existence since before the signing of the Declaration of Independence... isn't that cool?

I mean, seriously. Before you knew "Chaplain Fisher," what was the image of chaplains in your mind? Yep. Me too. Father Mulcahy from M*A*S*H*. (There have been quite a few times when I tell people Jon is an Army Chaplain, and their response is, "Oh, like that guy from MASH!")

In actuality, in its 232 years of existence, many Chaplains have gone way above and beyond the call of duty, winning Congressional Medals of Honor. And if you're not familiar with the heroic story of The Four Chaplains, I would recommend taking the three minutes to read it.

Anyway, to "celebrate," we went bowling yesterday with all the Chaplains & Assistants here at Ft. Stewart. It was "mandatory fun" for the soldiers, so the wives came along for moral support! :-)

Wow, it's been a long time since I've bowled! I think the last time was the summer I was a cabin leader at Pine Ridge, right after I graduated from high school! And... my scores showed it... I got a 78 my first game, and a 37 the second... yeah... lots o' gutters that round...

In other news, I have a doctor's appointment on Monday to check out how my curvy back will affect the pregnancy and what we should do about it... I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Supporting Our Troops

NPR had an interesting story this morning regarding public opinion of our troops. It's very brief and an interesting listen. They surveyed random people at an airport, asking them what "supporting the troops" means, even if they are not in favor of the war. The responses are varied, though no one says that they don't support them.

To be honest, I'm not really sure what my answer to that question would be. I mean, you could always go to websites like anysoldier.com or adopt-a-chaplain.org if you don't personally know any troops, but want to mail them your appreciation in the form of letters or packages (this is actually a great thing to do, if you're looking!) There are also tons of organizations you could donate to that help military families, families of the fallen, troops who have gotten injured, those who are currently deployed, those who have returned... the list goes on and on...

But, short of that, the question still remains: What does it mean to "support the troops"?

I pose that question, because I'm a very literal person. I don't like vague statements that don't really mean anything, so I just wonder what everyone means by that. So what about you? Regardless of your feelings on the war, do you feel like you "support the troops"? What does that mean to you?

The Summer Blahs

Ugh! You thought the winter blahs were bad? I'm so sick of summer!

This past week or so, I have found myself longing (even more than normal) for crisp fall days. For caramel apples, bonfires, and sweaters.

I realized why.

It was as hot here in April as it is in Michigan in June. So, according to my internal body thermometer, it's about time for September. It's been warm long enough, summer should be wrapping itself up.

(today, it's 94, and according to weather.com, "feels like 104")

I opened a box yesterday, only to find my autumn decorations. *sigh*...

It didn't help any that last year when we were up north for the holidays, it was warm enough to wear a light jacket and keep the door open. At Thanksgiving AND Christmas. (of course, they were getting blizzards in April...)

It also doesn't help that I can't actually wear summer clothing. You see, down here they keep the air conditioning at ridiculously low temperatures... if I wear a short sleeved shirt (with JEANS, mind you), I have to bring a jacket because the buildings are too cold. By "buildings," I mean any structure other than my house. Church, stores, homes, everything (for example, the chapel is kept at 64; our house is at 78). It's almost unbearable. It's like an oven for the few seconds between my car and their door, but then I'm nice and comfy.

You know, as much as I loathe cold weather, one would think I would love summer.

To console myself, I've got Harry Connick, Jr.'s Christmas cd on right now...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Our Weekend...

Before...




During...




After!!!




Yes yes, after six long months of getting dizzy every time we walked into the kitchen or breakfast nook, we finally bit the bullet! It was a lot of work, but it was well worth it!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Ugh...

As you may know, I'm taking Women in Society in school right now. Suffice it to say I don't exactly see eye to eye with either the author of my textbook or my professor. But hey, that's ok. It has evoked much passion in me... well, pretty much just frustration... (I have to ask, are gender roles a BAD thing? Yes, I can admit they exist... is that WRONG? Anyway, I digress...)

Just frustration, until tonight. Tonight, for the first time, I read something I passionately agreed with. I was reading the chapter on Gender-based Violence for a paper due this weekend, when I stumbled across a term I was not familiar with: Double Victimization. Let me back up for a second... when I read in the essay assignment that we needed to cover this term, I figured it had something to do with the double standard of women being considered either too prudish or too easy, and nothing in between, creating the sexual double standard. Whatever. I don't think that's necessarily accurate, but whatever.

Until I read what the term actually means: It is when a woman is victimized in a crime, then again by the criminal justice system. (Backing up again, if you don't know my story, now would be a good time to read it here.)

I was amazed how much passion this ignited! I could feel my heart beating hurriedly as my fingers strove to type as quickly as I was thinking so I could express myself in my paper (fortunately, our professor looks for informal, self-reflective essays...) Those jerks! Those mean, creepy old men who were working for the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department!! How in the world are THEY going to tell me that I didn't "respond the way a woman in [my] situation would respond"?? How do they think that their "thirty years in the business" trumps my personal and horrific experience? What gave them the right to lecture me about how I had wasted their time and they really should be arresting me for "falsely reporting a crime"?? How... in the name of all that is right in this world... did they purposefully convince me that the man who was found by another officer- who MATCHED MY DESCRIPTION to the 911 dispatcher- was NOT the man who did this, and an hour later MAKE ME FEEL GUILTY for "ruining that innocent man's morning"??? And to top it all off, why did they think it was in any way appropriate to question my sanity??? (Try to hear this in a condescending, patronizing, sing-songy voice: "No, Sara, we don't think you're lying... we just don't think that what you said really happened...")

We found out later that, because of a nearby college campus, this particular department gets falsely reported rapes and other sexual assaults often (though, this does make me wonder if they were really falsely reported, or if these condescending and chauvinistic men made these women believe that it was actually consensual...??)

After my dad wrote an inflammatory letter to the sheriff's department, we did get an official apology and a visit by a personal representative of the sheriff (being the week of Christmas, the Sheriff- and the main detective, who is a believer, mind you- were on vacation...) But I have to wonder if those men ever were reprimanded for what they did to me?

Forget for a moment what the aggressor did. We all know what he did was wrong, and that the emotions that experience evokes are completely valid. But what about the fact that it put a serious distrust of our police force in the depths of my heart? What about the fact that now, the image that comes to my mind when someone says the words "Sheriff's Department" are not men and women protecting the peace and lawfulness of our society, but rather two men who, truth be told, make me feel worse about myself than the man who did this?

Don't get me wrong. I really appreciate our police force and all they do, and I certainly do not believe they are all corrupt- or chauvinistic. Jon's Chaplain Assistant's civilian job is a cop, and honestly, Sgt. Franklin has probably done more good in reconciling his occupation with "good" in my mind than anything. I don't hate cops.

That said, it infuriates me that those men got away with that. Hopefully, they have since retired and will not cause anyone else the pain they caused me.

Happy Day After Independence Day!

Ah yes, it's been a while. In the past week, I have begun three posts, and scratched them all. Why? Nothing interesting to say.

We had a lovely 4th yesterday. We slept in late, made smoothies for breakfast, and pretty much bummed around all day. We had a fantastic steak dinner, with mashed potatoes, sauteed onions, green peppers, & mushrooms, and garlic bread. I pointed out to Jon the steak juice mingling with butter grease pooling on our plates... that's a sight you don't often see in our house!! Last night was a far cry from steamed veggies and brown rice! :)

After dinner we washed the vehicles. Yes. I said WE. For the third time in my life. Once when Jon was gone, Josh got me to help him... you know... because he was washing MY truck... I helped Jon once before too. It's not exactly my favorite thing in the world, but it helps get the job done quicker, and hey, Jon folds all the clothes and sweeps most of the time, so I figure I should pitch in!

After that... and a walk to assuage our guilt... I made... a chocolate chip cookie pizza!!! My my... for any of you who have spent much time in Chicago, you are probably familiar with Lou Malnati's signature dessert: a huge chocolate chip cookie baked in a cast iron skillet, topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup. I passed on the whipped cream, but it was still pretty good! I have fantastic memories from Moody of going out for dessert with a couple friends, ordering the delectable chocolate mountain, all grabbing a spoon and digging in! I don't think Jon was nearly as excited as I was, but hey, itsallgood.

I have some other thoughts brewing... but for now, I leave you with lovely thoughts of food...