Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Sunday

I did something tonight I have not done for a LONG time: attended an after-evening-service fellowship dinner.

Now that I'm doing Kids Church, attending an evening service has become much more important. (Even though I still make it for the last 45 minutes or so of the Gospel Service after packing up Kids Church, it doesn't fulfill my need for what church should *feel* like.)

With Jon gone this week, I ventured out on my own to a local church here in Hinesville. I sat near the back, and about five minutes into the service I realized, when they all filed in late, that I had inadvertently sat in the teen section... when I looked across the auditorium and saw Misty, a new friend from PWOC, I took the opportunity to move.

After the service, she convinced me to stay for the Chili Dinner... and I'm glad I did! Okokok, so I didn't meet anyone new (other than a few people who smiled and shook my hand then promptly forgot I exist), but it was great getting to know Misty a little better. She hosted a get-together Friday night (PWOC has them monthly), and that was the first time I ever really got the chance to talk to her. This is their first Duty Station as well, and about 2 months after they got here her husband deployed. I'm looking forward to spending time with her!

And I have to admit... I'm a sucker for potlucks. I have always loved them... what can I say, I'm a casserole girl...

I also finished my first paper for my new class: American Social Problems. I can already tell this course will be WAY better than the last two...

btw... if you don't frequent it, check out my husband's blog- he just posted some picks of his trip to Vicksburg today!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

time to say goodbye

I began this morning yet another thing that has been on my "to do" list for a long time...

I am in the process of going through all my pictures from middle and high school. It is pretty interesting, looking at glimpses of the people and things I used to hold so dear.

I have quite literally forgotten that many of those people existed... and yet, I have hundreds of pictures of them.

Some of them I saved, of course. I have two friends from high school I still keep in touch with. Two. I kept ones of them.

I also kept a couple pictures from youth group days (probably because you've been reading, Derrick...)- those really were good times.

But you know what? The overwhelming majority of them I'm outright throwing away. I suppose everyone hits that point in life, the point that you realize all those adults that told you you wouldn't be friends forever were right. I maintain that I still have Sara and Beth... which is more than most people probably do.

I'll admit, it was harder to part with college pictures. Those friends were in the more recent past, and they also were a bigger part of shaping who I am... even still, I only saved a few of the group pictures...

And THEN... there were the letters... boxes of notes from junior high (though now they just skip the paper and text message each other...)

I have moved this stuff several times; not doing it again... so we now have a cleared-out spare room if you ever want to come see us!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm Here!!!

I am extremely happy right now.

Long story short, Jon has my laptop in Mississippi, because the power cord on his stopped working over the weekend... leaving me with a laptop that has no power and an iMac that sometimes works; sometimes doesn't.

I bought a new power cord online, but got impatient tonight and started fiddling around with the port and a straight pin... and got it working! Woohoo!! I have once again entered that beautiful web known as the internet.


I'm not sure life could get any better. Maybe I should eat an Oreo to celebrate.

On another note, I changed my name with the Social Security Administration yesterday. I read online that if you don't do it within 2 years of getting married, you need to provide "additional documentation"... and my 2nd anniversary is in 3 weeks... So not wanting to deal with that gave me the motivation I needed to head to Savannah to get it done. It feels good to check off your "to do" list something that has been hanging over your head for two years...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

random thoughts

We've had a good week.

We saw "300" the other night. It didn't end how I expected it to... shows how much I know...

Our neighbors took us to a great little restaurant called Mrs. Speed's Kitchen. It is (quite literally) in two single-wide trailers that have been (somehow) connected. The walls are that 70s brown paneling that made me feel like I was in some church basement... but the freshly caught shrimp and flounder were great!

I also bought a plane ticket to Michigan for the beginning of June... woohoo!!!

We watched "The End of the Spear" tonight- it is the story of the missionaries who were killed in the Ecuadorian jungle 50+ years ago. If you haven't seen it, you should. It is a good depiction of a familiar story, and is more quality than most Christian films tend to be.

Someone came to my site this past week from searching "house wife pics" in msn... who knew... (you can also, so I see, get here from "wwI normalcy" "your grace still amazes me" "dogface soldier" "until death do us part wow"...)

Why do I come up in searches in msn faster than google? Do any of you have any idea how that works?

That's all my tired train of thought can come up with for now... hopefully a more interesting post will follow soon...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Who Knew?

Apparently, so I hear, it's basketball season again.

I was invited to participate in two brackets- one with my old work and one with my family -but I wasn't sure I wanted to break my rocking awesome winning streak from last year (okokok, so the ONLY time I won- or participated- was last year...). I bit the bullet, though, and guessed primarily on seed.

So have any of you ever heard of some place called Old Dominion?

There were actually about 6 or 7 teams I had never heard of... I didn't pick those teams.

I am certainly not going to be trash talking, because I don't want it to bite me.

I will just remind you all- especially Josh, Chris, Ken, and Derek- the feelings of utter defeat and loss that they felt last year...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Weekend in Numbers

Minutes we drove around on Friday before stumbling across something to do: approx. 30

Number of times we marveled at the amazing beauty on our walk through the woods (more like jungle) in South Georgia (what we stumbled upon): too many to count

Episodes of "Into the West" watched: 2

Trips to Walmart yesterday for yard supplies: 2

Hours it took to rake the yard: 2.5

Hours it SEEMED it took to rake the yard: 11

Trash bags now filled with leaves: 13
Gallons in each bag: 29
Total gallons of leaves now NOT strewn about our backyard: 377

Times I have previously raked in my whole life: 1 (though, admittedly it was at a youth group function and, truth be told, I probably wasn't the *most* helpful...)

Times I reminded Jon that I have never done anything like this before and/or told him it is *not* my favorite thing: approx. 8

Number of times I felt like giving up: approx. 8

Number of times I actually gave up: 0!! (though, there were a few "breaks"...)

Trip to the theater to see "The 300": 1

Times I saw "The 300": 0 (sold out)

Times I was glad I am no longer a teenager, as they were running, yelling, and cutting in line: too many to count

Time I went to bed last night: 10:00

Time I remembered to change the alarm clock to the new time: 10:15

Times my stomach decided all on its own to "cleanse" itself in the middle of the night: 4

Age I was when my stomach last decided all on its own to "cleanse" itself: 11

Time I got out of bed: 11:00 (the old 10:00)

Naps I have taken today: 3

Temperature outside when I sat on the deck for fresh air: approx. 75 degrees

Times I have desired to relive this weekend: 0

Friday, March 09, 2007

First of many, I'm sure...

I had another military first yesterday: the Spiritual Fitness Luncheon (formerly the Prayer Breakfast)

Jon described it as a "military potluck"- except, instead of endless (delicious) pasta dishes, green bean casserole, and jello desserts as far as the eye can see, it was catered: roasted chicken, vegetables, and beef stroganoff. The head table was full of area pastors and leaders. Anyone there who wasn't garbed in ACUs (the new digital cammo) was quite dressed up (boy, was I glad I decided last minute to wear a casual skirt instead of jeans!)

There were about 500 people attending, mostly soldiers. The special speaker was Mark Richt, the University of Georgia head football coach. He spoke of going into battle- whether on the football field or the sandbox- and the things necessary for success- the biggest of which is spiritual readiness. I thought he did a good job of emphasizing that football doesn't come close to being the same as the Army, while drawing in the comparisons.

I think the most moving part of the ceremony was when a young soldier sang "It is Well." The 6 people sitting at the table with Jon and me are all deploying next week... as are many of the other soldiers who were there (nothing makes you want to be "spiritually fit" like an imminent trip to a combat zone...). Keep these men and women in your prayer.

On a lighter note, my personal favorite part of the ceremony was right before the benediction, when all the soldiers joined together to sing the Ft. Stewart song- "Dogface Soldier" (lyrics follow, click here to hear Ft. Stewart soldiers sing it!). I think it's because my first encounter with soldiers singing was at my brother's boot camp graduation- ever since then, it just cracks me up... probably because my brother isn't one who exactly sings for fun, yet there he was in chorus with all of his fellow graduates. Soldiers singing is always fun for me.

I wouldn't give a bean
To be a fancy-pants Marine;
I'd rather be a Dogface Soldier like I am.
I wouldn't trade my old O.D.'s
For all the Navy's dungarees,
For I'm the walking pride of Uncle Sam.
On all the posters that I read it says,
"Be all that you can!"
So they're tearing me down to build me over again.
I'm just a Dogface Soldier
With a rifle on my shoulder,
And I eat raw meat for breakfast every day.
So feed me ammunition,
Keep me in the Third Division,
Your Dogfaced Soldier's A-Okay!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A further explanation...

Due to an unexpected amount of interest in the subject, allow me to quote from the earlier-mentioned book: The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How eating together makes us smarter, stronger, healthier, and happier by Miriam Weinstein. If you have been participating in this conversation, I think it explains my view. If not, still read it! It is all about how knowing your family heritage can help a child succeed. I have added the boldness for emphasis. The Duke that is talked about is Marshall Duke, a clinical psychologist at Emory University.

"In recent years, psychologists have been paying increased attention to what might be called the bad things happen model of life. Instead of concentrating only on pathology, they are looking to understand its opposite -- how some people suffer tragedy and trauma, and yet go on to do quite well. Their goal is to build this resilience into children. Or as Duke puts it, 'to deal with what's in this life.'

Based on his clinical work, Duke had a sense that kids who knew more about their family background tended to be more resilient. This notion that we get strength from our family ties, from our antecedents, flies in the face of our peculiarly American celebration of self-invention. It is also out of step with the way that we Americans structure our families. Because we count the family as the nuclear, child-rearing unit, we create families whose goal is to self-destruct. We define successful off-springs as those who move out and away. Extended families almost never share homes or businesses, and the leisure time we spend together is often quite limited and formal.

Duke wanted to study whether a child's rootedness in his family contributed to his stability and resilience. So, along with colleagues at Marial, the Emory-based multidisciplinary organization that studies middle-class working families, he looked into how children learned about family lore... at the dinner table.

Beginning in 2001, Duke and his colleagues arranged for the members of forty-two families, each of whom had a child between nine and thirteen years old, to remember and discuss a negative and a positive past event, which were recorded. The families also recorded two dinnertime conversations. In addition, the parents were asked to tell stories about their families. But when they did, all was not sweetness and light. Duke says, 'They told horrible stories about bankruptcies, losing jobs, having to move, accidents; one family talked about a murder.'

But Duke pulls back to consider the context. 'You have to look at where they're telling about it. They're in the safety of their own home. The message is: Terrible things have happened, but we're okay, the family survives. We're thinking it gives the kids grounding, a sense of place, a sense of context.' And he goes on: 'Kids find heroes in their own family.'...

When the group wrote a working paper about their research, they called it Of Ketchup and Kin: Dinnertime Conversations as a Major Source of Family Knowledge, Family Adjustment, and Family Resilience.

The authors, whom I'll call the Ketchup Group, measured the kids in the study according to several standardized psychological tests. They found that the more kids knew about their families, the better they measured up. So those ridiculous stories, as well as the more serious ones, might actually have some value. As the Ketchup Group wrote, 'These give-and-take interactions go beyond influencing memories for the events; they encourage perspective-taking, critical thinking, theory-building, and relationship roles within the family... We propose that family narratives contribute to the current well-being an psychological immunity of its individual members.'

That is, we are our stories. Hearing the family tales again and again over time anchors our sense of who we are, and gives us a feeling of belonging and hope."

Well said.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Favorite Things #3

I just discovered a new favorite thing: Pearled Barley.

I had only had it before in soups and stews... but it is really good on its own! I am, admittedly, a carb girl- give me pasta, bread, and rice! I was raised having (and am continuing the tradition of having :) pasta or rice at almost every meal... but sometimes I want something different- that's why barley is great! It is almost like brown rice, but creamier- like pasta. I made it last night with chicken stock instead of water, and folded in basil, parsley, and thyme at the end.

I also cut up some carrots, mixed with olive oil and rosemary, and roasted them in the oven- the sugar extracted from the carrots glazed them with a sweet coating- they were delicious!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road... and I'll be in Scotland afore ye...

Today I breathed a sigh of relief.

Because we have been out of town all week, I had to take the final exam for both of my classes this morning... suffice it to say that last night wasn't happy. But, I think I did pretty well. I am quite confident, actually. I finished the first in 25 minutes and the second in an hour and 15. Could I have done better? Of course. Do I really care? Not really.

One of the essay questions I had to answer is why knowing a nation's history is important to its citizens. I am absolutely fascinated with this subject. My brother posed the same question to me earlier this week in another context. Why should we be proud of our Scotch-Irish heritage? he asked.

I am very proud to be Scotch-Irish- and I intend to find out more about them... just think- it may have been my ancestors that were monks who preserved the written word during the Dark Ages! It may have been them who sat under St. Patrick (my mom's maiden name is actually McCool) and spread Christianity on the island. The Lennoxes (Jon's mom's maiden name) were descendants of the Stuart Kings- the castle they owned (this picture was taken by Jon's brother Ben) is still there today- near Loch Lomond in Scotland. I find this fascinating!

I read a book last year called The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How eating together makes us stronger, smarter, healthier, and happier. In it, the author related a conversation she had had with a colleague who was a college professor. He had done a study on his students and found that those who knew thier family's heritage- recent and ancient- seemed to have more success in school and beyond.

The book asserted, and I agree, that knowing what "your people" have been through- whether it is the trials of the ancient celts, the journey from the isles to America, or the stories of my grandparents in the Great Depression, this connection to the past empowers people to have the strength to succeed.

Keep in mind this is not always a cognitive decision. When faced with a hard time, I don't think, "Wait a minute! I have ancestors who survived the Potato Famine- I can get through this!" No. I don't.

I do think, though, that the subconscious knowledge of what your family- or nation- has been through can positively affect an individual.

Jon and I have begun compiling information we know so that, someday, we can pass it on to our kids- the book suggests that the dinner table is a great means for that.

What do you think? Do you feel a connection to your past? Is passing family history on to your children important to you?

And an even more pressing question: Do you want to buy a used Western Civilization book?