Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Our Weekend

Rocky and Carolyn, some good friends from Fayetteville, visited us for Memorial Day weekend. We had a great time! On Sunday we toured Savannah, including a historical bus tour. Okokok, so I know it sounds corny, but really, I thought it was quite fascinating. Savannah has such a rich history that such things are informative and interesting. We followed it up with a progressive dinner- appetizers at one place, dinner at another, and topped it off with dessert... now that's the way to see a city! (btw- the pictures were taken AFTER dessert, after a long day of walking around the city...)

On Monday we toured the Warrior's Walk at Ft. Stewart- you can read about it at my husband's site. After a great steak dinner, we sent them on their way and spent the rest of the evening recovering from a busy weekend! (Man, I must be getting old... this used to be par for the course...)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Drive-In

I had a brand new experience Friday night... Jon and I went to a drive-in theater to see Pirates 3. We bundled up, loaded the cooler and the snack bag (complete with our own popcorn :-), grabbed some blankets and pillows, and drove away! It was like going on a picnic, with the added bonus of a movie! Oh, it was glorious. We set up all our goods in the back of the truck and settled in for the movie. Like all Pirates movies, it was a wee bit long and there were holes in the plotline that leave you wondering... but all in all, we enjoyed it. (Though I will say, the ending was NOT what I was expecting!)

Anyway- neither of us had ever been to a drive-in, but we will definitely be repeating the excursion... it was almost a nostalgic feeling, I think because it reminds me of going to see the fireworks in Grand Rapids on July 4th when I was growing up. It was great!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy Lost Day!

Two hour finale tonight!

Unfortunately, we have to wait another 8 months before season 4 begins...

I absolutely love this show, but I get frustrated with it week after week... knowing that tonight will raise a million more questions than it answers... *sigh*...

Oh well- I suppose I must just admit that I am one of the millions of people who have gotten sucked in and can't get out...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Anyone wanna move here and help? :-)

I have two words for you:

Seventy-four children.

That's how many we had at Kids Church yesterday. 74.

We normally average around 50, but since we didn't meet last week, I expected around 30-35 (I hear it always drops after an off week, which held true the week after Easter).

Fortunately, I had four volunteers. A whopping four. Two of whom had never been there before yesterday, so were completely clueless (though I will say they did a great job jumping in for crowd control- one even taught a class!), and the rest of us were too busy to show them the ropes. (2 weeks ago, NO volunteers showed up- not one... I had to call 2 friends to fill in last minute, and I'm glad I did- there were 60 kids that week...)

I came home and crashed, thinking of ways the whole program can run more efficiently. It was really designed for 30-40 kids, so this is just way too many, and becomes super chaotic with that many kids. Of course, it's a great problem to have- but one that will need resolving right quickly!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Update on the AC

To answer your questions, yes, my dad had me look at the breaker as well as the unit outside. But, he told me to look for a handle... my neighbor explained to me last night that these units have a small little button (more like a piece of metal covered in rubber) near the bottom- if she hadn't told me what to specifically look for, I never would have seen it or known it actually did anything. Apparently it just needed to be reset or something- but now it works! (Thanks, Kim!)

It's only 75 in here today, though, so after it started working I set it on 80- we should be good now!

Smoke and Water

Many of you have asked if we're near the fires. Well, it depends on how you define "near"- the fires aren't super close to us (probably about an hour away), but this morning when I woke up the smoke was so bad I was convinced someone was having a bonfire in my living room. We're in official drought here- it needs to rain!

On another note...

Yesterday was the installation ceremony for the new board at PWOC. (The new executive board is pictured to the right) I wasn't quite sure what to expect (though we did have step-by-step instructions kindly printed out for us, as well as a rehearsal the day prior). It was quite an emotional day for many of the ladies.

Many installations (especially heavily-deploying ones like Ft. Stewart) will go through cycles of mass turnover. Last summer, many many people PCSed (moved) out, and many many PCSed in. Because of that, the ONLY ladies who attend PWOC now who were here 12 months ago are the retired ones. When the new crop of ladies began attending last fall, there wasn't a whole lot of direction. Tammy (the outgoing president) stepped up, and others filled in the other positions. With help from the ladies who have been here for 20 years, this chapter of PWOC began to grow once again. It's been a long and hard road for them, though- so passing the baton yesterday was filled with mixed emotions of sorrow... and relief!

After we all said our "vows," the outgoing board washed the hands of the incoming, then we invited all the ladies up who wanted their hands to be washed by us, the incoming. Up until that point, the ceremony hadn't been emotional for me- unlike others, it was the beginning of the road for me, not the end. But during that handwashing, "How Beautiful" was playing in the background, and I was struck with an overwhelming feeling. The washing was purely symbolic- but how symbolic it is! To be washed by the outgoing president and VP of spiritual life was humbling, as they were preparing me for the task ahead. Then washing the hands of other ladies who had come forward was a good reminder to me that the reason I am doing this is for them, not for my own agenda. (It's all about servant leadership, right, Steve? ;)

Then, after it was all over and we headed off to our board meeting, it hit me- this is it! It's one thing to say, "Oh, sure, I'll be the president next year..." It's another thing to have someone hand you binders and folders full of information because YOU are the one that now needs it... (I mean, come on- in what church's women's ministry are there 386 pages of guidelines and bylaws??)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Playin it Cool

Until yesterday, we hadn't yet turned on the air conditioner in the house. (And we were darn proud of it!) It had gotten up to 80 inside (while it was 90 outside), but that was tolerable (heck, if I could justify spending the money, I'd have my house at 80 in the winter!)

But yesterday, when it got up to 82 in here, I thought, "Ok, that's it- I'll succumb to the heat and turn on the AC."

Weird thing- I didn't feel any air coming out of the vents.

It was closing in on evening by that point, though, so it got cooler anyway. You know, all the way down to 76.

Then today, I had had enough. I turned on the AC again, hoping that maybe I was just losing it from heat exhaustion yesterday when I thought I couldn't feel anything.

Nope. Still nothing.

In fact, it got HOTTER inside! I could hear the fan (or... some... loud... fanlike noise... coming from the closet...), but feel no air. Finally, I called my dad, who led me through what should be happening.

We have a problem.

Not sure yet what it is, but what we DO conclusively know is that the outside air-conditioner-unit thing (how had I never noticed a 3' by 3' by 2' box sitting in my yard?) was not running. No noise; the blades on the fan were not even attempting to move.

I'll have to call the repairman tomorrow.

The worst part is that now, knowing the AC doesn't work, it feels so much hotter in here! :(

Monday, May 14, 2007

Oh the weather outside is...

Ah yes. Nothing like 90 degree weather to get one in the holiday spirit.

No, I'm not talking about Dance Like A Chicken Day, although that does happen to be today.

Nope, I'm talking about my favorite time of year- that period from Halloween (including the preceeding pumpkin carving) through New Year's. I have been listening to Christmas music (only when Jonathan is NOT home), and I am even presently watching a Christmas movie. I stared longingly today at a photo of autumn leaves.

It all gives me the warm fuzzies- why reserve that for two months a year?

Plus, since I seem to have come down with a cold, it seems fitting...

Friday, May 11, 2007

My take on military spouses

In honor of the aforementioned presidential holiday, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the matter. My husband touched on it briefly earlier this week, and I'll explain a little more.

What makes a happy military spouse? One who has, as Jon pointed out, "bought the lifestyle." Let me back up and give you some of our story for those of you who don't know it...

When I first got to know Jon, he was a soldier. I was really the first person who entered into his life in this context, and I loved the fact that he was in the Army. When our relationship began getting more serious, I was looking forward to a life in the military- however, I had an incredibly distorted view of what that life was like. Though my brother had served when I was in high school, the Army remained this vast... unknown... to me, a 20 year career in the military meant about 3 deployments- one every 6 or 7 years. And really, in the "Old Army" (that before 2001), that was not uncommon. Though there were short separations, they were (with some exceptions, depending on his job) few and far between. Now, however, it's a different story. The military life is plagued with deployments- 15 months gone, 12 months home, 15 months gone, 12 months home...

It's hard.

Getting back to our story... as most of you know, he deployed with the National Guard only a couple weeks after our wedding. The whole time he was gone, "the plan" was to go Active Duty as soon as he redeployed (got back to the States). However, for reasons out of our control, that didn't happen when we thought it would, last April. Deep down, I was glad. To be married only 10 days before sending your husband off to war is filled with emotions that those who have never been through it simply don't understand, and those who have understand all too well. There is doubt, uncertainty, fears (both rational and irrational), resentment, anger, and frustration.

Needless to say, by the time the opportunity to go Active came around again in June, I was happy to have my husband by my side and didn't want that ever to change. While he wasn't sure which path to take in life, I was! Out of love toward me he did what I wanted and withdrew his name.

We moved down to Georgia and both taught at the school he was at before he deployed. It was a great time in our marriage, and I will always look back at Fayetteville with fondness. We needed that time together. But, I know Jon. As I've often been told by other spouses, once the military is in their blood, it doesn't leave. This was true for Jon. While he enjoyed being back in the classroom and loved the students, his heart was with the soldiers. Unfortunately, mine wasn't!

Then, something started to change. In September, we went to a ball for his battalion. While there, we were talking with his former Battalion Commander, who told Jon of a mission called "Operation Warrior Training" that he was working with, and that he would love for Jon to come be a chaplain there! Jon kindly smiled and thought nothing more of it.

I thought about it hard for a couple weeks. I knew that if I gave him any indication that I was willing to go back to the Army, that would be it. The decision would be made. Was I ready for that?

I decided I was. Our relationship was at a point that I knew I was more important to him than the Army, and I knew that more deployments wouldn't change that. I knew I could share him with Uncle Sam.

So, I told him. He was taken aback at first- he didn't want to believe me until he knew I was serious!

And now, I realize it was the best decision we could have made. I tell you that whole story to put it in perspective for some of you. As he said in his post, this decision to be military is one we made together. Sure, there are bad things. Downright awful things. But you know what? You'd be hard pressed to find a job that had NO shortcomings! It's all a matter of priorities, and what shortcomings you are willing to put up with to do the job you love.

I began this post with saying that the key to being a happy military spouse is "buying the lifestyle." And once you do, it's great! For me, it's PWOC. That is how I have chosen to get involved- it was first something to do, quickly became my social network, and is now also my ministry. There are tons of other clubs and groups on an installation- anything you want to be involved in! And the family support is unlike you would get anywhere else- you just have to be willing to do the research to find the resources you need. I know some pretty miserable spouses- and they make their husbands miserable. The reason is that they only see the negative things about the Army, not the amazing camaraderie and benefits. (if you want just a glimpse of what is out there for spouses, go to and browse...)

The military is not only a job, something to pay the bills. It runs through your blood and gives you a sense of pride that you have never felt before. It is a way of life, and the only way to enjoy it is to view it as such.

So yes, it's hard. It brings challenges and frustrations not known in any other context. But those things are countered with immense joys... each difficult goodbye makes the coming reunion that much sweeter.

You have to choose it. Together.

Happy Military Spouse Day!

It's official. President Bush declared today "Military Spouse Day"- so give that military spouse in your life a big hug of appreciation!

On that note, many women in PWOC said goodbye to their husbands earlier this week- many for the third time since GWOT began. As always, keep them in your prayers...

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation
America's military spouses inspire our Nation with their sense of duty and deep devotion to our country. On Military Spouse Day, we honor the husbands and wives of those who wear the uniform of the Armed Forces of the United States.

The husbands and wives of our service members have made significant sacrifices for freedom's cause, and they are an integral part of the success of our Armed Forces. Spouses may endure long periods of separation and frequent relocations, and they often set aside their own personal and professional ambitions for the benefit of their family and the Nation. Despite tremendous personal challenges, military spouses maintain everyday life for their families here at home, while sending love, prayers, encouraging words, and care packages to their loved ones stationed around the globe.

On behalf of a grateful Nation, we salute our Nation's military spouses. For ways to support our troops, their spouses, and their families, visit

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 11, 2007, as Military Spouse Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities and by expressing their gratitude to the husbands and wives of those serving in the United States Armed Forces.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Good Times

We went to Grace's "Non-Prom Banquet" last week- it was a great time! It was at the Sundial restaurant in Atlanta, and we ate on the 72nd floor with windows all around. It was so good to see some of our students again (Hannah, a graduating senior, is in the pic with me). Dinner was heavenly... I even ordered the steak (instead of chicken), and the dessert was a delicious chocolate mousse cake. We sat with some students that hold special places in our hearts, then we hung out with some of the other teachers afterward!

We're sorry we won't be able to make it to graduation... this is the first graduating class at Grace, and it is special especially to Jon, since he was there at the beginning. We pray the best for these kids as they venture out to their places in the wide wide world...

Lest you think I'm turning liberal...

I am studying for my American Social Problems final right now. Can I tell you how much this book frustrates me? It is written with an incredible liberal slant! Any time the current President is mentioned, it is quickly followed up with an explanation of how he is wrong- SEVERAL times throughout the book! Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives is brutally attacked, while every other governmental policy on poverty and aid is left untouched. I understand that the authors may not feel that FBI is best, but is a college textbook the place for that? They even slammed him for getting into Yale on his family connections, because he doesn't support affirmative action but was a recipeient of it. I think the authors of this book forget that the government did not have a policy in force to REQUIRE Yale to let him in. Ugh.

It also manipulates statistics. Here's one example: The text pointed out how 73% of characters on prime time network television shows are white- what an outrage! However, in doing research for the subsequent paper on racism I had to write, I realized that 74% of Americans ARE white! Is that racism, or simply an adequate representation?

I suppose that being a sociology major I'm asking for it...

ETA: I just read that what matters is not whether you are male or female, but where you individually choose to live on the "gender continuum"...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dear Anonymous,

If you hate what I have to say that much, please refrain from commenting. If the thought of a husband doing loving things for his wife makes you ill, please keep that to yourself. Or, at the very least, instead of remaining anonymous, be brave enough to leave your name with an intelligent reason of why you disagree. I don't personally like anonymous comments to begin with, and what you wrote begged to be deleted.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Lessons Learned

I have many things I would like to write about, and a few posts will be coming in the next few days about my week!

But for now, I want to write about my husband.

He is absolutely wonderful.

Let me explain.

He not only listens to me, shows affection to me, and is altogether kind to me, but he also does things to make me feel special.

When I took my finals earlier this spring, I came home to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and milk! (and if you know Jon, you know that while he is a fantastic cook, baking isn't high on his priority list...)

We got home late last night, and to celebrate him doing well on his PT (physical training) Test on Friday, we decided to order pizza (after having eaten very healthy foods for the past couple weeks...)

I went out to pick it up, and when I pulled in the driveway, he met me at the door, wearing khakis and a collared shirt. That's when I knew he was up to something.

As I got closer to the house, I could hear Nora Jones playing in the background, and he led me into the dining room.

He had changed the tablecloth, lit candles, and set out the fine china.

For our pizza.

He said he wanted to make me smile.

I write this not because last night was anything unique- in fact, quite the opposite.
Having a husband who goes out of his way to do things (even small things like bringing me chocolate when he returns from a trip) just to make me happy is an indescribable feeling.

The very first night we talked, two and a half years ago, he had just gotten done taking a marriage & family counseling course at seminary. I remember him speaking about how he was determined that the key to a happy marriage is waking up every day and thinking of something nice to do for your spouse- and do it!

We didn't even know we would date then, much less get married.

But you know what? I have met countless couples who have been married longer than I've been alive who haven't seemed to realize this yet.

What is your spouse's love language? (words of affirmation; quality time; gifts; acts of kindness; physical affection- though I am CONVINCED that food is a separate love language...)

Speak it to him or her, even if it's not the language you prefer to use.

That is my challenge to you: whether you have been married one week or fifty years, do one thing today to make your spouse feel special. To make him or her smile.

Not married? Do something kind for a friend- putting others before yourself is the key to any healthy relationship; not just marriage.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

technical difficulties

Comments are again allowed! Sorry for the confusion...

We're at Ft. Jackson in South Carolina this week for a conference. I just burned my finger quite badly on the coffee pot.

Anyway, read yesterday's post and tell me what you think! :-)