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


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!