Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Clearly Gray

We had a very interesting discussion at PWOC last week. A few weeks ago, I asked if anyone had any questions/ topics they'd like to discuss. We had just had a conversation that day about baby dedication, and one of the ladies asked what a baby dedication is- why wouldn't you just baptize? So, needless to say, baptism was on everyone's mind.

Being an all-protestant group presents some unique challenges. At no local church (at least that I've ever been a part of) would a group have such varying backgrounds and beliefs. We are very conscious to respect everyone's faith traditions, and I think sometimes that clouds what the Bible says. We tend to focus so much on our commonalities that we avoid our differences.

I think it's important, though, to focus on our commonalities... and discuss our differences. This is a very tricky and blurred line. What is appropriate for me to "teach"? I have had to pull back my presuppositions as much as possible, and look at the Bible for what it says- not viewed through the lens that I have always looked at it with. It is so important to not dogmatically teach views that truly aren't so black-and-white in Scripture. The difficulty is when it comes to things I believe ARE black-and-white, but not everyone agrees. If I were in a local church, it would be easy. But in this setting, where it is right and appropriate to respect and allow other beliefs... not so much.

So, in beginning the conversation on Thursday, I made that caveat. Obviously, my beliefs were going to come out. But those who had different opinions shared theirs as well. I also spoke about how there are things that I believe and KNOW to be true from the Bible, and there are things that I believe, based on scriptural evidence, but the Bible is factually unclear. Those things I believe, but hold more loosely.

For the study, I had several passages that talk about baptism, we split up into groups and sought to answer:

WHAT is the purpose of baptism?
WHY get baptized?
WHO should get baptized?
WHEN should they get baptized?
HOW should they get baptized?

I was afraid these questions would be too ambiguous (my brother calls them "Guess what I'm thinking" questions) - but I was very impressed with how well everyone was able to glean and learn from their own reading. That's really one of my goals this year. I think it is SO important for Christians to be empowered to read the Word on their own, but all too often they feel that they are unable to know its meaning and instead rely solely on others.

I was also afraid they wouldn't really get into it, that it would be too boring. Anything but! We discussed this for over an hour, and almost everyone spoke up at some point! One woman said she was so glad to study it, because her pre-teen stepdaughter had been asking her just the night before about if baptism makes a person saved and if not, why do it. The woman knew what she believed, but wasn't really sure what the Bible says.

It gave me a lot of confidence that we can dive into some deeper issues this year. Everyone is yearning to learn - what a great place to be!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Training her up in the way she should go...

So it's been a while since I've posted pictures of Sophie. Like I said before, I haven't been as diligent about taking them, much less uploading them. But, I know she has grandparents and aunts & uncles who need a fix, so here you are! In these videos, she "crawls," eats, laughs, and claps. But mostly it's just Sophie. Nothing out of the ordinary- just a day with Sophie. Also, since these videos were taken she has learned to use a sippy cup (mostly) on her own and can crawl from room to room without me noticing, if I'm not paying attention! Enjoy! :-) (ETA- for some reason I can't get rid of the double-video. The 2nd & 4th videos of her crawling are the same- sorry!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weekend of 603d

My pumpkin candle is lit, and I'm eating carrot-sweet potato-ginger-lentil soup. The windows are open, because it's in the 70s. Aah, fall.

We had a great weekend- albeit incredibly busy! Friday evening we had a farewell dinner for Jon's Commander. That basically entails an hour of mingling, a nice dinner (it was at an Irish pub instead of the typical roasted chicken-beef stroganoff meal we're used to having at these events!), followed by another hour of speeches and gift-giving. It was cool to meet some of the spouses of the guys Jon deployed with, but I could do without the hour of speeches...

After that we went out with Aaron & Jenny. Aaron was Jon's roommate in Iraq, and Jenny and I also became good friends while they were deployed. They're leaving in a few short weeks to go to their next duty station- sad to see them go!

Saturday was the battalion "Welcome Home Party"- basically a 5-hour long picnic. It was pretty fun. Jon got to push Sophie on the swing which she LOVED!! She had been on one before, but not since we were up north over the summer, and never with Daddy! Somehow everything is just more fun with Dad around...

Sunday after church we headed over to Aaron & Jenny's- Jenny & I went to the Commander's wife's farewell with the spouses (Aaron and Jon stayed with the kids- I could get used to that! ;-). Another chance to talk and eat food- gotta love it! I think the chocolate chip cookie dough cheese ball was the highlight, but maybe that's just me... Dawn went out of her way to make me feel welcome in the unit, even joining in the middle of the deployment, and I appreciated her a lot. She has a son about 6 months older than Sophie, so it has been fun to watch the kids grow! It was great to get together with all these spouses one last time, as many of them will be leaving soon... only in the Army are you one of the "old hats" after 6 months in a place! :-) We came back, made homemade pizza, and hung out past Sophie's bedtime... again...

Anyway, that was our weekend. Lots of fun!

As soon as I can find my camera cord I'll be posting some pictures of Soph... now that Jon is home, I'm not so diligent about taking and uploading pics. The fact that I haven't been able to locate my battery charger since Michigan might just play into that too...

Ok, much to catch up on- later!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Good day.

What a great day yesterday!!

We had our PWOC Kick-Off- I couldn't have asked for it to go more smoothly! We had 24 women there! (To put it in context, the first time I attended 3 months ago there were 5...) 7 of them were brand new! I know numbers aren't everything, but it was very encouraging. I think the most encouraging part was that 5 of the 7 came because a friend invited them- that is awesome!

One thing that really struck me yesterday was how much of a group atmosphere we have. We had six ladies come out on Wednesday to help set up, and everyone (who wasn't new) pitched in in some way yesterday. Really, I did very little. They work together so well and will do anything they can to help out. I think, too, that since it's a smaller group, there is more ownership- they know there isn't "someone else" to do what needs to be done.

I left there (after 45 minutes of clean-up, of course- but again, we had about 10 people there to help clean up!) and went to Jon's office to see what he was up to. He showed me a newspaper article- "Wanna go?" he said. I looked down to see that Indelible Grace was in concert near Savannah!

What? You've never heard of them? You obviously haven't been reading my blog for long! :-) IG is a collection of various singers (including Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, and Andrew Osenga of Caedmon's Call fame) who write new music for old hymns. Like any music, some songs are great, some not so much- but all in all they're probably my favorite group. Matthew Smith was the only singer at the concert last night.

We really had a great time. Sophie danced away- it was really cute! I was able to get a little video of it (before she saw me with the camera), so I'll have to post that later.

Ok, much to do- busy weekend ahead of us- have a great day!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Remember how I complained yesterday? Today's "true" high is 93- heat index of 103. Sheesh.

Mon, September 15
Time Condition Feels
Mostly Sunny
95°F 20% 74°F 65%

Mostly Sunny
98°F 20% 74°F 61%
Mostly Sunny
99°F 20% 73°F 57%
Mostly Sunny
100°F 20% 73°F 55%
Mostly Sunny
102°F 20% 73°F 54%
Evening Commute
103°F 20% 73°F 52%
102°F 20% 73°F 54%
98°F 20% 74°F 61%
Partly Cloudy
94°F 20% 74°F 67%

Saturday, September 13, 2008

At least I have a pumpkin candle.

Fall is finally here!

Though you wouldn't know it. Yesterday the high was 93, with a heat index of 97. *sigh*

On the upside, fall being here also means that everything is kicking back into gear... most groups on post take the summer off, so now I have a life again! :-) You know, OTHER than being a wife and mother and college student...

Tuesday evening we had a Chaplain Spouse Coffee. I really enjoyed being a part of this group last year, and I think I will even more so this year. The new Installation Chaplain's wife is dedicated to creating more of a group atmosphere, so it is already more organized. There were 21 ladies there Tuesday night, when last year we averaged around 10. It seemed like a reunion in a lot of ways- several women from Stewart were there whom I haven't seen since we moved- but SO MANY of them are brand new! Two of them had only been on post for a few days. I look forward to getting to know them!

Actually, one of them came up to me and said she's been reading my blog for a couple years! I'm so glad I've been able to be an encouragement to her as she and her husband have begun their journey. The internet really does bring people together! :-)

PWOC is going great. We have our Kick-Off next week, but we've spent the last 6 weeks getting ready for it! We have had three new women just in that time who have kept coming. We're going to spend the few weeks after Kick-Off doing a survey of the Bible, then we'll start our study on marriage (as soon as the books come in...)

I missed the Hunter Spouses Club Super Sign-Up last week because of Sophie's fever (don't you love how everything has such exciting names? Kick-Off, Super Sign-Up... does that somehow make it more fun? Still not sure...)- the monthly meetings for that start up soon.

Add to that Classical Social Theory (MUCH more interesting than it sounds, trust me!) and chasing Sophie around (how is it they make a b-line for anything they're NOT supposed to get into?), and I stay pretty busy!

So, though it's not quite hoodie weather yet (and won't be until, oh, Christmas or so...), I'm glad "fall" is upon us. Apple crisp, here I come!! :-)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Undelivered Address

"Oh yes, they will agree, war is horrible. War is hell.

And yet, in the pale anemic minds, there is a kind of worship of this same horror of war...

Now, you and I don’t stand in such awe and adoration. We don’t think war deserves it."

April 12, 1945. America had faced economic depression and all-encompassing war. Franklin Roosevelt was in the midst of his fourth term as president and was to give a speech in honor of Jefferson Day the following morning. He was posing for a painting in Warm Springs, Georgia, when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and passed away.

Jon & I saw this speech at the FDR museum a few weeks ago. Struck by it, I came home and promptly Googled it... what I found was several versions of it, but not this one. I called the museum about the inconsistency. Apparently no one knows what version was the last, but they do know that the one that follows had his handwritten notes on it, so it was definitely a draft he was considering.

This blog is not a political one. I have ventured more into that arena in the past couple weeks than I usually do. And I post this not as a political statement, but as a realistic one. War is hell.

As a Christian- and a realist- I know that "the end to the beginnings of all wars" will not happen until Christ returns. I am fully aware of that. Yet, I applaud the sentiment in this speech. I, too, think that war gets romanticized, glorified. I personally believe there is a line between supporting the troops and glorifying war- and that line gets all too often blurred.

For now, I will let the speech speak for itself.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Undelivered Address:

My friends:

Knowing that you are gathered tonight in cities, in towns, from one end of the country to the other, to give expression of your loyalty, I wish that I had the power, just for an evening, of being a thousand places at once.

I, too, feel the old need of a homecoming, the old urge to show up among the folks, and to take pride with you in the fact that we are Democrats.

I have spoken to my doctor about my inability to be in more than one spot at a time, but he tells me the condition is chronic. There is nothing he can do about it.

But, I am with you in heart. And in these times of trial, this greatest of all tests of men and the leaders of men, of nations, and the community of nations – up to this decisive hour, I know that you have stood, and you stand now, most loyally side by side with me.

Let me tell you that I am strengthened by that knowledge. Let me assure you that my hand is the steadier for the work that is to be done, that I move more firmly into the task, knowing that you – millions and millions of you – are joined with me in the resolve to make this work endure.

The work, my friends, is peace. More than an end of the war – an end to the beginnings of all wars. Yes, an end, forever, to this impractical, unrealistic settlement of the differences between governments by the mass killing of people.

Even as I speak these words, I can hear, in my mind’s ear, an old, old chorus. You have heard it, too. You will hear more of it as we go forward with the work at hand.

It is the chorus of the defeatists, the cynics, the perfectionists – all the world’s sad aggregation of timid souls who tell us, for one reason or another, it can’t be done.

They have been afraid to come along with us as we approached this task of destiny. And they will shrink, they will pull back and try to pull us back with them, as we get further into it.

Oh yes, they will agree, war is horrible. War is hell.

And yet, in the pale anemic minds, there is a kind of worship of this same horror of war. They tell us there can be no end to it. They endow it with immortality. They certify it to us as the ultimate fate of mankind on earth.

Now, you and I don’t stand in such awe and adoration. We don’t think war deserves it.

You and I are not willing to concede that we were put here on earth for no better purpose. And from here on, the wars that would come if we let them would leave precious few of us to argue to the contrary!

You and I call war stupidity – not plain stupidity, but enormous, brutal stupidity, a crime that makes no more sense to its perpetrator than it does to its victims.

Well, today that cult of the faint-hearted, the credo of those cringing adorers of a criminal precedent, is on its way out. And in a span of time as far back as history goes, there is something new under the sun.

To me there is not greater hope for humanity, there is no better sign in the world of our time, than the fact that this abject worship of war has become – for the first time – a minority belief. We have struck boldly forward in the inner world of our thinking, in the world that we project for our kind, and we have discovered that the world is not flat.

True, if there are new corporals who will want to become rulers of the earth, we can not legislate wild fancies out of their minds. If there are other impractical dreamers who must indulge themselves in their private nightmares – the pipe dream that war is inevitable – we cannot pass laws abridging the freedom to dream.

But we can and we will stop these murderous hallucinations from reaching us. We can and we will keep them confined to the dream-world of would-be conquerors and of the defeatists who are their accessories before the fact. We can stop them from wrecking the lives of sane, sound, peace-loving, practical humanity. This we can do. And this we will do.

I say “we,” for I know that I am only one in many millions who share this belief and are so resolved. We have had it proved abundantly to us in America that our people, whether Democrats or Republicans, want to strike boldly against the threat of war. They have demanded a sane, practical end to it. And they have their feet on the ground.

To this I can add – for I have seen it just as abundantly in my recent travels – that the other peoples of the world will be with us every step of the way. The thin-blooded timid souls who are now in a minority in our country are also a minority in the world.

I remember saying, once upon a time in the long, long ago when I was a freshman in college that all men had to fear was fear itself. We were in fear and economic collapse. We have struck back boldly against that fear. And we overcame it.

Today, as we move against terrible scourge, and as we go forward towards the greatest contribution that any generation of human beings can make in this world – the contribution of lasting peace, I ask you to keep your faith.

I measure the sound, solid achievements that can be made at this time by the straight-edge of your own confidence and your resolve. And to you, and to all Americans who dedicate themselves with us to the making of an abiding peace, I say:

The only limit of our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sophie update

We went to the doctor today! She is 17 lbs 2 oz, 26.5" long, and, uh, I don't remember her head circumference... but she is around the 25th percentile for all three. For those of you who saw her over the summer- I don't think she's gained much weight since then, but she sure has grown longer! Her cute little fat rolls are disappearing!

She's also cutting two teeth on the top (I think they'll be through tomorrow- you can see the white bumps pushing their way out!) and has had a bit of a rough day after the shots this morning. She just wants to be held and sleep. Not eat, not drink.

She officially started crawling this week! Well, it's more of a schooch still, but definite forward movement! It's actually quite cute- she doesn't lift her belly off the ground, but she reaches one arm up at a time to pull herself forward while she balances on the other arm, pushing off with her feet. It looks like she's climbing a rock wall on the floor! I didn't think she could be any happier of a baby... until she gained independent mobility! She loves it!

If this post was too boring for you, I have more semi-political thoughts for later in the week. Something for everyone- I aim to please! ;-)