Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Welcome Home!

7:15 Sunday evening. That was the plan. There is this website that updates the ceremony time for the Soldiers coming home (they land a couple hours earlier to turn in weapons, do some administrative things, etc).

Early in the afternoon, they changed it to 11:30pm. I cried.

It ended up saying 10:50, and it worked out just fine. I laid Sophie down for bed like usual- except in her new outfit for Daddy- and got her up about 10:15.

Being at an Army Airfield (Jon is now working not at Ft. Stewart but at Hunter Army Airfield), the ceremony was held in an airplane hanger- it was really pretty cool! There were already hundreds of people there when we arrived (I talked to a few who had not seen the time change and were there at 6:30...), but we got a great seat- well, Sophie was in her stroller- and we waited.

There were big doors for the planes that were open when we first got there- about 10 minutes before the ceremony they closed them. Finally... everyone standing and cheering (as you can see in the video, the bleacher I was standing on was shaking so much from people jumping that I had to move down...), then, they opened them. The Soldiers walk in in formation, which is pretty awesome. Jon and I had already decided on a general area where I would sit, and he was very close to me! I saw him right away, and we just smiled the whole ceremony.

So, without further ado, here's the video. I recorded it in several small segments, but this is by far the coolest one, because you can see them coming in. I'll write more about our week later, but basically we have had a great time, and Sophie and Daddy are getting along famously! :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


So I just saw this on Jon's sister's Facebook and HAD to share. This is Alice, Jon's sister's baby (6 weeks younger than Sophie), and Eliza, his other sister's daughter (7 months older than Sophie). Alice pretty much just did her own thing the whole photo shoot, but Soph and Eliza were all about... let's say... "interacting"... with each other!

Sarah's caption: Wow. I hope they like each other when they grow up.

If you don't remember, here's another one I posted a few weeks ago, taken right after this one:


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Caption Contest!

Inspired by a family email (thanks, Dave) I am opening this picture up for captions-

Amy took a ton of great pics that I'll post soon, but for now, here is my favorite:

To get us going, I'll share a few of Dave's suggestions:

"Look, I can tell they're knees now!"

"At least I only have to wear one layer of diapers!" (a reference to the 3 layers she wears at night- we use cloth at home...)

"Mom, is polyeurethane foam toddler seating environmentally responsible?"

He had others that he probably liked better, but those were MY favorites! :-)

If enough people post captions, I'll post a poll to pick the best!

Wedding pics

First of all- she got it! My friend will be flying to China tomorrow! Please continue to keep her in your prayer as she begins this new ministry!

Well, we're down to single digits! I have everything I need to do broken down into days so the few days before Jon gets home I can pretty much relax. I just have a little more to do tonight then I can cross today off! I have realized that, since having a baby, I have had to be MUCH more organized with my time. This week has been especially hard, as Jon has essentially nothing to do... except chat online with me! I LOVE it- don't get me wrong- it's just hard to get my to-do list done! :-) So, my most productive hours of late have been between about 9pm and 1am. Oh well, I tend to be a night owl anyway!

Here are some more pics from the wedding, from my sister-

my brother Matt and sister Andrea

The whole fam, minus Jon. Gotta love those semi-posed shots where 4 different people are holding up cameras and no one knows where to look or when to smile...

the happy couple...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update on my friend

I was able to chat with "A" tonight! (If you haven't read my previous post, you can do it here.) I'm sure that by the time most of you read this the story will have changed again... but I'm equally as confident she will need your prayer in whatever stage the "story" is in!

Here's the latest:

I went to the consulate this morning (I got there about 5 minutes before it closed) and tried to apply for a tourist visa. The woman at the service desk told me that in order to apply for this type of visa, I needed to have a flight leaving China as well as certified hotel reservations. After leaving the consulate I got in touch with a friend (a classmate from Moody) who gave me access to his computer all afternoon to try and get all of the paper work together.

I now have a plane ticket to Thailand in September, as well as a hotel reservation - BUT I am having trouble getting the hotel reservations emailed to me, with the "certified" red stamp. Please press into prayer particularly that the ALL OF THE PAPERWORK would be done by tomorrow morning and that it would be sufficient for the consulate tomorrow morning. The woman at the consulate this morning was helpful, but extremely firm that visa restrictions are very tight and increasingly difficult to obtain.

I am also having difficulties with my domestic flight within China - I've had to change it several times now, through a travel agency in China, and will have to change it again, but have to wait for the travel agency to open in a few hours before I can contact them.

From chatting with her tonight, she is *fairly* confident this will all work out... IF her paperwork is in order. If not, well, she'll go back to her parents' and try to figure out what her next move is. Please keep her in your prayer as she is physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted at this point. The trip was brief and emotionally difficult, she is anxious about her new ministry, and needs His peace to get her through this. Thanks so much- I'll keep you posted!

Please pray...

A dear friend of mine has been a missionary in China. She came home this month to see her aunt (recently given only a few months to live) one last time... and is having problems getting back into China. When she gets back she will be working with prostitutes in a creative access country... obviously a dangerous and intense ministry...

Here is an email I received earlier today- I got a brief update a couple hours ago that she is still stuck and it's not looking good... (I am leaving out her name because of the sensitivity of her ministry)
As you know, "A" was supposed to fly back to Beijing today. I just got a call from one of her friends who was at the airport this morning to see her off. She said that there is a problem with A's visa. Her visa doesn't expire until the end of the month, which should have been fine. But, apparently, she had to be in country by July 11th. They would not let her fly all the way to Beijing on that visa. They did let her fly to Chicago, and once there, A will go to the consulate and try to get a new visa. She has a flight booked from Chicago to Beijing tomorrow. This is an urgent prayer request as she will need to get her visa by then - which would be unusually fast. But, we know that God can do this if He wants her on that flight! For today, please pray that she could make it to the consulate before it closes, that she would talk with someone who can help her, and that she could get her visa before her flight leaves tomorrow.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

a wedding, a baby, and a homecoming

This time last week, I was exhausted.

I had spent the week in Mishawaka, Indiana, with my extended family. It culminated with my cousin's beautiful wedding last Saturday! I was honored to be the Mistress of Ceremonies, and it was so great to have a part. Kelly is only a year younger than me, but because we only saw each other a couple times a year growing up, we haven't really been close. I got to know her in a new way through her wedding and am so excited to see the life that she and Tim build together!

After going to my grandparents' church in the morning and hanging out with the family in the afternoon, I decided to stay an extra night. I took the opportunity to visit two stores we don't have in Savannah- Meijer and Kohl's.

Sophie stayed with my grandparents while I went. It was odd not being with her.

As I walked through Meijer, I was overcome with a familiar yet unidentifiable feeling.

It welled up within me, entranced me, made my heart race and my mouth go dry.

That's when I identified it.

It was the same feeling I had the day I found out I was pregnant.

(ETA: This is not an announcement.)

That day, we were in Columbia, South Carolina, at a Chaplain's conference. I had dropped Jon off at the conference and was going to spend the day shopping! I started my day with a trip to the drugstore... and spent the rest of it wandering around with a sort of nervous elated shock. (Jon didn't know I was even going to take a test- he told me later that when I went to pick him up that afternoon, he thought I was acting odd and emotional...)

That was the feeling. Nervous Elated Shock.

I suppose this time it's not as much shock as it is Nervous Elation.

You see, Jon is coming home next week.

All of you military spouses know exactly what I'm talking about- you can't wait to see him, and you can't quite wrap your mind around the fact that the person you have been longing for every moment will soon be sitting next to you. You try to picture it, but experience has said that there really is no telling how it will go...

Last time he came home, it was a different feeling. Then it was not so much shock... or elation, really... just nervous. We barely knew each other. We didn't know what life together would be like. Honestly, I'm not so sure we even wanted to find out. It had been a difficult year, and we would finally begin our life together. I felt like I was a part of an arranged marriage- waiting for a husband I did not know.

It was better than we could have hoped for or imagined.

Last Sunday, I pushed my cart through Meijer, reflecting-

~ on the time that I had a breakdown shopping for Christmas decorations,
~ on the clearance 4th of July items, and how, as bad as it sounds, I really don't want Americana in my house right now...
~ on the favorites of Jon's I need to stock up on for when he gets home,
~ on the first night we met, impulsively going to Meijer to buy a Christmas present for his brother- only to realize that Christmas Eve is the only night of the year the store is closed,
~ on the fact that everything seems to remind me of him somehow,
~ on the rollercoaster of the last four years,

on how I would never want to do it with anyone else,

and on how happy I am.

I will stay busy over the next week, but that won't keep my mind off it. My husband is returning. My bridegroom is coming back for me.

There's no feeling like it in the world.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm baaaack!

I'm home! We got home on Wednesday after a LONG three days on the road... thanks to the good people at Firestone in Louisville and a night with the Mobleys, the car has a brand-new battery and is working great! :-)

Much to update on... for now, here's the current:

Sophie can wave! Grandma Dee says she her hand gestures look like Uncle Ben... but sssh! Don't tell Dad! :-)

Speaking of Dad..... he will be home in the next couple weeks! Woohoo!!!

My class ends this week (perfect timing!), so I'm working on a 4-page book review (just read the book this weekend) and have a final exam this week. Busy busy!

And, because it's what you mostly care about- here are some pics... notice there are actually two albums you can click on at the top- Sophie 6m with Cousins and IN/MI Part 2 (I REALLY need to work on making the site look better... bear with me for now and just look at the pictures! :-) I didn't get the family site rebuilt like I wanted to, but I have at least started loading pics on the photo site, so I don't have to put them all here. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

a few things

First off, sorry for that rant last time. Staying up late studying for an exam on vacation will do that to you. Jesse, you're right- it HAS to be academic at some point if anything will be learned- and I LOVE your idea of rewarding the kids for reading & studying during the week as well as memorizing. Making it as easy as possible for kids to love the Word is fantastic.

We spent a few days last weekend with my brother's family, then a few days this week with my sister's family. Sophie loved all her cousins and aunts & uncles! She took a nap on both Aunt Carrie and Aunt Andrea- you know they loved that!

Ok, I wrote that a few days ago. What can I say, things have been busy.

So, I'll resort to more bullets. Pictures will come soon, I promise:

~ Went to Kent City (my old church) for three weeks. The first week I thought, "It was cool to see everyone again." The second week was "Hm. I really like it here." By yesterday I didn't want to leave. I have some more thoughts on that for a later time...

~ Went to Mars Hill Bible Church last night for the first time. I really enjoyed it a lot. It was a very small service, being the evening and a holiday weekend. The songs were great (by far the coolest version of There's Power in the Blood EVER) and the sermon probably was one of the best I've heard in a long time. He (not Rob Bell- it was another pastor) preached from Luke 24 about the man walking to Emmaus and the hope that Christ brings. I left refreshed.

~ Sophie saw Poppy (Jon's dad) and her aunts and uncles for the 4th. We opted out of going to the fireworks, and I was glad! I had realized earlier in the day that I wouldn't be able to go anyway, what with a sleeping 7-month-old. Poppits and sparklers in the driveway was much more fun!

~ Sophie also met her great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother on Saturday! It happened to be Jon's great-grandmother's 97th birthday, and it was great to celebrate with her! I asked her what her secret is to living to be 97... she said she didn't really have one. Actually, her exact words were "Well, I got on this roller coaster and I just haven't gotten off!"

~ Finished and submitted by far the worst paper I've ever written. It's just hard to be motivated to write an 8 page research paper on vacation.

~ We have gotten some more down time over the past few days- that has been great!

~ Sophie is getting stronger! She rolls ALL OVER the room and is starting to push up- she'll be crawling soon!

Ok, that's it for now. I really am too tired to write much, but I just wanted to get something up since I pretty much sounded like a jerk in my last post...

More later! :-)