Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Come again no more...

It's been a long couple of weeks.

I've been putting off writing about this, for various reasons. One is that I've been too unfiltered and wouldn't trust my judgment in writing. Another is that I wasn't sure that I even should write... but you know, one of the purposes of this blog is to tell the story of a military Chaplain's family... so here goes...

Two weeks ago, Sunday morning, 6:00am. I heard my phone ring, and sprang out of bed to the other room to get it. If there's one thing that's certain in this world, it's that 6am phone calls rarely contain good news...

I missed the call, but it was the Commander's wife. Jon hadn't heard his phone ring just before, so they tried mine.

There had been a suicide.

Jon spoke with the Colonel and took off... I barely saw him over the next couple weeks. He came home exhausted every night, working seven-day weeks.

More details have unfolded since that morning, but the one big question has remained unanswered: Why?

It was actually a good friend of Jon's. Tragic situation, difficult for everyone involved. And because it was a staff officer, the people making decisions and handling the situation (the other staff officers) were all his friends.

The Memorial Service was Wednesday. The sculpture of the helmet, dog tags, weapon, and boots adorned the front of the chapel, next to a large picture of the deceased. Jon sat on the stage, stole around his neck, friends by his side.

His wife was out of town at the time (with their five-month-old daughter). I went with the Commander's wife and another Soldier to meet her at the airport. That made it more real, to see her standing in front of me. She's my age. She left a wife, and came home a widow.

A few nights ago Jon went with the Commander to visit her. At one point she turned to Jon and said, "How could a merciful God do this?"

The fact is, our merciful God did not do this. Living in a sinful and fallen world did this.

A couple weeks ago I wrote that the 60-90 day window after a deployment is statistically the hardest. It's true.

I have had this blog post sitting in my drafts folder for over a week now. Somehow, I haven't been able to bring myself to post it. I haven't wanted to write about anything else until I published this, but I just couldn't do it. One of the reasons is that I have no idea how to end it.

Sometimes I think we have to add that "but" disclaimer to everything - "but it's okay" "but God's in control, so it will all work out" ...

Unfortunately, there is no happy disclaimer for this post. No "On the bright side...", no "it'll all work out". Not knowing the state of his heart (do we ever?), I can't even confidently say "he's in a better place"...

Sometimes there aren't answers.

Sometimes there aren't bright sides.

Sometimes we just pray and have faith that our God loves us, even when the world doesn't look the way we think it should.

This is one of those times.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

toddlers, dads, and wives (oh my!)

Sophie went to her first library story time today! I think she was a bit overwhelmed at the 15 or so toddlers running about, but the storyteller did a great job at keeping her attention! By the end she was smiling and clapping her hands in excitement - so I guess she liked it! We sang songs and listened to a story, then went to Panera with friends. I think this might become a regular part of our week!

It was an interesting feeling... it was the first time we have been a part of something like that. Really, it was the first time I was included in a group collectively referred to as "mommies." ("Mommies, help us sing!" "Help your little ones find their seats, mommies!") Again, I'm in that stage.


In other news, did you see that the new defense spending bill includes 10 days paternity leave for all male service members who have babies? That's pretty awesome! (Congress wanted 21, which admittedly seemed quite steep to me...)


I went to the new Commander's wife's welcome party with the spouses last night. It was a really great time. A couple of the other battalion Commanders' wives were there, who attend PWOC. They did some great recruiting and got a few more to commit to coming! This was the first unit spouses function since a large transition - coming back from the deployment, a lot of people left. It was a little weird for some of my friends who have left to not be there, but I'm excited to get to know the new spouses!

Maybe soon I can construct a thought longer than a paragraph, but not today.

So long!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

HAAF PWOC in the news!

One of our Brigade's journalists came to our PWOC Kick-Off and wrote an article about us for the Stewart/Hunter paper! I have been waiting for it to be posted online so I could include the image. What great publicity!

Hunter PWOC Kicks Off New Bible Study
SPC Monica K. Smith,
CAB Public Affairs Office

The sound of women chatting and babies squealing filled the fellowship room of the chapel as the Protestant Women of the Chapel held their Fall Kick-Off, Sept. 18 on Hunter Army Airfield.

“We hoped to expose women who have never been to PWOC to what we do and what we’re about,” said Sara Fisher, president of the PWOC and wife to Chap. (Capt.) Jonathan Fisher, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion.

The PWOC is a group that exists in many military chapels. At Hunter, the group of women, many of them military wives, meet each week to socialize and take part in a Bible study.

“For the ladies who come, building relationships is very important. It’s what draws them in,” said Fisher. “Our belief in Christ is the common denominator and the friendships are what keep people coming back.”

The kick-off began at 9:45 with from the Fort Stewart PWOC, Misty Raybon, wife of Chap. (Capt.) Phillip Raybon, the 92nd Engineer Battalion.

“We all want to be a woman of excellence, but sometimes you need help and that’s what this group is for,” said Raybon. “That’s why I think the PWOC is so great – to know that you can come here and someone will be here to greet you and help you along your road to growth.”

The group meets each Thursday morning at 9:30 -11:30 a.m., at the Hunter Chapel. The kick-off began the group’s study on marriage. Fisher said the first few weeks will cover an overview of the Bible and be an opportunity for women to ask questions on the Bible and Christianity.

“You don’t have to come to the chapel to be involved with PWOC,” said Fisher. “Any woman involved with the military in any way is welcome.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Updates via Crayon Box

We had a great time away last weekend! Jon got a 4-day weekend (thanks to Columbus Day), so we headed up to the mountains of North Carolina with some friends from Fayetteville, Rocky & Carolyn. It was so good to get away for a couple days and be with friends. I was a little concerned about how Sophie would do with the two golden retrievers, but she fell in love with them! If only they would have stayed still long enough, I think she would have "loved" their eyes out!

We went out on the boat, and Jon & Rocky found an area with really thick mud... we had fun! Carolyn and Sophie stayed clean on the boat!


Those pics were taken with Rocky's phone. Remember when we were kids (well, at least when I was a kid) and we had toy cameras? We'd hold them up and have everyone say "cheese" and pretend to take their picture. If only we actually had all the pretend pictures taken with the toy camera at my grandparents' house, I think we'd have some stories to tell!

Anyway... a couple weeks ago we were at a friend's birthday party, and this little boy had a toy cell phone. I thought it was hilarious when he held it up and said, "Say cheese! I'm gonna take your picture!"


Yes, I have entered that stage of life. The stage where things like goldfish and Cheerios are bought in bulk. I officially feel like a mom.


I have also entered the stage where I go to sleep on a Friday night with snare drums playing in the distance. (read: I went to bed before the high school football game was over.) And that was AFTER sleeping on the couch for a half hour. And when I did go to bed, can you guess what was competing with the snare drums for playing time in my mind? "Super why, Super why, with the Super Readers, we're gonna fly..." If you have never heard those words, you are apparently not presently in that stage.

Ah yes, how the mighty have fallen. Some of you know how ardently I have kept Soph from the TV. Well, she still watches very very little. But what can I say, at 6:30 in the morning when she thinks it's playtime, a lap tray full of Cheerios and PBS Kids allow me that few extra minutes of sleep on the couch...


Sophie is pulling up! Of course, the first place she did it was her crib... Jon went in to get her and found her standing up at the end! Time to take out the bumper... Since then, she has started pulling up on pretty much everything. She gets such a look of accomplishment on her face when she stands up!

She loves to watch the rain from the slider. She also loves to play with the blinds.


Jon has been super busy. A lot of marital and PTSD issues come out in the 60-90 day window after redeployment... which we're currently right in the middle of. So, his counseling load is incredible. He really is glad he is able to help so many Soldiers, but we're both looking forward to things calming down a bit.

Every couple of months, he has EOC (Emergency On-Call) duty. There is a certain cell phone that all the Chaplains take turns with. That way, if anyone needs a Chaplain after-hours, they don't have to track down their unit Chaplain... which also means no one needs to give out their personal numbers. It really is a great thing - a lot of problems that happen happen at night and on the weekends. Jon has it right now and was up from 2-4am on the phone. Again, it's so great to help people - and great to pass the phone off to someone else! :-)


I start a new class on Monday. Blah. I took Classical Social Theory last term (which I loved, by the way) and am starting Contemporary Social Theory now. I am really not looking forward to it. I love the actual subject matter - it's the reading and writing I hate. More so the writing than the reading. From the syllabus, this class looks like less work than the last one, though, so hopefully it will go ok.


All for now - have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Stream of consciousness, condensed edition

Took a final today. Feel confident. 2 week break before the next class!

PWOC is wearing me out...

Sophie has been deciding it's play time at 6 am for the last two weeks...

Weather is high 80s. Feels more like spring than fall...

Sophie is working on another tooth.

Does anyone know what this is? It is in our kitchen pantry. We stuff plastic bags into it, but that is quite obviously not its intended use.

Did you know you can recycle plastic grocery bags? Reusable ones are still the best choice, but it was good to learn that for when I forget to bring them in...