Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Win-Win

Fabulous nuggets of truth for your marriage over at Praise and Coffee. Stop by and read, this kind of attitude is so important for our marriage, and rather than me typing endlessly and never getting anywhere with it, I'll point you here and let you glean truths from someone who is more articulate than I am. Enjoy and come back tomorrow for more paltry excerpts from my boring existance.Photobucket

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Special Relationship

Chaplains and their assistants.

What the Army used to call the UMT, The Unit Ministry Team, and is now the RST, Religious Support Team is a special kind of small-scale unit. The Chaplain, and his Chaplain’s Assistant. From the Chaplain Training website:

"Ministry in motion. Adventure and challenge. Serving those who serve. You will accompany Soldiers all over the world as they carry out their missions. And while you minister to the Soldiers, you and your family will be enriched as you are exposed to new places, new peoples, and new cultures. Your faith will be enriched, challenged, and strengthened as you carry out your duties as the spiritual leader in the spiritual community known as the Army."

For 17 years we have seen first-hand the assistant side of the coin and now we enter into the other side: the Chaplain. I was always amazed at what the assistant has to do for his Chaplain, long hours often times, bulletins, reports, and setups. We wouldn’t see him during 3 out of 4 Sundays during the month. Saturday night mass, three services on Sunday morning, then evening service; he would be gone usually on Easter, Christmas, and was even asked to provide child care during a marriage retreat; one that we as a family were not invited to, which also happened to be over Father’s Day weekend. There were missed dinners, and cancelled plans; part of that is just the military, but the dedication with which my husband did his job, required that many of the things he would rather have been doing went undone.

Being a Chaplain will be much the same in that regard, and it is something I am used to already. My sweetheart learned much from those 17 years, what to do and what not to do as a Chaplain. Some Chaplains were really difficult to live with, and work with. Some were terrific and we longed to work with them more, but the Army moves people, and we would say our sad goodbyes. It has also given him a greater appreciation for the assistant, having been one himself. He’s worked along side some assistants who were there only “to get an easy A” as we would say in high school about an easy class: choir or teacher’s aid. Some of these soldiers had no more business being a Chaplain Assistant than I have in scaling Mount Everest, not equipped, not fit for the mission and did not have a heart for task.

When Bear was deployed the first time to Iraq in 2003, our FRG had briefings about safety in battle. Many wives were concerned about protection, and rightly so; and the First Sergeant tried to squelch their fears with the assurance that everyone carried a weapon with them at all times and they were thereby protected. I raised my hand and pointed out to our good 1SG, that no, indeed, everyone did not carry a weapon, and there is one soldier in the unit who does the job of two; the Chaplain and the Chaplain assistant. He had forgotten about them, well because, they are a team in and amongst themselves. They fall under the S-1 shop, office staff, and they are often looked over in large units, I don’t think people really understand this small “team” nor do they fully appreciate the members who serve within.

The relationship between Chaplain and assistant is special; there must be complete trust especially in a combat zone, as the Chaplain is a non-combatant and relies on the assistant for his protection. I never thought about Bear going to the firing range before, he would sometimes be within just a few shots of not qualifying, he has even had his rifle jam and misfire, scary stuff to be sure. Soldiers beside him would have extra shots in their targets, indicating that my DH’s shots had not hit the mark, so to speak. I know that God protected Bear and his Chaplains when they were deployed, but now I add another prayer request, that the unknown assistant who will be teamed with my dear Chaplain, will shoot straight and true. May it never be that firing is needed, but make him swift and steadfast.

I would like to quote a chaplain who is at Ch-BOLC right now, he puts this relationship succinctly and effectively:

“We place complete trust and confidence into the hands of our Chaplain Assistants. It is humbling to realize that there are folk that are willing to not only protect themselves but would put their own lives in harms way to protect mine. The sacrifice that they are willing to make is awesome.”

That kind of sacrifice is no small thing to a soldier, and it is no small thing to place your life in the hands of someone else.

My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you know this kind of relationship: the relationship between Protector and the protected, between Lord and Child of God, that you may know what it is to place your trust wholly in the hands of another, that other being Jesus Christ. That you have found and trust in the saving work of His sacrifice, which He willing made on our behalf.

And while you are there praying and thanking God for His sacrifice, offer a prayer of protection for Military Chaplains and their Chaplain Assistants.

My First Bloggy Award


I was just awarded an "E for Excellent" award from Lelia over at Write From The Heart. I'm speechless and wonderstruck that I even have readers who care about my paltry life struggles, let alone anyone who actually thinks I'm inspiring! I'm torn between laughter and tears, joy and bewilderment.
Thank you, thank you, a million times, thank you!
Now, I am honored to be able to pass this around to ten, (only ten?) faithful and inspiring blogger friends of mine.
God has done an amazing thing with the power of the internet, bloggers and people who write from their hearts.
Here are the ten blogs I find inspiring, fascinating, a daily must-read; in no particular order.

Kim at Reformed Grits
Marybeth Whalen at Cheaper By The Half Dozen
Sue at Praise and Coffee
Lisa The Preacher's Wife
Totallyscrappy at Mudpies to Dragonflies (fellow Lutheran Chick!)
Carla at Four By 40
Laura-a fellow Military Chaplain's Wife
Meredith at Small Steps of Faith
Sara at Sweet Autumn Brew
Gayle at Grace For Gayle (because I self medicate with chocolate too! [snicker] (Oh Snickers, that sounds yummy!)

Now ladies, as they say: "Pass it on!"

Ouch

Mild headache, achey arms and back. No sniffles or coughing. Hope it's not the flu.
I think hot soup and warm clothes are in my future.
I feel like curling up in my chair and reading, watching a sappy movie and ordering take out.
That's what I feel like doing, in actuality, I'll struggle with my acheyness, feed the kids something from the freezer, so I don't have to cook, and lay on the couch and moan.
Pray for healing...ow.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Little Nipping, a Little Tucking

I have tweaked, rearranged, added links, changed pictures, rewritten descriptions, and I think I like it now. My picture was old, I do not have that long of hair anymore, (wish I did, but thanks to a terrible haircut, I'm growing it out again,) my pink shirt in the picture clashed with the colors in my blog, and the text was funny, (not funny ha ha, funny peculiar.) I also thought my Supermom picture was a bit prideful, I'm not her, never have been her and thanks to testing and refining from my Lord, I don't strive to be her, so she had to go. My blogging should be a reflection of who I am, a child of God, on a path of growth and sanctification through Christ.

Ok, I think I'm done now, three hours later, man this is time consuming stuff people. (Ok those of you who can write your own html code, can just tune out, but I find it time consuming.)

So how is it? Like the new look? C'mon people, I'm fishing for compliments, here!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Back from FTX

I have absolutely the best husband ever!

He just returned from 3 days and 2 nights in the field, he arrived back at his barracks three hours past his usual bed time; tired, cold and dirty. Did he take a shower first? No. Did he throw his laundry in for a spin? No. Did he check his emails? No. He called me. He called me three hours away to hear my voice, to tell me he loves me and to talk to the kids. How sweet is that!

A little over twenty years ago, I was smitten by a ruggedly handsome guy in my college choir class; he had black hair and the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. This drop dead gorgeous guy sat right next to me. We were introduced and I knew then that I couldn't live without him.

I still can't. God has completed me in him, where I am flighty, he is constant; when I want to spend, he wants to save; when I'm impatient, he is like the prophet Job. He is all the good things that I am not. We were made for each other, we fit together, and we are both better for the union.

To my Bear, I love you!!

My Cozy Corner--Sort Of...

I found a link on Monkey Giggles to post picture of your cozy corner, the place in your home that is just for you. A place you can relax and have your quiet time. This is mine, I wake early about an hour before the kids get up, read my Bible, drink my coffee and have quiet time with the Lord. I have always wanted a wing back chair; I found this at a garage sale about two years ago for $20. It was very musty, two bottles of Febreez later, and I now have a wonderful chair. My sister Silver gave me yards of gorgeous upholstery fabric to cover my chair and one of these days I'll get around to it.


Oh, I don't always have to share the chair with a child, just so happened that Robby was sleeping when the picture was taken, he's snug as a bug upstairs when I'm enjoying my quiet time. Or at least I hope he is…

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Baby Steps

“We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be looking forward eagerly for the highest good.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer goes on to say that we should be grateful even where there is no great experience and discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith and difficulty.

I am reminded of the verse in James that says, “Count it all joy, my brethren when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4

Now this doesn’t mean that it’s all going to arrive at your doorstep in a perfect little box, so that you just have to “put on” perfection, no I think that the perfecting of our faith, if you will, comes in the form of baby steps, (I can’t write or say that without thinking of Bill Murray in the movie “What about Bob”) but baby steps they are. Our salvation may have been a moment in time that we can pinpoint, but our sanctification is more of a process, a pilgrimage or a journey.

The difficulty, weakness and small faith that we experience in our lives, over the course of months or even years; does produce growth no matter how imperceptible it seems to be.

This post is mostly for me, I'm certain that the three readers of my blog have already arrived at perfection's doorstep.

What think ye?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Two Steps Forward-One Step Back

Change is hard, old habits are hard, and success doesn't come easily. The setbacks of last week make recovery difficult. I haven't been out walking in over a week, I was doing so well until I pinched the nerve in my neck and could hardly move.

I am making motivational signs to post on pantry and fridge today. Any ideas? I have done things like:

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.

Think Thin

Diabetes is an enemy

Plantar Faciaitis hurts

Asthma is bad, breathing is good

I was thinking that motivation in the area of good health would be a motivator for me because when I was thinner, I wasn't plagued by these things.

I did not lose anything this week, but I did not gain either, so I guess that in itself is an accomplishment. I am too the point now where I don't want to look at another salad. It is cold still here, (everywhere I guess unless you are in Arizona,) but who wants to eat salads when it is 28 degrees outside. I want things like pasta buried in white sauce, hearty thick soups, and chili with cornbread. At least my tummy-warming cups of hot tea are still ok, as long as I don't cream it, (a habit I picked up from an English neighbor.)

On a positive note, I did a mega-cooking session with a friend of mine, and made vegetable lasagna with homemade whole wheat noodles. It does have cottage cheese and mozzarella, but if I just have a small square and save the rest for later, (actually, I would portion it out and freeze any leftovers,) I can have it with a (can't believe I'm saying this-sigh) big salad and enjoy it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mega Cooking Day

My dear friend Ang and I are making Lasagna today; Mega-Lasagna! I have tons of cottage cheese that was given to me and it needs used up. We have a dairy here locally who gives generously to those in need. Now I need to do lots of cooking to use it up. I'm planning on freezing about 4 dishes of lasagna, and egg and cheese dishes. I'll let you all know how it goes later, with pictures.
Happy Cooking!

Friday, January 18, 2008

In Which I Shamelessly Promote Myself

An article from the Nisqually Valley Newspaper Dated Fiday 28 Dec 2007.

To Moms, Military Spouses and Soldiers

I just watched a very inspirational and moving clip from the Movie “Facing the Giants.” I found it here: I was so moved by the coach's, well, coaching, that I thought it would be helpful to many of us who are facing deployments, or to those who are going through seemingly insurmountable trials. I know I have been there many times, where I just didn't think I could go another step without some help. I was certain that I would fail and by failing, disappoint so many around me; people who were counting on me to uphold my part of the situation.

I have been through two deployments, and many months of separation from my best earthly friend, my sweet Bear. I have known, but haven't always felt the presence of my Heavenly best friend, my Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are a child of God, he is your coach, He is your cheering section, and He is your support system. You can do it; you can make it through when life seems too much to bear, and when people try to discredit what you are going through.
For those of us who have been through a deployment, it is hard; the not knowing, the nights when you lie awake because you heard terrible news on the TV or radio and it leaves you wondering. The separation is hard; you miss your spouse, your helper, your sweetheart, your friend. The difficulty is compounded by the motor failing on the washing machine, the toilet overflowing because someone flushed a toothbrush, and the just opened box of Cheerios dumped on the carpet.

But you can, through Christ, do all things. Paul is a great example in times of trial. He went through some amazing difficulties too, yet through it all God is sovereign and He will be with you. In Philippians chapter 4 it reads: Vs 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (emphasis mine)

That is the key, the final phrase of that text, it is only through Him, Jesus Christ that we are able to make it through the trials, the hardships, the loss. If He is your Savior and if you have put your trust in Him fully, not relying on your own strength or works, but His strength and His finished work of the cross, He will see you through to completion. He will be there through the trials and be your bulwark, the fortification and your safeguard, your defense.

Romans 8:31 If God be for us, who can be against us.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Piece of Quiet?

The kids are in bed, tucked safely in. All is still at my house when {Whoomp!} the windows start rattling, and the floor shakes. Then again 30 seconds later, and another two on the heels of the last. Whoomp! Whoomp! Whoomp!

I'm used to it, I guess. I live near the firing range and boy do these soldiers like to blow things up! Call it training, night fire; some of my neighbors may call it annoying and wish they hadn't moved so close.

My kids are used to it. They'll sleep right through. They have grown up near the firing ranges most of their lives, they don't even ask me what that noise is anymore.

That's part of being a military family, part of being near a military post and part of being truly an American. That is the sound of freedom. The sound of peace in action, the sounds of protection. I don't find it annoying at all. I find it to be a great comfort. Whoomp! Whoomp! Whoomp!

Car Trouble Still

I have now had my poor Sub in the shop twice in the last 2 weeks, it is still misfiring, I think. (I'm no mechanic, but I don't think it should be so jerky, even if it is technically a truck.) Maybe I'm just not used to driving it since it was out of commission for so long.

I have got to get it back in and have it looked at. After a catalytic convertor, O2 Sensors, and Intake Manifold gasket, complete tune up, new plugs, wires, ditributor cap, etc. It should be running right! Arrh, I'm so frustrated about transportation. If we didn't owe so much on it, I'd drive it off a cliff.

"No, really honey, I don't know what happened, the brakes must not have been working, don't know how it got here at the bottom of this ravine, full tank of gas and up in flames, just don't know what happened." I can see it now, that won't work, sigh...

Dear Lord, please be with the mechanic and help him find the problem, please!

Monday, January 14, 2008

To Know and Be Known

I was sorting through papers on my desk today, feeling insignificant, as most of it was junk mail addressed to Resident. (No one lives here by that name; I wish that the post office would get that figured out.) I walked into the front room to deposit a bunch of scrap paper in the recycle bin when the UPS truck drove up. I wasn’t expecting anything so I was surprised when he headed straight for our door, carrying not one, but two boxes just for me. (Now let me just say here, that I’ve been receiving boxes of Creative Memories donations from my friends from the Yahoo Group CMC Sharelist, to help out with the families that had their homes flooded in Centralia last month.) I assumed the boxes were more scrapbooking supplies. I was thrilled to see the return address was that of my sweet sister, Nin. I couldn’t possibly imagine what would be in it, since I already received from her the surprise of a beautiful fruit basket with a chrysanthemum at Christmas time.

I opened the first one, and the box started to swell a bit as fluffy white flannel diapers escaped the confines of the box. Diapers! She sent me a box of diapers! Now I’m probably the only person in the world who gets excited over diapers, but I do. I made Boo about 2 dozen or so a year ago, and they were getting too thin and worn to use. I’ve been collecting flannel sheets and shirts to “recycle” them into Re-Bottoms for my baby boy, but needed filling for the insides. Here it was, fluffy white flannel for the middle of my custom diapers. Thanks, Nin!

The next box, to my surprise was filled with Christmas wrapped goodies. I love stretching out the holidays and I wish that our country would still actually DO the 12 days of Christmas, starting with our Lord’s birth and ending January 6th with His Epiphany, (which means Shining.) It is the day that most denominations celebrate the Baptism of Jesus, the time when he entered formal ministry. We celebrate these days in our family, but the tradition of gift giving during these days is, sadly, gone for the most part.

I read the words from my dear sister in her brief letter and was filled with longing and joy. We live so far away and I truly miss all the celebrating that a large family enjoys. Because my extended family was (and still is) scattered, each time we gathered it would be a celebration, a feast time, not only of food, but also of fellowship, laughter, tears at times, and heartfelt memories always.

The box from Nin contained a bag of gifts for each of our children and a bag for Bear and me. I opened my gifts in the solitude of naptime and relished each one; handmade washcloths, a cheery kitchen scrubby, a candle, my favorite hand soap from Bath and Body Works, a Blank Book!! I absolutely love them! A scarf, I lost mine, how did she know? And the best thing, a beautiful plaque with a hand stitched verse that says, “All because two hearts fell in love.”

My dear Sister and Mom came to help me unpack my home and settle in when we first moved here. My Bear was still deployed. They were both such a help to me that I couldn’t have done it without them. I have always admired the way my sister could arrange a bunch of seemingly unrelated objects on a wall and make it look so “put together.” She arranged my family photos and helped “re-frame” some of them so they would work together, I love that wall arrangement and I often show visitors our family pictures, pointing out beloved sisters and brothers. Today I rearranged things just a bit, to add the new plaque to the collection, on the wall. It adds so much to the whole arrangement and could be the life verse for many families. I absolutely love it!

It is amazing to me that Nin, though she lives nearly 800 miles away, knows just what I would like, she knows what my children are into, and she thinks enough of me to send us a box filled with goodies picked out just for us.

It is also awe inspiring to think that our Savior Jesus Christ knows what is best for us, cares about the trivial things in our lives and willingly gave His life for us on the cruel cross so that we could spend quality time with Him in eternity, fellowshipping, praising Him and enjoying His presence.

It is gratifying to be known in such a personal way; where there are no secrets, only intimate fellowship with The Savior, Provider God, the Alpha and Omega, our Living Lord.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Heavenly Dessert

I am dieting, so instead of my usual chocolate dessert fare, I’ve been trying to eat healthy choices. Tonight we had angel food cake with a blueberry sauce over the top. Most of the children devoured it without batting an eye. When I served Ace, my five year old son, he asked me what it was. I replied, “Angel food cake.” He inquired, “Did Angels make it?” “No," I laughed, "Angels didn’t make it, it came from the store.” This time he inquired a little more cautiously, “Is it made from Angels?”

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Relationships

Another handmaiden nearly left my service.

As you may know, I have named my appliances, because I was feeling a bit discouraged that I didn’t have servant girls like the Proverbs 31 woman.

My dear and faithful sewing machine hasn’t been so faithful this last year, and I’ve begun to wonder if it is her time to be removed from service. Elna’s timing has been off quite often lately and she drops stitches sometimes and skips them at others. During the beginning of her servitude, I was extremely happy with her capable assistance, but lately, during crunch time she has failed to perform and I’ve had to resort to borrowing a handmaid from a neighbor or friend. I am of the opinion that borrowing a sewing machine is like borrowing your friend’s socks; you could do it in a pinch, but it just doesn’t feel right.

She worked fine through all the Christmas sewing. Five pairs of flannel jammies finished two days before Christmas, a record for me. But as I was stitching some cute little duckies on my Boo’s jammies, the upper thread ran out, slipped through the tension disks unnoticed and jammed with a loud crunch of gears into the bobbin works. I painstakingly fished out all the thread, brushed it clean, reoiled the bobbin area and changed the needle. After realigning the duckies I had just stitched to match the movement of the needle, I set off again around Boo’s neckline. This time only the head of the duck was stitching, for some reason; it was skipping the lower half of the duck’s body. I tried unsuccessfully three different times. It wouldn’t work.

I took Elna in last week to the local guy at the fabric shop who had readjusted her timing before. He said she was in time, but couldn’t figure out why she was skipping stitches, and that I should take her into the Sewing Shop in Tacoma. Today we had errands on that side of town and we dropped her off. Well, I actually sat with her while she had a checkup; I’m just good to my girls that way. I explained to the lady who helped me what was going on and she threaded Elna and started stitching. Miraculously, she was sewing again! Her tension was a bit tight, and she does need a bit of fine-tuning, but the duckies were whole duckies this time!

In the past six months I have had two servant girls threaten to leave my service. In each case, after a bit of tender loving care they have come back to me and are faithfully working again. I guess they only needed some personal attention.

I need to remember to apply this to the real people around me.

Proverbs 3:27 "Do not withold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cute Baby Contest

Hey there's a cute baby contest here!
I am SO entering, because I am/was (who's splitting hairs) just about the cutest baby ever. A few of me.

The first one-2 years old, just look at those adorable ringlets!

What is with the kewpie doll look? BTW, this is the same picnic table about which I had a terrible nightmare later in life involving a roaring lion and his midnight snack, namely, ME!

Third grade, four-eyed beauty!

My friend Becky and I-waiting in line for our turn at 4-H modeling at the State Fair. I won two gold ribbons; for modeling, and for sewing that stylish jumper.

Sixth grade 1978, so very proud of my handiwork. I did the topstitching by myself you know.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pain in the neck!

I must be cycling into a depression zone. There is no sun outside, my workouts have produced no weight loss, and have only served to provide me with an incredibly stiff neck and a pinched nerve, the effects of which are causing me increased stress, incredible laziness and an enormous appetite, (or cravings perhaps, who can tell when I’m feeling this way.)
I have consumed two bags of popcorn, 94% fat free, of course, so I am justifying it; 5 chocolate kisses, the remains of my York Peppermint Patty mints, and a carafe of chai tea, sugar free, (so it doesn’t really count, right?)
I have been reading through my usual list of blogs today hoping for inspiration, motivation, something to help me out of this dump I am in—nothing. I have come away feeling more lonely, isolated and exceptionally boring. I long for the relationships with women that so many of you have out there in bloggyland. I am tired of being a stay at home mom, not really the Mom part, just tired of staying at home. I want excitement. I want a reason to get up in the morning; I want a reason to meet my children with a happy face and a batch of cookies. I do not want to deny them yummy treats because I can’t have them. I want to provide them with a “hit me in the face” fragrance of baked goodies right when they walk through the door. Isn’t that what being a mom is all about?
I always get this way when Hubs leaves, why is that I wonder? Am I so dependant on him, that when he is gone I can’t function? Is it that a part of my heart goes with him when he leaves and I am left with a gaping hole? Why do I slip into this depression? During his previous TDY excursions, I have been pregnant and I attributed my feelings to hormonal changes. This time, that is not the case, I’m just depressed, in a funk, down, and I don’t want to snap out of it, darn it!
Boo is crying in his crib, I think I’ll go join him.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hurdles


I had been on the phone with the mortgage company and was feeling rather stressed. I was slamming things around in the kitchen and immediately my mind went to the decadant cream filled cake still in the fridge.

"Self medicate, self medicate" it said. Boy there was an internal battle of wills going on here, between the Fat Girl, the Skinny Girl inside of me and that darned chocolate cake. I needed to feel its creamy goodness sliding over my tongue. That would make me feel better about the mortgage phone call, sure it would.

"No it won't, don't let others' negative attitudes sabotage your good day." Skinny Girl replied.

"But I need to just have a bite of it, just a small slice," the Fat Girl said.

"No!" the healthy, just-walked-a-mile Skinny Girl replied. "That's it!" Skinny Girl grabbed the cake and mashed it into the garbage can, right on top of a poopy diaper. "Just try and dig it out now!"

Fat girl can't breathe, her heart is racing, I need cake! Give me cake.

Skinny Girl is having a cup of tea instead.

Safe Photo Storage

My Dear #1 Niece emailed me this question, I thought I would answer it here:

Mary,
I need some advice about preserving photos. We got a portable hard drive for Christmas and I am in the process of backing up my photos on that, but it got me thinking. OK, now I've protected my photos in case my computer crashes but what about fires, floods and things like that. What is your recommendation? Should I burn them on CD? I probably need some other storage space outside of my house? Safe deposit box or box at Grandmas I don't know.
And what about my albums? Where do you store yours?
Love ya,
Thanks,
Leesha ;)


That is such a good question Leesh, I'm posting my answer here on my blog (I know, shamelessly promoting myself here, so you'll all have to listen, read, whatever.)

I have decided some things after seeing the devastation that can happen when things are not properly stored. I'll give them in list form, it's easier for my brain to wrap around a list than a paragraph.

1. Store them in 3--Store your photos in at least three different places. For instance, on a webprovider like Creative Memories Photo Center, Snapfish, or Kodak Share. CM stores theirs at 3 locations within their photo center, so if one office has a crash, there are 2 more to back that up. Add to that a stack of CD's, and may I recommend here, Memory Manager 2 program that Gram has. It is from Creative Memories, sorts photos, edits them. Terrific program! $39.95 from my website.This program automatically prompts you to back up your memories, (which reminds me, time to do mine.) Then lastly in printed format, get them in safe acid-free albums.

2. Sort your negatives, and keep them off site. At your mom's house, safe deposit box, fireproof safe, somewhere else. Mine fit in 3 Mini Power Sort boxes, about the size of a small shoebox. (Also from my website.)

3. Give away photos you want to keep. Just like hugs, and smiles, if you give them away they will return to you. I know of a CM consultant whose home was burned to the ground in a devastated fire. The only photos she had were those that she had given away. She contacted her family and friends and they collected pictures of her family and returned to her a good amount of photos from her lifetime. If she had been stingy and kept them all to herself, she wouldn't have had any to be returned to her.

4. Store your albums, and pictures like family. Keep them in rooms that you would store the people in, not just their pictures. If you'd put Grandma Nin in the room in which her pictures are stored, they should be fine. I keep mine in the front room on a bookshelf near my piano, which is near the front door. My home is raised about 4 feet off the ground, I don't worry too much about a flood getting in, but if my piano should ever catch on fire... (we won't go there.) Anyway, they are in this room because it is close to the door, and after getting all my kids out safely, I could easily grab my photo albums, assuming of course that I had enough room in the Suburban for all 22 of them, and take them with me.

I do need to reevaluate a few of my storage spaces of un-scrapbooked photos. They aren't stored in a manner that is conducive to a clean getaway. I don't have all of my older photos scanned, a few, but not many. I need to take the time and get them all in digital format.

Three cheers for your efforts on getting them on your external hard drive. Memory manager also has an option to do a "shadow copy" on an external hard drive so that after you are finished editing or uploading photos, you can click "shadow copy" and it will automatically write any changes you have just made to the external drive.
I hope that answered you questions, I'm sure I gave you much more than what you wanted. I tend to offer a drink of water with a firehose.
Love you all.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Our Firm Anchor

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
This is the time for reflection, this is the time for reminiscing, this is the time for New Years Resolutions, which I’ll do faithfully for 15 minutes or so. Resolved: to stick to my goals, resolutions, whatever.
Resolved: to be more realistic in my goals.
Resolved: to actually accomplish the new habits I’m trying to implement. Resolved: never to make resolutions again.
That was productive…
Ok, the reflection part. What a year this has been. I don’t remember January and February much, April was spent getting ready for DH to leave the Army, May it happened, June, and July were spent keeping the bill collectors at bay, August we had a break while DH did 30 days of active duty. September, October and November we again fought off the hording masses. December, DH started working again. Pearl Harbor Day, actually. It is a general rule that we only do significant things on days that were already designated as a holiday. Miss Busy was born on Mother’s Day, DH left the Army the last time on Miss Busy's birthday, we’ve moved into new houses during Christmas, left for deployments on Easter, returned from deployments on birthdays, and we can only move when it is raining or 20 degrees below zero.
It is so good to be able to pay the bills again. I never thought I would say that, that I actually long to pay them. I really never had any intention of letting things slide as they have, but when there isn’t anything to spend, some things have just gotten pushed aside.
My poor suburban was out of commission for two months and when we finally got it going, it malfunctioned again. I hate being so dependent on a mechanical thing, but I am.
God has constantly fulfilled every need that we have had during the last year, physical needs and spiritual. Our timing is never His timing and we often grow impatient, thinking “we won’t make it, we’ll fail, we’ll lose the house, the truck, the shirts off our backs!” But we don’t, we come through the storm with our possessions intact, with a better attitude about those “things”. We hold on to them with a looser grasp. Yet we cling to those around us with a tighter hold. They are the things that really matter when it all comes down to the bottom line. Our sails may be torn, the boat is sloshing with excess water, the mast may need repairing, but the anchor holds firm. The only casualties of the windy gale are our pride and materialism.
God has brought many new friends to our family. His people. People who are willing and eager to help. People who will drive an hour out of their way to offer us a ride to church, so that the family can be in the presence of God, worshipping and fellowshipping with His people. He has prompted old friends to act in compassionate service, who still remain faithful to Him, to bring us a Generator during a stormy power outage. God has always taken care of our needs through His endless network of believers, and I am constantly blessed by His care and compassion. Through it all, he has brought me into a more personal relationship with Him. I am awed by His love for me, secure in knowing that He has always had my best in mind. Knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4) As I was reading my blogs this morning, I was inspired by a post I read. C.S. Lewis described the testing of our faith in a beautiful way, a way to which I relate completely. He said: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us: we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” Oh, we know in our hearts that He is in control. We know in our hearts that He only wants the best for His children. We know in our hearts that we will come out of the trials better, in many ways: spiritually for sure, emotionally too, but we wonder how much “baggage” we will be stripped of along the way. (We need it, I'm certain, we carry far too much stuff along with us anyway.) Will the band-aids hurt as they are ripped off and wounds cleaned and covered again? We will be better for the cleansing, but we don’t want the healing process to hurt.
Lord, please help our wimpyness. Strengthen our weak hearts and minds. Help us to get the head knowledge into heart knowledge, so that the next trials won’t hurt so badly.
 

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