Wednesday, April 30, 2008

PBS Report about Chaplain Boot Camp

I just watched this report on PBS. (Actually I watched it on the web, from PBS)

It is an inspiring look at what the Army training involves, how our Chaplains are trained and prepared to go forth into the Army ranks and minister to Soldiers and their families. Click over to PBS and take a look, it's only about 8 minutes long.

I had the opportunity to get to know two of these Chaplains while I was there. One of them is cousin to a Chaplain that Bear was an assistant for, about 12 years ago.

I heard many times during the Spouse's seminar that this is a small Army, you will work with some of these people again in ministry. It is true. When Bear was a Chaplain's assistant we crossed paths with many of the instructors that he studied with at CH-BOLC.

I just have to say again, that being in the Chaplain Corps is the best job in the army. I can't think of a better place to be.

Not to make this post go really long, but I would just like to add that Bear has been in many jobs that just "didn't fit" and he felt dissatisfied and uncomfortable. They were good jobs, but I don't think they were God's will for our life at the time. God has redirected our paths many times to get us where we are today. We often did not see where He was leading in the midst of it all, but in hindsight we can see clearly that He had His hand in our lives, guiding us where He would have us to go.

Psalm 78:72 "With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skillful hand."

Rag Rug Step-by-Step, (Sort of)

Ok, I’ve had some requests for directions, since I am not in the craft, crocheting book writing business, this will be very “non-technical.”

First start a very loose single crochet chain about 1/3 of the length of the finished rug or a bit longer.

When you get to the end of the chain, turn and make a single crochet into the last chain, repeat into this same hole about 4-5 times to make a curved edge. This will make the basis for your oval end of the rug. Then repeat the single crocheting back along the chain until you get to the first stitch. Repeat the 4-5 single crochet stitches into that hole, and then single crochet back in the first direction.
(Oh, I hope that makes sense, I am really by no means a tutorial-writer.)

As you repeat this process around and around the rug you will keep it straight on the sides and add stitches around the ends of the oval to keep it flat. Add the same amount on each end to keep the shape symmetrical. This doesn’t need to be exactly precise, like counting stitches or anything, just add 3 or so on each end, to make it curve.
I didn't like the way the dark blue fabric stitched up. It is nylon tricot knit and the others are woven cotton/poly blend. You really should keep your fabrics the same weight and type. I'm still debating if I should tear it out and remove the blue or just leave it. It is more "holey" than the other ones, so someone may snag a toe and crack their head open on a dresser. (Come to think of it, with all the injuries around here, I'm tearing it out now.)
This crocheting takes a lot of shoulder and arm work and you may be sore after stitching for a while. I stitch around and then do shoulder rolls to keep my muscles loosened up, it is really quite a workout.

Miss Busy's Eye Update

All week long Miss Busy’s eye has been oozing dark red coagulated blood, she has had to keep a warm cloth over it and lightly massage it to let the blood out. It has actually helped the bruising to go away faster to get the blood out from underneath her eye.

In the process of all the manipulating and warm compresses, the tiny tear in her skin became larger and formed a wide scab. Yesterday it broke completely open and started bleeding again. When all the blood was gone I noticed it was quite deep and wondered about getting stitches to close the wound. I called a couple of people for a second opinion, and had her and Bear go talk to the neighbor nurse, no one was available for comment however, so we went to the ER, again!

They don’t like to close injuries that are more than 24 hours old for fear of infection, but because of the placement of the wound, and the fact that they couldn’t close it with steri-strips, they decided to stitch it. I was glad; I didn’t want a yucky scar on her pretty little face. Poor thing, she keeps banging up her face, she’s had three sets of stitches—all on her face, and one wound “glued” back together near her eye.

The doc did a fabulous job and put in three tiny stitches with a small, clear suture filament. She was a brave girl and only cried a little when they numbed it.

Most of the black and blue is gone now, but she still has a red blotch in the white of her eye, which will go away soon.

Thanks for keeping her in your prayers; I know that she wouldn’t have healed so quickly without it. Prayer changes things; I see the miracles every day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rags to Riches

Ok, Well maybe not riches, but at least I can walk on it.

I've decided to make another rag rug, this time I will share in pictures.This red white and blue one is in the boys room, they love the bright colors, and on an aside, it washes up beautifully having been splattered and smeared with all manner of bodily liquids in the past.

For the girls room, my sister, Sylvie gave me a large amount of yardage suitable for draperies, chair covers, cushions, bedspreads, etc. I decided to cover a chair cushion and a pillow for their reading nook and now I'm making a rag rug with about 3 yards of it too.

I've cleaned out a closet of some old tablecloths, (really just some $1/yard fabric from Wal-mart that I hemmed on each end to cover church tables a really long time ago.)

I've torn them into strips and I'm crocheting them with a large rug hook. The colors are pink, blue, mint green, light yellow with a dark blue accent. It will match beautifully with the pretty decorator fabric from Syl.

Here's a few photos to get you started.

And a few links to other bloggers rag rug projects.
Vintage Chica
Frugal Families

Flip Flop Givaway!!

Birdie over at Crooked Maple is having a "to die for" givaway! An adorably embellished pair of flip flops, complete with matching earrings, thankyouverymuch!

You have got to get over there and post a comment for a chance to win.

Cute, cute, cute!
And if perhaps there is still snow on the ground where you are, do not dispair, spring is coming, sometime soon.

Now what are you waiting here for? Get over there and enter to win!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Boo Boo is Two Two!

Ok, he's just two, but it rhymed, give me a break!

Two years ago today, our baby was born. What a joyous day! My sweetheart had made it back from Iraq on time this time for baby #6. (He had missed the last one by only about 10 hours.)

We were in the process of packing up boxes and finalizing paperwork on our new house. It was a crazy time for us to be sure, but what birth isn't? Why is it that everything seems to rush at you when your due date is near.

Bear had injured his knee climbing into the back of our suburban, he ruptured the bursa bag on his right knee and had spent much of the evening in the ER while I was on the sixth floor getting ready to give birth. He hobbled in for his part, and then while I was sleeping later, he went back to the ER to get x-rayed.He was fine, I was fine and our sweet Boo was fine.

He loves his trains and the other day discovered they stick to the washing machine. They didn't stick very well and they slid down the front. He loved it!We are having train cupcakes for his party, and a special edition of Movie and Pizza Night, our Friday night family tradition. Boo gets to pick his movies and we get to enjoy a little Thomas the Tank Engine with him.

Happy Birthday Boo Boo!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How I got to CH-BOLC Spouses' Seminar

Part I is here. Check it out first then the story continues...

As we stepped out on faith, God met us there and provided our every need. We had an exceptionally large income tax refund that year, along with many friends who came to us and blessed us with financial gifts and gifts of service. We had an abundance of food gifts that were bestowed on us in various forms, bumper crops of apples, pears, tomatoes, pumpkins, and salmon. God was providing for us in a way that was more than we could ever ask or imagine. There were many times when bills were paid by unknown benefactors. I had a utility bill that would come in the mail each month with a zero balance or a credit and I didn’t have any explanation, but that some philanthropist had paid it for us.

God provided thirty days of active duty for Bear during the month of August, which helped to pay the bills as well. Because we were so good at being frugal by this time, the two army paychecks we received stretched us through another two months. And a pay miscalculation was resolved and another miraculous paycheck appeared just when we needed it most.

Finally in December, Bear started working in a good civilian job with good health benefits, a major necessity with 5 kids at home needed stitches, casts, prescriptions and glasses.

Then in January of this year Bear received orders to attend the Army’s Chaplain training school in South Carolina. This is what we had hoped for! Even though it was only for 45 days, we could stretch the paychecks and maybe catch up some bills or make needed car repairs. Plus Bear would be getting the army training under his belt so that he was one step closer to becoming an active duty chaplain.

Once he got there, he requested to be able to stay for the whole course instead of just the first part and was accepted. I was so happy for him, and proud of my soldier. Then Bear suggested that I think about coming to the spouse’s training at the end of CH-BOLC in April. Wow, that would be great, but I didn’t think it would ever happen.

Through many blessings and multiple benefactors, I was able to attend. I was so blessed by the experience and want to share many of the things I learned.

I flew into SC on Sunday and arrived late that evening. The first session of the spouses seminar didn’t start until 1300 on Monday. (Army time, that’s 1:00pm to the rest of the world.) Bear had to go to PT that morning, even though he had a hernia, he had to “attend” for accountability. (Yep, you’re here, yep, you can’t do any sit-ups, thanks for showing up, Hooah!) He came back to the room and we got ready for chapel at 0800.

It was so good just to be able to sit near my hubby and worship together with him. I missed his baritone voice strong in my ear, and his arm around my waist.

I was introduced to many of his Chaplain buddies, it’s a good thing the army has nametags on uniforms, I am so bad with names and faces. I knew that I would soon be meeting many of their wives so I tried to make mental notes for later.

The first session was back at D-Hall where we were staying so after lunch, armed with my notebook and a smile I entered the room. I made my way over to an empty space and looked around the room, lovely ladies surrounded me, smiling and chatting. I am so fearful about first introductions and stepping forward to make “first contact” so to speak. Those of you who know me well, will find that hard to believe, yet, it is very hard for me to open my mouth.

(And obviously hard for me to finish a story in one sitting!)

Next part coming up…

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spouse’s Seminar Day One, or how I got here in the first place…

This week was the culmination of a dream. One that my husband has dreamed for years now and I have recently begun to share with him. Bear enlisted in the army way back in 1991, and during that time, through a course of events came to believe that God had called him into the ministry. I was of the opinion back then that he must have been mistaken because God certainly hadn’t called ME to be a minister’s wife! Oh, no! That was not the life for me. I had no desire to go to Africa or some poverty stricken town where the minister and his family lived in a tumble down shack at the back of the church. No thank you!

Well, during the years between 1991 and now God was working on my heart, gently, but working still. I believe that my attitude delayed Bear’s calling, or the fulfillment of his calling anyway, while God got me in line with the game plan. How He worked out this change in me was so gradual, so loving and gentle that I hardly noticed the change in my heart until a few years ago during Bear’s second deployment to Iraq. He was getting more and more involved in the Chaplain’s lives and ministering to his fellow soldiers, and he decided that was what he wanted to do--to become an Army Chaplain.

We have both thought that being in the UMT, the Unit Ministry Team, was the best job in the army and we loved every minute of it. Now God was pushing Bear into a deeper calling, a more substantial sort of ministry than being an assistant to the Chaplain. Now that I was willing to obey and be submissive not only to God, but to my husband, he was revealing the next part of the plan. Army Chaplaincy.

Bear did the legwork, and I prayed. He looked up seminaries and Master’s programs and I prayed. God worked on my heart and Bear prayed. Bear started school shortly after he returned home from Iraq and then we knew we were in for the ride of our lives.

Napoleon said the army moves on its stomach; it doesn't, it moves on paperwork--piles of it, packets of it, volumes and volumes of it. DA photographs, forms, triplicate, DD-this and DD-that, x-23’s and blah-blah-214’s. Finally it was all put together, and we discovered that Bear had to exit the army to “stop the clock” of his enlisted time in service, and that we had about 2 weeks to “get out” of the army.

Wow! I didn’t know how we were going to do this huge step. So many of our friends thought we were nuts to do something like this, it seemed too much like counting our chickens before they had hatched; of only having birds in the bush and none in our hands; it smacked of burning bridges before we had crossed them. We sort of thought so too, but looking back at all God had brought us through, we had faith that He would not lead us to the precipice and leave us to falter there. We placed our lives in His loving and protective hands and stepped out on faith.

On May 14th of last year he was released from active duty and the next day was commissioned as a 2LT in the Individual Ready Reserve, released from service to pursue a Master’s Degree in seminary.

We know that God has always provided for our needs but through 8 months of unemployment that was to follow, we relied on His provision for our every need.
More to come… (sorry to leave you hanging, I'll come back soon, I promise)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Vacation-Getting There

I left early, too early; excited and jittery. Nervous about seeing my husband again for the first time in three months. Nervous about missing my flight, (I had three hours to spare, I was fine) nervous about getting through security, (had nothing to hide, had my 3 oz bottles in a one-quart bag, I was fine.)

Once I was settled on the plane, my iPod plugged in, I dreamed, I didn’t sleep, only dreamed about our meeting, the room, the candles lit, the romantically cute nightie I brought along.

The layover in Chicago nearly killed me, it was only supposed to be an hour and a half, it stretched into four. I tried to remain calm, I called my friend in Illinois and chatted for a bit, somewhat preoccupied by the intercom announcing flights and delays. Finally it was time to load the plane. This was the short leg. I’d soon see him!

One short flight later, I was in SC. I walked towards the baggage claim, searching the faces of those standing and waiting. Where was he? Is that him? It is! Wow, I don’t remember his hair being that short! Is that all I could think about? Oh brother! Ah, his arms! Those are the same!

Chaplain R was there to give us a lift; I was introduced, politely shook hands, and warmly greeted him, when all I wanted to do was smother my sweetheart with kisses! Calm down.

Once my luggage came, we walked, and walked to CH R’s jeep. (You don’t suppose, Chaplain, that you could stick my luggage up front and Bear and I could ride in the back together?) I didn’t think so.

“How long of a drive is it to the post?” “15 minutes? Ok, that’s not too long.”

Wrong turn, wrong exit, meandering scenic trip through Columbia and surrounding area. (You are killing me, CH R!) Love the college buildings and Frat Row, now let’s get back to Post shall we? Finally! Ok, lovely buildings, which one is the hotel where we’re staying? No, we don’t need any help carrying up my luggage. Got it thanks, see you tomorrow.

And in the words of Forest Gump, “That’s all I’m gonna say about that.”

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mr. Coughanhack in 8C

I’ve been trying to “follow through” with those promptings you get, you know, “You should really send her flowers,” or “they need a note of encouragement.” Those times when you get the impression to write a note or send a word of encouragement or a Thank You card. I am so bad about doing that kind of thing, I have good intentions, I buy the beautiful cards, and I love writing them and the feeling that I get when I do it, but for some reason, I forget.

This morning as I wake up to a stuffed up head so bad that I can’t blow my nose; while Bear is sleeping sitting up with a spit bottle to catch the drainage, I am prompted to send a thank you. Here goes:

Mr. Coughanhack in row 8, seat C; United airlines, flight XX22, from Chicago to Seatac,

I just wanted to thank you for your cold, which you so generously shared with us. I realize that they are “common” so they occur everywhere, but you were generous enough to make sure that we caught yours. Thank you for hacking so effectively that your germs spread far and wide across the airplane, especially to the sleeping couple in the row directly in front of you. We couldn’t have gotten this sick without you.

Thank you for not covering your cough, or washing your hands after blowing your nose, and thank you for not carrying a trial-size bottle of hand sanitizer with you on the plane. I realize that airline regulations now limit the amount of fluids passengers carry, and not carrying that hand sanitizer probably gave you more room for important things like cologne for your “business trip.”

I just wanted to thank you again for your generosity; it is not often that grownups remember to share.

Excuse me while I go blow by dose, and use my inhaler.

Sincerely, one half of the sleeping couple in row 7.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Miss Busy and the bump

Yesterday I got a call from the school saying that Miss Busy and another boy had run into each other on the playground and she needed Mom's attention. Bear was home still so I left right away and went to school.

There was quite a commotion in the nurse's office, Miss Busy had ice on her eye and another boy was hanging his head over a garbage can.

Miss Busy had a huge knot over her left eye, the boy would require stitches and the paramedics had been called, he had a possible concussion.

I had the paramedics look at Miss Busy while they were there, they recommended a CT scan because of the amount of swelling on her eye.

We took her to the ER and after 4 hours finally got in to see the Doc. By this time her eye was completely swollen shut and very painful. The CT scan showed no fracture, just severe bruising and swelling. The Doc, in a previous career, was a boxer, and he said he has never seen, (or had) any eye injury swell up like this one did. He thinks she ruptured a blood vessel and it just exploded causing it all to pool around her eye.

She'll be swollen for a few days and black and blue over the left side of her face for a while.

Thought I'd share a picture, she won't go near a mirror, it makes her cry.

Just when I thought things were settling down and I could start blogging about my fabulous trip, here comes another calamity.

I will tell you all about my "mini-honeymoon and vacation" I promise. Soon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We have orders

We picked up Bear's orders yesterday at the Chaplain's School. We took a very slow walk about 1/4 mile to the school, and found them with one of the school secretaries. We started the process of getting Bear's flight home on the 15th. Then we came back to the room and called the airline which I was to fly with. I did miss my flight, (it was on Monday) but they allowed us to leave the ticket open and reschedule once we get Bear's flight information from the army.

Thank you, Lord!!

Bear and I were praying hard while we were on the phone talking with Expedia and then the airline. I thought there was no way to recoup any of that lost ticket, shows you what the power of prayer can do.

He is doing an Army correspondence training right now at the Chaplain's School library, another couple of Chaplains were doing it, and needed another brain thrown into the mix to figure out some of the questions.

He is feeling better, can move around more easily, but is still moving slowly.

I've done our few dishes, made the bed, dusted everything in sight and now I'm restless, I took a walk in the beautiful sunshine and snapped a few pictures.

I've become such an HGTV junkie; just ask me if you are planning to move or need help staging your home, I could tell you more than you'd ever want to know, I'm sure.

I'm switching to Food Network this morning, there is a show about Chinese Hot Pots, simmering pots of broth with veggies and meats that you cook quickly in the broth. Yumm-O! Emeril is so weird, he could be a Mafia Don. Since we don't have cable, I guess I've never seen him in action, he cracks me up! I'd hate to get on his bad side for sure.

Ok, enough babble, please pray for our flight home, so that I can piggy-back on Bear's flight, with all these airline bankruptcies, I'm afraid the flight will be all filled up by the time payday rolls around and I can pay for the flight.

Oh, on another note, this week I have met quite a few people who read my blog but have never commented. I'd love to get to know you better. If you read this, please comment and tell me you are out there, blogging is worthwhile to me if I know someone is reading.

Just click on the blue "comments" link at the bottom of the post, if you don't have an account, you may post anonymously, just sign your name (first name is fine.)

Thanks! I'd love to know that someone is reading out there.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mr. H is all gone!!

No more Mr. Hernia!!

We just got home from Moncrief Army hospital, The Doc inserted a piece of mesh to cover and seal the hernia. She said that everything went well. Bear is resting in the other room right now, he said it feels like he did too many sit ups.

He has two weeks convalescent leave, but we will probably come home around the 16th.

True to army fashion, our orders are late and no sign of when we may get them. We are hanging in limbo until we get orders, Bear can't change his flight and I may lose mine if we don't get it all straightened out.

My original flight was for tomorrow, I believe, but I can't change mine until his flight gets changed, I can't change his flight until the orders arrive.

We are trusting to God to provide on this one, there is nothing either of us can do until then.
Thanks for your prayers,

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mountain Tops

I am here. The week is nearly over and I'm absolutely loving the experiences I'm having. Last night was the banquet; wonderful, exciting, stimulating. I love the pomp and circumstance that the Army has to offer. I love the flags, the colorguard, the uniforms and the traditions. As I am typing this I can hear the morning bugles sounding reveille. When I am home, I love to hear the sound of the firing range in my backyard. Some of my neighbors may hate me for this, but I wish it would happen more often than it does.

I have made friends that I don't want to leave, I've had experiences that I don't want to fade in my memory, and more than that, I have seen that my husband has made comrades, fellow brothers in the Lord. Godly men, with a great desire to serve the Lord in our Armed Forces. I have gotten to know some of them and I'm impressed with their heart for ministry, their love of this country, and their desire to serve the Lord in ministering to soldiers and their families.

Graduation is tomorrow, not soon enough for the Ch-BOLC's (Cha-Bolics- just to let you know how they say it here.) but too soon for me. I wish that there was more that I could soak in, more spouse's seminar to be had, more Mountain Top experiences that I could tuck in my heart and remember forever.

I've got pictures to post, and much more to share, but Chapel starts soon and I don't want to miss a single thing.
Much Love,

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