Thursday, July 31, 2008

They've moved in!

Here's the link to my neice's news update. They have now moved into their new apartment. I'm so thankful for organizations like Operation Homefront.

Moving in and up!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Canning Season Starts


The foodbank where I volunteer got in pallets of Crimson Heart Pluots. They are a cross between an apricot and a plum, with slick skin like a plum. They are sweet and juicy without the pithy taste you sometimes get from apricots. I adore them!!

I canned them all, doing 33 pints of jam and 33 quarts of pluots in a light syrup just for eating.

The jam turned out beautifully, the pluots alone? Not so much. They boiled over each time I removed them from the canner and the fruit rose to the top badly. While they won't win any blue ribons they will feed my family, and that is my ultimate goal.

I spoke to my Mom and she said maybe I was boiling them too hard, so the last batch I turned down to just a simmer and left them in the canner to cool a bit before I pulled them out. They didn't boil over and spew forth like the first batches did, but they still rose to the top and looked like they had had the life boiled out of them.

Any canners out there have any recommendations? I did a raw pack, and followed the directions for apricots in my Ball Blue book.
Oh, well. They still taste good.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Operation Homefront Village


Eighteen months ago my nephew-in-law was injured in Afghanistan. He has been recuperating at Walter Reed ever since and has undergone numerous, (like nearly 80!!) surgeries to repair his pelvic bones, spine and legs. He has a long road of recuperation ahead of him.

His wife, my niece Stephanie and their daughter Maddie have been with him during this long process. They have been staying at the local Fisher House. It is very convenient for them, right down the street from Walter Reed but cramped, and when you have a rambunctious toddler, it can be very difficult.

Operation Homefront has built an apartment complex in Maryland that will house recovering soldiers and their families while they transition back into the army or into civilian life. They are completely furnished and will be provided free of charge to the families. I’m just amazed! What a blessing to these families, not to have to worry about those expenses and can concentrate on getting their soldier better.

It is good to see our wounded veterans getting the care they so desperately need.

Here is a link to the article: Apartments Near Walter Reed
And here’s a link to Operation Homefront

Go donate if you feel led, but at the very least, pray for our troops, pray for the wounded, pray for those in theater, (oversees), pray for our leaders, and pray for their families.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Shameless Self Promotion

I'm involved with a company which helps people restore and preserve their memories. They might be called scrapbooks. The company might have two initials, which are the same as my daughter's. And the founder might have appeared recently in an interview with Donny Deutch on The Big Idea.

I love this comany, I love what it stands for, I love taking photos and making them into "histories" of my family. I love creating special books that my kids enjoy perusing. I love it that a favorite past time of their's is to drag out "their books" and read the stories about themselves.

I was surfing, (imagine that!) and came across a few you tube videos. (I haven't quite figured out how to imbed them here, but you can always click on the link and watch them on youtube.

Another cool thing I just found, a movie about it! www.scrappedmovie.com !!

Where was I when this came out? Man! How do I get a copy? Sold out, he says! Gotta have it, anybody have one collecting dust somewhere?

Ok, go watch the interview with Rhonda, (oh, whoops, wasn't supposed to say her name!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Miracle on Pendleton Avenue

Because my husband is only a Chaplain Candidate and hasn’t finished his seminary yet, he has a civilian job while he’s in school but gets to do some active duty work and “play army” periodically. He loves it, he’s a good soldier and really loves ministering to the troops with which he is working.

I long to be full-time army, all the time. We are an army family, we have been for nearly 18 years, and our kids have grown up with secure gates, ID checks and the commissary. I feel at home in our army community, and my truck wants to turn in when we pass the gates to post.

But in the meantime we are a family without a city; we straddle the fence, neither here nor there in a constant state of change. Transitions are hard, I hate the “limbo” feeling of not belonging and I had to deal with the effects of it yesterday. Well, rather, it started the day before at the pharmacy. I had tried to refill a prescription using our civilian insurance. Of course, since Bear has been on active duty our civilian insurance has lapsed and they refused to pay for the script. Oh, duh! I thought, try it through Tricare, he’s active duty now, it should go through. I handed the pharmacy tech my military ID card and she tried processing it that way. No go. Turns out, each time he goes active, we have to go through several steps in order to get medical coverage. Why it can’t be automatic is beyond me, but it isn’t.

So today, I had the privilege of driving to my beloved post to take care of some errands. (At this point, I’m going to use some acronyms that the army uses, I talk this way, sometimes my civilian neighbors can’t understand me, but it is my life. I’ll try to clarify, or you can always Google it.) I needed to go to the DEERS office at the Welcome Center and verify our enrollment. Now we’ve been in the DEERS system for 17 years, so this is where the frustrating part comes in. I don’t know exactly what they see on their screen when they look at my husband’s file, but we are always there, 7 dependants, all in order, spouse, and 6 kids. But each time, we re-verify. Yes, we’re still living; we still need health care, blah, blah, blah.

As I turned into the Welcome center on Pendleton Ave, I could see we were in trouble. Every parking spot was full. Summer is a big time for PCS-ing and ETS-ing, scheduling household goods shipments, and clearing quarters. The housing office is in an adjacent building and they share the parking lot. I could see the throngs of soldiers and family members funneling through the doors to the ID office. Oh, no, that was right where we needed to be.

I squeezed the suburban into a “compact” space, (I’m good at maneuvering that thing,) and loaded the little boys into the double stroller, with strict instructions to the “walkers” that they were to stay with me at all times and maybe we could stop at the park later.

We got to the counter and read the sign, wait times today were running 2 ½ to 3 hours. No. I needed this prescription, (I have asthma and can’t go through the night without my medication.) I was disheartened. When the receptionist got to the counter to “field my request” I told her what we needed, knowing that I would not like her answer.

These are his orders? Yes.
Do you have a Power of Attorney? Um, no.
(I get the look over the glasses.) Yes, I know, I should have one.
I can’t do anything without a POA ma’am. Well, he’s in training from 0500 to 2200 each day. (Zero-five-hundred to twenty-two hundred = 5 am to 10 pm.) I know his commander is supposed to give him time off to take care of such things, but how’s he supposed to do that when he’s in training all that time.

Deep sigh from across the counter and a glance at the swarming masses filling the waiting room. (Here's the miracle--)She then took her little stylus and started tapping the screen, then with her inch long acrylics, tap, tap, tap on the keyboard, more dabbing with her stylus, and flip, she passed Bear’s orders back across the counter. Go see the people at the Tricare office.

That was it? Done. We were out of there. I felt like crying. I could not believe it; I had witnessed a miracle. Truly, a miracle.

Now, those of you in the civilian world may not realize what just occurred here, but the red-tape was cut, the red-carpet was rolled out and I moved to the head of the line. I went from being third class reservist family member to “President’s Own.” We were passed through the gate without an ID check. Come to think of it, she never even asked to see my ID card.

Definitely, a miracle, I tell you! I have never, in all my 17 years of Army-Wife-hood, had anything like that happen. Typically, we wait, in lines here, in lines there, suffering along with the thronging masses. You just get used to it. But, not today. Today, God’s blessing shined on us, and we were providentially passed through the crowd, and brought to the head of the line and given the go-ahead.

Now, I just have to draw an analogy here, this is what happens when we are saved by Jesus’ blood. This is what happens in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

When you follow the steps in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”, you get a new ID card, you go the front of the line and the get the red-carpet treatment. When you confess your sins to Him, He draws you into His arms and won’t let go. Your name is forever written down in His Book. There is no receptionist at the counter to glare at you over the top of her glasses, or to tap her computer screen to see if you are who you say you are. When you get your marching orders, you don’t become one of the President’s Own riding in a stretch limousine with a uniformed chauffeur, and flags waving. No, it’s better than that; you become a Child of The Most High, riding in a golden chariot, clothed in Jesus’ Righteousness, driven by the Lord, Himself.

The elation and relief I felt as I walked out of that mass of waiting people, was nothing compared to knowing that you are clean in God’s eye’s, knowing that you are His Own.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Multitasking gone awry

I don’t multitask very well. Brain malfunction, I guess, or maybe there’s just too much going on in my life. I’ve read that people who multitask are less productive in all areas of their life. I guess I should just stick to one thing at a time.

I tried to stick a dirty diaper in the mailbox once, and I’ve been known to put milk away in the cupboard and not the fridge.

Today was no different. I’ve been trying to cook better meals for my family and my crockpot is wonderful for getting things started early in the morning and forgetting. I fixed my coffee and just poured my favorite creamer, hadn’t even taken a sip, then got out the ingredients out for this sloppy joe recipe. I snipped off the end of the “sausage roll” wrapper of ground turkey, when plop, it flew right into my freshly poured brew.

E. coli coffee, anyone? Sigh…

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hospital Update

Thank you, dear readers for your prayers. Here is a quick update on my family members.

My mother in law, Nana is still in the hospital and will undergo tests today to see where the blockage is exactly and what can be done about it. They may or may not operate pending the outcome of the testing. Pop may move her to a bigger hospital, (they live in a small town, with one small hospital.)

My friend Larry from the food bank is home now and recovering from his 6-bypass surgery last Saturday. I'm going to volunteer today, and I better not see him there! He has a tendency to overwork and not recuperate enough. Last Thursday while he was supposed to be resting, he called 6 times to remind us of something he was sure we had forgotten. "Yes, Larry, we know." "Yes, Larry, you left us a list." "Yes, Larry, Fran will take care of that, she's already gotten it out of the freezer." "Yes, Larry! Quit calling! Go lie down!" "Goodbye, Larry!" See, he's pointing and telling people what to do?

Some people just don't know how to delegate very well. Sigh...
 

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