The Book–I had an exciting break through!

 

These women + Pam and sometimes Tegan, Amy,  and Katie. These women are how I got through Operation Iraqi Freedom I, 2003.

These women + Pam and sometimes Sally, Suzy, Tegan, Amy, and Katie. These women are how I got through Operation Iraqi Freedom I, 2003-2004. We were the real “Army Wives,” long before cable had that t.v. show. And I know so many spouses just like us, all over the world, across all branches of service. We have this unique life, which is both good and bad, and our stories are worth hearing.

I don’t know if you remember, but before I gave birth to JD, I was writing a book. Yes, that was over three years ago now. I haven’t touched it that whole time.

I can’t write that particular book anymore. It’s not the book I want to write at this time.

Each morning I open my inbox in hope of seeing a blog job offer that I will want to take on. This week I had opportunities to review a security system, a bidet, and coconut oil that costs $20 a jar…..when you can buy it for $8 a jar at any grocery store, yes, even organic. I was a little less than enthused. I passed on those.

(####As a blogger, it is my promise to you, my reader, to only review products I’m excited about or truly believe in.####)

I’m still happy blogging, and I’m constantly trying to learn how to be better at it and grow my audience. But for the past two years, I kept thinking about the book. (The first year I had JD the book wasn’t even on the radar. I was just happy to accomplish teeth brushing.)

I kept thinking, “Maybe once the move is done, I’ll work on my book again.”

And sometimes I mention it, and people ask me, “What is your book about?”

“Ummmmmm..uhhhh…” Cue the crickets….

“I don’t actually know what I’m going to write a book about, but for some reason, I’d really like to write one.” I actually feel this pressure to do it. I can’t explain it.

Then three nights ago, I had just gotten out of the shower, and BAM! It hit me! I knew what to write about.

Don’t you get your best ideas while showering? I mean I do, normally, unless there is a toddler beating on the shower door whispering, “Mom, get out. Mom get out.”

Sometimes JD just whispers. It’s cute, not creepy though. Well, sometimes it’s creepy.

Sorry. I’m rambling. So what am I going to write about?

I think it’s time for me to tell my war stories and how God and some wonderful friends brought us through them.

It’s been 15 years now since Sept. 11. It was the war of my generation. And it’s still a gigantic problem. I was 20 back then, and I sent my husband overseas to take part in the War on Terrorism three times already, as did many of my friends. We’ve spent a cumulative total of three plus years of our marriage apart. 

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’03 or ’04, with my sister military spouses

There are so many stories to tell! Some hilarious, like times spent with my 4 best friends back in Texas in ’03, before any of us had children. Some sad, like when Caleb ran to a random dude instead of Alan at Alan’s 2010 home-coming. Some heartbreaking, as when we lost friends and bosses as casualties to the war.

It’s been so long now that people are beginning to forget. I’ve actually had someone ask me why I should get a military discount. And Congress is constantly threatening our benefits. Then there was that whole VA healthcare debacle.

So many things happened. And while you often hear of books about “letters from war”, you seldom hear about letters TO war. Well, who wants to read about that? There’s no shooting or convoy attacks in letters from home, right? Well, there are our reactions to them. Then there are the hilarious and sometimes gut-wrenching adventures that an Army wife takes on with her family while she’s left behind.

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My sweet military kids during their first deployment experience. At this point,in 2010, Alan had returned from a 15 month tour. Caleb was still calling MY dad “Dad.”

Things like walking your son through EEGs and MRIs because he’s suddenly having seizures and trying to explain it all to your husband in Iraq, while your son’s pre-school teacher calls your son their “little class mascot” as they support him through his medical trials.

Things like getting over-the-moon-I-just-won-the-lottery kind of excited watching the train traveling back into town, loaded down with tanks and Humvees, and wondering what day that they will send your husband too, but knowing that they are finally, after the longest year ever, actually going to come home!!!

And oh, sharing deployment with four close friends who saved each other’s lives that year. Okay. Not literally, but we’ve seen how stress can kill a person, so maybe literally! Yes, definitely literally. Yes, we saved each other’s lives.

I had no idea what I was getting into, but I couldn't wait to start!

I had no idea what I was getting into, but I couldn’t wait to start!

There are so many things I want to tell. Military wives, I know you have stories just like mine and worse and better and then some. I’d love to hear your tales. Maybe after I tell my story I can tell yours too. Hopefully, by telling mine, I will also be telling a lot of yours too. But it’s beautiful how each one us has a slightly different story to tell.

Okay. JD is here, and his nap is apparently over, and he needs me to put his pants back on him, so I’m outta here. Tell me what you think about my book idea. Don’t worry. I’ll change the names, and I’ve already gotten Alan’s buy-in.

We wish you all a fabulous Labor Day weekend!

 

 

Why Cope When You Can Conquer?

I’ve been reading this book. It looks like this:

Why Cope When You Can Conquer?

 It’s an encouraging book. It asks an annoyingly high volume of questions. I never did enjoy answering questions. See, it’s a Bible study guide, but it’s not one of these where you have to watch a video or attend a class to go with it. You can totally just read the guide on your own. (But I did warn you about the questions.)

Don’t worry. The book is still worth it. You can’t read it without learning and growing in your faith. There’s this one particular story that struck a chord with me this week. It’s in Lesson 6: Where to Run in Trouble.

The author, Juanita Purcell, asked this: “When did the Israelites discover they had been delivered from Sennacherib’s invasion?” Read 2Kings 19:35

It was the morning. 

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Purcell said this, and she’s referring to a time when Senacherrib of Assyria was attacking Jerusalem in the 700sBC, “As the enemies gathered against the city of God, the nations were in an uproar. Yet the Angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night. This miraculous event was no big deal to God. He doesn’t even tell us how it happened. Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  (source 1, page 62)

So I had to dig into my Bible, into 2 Kings chapters 19 and 20 to remind myself what exactly was going on here.

Big surprise. Hezekiah was king. He’s my favorite king of Judah. This was the kingdom of Judah, not Israel. Israel did indeed fall to Assyria, but Judah (the southern kingdom) didn’t really. (They fell to Babylon later on, after Hezekiah.) This was because of leadership. They had Hezekiah, and Hezekiah had God.

This is what Hezekiah did when he found out that Assyria was coming for him. He prayed:

“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it….” (2 Kings 19:14)

Yep. He got a threat letter.

“Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord.”  2 Kings 19:14-15

It goes on to describe his prayer. But I mean, basically, “God, save us from these horrible people!!” I just love how the Bible tells us that Hezekiah spread the letter out before the Lord. He was a man who took his prayers seriously, so God took Hezekiah’s prayers seriously. King Hezekiah had great faith.

My take away here: “Trust in the Lord. He will solve your problems in your sleep.”

Oh, and you might be wondering how the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 soldiers while the  armies were sleeping. Historians speculate that it was a plague of mice, an outbreak of the Bubonic plague. *oooo eebidy jeebidies*

I don’t know what problems you might be facing today, but God will lead you to the answers that you NEED, if you ask him to. Have faith and trust in the Lord, and he will not let you down. He is trustworthy. I tried so many things this past year to figure out my health problems, and eventually I was actually able to overcome my chronic joint pain by simply dropping gluten from my diet. That was not a conclusion I ever suspected, but God answered my prayers through the advice of my doctors and my friends. Praise God!

why cope when you can conquer

Carmel Valley, photo by Janet

So have no fear. Trust in the Lord. He will solve your problems in your sleep.

sources:

1. Why Cope When You Can Conquer? by Juanita Purcell, published by RBP Women’s Studies, 1999

2. 2 Kings 19 and 20, The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan 

3. Wikipedia, Hezekiah

“She had come at last to the bend in the road.”–L.M. Montgomery

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Our church is cleaning out its library. Each Sunday the library-powers-that-be spread out about 50 books all over four tables, and anyone can come in and pick out which books they’d like to take home. They are all free.

We have a large library of our own, here at April’s School for Little Men, so I have not been too tempted.

Until today.

What do you think I found today? FOUR books from the Anne of Green Gables series. Good ol’ paperbacks!!

I took a deep breath the moment I saw them. I have misplaced my copies. I haven’t seen them in two years, at least. And there on that “free books” table sat series numbers 2,3,4, and 7! I picked one up. I thought about it.

I put it back down. “No,” I thought, “Some teen or tween girl may read them for the first time if I leave them here and enjoy them as much as I did. I won’t take them.”

And I went on in to church.

I came out an hour later, and you know I had to check. There they sat. All four books, all alone, all for free. I swiped them all up in my arms before anyone could challenge me and dashed off to the nursery to pick up J.D.

Once home, I fed the boys as quickly as I could. Then I snuck off to my room and skimmed the pages. I came across a couple of touching quotes, towards the end of Anne of Avonlea. Anne has completed two years of teaching in Avonlea, putting her college dreams on hold, as she feels it’s her duty to stay and take care of Marilla. Then suddenly, things change, and Anne learns that she may return to college in the fall.

I am further along in my life’s journey than Anne, who is 18 at this point, but how I can relate to these book quotes! We are indeed coming to the bend in the road. We’ve spent our time researching schools, travel plans, and neighborhoods. There are eight weeks left in the school year, and in only 3 months we will be Southerners again.

Each day the picture becomes clearer.

“Joy and regret struggled together in her heart. She had come at last..to the bend in the road.”   –Anne of Avonlea, chapter 26.

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When we moved in, JD was barely one, and not walking yet.

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kayaking in the bay

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A more supportive group of homeschool moms than I ever dreamed possible! (Thank you, Lord!!)

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sweet friends

 

“I’ve put out a lot of little roots these two years,” Anne told the moon, “and when I’m pulled up they’re going to hurt a great deal. But it’s best to go, I think, and as Marilla says, there’s no good reason why I shouldn’t. I must get out all my ambitions and dust them.” —Anne of Avonlea, chapter 26

Moving is always bittersweet, and we will miss all of our new friends. But this move is more sweet than bitter. This time we are going home.

I will always have hope. I hope you do too.

This verse has been my theme song as I’ve struggled with the new heart medicines and decisions about the future. Yes, indeed. I will always have hope. I hope you do too.

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