Friday, December 7, 2012

Deployment Ahead...Again

Imagine you are traveling down the highway, making good progress towards you destination, and then there it is, right in front of you, the dreaded, big orange metal sign that reads, "Caution, Road Work Ahead," and traffic immediately slows down. After several miles of those oh so lovely orange striped cones, you get that freeing feeling of being able to step on the gas again; and just about the time you resume your speed and feel like you are making good progress again, you see it again, there off in the distance- another big orange sign! "Really," you say to yourself, or to whoever is in the car with you willing to listen to you complain, "Already? Again?" You know exactly what I'm talking about right? Well, that is just how I feel when seeing Jeremiah's next deployment off in the distance, but yet approaching all too quickly. We just got through one deployment. We've gotten settled into our new home, gotten our kids into a routine, and worked through some of the transitions that nearly every military family goes through after a deployment; and now, we are getting ready to do it all again.
The deployment will bring its own challenges but so far, we are just dealing Jeremiah's crazy training schedule in the midst of the holiday season. He is having a blast working with the Special Forces, but we hate being away from each other, especially when he is state side. We have weighed the pros and cons and have decided it would be best if I move back home with my parents while he deploys again. I will have the help and support I need, and my boys will have the opportunity to strengthen their relationships with at least one set of grandparents and other family members. Going home, doesn't just mean packing a suitcase for a weeklong visit, it means attempting to pack for two kids and myself for a year, all into one car load, and packing our home into boxes and moving it into storage. We considered keeping out stuff at our house so we wouldn't have to find a new rental when we move back here, but there is a strong possibility we will be PCSing (moving to a new Permanent Change of Station) when Jeremiah gets home. Furthermore, when we added up the dollars we would save by not paying for rent, utilities, cable, etc, we didn't even have to think twice. Packing and moving has become like second nature to us.
Once we made the decision to move home, the next question was when should we move. Jeremiah isn't leaving for a while yet, but due to training he will only be home a combined 2 weeks between now and the time he leaves. So, we will travel to Ohio, have a wonderful Christmas and New Years, and then come home and start packing. In the mean time, we are going to try to capture and soak up every moment we have together, not just rushing through life to get to our next destination, but trying to keep it slow and focused on the important things in the very moment we are living.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Rock for a Pillow

While you might read the title of this blog and think it's going to be about Jeremiah sleeping on a rock, it isn't. It is about a much older story. You see, it has been a while, a long while, since I have been dedicated to spending some quiet time with God. I'm sure having a toddler and a new baby has had something to do with that, but, nonetheless, my spiritual growth has been stunted over the past few months. I don't know about you, but when God convicts me, my first reaction is to feel guilty. Then, I get depressed thinking about how I should be willing to sacrifice a few moments of sleep to spend a few minutes in the presence of the Almighty. With that being said, my sister gave my husband a new devotional for Christmas, so I started reading it here and there, and in those few moments, through those few paragraphs, God, once again, in His ever so loving and faithful way, drew me near to Him.
As I got up this morning, I felt a different feeling, not one of regret, hesitation, or conviction but rather an excitement to spend time in His presence. I recognized God's conviction, not as a shaking finger pointing at me, telling me I was wrong, but as a God, yearning for His child to spend time with Him. Wow! Isn't it crazy when you think about it, the God who put the moon and the stars in the sky, the God that created man, the God that sacrificed His son, wants to spend time with me. He has a message to give me, wisdom to instill in me, and a presence to rejuvenate me!
This mornings devotion took me to the Old Testament, to the story of Jacob camping on a rock. He was completely unaware of God's presence but after a restful night's sleep, and a heavenly dream of angels going to and from Heaven on a ladder, Jacob was certain this place was in the presence of God (Genesis 28:10-22). As I read it, I began to think about how so many times we ask God to be with us but fail to recognize when He is. It has ben my experience, that God shows up in the most unexpected places, and unexpected times. I think we often expect to find God in a sanctuary, or among believers in a Bible study, but who expects to find Him on a rock. While I might not be planning on camping out with a pillow for a rock anytime soon, I do know God is just as able to reveal himself to me at the playground, the grocery store, or in the middle of the night while feeding my sweet boy, as he was to Jacob that special night. It is my prayer, that I actively look for God in those places, that I expect to experience His presence in other places than our church sanctuary. As we come upon this Christmas season I am reminded of one of God's many names, Emmanuel, meaning, "God with us." So, as we head about our day, let us meditate on Emmanuel, and know He is with us, through thick and thin, through ups and downs, through snotty noses and poopy diapers, we can rest and be inspired by the very presence of the Most Holy God!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Playground

As we have gotten settled back into life here in Georgia I was realizing the need for Emerson to have some social interaction with kids his age, so I started taking him to the playground on a regular basis. He, just like I expected, is doing quite well at learning the social skills needed in a toddler's world. What I wasn't really expecting to find at the playground were moms who live in a military community to be so dissatisfied with their levels of social interactions with other adults.
Even though Jeremiah has been in the army for over seven years, we are really just now getting the true active duty experience because the first 5 years he was in, he was a reservist. I figured that because military families relocate on a regular basis they would be quick to open up and make new friends; what I have found is the exact opposite. When I take the boys to the playground, I see other moms, including myself, looking for some adult conversation. So many times, we will say to one another that we should get together sometime but then it never happens. This week I decided to change that.
As the kids were running around having a grand ol' time, we moms managed to maintain small talk of the kids and weather. One mom had recently just "got here" in June. June may not seem like that long ago, but 6 months should be long enough for someone to at least start to feel like they are settling in. Knowing how I had lived here for a year without making too many friends and feeling settled myself, I asked her how things were going and if she liked it here. Her response was, "Yeah, it's hard." Guessing I probably knew what she was meaning I asked the group of surrounding moms if they ever find it strange that military families keep to themselves. They all agreed and from there, the level of interest in the conversation immediately changed. I could see and hear relief in some of their voices; they knew they weren't the only ones seeking something deeper. We laughed about how we have cell phone numbers of other moms and say we are going to call but then a couple of weeks pass and, by then, it is too awkward to call. So, right then and there, I seized the moment to set a date to get together. I laughed to myself as I could see we were all just trying to play it cool and not act like giddy girls who had just made new friends. Tomorrow, our kids will play, we will have some girl time, and who knows, it may be the start of new lifelong friendships.
If you are or have been a military family, what has been your experience with families socializing with one another?