Friday, May 31, 2013

Keeping with the Beat

Whew, it's been a busy couple weeks and another week of busy ahead and then.....
VACATION!

Through circumstances ONLY a God who is control of all could bring about, our plan has taken a different route than the plan God appears to be unrolling for us.  All we are doing right now is trying to stay with the Beat, not lag behind, and not get too far ahead.

I wanted to share some pics I took a few weeks ago before things got crazy.

Tim had found a guy who had just moved into the area (navy) and had boxes available with packing materials so a few weeks ago, in the evening we drove out to the man's home and picked through what he had.  It was a beautiful night that night, no humidity, and the evening sky was calming.  We picked through the boxes, looking for dishpacks and packing materials.  We found as many as we could fit in the back of the truck and the cab and then headed home.


Tim adjusting the ropes after a few blew out of the truck.

They're not going anywhere this time!

What a great knot tie-er my husband is!





This is my favorite road in all of west Tennessee.

We're hanging on tight, the story is a good one, can't wait to tell you about it.  If you don't hear from me in a few weeks you'll know why.

Peace,
Ronda

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Let me tell you a story 'bout a man named Jed

Chaotic would be a good word to describe life right now.  No matter where I look in my house, there is stuff everywhere.  Major yard sale this weekend so I have cleaned out cabinets, drawers, closets, you name it, it's been sorted through.

Good memories....being sifted, sorted, stored.

I can't get too melancholy though, when this leaves the driveway this morning - a chair that didn't make it in one piece and can't get taken to the dump till tonight so it had to go with my husband to work this morning.


My husband, "Jed."

Peace,
Ronda

Sunday, May 19, 2013

TJOLC or.... it's time to disembark the ship

The wheels have been in motion for this leaving comfortable since last July, always in the background.  Sort of like being on a ship, on deck 15 and the guts of the ship, the engine room, the boilers, the bowels of the vessel are hidden from the passengers view, underfoot, hidden, silent.  But somehow the ship moves, from one port to another while the passengers sleep and eat and play.

That's how this journey of leaving comfortable has been.  This change, this transplant, this....this...journey.  Maybe the wheels have been churning for this change long before July of 2012.  Maybe the wheels have been churning since 1959, 1966, 1945, 1848.  Who knows?  But more and more I see (?) or feel (?) or sense (?) or just KNOW that Someone has been driving this ship, Someone has been at its helm, Someone has been navigating when I was sleeping, when I was eating, when I was playing, when I was grieving, when I was laughing, when I was rejoicing.

Someone.

Someone who has known from before I was born every day of my life before one of them came to be.

I don't know if I'm down closer to the engine room now and I can see the workings of making a ship run or if I'm on deck 15, high up on the bird's nest, and see the new port is coming up in the horizon and I can see land, but it's coming into view much faster than I thought (or right on time if you're Someone) and it's here.

We're getting ready to step off the ship, enter the new port and live another part of the journey on a new ship, yet to be named.

The ship called Comfortable is being disembarked and I'm sad.  And I'm glad.  And I'm excited.  And I'm anxious.  And I'm sad.  But most of all,  I'm ready.

It's been a good Ship.

Peace,
Ronda

Just Write


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Uncomfortably Comfortable

Comfortable

I like how Merriam Webster sometimes defines words that have several meanings, all being very similar, but the app just tweaks it alittle bit.  This is what the synonym discussion of comfortable says according to MW:

Comfortable, cozy, snug, easy, restful mean enjoying or providing a position of contentment and security.  

Comfortable applies to anything that encourages serenity, well-being, or complacency as well as physical ease <started feeling comfortable in our new surroundings.

 Cozy suggests warmth, shelter, assured ease, and friendliness < a cozy neighborhood coffee shop.

 Snug suggests having just enough space for comfort and safety but no more <a snug little cottage.

 Easy implies relief from or absence of anything likely to cause discomfort or constraint <living in easy circumstances.

Restful applies to whatever induces or contributes to rest or relaxation <a quiet restful vacation.

As I write this I am in comfortable clothes, stretchy pants, a t-shirt, and a light fleece jacket.  Sometime later today I will change my clothes into something less comfortable but able to get dirty as I pull weeds from our flowerbeds.  Right now though, I'm comfortable.

I woke up this morning with this word rattling in my head.  Actually, it's been rattling in my head for awhile, but today seemed to be the day it rattled a little louder as I got my tools cued up and ready to write.  My fingers were almost literally itching to touch the keyboard.  Some days writing is like this for me.  The thought rattling in my head and heart just needs to GET OUT!

I wrote the other day about my friend Rose Marie and how much of a blessing she was to me.  The duty station where she and I met was the last place we were stationed before moving here to Tennessee fifteen years ago.

It's not an exaggeration to say that when we arrived in Tennessee, I was somewhat shell-shocked.  Not bullet shrapnel or anything that invasive, but if words and emotions could shell-shock someone, I was the candidate.

All that being said to say this:  When we moved here and began to catch our breath again, it seemed like we were in a place of great peace.  Nothing was hard to do when we moved here.  Unlike past moves where we spent a significant amount of time and footwork finding grocery stores, shopping, post office, etc., when we moved here, it was like all of that was taken care of before hand, like it had been prepared for us ahead of time.

I found a hairdresser almost immediately!  That never happened before.  We fit into our church, immediately.  Our neighbors were welcoming immediately, and they weren't military housing neighbors!  Everything was just prepared ahead of time for us in those little details that some wouldn't even worry over but were important for me to see.

It was easy to get comfortable quickly and I had no problem doing so.

I remember when our household goods arrived and our house was laden (heavy-laden?) with boxes in every room.  Our bedroom had boxes stacked to the ceiling against the windows so that there was no natural light coming in.  I wanted to unpack but the ready-to-get-it-done-as-fast-as-I-could-Ronda just couldn't get started.  I had reached the point of being tired, hitting the moving and starting over wall.  Maybe it wouldn't have been so hard if the last tour had been better, but I remember feeling, thinking, and saying out loud and to God and to my husband and anyone else who would listen, "I'm done.  I'm not doing this again."

Well, guess what, I haven't done it again since.  But now, I'm getting ready to.  We managed to stay in the same place, with the help of peculiar circumstances maybe in another post I'll share, and not move again for fifteen years, while still being an active duty Navy family up until my husband retired in 2010.

But, I've been seeing that I've gotten a little too comfortable the last few years.  Moving every six months to two years, one doesn't have time to get comfortable.  One of two things usually happens.  One either doesn't unpack anything except the absolute essentials and just lives the day to day till the next move, or, like I did each time, unpack quickly, decorate faster, and get involved in your community in as many ways as you can.

Comfortable can happen whether you are complacent or active.  If you find comfort in being complacent and saying, "I'm only here for a short time, why bother?" then you may have a hard time being taken out of that comfortably complacent zone and adapting to change when it comes along and you have to move with it or get swept away.

Comfortable can really play a trick on someone who is active too.  The constant activity itself is comfortable, so much so that being still for a moment or an hour or half a day or even a day is difficult, unsettling, uncomfortable.  When change comes and you have to stop for whatever reason, sickness, injury, loss of job, whatever may put the brakes on your constantly moving life, you get a little uncomfortable.

Whichever you may or may not be, comfortably complacent or comfortably active, the thoughts of NOT being the opposite brings with them some discomfort.

Sometimes we need to be uncomfortable.  Sometimes we need a kick in our complacent comfortable butts.  We love our busyness too.  We love our constant drive to serve and be served as much as we love not having to do anything but exist.  We love our traditions that don't allow us to change.  We love how comfortable, in whatever way it is packaged, makes us feel.

But you know what?  Those things we love....they don't love us back.

As a matter of fact, those things that don't love us back don't give us a break when we are tired but we don't know how to stop doing what we're doing or not doing, they aren't interested in helping us to stop.  The only thing they love about us is the control their comfort has over us.

So, what are you comfortable in?  Same grocery story, same drive to work, same pew in church, same songs you sing, same activities on Saturday mornings?  What is your comfort zone? If you don't know, ask yourself this:  If I don't do _______ how will I feel?  Does it make you anxious to think about not doing _____________?

Now ask yourself this:  If I don't do _____________ what will I do instead?  If you're complacently comfortable do you feel anxious about adding an activity?  If you are comfortably active do you find yourself thinking:  I couldn't stand not to do anything?

Either scenario, if it makes you anxious or even a little afraid of the change it may bring, I would say it is safe to say, that's where you may be too comfortable.

What can be done?  Nothing, unless you want something to change.  But it won't be easy.  Changing out of comfortable clothes into something a little more constricting is never fun.  You can't breathe as well.  You can't let it all hang out like you can when you wear stretchy pants.  Some of us have to suck it in and keep sucking it in until it's ok to change into stretchy clothes again.

I learned a lot moving around often.  I thought I had moved enough that I didn't need to move anymore to learn anything else about it.  But, I'm moving.  Again.  It's been a nice restful retreat.  It fit, snugly at times, cozy in others, but it's time for new lessons, new stories to be lived, new songs to be sung, new places to explore, new views waiting to be awed.

It's a little uncomfortable, and, I admit, may even cause me to be a little anxious, but that's ok.  It's good.

Change is good.  Being uncomfortable?  That's good too.  Change would never come if we all stayed in our stretchy pants and t-shirts.

Peace,
Ronda






Monday, May 6, 2013

The First Big Move Into Grown-Up Life

I remember when my husband was debating on whether or not to make the Navy his career.  He had been in seven years and we were living near family, our children very small at the time.  He was nearing the next step after the current duty station was complete, to further his career, thereby saying, "I'm in.  I'm a career Navy officer," or getting out, giving up the navy life and entering into the civilian life.

It was a tough time for him.  He was faced with the responsibilities of providing for a growing family and the service offered him a security that was unknown should he resign his commission and enter the civilian work life.

We weighed the pros and cons, over and over and over again.

If we get out:  we'll live near family; the kids will know and see their grandparents more; we may or may not have a steady income coming in; we may or may not have to move again; we may or may not like living in the same place forever.

If we stay in:  we will have to move, several times; our kids won't see their grandparents as often; we will have a steady, dependable income; we will get to move and live in many places.

Ultimately, I felt, the decision was Tim's.  Yes, I had input, but he was the one who had to take the risk.  He was the one who would be facing the challenges the Navy career would offer or the challenges the unknown would throw at him.  I was ok with getting out, and I was excited about the possibilities of staying in.

Tim weighed this decision for several months.  One day he would come home and say, "I'm getting out."  Then the next day he'd come home and say, "I'm going to stay in."  He'd be sure of his decision until the next day or week or month when it would change.  I  think I remember telling him, "whatever you want, I'm in."

We didn't have much of a prayer life then, at least I didn't.  I didn't know that you could include God in on your life moves.  I know we prayed.  Maybe something along the lines of, "please help Tim make this decision," but I know my prayers were never of guidance for him, or where you would have us be, Lord.  No, they were just simply more of the rote kind, "help Tim make a decision."

I will say that on the days and weeks that his decision was, "I'm getting out," he showed a lot of anxiety. He worried more, expressed the worry more, how will we pay our bills, where will I work, what if I can't find a job type questions.

On the days that he was going to stay in, he was peaceful.  He knew and could predict what his salary was going to be for almost the full twenty years until he could retire.  He knew the path that he would follow up the promotion line, how long it would take to get there, what jobs he would have to do to get there, and he promised me that no matter what, he would get out after twenty years.

Those days, he was at peace.  Tim likes a schedule.  He likes to know the plan.  He likes to plan ahead.  The Navy was the perfect fit for him.

When we finally got to the point of no return, "either shit or get off the pot," as my grandma would say, and a decision had to be made and no longer played with, a peace came over our household when he said, "I'm staying in."

Ok.

Deep breath.

Put the house up for sale.  Tell our family.  I don't remember which we did first or when we did either, but I know that Tim, the always planning and thinking ahead guy, had our house up for sale early rather than later and we had to move into a small duplex for six months before we made the official Navy move.

That's where Ronda had to grow and change and mature.  I had to trust that my husband knew best.  I had to go with the flow or get pulled into chaos.

And so we moved.

We moved about two miles from our house and borrowed a friend's trailer and filled it with our belongings for about 30 or 100 or what felt like that many anyway, round trips until our first little house we ever bought was empty and the memories were boxed up and living in a duplex, waiting to be unpacked or at least put in the garage where they would get sorted out someday when we were permanently settled again.

What I marvel at now, looking back at those days, is how even though we didn't know what lay ahead for us, and even though I rarely, if ever, acknowledged that God knew what was ahead for us, He, God was still there, working it all out.  Giving us the experience of walking through a major life change and surviving.  For years it felt like survival, but now, when I look back, I can see how God was already helping us to thrive in the challenges!

It was good that we suffered those days of indecision and fear and anxiety and the unknown and saying good-bye to family who loved us and hurt as much as we did when we left.

Because God knew.  God knew the growing that He was doing in us.  In each of us.  In Tim, in three year old TJ, in two year old Hannah, and in baby Sarah and in young Ronda.  He knew.

He knew what was waiting for us.  The challenges, the joys, the heartaches, the anxieties, the sorrows, the joyful reunions, the sad goodbyes.  The growth, the perseverance, the wisdom were all just seeds recently planted, but germinating and beginning to grow.  There was pruning, God knows there was a lot of pruning, but there was watering, and weeding, and transplanting to bigger pots and better soil and the blooms started to open up and the fragrance of change was wafting up to Him.

We were in His plan.  On His course.  On His navigation chart.  He was at the helm all along, watching for small vessels, taking us through foggy and stormy waters, watching out for rocks.

We're still in His plan, on His course, and He's got us on His navigation chart, always at the helm getting us to the next tour of duty safely and stronger than the last.

That's so awesome!

Peace,
Ronda


Words, words, more words


"All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time." 
 Ernest Hemingway



Since I did the A to Z Challenge, I've gotten bitten, maybe always bitten, now just a bit deeper, by the writing bug.  I'm not great at it, there are so many words out there on the internet that do life a better justice than mine, but still....I write.

The challenge pushed the desire more deeply in me than I realized.  While it was going on I thought to myself often I would be glad when April was done so that I could not think about writing everyday.  But now that it's over, I still think about writing and the desire seems to be stronger than it ever was.

I'm totally bowled over when I click on the stats page of my blog and see how many hits this blog has received and more surprising to me, is the number of countries my words have visited!  At last count, 52 countries have found their way to the words I have written.  That's mind boggling to me.  The abilities that this technological age have afforded us truly humbles me.

So, I wonder about words.  That's kind of what rolls around in my head.  I wonder about all the words being typed right now, around the world.  Some words are being typed on blogs, like mine, some are being typed for books, some are being typed in emails, others text messages, some in college papers, some words are being used for sermons, for bible studies, some words may even be written the old fashioned way, in a letter written, on paper! (Gasp!)  Some of these words are meant to enlighten, some to encourage, some to vent, and some are being used to harm.

No matter how the words are being written or for what purpose they are penned, there is a lot of power in words, isn't there?

So anyway, all that to say I'm not quite sure what a blog is for.  Thousands do it, thousands read them, but how much do they really matter, when there are so many words being written, so many words to choose from to read?  Getting back to the first paragraph I wrote, I have a deeper desire to keep writing.  Even though I know there are millions more words  being written, I still write.

I played around a little bit this morning about where this blog could go.  How I could present my words and make them relevant.  Isn't that what we all want, some relevance to what we read and write and watch and do?  Don't we want some purpose to what we spend our time wasting or surfing or reading?

I do.

I want to know that my words matter but I don't need to know if they do.  Even if they don't, at this point, I think I'd still write.  Maybe writing words is for my own benefit much more than for some stranger in Indonesia.

Maybe my words are a brand new thought to someone, or maybe, the words I type are just a link in a chain of words that someone is needing.  I don't know, nor can I know how they are being used.

But I do hope that my words, as basic as they are, matter to those who read them.  There are writers smarter, more skilled and with a much bigger vocabulary than I will ever have whose words touch lives both in positive and negative ways.  I'd like to think I write in positive ways, but I know I can have a sharp tongue too, and can hurt with words more than encourage.  My apologies to you in advance or in retrospect if I already have.

All this to say, I'm going to keep blogging, keep writing.  I've played around with pen and paper, those old archaic ways of communicating, with what perhaps could be used to convey life from my corner of the world.  You may find some new labels up on top to choose from.  I like to have organization and I don't like to have to spend time going back after I've found something that spoke to me, and sift through words and words and more words to find the one phrase that spoke to me.

So you may be finding a few more headings to choose from.  The same post may get posted under two different tabs.  My TJOLC tab, I have already discovered, is going to fit well in one of my new tabs called, Navy Wife Ramblings and they both may find themselves under my One Word category.

My organization is more for my benefit than anybody else's, but hopefully you may find it helpful if you come back to this blog.

I hope you do, but if it's not for you, that's ok too.  We can't all read the same words - how boring that would be!

But if you do decide to come around once in awhile, I hope you enjoy yourself and are blessed for stopping in.

Peace,
Ronda


John 1:1,14 -  In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God....The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Navy wife rambling

Living as a military spouse is a challenge I had no idea I was in for when I got married.  Before I got married my only ideas of what it would be like were from the movie, An Officer and a Gentlemen.  You know the scene, Debra Winger gives up on her officer candidate boyfriend and goes back to working in a factory.  Well, her officer boyfriend, Richard Gere, comes into the factory dressed in his Navy whites, sweeps her off her feet, literally, and they leave the factory with all the other workers cheering them on.

Yeah.   Right.

Then we have Army Wives, a television show on Lifetime, that although having hokey moments, really had told the closest story of day to day military living, spouse style - except this last season where they killed off Claudia-Joy, and Roxie left, and Pamela is gone!......but, I digress.

I've had a handful of really good Navy wife friends in the 25 years I was connected in the military world.  There is a bond that forms almost immediately when you make a friend in your husband's command or in your neighborhood of housing.  No one can relate like a fellow navy wife.  (I know the army wives and the other services can say the same, so just assume I'm talking about them too).

But one of my friends that I hold a little closer to my heart is my friend, Rose Marie.  She wasn't your typical navy wife.  She came into the fold after I had already been around the game for a good ten plus years.  She had just finished law school and married her navy guy.  She wasn't up on all the policies and procedures of who could talk to whom and who couldn't hang out with whom because their husband was this and not that.

In other words, she became my breath of fresh air.

She taught me, or shall I say, God taught me through her, not to take life so seriously.  She prayed for me when my husband and I were going through the most challenging time of his career.  She had the wisdom to see that I wasn't who my husband's rank was and was gifted in sharing that wisdom with me.

She was inside the Navy wife kingdom, but still had the ability to stand on the outside and look in with objectivity.

Anyway, today's her birthday.  I'm so thankful for her.  I don't get to see her as often as I'd like, but there is not a time when I think about her or see her activity on Facebook  that I don't thank God for her friendship.  She's one of the best friends I could have ever hoped to have.




Friday, May 3, 2013

Casting it all on Him


Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  
1 Peter 5:7

Peter knew about casting.  I have a feeling he knew a little about anxiety too.  Here was a guy who betrayed his best friend.  He denied knowing him, not once, not twice, but three times when given the chance to admit he knew Jesus, he denied ever knowing him.  

I wonder. 



When Peter wrote his letter, did he have in mind all the fishing nets he cast in the water, eagerly anticipating the day's catch, did he maybe see himself taking those cares of the world, and throwing them out in the net casting it upon the waters.


He was the only writer of the New Testament who used the word merimna - worry, concern, anxiety.  The Apostle Paul told the Philippians not to be anxious about anything, but Peter wrote where to put the anguish inside a soul.  Paul gave a command, Do Not be anxious about anything and Peter gave us a place to put the anxiety Paul told us not to carry.






 Peter may have thrown an empty net into the Sea of Galilee expecting to pull it out full of the day's catch, but maybe he filled it with his anxieties before tossing it into the waters of the very lake he once walked on with the friend he would inevitably betray.



Merriam-Webster says that anxiety is "an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it."



But God, the lover of your soul, cares for you.  He melei, he cares, he feels our trouble, our anxiety.  He can carry the anxieties that we cast on him because he is big enough to carry them.


Keep casting.  


 Because He cares for you.


Casting the whole of your care, all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

Amplified Bible



Peace,
Ronda

Matthew 14:28-33; 26:35, 69-75; Mark 14:53-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-27; John 21; 
Acts 2:14-41