Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rocky paths aren't always roadblocks, they're just rocky

When I visited Israel in 2005 one of the sights that most impressed me was the number of rocks there are there.  Rocks in the fields, rocks on the paths, rocks everywhere.  Several, almost all, of the sites we visited were accessed by walking on very rocky paths.  So rocky that most of my time was spent looking down, watching where I was stepping rather than looking up to see the sites around me.  A lot of the rocks were unseen from a distance, covered by beautiful grass and fields of wildflowers, but it took great caution no matter how easy the path appeared from the distance, to make sure I didn't trip on a rock jutting out along a grass path.

Right now we're living in a new but old place.  Even though I'm familiar with the "roads" I'm still finding that I am on some rocky ground, familiar, but unfamiliar.  Maybe it's just because after a fast spring and summer of super speed sorting, packing, moving, unpacking, sorting again, and now we've stopped, Fast.  On a dime.  That maybe why I'm feeling less firm in my footing.

The familiar is not so familiar, the changes really are different.

Maybe that's why it all happened so fast, rip the band-aid to make the pain over faster rather than slowly lift the adhesive off the skin being careful to not pull on hairs.

I'm not unhappy or disappointed that our lives turned upside down, I'm just a little......mmmm....disjointed?

Now what?

I'm finding I have to watch where I'm walking, even though the paths are familiar, they're different.  An almost thirty year absence brought changes to everything I knew and everyone I know.

It's not bad.  It's just....different.

And a little sad.  No, maybe a lot sad.  No, maybe a medium sad, mixed with joy, still.  Where I thought we would be is now not where we are.  And where we were isn't where we were supposed to stay, so here we are.  Walking an old but new path. 

Until we find our places here, our routines, our purpose, I think I'll be looking for rocks in my way as I go along, but I'll be sure to be looking for the wildflowers along the way too.


Me sitting in a pretty field of grasses and wildflowers in Israel.  Don't let the pretty fool you!  The rocks are there!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gobbly gook

asdlkjf;slkfj;oier ;oia;oieur ;

That's what seems like the only words that come down on this keyboard lately.  alksjf;l ieru;oieu;woiaaflkjf as;f;woieru!

Not that there aren't a host of words rambling around in my brain trying to get out, but it doesn't seem like there is one trying to kick open the door.

I like sharing our Green Bay trip, our trip of the river pictures, but it just seems so.....sooo.....boring to me.

Maybe I'm still in transition.  Although, on the outside we're moved in, unpacked, living, routinely.  I'm waiting to finally get my nursing license application approved, after it seems like nearly everyday there is one other hoop that needs to be jumped through.  So I wait.

I sit and I wait.

And words ramble and roll and make noise in my head but sit on my tongue when I sit here at the keyboard.


The world's events leave me constantly looking at God, because if I look anywhere else, the news, the radio, Facebook, I just get so anxious.  And there's absolutely NOTHING I can do to make anything or any of it make sense or even better.

It seems like there is a force that can only be stopped by Someone Greater than me or a congressman or a senator or president or a housewife calling on the phone.

So I pray and try not to be an ostrich burying my head in the sand, but there's just only so much that man can do to undo what has already been done.

We need Someone bigger than ourselves to save us from the mess that we've created of our country, our lives, our homes.

So I looked at the book of Job this morning.  And I found myself totally skipping over the parts of Job's "wise" friends, his buddies, his prayer partners, his accountability partners and just found myself soaking up chapters 38-42:6.

I was finding it a little amusing that with all of the "insight" his friends gave him, it was only when The LORD answered Job out of the storm that Job replied by saying to the LORD, "you said."

That's what's missing here in good ol' USA.  What does the LORD say?

Not what do we want Him to say.

Not what we think He should say.

Not what we would say if we were HIM.

Not what we hope someone would say.

Not what we thought He said.

Not what someone said he said.

What does the LORD say?

My words are specks on a page, on a computer screen.  Just specks that will disappear someday.

His Word has endured.

His Words are the only Words that have power in them to change.

An unchanging God with the power to change everything in His hands while He himself never changes.

We're the ones who need Him.  He doesn't need us to tell Him what to do about the situation His world is in.  We need Him to change us, to be the piece we are meant to be in the space we are using right now, today.
If we were god.....well, don't even go there.  We're not.  

He is.  He's the One we need.

Peace, yes there is still peace in my soul,


Linking with Just Write 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Worst Move Ever

In the early 90's my husband's career was causing us to move often and for short periods of time.  In a span of two years we moved four times. There was one move in that time frame I would categorize as "The Worst Move EVER!"  That move was our shortest distance move - 80 miles - our shortest lived move, four months - but the move that caused the most damage to our furniture with the least amount of handling and the move that caused the most stress to our hearts.

The homeport of the ship my husband was on was closing and the ship was being moved to a new base just 80 miles up the turnpike.  We were nearing the end of our tour, but the base would not let us stay in housing if my husband's command wasn't there so we had to pack up and move.  As we always did between moves, we took the time to pack up, turn in our keys, and then travel to visit family before moving into our new home wherever Navy orders sent us.

This move was unusual as we would be moving a short distance so we felt good that not only would it be a short journey for our belongings, our household goods would not have to be loaded off the truck, into storage, onto a truck and then unloaded at our new home.  The moving company had arranged for our things to stay in the trailer instead of going into storage, until we could move into our rental. We were able to take a small "vacation" visiting family and attending a wedding before we took possession of our shipment.


A typical military move involved the pack out one day and the loading of the truck the next day.  The morning the moving truck arrived the driver began doing a typical inventory of all furniture, boxes, bikes, toys, etc.  Each item and box gets a sticker which then gets a written description and number on the inventory sheet by the driver.  As the movers put an item on the truck, they tell the driver the sticker number as they put it on the truck and that's how they keep track of all of the service member's belongings.

This particular move was going the regular way.  Or so we thought.

Our children were very small at the time - 5, 4, and 3 - and the house we lived in was a three level apartment style house.  My husband was on the ship, within walking distance of our home, and I was supervising, as best I could, the kids and the movers.

My husband walked home at lunch and saw that not only were the movers scratching our furniture as they loaded it onto the truck, they were also putting things on the truck without the inventory sticker.  He made them take everything off the truck that didn't have a sticker and then told the driver what they were doing.

He told me what was going on while he ate his lunch and then went back to the ship.

About an hour had passed when I realized that it was very quiet and I hadn't heard or seen any of the movers in or around the house.  I walked down to the basement where the driver was doing inventory and asked him if the loaders had gone to lunch.  He said, "no, they left."

I asked him again, "Did they go to lunch?"

He said, "No, they left."

I said, "They're coming back, right?"

He said, "I don't think so."

It turns out, they quit.  They walked off the job.

So I called my husband on the ship, which in turn led to a phone call to our point of contact and it was 6:00 that night before some new movers showed up to load the truck.

When they showed up, the lead mover was very friendly, apologetic for what had happened and assured me they would do a good job and have our household goods loaded in no time.  Which they did.  They had us loaded in no time, the good job part....not so much we would find out on the delivery end.

The truck got loaded and away it went.  We finished our cleaning and did the necessary steps for check out and began our journey to visit family and attend a wedding.

Two weeks later we arranged for the delivery of our household goods.  Our children stayed with my parents while I took delivery at our new home.  My parents were going to drive our children to our new home later that week.

The morning of the delivery was exciting.  I was ready to be "home" and unpack suitcases and boxes.

Things started out well.  The movers were energetic and they had heard my story of the other end of the move and assured me they would do a good job and were sorry that it had been so stressful.

Boxes started coming off the truck.  Doors were open in the house, I was giving directions for where things should go.

Upstairs, second room on right.


Laundry room.

Upstairs, first room on right.

Dining room.


Then all movement in the house got quiet.  The furniture was getting ready to be brought in.

I was standing in the kitchen looking out the window waiting to see what would come off the truck first.  (It's almost like Christmas to see your couch and your bedroom furniture again and your tv and your kids' toys.)
I could see the lead mover heading towards the house, head down.

I knew it wasn't good.

He came in and said something to the effect of:  "I'm sorry to tell you, but there's been some damage.  The glass on your hutch has been broken.  There's a lot of scratches and damage to your furniture so far."


I've heard of military families moving over seas and the ship carrying their household goods sinking.  I've heard of moving trucks starting on fire and all contents being burned up.  In that light, broken glass and some damage to furniture that is in your driveway is really not a big deal.

But, it still was.  It was just stuff.  But it was our stuff.  Our "home."  The only things that stayed the same inside walls that were always changing.

It was a tough move.

It was a short move, but a tough one.

Glass got repaired, some of the damage got fixed, some didn't.

The kids were excited to see their new house, their new bedrooms, their new backyard, their new neighborhood.  All in all, in the big scheme of things, it all worked out.

But we weren't off to a good start.  Or the start was already not great and the middle wasn't looking too promising.

In the end, we were only there four months before we packed up again and headed to our next duty station.

One of those things in life that happen, you get through, par for the course of military life, move on.  It's a good story.

The interesting thing about moving when you believe that God is the one who designs where you live and move and have your being is you can look back and see how certain places made up a part of who you are and can be used for connections down the road, twenty or so years later.

I interviewed for a job the other day with a nursing home.  As one of the nurses I would be working with and I got to know each other and chatted, she asked me about the places we've lived.  When I began listing the states and got to the state of the above mentioned story, she stopped me and asked me what city.

When I told her the name of the city, she teared up and said, "I was born and raised there."

God already knew, back in the day when I was a mom with three little kids and stressing out about my furniture and moving men who walked off a job and moving to a new home in a new neighborhood and were not going to be living here long, why should I even unpack or hang pictures or enjoy the time I have here....

He knew.

He knew a connection would be made, twenty plus years later.

When I hadn't even thought about the possibility of becoming a nurse, he already knew that city, that move, would be a connection for me, as a nurse, for a job, over twenty years later.

(By the way, I got the job!)

If you think your life and your experiences have no purpose, I'm here telling you - "You're wrong."  God has a plan and a purpose for your life.  The good, the bad, the not so good, the annoying, the trying, the stressful - everything is for a much bigger purpose than our little minds can comprehend.

He loves you.  He has a plan for your life.

A good plan.

A plan not to harm you, but to bless you.  To give you hope.  To give you a future worth living, with purpose.

He's got your back.

You may never have to move four times in two years and deal with moving men with attitudes, but that doesn't mean your struggles aren't relevant to HIM.

You matter to Him.  Your struggles MATTER to HIM.

Believe it, Friend.

You matter.  If it matters to you, it matters to HIM.

He loves you.


Friday, September 6, 2013

When the colors of fall are Green and Gold

Since we've been back in Wisconsin we've been setting up our house, visiting family, going to a wedding, riding in our boat, and the list continues as we settle into our new, but old, state.  Top on the list of things to do once we moved back was a trip to the Mecca of Wisconsin, Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Growing up as a child one had no choice but to root for the Green Bay Packers, or if you weren't a fan, you had no choice but to endure the ones next to you rooting for the Green Bay Packers.  My childhood memories are filled with Sunday afternoons of my dad and brother yelling at the TV when the Packers were on.  When the Packers were losing, they'd yell.  When the Packers were winning, they'd yell.  The Green Bay Packers have established a long term love-hate relationship with fans and their family members on the sidelines.

When I married my husband, the Sunday afternoon drama continued.  No matter how far we moved from the Green Bay Packers, or how little he was able to watch any games, he maintained the love-hate relationship with the team.  

I must confess here, I didn't get it.

I lived in the middle of it, but I still didn't get it.

The energy and stress a Packers fan feels, some of the people I love and hold dear, baffled me.  

Sure, I enjoy the games.  Sure, I got caught up in the excitement of the 90's team and the recent Aaron Rodgers led championship team, and even made fun of the folks that only became Packers fans when they were winning.  I'd say, "You have no idea what it really means to be a true Packers fan.  Sure, it's easy to love them when they're winning, but you haven't really been a fan until you've endured the team, through the decades of loss, bad coaches, and the hope of 'Next year.'"  

I saw the devotion of the diehard fans, lived with them, suffered through the personal sense of loss they feel when the Pack lose.  

I got it, but I didn't get it.

But then, we went to Lambeau Field.  

I'm not a diehard fan, even after the visit, but....

I get it now.

There's a history to the team I learned that makes sense as to why the state goes crazy from August through January, and then continues through the spring.  The analyzing of the draft, the injured list, the this and the that of all things Packers.  It really never ends. 

Yeah, there are folks who go alittle over the top and use the Packers as an excuse to get drunk and party and have a good time.  But the root of the team, the story behind how they've endured in a multimillion dollar industry and they are owned by regular people, not corporations or wealthy owners is really fascinating.  

I've gained a new appreciation for the Pack.  I've gained a new appreciation for the fans.  

Yeah, they get crazy and loud and rude and let a game rule their emotions for a few hours or days or months, or even years, but the root of what makes the Packers and the fans special is really something special.

So here's a little piece of our tour.  Hope you enjoy and Go Pack Go!

Driving down Lombardi Ave.  There IT is!

One of the first things we saw when we entered the doors of the Atrium was a replica of Lambeau field made entirely of Legos.

 Then we got to go up to the club level.  Yeah, we'll only get to sit up here when....NEVER!  (Except on a tour)!

The good seats.

After living the good life we got to go down to the bowels of Lambeau Field.

Listening to our guide tell us the story of the tunnel.  Many, many, many Packers have walked this corridor.  We got to walk it with the recorded sounds of cheering fans playing around us.  Goosebumps, I admit it.  

The Pack come out these doors from the locker room.

My husband, the kid.

And then we're there.  The hallowed ground of Lambeau field!

These men were from England.  This is the look they had on their faces after our tour guide let us try out the acoustics of Lambeau with a loud, "Go Pack Go!"  They didn't seem to share the same thrill the rest of us had!

The day we were there Coach Mike McCarthy, in the offices at top left, was making the final cuts to the roster.  Wouldn't want his job.

Packers Players parking lot.  Fans sitting outside the gate waiting for players to stop as they drove through the gate and, hopefully, sign autographs.  We think the guys that drove right past the fans had been cut!

Don't know who this is.

After lunch at Curly's Pub we went through the Packers Hall of Fame.  Not nearly the thrill of the stadium tour but still a nice tour.  Of course the Mom in me is always touched by the Moms of others, even the famous ones.  How hard it must be to be a mom of a coach or a player!

And then, of course, one of four Superbowl trophies, bearing Coach Lombardi's name.


Go Pack Go!