Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

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Training Him Up

October 29, 2007

This morning after breakfast, Troy spotted his Daddy’s Bible, still sitting out on the table from Daddy’s devotion time before Troy was awake. He wanted to try to read it, and I reminded him that he had his own Bible–a sweet white covered Bible with his name on the cover, a gift from his auntie when he was born.

He immediately toddled over to his bookshelf and pulled out his own little Bible, somehow knowing which book it was in the midst of the few dozen picture books on that shelf. Then, with his stuffed Nemo in hand and sporting his Thomas the Tank Engine jammies, he set it on the table, pulled out the chair, and sat down to have his own little devotion time… even folding his tiny hands, closing his eyes and saying “Uh’men!” in the middle of it.

My eyes, they were overflowing… as was my heart.

Riding "Neeeeeeigh" to pass the time

October 25, 2007

We were getting a bit of cabin fever today–John is still home due to the fires and there are hazardous air warnings for our city–so we loaded up and headed to the only place we could be indoors and still do some walking… the mall.

Troy could NOT have been happier to get out of the house.

When we said, “Okay, let’s go bye-bye now,” he grabbed his diaper bag, dragged it over to the front door and repeated, “Go! Go! Bye-bye! Go! Go!” about half a trillion times.

I think he’s sick of us.

He was thrilled when he saw the carousel at the mall… and for the first time, instead of making the low grunting sound he normally does when we ask what a horsey says, he was shouting, “Neigh! Neeeeeigh!”

So, we couldn’t resist. He had to take a ride.

The slightly confused look is a result of Mama saying, “Look at Daddy–smile!” rather than an indication of the fun he was having. He was, in fact, bouncing up and down the entire time and cracking himself up the entire time.

Except, that is, when he was trying to push my hands away so I wouldn’t be holding on to him. He thought that being high on a moving horse with nothing but a small strap holding him in was perfectly fine.

Independence, thou scarest me.

He played for almost an hour in the kids’ “playtown,” along with all the other million and one children who have been cooped up at home the past few days. Some friends from church happened to be there too, doing the same thing we were–hoping for a good long nap when we got home.

After lunch, we tried to take a self-shot family picture to commemorate what will probably be our last outing like this, just the three of us… but, um, yeah. It didn’t quite work.

Notice Troy wearing his fireman overalls, in honor of Grandpa Dule, who was fighting fires as we were playing? He loves ‘em both–the Grandpa Dule, and the overalls.

I am happy as could be to report that the fires closest to us are, for the most part, under control, and most of the evacuations in our area (including for all of our friends) have been lifted. This certainly doesn’t mean that the whole fire situation is taken care of… there are still others raging, such as the one my dad is still fighting in Running Springs. My brother talked to him a little bit ago… they were just ending their “shift” (now they’re separated into a day shift and a night shift, instead of just working for days straight with little-to-no sleep) and were going to find some food and head for bed. We really have no idea when he’ll be coming home… when the fires are finally out, the job still isn’t done. There is always a ton of clean up and other stuff to do.

And, in baby news…. there isn’t much. Except for the fact that my dear friend who was planning on watching Troy just got word that her dad is very ill in the hospital, so we’re praying for him while trying to figure out a plan B. Not knowing lots of people in the area can pose a problem now and again. But, hey, I have a few more days till Due Day… so maybe NONE of this will be an issue.

And now, we’re headed off to church. We have to leave in about 15 minutes… and I am typing away here, not even kinda ready to go. Great planning, eh?

Fiery Update

October 24, 2007

Well, peeps, things are heating up around here.

As far as we know, our home is not in any grave immediate danger, but we’re pretty much surrounded by fire on all sides. Not, like, our house all alone in the middle of a clearing with walls of fire billowing toward us in every direction, though. More like miles away in every direction, except that of the beach, of course.

We’ve just found out that there is a new fire aboard our base… directly by the gate we use to get on base. There are now three housing areas evacuated, and some barracks that definitely need to be… but they can be a little slow getting those orders out when it’s in the military’s hands to do so. (Like, uh, last night. When, at almost midnight, John’s command started calling once they got official word that their training area was about to burn… beginning a bit of chaos as the guys realized they had a ton of classified, official and important stuff out there that needed to be “rescued.” Instead of, you know, being prepared and getting it earlier in the day when they knew the fire was very close. But, anyway…)

We just talked to a good friend in the barracks, who said that he and the hundreds of other young guys are packed up and ready to leave just as soon as they are allowed to go. But, they have to be allowed to go first. Even if they can see the flames from their barracks. Ahem. Such is life in the Marine Corps. And yet we do love it tenderly. Ooh Rah. :smile:

Our main interstate was closed for a while today, but is thankfully reopened for now, which is good in that it gives us a way OUT of here, if need be, that doesn’t lead us directly into the southern fires. It also gives us a way to get to the birth center if this baby suddenly decides that smack dab in the middle of chaos is the best time to make his appearance. Thankfully I have a copy of all my charts if we aren’t able to get down there and need to head to the nearest hospital instead. But we’re just hoping he stays put. There are lots of little details that would be involved with leaving here that would kinda add some stress (like, where does Troy go if our friends who are planning to watch him are evacuated or if we can’t get down to them? And, with the fire so close right now, we’d have to leave praying that our area doesn’t get evacuated while I’m at the hospital, with our animals and all important stuff here… but, you know, I’m trying not to borrow worry at the moment. Blocking that right out of my mind. Or not.) We’re just hoping the baby keeps cooking for at least a few more days.

We’re hearing from my dad for quick minutes when he’s able to call. They got a few hours of sleep last night in a house that was under construction, taking turns keeping watch. I saw one of the pictures he’d sent (how I love phones with internet access!) and John said, “Yep, there’s his bed.”

I told him, “No, silly, those are his turn outs and all his gear.”

“Exactly. His bed.”

Oh. Yeah.

So he’s tired, working hard, hard, hard, and covered in black soot, but he’s safe… being our brave fireman!

That’s about it from under the smokey skies for now. Thanks so much for your prayers…. seriously, there is just something so… neat… about having bloggie friends praying in times like this. To see the body of Christ come together through internet lines… it just shows that no matter what, our Jesus is BIG–bigger than power and computer cords, uniting us together through miles and miles–and certainly bigger than any fire. How thankful I am for that!

Food is good, while you wait

October 23, 2007

The sky is orange here and ash is falling from the sky. There are now two fires on our base in addition to the other 16 burning across Southern California–one of them is right where John’s been working the past few weeks. He was, um, obviously told to stay home from work today. My dad is still fighting one of the fires–tired and working incredibly hard, but he’s okay. And, thankfully–never thought I’d be saying THIS at 39 wks!!–we still don’t have a new baby.

So we’re just waiting today. Hanging out in comfy clothes, keeping everything closed up (my eyes and nose are still burning, even with the windows all closed), watching movies, doing our best to keep up with the news… we’re not personally in any immediate danger right where we are, for now… but now we’re keeping a close eye on the fires on base.

So… since I’m just waiting around today–though I AM doing laundry, gathering my stack of ironing to work on later, and planning to finish the couple yummy goodness things we didn’t get to on Friday… lest you think we’re totally lazy, ahem–I thought I’d give you a couple of those scrumptious recipes from Friday’s meal making.

Two of them can be found in this here blogosphere–

The enchiladas came from my friend Tammy’s cooking websitehere. Seriously, I just tried the recipe on a whim one day, and have never been so happy that I did. Even my cousin and teenage brother rave about and crave these things. Which isn’t really saying much, since, of course, they are teenage guys, but, you know, it helps.

And those wonderful chicken pot pies–the came courtesy of Mrs. Fink, here. Before Troy was born, I’d made two chicken pot pies to freeze, which sadly came out quite bland and icky. John said they were good, but he’s also the guy who hates mushrooms and yet will eat them when served to him. I knew I could trust Mrs. Fink, and she sure didn’t disappoint me. These are simply delectable chicken pot pies. Seriously.

As for the rest of the yummy-ness, I figured I’d post one or two recipes at a time, that way you’re not overwhelmed with great yearning for food that clogs the arteries all at once.

Though, honestly, I’m typing on a lap top that has some key-recognition issues, thus discouraging me from doing too much typing. Like, not more than one recipe at the moment. I’m already feeling about ready to give up and go to the big computer, but that would require, you know, MOVEMENT, and there’s just not enough energy in this here body right now.

So, that’s right… on to the food.

John’s Mom’s Incredible Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (I use onion powder–I have a hubby with some odd
preferences when it comes to certain textures)
2 cups (16 oz can) tomatoes (can use tomato puree or blend tomatoes in a
blender if you have a “particular” husband)
6 oz can tomato paste
1/3 cup water
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 lb lasagna noodles, cooked
12 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese, sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brown meat, drain. Stir in onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, water and
seasonings. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Cook noodles while meat sauce

In 9×13 dish, layer half of the noodles, half of meat sauce, and half of
each cheese, repeat layers. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Notice all that cheese? Mmhmm…. thus why this is always a “treat” meal for us. Like, after I’ve had a baby and need some comfort food.

And, lest you think that John is a picky eater, I’ll assure you that he is not… he just has a few specific preferences that I like to indulge, just because, you know, I’m his wife and all that. He doesn’t particularly care for chunks of onion, tomato or mushrooms, BUT, if served them, he’ll always eat them. Always. Which I can’t necessarily say for myself. When I’m picky, I’m picky… er, uh, particular, as my aunt would put it.

I’ll post the recipes for The Sweet Stuff later this week–the fudge and the chocolaty peanut butter “Reese’s Pieces.”

You should see the sky outside, peeps… it’s getting worse by the hour. Completely orange now, and so covering the sun that at 3pm it feels like late in the evening. I haven’t seen this kind of smoke since we were on our honeymoon in Alaska three years ago. And, then, we weren’t concerned with much more than the fact that the smoke was blocking our view of the mountains we’d come to see… this time it’s a little more scary.

So I’m going to go make some food. That always helps everything.

Fire, Fire, Everywhere

October 22, 2007

Things are a leetle bit crazy around here at the moment…

If you’ve turned on or read the news at all today, you’ve certainly heard about these major fires here in Southern California.

The ones nearest to us are putting our city in a “pocket” of clear area, with fire burning in every direction around us. People are being evacuated from nearly every city nearby… we have a few friends who have been evacuated and several of John’s coworkers on base are stuck at work, unable to go home. One of them even lost her home today. The base housing itself is on “evacuation standby,” with a concern being that if the fire closest to us hits the dense brush-filled training ground, it would be a straight and quick shot to the housing areas.

Further north, more fires are burning–apparently there are at least 14 total right now. Many of you know that my Daddy is a fire captain… he was called out last night, first to cover for the first strike team his department sent out… and now he’s been called out on a strike team of his own. He’s currently fighting the Lake Arrowhead fire–they lost nearly 130 homes there just this afternoon.

Please pray for my dad… for his safety… for success in fighting these fires… and for our family, especially my mom, being that it can be quite frightening and nerve-wracking having him out there, not usually knowing where he is, what he’s doing, or how things are going. It can be hard for those who haven’t lived the firefighter’s life to understand, but it truly is like he’s a soldier sent off to war–only the enemy, in this case, is billowing flames. We’d greatly appreciate your prayers while he fights and leads his guys against this fire.

Also, if you happened to be praying that we’d have our baby soon–you can stop now. :smile: Due to all the road closures, it isn’t certain that, if labor began, we’d be able to get down to the birth center. Delivering in the ER of a hospital I’ve never been to with a doctor I’ve never met doesn’t really appeal to me for some reason, so it would probably be a good idea if this little guy holds out a few more days until all of this has died down.

Promise to update if and when there’s anything to tell… thanks for praying, peeps.