Friday, December 30, 2005

Letters from Josh, But Still No Phone

Ok, I am so mad, my computer just froze and I had written a novel here and it's gone. Mad, mad, mad. It's now so late I don't have time to rewrite the whole thing... But the main thing to say is that I heard from Josh - two letters. Basically - it is really hard and he would love to have mail. I will write more tomorrow... but as for the question of his address, its definitely

SR Ray, Joshua
Division 076 Ship 13
Recruit Training Command
3410 Sailor Drive
Great Lakes, IL 60088-3510

The difference is the 3410 and the -3510. According to his letter, we are to use this one.

He could use encouragement so drop him a note if you can.

Friday, December 23, 2005

At Gran's


Today I am in Texas at Gran's house having our Cross Christmas gathering. We have more great grandkids here than ever... it is crazy but so fun. There is even a new baby, which became the 2005 Christmas Center of Attention. Its so fun every year to see how much my cousins have changed from year to year. We had a great catered meal: smoked ham, ribs, and tenderloin, sweet potatoes, corn, cabbage. Yum. The best part was not having to make food ahead of time or having to get fifteen dishes ready in one little kitchen :). It was very relaxing. Gran was so happy having her house full of people. And boy was it full.

I'll post some pics if I can get Gran's computer to upload.

As for Josh - I think that address has been confirmed. Go ahead and mail those cards. Sure am hoping to hear from him on Christmas. Needless to say, my cellphone is always in my pocket.

Only 1 shopping days left. Luckily, I'm done.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Letter from Josh - Hold off on that mail

I got a letter from Josh today! He is there safe and I think doing well. He said he already has lots of stories to tell me that will make me laugh. I'll take that as a positive.

That address I gave out... hold that thought before you send... I need to double check it with the Navy office because the return address he wrote is a little bit different than what I gave out already. Will update it tomorrow. This is really frustrating because I included his address (as best I knew it) on the Christmas cards I mailed out yesterday!

Mainly, it was funny to think of how elated I was to get a little note! I was so happy you'd think I'd won something. I feel so relieved to hear that he is ok.

Now, I just have to try to go to sleep. So far every night by myself I have stayed up half the night, just so restless. I guess you just have to get used to the feeling of being alone. Its not fear, although there is a little bit of that when I first get home and before I get all the lights on. Really, its just the quietness of the house. Not having somebody here to listen to all my ramblings of the day. But I leave to see my grandmother tomorrow for a couple of days, so this is my last day at home for a couple of days anyway.

Here's where we stayed




Here are some pics of where we stayed in Puerto Vallarta. Beautiful, huh.

Josh's address

Josh can only receive letters and pictures and phone cards. Here is his address if you'd like to send him a Christmas card:

SR Ray Joshua
Ship 13 Division 076
Recruit Training Command
3420 Sailor Drive
Great Lakes, IL 60088-3520

Monday, December 19, 2005

Last Day

Today we took a little water taxi to a more remote area than we´ve been before, called Los Animos. It was beautiful there and we got a lot more sunburned than we did the other days. It is so relaxing here. One thing that keeps coming to mind is that we Americans, as least the citified ones like me, are obsessed with being clean. Like for example, by the time we rode the bus from our condo to the water taxi, then rode in the water taxi there and back, my feet and legs were covered in sand, my shorts were dirty from dirt on the boat. Just the way we live in buildings and ride in our own cars keeps us from ever having to get dirty. It kinda felt good not being worried about the way I looked or makeup or hair or anything at all. Just casual all the time. I could get used to that. I also love the people, they are so friendly. In Europe and other places I´ve traveled, the locals are not always very helpful to Americans. Here thats not at all the case.

We leave tomorrow morning and after we land in Memphis, I´m off to the HYG Christmas Party. Back to my real world.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Still in Mexico

So the reason I am in Mexico- a few days before Josh left, his mom called me and said that she had been offered a free trip to Mexico - free condo and free airfare. His dad had bought the trip at a charity auction and thought we could use it. So I am with Jessica and Kathie, Josh{s mom and sis. We travel really well together... we love sitting on the beach all day and then going to town to eat and shop in the evenings. So we came for zero dollars, just paid for our food and souvenirs. It is really a tremendous blessing, though it was a huge surprise. Great timing for me to get out of town right after Josh left and get my mind off of things. It is great weather here. Like 85 to 90 sunny skies all the time. And our condo is off the beaten path a little bit in a complex with like 15 or so condos and its really private. Cannot believe I am here... but glad I am.
I will be back home on Tuesday night. Hopefully I will have more info about Josh when I get home... I will post his address here when I get it and we can send him christmas cards. Adios!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

i am in mexico

this is a long crazy story that i{ll tell when i get home... but right now i am in an internet cafe in puerto vallarta where the shift key apparently doesn{t work. or the apostrophe.
i am having a wonderful time. this is place is unbelievable. i still have three nights left... cant wait to post some pics.

no word from josh, but i am a little out of reach with my cell. hope to hear from him when i return. keep praying for him... the first week is supposed to be a killer.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Leaving Day

Today was Josh's last day at home for three and a half months. I dropped him off at the Navy office with a man named "Carmichael" (last name I think), a big burly guy who seemed pretty nice. My understanding is that Carmichael will probably be the last nice person he'll talk to in the next few days. From here on out he's basically a peon. For those of you who would like to know more about what his bootcamp will be like, click here. One of things he'll do is take a physical fitness test in these first few days that consists of situps, pushups, and running. He has been training for these, and has lost quite a bit of weight in the last month preparing. I am so proud of him. He is so goal driven. Give him a task, and he will go toward it fullforce.

Leaving him today was really hard. But I keep thinking about Ainsley, one of our friends. Ainsley is married to Randy, who has been stationed in Iraq for one year. During the first few weeks of his deployment, their first child, Ammie, was born. Randy got to come back for a few days but then has been gone this entire year. He is scheduled to be home very soon. But, I think, you know if Ainsley can do what she has done, I can do three and a half months. And Josh won't be in any warzone.

Speaking of which. Many of you have asked me the chances that Josh would be called up after his training is over. All I can say is that the recruiters have told us that is highly unlikely. The Navy is not the most involved in the war in Iraq, it being a desert and all. And secondly, they say the Navy does not typically call up the reserve. That being said, it is a risk we are knowingly taking.

Please join me in praying for him as he begins this journey. I'll leave with a favorite psalm that comes to mind.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How DVR has changed my life

I think that in the next decade or so there may be a new addition to the list of addictions that exist in our culture. The invention of DVR/TiVo, whichever brand you have, has made it possible to watch television 24 hours a day, watching only shows that you like enough to have recorded. Channel surfing is unnecessary. I became a victim of this phenomenon when I first got my DVR. One day while channel surfing before I understood that channel surfing was unnecessary, I saw that the show Felicity was on the WE channel in the afternoons. Two episodes a day. I had watched this show in college before it was canceled but never did I see all the seasons straight through. This was my chance. So every day, I recorded two episodes, and came home every afternoon and watched them. I saw all four seasons in a matter of about 2 months. While this was highly rewarding to see who Felicity actually ends up with, Noel or Ben, it became ridiculous how addicted I was to my DVR. Even now, I record about 2 shows a day. I almost fill up my 100 hour DVR all the time. And I'm not the only one. My dad just got DVR added to his cable, and he is now on his way to becoming an addict. He records every show that has a crime scene investigation involved in it. [And his shows look a heck of a lot better than mine on his 50 inch plasma.] The great thing about it is that you don't watch junk, unless you record junk. You can just pick a few things that you enjoy watching and when you want to, for example, sit down and fold five loads of laundry, you have something that you like ready to watch. This is simple pleasure that I really enjoy, especially now that the new has worn off.

Of course, this will probably be just a passing fad like Beta videos. Soon everyone will be watching their shows on their iPods. TiVo watchers already can, I know, Jesse.

Only 3 days until Josh leaves. He has some schoolwork left to do and I think its going to be right down to the wire! Send him an email and tell him good luck/bon voyage if you know him.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Like a toilet seat

This Friday we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed a fabulous steak dinner at Ruth's Chris Restaurant and then went to see "Pride and Prejudice". My filet medallions with herb cheese and potatoes au gratin were so good I could barely stand it. The movie was fantastic as well. You should definitely check it out! Keira Knightley was great as was the actor who played Mr. Darcy. It was a perfect evening. Oh, and Josh got me a gift certificate for a fabric store because I just got a sewing machine from my parents for early Christmas and I plan to sew stuff for the house while he's gone. A very thoughtful gift. One thing that was funny about our anniversary gift exchange was that Josh's card to me was really sweet; it had a sweet message with a Scripture inside and he wrote some very nice words to me. My card to him was in the shape of a toilet seat. On the front it said "Marriage is like a toilet seat..." When you opened the card it said "it has its ups and downs." It opened up just like a toilet seat. Hilarious. What's funny is that he got the sappy card and I am the one who got the crude card. Who knew.

I really do admire these people who have been married for 50, 30, or even 20 years. I have learned that it takes work to maintain a relationship. In fact I saw on the Today show this morning that there is a new study out that says that that "in love" feeling that people have when they first meet is actually a chemical that is produced in them. They say this chemical is produced for about a year, at which point it stops. So, the question they were asking was, what about after that year? Can you still be "in love"? Well, I don't know what the expert thought, but I think you really can be in love after the first year. I really love the stage Josh and I are in. The first couple of years... well, for two people that are basically opposite in every way, except in our desire to follow God, things were not easy. But, in the last few years, the marriage we have now has grown into such a blessing. I am so thankful for the strengths of Josh that have challenged me to think beyond myself and my own experiences. I am thankful that after the ups and downs of the last five years, I know that we can make it through anything... by working at it. I honestly know that I am a better person because of Josh, and vice versa. The sweaty hands /fluttering stomach feeling may have diminished somewhat... but in its place there is a love that is about security, honor, loyalty, respect, friendship, and oneness that you can't manufacture quickly...only by the passing of time. So I'm happy about where we are. And I look forward to the future.

P.S. Only 7 days until Josh leaves.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

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Starting Fresh

Hello, friends and family. I am beginning my blog today completely new. I tried to keep a blog updated for awhile last year, but it was a failed effort. Now, I am hoping with a little more time on my hands (I'll explain that in a minute) I will be more intentional about regularly posting.

So here's what's going on in our lives right now. I work at Highland Street Church of Christ full time with the youth. My title is actually Youth Office Administrator/Parttime Youth Minister, because a few years ago, they began paying me for 10 hours of ministry and 30 hours of administration. The job sort of blurs together though. I go on almost all the trips and handle the organization (money) of the activities. The money part of my job is my least favorite thing I do. However, I love spending time with teenage girls and watching them become who God has called them to be. I work with some great friends: Buster, the youth ministry coordinator; Donnie, youth minister; and Jesse, ministry assistant to the preacher, who also happens to share an office with me. Its a great place to work.

Josh works full time as a property manager here and is also in the last few hours (single digits!) of his degree at University of Memphis. He is getting a History degree, but plans to go directly to work on his Masters of Divinity after graduating. Before that, however, (THIS IS NEW, for those of you who I haven't talked to in a while) he has decided to join the Navy Reserve. His service will be one weekend a month and two weeks a year for six years. But first he has basic and job training. He leaves December 12 for basic training (9 weeks) and then goes immediately to his job training (6 weeks). He will be back at the end of March.
So, I am preparing for a life by myself for a little while. If you are asking why, I can give you a few of the reasons: 1) He feels a desire to do it, 2) He will have the opportunity for educational benefits such as the GI bill and tuition assistance which will help with getting his masters, and 3) He will get a little money every month too. For those of you who are feeling bad for me, know that we made this decision together and I totally support it. I am excited for him to have this experience, and see how it will further develop him as a person.

As for me, I have lots of plans while he is gone. Besides my job and all the trips that go along with it, I also plan to do some things I never seem to get to. First on my agenda is to learn how to sew. I just got a new sewing machine and my mom is going to help me learn how to use it. I can't wait! Also I hope to get more in shape while Josh is gone, especially because he'll come back all buff and thin! There are also some places around my house that I need to clean out (attic/closets/cabinets/etc) so I'll be attacking those.

All in all, I am optimistic about this time apart. We currently have 12 days left till he departs. In between now and then, we will celebrate our 5th anniversary. Can't believe we made it!

As for this blog, you can check this and I promise to put the most updated news from Josh when/if(!) I hear from him, which will not be very often they tell me. I also promise to write about alot of things that interest me and may or may not interest you in the least. I am excited about starting fresh. There's just something about a blank slate.