Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Thanks from Josh

I got three letters from Josh today. He has been really sick with a bad cold. He also has had a mean case of pink eye. He said he looked like a monster! But he was getting over the pink eye while the cold remained. He has lost his voice completely. As for his knee, he said it is still hurting but it hasn't kept him down or anything. Hopefully that means its nothing serious. The Navy has yet to tell him or me details about what day he'll be leaving there and heading south to Mississippi. Probably a few days after we come back home from Graduation on Feb. 5.

He has gotten many letters from friends and family. THANKS so much for writing him. It means so much to him. He told me to tell you all that he is sorry he has not written back but time does not permit. He is so thankful though. Keep those coming! But still don't mail anything after Feb.1, he won't get it. He will have a new address in Miss. but I won't have that one for awhile.

He is so ready to leave there. Living in the close, close quarters is getting really old. Obviously they are all passing germs around. He said that one night the whole division was sent to bed at 8 pm, which is unheard of, because so many of them were sick with the cold mess. He has some big tests coming up that lead to the graduation; I'm sure he'll do well like he has in the other tests.

I am getting so ready to see Josh. The last few days I have been so stressed out about a few little things... but not having Josh here to talk them through with me stinks. Only a week till we leave for Chicago!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Letters, No Phone Call

Well, its been a week since my last post, but I haven't talked to Josh during that time. Seriously, only two calls in six weeks is really ridiculous. I mean, I know its the Navy, but he didn't commit a crime. He signed up to serve his country! What in the world.

I have gotten several letters from him though. He sounds much more upbeat. The end of the tunnel is getting closer. He said that his leg felt better in his last letter, which encouraged me because I'd been worried about that. He also told me about more of his friends and about their lives and backgrounds. He really wants me to meet them all and their significant others at the graduation. I look forward to that.

Many people have told me that you've written Josh. Thank you so much for that. He continues to tell me how much it means to him. I know that your notes will be treasures for him to look back on and thank God for the comfort of brothers and sisters in Christ. FYI - the time is winding down for you to send him notes there... I wouldn't send them after Feb. 1, because he graduates from Boot Camp and then will be heading to Mississippi probably within a week after the graduation, but could leave as soon as just a couple of days after graduation.

This week I went and got all official with the Navy. I now have a Navy ID card that can get me on any military base around the world. I can shop at the Commissary (groceries) and at the PX (stuff like Walmart but a little nicer... they have a Clinique counter there!) where the prices are much lower than regular stores and no taxes. I can go work out there and eat there. Now since Millington Base is about 40 minutes away, I probably won't go every week, but its nice to know that I can. I'll be squeezing every benefit that I can out of the Navy, I'll say that for sure.

Today, I spent some time with a friend who was in town from Chicago - Alana Thompson. She and her husband Trevor used to live here and were in Sunday School with us. They moved about 4 years ago for him to get his Ph.D. in something related to Church History and New Testament. Really a genius guy who Josh just adored. Some of the conversations about faith and life that Trevor had with Josh were very influential in shaping who Josh is becoming. For that, I will always be a big Trevor fan. Also, they are both a lot of fun. Alana and I had a great time talking and sharing. It was so good to see them.

Tonight, I am sitting in my recliner (typing right now, thank goodness for wireless internet! hip hip hooray!) and I am about to do some reading for my class. Then I hope to put a Weight Watchers dinner in the microwave (my bachelorette meal of choice) and go to bed early. A perfect day.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

FINALLY!

I heard from Josh today via the actual telephone! It was a welcome surprise. We were able to talk for 37 minutes! FYI - this is about 20 minutes longer than the last conversation. If you average out our talk time over the days he's been gone, that's about 45 minutes total for 35 days or an average of 1.2 minutes a day. That stinks! Anyway, I guess I should be thankful. When he calls I have this butterfly/ heartpounding thing going on... I am just so nervous that he'll have to hang up in the middle or that I'll forget to ask him something. I get really wired.

As for the content of the call, he mentioned several significant things. First, he sounded good over all. I think the routine of it all is just kicking in. They have passed the half way mark for the basic training and that means they start to build up what they have worked to break down. Also Josh has been made a "staff", like I mentioned before, who calls the cadence. This position is called an AROC. That has been good in some ways because you have more freedom but you also have more responsibility. He has made some good friends there. He was reflecting tonight on whether they will talk to each other after they leave basic...most of these friends are people he would never, ever have come across in the world if he had not met them there. But they have supported each other through this crazy time. So that will be an interesting thing to see who he keeps in touch with. It is sort of like that summer camp experience - but more intense. He is in good shape physically - making all his times, etc. - but one of his knees is bothering him. Pray that it will be nothing, so it doesn't inhibit his training. He finally received a Bible his mom had sent him, so that was great. He did in fact have a KJV Navy issued Bible there but he is major "version snob" - so he needed his NRSV. He was very happy to receive it. Part of the training this week has been on a fake ship there in the training center. Apparently they have to act out the bringing in of a ship or something like that. I don't even know the right terms to say about it. But it sounds interesting. Click here for a description of what they are doing each week (although I don't think this is exactly like Josh's) The "ship" is the "Marlinspike". He is holding up well to the physical requirements, so that's a relief. The written tests are no problem for him, but that's not a surprise. He is counting the days till we come up for the Pass In Review, the graduation ceremony. Did I mention that's on his birthday? Feb. 3. Then he still has the training in Mississippi.

He is getting letters mailed to the "3420" address (see previous entry if you don't know what I'm talking about) in about 3-4 days so please use that one. He mentioned receiving letters from family as well as Connie Massie, Josh Bostic, Paula Todd, Bev Hines, and Cooper Turman. Thanks to all of you. I know many of you have sent letters that he hasn't gotten yet, but he will.

Today was a fun day... It was Eryn Agee and David Jones' wedding. I know both bride and groom: Eryn is one of my sister's good friends and grew up at Highland and David was in my youth group when I worked for University Church in Tuscaloosa. It was nice to see so many old friends from Tuscaloosa at the wedding. Several former youth groupers were there, as well as some of my favorite older ladies like Marie and Meg, and some families I miss so much like the Browns. I have such fond memories and love for the Tuscaloosa gang. Eryn looked beautiful of course. They said their own vows and they were both so happy and glowing through the whole ceremony, which was officiated by Buddy Jones. Great time seeing all of them.

I am up late (again). All in all a great day! Didn't get to the reception for Randy Spellings though... that was the only disappointing thing about today. The wedding was the exact same time. I had hoped to jet across town, but to no avail. Randy is our friend who has been in Iraq with the Army for over a year and just got back home to his wife Ainsley and one year old daughter Ammie. They are so happy to be back together, and it is so good to see them back together.

Please pray for Josh to keep his strength, and about his knee. Thanks.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

News from Josh

I got 5 letters in the mail today. Apparently the delay in the mail there is ridiculous. He said that the address that is working best is actually the original address that I sent everyone. Crazy. Tha one is:
SR Ray, Joshua
Division 076 Ship 13
Recruit Training Command
3420 Sailor Drive
Great Lakes, IL 60088-3520

The address with the "1" works too but apparently they are taking longer to get to him. The lack of and accuracy of information of the Navy... well, lets just say I'm not that impressed up to this point.

Josh said that he is doing pretty well. Today he told me about two friends he has made. They both sound like they come from a completely different place and background and family than Josh. These two guys he mentioned have been good friends to him. He said that when you strip everyone down to the bare bones you find something to bond over, even if in your regular life you would probably never meet. Now, though, he feels really close to them.

He is still "performing" well it sounds like. He has been moved to a leadership position within the group. He is called the AROC. Not sure exactly what that means but I know one duty has to do with calling the cadences. He says he may not still be in that job when we go visit, but I hope he is so we can see him. Sounds pretty interesting.

After reading his letters I am inspired to write again. Just to have an update from him gives me something to respond to... and it makes me miss him more, too. We're just counting down the days... or as he says, the "chows" (meals). On January 5 he said he had 85 chows left, so if I'm counting right he has only 65 left as of tonight.

Back to writing my paper.

One more day

Well, I have officially run out of things to say in letters. Isn't that sad? I have been writing Josh every single day for about 4 weeks, and the material is running thin. I keep thinking, well, he'll call before I write him again. And then another day goes by. Sometimes I send him news about stuff going on at home and other times I just write about us and our future, and other times I just feel like nothing has happened in the last 24 hours that is worth repeating. :) So if anyone has any news I should pass on, let me know! I'll be sure to include it.

For those who know Julie Kiser - her dad has had a dramatic turnaround. Praise God for that! Keep praying that the recovery will be quick!

Lost, one of top 5 favorite tv shows, (other favorite shows include: Alias, Felicity, Crossing Jordan, and Amazing Race) was back on last night after the break. I DVR'd it so don't tell me what happens but I heard the monster is back! Exciting. Putting off watching it until I complete my paper... I have 3 1/2 pages done so far so at least that's progress. To be continued tonight.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Karie's Kids


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Annie and Daniel Green and me

Back to regular life for a while

I am finally back at my desk after a very very busy 4 weeks. It has been great to be away, though. No big trips planned for a while now, except to see Josh graduate from the Navy basic training. That's Feb 3. He'll still go then to 6-7 weeks of training in Mississippi, but there I will probably be able to at least talk to him on the phone, maybe even see him on the weekend. So far I have still only talked to Josh once, other than letters. I never thought it would be this long between calls. However, I still feel close to him through letters. Very old-fashioned way to communicate but its quite intimate, really. I wish it wasn't so slow though.

I am taking another grad class this semester called "Family Issues in the New Testament" that deals with three big issues in the Bible and their application to today: homosexuality, marriage/divorce, and women's role. I think it will be interesting and definitely relevant to the world we're living in and to the church of the future. Maybe I will have some insights to share on these as I go along.

Of course, its also resolution time and I've made a couple. One is to get back in shape. (I know, so generic. ) I am doing the Weight Watchers type diet without actually joining, and I plan to get back in my routine of aerobics classes starting on Monday. I was hoping to surprise Josh when I see him with a new svelte me, but I didn't think I'd be seeing him this soon. Oh well, still want to get started.

The only other thing on my plate is finishing a paper from last semester. I had to take an incomplete in my class when I found out Josh was leaving so I could spend lots of time with him before he left. So now I have this 30 page paper due on Monday... I am making progress but not close to turning it in. That is going to dominate my evenings this week. I really dread writing papers. I love learning about the Bible but having to write my own thoughts about it is very intimidating to me. I just don't feel smart enough. Got to finish it so I can get this off my mind.

Praying for Julie Kiser's dad today... he is having some neurological issues and they hope to get some answers today from the doctors who have been running tests. They are at apparently the premier clinic for neurological disorders, in Temple, TX. Those of you who know Charles and Julie, please keep her family in your prayers.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

More from Josh

Well, I've been gone to Nashville for the youth minister's conference all week. While I was there, Josh finally called! It was our first time to be allowed to talk. I was like a jr high girl I was so excited! He is doing much better than the last letter I got, but it is definitely no piece of cake. He could use lots of prayer and encouragement. He said what gets you through is the reminder that you have a life waiting for you back home. He would love to hear what is going on in the sports world, if any of his friends are reading this. Especially (obviously) Cubs or Bears news. They are completely cut off from everything. This time is really affecting him. He is pretty vague about what they are doing exactly, but he says the physical aspect is actually not as strenous as he thought it would be but the psychological aspect is overwhelming. He said he has made some friends and that the food is actually good! Though its really hard, he doesn't seem to regret doing this. That's reassuring, but I still hate that its pretty miserable.

The conference was really good this year. Randy Harris, Rubel Shelly, John York, Chris Seidman, Joe Beam. All were so great. I have also made a number of good girl friends at the conference over the last few years and it is wonderful to see them and catch up. Actually its really funny to see all the faces that I have known for many, many years, some of which I met at the conference. My first year was in Colorado Springs, CO, during my sophomore year of college, I think. (Kristen, our old friend from NCYM now has two kids. Crazy huh.) All these years the conference has been a real time of reflection and growth for me to begin each year. Lots to think about. I had to get the CDs to listen to the talks again since several were so deep, I just couldn't get it all the first time.

In other news, my mom and mother in law have been busy spoiling me. Not to even bring up Christmas. My mom and grandmother cleaned my house while I was out of town. I have a new table and chairs - from Pottery Barn Outlet - from my mother in law. I got my laundry room - which was more like an outdoor closet with washer/dryer hookups - made into a real room that is insulated well and has tons of shelving in it now, from my mom and dad and mother in law together. Its so cute! I think everyone is feeling like they have to spoil me because of my being alone. Not necessary but I appreciate it so much.

Gotta go to bed, church comes early in the morning, then Benihana for lunch for my dad's birthday. Yum.

Pray for Josh and send him letters!