As I haven't written in awhile, I had to take a minute and just reflect on everything that has happened in the past few weeks. I'll fill in these stories with photos as I receive/retrieve them, but I'm going to start writing again before I quit altogether.
To describe the transition from life in Tally to life at Ft. Benning/Fortson, I could list a few phrases that everyone knows like "plan for the worst, expect the best" or "in the Army, it's hurry up and wait". The truth is that even the little things are orchestrated by God's hand and it's difficult to understand that before they happen. Cryptic, I know. What I'm trying to express is that as Anthony and I have ventured into unknown territory, God's faithfulness has been the one constant. It's like a radio tower (except not the one on Lost), always blinking, always in the same spot.
OCS Formal & Anthony's Commissioning - Sept. 15 & 17, 2009
Two days before his official graduation and commissioning ceremony, Anthony's OCS class held a lovely formal dinner for family and significant others. It was fun to get dressed up and feel like a lady after weeks of living out of a suitcase, and the Army has all sorts of formalities and traditions that made the event memorable, like toasts and receiving lines and secret handshakes (just kidding on the last one... maybe). I met a lieutenant colonel's wife who was more than gracious, down-to-earth and willing to share her advice and inspiration for the military spouse lifestyle. Other candidates brought their wives and girlfriends (and mothers) and it was nice to match faces with names of guys whose antics Anthony described via Skype every other night.
His graduation ceremony was joyful. The guest speaker was anything but relevant, but all I could think of was how proud I was of Anthony and the choice he had made to go where God has called us. It wasn't a safe or easy choice, but it was the right one. After the songs, salutes and awards, Joe and Jacob pinned his gold bars onto his uniform and I put his beret with its newest addition (another gold bar) on his head. More than a few friends had come from Tallahassee and Graceville, and surprise visitors like old neighbor Josh A. and Pastor Kelly made me tear up to see them there. It was unexpected and there's no way to appreciate friendship like that except to try to say thank you and enjoy the company.
Finding a House
This ride was a little bumpy. After a few weekends of looking in the Columbus area and not finding any homes in our price range or in good neighborhoods, I was frustrated. Anthony and I took a chance and kept driving to the last listed address in the realty company's book until we thought we were lost. This would prove to be our house, and it has been nothing short of awesome.
It's decorated and filled with our worldly possessions now, and the best thing about it is that it's big enough to accommodate any family or friends that want to visit and stay overnight. In fact, we are hosting 12 people for Thanksgiving! I've always loved cozy, small houses but there is a time and place for everything, and right now, we like having the party house :)
New Church Family
Duh, we're going to Calvary Chapel of Columbus. It's small and warm and real people go there. The other night, we were decorating for its fall festival and the kids' ministry pastor started playing a cd of a Christian rap/hip-hop group from Columbus called "No Compromise". (Their music is legit, ok! I'm talking good.) The stereo was blasting and kids were running around everywhere dancing to it and it was just like being in the youth room back in Tallahassee. Dirty south.
I'm looking forward to serving in some capacity there. I know that we might not be in Columbus this time next year, but I'm asking the Lord to teach me to love and give of myself wherever I might be.
Work...School...What Do I Do Now?
Good question. After the house was unpacked and the nesting was finished, I had a few days to sit and think about what my next step was going to be. Anthony's job requires my support (the little things like dinner, laundry, knowing abbreviations and the color "desert tan" when I see it, the occasional 4:00 a.m. drive to base), which I am glad to give because I love him. At the same time, I want to be like the woman in Proverbs 31, being productive and bringing honor to her home and to her husband. For awhile now, my desire has been to continue my schooling and eventually earn a doctorate and teach Latin American literature, history or policy on the collegiate level. Another dream that was on the back burner was to create beautiful things with my hands and sell them to pay for my grad classes. So why not do them? I'm going to! I have the time, resources and drive to do this, and am going to work my hardest to be an excellent student and have a small home business (coming soon on Etsy... I'm restoring and restyling vintage gowns. Yeah!). I sent off my application, transcripts and have started buying the gowns. Exciting times.
I considered going back to the traditional (read, corporate) workplace, and if that has to happen, that's fine. God is faithful anywhere and everywhere and has given me the opportunity to do the things that I love right now, and I'm going to enjoy that. To be honest, my pride holds me back at times because I don't want to be misunderstood for what people sometimes think of military wives: lazy, uneducated and thankless. My pride tells me that I'm living off my husband and need to get a "real job"... but I know that Anthony has never been more supportive of what I'm doing and that we are a unit, a team, working together.
There. I think we've caught up. Now we can move forward. The holidays are coming soon and it will be so nice to have our families here to celebrate them with us. Also.... maybe a December vacation in the tropics :)
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things." - Phillipians 4:8, one of my favorites verses in the Bible.