Thursday, December 29, 2011

Traditions: Family Game Night

Last night we spent two hours together playing of our gifts from us to us!

It was a lot of fun and I think it may actually help our kids learn a thing or two!

In the end, Daddy was the clear winner.  Philip has already called for a rematch!  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A New Year...maybe more writing...again...

Many of my friends and family have gotten on to me the last few months for not sending pictures of the kids.  A blog sounds like the easiest way to share our stories and so yet again, I will try my hand at this.  Even if it is just a sentence, my friends and family will know what is happening...along with the rest of the world.   I am not calling this a New Year's Resolution...Its not quite New Year's anyway and I don't want to jinx it! 
But I will try harder. 

Just so you know I am serious about it.  Here are some pictures from Christmas.

Fake Smiles!

Here is how P--- really thought of taking pictures...

Be looking for more things in 2012...maybe even a little before!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Repost from last year's flood: I Will Never Be the Same

In the midst of the natural disasters we have had over the last few weeks, and it being the year anniversary of the May 2010 flood in the Nashville Area, I thought it appropriate to repost this blog update from last year. Because of our own disaster 12 months ago, we can bring comfort and help to those affected with experienced compassion.  Know that I am praying for all that have been affected by the tornados and floods that are occuring even as we speak. I am praying for the relief workers that are currently aiding those affected as well. It will take many months to have some sort of normalcy. In fact, even now families are rebuilding from last year. But take heart, there is hope midst the storm. God be with you all!

It’s been two weeks, since this all started and I still don’t know where to begin. I lived by the Ohio River for most of my life, so flooding is not a new concept. The Rivers and creeks swell every year on spring’s normal progression to summer, leaving behind muddy water, debris, and occasional seeping into basements and homes. A few times the creeks and river crested way above flood stage. My best friend’s neighborhood was engulfed by Panther Creek in 1997. But the damage then was nothing like what we witnessed two weekends ago in the Cumberland River Valley. It was so widespread, and for a few scary hours, we weren’t sure anything was safe.
Even now the scenes creep back into my memory of the events unfolding on May 1st. The portable classroom from Lighthouse Christian Academy floating down I-24, the cars on that same portion of interstate overtaken by water, faster than some could escape from, pictures of people being rescued in the swollen creeks and rivers, on streets that looked like rivers, still race through my head. Sometimes it takes all I have not to cry. Still.

On Sunday morning, it was still raining. You couldn’t get to church even if you wanted to. A tornado went through the Rivergate area. Telephone poles, signs, and buildings, roofs, and houses were damaged. No one knows that happened, well except for those that were affected. No one is talking about it. Monday, the sun came out and for a moment you could breathe. But then the waters kept rising. When we got to the office in the Madison Community (north of Nashville), the neighborhood across the street was under water. When I say under water, I mean to the roof tops.

We weren’t really sure what Area Command had organized but knew it might take a day or two to get canteens mobilized. We just started feeding out of the van. I don’t know how people could even eat. Just thinking about all they had lost made my stomach turn. On Tuesday, it wasn’t any better. Mansker Creek had risen over the main highway into Nashville from our house. It took us three hours to get to the corps! I was so heartbroken that we couldn’t get back to help the neighborhood. That is when it hit me, it was OUR neighborhood.

The water started receding on Wednesday enough for everyone to start coming to their homes. Overwhelmed with the mess and the work that lay before them, they started coming in. Cleaning Supplies, soap, food, clothes, prayers, whatever they needed…they could find here…or from the canteen. The stories will be upon my memory forever: Guilt for not checking on neighbors they later learned had drowned; pets left on their own because there was no room on the boat, people thinking they could make it across the bridge in the vehicle only to be carried away seconds later down stream, clothes made out of garbage bags because there was nothing left.

Midst the destruction, there was one constant hope. I never had to call anyone to help out at the corps. Our corps people were here everyday taking donations, feeding the neighborhood, praying with people. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life…of course I haven’t been in a place that was hit so directly with a disaster, natural or otherwise. It wasn’t just the corps…you could see it all over the Nashville Area. Volunteers daily coming in droves to help people they don’t even know.

I am still overwhelmed today with love for my community, and love for my corps people. I am so sad that this has happened to us, but so overjoyed for the bond that I now share with this corps. There was a blog written days after the flood by Patten Fuqua ( section303). Normally, a hockey analyst he took a moment to reflect on our recent disaster. He commented on the fact that there were not many stories of looting or crime; the fact that so many people came to help rescue strangers from their homes. And at the end of it he said, “And yet…life will go on. We’ll go back to work, to school, to our lives…and we’ll carry on. In a little over a month, I’ll be on this website talking about the draft. In October, we’ll be discussing the new Predators’ season with nary a thought of these past few days. But in a way, they changed everyone in this town. We now know that that it can happen to us…but also know that we can handle it.
Because we are Nashville.”
In many ways, our corps will never be the same either. We seem tighter, woven together with a common purpose. I am so blessed to be a part of this community, the Madison community, and I thank God for placing us here. I too believe that I will never be the same. These events have changed me in a way that I could never put into words. And I am okay with that…because I too am Nashville and Nashville will forever be a part of me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reshaping It All

I am really excited to be involved with the 65 days to Reshaping It All!  I am trying to be more intentional about my eating and my health and this book brings it all in!  You should check it out and see what its all about! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

How to Prepare for a Move...

Just a disclaimer here...we are not moving this year!  We, however, have moved many times in our 9 years as officers so I wanted to share some of our experience with you.

6-8 weeks before move
You got the call.  Start working on your brief now.  I now keep the brief up every year so this is not a chore to do when we actually should be packing and taking care of stuff in the corps. 

Go ahead and check about schools and day care facilities in the area.   Many times preschool registration has already begun and it would be wise to get your children in before the move.  If you live close enough to make a visit do that as well. 

Request records for all doctors.  It sometimes takes a few weeks to get this from them so it is better to start early.  I keep a binder with dividers for each member of the family (don't forget your pets!)  I have every record from birth.  That way when I go to the next community I copy every record I have and hand them an entire folder.  More than likely they won't look through it, but they will have the complete case there.  Especially, if you or your child has to go to a specialist.  I do this for dental records, as well as pediatrician. 

Some divisions require you to submit a moving plan to them prior to your move.  This would include all costs associated with your move.  Get quotes from several moving companies/or trucks, and estimate how much you will spend for food and hotel as well as gas on your way to your new appointment.  Submit this to the DC and stick to it!  The farther your new appointment is the more expensive a truck will be, because you pay by mileage.

Reserve Truck or Moving Company

5 weeks
Finish up any doctors visits before you leave and get a copy of any final paper work.  That way you don't have to immediately search for a phsyician and make a hasty decision.  I don't usually take the previous officers word for doctors, until I have thoroughly researched them all.  If you need specialists, then you can go ahead and research those as well.  I go to websites like momapedia because they will have local reviews on phsycians/dentists and even schools and daycare facilities.

Start packing up wall decorations, picture frames, and all non-essentials.  Pack up out of season clothes and coats. 

Finish your brief if you haven't already.

Make a punch list of all repairs/ painting/ and maintenance that needs to be done and make calls.  Schedule with local companies.  This would include:  Carpet cleaning
painting, air duct cleaning, chimney sweep, air conditioner/heater maintenance,  etc.  If you have pets you will want to have apholstry cleaned as well.

Start decluttering, if you haven't used it in this house, you won't use it in the next.

If you haven't already contacted your successor, make sure you do so.  Get some personal information that would be helpful in introducing them to your board, employees and corps members.  Get a picture to help put a face to the name.  Schedule a visit with them if you feel comfortable.

Email copy of brief to DC and incoming officer

4 Weeks
Any rooms that aren't used, go ahead and clean them from top to bottom.  Pack up everything and shut the door.  If you have a garage, use that as your staging area. 

If you are going to paint, I would suggest going muted colors.  Sometimes those that follow you will want to come and pick paint colors themselves.  Have that conversation with them to find out.  There is no reason to pay for something that they be will changed anyway.

Buy new linens (1 set for each bed) white or something nutral that matches the room.  Buy White towels but only one per person.  They will buy what they want when they arrive.  The key is to have necessaties available, but not to go over board so they can buy what they want.  If you need to replace any pots and pans/dishes ect., do that now as well.

Start thinking about your farewell sermon.  Make plans for your farewell (nine times out of ten you plan it anyway.)  We have often times made it on another day besides Sunday, so that the last Sunday is not too long of a day.   Go ahead and make program for farewell.

3 Weeks
Start packing up everything else.  Keep out a few movies and board games to keep the kids busy when you are working.  But now you should only have out the bare minimum.  The less stuff you have makes it easier to clean.  If you are going to have a company come and clean your house, make sure you make that appointment now. 

Contact the officer you are following to work out when you will arrive at the house.  Do the same for the family that is following you. 

Find out what food the family would like to have waiting for them.  Buy a small welcome gift for kids and maybe a nice plant and card for the officers moving in. 

Plan or appoint people in corps to plan and execute the welcome.  Order any food/catering/or cake and arrange for the pick up on the date.

Make arrangements for Local Newspaper to run a story on the new corps officers so that they can be introduced to the community.

Plan welcome Sunday program for new officers.  Sometimes DHQ will invite themselves to come speak at the welcome.  Coordinate that with DHQ.

Send out new address and phone numbers to friends and family

2 Weeks

Clean and pack your office.  Try to start a file on your desk for projects that will be waiting the corps officer when they come.  Copy new officer on any new email correspondance that they would need to be aware of.

If you need to stay in a hotel on your way to your new appointment, or to make the cleaning stick (with kids it would not do me any good to clean if the kids were still around), go ahead and make those reservations.  We usually stay in a hotel on Saturday night.  The kids play in the pool, and I do my last minute walk through with the board or corps member.

Send letter announcing arrival of new corps officer to all pertinant contacts like United Way/ Store Managers for Kettles/ Civic Clubs/ Community Partners

1 Week
Enjoy the last week with your corps people.  Let your kids have final playdates with friends.

Clean and pack up last of the house.  Load onto Truck.  Take unwanted things to thrift store or have yard sale (if you are bold)

Have farewell party and or Sunday.

The important thing is to do things ahead of time so you are not rushed at the end!   I will probably add to this list, so check for updates!  Add you own ideas in comments!

Friday, April 15, 2011

It All Happens At Once...Always

That is what it feels like this week.  I wasn't even here for half of the week, but it has been the hardest we have had in a while.  Thankfully the kids have been great and they don't usually act up until Mommy gets home!  The hubs called on Thursday to tell me he had to fill out a police report.  Why you ask?  Someone decided to steal the catalytic converters (who knew there were two?) off the bus.  Thankfully, we still have the 15-passenger van to transport our congregation.  However, it just adds to the financial burden that we all feel this time of year.  We have had many sick in our congregation, family members not doing well, and my own dad has been admitted to the hospital for the 5th time in 2 months.  All this in addition to the community meeting we had in our building last night.  While 50 people were expected, over 250 came!  They had many concerns about a Salvation Army Program that is looking to build in their community and it was a very long night.  After driving 6 hours, and going straight into that meeting I was dog tired!!!!  And we get to do it all over again today as we take our corps kids to camp for music rehearsals! 

Do You Ever Feel Like That?

On the days that I just feel worn down, I try to keep this verse handy: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people" Galatioans 6:9-10 NIV

Keep fighting the fight!  I know that when God is at work in our congregations and even in our lives, Satan works harder to keep the good from happening!  Don't let him get you down!  Don't Give Up!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Living for God

Today I read this and I just had to share.
"The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and selfcontrolled so that you can pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as on speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and power for ever and ever. Amen."  1 Peter 4:7-11

Friday, April 8, 2011

When They Start to Ask: Where Are You Going This Time...You Know You Have Been Gone Too Much!!!

For whatever reason, this year has been the traveling year for me.  I didn't plan it that way.  Are you any of you in the same boat?  On Wednesday night, during Women's Fellowship, I told them I wouldn't be there next week.  They didn't flip out, they just rolled their eyes and said those words, "where are you going this time?"  That's when I knew, I've been gone too much.

Some of it cannot be helped.  Those lovely weekends fill up fast with Youth Councils, Men's Camp, and Women's Camp.  But those other elective conferences that look like good opportunities in October and November, add up quick when they come around in March and April.  I just got back from the "Come to the Water Conference."  This conference is sponsored by the Weslyan Holiness Women's Clergy.  It was a good conference filled with women from many other denominations that preach Holiness!  What a blessing!

This week I am going to Territorial Officers Advisory Council.  Ladies (and gentlemen who stop by) if you have recommendations and haven't turned them in is you last opportunity.  Message me for a form.  This is our chance to voice concerns (legitimate concerns) involving programming and policy.  Many things have been changed because of TOAC and I am proud to serve.  (Although my husband is not quite pleased that I will be gone for four days!!!)

All of this to say, it is so important to have our calendars with us when we commit to conferences.  It is also important to be able to say no.  As I am looking at my calendar I am thinking, I might have over committed my self.  Are you feeling the same way!  What are ways that help you to say no?  How do you handle your family when there is no way around being a way for a short time?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break in Washington DC

We decided a few months ago that we wanted to take a vacation with our family to somewhere new!  So when we looked at our options, Washington DC came to mind!  We had a cheap place to stay and all of the sights are free!!! 

Thing 1 and Thing 2 were so excited about our trip! 

Thing 2's favorite thing was the butterfly exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  They actually have a small habitat for the butterflies that you can walk through!  And on Tuesdays it is free!!!

The Dinosaurs were Thing 1's favorite.

We went to see the Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, The White House, and the Washington Monument!  All of those require a lot of walking and Thing 2 was not happy about it! 

We also visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Musuem!  It was also a favorite!

On Wednesday we visited the National Zoo

Although I was so excited about the Pandas, the Red Panda was my favorite!  The kids enjoyed the Lion Cubs!
Like the Museums, the National Zoo was free.  You could walk in, just like a neighborhood park!  No Admission Gates.  You could see many locals jogging around the zoo, like they would at any park!  

The kids really enjoyed riding the metro train!

At the end of the day, it was too much for Thing 2

I did learn a few things on our journey.
1.  Thing 2 Does not like to walk for long periods of time no matter how interesting the place
2.  A cheap vacation can be fun!!!  We packed our lunches everyday and bought food to cook for dinner.
3.  Public transportation can be expensive so make sure you plan ahead and know exactly where you want to go and if it will be doable for your family.
4.  Be prepared for your bags to be checked at all of the major museums. 
5.  If you want to tour the white house you have to contact your congressman or woman no less than 21 days before your visit and they like you to schedule earlier than that.  We didn't know this piece of information so we didn't get very close to the White House.

We had a blast and I am so proud of our kids.  We originally were supposed to stay through Friday, but because of a death in our corps family we had to cut it short.  I thought that the kids would be upset, but they were troopers and understood that sometimes things happen and that it was important to minister to that family.  They are such cool kids!  :) 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Storms Are Coming...

The weather outside is pretty crazy tonight.  I am hopeful that these severe storms are a precursor to spring!  As a little girl, I loved to watch a storm come in.  The light thunder in the distance was ironically soothing and the rain on my window often put me to sleep.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 however do not share the same love of storms that I do.  Quite frankly, they are terrified especially when they arrive in the middle of the night.  Perhaps they will become accustomed to them as they grow older, but God love them, I am sure I will be up tonight with them until the storms pass.
Whenever I see a storm I am reminded of the story of Jesus calming the storm on his trip on the Sea of Galilee.  The others on the boat were frantic, yet He was as calm as a cucumber!  I hope that as my children deal with their fears of physical storms and the storms of life that they will take solace knowing that God is there and unwavering!  He is calm midst the traffic!  He is a strong and mighty oak that they can cling to.  My prayer is that our family will place our faith in Him through those storms!  I am curious what steps you take to ensure your children also learn to place their faith in Jesus Christ.  Be sure to share your insights with other Sallie*Moms! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let's Do This Again...

I've been off the writing circut for a few months, but I missed it...alot! So here we go trying it again! I'm a big fan of blogs and get so much insight from my blogosphere friends! My prayer is that my piece of the internet is as half as inspiring as those I faithfully read everyday. Most authors have a specific niche that they choose to write about. This blog will be no different. We wear so many hats as a Salvation Army Officers! Add to that, being a wife, mother, sister, and caretaker and the other side of the tunic begins to get a little chaotic!

My life's verse is Joshua 1:9:
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua was tasked with an incredible journey ahead of him! Take heart my friends! God is with us on our journey as well! As we delve into this crazy but wonderful life, don't forget Who is with us!