14 December 2010

On the Road Again!

Well, our time in Fort Benning is dwindling down...we should be moving by the end of this week! So, apologies if you don't hear from us for awhile after this.  The Army is moving us out to El Paso, which means they will come into my house and box it all up for me. Well, let's be honest...I have to have more control than that, so I've basically packed up the majority of our house. I think the movers are going to laugh at me (or be super grateful...) when they walk in! I just had to be sure all those important things were wrapped up well and coated with bubble wrap. Plus, it's helped me not go crazy. It is a bizarre feeling sitting in your house, furniture and belongings intact, and knowing that you're moving in less than a week...it feels like you should be doing something. You know, like packing. So I did. Sorry, movers. But I will gladly let you haul all the boxes and heavy furniture out to the truck. I'll provide the lemonade, snacks, and moral support!

Of course with moving comes lots of goodbyes. Yesterday was my last day at ESL, and it was so bittersweet. It was sad to leave my students behind, especially two of them--Maguey (Maggie) and Maritza (Ma-reet-za). They are from the Congo and El Salvador, respectively, and have been so much fun to have in class. We ended the semester with a Christmas party and we acted out the Christmas story, which was hilarious. One of the teachers also explained all of the Christmas traditions, such as stockings, Santa, presents, and more.  While many other countries celebrate Christmas as well, it is a Christian holiday and not all of our students come from "Christian-rich" societies. In addition, they celebrate differently! It was fun to be able to share the Gospel as well as our traditions with them.

Today I went to my last Cardio Core. I don't think I've talked much about this, but it's a class I go to at the gym with Dana and Meghan and it has been kicking my butt since July! Our instructor is great--we love her! She's just the right balance of challenging/encouraging you. We've been using the TRX system lately and I LOVE it. We've done all of the exercises in that picture! It is so hard but you feel so good after you do it--good sense of accomplishment! And you can temper it to your ability level and make it easier/harder on yourself throughout the workout...I am going to miss this class! It has kept me in such good shape outside of running. Hopefully we'll find another class like it  in El Paso.

Finally, we're having to say goodbye to all of our friends. You think 5 months really isn't that long, but we have really gotten to be great friends with about 7 other couples. We've had a ton of shared experiences and have had a hilarious time trying to figure out this Army life! The other wives and I have spent many days and nights playing games, eating, and talking while the guys were out training and have gotten so close! Thankfully I get to have two of them with me in El Paso, but it's going to be so hard to leave the others. We're hoping that when the guys have to come back to Benning in a few years for the Captain's Career Course that we'll all be here at the same time :)

When I left Starkville in June, I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this whole Army life. But so far, I have truly enjoyed it. I've learned a lot about myself, Brian, making friends, and a lot of acronyms and Army lingo! I think we've all gained some confidence too, which comes from experience. I was so nervous coming here and now I feel so at home. I'm hoping for the same kind of experience (or better!) out in El Paso. 

When I left Starkville in June, I did what I always do when I leave that town for a long period of time; before I get on the road, I take my ritual drive through campus. I go slow and go through all the memories...football games, living in the dorms, going to Wesley, FPC, walking on campus, giving RoadRunner tours, eating outside at the Bakery, meals and fun at the Chi O house, running on South and North Farm, and so, so, so much more. This past summer as I was leaving out the main entrance I (of course) started to tear up, realizing that I really was about to begin a journey I knew nothing about. Up until that point, I had done the predictable and the comfortable: school! But this was new. I was listening to KLOVE, the contemporary Christian radio station, soaking in the warm summer sun, and this song came on...it's by Matt Maher, and it's called "Love will Hold Us Together".  These verses hit me:

Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm
And I’ll, be, my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we’re not alone

And then....
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
‘Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It’s gonna be alright, s’gonna be alright

During this verse, I started laughing! Pure, uncontrollable laughter! Well,  laughter with tears rolling down my face! Because I felt like God was speaking directly to me and saying, "Rebecca, why are you so upset? It's gonna be alright!" And of course, it did feel like the first day of the rest of my life; I was leaving the world of school and truly felt like I was becoming an adult...It was one of those beautiful moments in life where even though you're sad, you're also inexplicably happy. I love the combination of laughter and tears--it's like your body just can't hold it all in so it has to find multiple ways to get everything out! I started and finished the drive with a light and joyful heart, knowing that God was on my side and that His love would forever be around and in me. Praise the Lord!

Plus, the song has a fun  "sound" to it...sorry, I'm totally not musically-inclined, but it just sounds like something that we'd all be singing unabashedly and joyfully because of the promises in it! What joy there is in knowing that with Christ, we are never alone. And He is so good to bless us with people who uplift, encourage, support, and rebuke us in love as well as remind us of His love through their words, actions and life. Praise the Lord!

Blessings to you all! And Merry Christmas! Perhaps by the New Year we will be in Texas! Oh the adventures to come...

07 December 2010

Comments Fixed!

After much twiddling around, I think I have finally fixed the comment conundrum! Someone test it out :)

06 December 2010

A 6-Week Synopsis...

6 weeks ago, we were told we were moving to El Paso that week...well, that plan changed, and the date got moved back to mid-December, so I pretty much pushed the whole "moving issue" aside and went on with my merry life. Well, it is now mid-December. Annnd where did the last 6 weeks go? I'm not really sure, so I'm going to try and recap them to remind myself!

Let's start with some of life's constants...class at Auburn continued, and I went to my last college class ever last Wednesday-I was thrilled. Still waiting to hear if I have to take the final this week; keeping my fingers crossed that the answer is 'no'!

Dana, Anica, and I ran in the Soldier Half-Marathon here on post on Nov. 13-we had so much fun! It was unseasonably cold that morning (it only got out of the 70's last week!), and we couldn't find Anica, so Dana and I were literally the last people to start the race! We eventually found her though around mile 3, which was good! About 2 miles in, we had to run up this pretty steep, long hill. Well, even though we trained on hills, we weren't looking forward to running up this one! But we didn't dare to stop, because they put drill sargeants on the hill, who were yelling things like "Stay Motivated!" "Keep running!" "Do not stop!" as we ran up the hill. Dana and I died laughing and didn't stop running! It was hilarious. The race went by pretty fast; we clocked a fast few hours, running about 7 miles in the first hour, which was awesome! We slowed down a bit the last 6, bringing us in to finish around 2:03--we were happy about that! Somehow during these races you get to about mile 7 or 8, and you start to think, "Wait, I'm at mile 8?! I've run 8 miles already?! This is crazy!" But they are so much fun and it's so nice to have people to run with! We talked and laughed the whole time!

After the race, I came home and showered off because Lindsay and Allen came up to visit for the day! I made sure to make up the calories I burned off that day by pigging out on tailgate food while watching the MSU/Alabama game! (I think...can't remember if that's who we played that weekend...) We showed Linds and Allen around Benning and had such a great time catching up with them. I'm going to miss having them so close to us when we get out to Bliss!

The next weekend, we trekked over to Starkville for our last home game for who knows how long! We had so much fun; almost all of the old crew was there! Allen and Lindsay, Matt and Leigh, Paul, Mark and Caroline, and all the younger siblings! We had a blast tailgating, catching up, and of course, getting very little sleep. It was such an exciting game, even though we lost! I lost my voice I screamed so much during the game!

After coming back from Starkville, Brian and I stayed in Benning until Wednesday (Brian had to work) and got home Wednesday night. We stayed with my family on Wednesay (my mom's birthday!) and Thursday night and with his family on Friday and Saturday night. It was so wonderful to go home and to get to see both families; I really enjoyed that. We caught up with family and a lot of old friends, which was such a great uplift for us! And we managed not to overeat on Thanksgiving...amazing, since we ate two Thanksgiving dinners! We played a lot of games, saw some movies, and went hiking as well as knocked out some Christmas shopping, which was a plus! But no Black Friday for me...slept in instead :)

Things started to wind down after Thanksgiving; my class finished up, and I'm almost finished with ESL classes. Our last teaching day is Thursday, and on Monday we're having a Christmas party, which I think will be fun! I did do quite a bit of subbing the week before Thanksgiving and had quite a few interesting experiences...did I mention I had two kids named Sean Paul and Shakira? Yeah, it was sort of difficult to call them that all day without smiling to myself...poor kids. Imagine having that name for your whole life...

Family related news: Clay and Lindsay have made some great progress on the wedding and I can't wait for it to get here! Linds picked some gorgeous dresses, from none other than my favorite J.Crew--and they're maroon! Emily got accepted into a summer abroad program at Clemson and is now going to INDIA this summer! I am jealous! And finally, Paige and Eric made the Huntsville Times with their epic deer hunt over Thanksgiving break! Paige came home with 3--she beat all the boys!

This past Thursday-Saturday, the Kisers and Arants came to visit us! Nathan is home on R&R from Afghanistan, and they wanted to get together while he was home. They've been in Mississippi so they drove over on Thursday morning to come see us. We had a great time together catching up, showing Shellaine around Benning and where Nathan lived while he was here for BOLC, watching football, eating, and relaxing! Shellaine, Lindsay, and I also got some shopping accomplished, which was exciting :) It was really nice to spend some time with all of them, especially before we move out West!

Speaking of moving out West, we are in the process of leaving Benning. Brian started "out-processing" today, and will take anywhere from 3-10 days to complete. It's a bunch of paperwork, running around, and contacting different people before you can leave any post. While he's been doing that, I've been cleaning house, organizing our stuff, and getting it ready to be packed. The Army is moving us out there, so I'm purging through some of our stuff and trying to categorize it so that I don't have dishes, sheets, and books all in the same box! Since the Army is pretty volatile with timelines, we won't know our Christmas plans until they are upon us...I'm a little bummed about this because we can't set up a Christmas tree this year since we're in the middle of moving. We probably won't get one either while we're out in Texas, because they don't grow Christmas trees out there...I guess for the first time in my life I'm going to have to buy a fake Christmas tree. Or maybe I'll just buy a cactus. I could hang ornaments off of the little prickles...All about getting a little creative!

It's been a crazy last few weeks and I know the next few will be just as hectic! But it's been a fun mixture of friends, family, and exciting experiences. It's been a good reminder to be thankful for the intangible things in life, as well as a lesson in being flexible and patient. I hope you all are off to a wonderful Christmas and holiday season--I'm living vicariously through your Christmas decorations and trees! One day soon you can sit with me, sip hot chocolate (or a margarita), and admire my ornament-adorned cactus... :) Love and blessings!