Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nick's Feet

Caution - This post contains a graphic post of Nick's feet. Do not read it while, or immediately after, eating, or if you have a strong gag reflex!

Nick's feet after his Thursday night soccer game:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just a little story

Last night Nick had to come straight to our Ash Wednesday service from work, which meant that he arrived in his uniform. There was a little girl with us in the choir room as we were getting ready. When she spotted Nick she tugged on her mom's arm and said "Mommy, that soldier guy is cool!" Then she thought a moment and asked, "does he keep me safe?" When her mother confirmed her suspicion, the little girl said simply, "I like him."
That's got to put a smile on your face!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lifeline II

Today our choir, from the Trenholm Road United Methodist, came together with the choir from St. Joseph's Catholic Church and two children's choirs from the Columbia area for a benefit concert. This was planned through an initiative of the Midlands Interfaith Homeless Action Council, called Light the Way for the Homeless Through the Arts. You can read about the MIHAC here: The issue of homelessness is especially urgent in Columbia for a number of reasons outlined on the MIHAC website, and is something that has really bothered me since we moved here so Nick and I were happy to be able to participate in this event.

The concert was a fantastic opportunity, not only to support the homeless initiative, but to spend time with our choir friends. Along with our young adult sunday school class, the choir has already provided a huge support system for me. Of course everyone is very concerned about Nick's impending deployment, and I can't tell you how many times, today alone, that I heard things like "well, you've got a great support system here" or, "we'll just have to keep you extra busy at the church" or "you'll just have to spend Easter at our house!" That latter comment was made by Paula Wilson, our choir director and mother of my friend Kelly, and I intend to take her up on it.

So you see, Skype (if and when it works reliably in the wilderness of Afghanistan) is not my only lifeline during Nick's deployment. I've got an entire network of caring and fun-loving friends to depend on when the going gets tough. Do I believe that this is all of my doing? Well, my winning personality aside, I know that God has prepared the way for me by leading me to TRUMC and helping to foster these friendships. This is just another way in which I can see Him working in my life, giving me everything I need to walk down the path He's prepared for me.

P.S. to Mom and Dad - these friends really want to meet you so you might keep that in mind when you schedule your flight for my hooding in May!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


This afternoon Nick and I ran some pre-deployment errands, picking up duffel bags, socks, underwear, etc. By far our most important purchases were a laptop for him and a webcam for me. We'll be able to use Skype to video chat every day (or almost every day at least) while he's deployed! It's amazing to think about how technological innovations improve the deployment experience for service members and their families. Of course letters have been around, in some form, for just about as long as people have been fighting wars. Over time mail delivery has become faster and more reliable. We still rely on the mail service to deliver packages of necessities and goodies to our loved ones in the desert and elsewhere. I've talked to people who, during the Vietnam War, exchanged audio tapes with loved ones who were overseas to keep in touch. More recently we've been able to use phones and the internet to keep up with each other. During Nick's last deployment we relied on e-mails and weekly phone calls. This time we will be able to see each other and talk to each other frequently. In the grand scheme of things, I don't think I could ask for much more. Skype will certainly be a lifeline during this deployment.

This morning I happened upon a blog that a sorority sister and college friend of mine, who is also an Air Force wife, started. It's called Confessions of an Air Force wife. The latest post on there is a great description of what we AF wives do. You can check out the blog in my Friends' Blogs links to the left.

Friday, February 20, 2009

This is where I live...

This article ran in The State today, our newspaper:
The line in here that caught my attention was, "Currently, one in four S.C. schools has more than 90 percent of its students living in poverty." The article goes on to predict that with rising poverty levels due to the recession (and I would add one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, which continues to climb) this number will only increase. Of course, those schools with the high poverty rates chronically underperform on standardized tests, etc., earning them the ire of the state education big wigs.
You Texans who read this will be interested to note, in light of the above information, that of the $1 billion cut from our state budget this year, about a third came from the public school system. Seems like a great way to solve this problem to me.
I know this is off-topic, but I just had to get it off my chest!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good news and bad news

I've promised to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly about life leading up to and during a deployment. In the military we live by the mantra that the only constant in life is change. So of course I shouldn't have been surprised when Nick's pre-deployment plans changed last week, again. It turns out that he'll be doing an additional week of training in Floriday during March. I joked to Nick that, while one week in itself isn't much time, this one week officially makes his deployment committment one full year (until now we were just one week short). We also got the official word that Nick may get three or four days furlough at the most in Indiana immediately prior to the deployment. So when Nick leaves for training in April I may not see him again until his mid-tour in the late fall or winter.

My new is not all bad, though. Something happened today that finally cheered me up after last week's bad news. This package finally arrived for me! Nick mailed this gorgeous wooden jewelry box, engraved with "Hall" in Arabic, to me from Bahrain back in October. We've been waiting for it to get here, and had pretty much given up on it. Then, today, out of the blue it arrived. I'm certainly grateful for this gift, and am thankful that I've once again been cheered out of my sadness.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Signs of Spring and Other News

Hello again, blog friends! Today in Columbia we had our first taste of spring. The tempererature was in the mid-seventies, and it was bright with sunny, clear skies outside. This, following a week of highs in the 40's, was enough to put me in a spring state of mind. On a walk with Finlay I took a few pictures (below). The scenes I photographed reminded me of a few lines from a Nichole Nordeman song that I've loved since college: "And what was frozen through is newly purposed, turning all things green. And so it is with You, and how You make me new with every season's change, and so it will be, as you are re-creating me summer, autumn, winter, spring."

These lines called to mind something that Nick and I have been discussing, and that we've been learning about in our Sunday School class, Abraham. How do I get Abraham from springtime? Well, you have to follow me for a minute. We know that God is always faithful to bring about his promises, just as he was with Abraham, and just as he does each spring when he brings new life from that which appeared dead. Even when we're not sure how he's going to do it, like Abraham was with Sarah's barrenness or when he was called to sacrifice Isaac, we know that as long as we follow His direction, He will fulfill what He has begun in us. The important lesson we have learned from Abraham is to trust in God's faithfulness, always striving to have that "Here I am Lord" attitude.

This brings me to my next point. Texas Ex-Pats will be going through some changes in the months and weeks to come. God's next big step for us is Nick's deployment to Afghanistan. This mission of Nick's was prayed over continuously for months before it came about. We know that Nick has been truly called to it.

God has always been faithful to get us through whatever He asks of us, and it is with this in mind that I'd like to give everyone a closer glimpse into what life is like during a deployment. I think of this a bit like a prayer journal. If you keep one over an extended period of time, you can see how your needs are met perfectly. Because I am confident that God will provide for us I'd like to share all this with you. In keeping with this new theme, I'll be changing the title and design a bit, when I get around to it.

I hope you all enjoy coming along for this ride with us! Oh, and if you have a suggestion for a good place to get a blog theme, please send them my way. Thanks!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Nick's playing soccer again this spring - this time in a regular league. Here's a picture I took with my new camera at his first game. I'm still learning how to best use my new camera, and nighttime action shots are certain challenging! I'll try to get some more at his next game on Thursday.