Being September, I can say change has been the one thing God has definitely grown Andrew and I in tremendously! Since April, our lives have been on one crazy coaster of events. Firstly, I graduated College—finally, haha! Yey! I am an official graduate of the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in Arts and Sciences… and Andrew graduated too, from pilot training! Double yey!
(our yummy carrot cake!!)
And the best part of all… we finally got our assignment. And it came with a good amount of faith building as well.
As the excitement of April’s exams ended and May’s graduation died down, we were preparing for the next very exciting and stressful event: choosing Andrew’s pilot assignment. We had not neglected to pray for our assignment since the beginning of training… but as we approached it, we really had a hard time deciding on how we wanted order our choices (we were given a list of 28 or so choices of the different planes available for the pilots to choose; our job was to put them in order of our preference). We had a few hutches of where we wanted to go with it… but once it was down on paper, neither of us had a really peace about turning it in. We prayed fervently about our situation and God was, again, very very faithful to our situation. Andrew met with a couple of Godly, trusted men and when he returned, he stated we had a game plan: since we couldn’t decide, we would leave the choice up to the Lord. We put down our top 3 choices for all three categories (heavy planes, fighter planes, and instructing on the T-6/T-38) for our top three choices. I have to admit, it was a very out there order, but we were finally at peace with what we put down. Our first choice was the C-17. It’s the newer heavy plane and its mission appealed to both of us. However, the best part came when we learned about the two systems that C-17 were in. One is called the AMC. Air mobility command... I am still not sure what that means, but I do know that it encompasses all of the systems outside of the pacific and it's bordering countries. That area is in the system known as the Pacific Air Force (PacAF). And of the two systems, we were drawn to the PacAF. And that is what we prayed about...
Through those next couple of days, I just stood on faith. God held me be strong and brought sweet promises to mind: Hebrews 11:6, Romans 4:20-21, Matthew 14:13-33, Colossians 3:1-3…and on and on and on! My heart was refreshed with His love. With every morning He met with me, he always seemed to place faith passages in my devotions, discipling my heart as I stepped out with faith that this is where God wanted us. Our Father is so so good to His children!
By the time our assignment night rolled up, the Lord had strengthened my faith in such a way that I knew we would get the C-17 in the PacAF… but I did not where we would be ending up. And SURE ENOUGH, the slide came up, Andrew marched over and gave me a confident kiss and we realized where exactly our next location would be: ALASKA!!!!!!
Yup! We are headed to Alaska folks! We report on January 31st.
But first, a teaser: a month of training in Spokane, WA and three months in Altus, Oklahoma!
Andrew and I enjoyed the next couple of weeks just spending time with family and getting him graduated (We were blessed to have 40 PEOPLE show up for his graduation ceremony!! What a great support group!).
After the busyness of spending time with families and friends, we went to the beach for some family time: Andrew, Eli and I! It was quite the relaxation we needed-
but Eli did not much enjoy it! It was quite the sight to see, I must say. He got plummeted by the waves, the salty water was not as refreshing as he thought it should be, and his rolling technique to get him dry backfired as he would end up with sand down his little nose and in his eyes…
However, all came to a roaring end as we rushed back to get Andrew packed up and ready to go to Survival in Spokane, Washington. Once he left the vicinity, my mission was to pack us up and move us to a local storage unit before he came back.
Taking on a huge load like that by myself was just like me: being arrogantly independent and over confident in my non existent strength. God soon broke that yoke as I broke down in tears and in humility. My loving family gave me lots of support. From helping hands to ministering words of encouragement, the Lord lifted my heavy load, just as he promises- Matthew 11:28.
(all packed up!!)
After all of our possessions were transferred into storage, my nomadic trip began! It started out at our best friends' house, the Hoppens. They graciously laid out the offer when I found myself with no where to sleep for the next couple of nights left in Columbus. I was so incredibly thankful for their hospitality and the way they opened their arms to my presence lingering around their home. Eli loves being with them more than anybody so I was thankful that, of all places we could be, and without Andrew around, we got to be with them for a time.
From there I left for Memphis where I got to hang out with my Thornbury family!! I really enjoyed being with them, working with them, eating with them, laughing with them and just being apart of what they do everyday. And they helped me sell the Honda- hip hip hooray!! Eli enjoyed being with his buddy Elliott too!
I also got to visit with some friends that live there: One being Jac, who just blesses me consistently... Little to her knowledge, I was really struggling with two things in my walk with the Lord: trusting him and praying in my marriage more. Again, the Lord used his faithful servant Jac to bless me with literature and encouragement in both areas! And, on top of that, she fed me one of her gourmet meals while respecting my fast! So sweet... And so yummy!!
From there, mama kindly drove me back to Columbus where I retrieved Sally (my mustang) and drove her towards the Schultz house, catching up with my lovely friend Shannon and her husband since I knew it wouldn't be long before they were busy with the now born Emma Grace! It was great to stay with them too, since they just feel like extended family to me. It was crazy to say goodbye and realize the next time we would see each other she would be a seasoned mommy!! I kind of cried when I thought about it... But they were definitely tears of thankfulness and joy as she was my first very close friend to enter into the bounds of mommyhood. She is definitely a blessing as she invited me to become a close friend and include me in her discovery of what its like to be pregnant and be a mommy. It is a privilege to be her friend!
Here she is...Sweet Emma Grace :) !!!
I took off on a Friday morning for my journey to Knoxville.. Coming to see my mamadee, daddio, Mattie moo, Ty Ty and all the rest of the friendly faces I love!! It was nice to be home... And talk about change!! The house next to ours was growing rapidly (and massively!!) and our house was getting a facelift: there was a roof going on the back porch! It looks great :)
As always, my family and I had a great time together, had some awesome fellowship and many adventures (as usual!). One of my favorite times though was with my daddio. My mom and I are naturally very close (outside of Andrew, she is u closest friend!!) but I don't usually get to spend a lot of one on one time with my pops. God was kind to bless me with my dad's time that he carved out for me as we talked about where God's guiding hand was taking him. It's now the one thing I am most encouraged to do now: let my thoughts check with his before answering anyone in my own opinion (Isaiah 55:8). I am blessed with a wise father figure! I do not take it for granite.
Of course, my trip was marked by the love and care of Bonnie, Grammy, Terry and many others... But there is no way I can even try to write about the ways they blessed me except to give thanks to God in the mentioning of their names. By the end of the two weeks there, I was ready to see my Andrew. Life just isn't the same without him!!
Bonz and I at graduation!
Two weeks later, I returned to Columbus to hang out with a dear friend Lindsay and await the arrival of my beloved!! Indeed, he came swiftly to me and I rejoiced as he was again in my arms!!! (sigh) He was also very glad to be home since survival was not the most restful of places to be for a month...
From there, we were on the road again! Memphis again!! And most of our time was spent with Papa and Uncle Steve. It was a sweet time as we got to rejoice and give praise to God for Papa's heart surgery going very well!
We also got to spend some sweet time in Michigan where we got to see.... Well, everyone! Uncle Steve's family, Uncle Bob and Aunt Betty, John Sweeney, ad KURT AND ASHLEY HELFRICH!!!
The reunion of ol' friends and the celebration a new marriage couldn't have been a more beautiful combination! It was a beautiful ceremony and one of our favorite weddings thus far. It was hard to say goodbye as it felt we had just arrived in Michigan but I was encouraged by the thought we would see them again as we journeyed to Alaska.
Andrew on our old school bikes!
After all of our Michigan fun, it was time to set out for our latest adventure: Oklahoma!!!! And how blessed we feel to be there currently... With the making of new friends and fellowship and the occurrences of familiar faces, God is abundantly providing for us a new place to grow in the Lord and call home for a while. Will keep you updated from here! Keep praying for our eyes to be opened to all that the Lord awaits to do so we may rejoice at his glorious and perfect work-- Deut. 32:4. Blessings!!