Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas time with the camels.


Merry Christmas All.  Thank you for all the letters, gifts, and electronic messages I have received during this special month.  I received an early Christmas box from Jama this week, and for some reason I couldn’t keep from opening the box, maybe because it was wrapped in Christmas paper :)  One of the wrapped gifts I found inside was a CD, filled with a mix of her new favorite songs from the year.  This week my favorite song is from this CD, everyone should take a moment to listen to “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman.  I believe I have heard this song before this week, but it was pretty much perfect timing to have it given to me.  This past week Melissa and I shared our Anniversary together…talking on the phone...twice.  It was a challenge for both of us, and we both felt like we were stuck in some bizarre isolation storm of some sort.  Once again, we found we can’t solely lean on each other for comfort during a storm, but we need to lift our frustrations up in prayer to calm things down.  I love the fitting words of this song, “Oh no, You never let go, Through the calm and through the storm…In every high and every low.”  How true.  Jesus never lets go, it’s just as times we let go of Him.  Even though bad storms circle around all of us at times, don’t forget to lift things up in prayer.  Happy Birthday Jesus, and thank You for calming our storms.  “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”  Mark 4:39
Enjoy the song, it's what I have enjoyed all week.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jesus, I Come

It’s over half way through December, and Melissa and I are near our Anniversary on the 19th!  In lieu of celebration, even though we are a sunset apart, my favorite song this week is “Jesus, I Come” by Shelly Moore Band.  This was the song my pretty bride was walking to on her way to find me under our wedding day willow tree two years ago.  I had never heard this song until a few weeks before the wedding as we finalized our music selection for our memorable day together.  Melissa had this song in mind, and once you listen to it, there is no question why not!
This past week I’ve had some time to catch up on reading and watching some videos.  I finished a documentary series called “The Long Way Down.”  Melissa sent me the DVDs to watch, and it’s been a great escape to follow this week.   A little background of the story, actor Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley Boorman team up once again for an epic motorcycle journey, this time from the northern most point of Scotland all the way down to the southern most point of Africa!  Their documented journey took them over 15,000 miles through 18 countries, viewing some of the most amazing landscapes, animals, and cultures.  The adventure was so much fun to watch, but I wish Melissa was watching with me, just as we watched the first series together titled “The Long Way Round” (which was their motorcycle trip from London to New York-going East!)  What hit me the most this week was when their journey was complete 85 days later, and how much Charley was saying he missed his wife and children.  When the excitement hit of Charley holding his family in his arms he shared of how much he had dreamed of holding them while he was away for so long.  I can definitely relate, and I have definitely been dreaming of holding my wife in my arms too!  It’s hard to believe that I have been away from Melissa for 101 days now, with nearly 101 more days to go.  Soon enough ;)
On my off day I read through an entire book titled, “Heaven Is For Real,” by Todd Burpo, which was suggested to me awhile back by my sister Jama.  If you don’t know the story, you really need to read the book!  A four year old boy was hours away from dying due to a burst appendix.  It turns out little Colton really did die, briefly, and spent that time with Jesus in Heaven.  The descriptions of Heaven and Jesus from the boy are magnificent.  However, what is more inspiring are how valid his experiences are in relation to theology, stuff that a four year old could not possibly come up with on his own.  After reading the book, I am even more excited about the time I too can be with Jesus!  I’m also so blessed to have a wife full of faith in the Lord!
Awhile back I read about the coming of God’s Kingdom in the Gospel of Luke 17:34, which Jesus states, “I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed.  One will be taken and the other left.”  If that is not motivation to know Jesus, then I don’t know what is.  Don’t be the one left behind, or your spouse.  Now listen to some of the words to the song, “Jesus I come, Jesus I come.  Into that blessed will to abide, Jesus I come to thee.”  I pray our married family and friends, and Melissa and I will continue to grow with the Lord in (y)our hearts, with a greater will to worship and adore.   Then, whenever our day comes we can worship with Jesus together in Heaven, a place beyond our knowledge, dreams, or imagination!

Monday, December 12, 2011



I have finally gathered up motivation to sit down and write an update from my point of view! There has been a lot of different things I've been learning over the past couple months.

1. It's okay to ask for help. I've had many stupid things go wrong in the house while Jason's been gone that I've had to deal with, so I've called the base family housing fixer people several times for various things. My oven broke... at the worst time too. There was a dead crow in my yard, which freaked me out and I was NOT about to touch it. Gross.

2. I need to keep extra batteries around the house for the smoke detector. I woke up at 4 in the morning TWO nights in a row because two different smoke detectors were beeping. Naturally, I just got fed up and took it all the way off the wall.

3. I now know how to change the air filter, turn on the grill, clean the grill, clean out my drains, change my own wind shield wipers, and I put up my own tree by myself and Christmas lights on the house by myself. This might sound silly, but it's an accomplishment to me.

4. I have learned, or re-learned, that I make myself entirely TOO busy!! School, work, church stuff, volunteering, and just trying to see people!

5. I think God thinks I'm strong with all that I've had to deal with and handle. Dealing with a difficult class this year (weird, and nasty personalities), dealing with Jason being gone, and on top of all that,
dealing with our recent news of moving! (Which is exciting... but scary).

6. Change makes me sad.

OH! and we got a new little precious piggy! Her name is Moo Moo and she is such a cute little pig fully of silly personality! :)
Moo Moo
Paper Jason and I 

Mighty to Save

My favorite song this week may be familiar to you, a song called "Mighty to Save."  There are many different bands and artist who have given their best at this song of praise, but this week I have been enjoying the adoration from the band Newsboys.
The week has been a little more stressful than most.  Work has been about the same, but outside of working outside all day, I have been patiently waiting for paperwork to arrive in my email box in order to complete my Air Force Re-Enlistment.  Yep, I have given the oath for 5 more years!  Monday night I completed all necessary paperwork as I was sworn back in by Major D., an Air Force Chaplin deployed here in Kuwait.  It was an honor to have Major D. perform the oath for two reasons.  One, my Air Force career started off from what I believe as an answered prayer, so it was great to have an officer that is also a believer continue that tradition for me.  Second, the Chaplin has pretty much been the only officer that has continuously taken an interest in our team members and our work at the job site.
Melissa and I have been planning on me reenlisting for several months now, but we have been waiting for the guarantee of our next home to be written into the contract.  For those who do not know, we will be moving to Vandenberg AFB in California next July.  Unfortunately, the contract took way more work than anticipated on my part to ensure everything was correct and documented.  Being away from home station only heightened the stress level due to the fact I had to correspond through email once a day because of the time difference.  Long story short, I received the corrected contract in my mail box then printed it 10 minutes before I reenlisted!  After the oath, as I was walking back to our office with my signed contract in hand I felt a rush of comfort and ease.  Comfort because I knew the paper work was finished, and ease because I knew what was in store for our lives the next few years…to an extent.
That night while lying in bed I thought about an even greater contract than my reenlistment.  The contract Jesus has already signed for every believer with His blood.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  Jesus has made a contract with us; to save us from sin, and grant us eternal life, so long as we have faith and believe in Him as our savior.  This contract has nothing to do with any amount of work we do, but is given to us by his saving grace.  Listen to chorus of this week’s song, and think about that amazing contract we have in our heart, "He is MIGHTY TO SAVE, forever AUTHOR of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave!"
Enjoy the song, it’s what I have enjoyed all week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hallowed be Your Name


I've been away from home a few days shy of three months now.  While most days are moving right along, some days are very slow, and now getting quite cold.  I almost forgot what the winter months feel like!  This past week I've been missing home, especially now were through Thanksgiving, and December is here full of special occasions.  Melissa and I will be celebrating our two year Anniversary on the 19th, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and well....New Years Eve is you count that.
This week I found myself listening to a comforting song, one that reminds me of Vegas, particularly worshiping at Spring Meadows Church with my pretty wife.  The song is by Phil Wickham, titled "Divine Romance."  I first heard this song performed at our church as Laif played it on his guitar while the offering baskets were passed around.  I asked Laif after the service that day if he had wrote the song, and he replied with a little smile and a chuckle, then followed with an "I wish!"  I absolutely love the words and harmony to the song, and I can't help but think of "Hallowed be Your Name" from the Lord's Prayer while I enjoy this escape in my ears.  Recently I finished a book on the Lord's Prayer where I read that by beginning your prayer with "Hallowed be Your Name" you are beginning with God and his desire to be glorified.  Simply put, we FIRST show love to God, and in RETURN he continues to bless us.  I believe the words to this song are just like when we pray "Hallowed be Your Name."  Some days are very frustrating for Melissa and I while I'm away from home, and some days are a little lonely even though I live with 33 other guys!  But praise God, glory to Him for all the family and friends I have at home in the States, and praise for all the friends I have here.  As Phil Wickham sings, "I rejoice in this divine romance, lift my heart and my hands, to show my love."
Enjoy the song, it's what I have enjoyed all week.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Not What My Hands Have Done


This weeks song is an old Hymn originally written by Horatius Bonar, first published in 1861, titled "Not What My Hands Have Done."  However, the version I have been listening to this week is performed by "Indelible Grace," again thanks to my wife for introducing this band to me!  I really love the words to the hymn, and Indelible Grace put a nice rock/folk touch in their work.
Obviously while working on a construction project here in Kuwait we all use our hands a lot!  Constructing takes a long time...especially when your contracted concrete plant is broke down for three days in one week...true story.  Besides the concrete plant, which is out of our control, we use our hands on our tools, instruments, and equipment all day.  We use our hands to work a shovel on the base course for the final correct elevation before the concrete form is placed down.  We use our hands to move the concrete form in place, double check for correct elevation, then either hammer it down with a sledge hammer or a pneumatic hammer.  We use our hands on tools to move poured concrete into the formed area for a concrete pad, and then give the top a smooth finish with a trowel.  We all have a different role in this construction project, but at the end of the day we all can look back to see what our hands have done.  It's pretty satisfying.
However, what is so amazing about this song is that it is talking about "NOT" what our hands have done.  It is from the hands of Jesus that our guilty souls are saved.  It is from the hands of Jesus that give us peace with God.  It is because of Jesus that we sing "I live because He lives!"  Early this week I finished reading through the gospel of Luke, and the more I read of the crucifixion of Christ the more I am amazed.  I challenge you to read Luke 23:39-43 before you listen to this song.  We can all relate to the second criminal that was crucified at the side of Jesus.  The criminal is like each and every one of us sinners, whatever that sin may be.  Just like the criminal, we believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and His purpose as our Savior from our sins.  While nailed to the cross, Jesus is asked by the criminal to remember him once into the Kingdom of God.  It is the response of Jesus to the second criminal that confirms, "not what MY hands have done."
Enjoy the song, it's what I have enjoyed all week.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Something in the Water


"Song Of The Week For You To Seek"
This weeks most played song has been "Something In The Water" by Brooke Fraser.  Melissa introduced this artist to me probably about a year ago.  I just love her up-beat tempo and use of simple sounds of the acoustic guitar, pounding drum beat, and not to mention her rejuvinating yet calming voice.  This song reminds me so much of driving in the car with Melissa.  Whether we are make one of our many drives across Las Vegas (because we are way out by ourselves in the NorthEast part of the city), or taking a road trip to California, we are usually jamming to this song quite often!  I love the chorus of the song, "I'm crazy over you, there's something in the water that makes me love you like I do"  Recently Melissa and I have had to make a major decision in our lives, and the way we came to the conclusion together makes me love her even more now than days before.  Its not so much the outcome of the decision that makes me crazy over her, but the way we talked through our options, prayed, and at the end-finally opened up to what we wanted together in our lives.  For us, the something in the water is Christ, and the way He makes us love each other like we do.  1 John 4:11-12 says "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."  I feel God working in both our hearts, He is working on making His love better in our hearts.  I pray Jesus continues to work in our hearts and your heart!
The comical double meaning to this song is that there REALLY is something in the water out here in Kuwait.  Recently I went to our laundry facility with a buddy here at camp to do, well our, laundry.  We were surprised to see how brown the water was as it filled up the washing machine.  At first we thought it was a light brown tent to the water, but then we looked at the bottom of the machine to see it being filled up with orange water!  Either some real rusty pipes or just something in the water.  Good thing we had soap to go with the wash water.  This little experience I shared with my wingman reassured me why we should use bottled water when we brush our teeth...but now the shower has me a bit nervous.  I don't want to come out looking orange!!
Enjoy the song, it's what I have enjoyed all week.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Song Of The Week For You To Seek

This weeks pick comes from 1998, a song by one of my favorite musicians John Mellencamp, but most know him as "Cougar."  The title of the song is "Your Life Is Now."  I first heard this song while attending my first ever concert at Riverbend Cincinnati with my Dad in 1999.  We both enjoyed his style of American Rock of his Cougar days, and now he has a unique folk blues rock thing going on.  I remember standing at the concert with Dad, both of us in awe of John having so many fans wanting to come see him in person.  After the concert my Dad bought me Mellencamps new album (thanks again Dad!) which was on sale with the official vendors-which obviously included this song.  This week I have really enjoyed this song-mainly because of its slow tempo, and blunt statement of "your life is now."  Some days it is real hard to enjoy life right NOW being so far from my Wife and both our families.  The lyrics of the song remind me of a great bible verse that I want to share for encouragement for those days that you are struggling through, or perhaps you are just in a plain 'ol bad mood.
1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."  I have struggled with this some days this week for sure, and I know in the past more days I care to remember.  But I like to TRY to keep this in mind during my trials-and remind myself "your life is now-and do all to the glory of God."  It's important to be aware of your character, actions, and work ethics in order to give glory to Gods plan for you NOW, right at this moment.
Enjoy the song, it's what I have enjoyed all week.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just the Two of Us


"Song of the week for you to seek" 

While deployed I will be posting my favorite song of the week in order to challenge you to check it out-whether it is YouTube, iTunes, or good 'ol fashion Compact Disc.  At night I listen to my iPod before I drift off, and there always seems to be a favorite song I want to share with others.  It could be a little look on what's going through my head at the time, or how I'm feeling about the week, or experiences.
My pick for this week for you to seek, "Children of God" by Third Day.  A true song of PRAISE to God that we have been seeked out.  Third Day was introduced to me by my sister as her favorite group years ago, then she shared with her husband Ryan years later-which he is now in eternal worship with the Lord.  Last Christmas my wife bought the Third Day Move album for me (which includes this song), and not until this week have I enjoyed this song so much.  I feel so blessed to be able to sing (in my head for now-I don't sing real well) and understand the words in this song. 
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."  As Christians we are a new creation as a child of God.  We seek to worship and obey Him.  Sadly we still sin and rebel against our Father as christians do, but PRAISE to Jesus Christ for coming with his forgiving LOVE and GIVING us eternal life.
Enjoy the song, its what I have enjoyed all week ;)


Finally, the weekend. The weather dropped to the lower 60s this week, last week it was in the high 80s... so naturally, the kids in the school go crazy of course! So I am VERY thankful for the weekend!! School is going alright this year, it's starting to finally feel like my class. I'm finally getting my old kids out of my head and really enjoying this class. It took a long time, I feel, but at least I'm finally at that place. The next couple weeks are weird, we have two 3 day weeks and then soon after is Christmas Break!!! Horray! I'm doing tutoring after school with a group of 14 kids. I have to stay til 5:30... but it's beginning to be bearable and quite fun! 

I've made myself busy, sometimes I think I'm killing myself with business! I've been doing a lot with our church, teaching, fellowship groups, youth group, community group! Phew.... there's a lot! We did some pumpkin carving with the youth group kids. It was a lot of fun. I got really into the World Series this year, so did our piggies. ;) Last weekend, some friends and I went to Utah for a quick camping trip. It was cold... I don't like camping when it's cold. But my best friend Hannah was in town from Tennessee. 

Today, I got to talk to Jason on the phone for a good half hour which was a treat. We only get to talk like once a week on the phone. We got to talking about Christmas and Hallmark ornaments. Turns out, they went on sale today, so we were texting back and forth and I was sending him pictures. For the past two years we've just got one ornament that is meaningful to our year as a family. This year, we figured, since we're away, we'd get two. So Jason got "Prep for Landing" since he's working hard on a runway and I got "World Class Teacher" since I'm stuck in Vegas working. Then we got a star to go on the top of the tree, just because it's really really pretty! 

So that's my little update from Vegas, I figured I'd write one, since Jason did last time. Hope all is well! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Post from Kuwait!

It's the first of November, which marks one month for being in Kuwait!  Sadly, it's hard to believe its been ONLY a month, but we all feel nice and settled into our temporary home and family.  Work has been a bit slow at times, but will be picking up real fast next week.  We have completed section I and II of seven total sections of concrete, which will be nearly a half mile when complete.  Tomorrow we are paving asphalt for the parking apron shoulder, which makes for a nice change from sloppy concrete.  Some of our work is already being used by some Army medic choppers.  Our chow hall is pretty good, and its always a surprise as for what is to eat for the day.  I do miss being able to cook, or go out to eat at your choice though!  On down time I enjoy movies, playing wii sports-yep we have one, reading, and listening to music.  Lately music and reading have been my favorite, its funny that the simple things are what I enjoy the most!
The army medics using our new parking apron
Last week, a day after the final crete pour.
Our deployment uniform
My materials testing lab in a tent
After work yesterday a small group of us watched a Halloween movie to celebrate the holiday.  Hanging out with some of the guys like that reminded me of my college days, being with roommates and watching a movie.  As guys we don't always have something worth while to say, but we do enjoy being around each others most of the time-so movies are great for that.  While laying in my lil bed before I fell asleep I was listening to some music on my iPod when I heard something slapping at the top of our tent.  The slapping turned into what was a steady fall of rain, finally!!!  It only lasted for about 3 minutes, but it was so welcoming I took off my headphones to enjoy the sounds.  Rain sounds a lot like little drumbeats as they bounce of the top of a tent.  So far life is not bad, considering as much as I do miss Melissa and our comfy home.  I feel safe and content over here while doing our work, even though it really isn't that different from work at home.  Thank you all for reading and keeping Melissa and I in your thoughts and prayers. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One Month, Six to go.

 Jason's hard at work in Kuwait. They're working nights right now, and he and his coworkers are pouring concrete and all that jazz. He's doing well over there. He says he misses warm water the most. He really has little to nothing over there. Just what he needs! So I'm sure he'll be so grateful for what we have here in the States when he comes home. Below are a couple pictures that he has sent me. Luckily, we have great technology to communicate with each other. Thank God for that. So here's the pictures he has sent me.
This is the runway he's working on.
His cat friend. He sees him a lot. I've gotten about 4 pictures of him.
His work... at night.
Ummm... I can't remember what this was. But it's on his base. ;)
Dinner! In Arabic.
The sleeping tents.
The new room! He misses his normal room more.
 Jason and I are doing alright apart. Of course we would love to be together, but I know that this is going to strengthen our relationship together, and I know that it has been strengthening our relationship with Christ too. I know on my end, it's been eye opening, to see how much I really lean on Jason instead of God for what I need. God's really re-opened my eyes through all this. Even through my frustration, sadness, stress, and anger, I know that He won't give me more than I can handle. Which makes me think that He must think I'm pretty strong! I've been doing a bible study with my church. We're studying Acts, and tonight I was reading about the conversion of Paul in chapter 9. It made me think about my own conversion and transformation and the countless times that he has brought me back to Him. It also makes me excited to know that He saved me for His ultimate plan, and that he will use me in my weakness for His glory! It's kind of an amazing thing when you think of it that way. :) So I was just excited to share those thoughts.

Other than bible study, I'm hard at work with my 4th grade boys. School has gotten less stressful, and I'm excited to go to work again. We're starting tutoring, so that'll keep me really busy. Still doing youth group, teaching Sunday school with Tobi, and working with the Women's council at Spring Meadows! So I think these next 6 months will go by pretty fast. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. I'll keep posting updates and pictures from the other side of the world as I get them!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Two Worlds Apart

Here we go onto our first deployment. Jason left for training in Texas 3 1/2 weeks ago. Tomorrow he leaves for Kuwait. He says it'll be a very long journey to get over there. Lots of planes. He'll be working at a small base there and they'll be building a big parking apron for the airplanes. He's excited about going, a little homesick, but excited. We're in two different places... living two different lives it seems. It's hard, but we're hanging in there.

My job is tough, it's a very tough year. Rough couple kids, and lots of crappy other stuff on top of everything else. It's the 5th week of school, and I think I'm finally beginning to kinda like my job again. I'm doing 4th grade boys this year.

That's the extent of our news. Not too much else going on really. There's a couple pictures below to show somethings we've done through out the year. We'll be posting on here more often to keep everyone updated on life in Kuwait... and life back here in Vegas. :)