Last Friday was Caleb’s 8th birthday! It seems so hard for me to believe that my little boy is 8 years old! We had a great day; I was able to take off from work and we spent the day together. Caleb & I went to the base and got to fly in Lockheed Martin’s F-16 simulator. What a blast that was. We got to sit in the cockpit of an F-16, with video all around us, and we flew the jet around the west valley. Caleb sat on my lap, so I had a tough time seeing most of the instruments, and his head was right in front of the HUD. At the end of our time, we got to chase down a B-52; again, alot of fun. A special thanks to Lockheed Martin for allowing us in, and to Jon Burgess at Apple for arranging it.
Friday night, Caleb got to open his gifts, which included a set of Legos from his sister, a throwing knife and video from Gina & I, and boxing gear from his Grandpa in Texas. The throwing knife came from Pearl Outdoors. Caleb also got a Nerf dartgun set, complete with vests and protective eyewear, that he and I played with on Saturday and had a great time. Overall, he got some great gifts for his birthday, and he is so thankful.
Also, Caleb’s grounding ended finally. Caleb had been grounded several weeks ago for lying, and his punishment was that he could not leave our sight until his birthday. His punishment has been served, and I think it was a great time, forcing us to spend more time together, tomato-staking.
What a blessing Caleb is.
There are no words to truly express how I feel about my tandem jump last Monday. It was crazy! I don’t understand how anyone can do that repeatedly. It just feels so wrong and so dangerous. I don’t think my brain could fully comprehend what was going on. The whole idea of rolling out of an airplane at 12,000 feet is just so far outside what my brain is used to dealing with. The tandem master was attached to my back throughout the jump, so I was in front. We drop from 12,000 feet to 5,000 feet in freefall in about 30-35 seconds, which was downright terrifying, although there really was no sense of falling as we fell, it just felt like we were in a windtunnel. Just plain crazy.
I got to do the jump as a perk of being in the Air Force, so it was free. I have a video that I will try to figure out how to get onto DVD so I can share it more readily; right now it is on VHS — do you remember VHS?
Yesterday I got really antsy, I think because I was bored. I really want a project to work on, and all this waiting is killing me. We will be trying to make payments on the farmhouse so that we can pay down the mortgage, so I know I shouldn’t spend money. But last night I really wanted to start a project. I really considered starting work on a whizbang chicken scalder. I perused the book again, but began to realize that this was a $1000+ project. One of the first pieces I need is a LP gas water heater. I could use an older one, but finding one of the right size might be a challenge. I guess I better try, though. The best alternative to a used water heater is one I found on e-bay for $249, but it would also cost $85 to ship! The other expensive item is a geared motor that will cost close to $300! Ugh! I think I will stick with just trying to finish off the whizbang chicken plucker with a handle, wheels, and an automatic watering system.
Yesterday, I wanted to post a comment on the Log Cabin Homestead blog because it was such an encouraging post. I couldn’t leave a comment because they do not accept comments from folks who aren’t signed on to google, and I didn’t have a google account at the time. I will have to go into my work email account to finish signing up. The comment I wanted to leave was, “What a blessing it was to read your post! My family is considering taking the plunge much like you did years ago. We are moving to NE within the next year to live on 83 acres in a 1925 farmhouse. Keep trusting in the Lord, it blesses me to see your faith.” I encourage you to head over and read his most recent post.
In other news, closing was supposed to take place on Thursday — I wonder if it went through? I haven’t heard anything. If it went through, we will be done setting up our homestead, more or less. I doubt we will ever be done, but we will at least have a house, a barn, and lots of land. And to go with the homestead, we have a crippling mortgage. I have been feeling a bit bad about that loan, that maybe it indicates that we haven’t placed all the faith in God that we should have placed. I have read of others’ experiences in which they decided to wait on the Lord and were blessed beyond measure. Of course, I feel like we have been incredibly blessed just by the acquisition of our homestead with a ‘small’ mortgage. For now, we should be able to throw an extra $900/month against the mortgage, which should lead to payoff in under 6 years instead of the 15-year term.
On Sunday, I wrote this little note to myself: “It is all up to God to care for us. So far, He has been putting everything into place. We have the land, we are getting the house. He blessed our reversal surgery. Now we have a new dilemma — yet it is not our dilemma, but God’s. How will my job search integrate with leaving the Air Force? How will our new baby integrate with the adoption? What will the timing of it all be?”
Yesterday, I was referred to Jeremiah 6:16 by a really good friend and mentor in Oklahoma: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Wow! What a moving verse, and it describes accurately where we are. We are seeking to follow after God in the paths followed by the ancients, the paths followed by the first-century church. We seek to be in the world, but not of the world. We seek the right path, and we seek God’s strength so that we might stay on that right path. We are at a crossroads. God will lead us in the direction we should go.
Last night, Caleb had his awards ceremony for his winter basketball league. It was painful to sit through — they stretched what should last ten minutes into 30. But Caleb got to bring home his trophy, which he is very proud of. Monday night, Caleb & I went to the Coyotes-Flyers game here in Phoenix. Caleb took a couple pics of the game:
We had a good time, Caleb brought a friend, so I didn’t get to sit by Caleb. For those who care, the Flyers flew right into the teeth of the Coyotes, losing 4-0. The tickets were free to us, courtesy of a co-worker, Jeff Scoular, of Pay It Forward.
In uploading pics from the game, I came across another story I should share with you. After winter basketball comes spring baseball. So Caleb & I were out throwing a hardball a couple weeks ago. He gets pretty scared of the ball, so I was trying to throw to his glove-hand side so he wouldn’t have to miss the catch and get nailed by the ball. Well, on the last throw of the night (it wasn’t going to be the last throw), my aim was a little off and I accidentally threw it at Caleb’s head. He missed the catch with his glove, but his eye socket stepped in and made the stop, so at least he didn’t have to run after the ball. Anyway, here is a pic.
I felt terrible for at least a week. Don’t worry — he’s all better now. He wants to do it again!
Okay, okay! I admit it. The pressure is getting too much to bear. We are so excited we can’t hold back anymore. We kept the news to ourselves for a whole week, though.
We’re having a baby!
Of course, this early we don’t know much, but we do know that the due date is November 11, 2007. That is an interesting date, because it is also when my commitment to the Air Force is up. So now we don’t know what we are going to do. Should we stay in the Air Force for a few more months so we can have our baby for free?
Also, Gina really wanted to use a midwife for this delivery. It looks like there is only one Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) in the Phoenix area that accepts our insurance, and apparently CNMs may have to deliver in a hospital, which is one of the aspects of delivery Gina wanted to avoid this time around. Gina asked her friend about the lay midwife that she used and learned that the lay midwife only cost about $2200. So, we can either have the baby for free in a hospital, but this time using a CNM, or we can pay $2200 to have the baby at home.
For those who are curious, this hasn’t changed our adoption plans at all. This will probably help make the waiting easier. Based on their current rate of referrals, it looks like we can expect a referral in the earliest months of 2008 (two years after filing).
For now, I am torn between moving to Nebraska in September 2007, at our first opportunity, and waiting until March 2008 to move, after the baby is born, the adoption is final, and my promotion board results come out. I am starting to lean heavily in favor of the Spring move, even though I really want to be there now! Of course, the job situation may drive this harder than any other factor. If I don’t have a job lined up in September, I won’t want to move then. If I don’t have a job lined up in March, I won’t want to move, either, but by then I will be running out of time.
Today, while surfing around, I found the following story about on-farm steer slaughtering. It was a good read.
The current format for worship services seems to be backwards to me. I have often thought that the format followed by many small-group meetings in homes was more appropriate than the large church congregations we see today. I have participated in many different small groups, given various names, over the years. Typically, they have involved 5-10 families coming together to study God’s word. Sometimes there was singing involved, but normally it was just prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. At church, I have seen 50-3,000 people sitting in chairs facing the one preacher. Participation by the masses has been extremely limited, if not non-existent.
I have proposed that what the church should look like is this: five families start meeting together in an overseer’s living room. The meeting consists of singing, prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. As the group grows, both in numbers and in spiritual maturity, the group prepares to split when it reaches ten families. When it reaches this size, the overseer turns to the most mature of the other believers and tells him that it is time for him to take half of the families and go off and start his own fellowship in his own living room. Now there are two churches meeting in two homes, continuing to grow both in number and in spiritual maturity.
Today, I came across I Corinthians 14:26-40, which seems to support that ALL members of the local fellowship should participate in worship, “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.” It goes on to say that there should not be one person who monopolizes the time; rather “two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” There is not to be just one speaker. Two or three should speak at each meeting, and there are even controls built in to keep one speaker from going from what God has given him to say into his own words.
As many of you know, Gina and I really want to continue to grow our family. That is why we are adopting internationally from China through Great Wall China Adoptions. It is also why we went to San Antonio last October to visit with Dr. Cary Leveritt. So one of my great stressors is, if we get pregnant, then how will God work out the timing of the adoption with the timing of a birth? Great Wall advises parents with new infants to wait one year before traveling to China for their adoption. I have latched on to the word ‘advise.’ If we are in that situation, I don’t really think that I will want to wait to travel at all. Gina has said that the only thing she really doesn’t want is to wait to travel after we have a referral. I agree that I would not be able to handle waiting to travel, knowing all the while that our baby (or babies) are sitting in an orphanage in China waiting for us. Every day delayed would be one day more that we don’t have them.
But that is not all. I am also stressed out about the move in general. I want to find a job and move to Nebraska soon — but when will God allow that to happen? It is hard to let go. But I have lately latched on to the following verses: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.