It is well.

itiswell

When Horatio Spafford wrote the classic hymn It Is Well With My Soul, his life was anything but well. He had lost his wealth, his only son, and his four daughters. As he looked out over the place in the Atlantic Ocean that had taken the lives of his daughters, he penned the words…

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

In the last week, as our family has continued with the waiting and expecting of God’s goodness in the situation with my husband’s career, countless people around us have walked through their own storms. A young neighbor had a heart attack. A friend with special needs children of her own lost her husband after a VERY short battle with cancer. A precious two-year-old girl in our Church family drowned Saturday and went fifteen minutes without oxygen. A cousin who is living here temporarily as a travel nurse spent the day in the hospital with heart issues. Another friend was forced to leave behind her one-year-old daughter to honor her military orders.

So much waiting. So much expecting. So much sorrow.

When sorrows like sea billows roll…

It is well, it is well with my soul.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18NLT  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Please do me a favor.

tjIf you or anyone you care about has ever been granted the Constitutional right to a speedy trial, afforded the opportunity to face the accusers, allowed a defense, and had the outcome decided by a jury of peers and issued by a judge, AND received no judicial punishment until after that outcome was decided; please take a moment and thank God for the wisdom of America’s founding fathers. And then take a moment to wonder why the soldiers who protect and defend the Constitution are not protected by it.

My husband was accused of conspiracy and bribery in December of 2011. He was never told what he was accused of or who made the accusations for three and half years. In fact, he wasn’t told those things until AFTER he had been punished. No defense. No jury. No trial. No facing his accusers. Yesterday his fate was decided behind closed doors by an Army prosecutor and a General that have never had any contact with my husband. The people who know that fate have chosen to keep it to themselves.

So for at least three more days…

We continue to wait.

waiting…

waitingroom

My husband’s precious Italian Grandma passed away in January of 2007. She had the biggest personality of any person I’ve ever met and she had boobs to match that personality. Seriously. I once went with her to the shop where she had her J CUP bras made. Biggest boobs ever! In the space around those big boobs she filled her bra like a purse. If you needed a tissue, she’d reach down her shirt and whip one out. She’d often reach in and pull out money to pay for her purchases. One time we went to eat at a buffet and when we got back to her house she reached in and pulled out a chocolate chip cookie. Following in her Great-Grandma’s footsteps, our precious baby girl got into the baking drawer yesterday and, instead of eating all of the chocolate chips, she filled her bra and saved them for a late night snack. She was NOT happy when she found them melted. I was torn between laughing and thinking that the situation was kind of sad. While waiting to enjoy her treasure, she missed out on it altogether.

Our family motto used to be “Aut Tace Aut Face”. The phrase is Latin for “Act or be silent”. It’s a noble motto and I still fully appreciate the efforts of anyone around me to either step up or shut up. Just don’t sit around and complain about something unless you’re planning to do something about it.

In our current season of life, we are taking action in every area that we have the ability to take action. It is in this limited action season that a valuable lesson has been learned. There are things in life that we walk through that simply require waiting. This season has given us a new Latin phrase to live by…”Preastolatio Prestolatio”. Translation: “The waiting for, expectation”.  This season of life is not just about waiting. It’s about expecting.

I know that everyone who reads this blog is waiting with us; expecting with us. Three weeks ago we submitted the rebuttal to my husband’s GOMAR. We were told that the Army prosecutors (SJA) would review the rebuttal and meet with the new General last Thursday to make their recommendation and that he would make his final decision about whether or not to dismiss it. That meeting did not happen. SJA has a meeting with the General every Thursday and we were told that the rebuttal was on the agenda for this week’s meeting. It’s been a looooooong day with no word from our civilian attorney or the Army attorney. So we wait… And we expect.

Here’s the thing about waiting: Sometimes your chocolate melts. We’ve been waiting for almost thirty-two months. For more than thirteen hundred days, we’ve waited. When we remember that we’re expecting victory and redemption and mind-blowing, beautiful ending to this story, we are able to take the time to enjoy the moments we’re living in. When we forget what we’re expecting, we miss out on the good stuff. I have to be perfectly honest here. We’ve missed out on more good stuff in the last 1300+ days than we could ever recall. A LOT of chocolate has melted.

But… we’re still standing. Our marriage has survived. Our children have not only survived, they’re all flippin’ AMAZING. Yes, even Sofija. Although we’ve come up with at least a hundred plans, We haven’t sought vengeance. We’re definitely not as healthy or fit as we were thirty-two months ago, but we’re still alive and we haven’t let ourselves go to the point of no return (I hope).

Please know that we are eternally grateful for all of the prayer and encouragement and phone calls and messages. If I haven’t replied to you, I promise it’s not personal. It’s just painful to repeatedly type, “We don’t know anything.” We don’t know anything.

Tonight my chocolate was to turn off my phone and messages for a while, snuggle on the couch with Sofija, sip a gin and tonic, and binge-watch Orphan Black. Don’t judge.

I don’t often read the King James translation of the Bible and I certainly didn’t memorize the KJ version of Jeremiah 29:11. But today I was searching the Bible on expectations and found this…

Jeremiah 29:11KJV  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an EXPECTED END.

It’s almost over.

rebuttal submitted…

Jimmy says you're a poopyhead. Do you have a rebuttal?

Jimmy says you’re a poopyhead. Do you have a rebuttal?

The rebuttal has been submitted. From our hands to God’s. We continue to learn that it has really been in His hands all along. Now we pray.

Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. – Easier said than done….

winds of change…

change

 

In Tales of a Traveler, Washington Irving said, “There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.” For the last three and half years, every change in our lives has come in the form of a new bruise. But bruises fade. Healing comes. The crap becomes holy.

Two weeks ago we were still reeling over my husband’s broken finger, GOMAR (General Letter of Reprimand), and the short time we were given to gather evidence for his rebuttal. In the days since; our attorney has filed for two extensions (the due date for the rebuttal is now July 3rd), Hubby’s hand is healing (no surgery – Yay!), and…. we received an email from our property manager to let us know that the owners of our house are selling it and that we have to be out by September 11th. Winds of change…

The rebuttal has been written and the evidence has been gathered. Our attorney is reviewing it and preparing it to be submitted before the 3rd. Hopefully within a week of it being submitted we will know if the General has decided to dismiss the GOMAR. The cute dinosaur cast comes off July 9th. Before September 11th, we will move.

We have no idea what life will look like three months from now. But we know it will look markedly different than it does today.

revolution – noun

1. an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.

2. Sociology. a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.

3. a sudden, complete or marked change in something.
4. a procedure or course, as if in a circuit, back to a starting point.

 

By every definition of the word…

Our family, our nation, our world… are all in the midst of a revolution.

Isaiah 43:19 NLT

For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

what cancer taught me

Originally posted on Waving a White Flag:

The weight of life at this moment has given me two choices. 1) I can curl up in bed and quit functioning in an attempt to wait it out. or 2) I can read 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 over and over again and try really hard to live it out…

See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.Rejoice always;pray without ceasing; IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

In my attempts to live out the “in everything give thanks” part, I have spent my days searching. We have a great home to live in. We have working vehicles. We are physically healthy. We have a great community of friends and family who stand with us. We have health insurance that pays for all of…

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Holy Crap

One year ago I wrote a post titled Fire is Hot. Fire is indeed hot. You know what else is hot? Just about any place south of the Mason-Dixon line in the middle of June. You know what makes those places even hotter? No air-conditioning and a cast on your arm.

Sofija was accepted into an outpatient treatment program at Kennedy Krieger Institute. For the next several months we will spend two days a week driving to Columbia, MD for two hours of attempting to turn her into the best version of herself and then climbing back in the car for a two-hour drive home with an unhappy-to-be-in-the-car (not so) little girl. We prayed for this. We asked you and everyone you/we know to pray for this. We are masochists.

Before we dive into the actual treatment part, the doctors need to know more about what motivates her aggression, self-injury, and other destructive behaviors. These things are learned through a process called a functional analysis. It’s a painful process that involves trying to trigger behaviors. This week’s functional analysis was all about discovering why she constantly aggresses towards her Daddy.

In the first ten-minute assessment she was given blank paper and a box of crayons and told that her Dad had work to do on his phone and that she didn’t have to draw or color, but she could not talk to him. As I sat in an observation booth with three doctors watching my baby girl and my hubby, I noticed he was scowling. I sent him a text message asking why. He simply responded, “Check your email.” So I did. I wanted to vomit. After forty-two months of waiting for the Army to tell us exactly what it is he was accused of in December of 2011, we had our answer. He had just received a GOMAR (General Letter of Reprimand) and he was given one week to file a rebuttal.

What that means is that after a three and a half-year witch hunt, the Justice Department and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division haven’t found any evidence to substantiate pressing charges against him or taking any type of judicial action. But because they have never asked for nor received any evidence to rebut the accusations, they have recommended that his commanding General just write a letter saying that he did those things and place that letter in his permanent military record, destroying not only his career, but his chances of getting any job connected to the military when he retires. A GOMAR is referred to as the “Career Killer”. Without ever having a voice in the matter, a letter was written to destroy my husband’s career.

The letter stated that he was accused of giving contracts to family members, participating in a conspiracy, and accepting bribes. There was a second email with a link to the 149 pages of investigation notes that we would not be able to open until we were home. Like I’ve already said, I wanted to vomit. I sat in that observation booth, with my mind spinning a million miles an hour, bursting with anticipation knowing that as soon as we opened those investigation notes we would know EXACTLY who started this hellish season of our lives.

With my brain and stomach churning, Sofija and my hubby began the next assessment. This one involved placing a demand on her. She was given a tub of towels and shirts and asked to fold them. When he unfolded a shirt and asked her to fold it correctly she jumped out of her chair and began swinging at him. As he put his forearm up to block her, her fist caught his pinky finger and left it hanging at about a 70 degree angle to the side of his hand. It was ugly.

We made the two-hour drive home before he went to the emergency room and discovered he has a comminuted fracture (the bone is broken into several pieces just below the knuckle). Did I mention it’s his left hand? And that he just happens to be left-handed?

The ER doctor put in an emergency referral for him to see an orthopedic surgeon and sent him home. By the time we were done with attempting to get him comfortable, we decided to try to sleep and save the investigation notes for the next morning. A man’s capacity for pain in a day has its limits.

We awoke the next morning to a phone call from the orthopedic surgeon who had already scheduled an appointment before the end of the week. With little sleep, lots of pain-induced vomiting, and a not-so-little girl trying her best to get to her Dad’s splinted and wrapped hand, we dug into the investigation notes. With the exception of a couple of people who made false statements, it wasn’t all that surprising. The two people who made the accusations and the two people who lied to back up those accusations, have all made A LOT of money in the three-and-a-half years that my husband has sat at home watching his twenty-four year, stellar military career, disappear. All of them needed him and his big mouth out of the way in order to make all that money. We were given one week to prove it. EVERY SINGLE PART OF ME wants to blast their names all over the internet, write letters to their wives, and start looking for a lawyer who will sue them for slander and libel. God’s going to have to do some serious work in me. Yea, yea, I know. “Forgive so that you can be forgiven…” I also know that the Bible says Christians shouldn’t sue their brothers in Christ, but I’m pretty sure none of these guys are in the family.

With his one hand and my two, we have spent the last few days searching, writing, praying, and fending off Sofija. Two days ago we saw the orthopedic surgeon. They x-rayed his hand again and put him in a cast. They will x-ray it again next week and if the bones have shifted, he will have to have pins placed. We’re believing that they will be properly aligned, healing, and he will not have to have surgery.

Doesn't he look hot in his dinosaur cast? RAWR!

Doesn’t he look hot in his dinosaur cast? RAWR!

When we returned from the ortho appointment it was REALLY hot in our house. By the next morning we realized our A/C was dead. Just lovely. Three hands, a deadline, a broken baby girl, and a really hot house are not things I would wish on anyone. Not even the guys who destroyed my husband’s career. Maybe God is working on my heart already. ;)

This week has been crap. Hot, stinky, yucky… CRAP. So many of you have messaged and called to ask what we need. Here it is…. We need God to make this crap holy.