Tuesday, August 30

Questions on Wisdom

Where is Sheba, that the Queen of Sheba ruled (1 Kings 10)? Do we know her name?

For which of his wives did Solomon write the Song of Songs? Could she be the same woman as described in Proverbs 31?

What is the "Millo" that closes the breach of the city of David (1 Kings 11:27)?

Friday, August 26

I'm Raising the B.S. Flag On This One

Occasionally, I hear something that causes me to go into quite a rage and I have to give myself time to think through the information I have recieved, try to glean some sort of logic from it and proceed. However, in our Post-Modern times it is pretty clear that the whole logic idea has been the "baby thrown out with the bathwater." So, in celebration of stupidity, I have made a list of things I am raising the B.S. flag on:

1. Since there is supposed gender discrimination at our Service Academies we are going to up the number of ladies admitted, make it easier for them to get in, and decrease the number of male applicants. Glad our future Officers will be there because they deserve to be....

2. The price of gas and our dependence upon the Middle East when we have more untapped resources in Texas and Alaska than we know what to do with.

3. Michael "kiddie porn" Jackson being the hit of the evening news while we are AT WAR!

4. Speaking of war... Whatever happened to knowing who the enemy is and going in to kill him? We know who the enemy is, where the enemy is, too bad we are not being allowed to go kill him.

5. A Washington State radio personality being fired for calling the Muslim religion a "Religion of Warfare." All the while, liberal radio personalities constantly bash Christians with no backlash.

6. Letting other Nations dictate our foreign policy.

7. Allowing militant Islam to invade our country, and Liberals to abort babies, all the while Christians are looked down upon and Soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, while called "baby killers", are actually saving them.

Anybody have some Jack, I need a drink....

Thursday, August 25

Talk of the Town

Babies tend to take over the conversation. Two married, unchildrened adults are discussing the kind of Japanese exports that make it to American car lots, and suddenly their talk takes an immediate right onto car seats and remembering that they are inheiriting a new relationship; that of aunt and uncle-hood. Now that the word's officially out, I feel safe to announce the expectation of the McClelland's spring baby. The pleasure of first grandchild status, long lists of names, new photo albums, doll-sized clothes, the whole works!

On a whim

When your schedule gets changed, what do you do? Panic, fight it, cry over it, give it up, throw up the arms in disbelief of your fate....? The answer is: f) all the above. We try to prepare ourselves for "military life" by talking about the possibility of change ahead of time. We take lessons on organizational skills and conduct meetings as a "head's up and encouragement," listen to speeches on spousal significance and family readiness, and On the Importance of Expressing Your Feelings in a world of change. What it comes down to, is that military life is difficult and hard and full of high expectations and deep disappointments; as is every other form of life, all countries and civilians included.

Wednesday, August 24

Red Roses

He brought me one to work. I was celebrity for the morning, to have a husband who brings me a flower. It could have been any girl there who got one (they're nearly all married), but there's been no other blooms in plastic cups waiting on the metal table behind those "employee only" doors. He also brought me a tank-sized mug from the St Louis Starbucks; there's room on the sides for 4 different views of the city! I love it--I mean him-- or, I meant all three of them; well, I have a liking for pottery and roses and one broad shouldered man.

Sunday, August 21

Almost Home

He's almost back. Later than planned, because of storms. Weather can change everything; maybe that's why we are so fond of discussing it. Waiting is a tension, to keep occupied in a profitable manner and thereby bring happiness by keeping one's mind occupied with the present concerns of work or projects needing doing. Work is thus man's means of both sanity and insanity--insane if he lets work rule him--sanity if he simply does the job well, and leave it at that.

Meanwhile, I play A&E Pride and Prejudice as an excellent background of pleasant accents in old world conversation.

Saturday, August 20

Flyboy gone Flyin'

On his first and only cross-country this weekend, Eric left me at the coffee house yesterday. I like how he carries himself comfortably in his olive green flight suit. It's not terribly Marine-like, to be at ease in a baggy suit, but no small mercy to have one uniform worth sleeping in.

Wednesday, August 17

Clouds breaking

So the sky cleared today. Did it make us any happier? No, not in mere sunniness, for then came the heat. And we complain of being overheated in the humidity after all the storms. Wretched man that you are, can you never be content in any given condition?!

I got to the commisary for potatoes and bananas, comforting staples in the kitchen. First, I took an Americano by the flight room for mi esposo, who to my great satisfaction was actually there (one never knows--it's a 50-50 chance). It's been a gossipy week at work, and I take pleasure in telling him my side of grievances!

I found a good poem, "for winged vision"--

What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage that we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose garden.
~T. S. Eliot

Monday, August 15

grey day

The sky is overcast. I am cast into a reflective, hollow tunnel. Not hollow, really, for the tunnel becomes inhabited by all the characters of the novels I'm reading, the ideas I'm pondering. I need a new writing stage. Journals, blogs, web sites, magazines; is there any other medium available to an average American?

I took my second riding lesson today. Eric's check ride last week was postponed when his instructor didn't show. Hopefully now it's already on the grade books...History, a sealed deal, old news, the book already read and shelved.

Saturday, August 13

Much Afraid

For the past six years I have not been good enough. At least that is what I have been told. I must be tougher, braver, stronger, harder, faster, smarter; for in my line of work, if I am not, Marines die. When I first reported to the United States Naval Academy for Plebe Summer, I was told that the next six weeks would be the toughest six weeks of my life and that I should look to my left and to my right and take notice of my mates, for at least two out of five of you will not be here at the end. Well, I finished. At the beginning of the Academy academic year, the Commandant told us that the hardest four years of our life stood in front of us and that one-quarter of our buddies would not make it through. Well, I did. I then reported to Marine Corps Base, Quantico for Infantry School. I was told that this was to be the toughest six months of my life, the only thing harder would be "combat and hell." I was then told that for those who make it through here, I could expect to lose at least one of my platoon mates within the year. It was tough, but I made it through. I am now in flight school. Our Commanding Officers tell us that THIS is the toughest school on earth. If we are not good enough, it is out the door we go. We, I, must be the best. Well, now at least I suppose I can look forward to combat... In fact, I think that when I get to Heaven, the Lord will look down upon me and say: "welcome to heaven, the hardest eternity of your life."

The past six years has turned me into someone far more different than I ever imagined. Not in a bad way, but just not as I would have imagined. When I left to report to the Naval Academy the young man who boarded the plane in Nashville never came back.... he disappeared. Over time I became "born again hard", "crazy brave", and the perfect budding Officer. But something was not right. Even though I had been given all of the tools, a piece was still missing.
Today as I write this, God is doing a work in me that I so desperately need. He is assuring me that it is not by my hand that His Will is accomplished, but by His. I am merely a tool, a servant, that is carried upon the shoulders of a God so much greater than even the greatest of Marine Corps Officers.

Jars of Clay has been my music of choice lately and through the words of Much Afraid my heart has made a leap and sung with all of its might. "I'm so much afraid, scared out of my mind/By the demons I've made/Sweet Jesus, you never let me go/Oh, Sweet Jesus, you never let me go." And so they complete the song, as well as my prayer: "So happy to love/Yet so far to go/You lead me on to where I have never been before."

Friday, August 12

Upon the last day of the week

Eric had his 2nd contact Check Ride today. It's a test of all the skills one has learned thus far in the T37. I'm going to find out if he passed by bringing penut butter chocolate cupcakes to the flight room. It makes a game out of the Proverb, a gift opens the door before you into king's palaces--along with the spiders.

I started horse riding lessons yesterday! Tomorrow morning we'll go work on the horse farm, cleaning the barn and whatever else we're told--maybe the mini-mules, too. Then hopefully spend the afternoon in the lake, after a long-awaited lunch of locally smoked BBQ at Turkey Creek.

Wednesday, August 10

on the unadmitted list

Attracted to the author's name, the title, the woodcutting sillouette on the cover, the rough ivory dustjacket, even the introductory on the front flap, so ordinary in it's common occurance: "Jennifer Braverman was once named Juniper Tree Burning, and she hates that name." So, every girl hates her name at some point in life, but who on earth would be named Juniper without a mysteriously strange lineage of parents?

(Yes, I even violated the Rule: don't read a chapter book labeled "A Novel" beneath the title).

The captivating thing about the book is the way its author Goldberry Long weaves Juniper's story back and forth through a ramrod straight timeline, her life lived out like the waves of the sea, pounding, washing up the beach incessantly, churning in whirlpools, lost in stretches of seeming stillness. Written in first person, one enters the mind of Juniper, while reliving all things with her through memories recalled to work out a central wonder: what was it her brother had wanted from her, and what is she looking for in other people, and her reactionary ways against hippie parentage.

Sunday, August 7

On Freedom

We American moderns have taken on the idealogy that to be free implies we can do whetever we, as individuals, deem to be right. We do not have to base what we think to be right on anything substantial. We can base it upon the koran, MTV, the Bible for some, or even just upon on our own whims.
I am afraid that for many, freedom has come to mean that there are not any boundaries, no rules. Indeed, we can act as the typical young child and retort, "it is a free country, I can do what I want."
The freedom that I am writing of today is true freedom, not the freedom we American's love and idealize, but the freedom that comes only from Christ. Galations 5:1- "For Freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Many self proclaimed "free thinkers" would assert that I am trapped by a dogma that demands my fealty and therefore leaves me trapped and enslaved. Not so! In Christ have I truly found freedom. By giving my heart and desires over to my Creator have I been taken into the arms of a strong tower, a mighty gate.
When the enemy comes late in the night with his lies and antiquated tactics my Defense steps into the gap, like a Marine in full battle dress, and shreds the enemy into a bloody pulp of defeat. You see, my victory is already won!
I pity the poor souls who think they are free. For when the enemy comes in the middle of the night and torments their souls and minds, the only comfort these poor "free" souls can turn to is themselves, bad American beer, drugs, and cheap sex. So be free my dear free-thinking radicals. For the next time the enemy comes for you and drives you to your knees as the poor weak human you are, consider where the True freedom lies and in that acknowledgement, become tuly free.

Thursday, August 4

Summer rain

It'a late summer. The air is heavy with heat and the haze of collected moisture. Tractors are ploughing the fields, disking for the 2nd time before the rain. On the way to the base, I pass a little ball field that fills with young families and their children practicing soft ball every evening. On the other side of the road lie brown fields with tufts of grass that refuse to be conquered by the plough. Past the wheat growing grounds, the air fields. Run-ways stretch way out beyond chain link fencing where the round-nose "Tweets" take off and the pointy nosed T38s make smooth descents after their play of 4-plane formations.
A few new girlfriends--"the wives"-- watch from our sunny side of the Plains Pool on base, camped out in white lounge chairs. We watch our husbands or their classmates weave spins up there in the delicately clouded sky. And we read and talk and finally jump in with the float-playing children to cool off in the water.

Wednesday, August 3

Redefining ourselves

As C. S. Lewis tells it,
"The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden--that is what the State is there for.
And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time."
--Mere Christianity

I'm reading from a large ivory coloured book, Devotional Classics, an anthology of abridged works including everyone from St. Augustine to Dallas Willard. The editors want to teach one how to read divinely: thoughtfully, with room for the Spirit to remake the heart with his truth. Though I have always abhorred and turned up my nose at abridged and condensed books, an exception had to be granted this one, to see if it were worthy of group discussion and to test the editors claims of personal transformation. And what is it like, according to those living it out long before us, to be a Christian after all? What is the church here for?