South America – Day ??

In case no one noticed, I don’t have the day posted in the title like I usually do. There is a really good reason for that. My computer died this week. Its been ill for quite a while, but this week it finally passed. When Derick returns he may be able to lay hands on it and breathe life into it once again. He has a magic touch like that. But I’m not counting on it. I am currently writing this blog from my phone. (I love technology!!) Anyway, my calendar on which I kept track of how long Derick has been gone is on that computer. I have no idea what the number of days is off the top of my head. I have a countdown till he returns now but I’m not really supposed to post that on the internet yet. I think once he is state side I’ll be able to but not until then.

Last night I went to Target with my 3 youngest kids. Christian went to a movie with his dad. So, since I was relieved of one I thought I would venture out in public in hopes that we would make total fools of ourselves. Well, we survived and I must say, they did famously! I wanted to pick out new bedding and curtains for my bedroom. Of all the rooms in my house, I’d like for our room to be the most welcome sight for Derick. He has had absolutely no privacy for the last 6 months. So, I wanted to make our room a place of refuge for him. A place that he can go to relax and recuporate. It helps that our room is the entire upstairs of our house. I’ve already told my kids they are not allowed in there without permission. Allyn is the only one who seems to have trouble with that. All the movies are in there and he can’t seem to stay away from them. Anyway, I’d like to have the basement organized too but the bedroom is my top priority.

The other project that I have been working on is making handbags. I mentioned it on facebook once, trying a new hobby, I mean. I have a friend that is moving to Brazil on Thursday. She has come to my house about once every other week on average since Derick left. She is also pregnant and I thought a handbag/diaper bag made by yours truly would make a great baby gift. The bag turned out beautifully! I would love to make lots more but I don’t have my own sewing machine. I have to use my mom’s. If anyone has a working sewing machine that they would like to get rid of, let me know. I’m willing to pay you for it. I’m not looking for a hand out, just a good deal. I don’t really have the money to invest in a good new machine right now. That gets a little pricey!

Well, Brody is sleeping right now so I suppose I should probably take advantage of being down one kid and get something done. Since my computer is out of commission I don’t know when my next post will be. At the very least I’ll post when Derick get home. (Then I’ll have his computer to use!)

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South America – Day 171

I can’t believe its been 11 days since I posted anything.  It really hasn’t crossed my mind for the last few days.  I have been consumed by projects that need to be done before Derick comes home.  Early Monday morning, my sister, Kendra, left for Japan for 2 weeks.  I have been staying at my parent’s house since Sunday night.  I came here to watch the Super Bowl.  I thought it may be easier to come here and then spend the night rather than have to drag them home late and try to get them in bed in a timely fashion.  That did not sound like fun!  Well, I planned to go home today, but now its really snowing so I doubt if I’ll make it tonight either.

I think I’m just gonna give a quick update of the past week’s events, besides staying at my parent’s house.  I’m teaching Bible study at church.  Last week went really well.  I feel totally unqualified but in a way, I guess that’s a good thing.  I keeps me from getting overly confident in my teaching abilities.  If anyone learns from the study, its all God and none of  me.  Today, I opted not to go, however.  Peoria Christian called off school and Christian stayed home.  I thought for a while that I was being a wimp and just bailed out of teaching today.  Then I actually ventured into Peoria for a doctor’s appointment and lunch at McDonald’s.  Now, I am so glad I didn’t try to drive from Brimfield to Tremont this morning!  I actually saw a semi run a red light through the intersection that I was about to drive through.  Thankfully everyone was paying attention and didn’t move until the truck passed.

Yesterday, my friend Susan came over and we did major cleaning on the first floor of my house.  I am almost embarrassed to write about it.  I let my house get so messy (dirty) sometimes.  Then I feel too overwhelmed (paralyzed) to do anything about it.  So, I have had to swallow my pride and let people come over and help me clean while Derick has been gone.  I left my kids with my mom and went home to clean my house.  Now the whole first floor looks amazing.  Plus, last week my parents came over and helped me clean my boy’s room.  Then my dad moved the cradle and the changing table out of my room, fixed the crib and officially moved Brody into what appears to be the dorm room for boys in our house.  Aida, being the only daughter, still has her own room.

Kendra worked most of last week trying to get her stuff packed up so she could move out of my house before she left for Japan.  It didn’t work, but since most everything that belonged to her is now gone, maybe I can solicit some help to get her bed out of my basement.  That way I can get some organizing done down there in the next 3 weeks.

The main project that I want to get done is my bedroom.  I don’t need to paint it.  I wouldn’t want to anyway because my room is the entire upstairs of my house and it would be a MAJOR project.  I would like to get new curtains, bedding and a slip cover for my chair and ottoman.  If I have time, I wouldn’t mind painting the (tiny) master bathroom.  I just want to make it a private place of refuge for Derick when he returns.  He has had no privacy since he left and I think that is what he would appreciate most.

I think that is all the updates for now.  Oh, the other thing I did was visit Tricoci University to check out their teacher training program for cosmetologists.  It looked like a great school with a great program but very expensive.  The tuition is $9,000 for 4 months of school.  Plus the first 7-10 weeks are done in Chicago and there is no student housing.  So, I’d have to stay in a hotel 3 or more nights a week.  Also, very expensive!!  The idea was that maybe I could do the teacher training and be a cosmetology teacher.  That way I would still be employed in my chosen profession, but really I would rather teach it than do it all day.  Plus, it would be steady hours and a guaranteed income instead of variable just doing hair.  But if I did that, I would rather go to Oehrlein School of Cosmetology and then teach at Oehrlein School of Cosmetology, my alma mater.  The waiting list for teacher training there, however, is 20 names long.  When a school only trains a couple at a time, and it takes 4-8 months to get through, that is potentially a 3-5 year wait.  *sigh*  I guess either God’s gonna preform a miracle and get me in now, or that’s just not in his plan.  So, for now, we wait on God’s plan and God’s timing.  I just had this hair-brained idea that I could earn an income when Derick is in school this fall by teaching.  But, maybe not.  I’ll turn in my resume anyway, becauseh I can’t get in if I don’t apply.  But, I guess it is something that I’ll put on the back burner for now.  That’s ok.  Its more important for Derick to get through school right now than for me.

So, that’s life in the Uhler household for now.  I would love to have visitors to keep me busy for the next 3 weeks but if you come, expect to be put to work.  (Actually, that’s not true.  I’d rather sit around, talking and drinking coffee than work!)  But, come visit me anyway.  But don’t forget to kiss your husbands before you do!

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South America – Day 160

This week I have been thinking a lot about going back to work.  On Monday I drove to Springfield to renew my cosmetology license.  This is not something that I have shared with very many people until now, but my license expired on October first.  Since I wasn’t working, and I had a lot going on in my life at that point, I wasn’t very worried about it.  When Derick returns, however, I may not have a choice but to re-enter the workforce.  So, Monday, when I started thinking seriously about working again, I decided I’d better go get it renewed so that I can work and so that I can shop at the suppliers again. 

I love my job.  I love doing hair, makeup and (natural) nails.  I love styling hair.  I would love to find some sort of class that teaches all kinds of styling.  Not just for everyday, but for theater and special events as well.  I know there are tricks of the trade that just can’t be learned over night.  But I don’t think there is anything like that around here.  One of my teachers in beauty school, Judy, seemed to have all kinds of tricks up her sleeve.  There were clients that would come into the school, who used to have Judy do their hair.  She has been a teacher now for years and years, and still her clients come to the school.  Even though she doesn’t actually do hair, for some reason these people feel better getting their hair done at the school, just knowing that she is there.  In the world of vanity, that seems like a great reputation to have.  It says a lot about not only her styling abilities, but also her ability to make the client feel good about themselves. 

Maybe I could just go back to school to be a cosmetology teacher.  I think I would really rather teach than actually do hair myself.  The only problem with that is if I did, I’d want to go to Oehrlein School of Cosmetology (my alma mater) for teacher training and I’d want to work at Oehrlein when I’m done.  That depends on what job opportunities are available at the end of my training and if they’d hire me.  I guess its just something I’ll have to pray about and then wait and see what happens.  I don’t even know what Derick would think of the idea.  It just popped into my head as I was writing about my teacher.

Yesterday, I did my friend, Tami’s hair and I did my sister, Kendra’s hair.  I confided in Tami that I love my chosen profession.  I love it!  I’m just not sure I’m ready to go back and do it full time though.  I’m not sure, with four kids, that I have the dedication and energy to put into building a brand new clientele.  I have always thought about going to college to become a teacher.  I thought I would major in speech and drama or maybe in theater.  Perhaps just an english major would be the easiest.  But I didn’t want to teach English classes, just the speech and drama and theater classes.  That sounds great, but it also sounds like a lot of work for a career that essentially is in the very distant future at this point.  I think cosmetology teacher training would take about 4 months since I have been a working stylist for the past 6 years. 

I think I also just need to talk to Derick and find out his opinion.  Last night when we were talking, we were both so tired we were about to fall asleep in the middle of the conversation.  I was joking that I must be getting old.  It was only 9:00pm and I was almost asleep.  Well, its getting late and I have things to do today. 

Have a good day everyone!  Ladies, don’t forget to kiss your husbands today!

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South America – Day 159

Derick gave me a definite homecoming date last night.  (I use the term “definite” loosely.)  I’m so excited that there is an end in sight!  The kids and I miss him so much!  He should be home the first part of March, but I don’t know if I should post on the internet what the exact date is, so maybe I’ll just keep that to myself for a while longer until I hear from Derick that he is back in the States. 

I witnessed my first homecoming of troops last night at the Peoria airport. 

“Fourteen local Marines are back home with their families. The men arrived in Peoria Wednesday night after serving six months overseas. The Marines are the final group from Engineer Company “C” to return from Iraq, where they specialized in motor transport and heavy equipment.” (WMBD ch. 31 news) 

It was so exciting!  The room was charged!  It was contageous!  As soon as I walked in the room I could feel the excitement over loved ones coming home!  I was there to support my friend, Kim and her kids.  Her husband Jared was in this group of fourteen.  She was so excited!  I can only imagine what she must have been feeling!  She asked me to take some pictures.  As soon as the troops were in sight the room errupted with cheering and shouts of  joy!  Everything happened so fast, I think I only got two pictures, and not very good ones at that.  I tried.  I think I just wasn’t used to her camera.  I should have used my blackberry and then just emailed her the pictures.  I probably would have been able to snap a few more that way.  Oh, well!  She was pretty understanding!  Meg Johnson from WMBD News Channel 31 interviewed her and her 2 kids last night while we waited for the troops to arrive.  Kim told the reporter that she had already told her kids they had better run to their dad or she was gonna run them over to get to him!  (Maybe I should warn my kids ahead of time, too!)  I tried to find the footage of her interview on their website, but all I could find was a tiny little write-up and one picture of someone I don’t know.

Last night made me so excited for Kim and her children, and also for Jared.  How exciting this must be for him!  To be seperated from your family and friends and church and everything familiar for 6 months to a year has to be so incredibly hard.  His were not the only tears I saw last night!  It all made me so anxious for Derick’s return!  Derick told me, last night, that everyone is getting anxious to get home.  I think they are getting tired of being in close quarters with non-family members.  I know I would be! 

The flight into Peoria was a late flight and it arrived later than scheduled so my original plan was to wake up with the kids at 7am this morning.  When I got in the car to go home, the clock on the dash said 11:08.  Well, after I got home, I decided to go ahead and set my alarm for 5am like normal.  I usually hit the snooze until about 5:20.  This morning, however, my bladder decided to wake me up at 4:45.  That is the worst feeling… to wake up before the alarm, but with not enough time to go back to sleep until the alarm sounds.

I think my mind is just racing.  I can’t seem to get it to calm down.  I can’t even describe what I am feeling.  I didn’t realize there would be such a huge welcome for the troops at the airport.  I didn’t realize there would be reporters waiting.  There will be only one other sailor returning with Derick.  They are not in Iraq or Afganistan.  Will the reporters be waiting for them to return?  Kim says they’ll be all over us because I have 4 cute little kids that have been waiting for his return for 6 months.  I think its got my mind going a mile a minute.  It sounds so exciting to have news cameras and reporters covering my husband’s homecoming!  But at the same time, I don’t want to get my hopes up.  I wish I knew the time his flight will arrive.  I wish I knew what to expect. 

For now I can at least say, “Let the Countdown Begin!”  It was months, and now we are down to weeks.  Soon it will be days.  The last few hours and minutes are the hardest to wait.  If you have ever been seperated from your loved one for any reason, you know that to be true!

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South America – Day 158

Today is the day that my friend, Jared is coming home after a tour in Iraq.  I suppose I can call him my friend.  I don’t think I have see or talked to him since his wedding day in May of 1997.  He was my friend in high school. So was his wife, Kim.  She and I have reconnected through facebook, since both of our husbands have been overseas with the military.  Ya gotta love facebook!  So, he gets in tonight at 10:25, to the Peoria airport.  Kim thought there would be quite a few people there.  If it wasn’t so late, I would take my kids.  I still might consider taking Christian, but I think he would have a hard time getting up for school in the morning if I did.  This makes me very anxious for Derick to come home.  One major difference, though, is that Jared is a Marine and Derick is a Navy Seabee.  The Navy doesn’t travel in uniform.  The only time I have seen Derick required to travel in uniform on a civilian flight was when he went from bootcamp to “A” school.  Other than that he will be in “civvy’s” (civilian clothes).  I am excited for Kim thought.  I can only imagine what she must be feeling!  How incredibly exciting!  I can’t wait til its my turn! 🙂

It is 6:30 in the morning and Aida and I have been up for an hour.  She is standing over my shoulder as I write this.  She was sick last night and then ended up in my bed.  So when I got up, so did she.  Scratch that, make that Aida and Allyn are standing over my shoulder as I write this.  He just immerged from his bedroom too.  I guess that’s the trouble with putting him in a big boy bed.  He can get out of bed when he wakes up.  Maybe I should put alarm clocks in their rooms and tell them they can’t come out until the alarm goes off.  The fact that they are awake right now kind of defeats the whole purpose of me getting up so early.  I do it to have quiet, alone time, not more one-on-one time with the kids.  We can have quality time all day long.  I don’t need to do at at 6am! 

I guess if I’m going to follow Derick’s orders, I need to tell about my day yesterday.  I went to Bible study in the morning.  I was late and frazzled when I got there.  I didn’t want to sit down and lead when I felt like that, but I really didn’t have a choice.  I feel out of sorts, and inadequate with leading this study.  And I just can’t seem to shake it.  I know that God does not call us because of our earthly qualifications but because of what he sees.  But, I wonder sometimes, what that is, exactly.  Everything went fine.  The farther into the study we got, the calmer I felt.  I was near tears when I got there because I was so frazzled.  But, God’s Word does seem to have a calming effect.  Perhaps its because it is true.  All of it.  I don’t have to guess what I will believe and what I won’t.  It is ALL true. 

These verses have been brought to my mind a lot lately, probably because of the truth of God’s word.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any towedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joint and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart.”

Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I send it.”

II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

God’s Word is true, it is powerful, and it will accomplish whatever God wants it to accompish.  I shouldn’t have to worry or get frazzled about what little I know of the book of Ruth.  God knows.  He knows what each woman in the study needs to learn from Him.  That’s not my job, that is his.  What a relief!  I am not the teacher, he is.  I am just the facilitator!

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South America – Day 157

The main reason I am writing this is for Derick’s benefit.  Maybe it’ll clear my head.  That must be why I write at all.  I sit at my computer and try to sort things out and God gently reminds me that he is still in control.  This has been a stressful week.  Not overwhelming, like the holidays were, just stressful.  I know what is doing it to me.  Its the condition of my house.  Why is it that the condition of my house is so directly connected to how my day is going.  If the house is clean, my day is great!  If its a little cluttered, I can handle it.  But, if the house is a wreck, then so am I.  *sigh*  I won’t be in this season of life forever, right?!  Someday, my kids will be old enough that I won’t have to supervise their abilities to pick up after themselves.  I’m just having difficulty finding time to clean.  I started doing it after the kids were in bed, but now Derick has internet and he wants to talk on Skype then.  I know… relationships are more important than a clean house.  But my relationship with my kids seems to suffer when the house is a mess.  Cleaning at naptime is hard because not all of my kids take naps everyday, and some days I’m just not home.  And in the morning… well, who wants to get up to a dirty kitchen in the morning?!  I’ll get it under control again.  Just not all at once.   

Today, I have Bible study at church.  I think I mentioned before that my group is going through a book called “The Gospel of Ruth”.  I am now facinated by the book of Ruth, and the hardships of Ruth and Naomi.  There are a couple of superficial things that I am finding difficult about the study.  Well, mainly what I have trouble with is the length of the study (9:30-11:30 on Tuesday mornings), as compared to the length of each lesson.  There are no videos, there is no leaders guide.  Its just me, the book, and the girls in the study.  I guess its really not up to me to get people to talk.  Its up to God to move in the hearts of the women in the study.  And just because we have a short discussion, doesn’t mean that people aren’t hearing from God.  I think I’d like to use the extra time we have to pray together, for each other. 

I don’t know about anyone else, but I love knowing that people are praying for me.  I have felt everyone’s prayers while Derick has been gone.  I couldn’t have made it this far without them.  Looking back, even during the Christmas season, when I was really at my low-point, I can tell that people were praying for me. 

I’m sitting here writing my post for the day, and I can hear Brody coughing and coughing upstairs.  He should stay asleep for another hour, but I’m not convinced he’s going to.  I may see if I can leave him home with my sister.  Kendra has been such an incredible help to me since she moved in.  I know she doesn’t work very much at her new job, much to her dismay.  But, is it bad that I’m kind of glad?  I like her availability to me.  And she does it without complaining.  She will hold Brody anytime I ask.  She will get my kids dressed and put them in bed or put coats on them and herd them out to the car (I’ve heard teaching little kids referred to being like herding cats, and I have to agree).  It doesn’t bother me a bit that she doesn’t help with the cooking and cleaning.  The main thing that she is available to me for is helping with my kids.  And that is what helps the most!  She is truly an answer to prayer.  And what I really appreciate, is that she does all these things because she loves my kids!  If she loves my kids this much, she’s gonna make a great mom someday!  She’s going to Japan in a couple of weeks to visit her missionary friend, Hannah and to help with PAZ Japan.  I don’t know what I’ll do while she is gone.  I may have to move in with my parents.  Maybe I won’t, maybe I just won’t leave my house for two weeks.  The plan was for her to move out before she left, just in case Derick came home while she was gone, but it doesn’t look like we will have to worry about that.  Besides, I think I’m gonna need her when she comes back! 🙂

Well, as unprepared as I feel, I guess I should close and get myself ready to go to Bible Study.  God is with me.  He knows what needs to be said.  He knows how every woman in this study can apply it to their own lives.  I pray that he will lead the discussion today, not me.  I need to just leave it in his hands.  He is the true leader of the study, not me.  I am just the facilitator. 

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

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South America – Day 155

It is Sunday afternoon, I am sitting at my computer with my coffee in hand.  Two of my kids are sleeping and two of my kids are playing nicely in the basement.  It is such a peaceful time!  Derick asked me today if I was going to write any more blog posts, so I decided to do that now.  Apparently, he is really interested in the things going on at home and wants to read about it.  He told me he wants to read it everyday.  So, I guess I better step it up a notch.  It is time-consuming and sometimes I don’t really have much to write about, but he doesn’t care.  It is supposed to be a journal while he is away.  Something that I can look back at and remember what life was like during this deployment.  So, this is an entry to get caught up a little. 

I am facilitating a Bible Study at my church.  The book that I chose is called “The Gospel of Ruth”.  That started on Tuesday.  I think it’s mainly geared toward young mothers, but it is open to anyone that wants to join.  I’m feeling a little underqualified, but I guess when God asks us to do something, he doesn’t need to look at earthly qualifications.  There were seven women in my study as of last Tuesday, but I think there are a couple more coming this week.  Two of the women in the Bible study are women that I would consider matriarchs of the church, seasoned in the Word of God.  It was a little intimidating to find out these women decided to sit in on my study and with all of us young moms, but it reminds me of a verse that addresses exactly that.

I Timothy 4:12  “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

Now, I know that these women would never look down on me or “despise” me.  But, it’s a good reminder to me that I am not a lesser Christian.  We all put our faith in the same God.  Plus, in spite of the nerves, I am looking forward to their contribution.  No doubt, they will have a totally different perspective than I, when it comes to the book of Ruth.

I have had so many people say they look at me in amazement when I show up to church and Bible study with all four kids in tow.  And when I tell people I get up at 5:30 in the morning.  I know to the outsider it seems like insanity.  But, all of those things are what keeps me sane.  I get up so early so that I can have some time to myself in the quiet house before the kids wake up.  Church and Bible study are like a lifeline!  December was a really hard month for me and I think part of the reason was that I didn’t have the Bible study that I had grown to love.  It wasn’t even studying the Bible that I missed so much, I can do that on my own.  It was the 2 hours of child-free adult social time, eating adult food for breakfast, instead of  Cheerios like every other morning.  Last Tuesday it started again, and I am so excited! 

Well, I have talked a few times about money on here.  So, I guess its ok to do it again.  God has taught me a lot in the area of finances and money.  First of all, I have no business worrying, because it’s not my money anyway, and I need to treat it that way.  Although, we are not having the major peaks and valleys that we have had in the past, we have some events coming that require money.  There are three things that deal specifically with Derick’s return.  Our plan has been, tentatively, that I would fly out there and we would drive home together over a course of about 5 days.  At the same time, I have some projects around the house that I would like to get done before he comes home, that would need a bit of money.  None of this would be a problem, except that Derick doesn’t have a job to return to when he gets home.  His position at Cat was eliminated 3 weeks before he left for South America.  I mentioned to him last night that he may have to choose between driving home together, and getting the house all fixed up for him to come home to.  And his response was that we can go away for a weekend once he returns.  That made me sad, because I don’t think we’ll get another chance to take a trip like this.  (You never know, I guess.)  But the other thing I am having a hard time with is the lack of employment.  Shouldn’t I be saving every extra penny that he makes so that we can just survive until he finds a job?  But, there is another side to the job situation.  Derick is planning to start college in the fall.  So, a full-time, 9-5, Monday through Friday job is probably out of the question.  As much as I really don’t want to at this point, I am planning on returning to the workplace in the fall when school starts.  I love my profession as a cosmetologist.  But I love not taking out student loans for living expenses even more.  There is a verse that God showed me the last time Derick was gone.  I know God’s word never changes.  I know it still applies.  Sometimes this blog helps me to clear my head, so maybe God just wanted to remind me of this verse again. 

Malachi 3:10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My House, and try me now in this, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

Verse 11 of that same chapter just caught my eye, as well.

vs 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the Lord of Hosts.”

Making enough money is not the problem for us, right now.  Its spending wisely so that we will have money to live on when Derick comes back.  I guess the plan for now is just to save everything I can, and trust that I am honoring the Lord with how I do spend my money.  Then we wait.  Wait for the Lord to open doors.  To California, to home repairs, or to living expenses.  But the bottom line is to trust the Lord.

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