>Less than 48 hours!

>I know my counting down may get annoying, but believe me, if you’ve gone any amount of time without your other half (be it better or not, haha! just kidding) you can understand where I’m at with this.

I have been packed for nearly two weeks now. I can be pretty forgetful if I wait until the last minute, and I like to pack cute outfits (of course!). Tomorrow night I hope to get to bed at a decent time as my flight leaves from Peoria at 0600 (6:00). Megan and I might go out to eat tomorrow, and that’s always a good way to pass the time.

I left work early for a doctor’s appointment and since then the day has just seemed to drag on. However, it’s been relaxing. I was able to get to the gym a couple hours earlier than usual, before the after-work rush gets there. Chris came and got the kitty since he and Emily are watching her for the weekend. Since then, I’ve been relaxing. Imagine! There is a sink full of dishes and papers that could be graded, but I’ve decided to pass up those tasks in favor of actually just sitting on the couch and watching The Biggest Loser. It’s been lovely, I must say.

So. Thursday morning I fly from Peoria to Chicago, then Chicago to Phoenix. The latter flight is about four hours, and I will be taking my Beth Moore study (we’re in the last week of Breaking Free), The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and some cross-stitching. I’m working on a custom design based on 1 John 4:18, “Perfect love casts out all fear,” to go in our bedroom. Most of the lettering is done but I have yet to perfect my design for the border.

To interject a little current event, it does not surprise me that more troops will be sent to Afghanistan. I honestly would have been surprised if more troops hadn’t been sent. When you’re living the military lifestyle, you have to be ready for anything and have patience. A lot of patience.

It has been almost a year since we received the news that Aaron would be laid off. Less than a year later, we have half of our credit card debt paid off, which could not have been done had we not just cut up the cards in February. I am proud to say we have not taken out any more loans or used any credit cards for almost a year! We have paid for everything, including travel expenses, with CASH. Can you imagine? I never would have seen Aaron and myself here a year ago. I am so thankful for everything that has transpired. Sometimes unfortunate things happen, but for the faithful servant they never end.

I will post pictures of our weekend sometime next week! Have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.

>In the single digits, again.

>Since today is almost over, we’re counting it as eight days until we see each other again. I’m flying to Phoenix for Thanksgiving and it’s going to be amazing.

Here is a picture of where we’re staying the first night:

The other two nights we’re staying at a run-of-the-mill hotel. We plan on visiting a couple places in Phoenix like the zoo and botanical gardens. I get there early Thursday afternoon and leave Sunday afternoon.

Less than three weeks later, Aaron will be home for Christmas “Exodus”. All the training shuts down for two weeks. He has to take leave time, but it’s paid. And I get my break from school so it’s perfect. We plan on getting some pictures taken and spend lots of time with family; other than that, we are going to relax at home!

I will post for sure week after next after my trip!

>A fresh breath of air (Elizabeth)

>Upon my return from Springfield from the Beth Moore Living Proof Live conference, I think I will be transparent tonight and post an entry that I wrote in my prayer journal. God’s been doing a new work and I want to share it.

I feel a fresh breath of air from the very throne room of God. This weekend at the Beth Moore conference wasn’t cataclysmic, not earth-shaking, just confirmation and edification. I believe with all my heart that I begun the healing process [to recent events/realizations] a few weeks ago – a good time – so I was able to fully receive from the Lord this weekend.

I literally have no sufficient words for the compassion and patience I feel towards people. One of my prayers long ago at an Outpost meeting for a Chrysalis weekend (sponsored by the Methodists, I think) was to have a heart and passion for the lost. Since then I came to believe that my emotions and empathy needed to be “toned down”. I felt silly crying over newscasts and accidents I passed by on the highway. Recently I have felt more sensitive emotionally and I believe it’s a gift and not attributed solely to my being a woman.

I feel a great patience for everyday situations – this comes in very helpful when interacting (I prefer not to use the word ‘dealing’) with 104 students daily. I am beginning to feel the fruit of patience on the road and with things that would be general relational annoyances. There is an understanding of the psychology behind people’s actions that I believe is driving this patience and compassion. [I feel compelled to pray for those with whom I ‘should’ be angry and compassion and empathy for those at whom I ‘should’ scoff.] The Lord has begun a new work in me that is only a miniscule portion of the “good work he is faithful to complete” (paraphrased from Philippians 1:6, NIV).

I would like to share some passages of Scripture that have been particularly meaningful recently:

Job 23:10
But he knows the way I take; when he has tested me I will come forth as gold.

James 1:22-23
Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens for the Word but doe snot do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

Isaiah 46:9 (from the Breaking Free study by Beth Moore)
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.

1 Peter 4:19
So, then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us; to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.

And this is the most moving passage to me lately:

1 Peter 1:6-9
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the joy of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

To summarize the main points of the message of the weekend (which revolved around the life of John the Baptist) – I know it may be difficult to discern what each point may mean as I haven’t included notes or context, but I hope you can derive some personal meaning.

1 – Research the Word
2 – Risk fresh hope
3 – Redefine repentance
4 – Renounce territorialism
5 – Recognize an offense
6 – Reevaluate the promise
7 – Regain the goal

Before I post a few pictures, here are the main ideas that really stood out to me personally.

-We are not more like Satan than when we are jealous.
-What makes your joy complete?
-We have been called to moral courage.
-Grudges affect future generations.
-We can claim anything under the New Covenant (New Testament).
-Complete the task set before us – do your job in Christ! Don’t wish your whole life that you were another person.

Amelia, myself (the giant, haha), Carey (Amelia’s mom) and our friend Lindsey

The view from our seats. This was at the very end when Beth and the worship team (led by the talented Travis Cottrell) were rockin’ it out!