Saturday, May 30, 2009

Temporarily Homeless

Yesterday was a huge success.  I wanted to get almost all of our stuff moved out (especially the heavy stuff) and loaded on the moving truck.  I picked up the UHaul in the morning and had 3 movers come at noon.  By 2:30 we where shaking hands, exchanging cash and they were on their way.  These guys crammed nearly everything into our truck and packed it wonderfully.  If anyone is planning a move in the city and is just looking for labor to help, you can find them on craig's list under "Blue Chip Movers."  
Anyway, we got about 95% of our stuff into the truck.  Today we will be unloading it into a storage unit in Wheaton.  No hired help for this one.  
Tomorrow, we will be heading back to the city to grab the last few items and do some maintenance on the apartment.  We have to clean, take out a bunch of trash and do some painting.  We painted the apartment different colors because we thought we would be there for a few years.  Well, one year later I'll be painting it back.  But, by Sunday night, all the moving, cleaning and painting should be done.  I can hand over the keys and we will officially be suburbanites for a few months.   I sure will miss the sound of the waves from the lake though.  But not so much the bus stop on Sheridan or the Red Line.  

Still no further word from the Army.  Hurry up and wait at its best.  I responded to the accessions officer's email with a few questions for him.  We'll see what he says but hopefully he can give us a timeline.  
For now, I need to be working out every day.  The Army does a physical fitness test when I arrive at training in July.  There are 3 events: 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit-ups and a 2-mile run.  To get a perfect score on the test I have to do 75 push-ups, 80 sit-ups and run the 2 miles in under 13:00 minutes.  

With that, I am going to go for a 4 mile run on the Illinois Prairie Path.  Hope everyone has a great weekend.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Whirlwind of Moving

If you could only see our apartment right now.  Anyone who’s lived in the city long enough knows what we are going through.  It’s the week prior to the move.  That means you want to pack up and get things ready for the move, but you can’t pack everything because you still need to have a life for the week.  So 95% of our clothing is packed up and the other 5% is in gym bags and hanging up.  To make matters worse, we are putting most of our stuff in storage but taking the necessary things for a 3-month temporary housing situation.  Needless to say, it is chaos in our place.

I just got an email from the Army Chaplain Accessioning Officer.  I was so excited to see it, only to find out that the basic message of the email was “sorry, but wait longer.”  Apparently the Army is transitioning to a digital system and the group I was accessioned with is the first group to go through the process.  That means we are the tests animals for this new program.  So it seems we won’t find out any more details for a few weeks. 

So for now… we continue to pack.  I’ll continue to keep everyone updated as we find out more information. 

Good news for all of you who’ve had a run in with Rex, our Terror…I mean Terrier.  He is reporting for Doggie boot camp tomorrow.  3 weeks of training.  We will see if the dog trainer can perform miracles.  Our fingers are crossed. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

the aahhhhh moment....

(posted by Christina)
So it happened again last night. I got the "aahhhhh" look and sigh.

Outside our current apartment (for the next week) I was talking to who I call "the cat lady". She has taken these wild cats that live in the rocks on Lake Michigan and made them her pets. They are really cute and I can completely understand where she is coming from in wanting to take them in. Chris has to hold be back often from jumping out of the car to take in a stray cat. She spent weeks trying to capture the 3 little kittens and take them into her home... only being successful with one little black one. I noticed the little black cat was back out at the rocks a few days ago so I asked her about it when I saw her by their "home" last night. She said the cat was terrified for 3 weeks in her home and vet said they cat would be better off outside. She got him fixed, and released him back to his friends. The vet said he was happier and already accustomed to the wild by the time she brought him inside. He compared it to taking a raccoon into the house... which she admitted she would not do. This put it in perspective for me as well... I'll think of this the next time I want to swoop a cute wild cat into my arms. That's not really the point of the story, but I did learn a lesson.

What happened next is what really drives me crazy. We're talking and she asks me where I live. I point to our building and referenced how we will be there for only a week more and then we'll be moving. Of course, she asks where, so I start the long explanation of how we are moving in with family for a few months before my husband is stationed, explaining that he is in the military.

That's where the aahhh... moment comes.

Sometimes it looks or sounds a little different, but it always has the same meaning. The person gives you the "that's so sad" or "that's horrible" sigh and look. Their head tilts to the side and their face scrunches up a little bit as if they don't know what else to say. Then, I usually say how this is something we've been looking forward to and we're excited for. That's when their voice inflection changes. The cat lady's comment was, "so this is good for you... ok".

This situation happens over and over again and it drives me CRAZY! First of all, we have a VOLUNTEER military. No one forced us to sign up. Chris signed the papers with his own free will. Yet, people give this look like it is somehow the worst situation that could happen. I understand being sympathetic if our situation is hard, like Chris is in Iraq for a year... but don't give me a sad look simply because we are part of the military. Traditionally, being part of the military has been highly looked upon and people show appreciation instead of disgust. I know this is somewhat a "Chicago" thing. I've noticed here that some people have an attitude that they are too good for the military or that the military is somehow a downgrade of a lifestyle.

If you find yourself responding like this (and some of you did when we told you our situation) please respond with something different. Maybe even check your own attitude and see why you have a repose such as this. I suggest saying, "thank you for your service" instead of the "aahhhh" sigh.

Another neighbor did just that when Chris told them what are situation was. Right away, she thanked him for his service and told him about her cousin that was in the military. It was nice and respectful the way she responded. We appreciated that.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Long Awaited Call

Well, its finally official.  On Friday, May 15th 2009, I got the call I'd been waiting for.  It came in the middle of my graduation rehearsal.  It was from CH (MAJ) Sifferd he said,  "Congratulations Chris. You've been selected for Active Duty Chaplaincy."  
I was smiling ear to ear.  He said I should be hearing from the Chaplain Accessioning officer in about a week.  He will be giving me my first assignment.  

What a weekend.  I was able to celebrate the
 finishing of my degree (Masters in Divinity) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and being selected as an Active Duty Chaplain in the same weekend.  This was the culmination of over 6 years of hard work and God's grace in pursuing my call to the Chaplaincy.  Wow, I can hardly believe its finally going to happen. 

Christina and I couldn't be happier!  Now we are just waiting to hear where we will be moving to.  I have to finish up the 2nd half of the Army's Chaplain School (called CH-BOLC: Chaplain Basic Officers Leadership Course).  I completed the first half back in 2006 when I was still a Chaplain Candidate.  Now I get to go back and finish it as a official Chaplain.  I will be attending the school at Fort Jackson, SC from July 12th through August 28th.  7 weeks apart from my hunny.  Not looking forward to that!   Hopefully she will get to come out and see me once or twice on the weekends.  
Then in September its off to our first duty station.  We put in our preferences in this order:
1) Fort Carson, CO (Colorado Springs)
2) Fort Dix, NJ (about an hour east of Philadelphia)
3) Fort Bragg, NC (Fayetteville... like anyone NOT in the Army knows where that is =)
Sometimes the Army is able to match up their needs and your preferences and sometimes they can't.  We will wait and see what they give us.  There are a few bases that I'd rather not sent to, but we'll deal with that if it happens.  

So for now we are packing.  Our lease on our Chicago apartment is up at the end of the month.  We will move our stuff into storage and live with Christina's parents in Wheaton, IL for the month of June.  After that, I will be at training and Christina will stay with her family until I am finished and we can move to our duty station.

We will be saying good bye to New Life Community Church in Chicago (  What a great place to have called home for the past 5 or so years.  Thank you Pastor Kevin for all the hard work and mentoring you've done for me.  We will miss all of you guys especially our small group and the Sunday Night Service at Lincoln Park.  

Hopefully we will get some more news soon.  Till then,
God Bless