Saturday, January 29, 2011

What would the answer be?

Dear family and friends,

Could these really be the children who didn't do their jobs this week to the best of their ability? Why yes would be the answer. We're working on it...

Love in Christ,
Dinah for The Troops

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's your connection to Michael Jackson?

Dear Family and Friends,

Another crazy week for The Thomas Troops! The largest extra’s being Wyatt’s concussion and Caroline’s flash drive with all of her schoolwork getting a virus. Life, it happens. On the other hand Jefferson got to go swimming with his fourth cousins on Monday and Melanee Kate made an 86 on her last Math test. She has been working so hard and this was a major success.

I have a cousin named Michael Scott Jackson, he goes by Scott. He’s married to a darling love and has four amazing children. We did not grow up together, well, yes we did. We met in college, and we did of ton of growing during that time. My Nana told me I had a third cousin that went to Texas A&M and wanted me to meet him. I called that very week and to this day Scott loves to tease me about saying, “Hi, I’m Dinah Mowery. I think we’re related,” in a very high pitched Texas accent. His imitation is usually accompanied by his great laugh.

He came by that day and little did I know that first lunch we had, I’d just gained a brother.

We spent hour after hour together while we were at A&M. We often had lunch, studied at the library, and we danced together as much as possible. I had taken a ball room dance class with 29 other girls one semester. At the end of the course many of us decided we would take it again. I marched up to my teacher and asked if I brought my own boy, could he be mine? Would I have to share him with the other 29 girls? She agreed he could be mine, and Scott jumped right in. What a sweet young man, willing to dance with his cousin when there were so many other girls right under his nose.

Scott always treated me like a gentleman whether opening my door, grabbing me what I needed at the dining hall, or offering up his arm to walk across campus. What a beautiful time in my life to have a young man setting such a high standard. Scott cheerfully took care of me and loved me good, bad, and ugly. When you spend as much time together as we did for two years, you see it all. He always loved me anyway.

Scott and his family live in Kodiak, Alaska where he flies helicopters with the Coast Guard. This is the closest we’ve ever lived to one another since we both lived on the Quad at Texas A&M. Two weekends ago we had dinner together at our house on Friday. We spent a full Saturday that included skiing, Wyatt’s hockey game, and another evening at our table. I love to sit together at a table over a long meal, it’s one of my favorite things in life. Sunday evening was a double date with just the adults. Monday Jefferson was included in swimming festivities while the rest of the Troops accomplished school. The Jackson’s came by on Tuesday before they headed back to Kodiak.

What a treat to be together! God has been working in both of our lives and it’s so exciting to know we are still persevering in our walks with the Lord, thriving in our marriages, and working hard to raise our children in a way that honors God. After all of these years, we still have the most important things in our lives in common. I love Scott Jackson so much and praise God for bringing him into my life. We are so hopeful to catch a hop to Kodiak to spend a weekend together before they head out to a new assignment.

We have the same great great grandparents. I sure would love for Ed and I’s great great grandchildren to know and love each other...

Love in Christ,
Dinah for The Troops

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy New Year from The Thomas Troops


from The Thomas Troops! Last year’s letter was overtaken by a move from Hawaii to London. It was our shortest move yet, checking in at 7 ½ months. We are now residing at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska. We do desire more snow as it’s been a light year as of yet. What a special place to be!

This week we’ve spent quite a bit of time contemplating on God’s provision and grace in our lives this past year as well as looking forward to the upcoming year and the goals we would love to see realized. It was fun listening to the children come up with a “Top Ten” list and we decided it was great way for you to have a peek into our family at this time. They are in the order that they popped out of the children’s mouths on Monday.

Top Ten List of God’s Provision and Grace in The Thomas Troops Lives written by The Thomas Children commentated by Mother:

1) Reestablishing Sibling Relationships~ When we brought home Wyatt from the hospital we boldly announced to big sister, “Here’s your best friend!” The children played and played as little ones with great joy. As they got older, it became harder. Six sinners living in one house is often a challenge. This year we’ve seen our three oldest reclaim their relationship in new and exciting ways. Don’t get me wrong, there is always work involved. Putting aside our own desires and learning to put others before ourselves is a worthy pursuit.

2) Going Back to Italy~ Our Italian tour continues to be a family highlight even ten years later. Sweet Jefferson had never been, what a hard way to be odd man out, never been to Italy. When we were in Rome at the end of our tour I told Ed that it was my prayer that a trip to Rome could be a part of their education while they were under our roof. We spent three nights in Rome December 2009 and were able to go back to Aviano last April. What a rich blessing to worship with our church. We also reveled in time with our pastor and our Italian landlord’s sweet family! Senora Del Maschio makes Northern Italian Lasagna like no other. When Caroline was asked by one of the Del Maschio’s if her mother or their mother made better lasagna she replied as only a Public Affairs daughter could, “Senora Del Maschio makes the best lasagna in all of Italy and my mother makes the best lasagna in all of America!” I use Senora Del Maschio’s recipe and am still grateful she taught me how.

3) New Desires to Honor God~ Our entire family sees God working in our lives and changing us to be more like Him. A slow and not always fun process, but we are all grateful for progress forward.

4) Letting Our Family See Grandparents More~ What a precious thing for three teenagers to put as number four on their list! We were able to go to Texas for two weeks in between Hawaii and London. Nana came to see us in February and as always, just jumped into life with us including school (Ed’s and the children’s), church, field trips, the theatre, and celebrating Chinese New Years in a PLA Colonel’s home. Grammy and Major came in April and Nana and Chief came in May. As much as our children never have Sunday lunch or Friday spend the nights with grandparents, they do not complain when they go to the theatre, climb towers in Windsor Castle, or ride the train through the English countryside. Major and Nana also came in August to Alaska to be a part of our celebration as Ed took the command of the 673rd Mission Support Group. We also had the privilege of grandparents around our Christmas tree this year, what a blessing all four of them are!

5) New Perspective From People All Over the World~ Ed’s school consisted of eighty officers and diplomats from over forty three countries. We were able to meet the world, and I’m pleased to say we fell in love at first sight. It was fun to see firsthand how people are people. We were able to revel in our differences and similarities. We walked a road that we will always share with Ed’s schoolmates, one that we will forever be grateful for.

6) God Provided Beyond Measure~ This year we’ve experienced God’s provision double time as we’ve never done back to back moves quite so quickly. We’ve seen God provide TWICE: two homes, two neighborhoods, two churches, two jobs, ect. Our flat in London was directly across from Victoria station. It was my second choice but God knew better. I’m not sure how I would have done the year without Rick and Maggie Coleman as neighbors and friends. A little taste of Texas right there in London. Ed had a seven minute walk and one day Melanee Kate ran in her suit and high heels in about three. You don’t want to be late to class as the British are very prompt. God has provided as well in Alaska. We are thrilled to be living on base with a four minute drive for Ed. We are amazed by new music teachers and opportunities we’ve never had. Wyatt is loving hockey and we have a brilliant little ski slope on base. Between the four children we are covering ski team, junior ski patrol, and we have an official ski patrol candidate.

7) Gifted Time Spent with Family and Friends~ Not only did our grandparents come but we also cherished our time with my sister and nieces, the Newton’s, two of the Stone girls, the Allert’s, the Krause’s, the Leigh’s, the Danielson’s and Steven Dahl. We went out with a bang as Steven was with us up until our last night in the flat and we spent our very last night delighting in London with the Danielson’s. Spending time with people you love is always a treat, but sharing a portion of what we were blessed with in London multiplied it many times.

8) New Friends~ In the meantime we made so many new friends, shared meals, laughed much, and had unique experiences with people we had never known. We loved having people into our home and I was so grateful for all the help the children provided as we entertained guests from Lebanon, Afghanistan, Ireland, China, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, England, Poland, and Iraq. Caroline’s birthday involved five countries and we had a youth game night including Pakistan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Brazil. Our friends the Amour’s, welcomed us to Northern Ireland for an incredible scoop of hospitality along with sightseeing, meeting their family and friends, shopping, more food than I’ve ever imagined, sweet friendship, and a very exciting 50th birthday party. It was an experience we never could have procured as tourist. We celebrated the 4th of July at our dear Slovakian friend’s home, and they even made sure there was red, white, and blue to be had. As an Air Force family it was a privilege to draw strength, camaraderie, and encouragement from two Navy families. Captain Murray provided Ed with another American stronghold at the school and the cutest three year old you’ve ever seen. Lt. Commander Ray’s family loved on me endlessly and took the children and I to Morocco. They should have mentioned the twenty hours we were going to ride in an unairconditioned van out to the desert, then I could have mentioned our children would probably sing for eighteen of them. Greg may never be the same…GO NAVY!

9) Travelled the World in Ways We Couldn’t Even Have Imagined~ I love to travel. I get it honestly from my mother. It’s genetic I’m sure. I thrill in meeting new people and wait for those sweet moments God provides to share what He’s doing in my life. I love our children seeing God provide from door to door even in those moments that you wish you had not had. Moments when you dearly wish you’d had a reservation for a hotel, you hope your eight year will not throw up, you pray your children will politely eat everything they are given, or you are working hard to not gag because unfamiliar intense smells. It is in those moments our family has seen God show up not a minute early or a minute late, but right on time. His provision is complete, His grace is rich, and His love is immeasurable. We are so grateful to see a bigger view of the world He created.

10) Time with Daddy and Time as a Family~ With grins and giggles the children claimed this as their number ten. Stories abounded after the announcement came. God has been so gracious to let us be together so much this last year. I will forever be grateful for the gift of time together! Ed’s schedule was different in London than we’ve ever known. Although he still accomplished a ton, and continued to earn your tax dollars, we were able spend large quantities of time together. We had heard that the Royal College of Defense Studies was very inviting to families but we didn’t know if that included a homeschooling family with four children who lived around the corner. The rumor was true and they were thrilled every time we burst through the doors, which was often.

It’s hard to believe 2010 is over. It will always be a treasured memory in our hearts and minds. In the same breath, we are looking forward to the New Year as well, knowing God has exciting plans. Our prayer is to thrive as never before…

Love in Christ,
Dinah for The Thomas Troops
Ed, Dinah, Caroline, Wyatt, Melanee Kate, and Jefferson

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Have you been wondering?


Dear family and friends,

Just in case you've been wondering...yesterday I was up early after a failed attempt at trying to go to bed early. I was in bed at 8:30 p.m. and so happy to be there but my husband, children, and the United States Air Force didn't seem for my sleep to the be their number one top priority. I finally drifted off at 11:00 pm.

At 6:45 a.m. my mind cajoled up the fact that I still had meatballs in the oven, from Saturday. Someone had turned off the oven but the result were hard carbon rocks. The boys could have done some serious damage with a sling shot.

I dealt with two fussy children over hot water by 7:45 a.m.

I crawled in bed and read to a darling snugly eight year old until 10:30 a.m.

I had everyone listening to a New Years sermon by 12:30 p.m. Great questions to be had. The gentleman was discussing running the race. What has characterized my running this past year? What are the weights in my life that keep me from running? What needs to grow dimmer in my life? What is my running plan for this next year? We've been discussing this past year and this upcoming year at great length since January 1st. I'm still reflecting and excited about both.

At 1:30 p.m.I rounded up the Troops for a photo sessions for Caroline's class. Although forced at first, it quickly turned into a sweet moment.

By 2:45 p.m. I'm running into the house to answer a ringing phone. I'd gone to Office Max to run off my New Years letter only to realized I'd done it incorrectly and had to come home to fix it. I was talking to my Aunt Sue when I glanced up to see that the oven was on. I started laughing so hard. STRIKE TWO...I'd left these meatballs in for two and half hours, I may be loosing my mind.

At 5:30 p.m. I declared we were not going to Bible study. I was so tired and know what the rest of my week entails so I'm trying to pace myself.

At 7:00 p.m.the children and I sat down for homemade rolls and the lentil soup I finally decided to make. I'd made a pot for them to take up to the ski hill on Saturday and some people had made fun of what it looked like, although the children promised everyone loved the flavor. Note to self children, if you want Mother to make dinner even though she's burned meatballs twice in two days, don't mention making fun of her soup. Wyatt was in a panic at 1:15 p.m. that I'd announced I was not making dinner. God moved my heart at some point and somehow I managed it to the table. I'm glad I did as it was yummy.
At 7:45 p.m. my sweet man came home. I'm so grateful that this is not normal here in Alaska as it was quite normal three years ago in Virginia. I can't believe it's almost been three years since I sat in our Honda waiting for the deployment boom to be lowered only to hear, "What would you think about moving to Hawaii!"

At 9:00 p.m. I was tucked in bed ready for some much needed sleep.

At 2:00 am I woke up as my mind is list is long this week. I daily ask the Lord what He wants me to accomplish as I can't begin to do all that needs to be done. The great news is I'm only responsible for what He has for each and every day...not one bit more.

I'm going to finish getting everything in my mind onto paper so I can go back to sleep. I just thought you might be wondering what we've been up to.

Love in Christ,

Dinah for The Troops

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So what?

Dear family and friends,

Getting our things this fall has brought back a flood of memories. Memories that are starting to seem far away, yet were just a breath ago.

Last February in London, my precious husband was so dear when one night in bed I announced, "I have a little dream." Not a dream as when you are asleep, but a dream of the future, something you desire to experience. Now mind you, this is not the first time my husband has heard this announcement as I've had a lot of little dreams over the years.

Just tonight at the table the children were talking about one of my little dreams. When we moved back from overseas the first time, the European experience grew a desire in my heart to see my own country. That year we were studying moving out west and living in Colorado. My dream included our children riding in a Conestoga wagon across the Oregon trail, which we did. A five day trip into Wyoming, a common American vacation. I even found a tepee that we could camp in for $50. Ed made my dream happen, but he drew the line at the tepee firmly stating that he was not sleeping in a tepee with three giggling children and a infant, no matter how much it furthered their education.

This dream I had in London didn't involve a tepee, it involved a motorcoach.

Ed had a two week break in April and we'd been praying about how we were going to spend our time. Lots of neat ideas were on the table as we were pounding out our priorities of the travel we were going to try to experience while we were in Great Britain. At first we were thinking Europe but then I got on this tear that we should see England and Scotland. It would have been a real shame to be there and not venture far out of London.

So once the decision had been made, the planning began. I had several travel guides on the table and my laptop full of ideas. A few Brits had given me their take on what they would consider musts. I had a vague plan of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, but then I hit an obstacle. Places to stay in England do not accommodate a family of six very well. Most places wanted us to have two to three rooms which meant large amounts of Great British Pounds.

One way we've gotten around this little snafu when we went to Rome and Paris was to rent an flat, ie apartment. This is a fantastic way to go in Europe, but you usually have to commit at least three nights. This was not in our plan as we knew we wanted to cover quite a bit of ground in a short amount of time and would not be anywhere for more than a night or two.

One evening Ed and I were at the College for an evening function and I was sharing this with one of the proper English wives. After listening politely she piped in, "Why don't you rent a motorcoach?" After she told me what a motorcoach was, I knew I had a dream!

So there we were, a family of six with five rolling duffel bags, backpacks all the way around, Miss Pear our handy grocery cart, and one other large but light bag stuffed with all of our pillows. Normally when you travel in a motorhome you drive it up to your house and pack all you need before you head out. We were laughing as we were standing at the elevator to head downstairs to take the tube to the train station that it was not a typical camping trip, yet we were hauling everything we needed for eleven nights...toilet paper and all.

My sweet husband had volunteered to be the driver of this adventure. I had driven in New Zealand on the left side of the road for five days. Ed had driven in Japan on the left side of the road for five minutes. Considering our vast experience I quickly agreed he should be the driver. I knew it would take him a little to adjust, I just didn't know the man was going to be baptized by fire.

I had rented the motorcoach on the edges of London rather than central where we lived as it seemed obvious that downtown driving would not be the best place to start. So he took off the left rear view mirror in the first five minutes, we were not to be deterred as it was either hitting a high old stone wall or being hit by a car. I thought the wall was a pretty good choice considering Ed's options . Bless his heart, after that little incident the serious praying began.

Did I mention it was a stick shift? Did I mention the Sat Nav took us straight into the heart of London rather than heading out through the countryside towards Stonehenge? Did I mention their curbs are not curved but have a hard 90 degree angle? Did I mention it was Friday night traffic? Did I mention it was quickly dark?

If any of you out there want to learn to drive on the left side of the road, I can set you up!

We spent two and a half grueling hours of sweat, prayer, and fear just heading out of London. I've never been so grateful to be out of city traffic in my entire life.

So now we were a tid bit behind schedule or sh eh dule as the British would say.

The first night we were planning on staying in a motorcoach park, but it was closed when we got there. This was cracking us up. You see at this point we had just been given a load of perspective and we were not even bothered by the fact that the owners would not let us in. They had said they close at 8:00 and boy howdy did they mean it. Americans are about the all mighty buck...not the Brit's. 8:00 means 8:00 and they had no concern that we'd just survived the ride of our lives by the skin of our teeth. They sat watching the telly while we knocked at the door, but didn't budge.

So the evening was rounded out by eating Kentucky Fried Chicken at a truck stop 5 minutes from Stonehenge. That night we slept in the parking lot with the truckers on the side of the road 4o feet from the highway. It was a good night though. I hardly could believe how close we were to such a famous piece of history that we were going to get to see for ourselves the very next day.

When I first wrote this particular blog, I hit this point and clicked "SAVE NOW". I didn't really have a reason for writing it, I usually have a point, but not this time. As I talked to my mother several days later she pointed out, "You may not have a point, but God certainly does!" I agree...

Even if I never understand why God lets me experience something, it's not for naught. In Isaiah 14 this week it's been a wonderful reminder that we cannot thwart God's plans!

Love in Christ,

Dinah for The Troops

P.S- I apologize for so many pictures. Ed would say choose your best 10;but it's my blog and I'm going to choose many more. I worked hard to get it down to this many! I'm hopeful I'll get all of our trips up on our blog in the next few months while everything is still fresh on my mind...we'll see.

This trip was well planned by God, but I'd not had much time. We had a basic road map of where we thought we wanted to go, a reserved motorcoach, and lots of books! Stonehenge was stop number one...we loved it! Please notice the guidebook in hand. Once we were members of English Heritage we leaned heavily upon the guide as all of those stops were paid for.

There she is...the faithful little motorcoach that was home for 11 nights. Big by English standards, tiny by American.

Stop number 2....Bath. It was so amazing to see what the Romans built up front and personal after studying about it last fall. We were blown away time and time again at the details that went into their buildings; they were setting up shop for more than the 400 years that they were there. On the other hand, since we'd just been to Rome, we were very aware that their arts did not compare. B Team accomplished a great amount though.

Nothing like being put into your first corset by your brother. Boys just do things differently now don't they?

The meal here has the all time record as it was only 2.99GBP's. We could hardly believe it. We were the only family eating in the local pub and we were happy to be there. We didn't know the game was going to start while we were there and it was fun watching the place fill up quickly. We were given our table by three men who were just generous and kind. We had to leave earlier than I would have as Caroline gave it away to some college students while I still had a few fries left on my plate. We still love teasing her.

Day 3...Kenilsworth...the largest castle ruin in England! Queen Elizabeth had several visits there and Sir Walter Scott wrote a book called Kenilworth that Caroline was able to find an old copy of while we were in England.

After so many years of having very few pictures together, it's fun to have children who are happy to get behind the camera. Wyatt took this one.

There was a wonderful hill at the back of the property that brought us a ton of fun. How that boy gets me to do some things, well it must be love.

The next morning we were heading to Hadrian's wall and came across an enormous farm house that ended up being Melanee Kate's favorite, hence the picture.

We were all completely fascinated by the about some old leather!

This is the story of my life :). I'm trying to not only keep them under control, but the goal is to teach them to control themselves. Oh the process...

We were at a fort and the tops of the walls that you see were the floors. They had heated water that ran underneath in order to provide heated flooring. The commandant had the largest house and the children quickly decided Daddy would have needed to be in that position.

Students and Mother sitting on a tiny portion Hadrian's Wall...still hard to believe!

When we got into Scotland the weather went south. We spent an entire day in the motorcoach which also ended up being our only laundry day. I don't know that my hands have ever been so cold as I walked through the sideways rain carrying a heavy black trashbag of laundry. I felt really old school even with a washing machine. The children read and played games, and late afternoon we went on a little shopping trip which was a wonderful opportunity to see God's grace. I'd not brought enough clothes for the snow and in April there's not much left for winter at the stores. We hit a TKMaxx and found an extra layer for everyone. We also found hats and gloves at a sporting goods store. Since we were moving to Alaska it was not wasted money AND we paid 70% of everything. The pickings were slim and God had something for everybody! To round of our down day we ate a delicious dinner in an old stable. Jefferson was very excited to try Haggis as he'd not been to Robert Burns night with us in February.
So the girls 70% hats weren't the most stylish, but they DID NOT care! This day we participated in a group tour in order to head into the Highlands. Very worth our money so Ed didn't have to drive on awful roads, on the left side of course. I have no doubt he could have, but was very happy he didn't have to. We are standing in front of Edinburgh Castle where we met the bus.
A ride from big brother is always welcomed. Jefferson now has the warmest fleece lined flannel shirt you've ever imagined.

This young man is always happy to not have his feet on the ground!

It's so much fun watching our girls love each other...God is doing a really neat thing here!

On the way home Jefferson and I were GREEN due to the bus getting too warm and the incredibly winding roads. Don't you just love when your family photographs you at your finest moment?

The daffodils were fabulous; a tremendous sign that spring was on it's way.

This day we spent in York, hot pasties all the way around. I have to say we kinda ate our way through York.

Nothing like getting a little snuggle from your Daddy.

I was very sad to miss the evensong, but Caroline was at another old bookstore. She did find some amazing treasures though, I will say.

I'm trying, I'm trying...

I'm not going to tell you how many people were burned alive in this turret.

I told you we ate our way through York. I love Fish and Chips. They are a heart attack on a plate though.

This was our table, the boys beds, and where the children rode in seatbelts for many, many hours. Wyatt's pleased about something and Kate is semi disgusted. We're working on that.

This is our pitstop in Sherwood forest. As we made decisions going North it had gotten thrown off the drawing board, so we pulled over for a quick stop when we came back through.

This was the night before Easter. A sweet reminder that the next day we would celebrate that Jesus rose. He is risen!
Oh, and it was the night we laughed and laughed at this British man walking around the motorcoach park in his bathrobe. It did not seem very proper but managed us a great family memory.
I love this picture. I think Wyatt must have been scaling a wall, saving a damsel in distress, or possibly in trouble.
The family still lives in a small portion of the largest house I've ever seen. Portions of the latest Pride and Prejuidice were filmed here. This was not on our English Heritage list, but it was worth the money!

Back to little had been a long time. We had not been to any American bases as a family since Hickam AFB in November; a Thomas Troop record. Our last stop was at RAF Mildenhall. The children were thrilled to be at a BX and to eat Taco Bell. I was thrilled to be at an American Commissary with American prices. We mailed four huge boxes of groceries back to London. Well, not all the way to our flat, but to our mailbox that was an hour out.

Now that's a lot of books for 11 days. This was the pared down version of what the children and I originally selected.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What kind of cranberries did the recipe call for?

Dear family and friends,

When Ed was in high school he had this awful experience that we were very reminded of last night.

He was sitting at lunch with his faithful tuna sandwich when several people at his table questioned it. Apparently it had quite a funky smell, but he swore up and down his mother had made it for him and was extremely adamant that if his mother sent it for him, he knew it was good.

He confidently took a bite, then quickly fled to the trash can to spit it out as quickly as possible. It baffled him, his mother would never send something nasty.

Then it dawned on him, about two weeks before he had brought a lunch that he ended up not needing. It had been rotting in his locker for two weeks before the infamous day where he claimed his mother would never do him wrong.

Last night was a typical crazy Thursday evening. I had dinner ready as we were going to be eating in shifts. Ed had the day off for Veteran's day and the vast majority of The Troops were at the gym. Then I had to grab Caroline for PT and a quick commissary run. I had made a lentil rice pilaf. At the gym I had told Ed you just needed to stir in fresh spinach, cranberries, and sunflower seeds. Normally I would throw it all in right before we all ate, but since we were in shifts we would need to do this step individually. I'd made this before, but it's been years.

Easy enough right?

When I got home Ed and Wyatt had headed off to hockey. I came in to find the cranberries on the counter; the fresh cranberries that I had used to make bread last weekend. The cranberries I had left were sweet dried ones.

I hadn't caught on yet.

Jefferson then said, "Mommy your dinner is good, but Daddy didn't make me eat the cranberries." I questioned him as I still didn't understand.

The girls had come in by then and I now understood and was rolling with laughter.

Ed had put fresh cranberries, at least a dozen, in his and Wyatt's bowl. Wyatt was pained after the first bite but Ed was confident. "If this is what Mom had planned, we're going to eat it son," he announced...and so they did.

I was so proud that his confidence in me was as strong as that day in high school with his tuna fish sandwich. I can only imagine they were both gross.

I love my mans loyalty, what a worthy character trait I want to continue to grow in myself and our children...

Love in Christ,
Dinah for the Troops

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Can God handle Algebra?

This week in Bible study we were in Isaiah 10:5-15 and 2 Kings 18:9-16. At first glance I thought, "Okay God, what am I going to get out of this one?" Then the deeper dig began.

It's a reasonable question though. What in the world does Judah, the Assyrians, and their rebellion to God have to do with me? How does it apply to my life?

I warn you, the first time you read it, you may yawn.

Isaiah 10:5-15 (New International Version)

God's Judgment on Assyria
5 "Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger,
in whose hand is the club of my wrath!
6 I send him against a godless nation,
I dispatch him against a people who anger me,
to seize loot and snatch plunder,
and to trample them down like mud in the streets.

7 But this is not what he intends,
this is not what he has in mind;
his purpose is to destroy,
to put an end to many nations.

8 'Are not my commanders all kings?' he says.

9 'Has not Calno fared like Carchemish?
Is not Hamath like Arpad,
and Samaria like Damascus?

10 As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols,
kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria-

11 shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images
as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?' "

12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, "I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.

13 For he says:
" 'By the strength of my hand I have done this,
and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.
I removed the boundaries of nations,
I plundered their treasures;
like a mighty one I subdued [a] their kings.

14 As one reaches into a nest,
so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations;
as men gather abandoned eggs,
so I gathered all the countries;
not one flapped a wing,
or opened its mouth to chirp.' "

15 Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it,
or the saw boast against him who uses it?
As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up,
or a club brandish him who is not wood!

2 Kings 18:9-16 (New International Version)

9 In King Hezekiah's fourth year, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. 10 At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah's sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel. 11 The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes. 12 This happened because they had not obeyed the LORD their God, but had violated his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.

13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: "I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me." The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents [a] of silver and thirty talents [b] of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace.

16 At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the LORD, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

Read it again.

So the first question in my study was: How was Isaiah's prophecy accomplished against Israel and Judah?

In my mind that was an easy one, God allowed the Assyrian's to come in and take Judah back to Assyria.

The next question asked, "How did God's immediate purpose in sending Assyria against the godless nation of Israel compare with the Assyrian king's intention in advancing against Judah and other nations?"

I love that God's plans were different than the Assyrian kings, yet he used this man to accomplish what he knew was best for his people. God remained in control. It never slipped out of His hand. He had full reign of the outcome AND the process.

How in the world do we somehow think we are in control? What a waste of time, energy, and often heartache. I will tell you that I do not believe that I am, yet at times my heart and my actions reflect otherwise.

I then wrote, "Lord, teach me to bask in the fact that you are in control. Please give me your peace and joy. I want to walk the process in a way that honors you!"

The bigger questions for my week were questions like this. Why am I stressed over school? What if a child failing a particular class this year is part of God's bigger plan? What if that child needs that experience to see God's hand in bigger ways, to prepare them for life that is to come, or just to have to work hard in order to receive victory?

I ask Him with great fervor, on a consistent basis to work in all of our lives, then I stress out when He does just that.

I want to learn to trust my Lord, as many doubts that I do have in life, His trustworthiness is NOT one of them!

So here we are. Today we left London 12 weeks ago. I have to be honest, I am grateful that they are twelve weeks under my belt and that I do not have to repeat them. It's been hard, but it's been good. We have no doubt that God is using this all as part of His bigger plan!

This weekend, today or tomorrow, is the day that we finally get to claim we are unpacked! What a great thing, a certain victory for The Thomas Troops. Yet even in typing it, He reminds me that this is not where we find contentment or peace. He is the only source for such treasures and in the greatest moments of chaos, stress, or even tragedy, in Him, they can be found.

If God can control great armies and Kings, he can certainly handle all three levels of Algebra and The Thomas Troops.

Love in Immanuel,
Dinah for The Troops