September 29, 2007

Hurry Up and Wait

September was a month in which some more things came together.

I finally was able to schedule my MEPS examination for September 6 at Fort Lee, VA. I had to be there at 06:00. Good Grief! I left the house at 04:00. I got there early and had to wait. A little after 06:00 someone came out to instruct us on how the process would work. I had a vision test, blood pressure check, hearing test, blood test, urine test, physical, body joints check and body measurements (height and weight). I got the passing grade! I did not think MEPS would take as long as it did. I did not leave there until 11:30. As soon as I left the base I called my recruiter and set up an appointment with him for September 14.

When I got together with my recruiter, Chaplain Walker, we put my Army application together. He told us that the fastest he had gotten through this process was about four hours. So when he got to our house at 10:00 we quickly got started. We got him set up in the dining room where he could spread out and we could knock out the application. There were many parts to the application. Slowly but surely we moved from one section to another. Within four hours we had finished the application except for the the FBI Security Clearance Application. By the way, I think we set a new record for finishing the application because we had lunch in that time also. Laura was a great help. Thanks Laura!

Wow! I did not realize there was so much to do for the FBI Security Clearance Application. I had to list all my jobs back to the age of 16. I also had to list all the places that I have lived for the last ten years with names of people who could verify that I had lived there when I did...and so much more. CRAZY! I do not know why they needed all the information, but I got it all together and sent in the application. YAY!

So, am I ready to go before the Army Chaplaincy Board yet? NO! I have to have an interview with a Colonel Chaplain. I was able to schedule that interview for October 4. I look forward to getting that done and having completed everything possible before going before the Army Chaplaincy Board.

Now it is a matter of hurrying up and waiting. The hurdles before us are less than they were!

So while I wait I will continue to work hard preparing myself for the PT test at basic.

September 27, 2007

Time For Some R&R

August was busy and restful. Laura drove our daughter Victoria to a Children's Theatre Camp in Montana. Yes, it was a long drive, but Laura did it. They were both troopers. After dropping Victoria off Laura drove back to Minnesota to stay with a friend for two weeks. On August 15 I flew to Minnesota to meet up with Laura. The next day we began our track back out to Montana.

Before this trip none of us had been to this part of the country. It was nice to visit but so different from the East. We missed seeing all the trees. We did most of our sight seeing on the way home. We went to Yellowstone in WY, Mount Rushmore in SD, Crazyhorse in SD, Wall Drugs in SD, Walnut Grove in MN, Kalamazoo in MI, Niagara Falls in Canada and finally home sweet home.

From the time the car left until it returned we covered 8290.5 miles! It was a lot of driving, but we created great memories together.

Fortunately, even though I ate out a lot on the trip I lost weight. When I knew God was calling me into the Military I was 250lbs. To meet the the height weight chart I need to get below 206. I still need to loose some weight so I continue to eat salad, run, do sit ups and push ups. This regiment will help me get ready for MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) and PT (Physical Training).

Some Financial Hurdles Crossed

It seemed that every door we came to was open. I told in one of the previous posts that my father-in-law had been accepted for Medicaid. As the months went by I did not receive a bill for his stay in the nursing facility. I would call them about it and they would tell me we would get a bill once he got moved off the skilled nursing wing. So we waited. Now he was moved to a different facility and I still had not gotten a bill. When I finally contacted the facility I was told that the bill had been paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Therefore, the money that would have been his copay was his. The money was enough to pay back all the debt that he owed us. I could not believe it. God will take care of things if we allow him too.

When Dad moved back to Alabama they needed thousands of dollars to take him. We were not sure where that money was going to come from but we soon found out. The one month he was in Richmond finished off his 90 days of benefits where Medicare paid 80% and Medicaid paid 20%. The amount of his copay was enough to cover the money he needed for the facility in Alabama. In a matter of a week God had provided close to $10,000. To God be the glory for the great things He has done.

September 22, 2007

Big Strides

In July we would make some major strides in our journey into the Army. We awaited news about Dad's application,we shared our journey with the church and with my parents .

On July 1, I told Laura that we had gotten so much confirmation in the beginning that it would be nice to have a little more, as if we needed more confirmation. Victoria was gone to Youth Camp and Laura and I were camping out in the back yard. Laura went into the house and I asked her to bring back the latest edition of the Religious Herald. We had gotten it in the mail a few days before, but I had not looked at it. I always read from the back to the front. I had made it all most all the way through the paper before stumbling upon this article.

On July 3, we got a call from the nursing facility in Alabama. They had received Dad's application and we were told that they were moving Dad to the top of the waiting list. From what I understood the waiting list was a year long. WOW! We were shocked. This was further confirmation that we would be going into the Army. It is not by human hands that all these things came about but instead by the hands of God. Thank you God! Time to wait again.

On July 8, we shared out journey with our church. I was excited to share and also nervous. Of sorts it was a load off my shoulders. I struggled with God's call, on Sunday's following church, since things were going so well at the church. Why now God? Yet, once I told the church it seemed like the pressure valve was released. I think it is safe to say that there were mixed feelings in reaction to our news. One of the comforts was that they knew me well enough to know I was following God's call and I was not leaving because of other reasons. So many in the church have continued to be supportive of us and our ministry in light of the impending changing of the guard. I am so blessed to be the pastor to some of the greatest people in the world.

On July 10, we were supposed to meet with Chaplain Walker, my Chaplain Recruiter. However, on July 9, the Army came in and told him that he was being moved. We finally got to meet Chaplain Walker in September.

I waited until July 13, to call my parents. I was not looking forward to telling them. I could only image their reaction to my news. Rarely do parents want their child(ren) to join the Armed Forces with the reality or war. Note to self: Take a deep breath! When I called my folks, mom was not home from work yet. I told my dad first and he was shocked! If my dad took the news this way how would my mother react? Finally, my mother got home from work and it was time to tell her. As I shared she attentively listened. After I had told her she said, "Okay." Okay? Wow! I wondered if she was sick. She took the news better than my dad did. She was supportive and assured me of her knowledge that I was in God's hands. I know that God will help us all as we go through this process together. Thanks for being supportive Mom!

July 23, we got an unanticipated call. The nursing facility in Alabama called to ask when we could have Dad there. In less than a month God had done what was humanly impossible. It reminds me of Revelation 3:7 from the Contemporary English Version: "When I open a door, no one can close it. And when I close a door, no one can open it." Without a doubt God had worked all this out. We had Dad back in Alabama on July 25.

God gave confirmation on top of confirmation. There are hurdles behind us and before us. I thank God for His faithfulness through this process.


September 5, 2007

A Look Back

I actually need to tell a little back story to continue showing God's graciousness and moving during our process of joining the Army.

My father-in-law has had mini strokes for years. He had one in the summer of 2006 but it really only affected his math skills. Otherwise he seemed to do fine. As you may or may not know back in December of 2006 my father-in-law had a stroke that made him unable to live by himself. Just days before the stroke he had been teaching at Troy Dothan and driving around town. Oh at the difference of a few days. He was very fortunate that the stroke did not cause more damage than it did. With the news that he would not be able to live by himself Laura and I made the decision to move him to live with us. We had to clean out his home and get it sold, we had to divide his belonging into five different categories: Dad's, Della's, Laura's, yard sale and eBay. Laura stayed in Alabama to get Dad's affairs in order and she worked tirelessly while Dad was in rehab. Victoria and I had returned to Virginia with a U-Haul trailer full of stuff for Dad, us and eBay.

At the very end of January we moved Dad and another trailer full of stuff from Alabama to Virginia. It was a difficult transition for the whole family, but we made it. Dad was walking around the house slowly with his walker and feeding himself. We were grateful for these little steps of progress. I remember riding down the road and feeling like God was telling me that he was taking us to the next level in our faith journey. I remember thinking that I was happy right where I was.

Within the first six weeks at our house Dad went to the hospital six times and he was admitted five. The last time he was admitted to the hospital the doctor's told us that we would not be able to take care of all his needs at home. They suggested he go to a nursing facility to get rehab and after rehab he might be able to come back and live with us. Not long after he got into the nursing facility we realized that he was not progressing as we had hoped he would.

Back at the end of summer 2006 we had taken on some of Dad's debts. We had two credit cards that had nothing on them and offered a better interest rate than the accounts that he had. While he was living with us he had enough money to pay his bills and to pay us back as well. Once he went into the nursing home, however, we were left with the remainder of that debt. We knew from the beginning that this outcome was a possibility, but we knew that we had done the right thing.

Since Dad could not afford the nursing facility with his retirement and Social Security he applied for Medicaid. God is so good, he was accepted for Medicaid. He only got $30 per month for any person expenses etc. We were so excited for dad even though he would not be able to repay the debt to us.

Just before Memorial Day Weekend Dad was sent to the hospital from the nursing facility. He had gotten dehydrated and he just needed some fluids. Once they got him hydrated they were ready to send him back to the nursing facility. They would not accept him! We could not believe it. They tried to put it off on us saying it was because we did not pay to hold the room for him. They ended up telling us that they would not have taken him back even if we had of held the room. Great what now? As if our plates were not full enough with the impending upheaval now this situation with Dad. So, even though Dad was well enough to leave the hospital, he couldn't. It took close to two weeks to find a place for him but he ended up in Richmond. At first we did not like him being that far away from us, but in the end it was a blessing in more than one way.

At the new facility they really worked with Dad to get him mobile. WOW! They had given up on him at the facility in Warsaw. Dad really liked the place and we were thankful that the situation had worked out the way that it did.

We were now headed toward the end of June and we were certain God wanted us in the Army so we began to look for a place back in Alabama for Dad. At the end of June we submitted an application to the same facility he had been at before coming to Virginia. Then we waited.