December 17, 2010

ASIST Training

Last month I taught a class for thirty soldiers on ways to intervene when someone they know is considering suicide. The training is Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and is a two day training event. In the training we got to teach soldiers skills that can use on many different levels. The two days are spent teaching the soldiers by group training, small group sessions, group discussion and finally with participant role playing. It was a great two day event.

The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade (ACB) wrote an article that appeared in the Killeen Herald, in the Fort Hood Sentinel and on the front page of the Army's website. I thought you might like to see me at work. This is just one of the ways I get to help soldiers and their families. If you click on the link it will take you to the article.

If I do not talk to you before Christmas, have a Merry Christmas!!

December 1, 2010

What a beautiful place. Laura and I have been at The Cove for a Chaplains retreat. Wow, what a wonderful time for me and Laura. We have been able to fellowship with many other Chaplains and their spouses. We have been renewed by spending time in God's Word. We have heard the Divine Whisper and we have drank from the well of the Living Water.


One of the greatest things about this is that it is not over yet. We have a few more sessions and a few more people to meet. If you are feeling burned out and overwhelmed by life make sure you are spending some time with God. I often get too busy with ministry to spend adequate time with God. It is good to retreat to a quiet place to speak to God, to get a word from the Lord and to be renewed.

Thank you God for all your wonderful mercies!

November 14, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

It has been a while since I have posted anything so here is a shotgun blast of some of the things that have been going on since my last post.

Since moving to the new unit I have learned a lot. In the beginning of October, my unit had aerial gunnery and I had an opportunity to go into the field and see my new soldiers doing their jobs. I really enjoyed learning what they do and getting to know their stories. Things are going really well and I have had opportunities to connect with my soldiers and I look forward to more opportunities. While we were in the field we had a family day. Families came out to see their soldier doing their job. I think it was a wonderful event. The attached pictures are from that day. Laura & Victoria enjoyed being out there spending time with me in the field. I love my job!!

On 06NOV10, Laura, Victoria and I did a 5K on Fort Hood. It was my first ever competitive run. I hope is only the beginning, one day I would love to run a half marathon and some day a full marathon. For this run I finished 15th in my age group of 29-39. I completed the 3.2 miles in 25:11. Next time I hope to be a little closer to 21 minutes. Laura, Victoria and I enjoyed the great event.

Today, I had the opportunity to worship with First Baptist Church Belton, TX. It was a great time of celebrating Veteran's and their families and being reminded of why it is important tell people about Jesus. It was a great day of worship!!

On 28NOV10, I will become the Senior Pastor of 76th Street Chapel. Please be in prayer with me as I love and seek to lead the great people of our chapel community. I will be joined in leadership by CH Chris Weinrich. Part of my prayer is that we will be effective at reaching out to soldiers that are right around the chapel. I am praying for divine ideas of impacting our chapel and our soldiers. We have to have the perspective that the small things we do in life can and do make an eternal difference. Thanks for partnering with me in prayer as I lead this congregation.

Well, I think this is pretty much it for now. I hope all of you are doing well and that you feel the presence of God in your lives daily. God Bless!!

September 21, 2010

Moving On Up

If you are as old as I am, you probably have the Jefferson's theme song playing in your head. We did not move to a high-rise apartment when we moved last month, instead the title references my impending change of units. At the end of this month I will be leaving 1-7 CAV and going to 1-227 Air Cavalry Brigade (ACB). Yes, I will no longer be in a ground unit. The next time I deploy, my main means of transport will be by air, that will be different. My new soldiers will be helicopter pilots, mechanics, fuelers, etc. (everything to do with helicopters) It is going to be a very different world from what I have known thus far in my Army career, but I am looking forward to it. When I was in basic and I knew I was going to the 1st Cavalry Division I asked for the ACB. So, I am getting my wish a little delayed. :-)

Before leaving 1-7 though, I have the opportunity to earn silver spurs. If you are interested in finding out more you can follow this link: It is going to be a grueling couple of days, but I will continually quote Scripture reminding myself that through Christ all things are possible and that I do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. These verses got me through other events and I do not expect things to be different this time. It is such a honor to participate in such a great tradition of the Cavalry with such a historic unit. I have loved my time with 1-7 "Garryowen" and I cannot think of a better way to end my time there than with a spur ride. I will have to make sure to have medication waiting for me when I get home from the event, LOL!!

On a little different note, Laura and Victoria are doing really well. School is going really well and Victoria is nailing her classes. We are so proud of her!! Victoria is also involved with the youth group on post and we are so thankful for that ministry and that she has the opportunity to be around other people that love the Lord like she does. Laura is staying busy with teaching and getting everything set in our new house. We love our new place and Laura is turning our house into a home. I am loving what she is doing with it. When we get finished we will have to take some pictures and post them on here for you all to see.

Well, I better get off of here because it is getting late and I need some sleep before my fun PT session in the morning.

Until next time...I pray that you are aware of God's presence with you.

September 11, 2010

Ceremony of Remembrance

Yesterday, I had the honor and privilege to participate in a Ceremony of Remembrance. Our Brigade hosted this ceremony so that we could remember our past and look toward our future. We had a local reporter there and this is the article written. I hope you enjoy!! Thank a public servant today!!

August 22, 2010

God's Goodness

God is AWESOME!! I am not telling you anything that you do not already know. Some of you may already know that our family will be moving from Harker Heights to Killeen next week. Since we are going to be staying at Hood and our current lease is about up, we started looking for a house that is less expensive. Laura tirelessly looked at properties all over the Hood area. She found a house that she loved. I thought it was okay but over time it grew on me. Some of the greatest attributes of the new house is that it is about 60 square feet more than our current house, it will take 20 minutes to cut the grass instead of an hour and a half, it is closer to post, and $155 less a month!!

Yesterday, we had a yard sale. We downsized when we moved to TX and it was time to go through our things again and get rid of things that we had not used since we moved here. We had so many things that we put out at the yard sale. We were amazed at how much stuff we sold yesterday. We praise the good Lord for sending the people to buy the things we had for sale. There were many people that got some great deals. We raised $500, thank you Lord!!! Less to move and money in the pocket is a great combination.

If you need our new mailing address send me or Laura an email or give us a call and we can give that to you. If you want to be one of the first to see our new house you are welcome to help us move. :-)

God continues to provide opportunities for ministry in my unit. I spend most of my time helping soldiers and their families as they go through difficult days. I praise God that I get to help in a time of need. Since I have been in my unit for almost two years, I have built many great relationships. It is through these relationships that ministry opportunities abound. Thank you for your prayers for my family, my soldiers and me.

Until next time...I pray you will be witness to God's Goodness also!!!

July 20, 2010

Hangin' Around the Hood

Well, we will be hanging around Fort Hood a little longer. We asked to stay at Hood so Victoria could finish up high school here in TX. She has really connected with other homeschool youth from the Fort Hood Youth Group, Bob's Diner.

Things are going well here. I have been very busy!! We have been home from our deployment six months. I am not sure where all the time has gone but we are beginning our training phase. I was in the field last night until about 0100. Over the next couple of weeks I will have many of my soldiers in the field. I will be bouncing around to see them all at the different training events. With long days and packed schedules the next six months will go as fast as the last six have gone.

Recently, we got to see our families!! It was great to see them all. We went and spent time with Laura's family in AL and then we spent time with my family in PCB at my folks house there. We soaked up some rays, some good food and a lot of great fellowship.

Well, I guess that is all for now. Just wanted to give you all an update since it has been a while since I have written. I pray that God blesses you richly with His love and presence.

Until next time...

June 20, 2010

Two Years

It is hard to believe that I have been in the Army for two years. Where has the time gone? Well, three months at CH-BOLC, one month at Fort Hood, one month at the National Training Center (NTC), three and a half months back at Fort Hood, eleven and a half months in Iraq, and five months back at Fort Hood. One of the things that I have learned is that Army life is different.

In the church world I kind of knew what to expect and what was right around the corner. In the Army that is not the case. You have to be so fluid in the Army and ready to change course in an instant. Something that was certain just a moment ago is not so certain now. It is good to remember that even when plans shift, God is in control.

As I think about the past two years, I am reminded of how different Memorial Day was for me this last month . Memorial Day normally is a day in which we "say" that we remember those who have given their lives for our freedoms. We normally top off our remembrance with some kind of cook out or some other form of hanging out with the family. This Memorial Day was different because I was remember two of my own soldiers who gave their lives for our country. On August 23, 2009 our unit lost LT Joseph Fortin and on January 5, 2010 our unit lost SGT David Croft. Now, I truly have someone to remember. On Memorial Day not only did I remember these brave soldiers, I remembered their families.

Being in the Army has given me a greater appreciation and grasp on honoring and remembering those who fight for our freedoms when their country calls upon them. I am honored and blessed to serve with men and women who put their lives on the line for their fellow Americans.

As I now reflect on two years of ministry to our service members, I would not change a thing. There are difficult days for different reasons, but those difficult days are worth enduring. I often miss church life and the people at Menokin, but I love that I have the opportunity to provide encouragement and help when a soldier needs it. What a great honor.

I would like to thank all of you who have prayed for me and my family as we have been on this great God Adventure. Please pray for our soldiers and their families!! They pay a price that ninety-nine percent of the American people will never understand.

God Bless America and the American Soldier!!

June 12, 2010

Catching Up

I have been back from Iraq for about four and a half months. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed. Laura, Victoria and I have really enjoyed spending as much time together as possible.

Laura and Victoria have been really busy finishing out the school year. Right now they are focusing on Chemistry and finishing that up. Three more units and she will have completed the book. I do not ever remember finishing a book when I was in school. Do you? Anyway, Victoria is doing such a wonderful job and I am very proud of her. I cannot believe that she will be in 11th grade next year.

I am getting in the groove of things back in the states. I head off for PT bright and early and sometimes do not get back home until after dark. It makes for really long days. I really do hate being right down the road from my family and still not able to see them. My ministry to soldiers continues to grow. Because I have been with the guys through a deployment I have gained their trust, so I have many opportunities to be the presence of God to them. I love these opportunities.

Recently, I submitted my "wish list." The wish list is a document that you fill out telling the Army where you would like to be stationed next. We have asked for Fort Hood again. We feel like we need to stay here if possible. It will mean another deployment at some point but we feel like that is the route we are supposed to take. We will find out some time in June or July if I will get to stay at Fort Hood or if I/we will be headed off somewhere new. We have been praying that God prepares us for our next place, wherever that is.

As some of you may already know, Laura's Dad passed away on May 19. We left TX on May 18 at 0045 and arrived in Dothan around 1500 (for non-military people that is leaving at 12:45 am and arriving at 3:00 pm) We got to see Dad and talk to him and let him know how much we loved and appreciated him. It was during those few hours we had with him that God answered all of Laura's prayers. God is so good. The next morning before we got back to the hospital he went to be with the Lord. We were so glad that we got to see him before he passed. Again, God is so good!!

Well, until next time I pray God's blessings upon you and yours.

April 19, 2010

The Rock & Worship Roadshow

Wow, we had a great time last night worshipping with thousands of people! The Rock and Worship Roadshow came to San Antonio and we had not been together to a concert in years, so we decided to go. One of the draws of this concert was that it was affordable. Each ticket was $10. Yes, you read it right, $10. For that $10 we got to see and hear:

If they are coming to a city near you, I strongly encourage you to go and see them. Wow, what a powerful night of worship. If I ranked the bands from favorite to least favorite, it would be: Mercy Me, David Crowder* Band, Sidewalk Prophets, Fee, Francesca Battistelli, Remedy Drive and Family Force 5. Interestingly, the band I liked the least got the most screams from the younger crowd. I see that as a testament of me getting older. Oh well, what is one to do?

Again, if they are coming close to your town go!!! One of the best $55 ever spent.

Entrance fee: $30
3 CD's: $15
Parking for two cars: $10
A great evening of worship: PRICELESS!!

April 10, 2010


As many of you may know I am a fan of Financial Peace University (FPU). In March or April of 2007 I was introduced to FPU by my sister-in-law who was going through the course. It piqued my interest enough that I ordered it for my family and we began our journey to being debt free.

When I got back from Iraq I naturally fell back into the roll of taking care of our finances. Normally I use Quicken to keep up with our finances. I went to an Apple dealer and bought Quicken 2007 for MAC since I had been using Quicken 2007 for Windows. I did not like the MAC version so I was on the hunt for something else. Well, I found it.

I have started using Snowmint. Why do I like it? Truth be told because it works well with FPU principles of using envelopes. Snowmint has a MAC version and a Windows version. It will not perform anything like Quicken, however, it keeps up with what I need it to do. It keeps up with my check book and my savings account with no problems. It is based on the envelope system and with this software I can see what I have in my clothing envelope or in the homeschool envelope. If you are a FPU fan and are working the budget and getting out of debt give this software a try. It comes with a 30 free trial. It got me hooked!

Here is a link to their sight if you would like to check it out.

I am also posting a link to the Dave Ramsey site, founder of FPU.

Just an update on our debt snowball. We have just a little less than $4,500.00 to pay off all our debt. When we are debt free, we will have paid off $65,000 since May of 2007! God is so good!!

Marriage Retreat

This past week I had the opportunity to lead in a marriage retreat for our Junior Enlisted Soldiers. Wow, we had a great time! It was a Brigade event so I had the privilege to work with three other Chaplains. We had over 100 couples there for the event.

We held it at the Holiday Inn Riverwalk, San Antonio, TX. When we were not in our training sessions the participants had the opportunity to walk around the very picturesque Riverwalk. The picture above is from our time on the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk hosts many great stores to browse and restaurants to satisfy anyone’s taste buds. We went on the Riverboat tour and enjoyed learning about the Riverwalk area.

I think the best part of the whole thing is that we got to spend time with soldiers and help them to make their marriages the best they can be. All the soldiers I talked to got a lot out of the event. I look forward to doing another retreat where we can help our soldiers and give them some time to relax.

March 22, 2010

10 Year Anniversary

I cannot believe it has been 10 years since Laura and I said our vows. I am so glad that we have started our second decade. God sure did bless me the day Laura said she would be Mrs. Michael Dawson.

We did not get away on our anniversary because on March 12th we honored those in the 1CD who gave all in support of OIF. So, we celebrated our anniversary on a little get away to New Mexico the week after our anniversary.

Last Monday we drove to El Paso and stayed the night with some good friends. Our friends kept Victoria as Laura and I went to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. We spent two nights in New Mexico. We had a wonderful time!! Thursday, we drove back to our friends house in El Paso and spent the night again.

It was so good to catch up with our friends. They have played such a vital role in our lives and it was good to spend some time with them. Friday morning we got up and headed back home. Texas sure is a big state. It was good to get home!

February 26, 2010

Driving Lessons

Yes, Victoria has started driving! I enjoy teaching her. We started out in empty parking lots and have moved on to our neighborhood and some back roads. Today as we were leaving out for another lesson, this is what transpired. (In Victoria's words.)

Daddy: "Ok, Victoria, you're going to back out of the driveway and go in that direction." (Mommy shifts uncomfortably) Victoria: "Ok!" (She adjusts seat, checks mirrors, fastens seatbelt, and puts her foot on the brake to shift into reverse) Car: "Vrrrrooooom!" (Mommy and Daddy jump ten feet.......) Victoria: "Oops! Wrong pedal. Ha ha ha!" Mommy: "If the car had been in drive we wouldn't have a garage door."

We got a good laugh out of it. Victoria is doing a really good job. I know I helped daddy grow some grey hairs, sorry! Now I get to pass on the knowledge. I am enjoying it!! Great memories are being made. One day I will tell her kids about when she was learning to drive. :-)

February 21, 2010

The Difference a Year Makes

It is hard to believe that one year ago today I was on my way from Kuwait to Iraq. I am sure that I ate some type of fast food from the DFAC before hopping on a C-17 headed to Iraq. Today has been a little different. We went to chapel for worship and then we came back to the house and I opened my birthday gift from Laura and Victoria. I loved my gift! From our R&R trip to Disney they made me a book of memories using our pictures. It is wonderful! I have looked at it a few different times today. To add to that, Laura made me one of my favorite meals. She fixed chicken spectacular, vegetable casserole and 5 cup salad. Great day! It is amazing the difference a year makes.