Friday, May 18, 2012

littlest sister's graduation

Littlest sister,
This weekend you graduate from high school!  I am so proud of you for getting through a hard and busy senior year!  You are strong and wise and ready for the challenge of college so I can't wait to see how your first year goes!  I wish that I could tell you these things face-to-face.  I'd climb in your bed with you and let you rest your head on my shoulder and then we'd talk all about the upcoming year.  Maybe we'll still get the chance to do that later this summer....  But for now, here is my advice to help you through your first year.
Love you dearly, my sister, and I admire your life.  Let's be friends always!!

Originally Posted on May 14th, 2010 for another sister's graduation

Jealously guard how you spend your time to avoid wasting time and burnout, yet allow your schedule to be under God’s control. Your time can be sucked away by being wasted (facebook, etc) or even by “good” things (ministry opportunities). Make time for the Lord, for sincere reading of Scripture, for listening to God, for homework, for ministry, for friends, for fun. Balance these and evaluate if you are making good use of your time. Don’t always measure your use of time by productivity. Stopping a homework assignment to listen to a distraught friend may indeed be the best use of your time at that moment

Become best friends with the library and the librarians. Doing homework in the       library will keep you from getting distracted. Plus, the library is kind of esoteric. It’s nice to be “in”

Find a mentor (older woman on campus/at church) and meet with her regularly (if you can’t find someone right away, ask around for suggestions). Be honest with them and have them hold you accountable

Spend a little bit looking for a church and then just pick one! No church is going to be perfect, so stop looking for it. Once you pick a church commit to staying there during your time at school and GET INVOLVED! They can become your second family. Get involved with music and with the children

Find families who you can be involved with. One of the greatest things I’ve been able to do is babysit for some young couples for free. It has been a huge blessing to them and it’s also good for singles to be involved with families. It broadens your perspective on life. As singles, we need to be investing in (and supporting) the marriages around us.

When you meet someone who seems like they really know Jesus, ask if you can meet them for coffee and hear their testimony

Choose thankfulness for the food. It might not always be your favorite, but it is a gift from God and someone spent time making it for you.

Don’t date for at least a year. Become friends (good friends) with guys, but keep it at that.

Be careful that you don’t encourage girls who have crushes. Think of Song of Solomon where Shulammith (the bride) says to the girls around her “Do not stir up or awaken love until it so pleases”. Encourage the girls around you to make good choices and have level heads. Listen to them, but don’t encourage obsessing over guys (that that boys aren't fun...they just aren't the "end all" of life).

Get to know your professors. Go up and introduce yourself on the first day of class. Stay in contact with them. If they are super cool (i.e. super wise), ask if you can meet them for coffee or a meal.

Avoid girl drama. Nip it in the bud if it starts among your friends. Don’t put up with catty actions and certainly don’t start them yourself. It DOES get hard to live with girls constantly, but that’s not an excuse for sin.

Spend time alone and outside. Grab a blanket and your Bible and spend an hour in a field (obviously I’m from a rural campus!!  You won't really have that option, but you could find a nice park or museum instead)

Get to know your RA and RD. Stop by and talk to them. Write them encouraging notes, etc.

Be careful what movies and TV shows you are watching. Evaluate everything based on Scripture and remember that wasting time is a sin as well.

Make time for a Sabbath each week. Set aside time alone with just you and God. Ignore your phone, homework, friends, etc. Begin this practice early on.

Be kind to everyone and try and get to know a lot of people, BUT realize that you don’t need to be open and honest with everyone. Choose your closest friends wisely.

Realize that you are going to make mistakes. It’s just part of life.

Don’t shy away from classes because you know that they are hard. Hard is good. You learn a lot more.  And (in my experience) the hard professors respect you more because they can tell you respect their subject matter and are working hard.

Spend time with people who think differently than you do (theologically, philosophically, politically, etc).Spend time listening to their arguments. Your views on things are going to expand and broaden at college – that’s good! It is a mark of maturity to be able to have an educated, calm discussion with people who think differently than you. Evaluate EVERYTHING (even your presuppositions) to see how the measure up against the Bible.

Look for the people around campus who don’t get notice (custodians, grounds crew, etc) and thank them for doing their job well. Show them that they are appreciated.

Enjoy these years! They go by so quickly.

When you get stressed and life feel completely overwhelming, take a break to clean your room from top to bottom, wash your sheets and wash your bath towels. Trust me. It helps!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

all about our PCS (part 2)

Arrival At New Base

Whereas we've lived off-base in an apartment here in Biloxi, we have decided to live in base housing at our new base.  However, a house won't be available upon our arrival.  It might take a week or so before a house is available for us (this is very common).  It is not so bad for us because it is just Mr. Mays and me.  But imagine waiting around for several weeks with multiple children and pets with only a few suitcases full of things!

In order to make the transition smoother, the AF bases have TLFs (temporary lodging facilities) for these families.  They vary base-to-base, but they are basically like full-equipped little apartments (complete with kitchens, washers/dryers, etc).  In the event that all the TLFs are full, the hotels on base are also available to house people in transition.  In a hotel, you don't have all the amenities, but you are still taken care of.  So...we will be waiting around for a few days (?) and living in one of these temporary locations.

Since we are doing a DITY move (and will have all of our things with us), we will have to rent a storage unit to hold our things until our house is available.  Obviously this is not ideal.  But if the AF had moved us, they would have put our things in storage and it would have taken longer to get them once we got access to our house.  At least if we do the storage unit on our own, we will be able to get our things out of storage on our own time instead of waiting!  :)

Mr. Mays will check into the new base and then be given "permissive TDY" (up to 10 days off to find a house, get moved in and get his family settled before having to start regular work).  He'll have a list of things to do on base in order to "check-in" (submit receipts from the move, make sure medical records and finances are transferred, etc)

And then...we officially live there. :)

It is times like this when Mr. Mays is very, very glad that he married a girl who grew up moving.  ;)  This will be my eleventh home in less than 25 years so I've had a lot of experience packing up boxes.

all about our PCS (part 1)

Subtitle:  Moving with the Air Force

While we have been preparing to move in the past few weeks, we have had many, many changes to the original plan.  Since my family and friends have been asking, I have been trying to explain everything (mostly over texting).  That was getting a little difficult, so I decided to write out an abbreviated explanation of our move.  It is confusing and involves lots of acronyms, but I'll do my best to make it clear and only include the important details  Here goes nothing!!  :)

Preparing For the Move
Moving in the Air Force is called a PCS (permanent change of station).  When you find out that you are moving, you get two dates.  The first is the date that you are scheduled to leave your current base (called your "final out") and the second is called your RNLTD (report no later than date - this is the date by which you absolutely must have checked in with your new base).

Then you have a short check-list of things to do.  For instance, if you are going overseas OR if you have any special medical conditions (that's me) you have to be medically cleared each time you travel to a new base and the new base's medical group has to 'accept' you.  This is to make sure that they can provide the care that you need.  So it is a good just means that it take even longer to get moved (the clearance process takes at least 2-3 extra weeks)!

Once you finish all the things on the short check-list, you are waiting on your orders, the piece of paper that officially says where the AF needs you to be.  I call the orders the "golden ticket" (a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) because absolutely nothing can be done without this paper.  Once the orders come in, you can make arrangements for the move by talking to TMO (traffic management office - the people who handle all moves to and from a certain base)

There are three different options when it comes to actually moving your things.

Option 1:  TMO can arrange to have movers come to your house, pack everything in your house, transport it to the next location and drop it off in your new house.  If we were going overseas, we would HAVE to do this option.

Option 2: Partial DITY (partial do-it-yourself move) means that TMO arranges movers who come and pack up MOST of your things, transports and drops it off in your new house.  You are then responsible for driving your vehicles to the new location and you can bring certain things with you that you don't want the movers to transport.  This was our original plan for this move.

Option 3:  DITY, also called PPM (personally procured move) means that you pack up all your items, you find a way to transport them and you unload them at the next location.

As I said before, our original plan was to do a partial DITY.  However, (due to various reasons) TMO couldn't get movers to us until after his RNLTD.  We could have amended orders (asking to stay here for longer), but we had already done that once and we didn't feel it was worth it to wait for all the paperwork to go back through just to sit here for an extra few weeks.

Instead, we decided to do a DITY move.  Which means that we are busy packing up our house and arranging other details.  :)  The AF covers our expenses (either by an allowance we've already been given or by reimbursing us based on our receipts) including things like packing supplies, renting a truck, etc.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

it's really nice... have a late-night texting conversation with a sister.

 Mr. Mays sleeps peacefully next to me as I wait for my phone to light up with a new message.  Here I am laying in bed late, late at night talking with littlest sister who is miles away from me.

And while we're talking about nice things, I decided today that I am so deliriously blessed to have a circle of support.  In other words, that I have two loving and caring parents and five incredible siblings (not to mention a pretty great brother-in-law and niece) and to top it all off, I have a few close friends who inspire me in hard times (mostly by how they have dealt with hard things in their own lives).

When I was so utterly frustrated with life's circumstances today, I called up mi madre and had a good long chat (well, mostly I talked and she listened very patiently).  And I was reminded to not take her (or any of these people) for granted.    I am eternally grateful for the way that these people have cared about my life. On the days when life is confusing and maddening and I wonder again what God is doing, it is nice to remember that sometimes He works by bringing us encouragement and support through other people.  And that these people, my circle of support, care infinitely about both Caleb and I (and our soon-to-be little one) and are willing to do whatever to support us.  Some days I feel God's love and experience His grace through other people and these family/friends of mine are some of those who do it best.

Isn't it wonderful that (in addition to giving us the Holy Spirit) He gives us people to make the road easier?  In the words of Sara Groves, life with others supporting you is "half as hard and twice as good".

And to littlest sister (who ever-so-sweetly responded to my thanks by simply saying "that's what sisters do!")... you made my night.  let's be sisters always, okay?  i think i'd like to keep you....

(I look completely cheesy in this picture, but that's because I was so happy!!  Thankfully the rest of my family makes up for me ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

"may this journey bring a blessing"

In the midst of a very, very frustrating day  week  month, this is the song that has stayed in my head and hence, on my lips.  And please, feel free to imagine me sound just like this when I sing.  'Cause of course I sound just like Kristyn Getty.  ;)

"Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer"
Music by Keith Getty; Words by Margaret Becker
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music 

Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I'll follow, though I'm worn.

May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love You even more.

Let the treasures of the trial                                  
Form within me as I go - 
And at the end of this long passage,
Let me leave them at Your throne.

Monday, May 7, 2012

when you're having a bad day.... should probably accept the offer from your sainted husband to run to the commissary (grocery store, for those of you who don't speak "military").  And when he gets home you should use all those fresh ingredients to make homemade bruschetta.  Because who can resist this??

 1. Combine fresh basil, chopped tomatoes, a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Leave it alone for at least an hour.
2.  When you're ready to eat, cut thick slices of a crusty bread and pan-fry in olive oil until crispy
3.  Layer tomato mixture on top.  If you're feeling particularly crazy, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

And there you have it.  The most delightful and easy summer meal imaginable.

It's guaranteed to make a bad day a little bit better.  ;)

Friday, May 4, 2012

i'm smiling today because of this.

Today I'm working on a wedding album for our house which means I've been looking through all our pictures again.  Can't stop smiling.  :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


"What does it mean, then, to grieve as one who has hope? 
It means we grieve with one eye forever fixed on the eschatological horizon."

-b. witherington
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover