*Self portrait from the other day. More about living my adventure in the next post.
I’m enjoying the most exquisite Sunday afternoon. The sky can’t make up its mind between torrential downpours and sunny blue skies. So it is giving us both in intervals.
Miss B has a summer cold, or possibly allergies. Her voice has taken on a quality of stuffiness. She and Sam-a-lam are sitting next to me on the couch. They are playing Minecraft on the iPad. We outlawed Minecraft in our home countless months ago. Miss B was exhibiting way too many addictive tendencies and frankly it scared me. So Minecraft disappeared off all devices.
We’re not a gaming family. We have no systems. My children can play games at friends’ houses, but nothing – what’s it called? – first person shooter? Jake has a very serious opposition to those. Oh, and nothing rated M. Interestingly enough, the kids have picked up Jake and I’s attitude about gaming – it’s a waste of time. There are so many other things we can do when we have a free moment.
Currently our guilty distraction is social media. It’s on the chopping block. But that’s another story for another post.
Miss B carried her affinity for Minecraft even though it wasn’t easily accessible. She managed to find others who had it. Most recently she played it with my sister’s family in Utah. It was an easy babysitter while Jake and I were working.
And that gave us an idea. Miss B had a dentist appointment coming up. She doesn’t like people in her personal space. She’s wary of doctors, suspicious of hair dressers and thoroughly uncooperative with dentists. The night before her appointment, Jake suggested bribing her with Minecraft to behave at the dentist. I thought it was brilliant. We’re not above bribing our children.
So we made a deal with our at the time almost 5 year old. The proposition: sit in the dentist chair, be obedient, let him look in your mouth, clean your teeth, and do everything he says – and you can play Minecraft on Daddy’s phone when you’re done. She looked us squarely in the eye – regarded our body language – the deal – counted what it would cost her – what she would receive – and agreed.
The next day Jake sent me a photo of her sitting quietly on his lap while she got X-rays and then later of her getting her teeth cleaned. As if there was no question she would ever misbehave. She’s a bright one, that girl. When the hygienist asked what her name was, she replied confidently, “Twilight”. As in Twilight Sparkle – the pony.
The power of Minecraft. Who knew? Well actually, at that point, we did. It worked again the following week to get her bum in the hair dressers seat at Great Clips. She was more wary than she had been at the dentist and whimpered a bit when she cried out, “I’m scared Mama!”. But I held her hand, told her I loved her, and that she would be just fine. I was tempted to snatch her out of the seat and run away and never let shears touch her beautiful locks until she was no longer scared. But I practiced deep breathing techniques knowing the short style was exactly what she needed in the summer heat. We got through it and on the drive home she played Minecraft on my phone.
We let her play for a day or two as a reward for good behavior and then in the evening after she went to sleep, we deleted the app off our phones. The next day she was disappointed it was gone and inquired as to when we would download it again. We told that it probably wouldn’t be for a long time. Then she discovered it was still on the iPad! Oops. She did a happy little dance exclaiming, “Mama! The iPad didn’t delete Minecraft! It’s right here!!”
Can I interject that I love that she calls me Mama?
I smiled and exclaimed at her good fortune. And told her that the iPad would probably delete it tonight and that she could enjoy it today.
Ummm. Yeah. I just realized I wrote a whole post worth of context about Minecraft just to mention that Miss B and Sam are playing Minecraft on the couch next to me.
And by this time Sam isn’t even playing. He’s making brownies. Good boy.
Josh is in Houston. He’s attending Boy Scout Camp with our friends this week.
Jacob is in Prague. I don’t write about him much on here. I should remedy that. He’s been gone 4 months now. Four months. Crazy. We exchange emails every Saturday. I live for Saturday morning when my Gmail app alerts me to a new message. I set up an account specifically for our communication and so if I receive a message, it’s from him. He typically sends pictures and a short voice recording. I love hearing his voice. When he talks to us in Czech we have no idea what he is saying. And we just laugh in wonder over this amazing young man, living on the opposite side of the world, speaking this difficult foreign language and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. It’s what he does all day, every day. Dressed in a suit and tie and a name badge that designates him as Starsi Earle, representative of Jesus Christ.
Jake is napping in the other room. The sleep of those who deserve it. That man works so hard. Anytime he lays his head back for more than a moment, he’s out. I was in reading a book next to him and had fallen asleep myself. Sunday naps are glorious!
I woke up remembering that I’ve been wanting to sit in front of the computer and write the latest installment of ‘What in the World are Amy and Jake Doing’ for the last month. Longer actually. So I might as well put this time to good use.
Are you still reading? I have so much to say. If I was following blogging etiquette, I would break it into different posts. But I don’t have patience for that. So I’m going to continue to write. And you are invited to continue to read, or move on with your day.
The biggest news that I don’t think I’ve shared here: Jake is back in the Air National Guard. He did it! It’s been almost 6 years since he left and it feels so right to be back. I’ll never forget the day he found out that all his paperwork had gone through and he was approved to be commissioned into the Air Force again. We were sitting at the table, eating breakfast and Jake was scrolling through email on his phone as he prepped for his day. He looked up at me and our eyes met across the table. He said, “It’s approved”. And I cried. Real tears. Immediately we set down our silverware and said a family prayer and thanked Heavenly Father. It’s all because of Him.
Jake transfered to the U.S. Coast Guard in October of 2008. By October of 2009 he knew he had made a grave mistake. He tried for the next 3 years to transfer back, to no avail. The five years he served with the Coast Guard were humbling, frustrating, and at times heartbreaking. When the opportunity came 14 months ago to submit his final resignation, we knew it had to be done. It’s not healthy to be unsatisfied where you work and spend much of your time. We’d been given a chance if we were willing to risk all to take it. It would leave us vulnerable and with an uncertain future, but we decided that it was worth it. We have big dreams and goals and we knew the Coast Guard wasn’t going to get us where we wanted to go. So we leapt.
(It’s here that I must add that in our five years with the Coast Guard, we met the most amazing people. I couldn’t begin to tell you how wonderful the people who serve in the Coast Guard and their families are. Our experience with the Coast Guard was our own. I believe there are some very broken systems within the service, but that is not a reflection on those who serve.)
The last year has been it’s own humbling experience. Many days have ended with tears and pleading to our Heavenly Father. We needed Him. We couldn’t do it without Him. And many days have ended with celebration and joy and prayers of gratefulness for all we’ve been able to experience. I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not a day.
As I sit here on this beautiful Sabbath Day, I can’t help but reflect. I could not have predicted the way the last year has progressed. But I’m so thankful for it. All of it.
Life. Which as it turns out is fluid. Especially in our case. Plans we had have already changed. Here’s what we know: we’ll be in New Mexico in August and we’ll be in Ohio in time for Christmas. We had been making plans for a bus trip to Ohio, we should be leaving this week actually. We even invested $2500 in brand new air conditioners for the bus (OUCH!) so we could beat the heat. But it looks like we won’t be using it. At least not for a long trip this month or next. Though perhaps a weekend here or there. It’s a long story that goes along perfectly with the rest of our story.
Now Jake is awake and he’s putting dinner on the grill. The brownies are out of the oven and Miss B is ready to play. I have more to write. But for now this will do.