Saturday, December 23, 2006

From a believing soldier in Iraq. A prayer request.

Hello Friends,

I'm part of an online blogging/discussion community: Worldmag blog. The following is posted by Brad. He posted the following in frustration, but then went on to ask believers to pray through his post asn treat it as a prayer request.

Please join us. If you click on his name, you can send him an e-mail. --- Evelyn.

A grievance from a "boot on the ground":

Forgive me for griping.

I have little respect for the civilian politicians here in Iraq. They seem to want the perks/prestige and pay but NONE of the responsibility. The Gov of Diyala Province came here. He came in to greet wounded iraqi troops. We were going to send them to the local Baqouba Gen Hospital. "Oh they cannot go there. It's not safe." Excuse me?? You're the territorial governor. If some place isnt safe you should be able to assign a security detail or battalion for that matter to protect the hospital. [Terrorists walk right in and shoot Iraqi doctors or "finish off" wounded Iraqis.]

The Iraqis claim they cannot do anything with their forces without American approval. Well I'm one American who is now giving his approval for them to defend themselves. Grow a backbone and step up to the plate.
In 2003, 2004 a PA who was here then told me that the Americans provided health care to one and all. The military hospitals and physicians were more or less medical missionaries--albeit with weapons and identical uniforms. Now our ROE (rules of engagemt) wont allow us to see folks who are non-life threatening diagnosis or whose injuries were not caused by us.
We had a LCN (local civilian national) and base employee show up at the gate with his kid. The kid has an infected foot injury or so the report said. We had to send the Dad away. I wonder if he's still proUSA or now siding with the terrorists.
The people we get present with odd wounds. One guy had the back of his shot out. At close range. Powder burns on the skin. One toe amputated. He was obviously the victim of torture. His tormentors left him to die and he was eventually taken to the local civ hospital and they in turn had him brought here. He required about 4u of blood! I think his leg will be amputated above the knee. And all the kids we've had with gunshot wounds to the head? I thought those were just unfortunate victims of stray bullets but now I'm not so sure. I suspect the rebels/terrorists/insurgents threaten the parents by shooting or harming the kids with the hope that it will make the parents cooperate with them.
I'd rather walk into a room with 10 wounded adults than even one child with a bullet wound. We had a call about an incoming 2 yr old with bullet to the head. I dreaded seeing that one but mercifully the child died enroute to us and went directly to the morgue

Yall, what's to be done?? If we will stay here until the local govt and military "stands up" I dont see an orderly withdrawal coming for several years if even then. This nation needs draft horses instead of lazy show ponies.

Posted by: Brad at December 23, 2006 02:11 AM

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Still Bustling

Howdy all,
It's 17 December, and I'm home. Not a creature is stirring here at home, except me. The rest of the creatures are watching an Eagle Scout ceremony, where some friends are becoming Eagle Scouts and another friend is speaking. Needing to stop and rest this sabbath, I couldn't attend. So here I am, blogging in my pj's with a hot cup of peppermint tea, feet up.

School lets out late this year! I remember the wonderful, long Christmas vacations I enjoyed as a kid. Some years, school let out as early as December 17th. It was wonderful, because you had time to play, travel, visit and prepare for Christmas. If I wasn't a stay-at-home mom, I don't know how I would have managed this year. School lets out on the 20th, and in some cases on the 21st. That leaves only four days to shop and travel and bake and rest. Ugly trend. I hope this is the worst it ever gets.

Our son wants to be a Navy Seal, and is aggressively working towards that goal. If God grants him this heart's desire, this will be our second to last Christmas with our family as we have known it. Our daughter is laboring toward acceptance at Covenant College. We know, this year, that we need to enjoy our time together, because we may not always have it.

My life-long buddy, sister-like cousin from the Chicago suburbs arrives this week with her family. Our presents are all wrapped and under the tree. My husband has wrapped my birthday present in birthday paper and displayed it on it's own. I took the time to prepare and freeze food that I'll pull out for my visitors. I'll make and freeze hors d'eurves early this week. One of my dearest friends here in Florida baked for me her apple cake that she knows that my family loves. It too, will be frozen and wait for guests. Happy prospects this December!

Yesterday, I spent the morning with two girlfriends helping prepare for a sit down dinner Christmas party with friends. Scratching his head, one of their husbands asked, "Do you all know the meaning of 'simple' and 'austere'?"


We just looked right back at him in reciprocal open curiosity, shared a laugh, and continued to bustle. At the party -which was a huge success- we played The White Elephant Game with 23 participants. I brought a fruitcake (which people either love or hate) because I knew it would be something people would either want to unload, or want to hold on to. As it turned out, a fruitcake lover 'stole' it from a fruitcake hater. Perfect ending. We sang every Christmas Carol we could think of. We didn't leave until after midnight. That's a six hour party!

This year, I'm enjoying the planning just as much as I'm enjoying the actual events. Middle age has it's privileges, and slowing down and savoring the moment is one of them. So which shall I wish on you this Christmas: middle age or the ability to enjoy the moment?

Enjoy your moments.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thank God He Remembers Me at Christmas

Hello and Merry Christmas, so far!

When last I checked in, I was busy decking every hall I could get my hands on, near and far. Finally, I ran out of poinsettias and had to stop (until I could procure some more). All the while, as promised, I was ruminating on how best to remember Jesus this Christmas, praying that God would help me and my family with that. He sure has so far!

The first thing that happened was this: On Divine prompting,I reinstated the standing prayer meeting that I had cancelled for the month of December to give moms a chance to Christmas shop, bake and decorate their trees. What a blessing that meeting was! I love all the lights and decorations and sips of hot cider, but there was something very settling and grounding about stopping all the bustling and sipping, being in an undecorated prayer room and being with God, quietly.

In that place, I experienced some of the exquisite simplicity of the manger. Don't you just love God? He is enthroned in majesty, He created the world and hung the stars; there is none higher than Him. Yet, He chose to come to us, naked and helpless as a baby in a lowly manger. He met with us so meaningfully in the spartan little prayer room that night. We emerged all the richer for the experience. It would have been so easy to cease meeting, because, after all, what mom couldn't use a few hours while her family was otherwise occupied? There is so much to do. It even seemed neccessary. I'm so thankful for God's faithful promptings: It was one of the most special times I've had with Him in a while, and I almost cancelled it!

The second thing that helped my family remember Jesus this Christmas season was that we went to see The The Nativity Story. What a beautiful movie! We all loved it: It was truly breathtaking. The movie makers got out of the way and let the story speak for itself. Aside from the fact that they didn't fill the whole sky with angels in the scene of His birth, it was accurate. It was even deeply romantic. Joseph and Mary's humility, earthiness, bravery and obedience both convicted me and brought me to tears.

I've always objected to Joseph being depicted in art as the guy in the background, leaning on a staff. After all, once the angel appeared to Mary and she consented to the immaculate conception, all further angelic communications were directed at Joseph. He led, sheilded and protected Mary and Jesus. What an awesome calling. This movie showed Joseph in action. It was beautiful to behold. Joseph is a fine example of godly manhood, and this movie showcased that fact.

Mary was humble, earthy, beautiful, courageous, virtuous. It seemed an honest portrayal. She was shown in the context of her family and community. Her upbringing and personality showed. But so did the love and hate around her.

Something profound, yet almost inexplicable happened to us as we watched the story unfold. We were left in awe of God's ability to accomplish His will, regardless of who tries to thwart it. We're still marvelling that God acts in ways that man just can't expect. I think we're just floored by His majesty, strength, humility and power. WOW.

I hope you go see this movie. My prayer is that it'll intersect you the way it did me and my family: it didn't leave us satiated but rather, longing to know this magnificent God of ours better.