What ARE We Doing?

Several have been asking about our retirement plans. If you have heard we are going to "live in an RV" and you wonder what we are doing - this quick summary is for you!



Saturday, August 01, 2015

A Prep Week

While Arielle adjusted to living as an adult in Oregon, Stacia attended VBS in California, and Michael went back to work on base - the boys and I continued to sort and toss. The great Full Time RVer Prep Week.  Our goal was to make it through everything at least ONCE before the kids start arriving for retirement.

Sort - Trailer, Trash, Giveaway, Donate or Storage?????

As we sorted, packed up, donated - it hit home - RETIREMENT CEREMONY IS IN TWO WEEKS!!! We'll still be in California for a bit after that - but our last Sunday at chapel is scheduled for the 9th. Retirement is the 14th. Jared and Larissa arrive sometime tonight. The others kids (and my parents) arrive between the 9th - 13th.  It's about to HAPPEN!

TMO arrives for our final military pack out in 3 weeks.

We will become "full timers" (RV) days after TMO leaves our home.

Michael informs us living in the trailer (and studying Japanese) will be boot camp for us. It will make living in a 2 bdr Japanese apartment much easier for us in the long run. I hope the typical Japanese apartment is a bit bigger than "The Caboose." I know they have better closets.

NOW - it means getting rid of about 90% of our "things."  We HAVE hit a few snags. It's humbling to see how easily "things" can grab hold of our hearts and how quick we are to snip at each other over things. It's not always been easy to put things in a pile other than TRAILER.   I've recently read a book on "tidying" - the premise is to touch every item you own and see if it "sparks joy." If it doesn't, you "release" it. If it does, you keep it. The thing is there are a LOT of things that DO spark joy around here that we are NOT keeping.  Will we need it to start a house if we don't go to Japan? Is it easily replaced (why store a cookie sheet that doesn't fit in the trailer's oven?) Does it have sentimental value?

We finished  sorting through 27 years of homeschooling material.....the stuff on the left are things I want Michael's input on. The top shelf (and top of the book shelf) are full of Precept studies I've taken or led, PWOC WILD trainer manuals and such ....I hate to recycle them...but I think that's where this is headed. I take comfort in the fact the Holy Spirit will call to mind or reteach anything I need.....the two shelves on the right are ready to go home with Krista after retirement.
 

I wanted to get all our books to fit on the 3 shelves to the left - Michael and the boys made them. We succeeded. The shelf on the right stores books which were in our room and need to be sorted - ouch. The other two shelves are books that aren't school books, but we simply don't want to get rid of ....Original Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Christian Biographies, Little House on the Prairie Set, Grain Brain Series, Cooper Kids,  Complete works of AA Milne... The BIG tubs house Tapestry of Grace books....one year each....and I have determined we'll need some spot to store a few things (like 3 of these tubs) where we can get AT them. We won't be able to access the things the Air Force pays to store.
 
See the clear tubs under the table? PHOTOS - I need to put them in albums.....I'm not sure it's going to happen and I have several BIG Creative Memory photo boxes of photos to deal with too.....Thank God for blogging and digital photos - and the END of photos to scrapbook!!!!!
 
Are you wondering what we DID with all our homeschool material? We gave it to the Airmen's Attic. They GIVE things away....and I'm hoping this stuff will bless others with kids at home.


The boys said 5 or 6 carts
I went through my closet a third time! ::snort:: It's silly I couldn't do it in one fell swoop - but I couldn't. I am about to toss the Capsule Wardrobe idea for now (I have far too much color) and simply pick out my 10 favorite outfits and donate the rest. 
 
Our goal was to sort through everything before guests came for retirement. We'll pause everything now until after retirement. The Gherkins will be relieving us of some big pieces (furniture, pianos, washer/dryer).  At that point we'll have a week to make the final cut and pack the trailer before TMO arrives.
 
I've gone through the entire house with the exception of:
  • The Garage (YIKES - it's so hot out there; a considerable bit of this will be Michael's to sort)
  • Hope Chest (full of more Bible studies)
  • Michael's closet
  • Hobby Closet
  • I still have to decide about the grain mill, the bosch and grain
Lest you think we are being heartless - the kids can keep anything they think they'll want in the trailer and they can send to storage anything they think they'll want later which doesn't fit in the trailer. We are keeping this...though we have it on Kindle.
 
Nolan has informed me this is a must keep.....and we are. I love it.
 
I think it fair to comment I am being far stricter with myself than with the family. It's fair - I'm keeping my china. LOL
 
Michael continued to work on check lists for out-processing, argued with clinics about referrals, and sifted through his medical records.
 
By Friday - I needed to take a break and go get some snuggling....of the Spurgeon kind.
 
I spent a couple of hours snuggling with Eliana (even Joy gave me a hug). She has the cutest little baby snorts. I'm fortified to keep working.
 
It's a lot of work but in three weeks, we should wake up with a new backyard view, no 0700 appointments and be able to go wherever we'd like.....probably to our state of residence to start a VA claim, register vehicles and such.  Or maybe we don't need to do that until the retirement is official - we should be able to stay in CA while active duty and not get caught in the great CA domicile snare. LOL  (Yes, that is a tease. We are STILL debating the perfect state.)


WHAT ARE WE DOING?

Several have been asking about our retirement plans. You can read about our Plot Twist here.

There is no doubt retiring would be "easier" and more "exciting" if our original plan of getting to Japan as quickly as possible was still smoothing racing ahead.

Michael has not finished all his medical referrals. We cannot begin a VA disability claim until he has - and it takes 1 - 2 years for those claims to go through.

SOoooo......we still ARE planning to get to Japan as soon as we can - we simply don't know what that means or what it will look like. If he's cleared of health issues that would keep us from going to Japan as missionaries, we will be there as soon as the VA claim is processed. We don't want to leave America until that piece of retirement is nailed down.

  All along we were, "moving into the trailer until details work out to get to Japan" - this is still our plan. Instead of months in the trailer, we are looking at an extended time in the trailer. We are excited about this.

When we were told Michael had all the symptoms of  Parkinson's, we realized our dream of traveling the country in an RV  when we were 70, may not happen.  It would seem this "pause" is the perfect time for us to take a sabbatical and live our dream...NOW. 

Frankly, we're tired. Bone weary. Michael hasn't felt well for a long time. We'd like to see what it's like to live with less ministry and schedule stress. Maybe it will impact health.

We are going to be Full Time RVers for a bit....we shall see what happens next.  If all is cleared and we can pursue living in Japan, downsizing and full time rving will be good schooling. If we are not able to go overseas as missionaries, we will have enough furniture to move into a small house....on our income a small house is what we can afford. Bottom line -  we don't need all the stuff we've accumulated.

Michael has an appointment with a neurologist who is a Movement Disorder Specialist at UC Davis the week after his retirement ceremony.  Our plan is to be able to start the process of the VA claim by 1 Nov.  We've been told it's wise to wait and get every last referral documented in his records - while he is still officially active duty.  ::grin::

Former Student President Heads to Washington

By Laurel Scott  - July 28, 2015

 
ASU senior Jared G, the son of a U.S. Air Force chaplain, set his sights early on a public service career.
     
His family was stationed in Japan on March 11, 2011, when a magnitude-9 earthquake and resulting tsunami struck the island nation. More than 15,000 people were killed and more than 272,000 people lost their homes. His parents took a lead role in the recovery, helping the beleaguered Japanese.
“That made an impression on me, the idea of serving others,” G said. “That became the theme of my time at Angelo State, asking myself how I can serve the university.”
     
“From a very young age, I also was exposed to politics,” he added. “In 2004, I was told if our candidate won, I’d get ice cream. And whatever you think about Barak Obama or his politics, his 2008 presidential campaign really sparked a lot of interest in politics. I knew then what I wanted to do.”
     
Home-schooled in Japan, G followed two older brothers to San Angelo.
     
“I chose Angelo State because of the stellar political science program,” he said. “Also, I had been on campus a few times with my brother, who was starting his degree, and I absolutely fell in love with the campus and just couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else.”
     
G dove right into campus politics, getting elected a Student Government Association (SGA) senator his freshman year.
     
“Student government gave me a chance to utilize what I was learning in class to real life,” he said. “I also knew I wanted an internship, and I knew I wanted a résumé that would get me an internship.”

Elected SGA president for his junior year, G helped organize the successful effort to launch Ram Tram, a free weekend city bus route for ASU students.      

“It took a lot of the right people in the right places,” he said. “ASU President Brian May moved mountains to get this done. It took a united SGA Senate. They looked at the issues and said we really need this. They voted unanimously to the support the plan.”
     
“As SGA president, I wanted to lead a culture change from ‘we can’t’ to ‘why not?’,” he added.
This fall, G is adding that desired internship to his résumé, spending the semester as the fourth participant in the ASU Political Science and Philosophy Department’s Government and Public Service Internship Program in Washington, D.C.
     
He will serve his internship in the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Conaway, working with 2013 ASU intern Chase Sauvage, who now works as a staff assistant to the congressman. G will live at the Texas Tech House with other interns from Texas Tech University and receive a stipend to help defray the costs of living in Washington, D.C. He will also earn six credit hours in political science. 
“I talked with Chase and others about what to do to set yourself apart from the thousands of other interns in that city,” G said. “I’m really hoping to come out with a job in my pocket before I graduate. Chase is my inspiration. I’m really hoping to do what Chase did.”
     
And like Sauvage, G credits ASU for putting him on the path to his public service goal.
“There is such an awesome student-centered culture here,” he said. “Everybody cares about how you’re doing in your classes and in your personal life. It’s such a great support system.”

*Notes - I copied this from ASU's website so we could save it.  "Lead role in the recovery" - would better read "Lead role in the Chapel's recovery efforts."

Yes, a Shameless MOMMY STORY      

Laurel Scott

Laurel Scott is a news and information specialist at Angelo State University. 
E-mail Laurel at laurel.scott@angelo.edu.

Friday, July 31, 2015

VBS 2015

Last year's VBS was great (as have been all the VBS' we've participated in during our military career) but THIS year's was amazing.  Two local churches donated their VBS decorations to us - saving lots of money and time....we've donated them to another church. Cynthia, our VBS director, was joined by Kat as Co-Director and Paulette - not sure what her title was but she was great help as well.
 
The library never looked so good!

It was odd for us to be participants and not helpers. We thought we'd be in Japan and Stacia was sad to miss her last VBS. She's entering 5th grade so this really would be her last as a participant.  Usually, I would have stayed on base all week and helped....but this year I drove home and worked and then picked her up. This presented a problem as we have one car now that we've sent Arielle to Oregon. With Michael working and VBS I would have made 3 - 4 trips a day. Dear friends are such a blessing. Cynthia's husband is on extended special duty, and she has an extra car. We now have two cars again until retirement ceremony.

Stacia and Cynthia - hey no one looks terrible and they're both in it
 Chaplain T oversaw this year's VBS team

We're going to miss VBS. It was a good season to focus on "Conquering Challenges with God's Mighty Power."

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Game Night - Gherkin Style


An evening game of Monopoly - Arielle manages to join in via Skype. Life is good.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Arielle Flies the Nest

I don't have any "new" profound thoughts to share. It doesn't get easier. It's a GREAT thing. She's following God's plan for her life. We're proud of her. We miss her. A child leaving home is the very definition of "bittersweet."
 
Michael signs the Altima over
 
Monopoly at BreZaaks
 
Stacia won her first monopoly game
 
Michael shares words with Arielle
 
Praying for Arielle
 
Then it was time for goodbyes....



No, we've not recovered....but she'll be back for retirement on the 9th!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mud, BBQs and Farewells

Krista always has the best adventures in a local area.  We need to learn some of her tricks. Saturday she, Wyatt and Katie were set to participate in the "Dirty Dash" in Albany.  We thought $40 to run in the mud was a bit much - but we went to watch. I think we need to have a family team next year. It looked like a lot of fun. 

Krista and Katie (Krista and Arielle's roommate)

Mud surfing
Actually - doing push ups

At the Finish Line
 Stacia and Alex tried their hands (and legs) at the climbing wall.

We got home in time to converge at Will and Sherri's for a bbq. I didn't take a single photo. I enjoyed the fellowship.  Lots of good transitions going on in our family this summer.

This was the last night with Arielle in our "home" as a "child." Neither of us wanted the night to end.....Sweet moments. As odd as it sounds, I kept remembering her little pre-school voice on the day she got her wisdom teeth removed, "I love you, Mommy."  I love this baby girl.  Alas, it's time to say goodbye to childhood and celebrate her launch into adulthood. I'm so proud of the way she is going about all this - a post for another day.