26 January 2014

Recent Happenings & News

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope." Psalm 130:5

First, I wanted to let you know about our two friends who are currently deployed. I remember when Hubs received care packages from anyone other than the assumed senders (namely: me & his mom) during his first deployment. There was something special about knowing others thought about him and cared to brighten his day and support his service. My dear friend Alicen's husband from Ft Bragg is away. Alicen is still in Fayetteville, working and going to school to get her degree, and is not close to family. My sweet friend Krista's husband is also away. They are currently stationed at Ft Polk, and we know them from EOD school in Florida. Krista, and their two daughters, Camylle (3) and Molly (8 months), are living at their new house Louisiana, away from family and close friends. If you would like to send a care package to these two men, or maybe an letter of encouragement and appreciation to their wives, please email me at lhwoodard@gmail.com for their contact information. (USPS offers discounted shipping rates on flat-rate boxes to overseas military addresses.)

So excited about new things!

We found a Church gathering in Eagle River, AK that we love and are in processing of joining a life group! Even found a great restaurant for after service on Sundays. We are going through a series on Acts in the context of momentum in the Church and heard an amazing testimony this morning from a guest speaker. LOVE that we share communion every Sunday, and I've sobbed through the song service each week since we started. Some of you might think it's the pregnancy, but there are few times I haven't cried in a place where I experience authentic worship since I have come to love our Lord.

PWOC is a group that does bible studies for women on most posts. It is affiliated with the chaplain services somehow. This PWOC is great- super friendly and very aware of the needs in the area. They meet in the Soldier's Chapel a block from our house. The first hour is a time of song worship, devotional, and food. The second hour, we break into bible study groups. They offered 4 studies this semester, and I'm in the group going through "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst. I knew immediately that this was the study for me to join. And I was halfway expecting the book dedication to say, "For Lauren. Because, well, you know why."

A new friend here introduced me to a Facebook group called EOD Secret Sisters. EOD wives join the group and fill out a questionnaire. Then each month we have an opportunity to participate in a secret sister gift exchange. The goal is to meet and get to know other EOD wives all over the world. Such a cool idea, and I'm excited to send my first gift package out in February!

Also, a new friend here and I talked about Jesus. It was just through messages on Facebook. But our husbands work together, and we found out through our EOD Secret Sisters questionnaires that we both love Him! There have been times I've wanted to walk in a room a say, "Uh, excuse me, does anyone here love Jesus?" These conversations and fellowship- these people that share the same hope- just breath new life into me and provide assurance. It's rare and wonderful and blows my mind every time I meet a new woman that I can look in the eyes and share the same heart with a simple, "ME TOO!"

Hubs has had a new venture at work the past week or so. They held a mini-competition and competency tests for a team leader and team members that will participate in an team competition with other Army EOD units. It was a little bit longer hours, but it seemed like he had fun having new tasks. They find out who made the team next week.

He also received a check and a plaque in the mail for coming in first place in his Fantasy Football League! This is a league that he joins every year with a group of the guys Hubs served with in the 82nd at Ft Bragg. The plaque is currently out to have his name plated on for the league's third season. (I'd like to send a special shout out to Peyton Manning for his MVP contributions to Team Woody.)

We have acquired a new mail organizer and file cabinet. I'm a nerd and haven't been this excited since we got our cool new printer last spring. My MIL said that I "love the art of organizing". That's the most accurate description I've heard yet. I'm not the best at organizing by any means, but I sure do love when it's pretty. Also, I assembled the file cabinet all by myself one night and felt quite handy.

I'm always excited to see our tiny son at ultrasound appointments. Had the latest one this past Thursday.
24 weeks, 2 days, 1 lb 6 oz.
24 weeks, 2 days

We went to a little girl's two-year-old birthday party last Friday night. We don't know them very well, but Hubs works with her dad. We were told before we moved that overseas units (ours is considered one in certain terms) become like family because we go "home" less often and share holidays and events together. This was one of those times. We ate Mexican food, watched an expert balloon-animal maker, had conversations with new people, and ate ice cream cake that turned all our mouths blue. Hubs said it looked like I had a cold weather injury. Also, I have a cupcake date with other wives in the unit this week, and a few couples are getting together for a Super Bowl party on Sunday.

Also, we made a rack of ribs in the crockpot. To you master grillers, I know it must sound sad. But Hubs and I are still talking about those bad boys, and they put up a fight for some of the best we've had. They can't compete with the pressure-cooked, secret-brown-sugar-basted, grill-smoked ribs my Papa used to make. We're talking top 5. Made for a quick, easy, delicious home-cooked dinner.

With these new happenings, a few fun things we are looking forward to soon, and a growing amount of sunshine each day, the mood in our house is so much more positive and productive. The weather almost feels like spring, and while we know this isn't going to last, we are loving every minute of it.

It has been a slow start, but we see the potential in living here. We know God guided us here, and we aren't sure why. But I am recognizing the growth in us through this already-long winter. We've had to work harder to be a team and grow our friendship in this desert of sorts. If anything, I know God may allow a wilderness time for us to grow stronger in our relationship with Him and each other. We've been convicted and having conversations about our intentional decisions to cooperate, rather than just seeking to cope or crave comfort. In any case, we are looking forward to what's ahead, even if that's just tomorrow, and I'm praying for God to keep us in a place of learning to love well.

I leave for Nashville in about a week & can't wait to see some of your sweet, familiar faces so soon!

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