Saturday, July 28, 2012

So you want to be a good Chaplain?

It seems like it would be easy... and maybe it is, but if you have been around
the military or if you are seeking to come in as a Chaplain (or something else) you will 
find out quickly that many Chaplains have no idea of how to actually "be a good Chaplain".  

Now, in no way am I saying that I am a good Chaplain or that I have everything
figured out but, I have put some time into thinking how to be a good Chaplain and
this is the list that I came up with.....

1) YOU MUST BE PERSONABLE.  Meaning, you must be as much of a "normal
guy" as possible.  Once again, one would think that this is obvious but its not.  In the
military you are the Chaplain to Sailors / Marines / Soldiers .... many of whom will not
come to your services and for the most part don't think of you as the religious leader
because they have no idea of what a religious leader does.  But you still need to impact your people
in a positive way so that they will eventually look to you as someone who can impact their lives.
So don't be weird!!!! Be as personable as possible!!!!!

2) STAY IN YOUR LANE.  Many Chaplains come into the military and assume it
is just like their job in the pastorate.....well its not.  You are there to assist, aid, help, and uplift
the people in your command.  They are not their because of you or to be a part of a church. 
Now I will always promote the Gospel in my ministry and my aim is to see all my
Marines / Sailors come to know Christ but, I have to know the reality that I live in.  Realize
that your lane is to assist, not to think that everything revolves around your ministry.  When
Chaplains act like they and their ministries are the main thing, it turns everyone off to you
and your ministry.

3) MEET YOUR PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE.  Ok, what I mean by this is that you
can't approach all your people in the same way.  I will give you a glimpse into my current
situation.  Ok, when it comes  to dealing with junior enlisted personnel, I am able to speak
to them as a senior leader and someone to give them wisdom and guidance.  If I am dealing
with senior enlisted or junior to mid level officers I speak to them on a equal plain.  My goal,
even in giving them guidance, is to befriend them and guide from a standpoint of example
and conversation.  Finally, for senior leadership I tread lightly.  I take my cues from them.
I have had some leadership that seeks me out as their pastor and therefore I can speak to
them as such.  Other leadership that I have had can only take advice from me if I give it in
a specific way.  As you are able to adjust to the people around you, you will become a
better Chaplain.  

4) BE FLEXIBLE.  You are the one person in the whole command who is not supposed
to be up-tight.  Everyone else will be up-tight they will yell at each other, over react to
the slightest thing, and fail to realize that there is more than just his little job.  You need
to be the guy that is able to relax and understand that things are going to go crazy
sometimes.  When you are able to do this they will see you as someone who can be trusted
and someone who is safe.

5) BE THE EXAMPLE.  Many of your people have never had any type of interaction
with a minister, they don't know what to do or think.  You need to example for them
what true faith is.... you need to have the strength to tell them the truth even in difficult
situations.  My greatest impact has been speaking the truth to people, even if they disagree
with me, but still loving them in the midst of our disagreement.  Being able to be an example
only comes through your own personal relationship with Christ.  So as you are healthy
in your own relationship with Christ you will be able to example it to others. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Eric Liddell and the Glory of God

Ok so hopefully everyone has seen "Chariots of Fire"  if you haven't, you obviously didn't grow up in my house.  Briefly, the movie is about Scottish sprinter Eric Liddell who, in 1924, won the gold medal in the 400m at the Paris Olympics.  He won the 400m after being disqualified from the 100m, his best event, because he refused to run a qualifying heat on a Sunday.  Liddell did this because he stated that he ran for the Glory of God but Sunday was a Sabbath day to give praise to God.

I know that this is an odd way to start a blog post but as I have been out here in Afghanistan I've started to run again (usually around 0530 when the sun is coming up, see picture below).  As I run and see the sun coming up over the horizon of the desert, all I can think about is the beauty and majesty of God.  I see His glory and feel His glory as I slowly plod along.  Here where, until the British / U.S. established the base I'm at, there was no life.  The realization of LIFE comes flooding in every morning and I am reminded of all the times in my life that God shows Himself to be real and alive (when I see my beautiful baby girl, or on a ship in the middle of the ocean, or being blessed with the opportunity to preach His word, or lastly...loving a woman who says "I hate you being gone but it's worth it for the Gospel", and on and on....).
All that just to say, always be on the look out for God proclaiming His majesty and His glory in the world around you and in your life.  Because to the degree that you fail to see those things you miss their true intended meaning.  What is a sunrise worth unless it propels us on towards praising the God that placed the Sun in the sky.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Three things.

Three simply amazing things:

1. Bella was playing with a doll and said, "Oh, so cute" (pretend play is a huge developmental milestone and saying three words together... wow!)
2. I put on Bella's shoes at the mall today and she looked at me... hugged me, and said "thanks momma" (This is a rare thing, Bella expressing emotion through unprompted affection and addressing me as mom without being prompted). I literally almost cried when being embraced by her!
3. Bella asked, "Momma, popcorn?" (She said two words together to tell me what she wanted, that is amazing).

So, from banging and screaming to tell me things.... to... well... words.  When she was first diagnosed, I thought I'd never speak to my daughter.  My soul is so full right now.  It's not much, but it's something friends.

These are not many words for a nearly four year old to be saying, I realize.  But for our Bella, these are spoken miracles.  I wanted to record what I heard because my heart is so happy.  We continue biomedical treatments and at this point, we are full speed ahead with all of her supplements.  She has had many good days of late.  I thank you friends for your continued prayers on her behalf.  I feel like I'm "knowing" Bella a litte bit more everyday.  I can't wait for Josh to witness her growth in person:)

Thank you Jesus for Bella's words.  Thank you for her smiles.  Thank you for a good day today.

...and as Bella and I say/pray every night, "Lord heal Bella's mind, give her joy and patience" amen.


Monday, July 16, 2012

What Happens on Deployment...

Independence Day 10K at Camp Dwyer Afghanistan. Chaps (aka Josh) planned/coordinated this event with help from others on base (and friends from LU at home).  Shout out to Emily Foutz from LU Online and Josh Yeoman for helping with shirts and support! 
Josh got to spend a quick minute with this fabulous person, Joe Gahagan.  Best buds crossing paths in Afghanistan....priceless.
Chaps feeling the love from home compliments of family, good friends... and perfect strangers! Thanks to each of you who have sent him stuff or kept him in your prayers:)

Trained assassin? 007 Chaplain?? Toughest looking Chaps I've seen....getting ready to go out on a clip. Whatever that is... can you tell I'm doing these captions (Annie = blonde = no idea what military terms mean)
Getting ready to do the invocation for the Hospital Corpsman Birthday with RP2 (select) Benninger.   Can I just say, my husband is so tan, he makes me look bad.  I could lay out for an entire year and still not be this tan.  Thanks babe.
Doing a little MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program). Nice undies. 
Chaps playing some b-ball, showing his amazing (so I've been told) high school basketball skills :)

Looking tough.
Josh with some of his friends at the finish line!

Getting his Fleet Marine Force pin.  He was pretty excited about this one! We are proud of you Josh!
 HER and little her DEPLOYMENT
(so I am not as awesome as my husband but I have to fill my time somehow)
Rodeo Drive fun with my roomie Kori! I'm pretty sure when I walked into Tiffany's with an H&M top on, they rolled their eyes.  I'm middle class and totally proud of it!

Kori looking through this amazingly large indoor telescope at the antique mall we frequent.  I believe she saw something awesome in that hole.  Or, she some something terribly disturbing... it's hard to tell from her face.

Riding a trolley in San Fran!

Concert going with old friends!

Bella and her bubbles.  That's the stuff. 
Sunsets at the beach with the sweetest face you'll ever squeeze.

Being way too pretty for words and eating her 10th apple of the day...

Riding a SF trolley while watching my 80's bangs flap around.... wow.

In DC with the lovely Leslie Gahagan or her back that is....for all you know this could be two supermodels;)  It was splendid fun!

Saw some old friends for a minute.... miss these girls! I love that Kim's face is half cut off and that she's looking into outer-space:)

Loved seeing you! If there was one thing Lindsay was good for (and there were many) it was a Chick-fil-a date!

How often do we swim... oh every day.  Bella really responds well to water stimulus so off to the pool we go....

We found an amazing splash pad.  Where is this splash pad you say? Oh, it's right next to this deadly cliff that Bella sprints across full speed.... good fun...

Bella's first full year of special education preschool.  She loved it, and hated it... but mostly loved it!  Her teach, miss Kate, was wonderful to her!

In DC trying to represent! Go Navy!

Only serious bike riders can make this face, clearly. 

Little Misiano! I love this little munchy!

Crazy Kori, breaking flip flops after running from a gang of segway-ers in SF.  If you've never been chased by a gang of segway-ers... you may not understand the trauma she experienced:( :)

San Diego Zoo! 
Painting walls, arranging furniture... repainting walls...rearranging furniture...taking pain pills for my 70 year old lower back issues

Making my child do manual labor:) No, she likes doing it I swear:)

Spending time with my family.. LOVE THEM! Brandon is missin from this shot but I seriously LOVE spending time with my SoCal fam!

Visiting family up north.  Bella loves when cousin Caleb jumps and splashes!

Well, there you have it.  We've done lots more than these pictures show.  Tons of time with Josh's family and my family down south.  I caught up with lots of wonderful friends in Virginia. I've also met some great mom's and kiddos at Bella's preschool.  Nothing like spending time with mom's who have children with special needs, I love them! I look forward to Josh getting home so we can be a family again!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Delighted... to be in this magazine!

Hello Bloggity Friends,

I wanted to introduce you to a magazine you'll love.  Not only is this something you view online (which is so easy), but it also features the Earls!  Wait, that's us? I just got excited, did you?

Delighted was created by the talented Amanda Gomes and I was recently asked to write an article on motherhood through my eyes to be included in this issue!  So, flip through the virtual pages and take a deep breathe of stylishly sweet pictures, recipes, pointers, and oh... us!