Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Moving Story

Facing crisis far from home
How one transplant to Alabama had the support of new "sisters" when she least expected it

Kellie in Alabama

I have been so blessed with the Huntsville, AL [Moving On After Moving In] Group, under Pam Zavada's leadership at Cove United Methodist Church.

I am an Air Force spouse that was invited to join this group after moving from Georgia to Alabama. I did not live "local", about 25 minutes away; well over the mountain. With gas prices, I tried to talk myself out of joining the group, because I had moved 9 times in 15 years and really did not think I needed this group for "support". I had that all figured out, but the Lord kept stirring at my heart and one day He spoke to me and said, "Kellie, it's not about you this time, it's about others." I got it!! I was supposed to go there and encourage women who have moved for the first time or 10th time. I have been so blessed by this group. Last year I was invited to join the leadership team and help facilitate the group and it has been such a joy.

We had our graduation today and we do things "BIG" here in the south, as you know. We bought gerbera daisies and put a tag on each plant that said, "Bloom where you are planted." We purchased balloons - lots of balloons - and told them to fly now! And, of course they each got bookmarks and luggage tags. We had lots of tears today as we all shared how much this group has done for each of us personally.

Let me share what those little luggage tags did for me! As I said earlier, I am married to an officer in the Air Force that is a triathlete and, 5 months after moving in, my sweet husband had a blood clot in his calf and both lungs and was hospitalized. As he went in for his MRI I was all alone and no cell phone service available so I began to clean my purse out and there were all my luggage tags on the ring. I began to read all of the scriptures and pray, who would have thought little luggage tags would have meant so much!

Then when we went back to the ER the nurse said my sister was waiting to see us. Sister?? I thought... ok?? It was Kathy from my [Moving On] group. She is approximately 5ft.tall - on a good day - and I am close to 6ft tall. I started to cry when I saw her.

She whispered in my ear, "Sister in Christ."

"Right!" I said, "Absolutely!"

Two of the girls in our group have husbands who are physicians and they came in to pray with me and my husband. Little did I know how much I needed that group.

We are schedule to PCS next Spring and I would love to start a group on the next base that we are assigned to.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June Devotional

Summer Alert!

We all know that the best way to grow healthy plants in a pot or a hanging basket during this time of year is to water regularly, provide ample light, fertilize as needed, and prune the branches when necessary. Here are some ways for you to grow deep roots in the soil of God's love if you have recently moved, or if you are facing a move in the future.

Water regularly by staying in God's word. My potted plants are watered daily because they are not in the ground where the sprinkler can reach them. They are separated from other plants, and can dry out easily. With a move, you may become separated from God's word for any number of reasons. Don't dry out! Spend time daily reading the Bible to replenish and restore your soul.

Provide yourself with plenty of light by knowing God's truth. As you read His word, memorize scripture, and believe in His promises, truth will be revealed to you. Tremendous growth will come from allowing God to shine His light on your life.

Fertilize as needed by being in Christ-centered fellowship. God puts His people in your life to nurture you, to serve as role-models for you, to encourage you, to pray for you, and to hold you accountable. Seek out a church home, if you haven't already. Get involved. Join a women's study group. Find out if the church has a Moving On After Moving In group to help you in your transition and adjustment. (Click here)

Prune the branches when necessary. The more withering flowers you cut, the more the plant will bloom. The more branches you prune, the fuller and greener the bush becomes. Careful pruning for you means to gently let go of people or places you've left behind. Doing this allows new growth within, new opportunities, and the growth of new relationships. Pruning also allows you to embrace the present and the future.

Scripture to Remember: May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. Ephesians 3:17

Question to Consider: Have I "dried out" spiritually since I moved?

Prayer: Lord, help me to be intentional about growing deep roots in You. I feel so disconnected from You since I've moved. (Or with the busyness of getting ready to move.) Help me to focus on You and on your word each day. Don't let the clutter of my mind distract me from your truth. Lead me to the right church, and open the doors for Godly friendships. Help me to gently begin to let go of anything that will keep me from moving forward with my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thought for the Day: Today I will begin to grow deep roots in the soil of God's love!

- Susan Miller

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Susan's Heart Talk-June 2011

Dear Friends,

My daughter, Ginger, texted me with these words, "Savannah (my eight year-old granddaughter) says you're famous Mom!" My first thought was, what does she mean by ‘famous?' My next thought was, what have I done to be famous in her eyes? I read on in excitement and anticipation. "There's a picture of you and Savannah on Grandparent's Day in the school yearbook!"

When I called Ginger to get the scoop, she said Savannah ran in the house after school, waving her yearbook as she yelled in glee, "Look! Here's Nana's picture, with me!" I couldn't help but smile as I remembered back to Grandparent's Day, and how I reluctantly slipped off from a busy schedule at work to go to Savannah's third-grade celebration for all the students' grandparents. The kids made cupcakes for all of us, and the teacher took pictures of each child and their grandparent. It was a really big deal, and a really big day. I remember thinking when I left the school how glad I was that I made the effort to go. I can't recall the work I was doing that day at the office, but I vividly recall the smile on Savannah's face, and the tight hug she gave me when I walked into her classroom. And to think, I almost let a full schedule, a busy day, and a thirty minute drive keep me from going....

What about you, my friend? Have you ever almost missed a memorable moment with your children or grandchildren because life got in the way? I can't begin to tell you all the times over the years that I did miss out because of my own crazy agenda and full calendar.

As summer begins, thank goodness schedules relax a little, time is somewhat more flexible, and the busy rhythm of life slows down a beat or two. Seize the moment to make memories with your children, grandchildren, family, and friends. Here are some tried and true suggestions from my own family summers that have made memorable moments for each of us.

Listen to one another. (You'll learn stuff.)
Laugh a lot. (You can even be silly.)
Play board games.
Plan some outdoor activities.
Camp out in the backyard or make a tent with sheets inside.
Work on a project or a craft together.
Go on a picnic. (Sit on a blanket, not at a table.)
Go to a park. (Don't just sit there and watch-swing!)
Bake or prepare a meal together. (It's okay if the kitchen gets messy.)
Have a family movie night, with popcorn and lemonade. (Sit down and watch the movie too. Discuss it together afterwards.)
Ride bikes.
Dance and sing.
Don't forget to take lots of pictures together. Put them in a photo album so you can all be ‘famous' for the summer of 2011.
Be safe as you travel, my friends. Stay in touch with a card, an email, or a Facebook update telling us what you're doing or where you're going. You are never far away from my heart, and my prayers.

From My Heart to Yours,
Susan Miller