Sunday, October 29, 2006


Not long ago I was sitting in a training session and someone was explaining a method for organizing information. MILO, he said, was the way to go. There was one hiccup, however. True to Beaureaucratic Form, it was necessary to gather the information in the format IOLM, not MILO. The acronym MILO, was for memorization purposes only. Hmm.

Lest we get mired in the details of which way an acronym is to be remembered or how to properly use it to gather information... here's what the darn thing stands for:





…and in it's proper priority form:





Well, all of this may be Greek, Geek, or Eek to you (it very narrowly was to myself as well), but take a closer look. My personal epiphany came as the man was explaining that this informational process can be applied to anything in the world.

Case in point...

Identification: My wife's computer

Organization: one screen, one keypad, one external drive, one mouse, etc.

Location: corner of my living room, EG Miles Parkway, Hinesville GA, United States

Mission: facilitate flow of information between family and friends, manage the budget, etc.

It was in the middle of just such an acronymal application to an inanimate piece of equipment that I realized I have a personal MILO. In fact, I suddenly envisioned MILO as a personal assessment tool to verify where I am and where I am going:

Identification: Child of God, Andrew Harper, Cassidy's husband; Corporal Harper USA; David and Charlotte's son; William's brother; Amanda's brother-in-law; Benj's Uncle; Butch and Karen's son-in-law; Weston, Jenny, Jarrod, Seth, and Darren's brother-in-law; friend to many. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” 1 Peter 2:9

Organization: healthy body, sanctified soul, spirit, mind, strong will, moody emotions, sin nature, desire to spend time with and build my family, fear of being replaced. “Finally, all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8

Location: In my home; A Co., 1-3 BTB, 1st Brigade, 3rd ID, Fort Stewart, GA; Right where God called me to be for this time. “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b

Mission: To be surrendered to what God is currently teaching me; to be the best husband i can be; to be the best soldier i can be; to reach out to other soldiers who do not know Christ as Savior; to prepare for the step God wants us to take after the Army. “…For obedience to Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 1:2

As you can see, there are nearly limitless applications for MILO to daily life. I find that it clarifies priorities, gives perspective in current circumstances and helps to provide a framework for future planning. All of these things coupled with a renewed image of who one is makes this acronym a quick, healthy mental and spiritual checkup.

“All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Psalm 25:10

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Quote from Andrew

(as quoted to me yesterday)

"Don't hate the system, Babe. Trust the One Who controls it - and then get out as soon as possible."

As Promised...

Some random self-portraits during our Charleston trip. We were camera-happy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Charleston, SC

Not last weekend, but the weekend before... We decided to take off to Charleston! It's about 2.5 hours away from here. Same distance approx. as Jacksonville, just north instead of south.

We arrived too late for the last ferry boat ride to Ft. Sumter. Ho-hum. That's why we came, so we decided to spend the night and try again tomorrow. (Andrew had that Monday off!)

That night we explored downtown Charleston a bit, and found a great place to eat called 82 Queen. The weather and atmosphere and all was just so gorgeous!

We woke early the next morning so as not to miss the boat again! It was neat to see the Fort where the first shot of the Civil War was fired.

We did our research on places to eat, mostly. Found that Rachael Ray had done one of her "$40 a Day" specials in Charleston. So we scoped out her favorite places and picked one to eat at: Hominy Grill. Excellent local home cookin'. And Rachael Ray ate here!!

We even drove through a couple plantations before we headed home.

We took pictures and made memories and that's what we're all about these days! (More of those to come later.)

A view from our ferry of the beautiful row of mansions on East Bay Street (I think they call this "The Battery")

Friday, October 20, 2006

New Cutest Movie Ever: Curious George

Okay, so I was tired of watching Madagascar - the only semi-kids movie we owned - every time Benji came over for a visit. There's only so much of "I like to move it, move it" that a person can handle!

Andrew and I were browsing through WalMart's DVD section a couple weeks ago when I spied the yellow box! So the big movie we bought that night was, indeed, Curious George.

I remember having all the Curious George and The Man with the Yellow Hat books around our house all the time when we were younger. I always loved them. And I was so pleased to see that the movie did the books justice! George is the cutest animated monkey, ever.

But, yeah, I waited til the next time Benji was here to watch it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Meet Corporal Harper

This morning, Andrew was promoted from "Specialist-Promotable Harper, Andrew K." to "Corporal Harper, Andrew K."

To make it even better, I was not only invited to attend the brief formation "ceremony," but as his wife, I was the one to promote him. That meant that I stood in front of the company next to him as his orders were read, then at the right time, I turned to face him, took off his Specialist rank, and replaced it with the new Corporal patch.

Then it's tradition to haze the promoted Soldier by punching him in the rank. Whether it be shoulders, collar, sternum, whatever. So I playfully punched him in the chest (cause everyone was expecting it), then gave him a kiss on the lips to make it better.

Later he was surrounded by his fellow Soldiers as they congratulated him. One or two hit him pretty hard. Nice. At least it's not like it was even recently when the ranks were metal pins. Punching those drew blood and that seemed to be the cool thing to do.

Remember back when he passed the board? That made him promotable and his lateral promotion was to Corporal. It finally happened this morning because all his paperwork went through. The next thing is to build up his promotion points until he's eligible for a forward promotion to Sergeant.

I'm so proud of him! The Army is not an easy job.

I handed my camera to Andrew's Sergeant and she took pictures for us. Here are a few.

Me getting quick instructions from the 1st Sergeant.

Andrew at attention as his orders are being read.

My turn to pin my Soldier!

Capt. Pressley gives a charge to the new Army Corporal of A Company, 1st Brigade, 3rd ID.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

He's Home

I got the last text before Andrew's phone died. He wrote, "We're leaving now and will be at the company in an hour and a half." Along with some xoxoxo's. Determined to see him as soon as possible, I decided to get to the company in about an hour, just in case. Plus I'd been ready to hear from him for hours and was out of things to do, clean, cook, and had no patience to read or watch anything any longer.

I parked at the company and waited, not quite sure from which direction he would be coming, nor if he'd be able to contact me.

Facing a couple of the motorpools, where the troop carriers were returning, I was witness to several home-comings, and scores of Soldiers chucking their gear in the backs of cars and trucks and driving off. I was getting so hopeful! Andrew had mentioned the possibility of their company staying late to finish up some things. But these guys were all jumping right in their own cars and driving off. Whew.

I had been sitting in the van for nearly 2 hours when, suddenly, my phone rings from Sergeant Gragg's number. It was Andrew saying that they had just pulled into their motorpool (down the road, not one I could see) and then that they were driving to the company. So I sat there in the company parking lot under a streetlight with a good view of the entrance, practically holding my breath with every headlight I saw. (Now, lest you are led to believe that Andrew had previously lied about their arrival time, let me just say that in the end, his convoy had to wait for the last people from the battalion, and then proceeded to take the longest way home, ever. This must have been by way of Florida and back. Or something just as far.)

Finally, two humvees turned in. I wasn't sure if they were Andrew's, I couldn't see him in the windows. So I just sat there and waited some more. He knew where I was, so he would come and find me.

He did.

It was so dark, I didn't see him until he was in the light from the streetlamp. Even then, I didn't know it was him at first, he was so laden with gear and duffels and ruck sacks. I quick unlocked the back and he dropped everything in. Then we just stood there in a long embrace under the canopy of the back hatch door. I was not in a parking lot. I heard no cars drive by and saw no headlights. I was with Andrew. And that's when I began to breathe again, for the first time in weeks.

Though I would love to say that he drove me home then and there...the night's adventure was far from over. He had more gear to bring out. And then had to do weapons and gear accountability. Turn them in and sign off and all. We drove back and forth to the motorpool several times. Usually with "hitchhikers." If you hadn't noticed, I wasn't about to leave him. So I just tagged along, content to finally be wherever he was.

All the Soldiers were finished and gathered in the company...and suddenly everything was on lock-down. Another company seemed to have misplaced a piece of sensitive equipment, and so no one was allowed to leave until further notice.

One of the frustrations of the Army. All get punished for the shortcomings of a few. Or one.

By now, it's around 10:30. We're all sitting in the company and no one seems to know what's going on. Some Soldiers are sleeping with their heads down on the table, some are sitting on the cold concrete against the wall, still others are storming around acting like they would do something if they could. All are trying to deal with the fact that they can't go home yet, for some reason. So close...

Once we heard it was on lock-down because of lost equipment, which would need to be found before anyone could go home...and which could be anywhere between the garrison and the field... We took orders and I did a Sonic run. Yep. The company's hero for the night.

Andrew couldn't come, of course, so I talked to him on the phone the whole way and back. I nearly suffered from a little separation anxiety. Between that and not really believing that he was there...I just wanted to be with him.

He and a couple others met me at the van to carry in the food. And then he and I just sat in the van together. And ate our cheeseburgers and fries together. And talked together. Together.

Finally, at just before 1am, they were gathered into formation, given a few orders and directives for the next day, and then were released to go home.

We have no idea if that offending company found the missing pieces.

Or if they were ever lost at all.

Or if there was really a reason to keep us there so late.

Some things just never quite resolve.

But Andrew drove me home in the early morning hours. And all I care about is that he's back. And he's already gone today, at the company for a full day of work. We're just pretty much lucky (according to the 1st Sergeant) that they're still not "in the field" and can come home nights during this after-training-recovery process.

And so, I'm going to take my baby some lunch on this fine Sunday afternoon.

Household Miracle II

Check out this new Dirt Devil! It's called The Kone. Yes, I'm into vacuums. I like the dirt to go away. This is stylish enough to have out and handy for quick clean ups. Just grab and twist off the handle. Replace it, and it recharges for next time. Not shown here, but there's a white one available, too. Only it lights up, if you want.

I don't have one.


I like the champagne color.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It's the Day!

I can't believe the day is finally here. And I can't believe it took so long to come!

My Soldier that I love is coming home tonight for the first night in 3 weeks. I have missed him so much!

I'm willing to concede that it's just my state of mind, but I have never seen Georgia so beautiful as it is today. At a gorgeous 62 degrees with a crisp feels more like a late summer day in Oregon!

My sister-in-law, Amanda, just left here. She and Benj visited for the morning and it was so good to catch up after my trip! We are both so happy today (William's coming home, too) that I do believe we're giddy.

Life is beautiful. The whole world is beautiful.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More PIX Messages

Here's one Andrew sent me today. Waiting in the tent to be picked up by a convoy with his team.

Doesn't he look good?? He makes me so proud.

Here's me and my OSU Beavers sticker at the game with my family and the Matchaks for Wes's 27th birthday!

Quite a difference in our daily activities, isn't it? I can't wait to live with him again!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Marching Orders

The phrase has a whole new meaning.

So does an email I received last week entitled Official Deployment Notification. Dang. That's hard news to hear while my Soldier is away from me and I'm missing him more than ever.

You may have seen the headlines last week about the U.S. Army sending more troops to Iraq. Yes, we've seen it a hundred times. This time, however, that headline hurts. It means my husband is going. That part at the end about the Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division...that's us.

The official news is that Andrew's brigade (1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division) will be deployed in January for a 12-month tour of duty in Iraq. I already miss him.

We have been dealing with the ominous news pretty well for being separated. My family has been such a support to us both, and I've been trying to communicate that to Andrew in spite of mostly impossible cell phone service and frustrating circumstances.

We're so grateful for the 5 1/2 or maybe 6 months of marriage that God is granting us before he has to go! Except for this 3 weeks of training, and another night or 2 earlier, we've been together every single day and loving life together.

I'm still in Oregon, but I leave on Wednesday. And I'm counting the days until I can see my Baby again... Sunday or Monday, last we heard. I can't wait!

Then we count the days until he leaves for a year. Then we'll count the days til his return. Lots of counting. Every day I'm with him I just wish time would stop. Every day we're apart, I pray it will hurry. So many new feelings. So many new lessons.

Christ in us. The hope of glory! It's what we can cling to as we take each new step He lays before us. Our hands in His, He guides us. Through mountaintops and valleys, He will not forsake us, no matter what comes.
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