Well, it has been exactly one year since we returned from Iraq. I have had a wonderful year.
Firstly, this is the first complete year home since 9-11-01 that I have not been activated by the military for one reason or another. This has been a blessing as I have really enjoyed the time with my family.
Shortly after I returned home last fall, I became involved in our city's theater companies. We have three different theatrical groups, The Red Mask Theater, Danville Light Opera (DLO), and The Lincoln Park Theater Company. In September, I played Mr. Western in the play 'Tom Jones'. It was the first time that I had played the father of an adult child. I guess I am getting the roles appropriate to my age. :0). Then this summer we put on 'The Sound of Music' for our cities annual 'play in the park'. I played Captain Von Trapp and yes I had to sing...I know, I know...for those of you who know me and have heard me sing would think that this was a serious error in casting. But we were able to pull it off and it was a hoot. The entire community comes out because, after all, it is a free production. It was an extremely hot summer and rehearsals killed. But the kids were awesome and the lady who played Maria was fabulous.
Karen and Karis were busy with plays of their own. Karen was the musical director for the Danville Light Opera and Karis played a kookie character in the play, 'Wipeout'. Karis has been in appx. 1-2 plays a year since she was very little, so she is completely comfortable on stage. (I hope you all don't mind if I brag on my girl.)
Karis started 6th grade this year. She is in the MATs program which is an accelerated program for our district. She loves it but the homework is starting to come hot and heavy.
Karen has decided to go back to grad. school. She is going for a Master's in Education specializing in language and reading comprehension. She will be able to receive a certification as a reading specialist when she is done.
I have still been doing my Guard drills every month. It is still nice to get with the boys every now and then. Last month I was able to drill with Mike, Bryan, and Travis. Brandon, who is one of our units Nurse Practitioners was at drill and we found out that he will be deploying soon. We love Brandon, even though he is a Nurse Practitioner, who every PA would tell you, comes from the wrong side of the medical tracks. :0) He will also be going to Haiti for a two week mission in the next day or two. There will be another medical mission to Haiti sometime in the Spring and I am hoping to be on that rotation.
Things in the military are very fluid. Changes in Iraq are happening daily. Rotation schedules are constantly being modified and no rotation is set in stone at this point. Afghanistan is another issue as we will still be active in that region for some time to come.
I have been able to take some breaks this year. In February, I took my family to San Francisco for a short vacation and then last month we flew down to Hilton Head and vacationed in Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. We actually didn't spend much time at Hilton Head at all as Charleston and Savannah were much more interesting. At the Isle of the Palms beach I was stung by some jellyfish. I couldn't believe how much it hurt. I, of course, whined and moaned and whimpered, and cried, but the locals there had no sympathy. Apparently, this is a common occurrence and all of my theatrics did not impress them in the least. Let's just see how sympathetic I am to one of those beach combers if they ever come to the mid west and get into some kind of farming accident like getting their arm stuck in an auger. "Oh quit your belly aching it's just a small bone sticking through the skin..." :0)
I will be doing two weeks with my Guard unit at the end of September. I will have an office gig. We have soldiers who need to have their medical status reviewed so I will be helping with that. Apparently, Indiana is still conducting medical boards, so we will have to prepare soldiers for that as well if needed.
I did complete and publish 'The Lookout Tree'. I have several other books in the work but time is always difficult to find when writing. Writing is something that requires at least 3-4 hour blocks of time in order to accomplish anything. Our lives are busy and those hours are hard to come by sometimes.
Well, I will close. I wanted to submit a one year update to this blog as I have largely ignored it as I was busy living life. I do want to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers when we were gone. I also want to again thank those who took care of my family while I was away and I want to thank my fellow soldiers who deployed with me. Without your friendship and kindness during our year together, I would have certainly gone mad.
God Bless you all and I hope that you will all have an awesome Holiday Season.
By the way, I want to bring a situation to light. There is a young man named SPC Bowe Bergdahl, who was taken as a POW in Afghanistan and he has been held for over a year. The Taliban has made propaganda videos with him and he is still alive. The media has done little to cover this young man's plight. I have contacted our representative's offices and their initial response has been...'Who is Bowe Bergdahl.' I explained his situation to Rep. Mike Pence's office and to Senator Lugar's office. Sen. Lugar actually contacted me and said that he is familiar with his case and that plans to rescue him have been in the works. Locating this young man is difficult as he may be in Pakistan. Please call your State Representatives and keep the pressure on them to help this soldier and his family. We don't leave anyone behind and this young man needs to come home. Please pray for him and his family. Thanks...