What DOES God’s voice sound like?

So….

I know I’ve told this story before, I just don’t remember who I’ve told it to, I know, I know…my memory… ok, I’m pretty sure I’ve told it before…how’s that.

I’m in England.  Joelle and I are trying to decide where to go for our next duty station, or get out.  As a side note my vote was for getting out, I was unhappy and was just FINISHED WITH THE NAVY.  My son was born with mild birth defect that had to be operated on in the spring of 2006 at Lakenheath Air Base just north of London.    So we are up there TAD(Temporary Assigned Duty) for 10 days or so.  Nothing to do but keep Jake happy, give his meds, make sure things are clean, and…you guessed it…watch TV.  What did we hear?  Japan this, Japan that, this week in Okinawa the weather is going to be sunny and warm with a chance of showers…Okuma somethin’ somethin'(Okuma is the military resort on Okinawa where we live) Okinawa, Okinawa, Okinawa…we began to wonder if God was trying to tell us something through the TV…So here we are Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Japan.

It’s time again to pick orders.  Our prayers about where to go next have not been as complicated as they were in England.   I guess part of that is I’m starting to realize I’m just gonna have to stay in this sucker ’til I hit my 20.  (That’s when I get to retire from the Navy)  We’ve prayed but we’ve heard that we can make it to Whidbey Island, near Seattle,  pretty easily from here.  There’s also some orders to Naples, Italy that would be divine (and Joelle’s favorite place in the world) and the food….  So I e-mail my detailer, he’s the guy that issues me orders, and he says he’s got some openings for the sea component that didn’t make it on the requisitions that are on the internet, do I want them?  (That’s a bunch of military jargon that means I can go to Whidbey Island)  Oh man, I’m gonna have to ask Jo if we should take a chance and see if those Naples orders come back up.  I got home from work and we just figured a bird in an egg is worth 3 in the half shell or whatever.  We are watching Brothers and Sisters and some chick on the show is moving to…you guessed it…Seattle.

Joelle says “this is just funny”, I’m trying to be totally cool about it but I think maybe God’s talking to us through the TV again.  I think I am probably going to end up in Whidbey Island, Washington near Seattle.   I’ll of course keep you posted on what is happening, but I did write the guy back and tell him yes we want to go.

Here’s another one.  I’m reading the Pioneer Woman Cooks and the recipe looks interesting when I get down to where she adds the sea salt…guess what kind she has.   No really, guess…Okay…Puget Sound Sea Salt.

I guess the bottom line is, I don’t know what God’s voice sounds like.  I don’t “hear” Him talking to me try as I might, I have a hard time putting the stories in the Bible together with one another.  I believe He exists, I believe He died for my sins, I believe he answers prayers.  It seems for me, when he wants me to KNOW He’s talking to me…He puts it on TV.

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The Airplanes

So….

As I am on the last day of a 96 (short for 4 days off), I took the boys down to the airplanes to let them run around, give Joelle time to take a nap, and possibly take some pictures of airplanes and the boys.  I just realized, for those of you that don’t know, I live on an Air Force Base.  Kadena AFB to be exact, it’s a biggun.  At least I think it’s a big one, I haven’t really spent that much time on the US Air Force Bases to know.  Although I’ve been on Ramstein, the AFB not the band, Rhein Main, Lakenheath and Mildenhall, Hickam.  Hmmmmmm, I guess I’ve been to a few.  Anyway, there are these planes on the base as you come in from the main gate to the base.  There are about 7 or 8, with plaques having a small bit of history about the type of plane.  Back to the story…I realized as we got out of the car, this stuff holds me in awe.  These planes, the thoughts of the g-forces, the sounds(or lack of sound), and I begin to wonder…did I join the wrong armed force.

My neighbor is in the Air Force, but he’s a mechanic not a pilot.  Wait, a mechanic?  Yes a mechanic…on F-15 JET ENGINES!!!!!!!  Man…that’s AWESOME.  I…uhhhh…I’m a sonar technician.  Oh, so you’re the one that is causing the whales to go deaf?  His job totally sounds  cooler than mine.

Right…the story.  So Jake, ever the big brother, starts giving Quinn the tour of the planes.  See that Quinn, that’s the light.

The light flashes Quinn

The light flashes Quinn

And of course since it’s the boys, a quick pose by the wheel

They are really excited to be here.

They are really excited to be here.

And the tour continues….

The fire comes from there Quinn.

The fire comes from there Quinn.

This is where the missile goes.

This is where the missile goes.

Of course the excitement was high being at the planes, I was having a hard time getting them to look at me at the same time.  This is the closest they got to it.  This is an F-15, and this is where they are stationed right here at Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Japan.  They are really cool.

F-15 again

Of course being around all the airplanes the boys have to practice.

Nice form buddy

Nice form buddy

Do you think he'll achieve flight?

Do you think he'll achieve flight?

I told Jake this was one of my favorite jets when I was growing up, it looks really cool with the slanted wings and tail.

Cool

Cool

Isnt' that awesome

Isnt' that awesome

Aside from all the stuff about the Air Force or the Navy, the boys and I have a super good time at the planes.  It gets us out of the house for an hour or so and we get to walk around and see some cool stuff and make up stories about what this does or what that does.  I wish they had more planes though, maybe a helicopter or two.

Koza Seibo Yochien Undokai

Ko-za Say-bo Yo-chi-e-n U-n-do-ka-i.  Meaning Koza Seibo Catholic Preschool SPORTS DAY!!!!!!!!  And it is HUGE.  It’s almost like a mini Olympics with races, performances and dances.  Undokai is a part of every school in Japan, and has been since the Olympics were in Tokyo.

Things got started pretty early for a Sabbath day and started off with a sort of opening ceremony.  The coolest part is they have the kids do some of the speaking on a microphone in front of everyone.

Opening announcements

Opening announcements

Marching around the track

Opening Ceremony parade

And then there’s the dancing, it took Jake a moment to warm up to the idea of participating in the singing and dancing but he sure didn’t take as long as he normally does to warm.

Jake doing the opening dance

Jake doing the opening dance

This is one of Jake's friends S.

This is one of Jake's friends C.

This is C, one of Jake’s classmates, we met her mom and dad at another event the school had.

So after all of that dancing and opening announcement stuff, it was finally time for some of the sports stuff.  Jake got to run a race.  They had the kids who were next to run get into these rings on the ground, a sort of on deck runner circle.

The on deck runner's circle

The on deck runner's circle

On your mark…get set….

Look at that stance, doesn't he just look fast.

Look at that stance, doesn't he just look fast.

GO!!!!!!!!!

I'm runnin' I'm runnin'

I'm runnin' I'm runnin'

1/2 way ’round the track and he is in first place.  He’s wearin’ the red hat.

He's winning

He's winning

This is where my son starts looking around to see where everyone else is and just enjoy everyone clapping for him.  Normally this is ok if you are this far ahead, however, Jake has a tendency to stop doing what he’s doing, in this case running, or winning.  You gotta love that at this age winning and losing doesn’t matter to them, only to us older folks.  Ahhhhh, the innocence.

Oh….and the win!!!!!!

He actually managed to come across first.

He actually managed to come across first.

We got to take a break and have some lunch.  Taba-san made it in time to see some of the running and dancing, she even brought some fruit for the boys.  She’s totally cool and has really become a part of our family, she speaks to Jake in Japanese and he blushes.

Our mama-san came to check out the activities

Our mama-san came to check out the activities

After lunch there was a dance for the mamas/daddys and the kids.

Dancing with mama

Dancing with Mama

They even put on a show with the A-sans (5 & 6 year olds) as Eisa dancers playing with drums and dancing and all just like the ones down in Naha.

The kiddos doing Eisa dancing...pretty cool

The kiddos doing Eisa dancing...pretty cool

We all got to have some shaved ice, during the Eisa performance.

Jake and C having some shaved ice

Jake and C having some shaved ice

It was a good day. There was a relay race at the end that involved the parents.  We won(the red team), one guy came trucking around the turn and wiped out just like several of the kids did on their race.  That must have made them feel a bit better.  The weather was coolish, it sprinkled a bit around lunch time.  It was a very well prepared day, lots of practicing and planning must’ve gone into it.  Trying to communicate between Japanese who speak a bit of English and Americans who speak a bit of Japanese was a fun challenge.  They give the kids Monday off as a holiday from the sports day.

Of course everyone was a winner.

Nice job buddy

Nice job buddy

Jake struck this pose without any prompting from me, but it sums up the success of the day.

Jake’s finger

So….

Saturday night…I’m in the kitchen, Jake and Quinn have been playing in their new play room and the bathroom.  Jake comes out and is telling me something, “Hey Dad, there was this thing….”  All of a sudden the  look on his face.  I saw the door close and I knew exactly what happened.  I bolted for the door handle, cranked it down and pushed.  Jake, fingers trapped, Quinn, behind the door.  Luckily Quinn managed to step with the door as I pushed it.  Turning immediately to Jake I grabbed his hand.  His fingers had a funny kink in them and he was screaming.  Not that kind of scream kids do when they get spanked, nor that kind when they out run their legs and crash on the sidewalk.  This was a scream that makes your blood turn cold, the kind that makes you freeze where you are standing, the kind of scream that makes you loose all your sense about what to do next.

I picked Jake up and took him to Joelle, saying I think we have to go to the hospital, we put the fingers on ice, Jo’s idea.  She called the hospital while I got ready to go and after about a minute of chatting with them I got Jake in the car.  By this time he’s sort of settled down a bit but he’s still crying.

We’re driving down the road and I’m trying not to break too many land speed records, not only that but I’ve so far hit every red light since I left the house.  Jake doesn’t look very good at this point, and he says “Dad, I don’t feel well”, after a few questions I figure out it’s just because he’s had his fingers smashed in the door jam.  Now it is at this point where I am starting to feel like if I could take this pain away from him and transfer it to my hand I would so do it, even if the pain I ended up was 100 times worse than he was feeling.

Joelle and I have been doing this Bible study on the Disciples, and they healed people.  I told her a thing about one of our friends that died in college.  Faith…Mustard seed…blah, blah, blah.  I know I have too many doubts to be able to heal Jake and take this pain away from him….Wait a minute, I know I have too much doubt, but I know someone who doesn’t…that’s right…God.  So I ask Jake and we are going to pray, at the stop light, trying to hurry….

All of a sudden, mid prayer, I am overcome with this peace and clarity.  Finish the prayer, Brent, take your time, you can drive and pray at the same time.  We ask the Lord for strength, we ask for Him to help Jake be brave and strong.  Jake’s VBS memory verse comes to mind, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13.  This isn’t just a prayer for Jake, it’s for me also.

Now this is an amazing story so far.  I’ve been cool on the outside, completely freaked out on the inside.  I’ve been acting and not reacting, there’s no hesitation, I’m starting to do things before they’re even thought of.  Joelle is amazingly cool headed, Jake is fairly calm but I think that could be because we are calm.  But here’s the thing…this isn’t the REALLY amazing part of the story.  It is what happens after I say the word amen that is the most amazing.  Remember all the red lights, ya…missed’em all, it was like I was on the freeway.  Jake, ya…stopped crying and didn’t even cry again, X-rays, Drs., didn’t shed a tear for any of them.  ER…can I say 2 1/2 hours total, from the time I left to the time I got back.  No broken fingers, I saw them there was a funny kink in them after they came out of the door, NO BROKEN FINGERS.

Coincidence?  Maybe, but there is a lot of stuff that happened after I said Amen that went our way.

Thank-you Lord.

It’s my birthday month

As I’ve gotten older…man isn’t this one starting out great…I’ve gotten interested in some stuff, and disinterested in some stuff.  Sometimes even in the same week.  For just over a year now I’ve been into photography, which is good for keeping with it, right?   (How do you know how long before you know you won’t quit something you started?)  I have a Nikon D40 with the 18-55mm lens that comes with the camera.  My Awesome father-in-law, Pop, handed me a manual focus prime lens and an AF telephoto lens that is MF on the D40.  Are you with me so far?

I’m going to be 40 this year (on the up side I read somewhere that 40 is the new 30 or something like that) and had been saving diligently for a big screen Plasma or LCD TV.  Until, that is, I found out that I might might might get to go to Naples for my next duty station.  At that point I thought, “How silly to get a TV I won’t even be able to use for 3 years.”  You see the US is NTSC and Europe is PAL, so they don’t even go together.  Are you still with me?

So, I’m going to just keep the money I’ve saved for the TV, so I’ll have a start when we go back to the states, and use money I get for my birthday plus a bit from my bonus for “Staying Navy” to buy a lens for my birthday instead.  Because I bought the entry level D40 (with no auto-focus motor in the body) I am stuck buying AF-S lenses for the ol’ camera.

I looked on a website and found a short list of lenses that the guy recommends.  I’m hoping I can get a couple but I’ve got no idea what I want to get.  Maybe only 1 but maybe 2.  Let’s just say that I can get one, which one?  Or, what if I can get 2 what then?  Should I even try to get a speed light?  I like shooting the boys so a good zoom is a great idea, but I also wouldn’t mind having a faster lens I can shoot in low light, like at the aquarium.  How about a 10-24mm or something like that?  Is the 55mm part of the 55-200mm to zoomed in for comfortable shooting in the house, what the heck, why not just change lenses?  Should I care about having to change lenses in the middle of shooting because something is to close?

Maybe none of this matters.  Since I don’t have the dollars to get the big stuff or the expensive stuff or both.  Then again, if I am going cheap anyway, of the cheap stuff what do I get?  Why couldn’t I decide that I’d like to do something that isn’t so expensive.  Like knitting.  Nothing against you knitters out there, I like some of your sweaters.  I live in Okinawa so it’s the perspective of the thing.

I guess really the answer lies mostly in answering the question, what am I going to be shooting.  The boys, the family, inside, outside, some landscape type stuff, some food some close up macro stuff…maybe.

I AM getting closer to a decision.

Thanks for bearing with me on this, I’ll keep you updated.  Jo wants me to hurry up ’cause I’m driving her nuts talking about it so much.