Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Heart of Her Husband Safely Trusts Her - - The P31 Woman


This week we took a look at trust.

The one thing that stood out to me in today's study was this little factoid:

"Throughout the book of Proverbs, trusting in any person or pursuit other than God equates to foolishness. The one exception God makes in Proverbs is in verse 31:11. In this verse a man's profit is the result of the value of his wife, in whom he trusts."

Ms. George points out that God wants us to be women whom our spouse can trust just as he trusts in God. First of all, this is kind of scary - - I mean, those are big shoes to fill. One gal pointed out that we women have to trust in God and rely on Him to make us that trustworthy, because we aren't capable of doing it in our own power.

George's commentary expounds on the word "heart" from the verse. She says the Hebrew word for heart actually refers to the mind where doubt and anxiety originate. I had never thought of it that way but it makes complete sense. I mean, an anxiety attack feels like a heart attack. If people around us don't trust us, it causes anxiety. In my single life, this virtue can be cultivated in the work place. With deadlines and many moving parts to what I do, if I don't give off the perception that I have it under control - - than that causes my supervisors to stress out. I've been struggling giving that perception at work lately - - and I can tell by all the questions my manager asks me that she is lacking in confidence in me.

The chapter listed 10 areas of daily life where we are to develop trustworthiness. Those areas are:
  • Money
  • Children
  • Home
  • Reputation
  • Fidelity
  • Emotions
  • Happiness
  • Wisdom
  • Conduct
  • Love

My strengths are reputation and fidelity, I think these go hand-in-hand. I would never cheat and I know I would never engage in anything that could harm my spouse personally or professionally.

My weaknesses are money, home and happiness. I definitely think I need to work on having more savings and less debt. At home, I could be a lot more organized, it isn't exactly an oasis for me sometimes. I know if I were married, a spouse wouldn't want to come home to a crazy, messy home. So I need to work on this. Finally happiness, this kind of ties into last week with being a jewel. I'm not very sparkly and am far from a fountain of joy. I need work on choosing to be more up beat and positive about things.

Monday, April 28, 2008

New Museum Acquisitions - - Pack Howitzers


This January the National Museum of the Marine Corps acquired twin 75mm Howitzers. One from MARCORSYSCOM (Marine Corps Systems Command) and the other from DLA (Defense Logistics Agency).

The Howitzer pictured above is Charity, the other was named Faith. What I want to know is, where are Hope, Grace and Love?

The pack howitzers were developed in the 1920s and were designed to be taken apart in several pieces and then packed on mules for transport. The big debate among the once active duty Marine docents was just how many parts the pack howitzer can be broken into. The signage says six. Some of the docents wondered if in reality it is four. My suggestion was they just take the darn things apart to find out.


Now, I would have to say that Faith was in much better condition then Charity. Both weapons have a lot of corrosion, rust and flaking paint. The men were admiring the very shiny "brass" parts.

"That can't be brass, they had to have painted that on." One of the men commented.

"That is unless they clear coat it with something." the other male docent replied.

Which is what they do in restoration. They will not paint over any brass parts, they will leave it natural, but will clear coat it to keep it from corroding. I confirmed for them that the brass was actually brass and not paint and that it was clear coated.


However, they kept saying that these weapons had been restored. Right away, I put that notion to rest with, "There is no way these could have been restored, look at the corrosion on the brass pieces and all that rust and pealing paint."

I got under the rope and took some of these photos to show you the rust. There is NO WAY the restoration division would release these to you and say they were restored. They are in need of restoration. In addition, restoration would NEVER use gold film (sticker) letters to put the names on these weapons - - they would have used a letter template and actual paint. Who the heck uses sticker letters on a weapon?


Restoration would require removal of all the paint as well as sanding or sandblasting off the rust and corrosion from the parts. They weapons would be completely taken a part (like every piece undone -- not just the 6 pieces for a pack)

During WW2 these were given to the Chinese and believe it or not, during the Vietnam war, the Marines captured a few of them from the Viet Cong who had received them from the Chinese. Boy talk about "What goes around, comes around"!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Wedding Reception at The Museum


There was a wedding reception in the Museum's Mess Hall this afternoon.  The unusuall thing about it, it was during operational hours.  It is less expensive if you do it this way.  And as you can tell, it was a small wedding reception, so people could still eat in the other half of the mess hall while the reception was going on.

The groom was a Lance Corporal, so they were a young couple. 

The bride was very cute.  She had long, dark brown hair which was pulled back on the sides.  Her dress was a strapless a-line (which I'm sure makes no sense to any men reading this) with simple beading.  The bridesmaids wore really pretty royal blue satin, knee length dresses. 


Above is the cake, minus the cake topper.  The family brought the cake in from an outside baker.  I didn't realize that you could do this, but according the museum catering, this is the only outside thing you can bring in. 

Now, I didn't take any photos of the bride and groom - - just of the room set-up so I can send these to the catering department. 

Yes, museum catering set everything up.  The Bride's family provided all of the table settings, the roses on the head table, the rose petals, the guest book and the card box (by the way, whoever did that card box did an amazing job - - I wonder if there is a real mailbox under the white satin).  The additional flower arrangements are silk flower arrangements provided by Museum catering.


So, what you see below is the view of the Mess Hall from its entrance.


This photo really shows the detail of that gift card box.  Isn't it pretty.


Below, the museum catering manager, sets up the buffet table.  The rose bushes are silk and are what the catering office used spruce the table up.  And yes, they were using plastic plates and table ware.  It still looks very nice for a wedding reception on a budget.


Below, all set and waiting for the guests to arrive. 


I believe the photographer was the brother of the Bride or Groom.  He was a family member.  I asked them if they had had any photos taken in the galleries in front of anything.  I pointed out the best place to take a photo in front of the HRS-1 and also coming off the CH-46 in the Vietnam gallery.  Yes, this is the first bride and groom to be photographed coming off the CH-46.  I hope it turns out to be a cool picture. 

There really are some cool places for photos in the museum.  If you are marrying a Marine, and having the reception in the museum, you gotta get your photo taken by some of the displays - - you have to - - I mean why have your reception there if you don't get some photos.

If you are interested in holding an event here - - they do promotions, changing of commands, awards presentations, weddings, birthdays...you name it, they can do it and catering will work with you to stay within a budget.  For information, check out the Museum's special events site.

I feel like this jeep


Yes, I feel rusty, and dirty and tired and in some places broken - - but luckily no eyes knocked out.

It was a long Saturday to a long week. 

I'm starting to stress out at work.  Implementation is coming up quickly.  We hired someone to help me test - - but she's not familiar with the system so I am showing her step by step how to do what we have to do.  She looked at the dates on my white board and freaked and was very discouraged. 

"How are we going to meet those deadlines?"  Well, we don't have a choice.  Its called working really late nights.  She has 12 tests that she has to conduct (I also have 12 - - I took the more difficult ones because, for the most part, I know what I'm doing).  ARGH!

I'm praying for supernatural intervention from God, because there is no way I can get this all done.  None.

The positive - - I have been REALLY good with my workouts.  Even if I've put in a 10 hour day, I still go to the gym.  I'll have to see if I can still do it after a 12 hour day.

Today I labored long and hard on the yard.  I decided that I am going to buy a cultivator to help me dig up my side yard so that I can expand my garden.  After only getting about 4 inches into the red clay soil that was rock hard, I said "ENOUGH!"

I then attempted to fix my toilet (I broke the ballcock trying to get the darn thing to stop running).  Well, I got a new ballcock in but can't get the freakin' washer that seals water supply to thread into the fitting from the ballcock.  Very frustrating.  I'm going to have to call a plumber.  I will be really angry if this costs $100 for them to fix for me.  But, I want my downstairs toilet to work.

The only thing I was successful at today was replacing the screens on a window and on my sliding door from the family room to the patio.  Both repairs were required thanks to the cats.  For the sliding door, I got pet proof screen.  Its thicker and very difficult to cut.  Ranger did have a go at it after I put it up -- and it didn't tear at all.

And the other positive - - my house is clean!

So - - I'm calling it a day, while I'm still ahead!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Her Price is Much Higher Than Jewels - - The Proverbs 31 Woman


This week in our study of the P31 Woman, we looked at her value.

Some translations also say "Her worth is far above rubies" or pearls or corals.

A point that one of my friends made was that rubies blend in with the dirt and you actually have to be looking for them to find them. If you aren't looking for a ruby, you just toss it aside because you think its just like all the other stones in the dirt.

So - - some men could actually have a treasure in their grasp, but because they aren't looking for it, they toss it.

I didn't know that only 20 pearls are found per 35,000 pearl oysters and of that, only 3 are gem quality. WOW!

But the light bulb moment for me in this chapter came when Ms. George was describing a visit she made to a museum in Israel. She was looking for all the treasures. But all the museum had was mundane clay pots and vases. Bland, everyday items, items that related to work, war and loss. She asked where all the 'treasures' were. She was told that the treasures were carried away by ancient conquerors. She realized then that the P31 Woman WAS the sparkling jewel in her husband's life.

As a single woman, I am suppose to be the 'sparkle' in the lives of the people around me. I think I am far from that. I know a couple women who really exemplify the 'sparkle' in the lives of people around them. These women are always upbeat, even when things aren't up beat - - like when we have to work until 3 a.m. I think I need to work on being more 'sparkly', more positive and up beat. So often I just sit in my cube, put the blinders on, just work and I'm blah.

That can then cross over to dating. I mean, who wants to go out with someone who is just blah. I know I want to hang out with people that pick me up and energize me - - well, I need to be that for other people also.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day 983 of My Captivity

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishily on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets.

Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I neverthless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The ONLY thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit, not just on the carpet, but in a pair of those things they wear on their hind paws.

Today, I decapitated a frog and dropped its headless body at their feet.

I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.


There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies'. I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

This morning, I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around her feet as she was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return.

He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

For now...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Not a Happy Saturday in Ranger's Girl's House


Yes, that would be MY hand.  Ranger was responsible. 

The good thing, I didn't have to go to the hospital this time.

Yes, he has done this to me before and I have had to go to the hospital - - his hind claws missed my veins in my forearm this time.

He escaped by sliding the screen door open.  Well, why didn't I have the screen door latched?  Because I was outside and if it were latched - - well, I had no way of latching it.  I let him roam this time and he came back to the front door.  Only he wouldn't come in, so I sat down on the stoop and he came up and did the "Love me" bit.  Yeah, weaving in and out of my legs, rolling over on his back.  All the indicators that he wanted to be petted.

You guessed it, I reached out to pet him and


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beautiful in God's Eyes - - The Proverbs 31 Woman

The women in my Bible Study have embarked on a journey to study the Proverbs 31 woman.  Now, why should single women study the "virtuous wife"?

Its interesting, she's the woman of the Bible feminists thumb their noses at the most, but when you look at her, the Proverbs 31 woman is the woman who "Has it all".  She has a career outside the home (sewing clothing and sashes that she sells to merchants).  She makes investments (considers a vineyard) and makes a profit from it.  She has a husband who adores her and who is respected among his peers.  She has children who praise her.  She successfully runs a household.  Isn't that what the feminism movement has been trying to sell us since the 1960s?  Well, feminists have argued that the Proverbs 31 woman is an image created by man to make us women feel inadequate, unworthy, inferior.  Boy is that far from the truth.

We (the women in my Bible study) were trying to decide upon a few different studies.  We had a lot out on the table.  We lifted the choice up in prayer to God and took a week off.  That week off also included a woman's conference at church with the theme, "Turn Down the Noise.  Hear the Voice of God".  The speaker was Lysa TerKeurst, she is a wife, mother, author, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries and co-host of Proverb's 31 Ministries national radio program.  Now, none of us knew this when we went to the conference.  But as we attended the main lectures and the smaller break-out sessions, all of us began to wonder if God was leading us toward studying the Proverbs 31 woman.

Well, we all decided to do a study using a book by Elizabeth George, "Beautiful in God's Eyes".


Interestingly, several of us (including myself) had already read this book on our own a few years ago.  I remember thinking back then, this would be such a good study to do with a group of women. 

This book discusses each verse in each chapter.  So, week one, we discussed the first half of Proverbs 31:10 (NIV).

A wife of noble character, who can find?

The first thing that I had never realized back in  Proverbs 31:1 is that, yes, this was a saying of a King, a man, but it was an oracle his MOTHER taught him when he was a young boy.  The queen is not only teaching her son the Hebrew alphabet, she's imprinting on his young mind the characteristics of a wife he should be looking for when he grows up. 

The other thing that was highlighted in the commentary, the Queen EXPECTS her son to be able to find a single woman like this.  So its possible for us as women to have these characteristics - - because, not only does God expect us to have them, another woman expected us to have them.  In addition, these characteristics are present in single women (the queen isn't going to want her son going after other men's wives, at least I don't think so).  These aren't characteristics that we miraculously develop on our honeymoon - - we should have them and be working on perfecting them long before we ever marry. 

The other thing I had never realized, the hebrew word used for "Noble Character" is the same word used in the Old Testament to describe an army.  The Hebrew word refers to a force that is able, mighty, strong, worthy - - and the commentary went on to list many others.  Wow, we women are a "Force"!  But you know, if you think about it, when we as women are on a mission, we are a force to be reckoned with.  I mean, threaten our children or family, holy cow, you better get out of the way!

Along the lines of being described in parallel to an Army, so often, we women are the prayer warriors for our family and God calls us to pray unceasingly (Ephesians 6:18).

This is a great study and I'll share with you all what we discuss.  If you are looking for something for your women's bible study - - or even a study on your own, I highly recommend this book.  And you all are welcome to share your insights or comments along the way.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dissecting Fallujah With General Natonski


One thing that has been brought up over an over in classes I have taken on Islamic extremism is that you should not enter int a truce or cease fire unless you are in a position of weakness.  The US's cease fire in Fallujah in April 2004 is always used as a case in point.

The US was in a position of power and could have crushed the insurgency.  However, pressure from the Iraqi government, the US State Department and world wide public opinion, due to insurgents claims that US Marines were killing women and children (images being broadcast by Al Jazera) let to the US agreeing to a cease fire.  This cease fire allowed the insurgents to regroup, resupply, dig in and become stronger.

General Mattis was in charge during the first battle of Fallujah. General Natonski took over that August and led the second attack.  The book No True Glory  by Bing West describes in detail Operations Vigilant Resolve and Phantom Fury (Al Fajr or "Dawn" by the Iraqis). 

Have you ever wanted to ask a General who was involved in an event, which is already considered a 'historic" touch stone battle for the Marines, "Would you do it the same way?"

My question, which by the time the Q&A portion of the evening did not come out as articulate as how I am going to write it, heck I could barely get all the words completed, but we can thank my day at work for that.

General Natonski, based on your experience would you recommend doing the same thing in a similar situation in the future?  I've taken courses on Islamic extremism and the Koran says not to enter into a truce or cease fire unless you are in a position of weakness so that you can rebuild your strength.  Fallujah is used as a text book example of what not to do when dealing with extremists.  Would you do it this way again?

To summarize, the answer was "No."

Natonski said Mattis didn't want the cease fire, ( a lot of "Ooorahs!" from the crowd) but they were pressured to do so because the press was showing footage of dead women and children and blaming the deaths on the Marines.  The good thing about the cease fire, it allowed the non-combatants to leave the city.  Natonski said when they did the second attack in November 2004, they were given the green light, by Bush, to get the job done, no cease fires.  And get the job done they did.

It wasn't easy.  The insurgents had dug in.  They showed us an intel threat overview map of Fallujah from October 2004.  The highest concentration of insurgent positions were on the eastern side of the city, the area toward Baghdad.  That is the direction the insurgents expected the US offensive to come from.


As you can see from the illustration below, the US attacked from the north.  And it wasn't just a US Marine Corps attack.  While the Marine Corps leadership was in charge, Marine units were integrated with the US Navy Seals, Army Cav, the British Blackjack Brigade, and Iraqi Army units.


During the first 22 days of the battle, Explosive Ordnance Disposal uncovered and disarmed over 11,000 IEDs - - yes, that is 11,000 IEDs.  In one of the aerial attacks of the city, US forces bombed a Command and Control center.  After the initial explosion which destroyed the building there were a series of secondary explosions including one that traveled several hundred yards down the road leading to the building.  The insurgents had set-up IEDs in a daisy chain, expecting US forces to head down that road to the building, the plan, wait until the troops were on that section of road and them blow them all up.  This next illustration shows you what was found.


One of the things that General Natonski noted was that Fallujah was known as the city of Mosques.  He commented that there were a few less Mosques at the end of the battle.  Why, when they were suppose to be off limits - - well, Insurgents used at least 47 mosques as fighting positions.  The tall minarets are perfect sniper or look out positions.  If Marines were taking fire from a Mosque, they took it out.

It was neat to listen to and get the chance to ask a General involved with the battle a question.  It was also a bit intimidating to be surrounded by a bunch of Marines who had been there.  It was almost like attending one of the first Combat Veterans of Fallujah Symposiums, like that of the Combat Veterans of Iwo Jima.

There was a smattering of wives at the event.  Total, about 100 people (that is all the museum can fit in the mess hall and theater at this time - - looking forward to that 400 seat theater in phase 2!)  So, yes, this was another event were there was a line to the men's room but not to the ladies' room.

I think it is a good thing for the spouses to come to these events.  I think for them, it is a good thing to gain a better understanding of what their spouses went through.  It is definitely more personal for them.  For me, I gained a much better understanding of the battle and picked up some more stories to tell on tours.

All in all, a great evening.  I would highly recommend attending one of these events at the museum.  

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ranger's Excellent Adventure

Well folks, Ranger ruined my plans to go down town to visit the cherry blossoms. Instead, I chased him around the neighborhood for over an hour.  He always runs to the stream first and then comes back to the town houses.  He was NOT happy to see me when I arrived at the stream.

Here he is heading back around my neighbor's town house and I am going to try to cut him off before he heads back into the tree line behind everyone's homes.


I have just cut him off from heading into the tree line and I'm hoping he'll go into our yard. But NO! The little STINKER turns on me.

Now he is in my front bushes and I'm hoping he'll just walk into the house. I have learned from receiving serious wounds not to attempt to pick him up and bring him back inside. I just follow and hope that he'll go in complaining. Well, he wasn't too keen on Scout or Stryker waiting to 'greet' him. When he was growling at Stryker, his eyes were bugging out to the point you could see the whites. I really thought Stryker was going to buy the farm but I was afraid to physically push him back since he was scared and I didn't want to get scratched. I of course failed to cut Ranger off from making it off the front porch.

So, after an hour of this "Cat and Person" game, I decided to drive off and get a soda (I don't keep them in my house but man I really needed the caffeine. I prayed the whole time for God to take care of Ranger because there was clearly nothing I could do. Well, wouldn't you know it, when I returned half an hour later, Ranger was sitting in the flower pot on my front porch. When I got out of the car, he came running down the sidewalk to greet me. Here is how that exchange went.

After he walks away from me, he sat by one of the trees in front of my house for a little while and then he went down the storm drain. That is my biggest fear, the storm drain. Its like an underground roadway for animals and there is no telling what might be down there. Well, about three minutes after Ranger disappeared down the drain, Tribble (Scout and Stryker's mom) came dashing across the street, almost getting hit by the postal truck. Yes, she was that focused on getting down there, Ranger was in her territory and she didn't want him there. I went outside, expecting to hear some awful noises from the drain. Dead silence. I called for Ranger. Nothing. So I went back in the house. Almost as soon as I had gotten in, I looked out the front window and Ranger was coming out of the drain. I opened the door and called to him. He came but only after being bribed with tuna treats - - and he still growled and hissed at me as he walked on by and into the house!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

No Compromises

This was just posted yesterday on the Marines.com web site.  It is the newest recruiting commercial.  It will debut today during the men's NCAA basketball tournament, game one of the final four.


Now, know I've been working a lot the past, oh, I don't know 10 years, and haven't really been able to follow  the tourney like I used to. Yes, I used to be really into basketball, I knew every team and player.  Not any more.  But I always thought the basketball tournament was over in March.  I mean that is why it was called March Madness right?

All the sports seasons seem to be getting stretched out. The longer they go the more money they make.  Hmm, compromises here?

Friday, April 4, 2008


It's finally Friday!



Its been a REALLY long week.  I am going in late today because I have to pick up my contact lenses and the eye doctor is only open from 9 to 5 M-F. 

Besides work, which really takes up the majority of my time, I have stuck to my work out again this week (week number 2).  Yay!

I also attended a lecture last night at the museum given by General Natonski on the Battle of Fallujah - - so I will fill you in on that.  It was very informative.  I did ask a question, but I think my brain had disconnected from my mouth by the Q&A portion of the evening and I sounded like a dumb blonde.  I could not get the words all together.  That is so frustrating for me.

Cool upcoming event for me - - I'll be doing a software demo on a military base here in the DC area in the upcoming weeks.  After doing this demo, I will have set foot on every military installation in the Military District of Washington.

Weekend plans.  If it doesn't rain, the Cherry Blossoms.  If it does rain.  I don't know.  Maybe I'll go to the National Arboretum, the place that had the cool train display at Christmas.  Its indoors, and I assume they have spring flowers blooming indoors.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Additons to The Global War On Terror Gallery


They recently added some glass cabinets to the Global War on Terror Gallery.  This surprised me as they are going to be taking the gallery down this summer to start construction on Phase 1A - - which I will have to share the scoop on that with you all.

The glass cabinets are being tested and at the same time they are housing some "micro" artifacts from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Above, is Danger sign that I assume would be at a check point or something. 

Below, is an IED (improvised explosive devise) that EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) was able to disarm.  Around it are various leaflets that are handed out to Iraqis trying to entise them into telling US forces where the IEDs are.

 Photobucket Photobucket

Above is an unmanned aerial vehicle.  In the case below, you can see a smaller UAV.  At the beginning of the wars, there were about 300 of these, now there are over 3,000 in theater - - and that many can't even meet the demand.  These provide aerial observation, and in the case of some vehicles such as the Reaper and the Predator, they can be armed with missiles.  Every year, according to an article I read, the demand from the boots on the ground for UAV coverage has gone up 300%.


Lastly, is a pilot's uniform.  Now a days its difficult to tell infantry from pilots as everyone wears the flame resistant flight coveralls.