Andrew has been home from Afghanistan almost one week now. This is, obviously, the most exciting thing happening in our lives right now, followed distantly by the opening of a Whole Foods today in Savannah, and even more distantly by the fact that yesterday we bought a new leaf blower. Since I haven't taken any pictures of the leaf blower (yet), and I post enough food-related photos on Instagram, I thought I would share some of the Redeployment Ceremony photos -- and thank you to Sarah Johnson for discreetly taking a few pictures. It's always nice to have paparazzi friends when you need them.
If you've not experienced a Redeployment Ceremony, essentially, you stand and wait with a large group of people who are also waiting for their soldiers. Everyone receives a tiny American flag, and a band plays, and you try not to get really emotional when you see moms holding babies with signs that say things like, "I've waited 265 days to meet my dad!" Eventually buses pull up near the field, and everywhere shouts and cheers while the soldiers are shuffled out of the vehicles and into a formation. Then they march out into the middle of the field, the National Anthem is sung, someone prays and says a few words acknowledging the commitment and sacrifice of the last 9 months, and then some announcer-like guy yells, "Now go find your soldier!" Then the happy chaos ensues.
We are thankful for the love, support, and prayers that so many have offered us in these past 9-months. This was, at times, a very difficult experience. But we were sustained by our friends and family and the great grace of God (and for Andrew, things like card games, and for me, things like Friday Night Lights). And for that we are extremely thankful.
I should also clarify that our time in the military is officially coming to a close. As of February, Andrew will be out. We are hoping to move back to the Northwest to be closer to family, and, of course, to reside in the great state of Oregon. We are trusting and praying for the season ahead, and trying to live fully in the one we are in now. Currently, that consists of a lot of time off for both of us, a family wedding in Ohio in September, and lots of other joyous travel and time together. Thank you all, again. We are blessed.