Friday, April 27, 2007

Do It with All Your Heart

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might."
Ecclesiastes 9:10
Monday. Back to work. Back to school. Fighting rush-hour traffic. Dashing to the bus stop. Rushing to catch the commuter train. Chores to do around the house. Chores to do on the farm. Punching in at the shop or factory. Blue Monday.

Some begin the week by sighing, "I have to go to work," or, "I have to go to school," or, "I have to volunteer at the nursing home," as though we were sentenced to sheer drudgery. Rather, these are God-given offices that permit us to serve our neighbor.

Wise King Solomon tells us, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might." As Christians, you and I do the very best possible job, strengthened by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave us his very best - He did not give just eight hours a day from Monday to Friday. He gave every second of every day for us. On the cross, He suffered and died, sacrificing His life for us. He restored us to right relation to God, to our neighbor, and to our daily work, which are all His good gifts to us. So, we serve in joy and thanksgiving.

God gives us health, strength, and stamina to serve others. We get to go to work. We get to go to school. We get to volunteer. We get to be channels of His love.

Portals of Prayer, Vol. 70, No. 395, Monday April 23

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dear Mom,

Written 2/22/07, post marked 3/9/07, received today

Another day off for me. Actually it's seems like forever since I got a day off.

I hope you have a good weekend in Morgantown with the family. That town holds so many memories for me around each corner. They still seem so fresh in my mind. I'm glad Molly gets to call it "her" own. I pray her memories are equally as positive. Maybe even Maggi can call Morgantown home. That would be nice.

I'm staying strong. Working out, eating healthy, drinking water, reading my bible. I hope you're doing the same.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Baghdad Tourists

Lt Kotich
Lt Didier
Fishing, Iraq style
Sgt Anuschat
Three Shammin LT's by Uday's pool
Sam in front of one of Saddam's cribs
(Click on photos to enlarge)

You're A Hero

Dear Valerie,
Good to hear from you and get the update from Sam. Katherine's daughter, Leslie, shared a sweet note Sam sent her in response to her note. It was thoughtful of him to take the time to reply. He is a real hero to her- as of course he is to us. He remains in our prayers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Still Small Voice

CPT Dan Hardin
Chaplain 1-501st PIR

A Still Small Voice-1 Kings 19:12
I read a devotional today that reminded me about an
important truth and constant, especially in times of trouble.
Here is what it said:
“In the British Navy, “The Still” is blown when there is a
sudden disaster. It means, “Prepare to do the wise thing.”
Observing this moment of calm has averted many
catastrophes. Long ago, the Psalmist wrote: Be still and
know that I am God (Ps. 46). He was pouring out the secret
of poise when we face an attack from the world around
us… many voices clamor for our attention in these days of
chaos and confusion, but to the wise, no greater gift for
guidance need be given than the calm to tune in the still
small Voice of the Eternal God.”
Today, for sure, there is chaos all around. Uncertainty
has become normal. There are plenty of external and internal
noises demanding our attention. Yet one thing we can count on
and hold onto is the comfort of God’s still, small, calming,
peace-bringing voice. There is life, comfort, and hope. We need
that as we face the challenges of war and deployment.
So, if your battle field is the home front or Iraq, the
task is the same. Be still, do the wise thing, and listen for His
still, small voice. He still speaks words of life and love. Will we
stop and listen?
May God Bless You All.
1-501st PIR Geronimo April 2007 Newletter

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sam Staying Put

Sam passed the word that it looks like it will be a couple more months before he gets his platoon. He will be staying at FOB Iskan for the time being.

Lt. Samuel Chamberlain
HHC, 1-501st PIR
APO AE 09312-0576

A Tribute to Chaplain Hardin

CH Dan Hardin, the one and only Geronimo Barista, and hot chocolate maker extrordinaire.
From left to right: MSG Terry Easter, CH Dan Hardin, CSM
Bernie Knight, and LTC ‘Bo’ Balcavage relaxing for a brief moment at the Drop Zone Café.

CSM Bernie Knight
Command Sergeant Major 1-501st PIR

Geronimo April Newsletter

Families and friends of the 501st PIR Paratroopers,
For most Geronimos the last month passed quickly.
The pace of the battalion has increased recently, making the
day fly by for all the Paratroopers. The fast-paced days
quickly become a week, and then a month, and suddenly we
are that much closer to being reunited with our family and
friends. One person on FOB Iskan who makes the fast pace
more relaxing for the Paratroopers is Chaplain Dan Hardin.
CH Dan Hardin, the one and only Geronimo Barista, and hot
chocolate maker extrordinaire.
Chaplain Hardin has provided great spiritual healing,
guidance, counseling, and support to all the Paratroopers of the
501st including me. I would like to extend a “thank you” to
Chaplain Hardin for all his efforts. God has blessed our
Paratroopers with a great Chaplain and assistant (SPC Garris).
Our Geronimo Spiritual Operations Center (GSOC) is a great
source of relaxation in our FOB, and not because it is some
fancy state-of-the-art facility. The GSOC is actually a large
tent with the Chapel on one end and a café on the other. We
named it “The Drop Zone Café”, in honor of our airborne
Just like our battalion and brigade, the Drop Zone
Café is unique to the Army. The 501st Parachute Infantry
Battalion was the first Parachute Infantry Battalion in the
Army; also the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th
Infantry Division is the only Arctic Airborne Combat Team in
the Army. Our Drop Zone Café is unique because it is all
about our Paratroopers, and features the Alaska theme. It
starts with our espresso bean that is roasted in Alaska by
Kaladi Brothers -the only coffee or espresso we brew. We
have many different Alaskan items hung about the café to
remind us of our home and the many people that support us.
The first item to go up was the Alaska flag and the plywood
cut out of Alaska mounted on the Coffee bar. The Alaska flag
hanging in the café is special due to the fact it was presented to
the 501st from the State of Alaska before deployment to
Afghanistan. Our Alaska flag has flown over the Capital in
Juneau, Alaska; FOB Salerno, Afghanistan; and now FOB
Iskan. We have many more Alaskan items: a license plate, a
moose crossing sign, a Kaladi banner, a post card with Mount
McKinley from Senator Don Young, and a bag of Kaladi
coffee hanging from a parachute that signifies the jump into
the café.
The café started with an idea from Chaplain Hardin,
that Paratroopers would have a place to sit and drink their
favorite coffee for FREE while relaxing. He has developed
this idea into an outstanding café that now offers many types
of coffee drinks, snacks, the Anchorage Daily Newspaper, a
Sci-Fi Movie night, and his personal favorite -the “Everybody
Loves Raymond” night. The Chaplain has improved the quality
of life and raised the spiritual well-being of FOB Iskan, the 501st ,
and our Paratroopers. This success is largely due to the many
friends who have decided to share their coffee, newspaper, gifts,
and love. Everyone appreciates Chaplain Hardin’s efforts; we
thank all who have contributed to the welfare of our
Paratroopers. Anyone interested in developing our café may send
their unique Alaskan item to Chaplain Hardin.
Chaplain Hardin is not only the Barista of FOB Iskan,
he also delivers a powerful message each week during his
religious service, and gives great counsel to anyone in need. I
personally enjoy the message more than others enjoy my singing.
Chaplain Hardin plays a mean guitar and sings very well. The
weekly message to our Paratroopers is delivered with precision
and accuracy. Chaplain Hardin brings Gods word to our
Paratroopers. This special Paratrooper is our Chaplain and we
are proud of his contribution to the battalion.

His Amazing Power ~ Psalm 33:13-17

Mount Rainer, WA Photo by Sam Chamberlain
The Lord looks down from Heaven and sees the whole human race.
From his throne he observes all who live on earth.
He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.
The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great enough to save a warrior.
Don't count on your warhorse to give you victory - for all its strength, it cannot save you.


God is never in a panic, nothing can be done that he is not absolute master of, and no one on earth or heaven can shut a door he has opened, nor open a door he has shut. God alters the inevitable when we get in touch with him.
Oswald Chambers (1874 - 1917)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sam Arrives FOB Iskan

I had an email from Sam waiting this morning when I got to work. He arrived back in FOB Iskan 10:00 his time Monday morning, 02:00 this morning Washington time. He sent the email a few hours later.
Let's see, that only took 8 days of travel and a dip in Uday's pool.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
O God, I praise your word.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?"
Psalm 56:3-4
Your fear is a handle for laying hold on God. When you stop running and face your fear head on with faith, you find God. It is his presence and power that move us beyond our fears.
~ Past, Present and Future ~
Bruce Larson

Friday, April 13, 2007

You Have Gideon’s Strength. You Are A Man Of Fearless Courage

Mariusz Pudzianowski Hometown: Bia Rawska (in Central Poland ) Age: 27 Height: 6’ 3/4” (184cm) Weight:  313 lbs  (142 kg) Chest:   53  ½” Biceps:  21 1/3” Profession: Professional Strongman God Sees You As A Champion

When the angel of the Lord appeared to tell Gideon how God wanted him to save the people of Israel from the Midianites, the first words spoken were, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of (fearless) courage” Judges 6:12. Gideon showed his true colors when he replied, “But Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family”

Sound familiar? So often, we sense God telling us that He has something big for us to do. But because of a poor self-image we say, “God, I can’t do that. You’ve got to find someone more qualified. I don’t have what it takes”

It’s interesting to note the difference between the way Gideon saw himself and the way God rewarded him. Although Gideon felt unqualified, full or fear, and lacking in confidence, God addressed him as a mighty man of fearless courage. Gideon felt weak; God saw him as strong and competent to lead His people into battle and victory. And Gideon did!

Moreover, God sees you as a champion. He believes in you and regards you as strong, courageous, successful, overcoming person. You may not see yourself that way, but that doesn’t change God’s image of you. God still sees you exactly as His Word describes you. You may feel unqualified, insecure, week fearful, and insignificant, but God sees you as a victor!

Learn To Love Yourself As Your Heavenly Father Loves You.
“The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
Judges 6:12 NKJV

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

“Scriptures and Meditations for Your Best Life Now”
Joel Osteen

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sam Sitting In Baghdad

Gretchen call this morning to pass the word. Sam called from BIAP. He sat in Kuwait for 36 hours and had been in Baghdad for two days. The call was only 3 minutes long because he got called to a flight. He wasn't sure if it was to his new FOB or his old FOB. Gretchen stated he sounded very frustrated.
This evening Gretchen called again to say she found a message when she got home from school. Sam will be stuck at BIAP, Camp Victory for two more days. There is a chance he can get on the computer at the Camp's internet cafe.


Matthew 6:31-34

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Changing the Rules Of Change

In our work lives, in our personal and family lives, even at school or in the community, responding to change can be a stressful experience. Learning to recognize and embrace the opportunities that arrive on the wings of change is an important skill for navigating the contemporary (ever-changing) lifestyle.
Remember that it’s NORMAL for people to have a range of feelings in response to change – large or small.
Each one of us responds to change differently and uniquely.
Some people have many feelings or reactions, while others do not.
Since a person’s perception of the impact of change is often more stress creating than the change itself, allow yourself (and others) ample opportunity to give and receive clarifying feedback.
Information reduces uncertainty.
FBI, EAP Spring 2007, NEWS and NOTES

All Things...

"All things are difficult before they are easy."

Thomas Fuller (1608 - August 16, 1661) was an English churchman and historian.

Take A Minute

'Death to US': Anti-Americanism examined
The US is perceived by many as an international bully, a modern day imperial power. At this critical moment in history, (BBC) Washington correspondent Justin Webb challenges that idea.

He argues anti-Americanism is often a cover for hatreds with little justification in fact. His three part series takes him to Cairo, Caracas and Washington but it begins where anti-Americanism began - in Paris.
full BBC article

Sam's Deployment Extended

A message from Gretchen.
Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you for your continued support. Sam was just home for an amazing 15 days of R&R, which went by all too quickly, but it was indescribably precious time. As you have probably seen on the news the Army is now going to 15 month deployments effective immediately. This means that Sam's Brigade will be extended until January of 2008. It is hard to even type 2008 as that means that Sam will have been gone an entire calendar year. The 15 days he was home in Alaska will be the only 15 days he spends in 2007 on American soil!

Please continue to keep Sam, the soldiers of the 4-25 and all of our troops in your prayers. I sat in a room tonight of hundreds of devastated spouses and children and there were 20 other Brigades getting the same news today. Extended deployments means more battle fatigue, more stress, more injuries and God forbid more casualties. Our prayers are more important than ever. Tonight I met with some ladies to pray before we walked into the meeting where we were officially addressed by the General of Fort Richardson who was tasked to relay the bad news and answer questions. Prayer is the only thing getting me through this right now, our whole world needs a lot of it.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gates extends Army tours in Iraq, Afghanistan

Anchorage Daily News staff and wire reports
Published: April 11, 2007

WASHINGTON - Beginning immediately, all active-duty Army soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will serve 15-month tours - three months longer than the usual standard, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.

For the roughly 3,500 paratroopers with Fort Richardson’s 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Division, that will mean their stay in Iraq will last at least until late December. The troops had been scheduled to return in late September or October, said Capt. Richard Hyde, a spokesman for the Army in Alaska.

"My fiance who is currently there will be spending Christmas number two over there," an emotional Claire Lettow said from Muldoon shortly after hearing the news on cable TV. "I'm obviously still shaken up about this. The rest of America heard before the families of the soldiers heard."

No official new return date was immediately available, Hyde said.

The extension announced by Gates shortly after 11 a.m. Alaska time was the latest move by the Pentagon to cope with the strains of fighting two wars simultaneously and maintaining a higher troop level in Iraq as part of President Bush’s revised strategy for stabilizing Baghdad.

“This policy is a difficult but necessary interim step,” Gates told a Pentagon news conference, adding that the goal is to eventually return to 12 months as the standard length of tour in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said the new policy does not affect the other main components of the U.S. ground force in Iraq: the Marines, whose standard tour is seven months, or the Army National Guard or Army Reserve, which will continue to serve 12-month tours.

Alaska has members of its National Guards serving in Afghanistan.

Gates acknowledged that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are making life difficult for many in the military.

“Our forces are stretched - there’s no question about that,” Gates said.

He said the new policy also seeks to ensure that all active-duty Army units get at least 12 months at home between deployments. He said it would allow the Pentagon to maintain the current level of troops in Iraq for another year, although he added that there has been no decision on future troop levels.

Soldiers will get an extra $1,000 a month for the three extra months they serve, he said.

Without changing the standard tour length to 15 months, the Army would have been forced to send five brigades to Iraq before they completed 12 months at home, Gates said.

Some units’ tours in Iraq had already been extended beyond 12 months by varying amounts. The new policy will make deployments more equitable and more predictable for soldiers and for their families, Gates said.

“I think it is fair to all soldiers that all share the burden equally,” he said.

There are currently 145,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and when the buildup is completed by June, there will be more than 160,000, officials are calculating.

The Real Story ~ Why I Serve - Tech. Sgt. Al Watkins

Wednesday, 30 August 2006
Tech. Sgt. Al Watkins
Joint Area Support Group – Central DPW contract manager

Watch Video

Quote: “It’s important to be here to protect the rights of individuals who didn’t have any before.”

Mass Amnesia Over Mass Clinton Firings

This might be "OLD" new but I just found (Media

This story is a fine example of biased media. Read the whole story.

(Wednesday, March 14, 2007)
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared on five broadcast and cable network TV morning shows to comment on the sudden media-manufactured “crisis” that the Justice Department fired eight U.S. Attorneys, political appointees of the President. None of the Gonzales interviewers – at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and FNC – ever mentioned that the Clinton administration fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys in 1993. How can firing eight be a “crisis” and firing 93 be not worth a solitary mention?

CBS’s Andy Rooney - What Planet Is He From?

America’s Army of Losers

"I think a draft produces a better Army than the one we would have with all volunteers, because I think you get average Americans if you have a draft. And if it’s an all-volunteer Army, you get people who join up because of some problem in their own lives. They don’t have anything else to do, they don’t have a job, or they can’t find what they want to do, so they join the Army. And it doesn’t produce the best Army."

CBS’s Andy Rooney on Imus in the Morning, March 14, 2007.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sam Arrives In Kuwait

Not a lot of details.
Gretchen called Valerie this morning (Tuesday AM) to say Sam had arrived in Kuwait sometime on Monday. Some of the guys he was travelling with had already left for Baghdad but Sam didn't think he was getting out until Wednesday or Thursday. His flights were fine and not very full.

Mars Vs. Venus - At It's Best

A pair of Ospreys watching for dinner on the Rappahannock River at Falmouth, VA. Ospreys mate for life. Man Vs Woman, Mars & Venus, The way God made it.
I'm not talking astronomy or astrology here.

I'm talking Man Vs. Woman.

I'd been standing in the cold Rappahannock River for over ninety minutes casting for Shad (not catching, casting) and was chilled to the bone. The below normal spring temperatures and snow this past Saturday had lowered the river temp by 5-8 degrees from two weeks ago. On the way home I decided to detour through downtown Fred. to get a cup of my favorite Hyperion coffee.

Hyperion is a warm, inviting and unique coffee shop run by Dan and Anna. We see one or the other of both of them almost every Sunday. It is our required stop after church.

I walked in rubbing my hands trying to warm up. Both Dan and Anna caught my eye and said hello as I approached the counter. "I'll have a hot cup of your Guatemala to warm up. " I said, "I've been standing in the river for the last hour and a half." Dan turned away from the capuchino machine and smiled. Anna turned from the cash register with a concerned look on her face and almost simultaneously she said "Why would you do that?", he said "Been fishing Huh?"

We stared at each other and laughed out load.

Mars & Venus

Man Vs. Woman


The way God made it.

No Word Yet!!

Gretchen called last night about 9pm to say she had not heard from Sam yet. We are guessing he is sitting in Kuwait waiting for the flight into Baghdad.

Monday, April 9, 2007

God Speed, Sam

Saturday morning snow fall, April 7th
After 15 glorious days with Gretchen and Jasper in Anchorage, Sam boarded an Alaskan Airlines flight on Saturday night back to Iraq. Anchorage, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Europe ??, Kuwait, Baghdad, FOB Iskan. Gretchen confirmed his flight arrived in Chicago Sunday morning on time, after that we don't know.
Through our sadness and despair the Lord gives us hope and strength through the resurrection of his son Jesus Christ. He also delivered a few diversions. The girls were home for the Easter weekend, which was wonderful because we got to talk to Sam Saturday evening on the speaker phone before he left for the airport. Saturday night we also had a visit from Kevin Shon, and a wonderful Easter Sunday spend with the Breens. Just the friends we needed to have around us for support.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A Mother Wishes

I know this must be one of the hardest days you have ever had...and, I might not get the chance to say this to you when we call to say good-bye tonight...
but I just want to make sure you never doubt our faith in you, our love for you, or that you are our first thought every day and our last prayer on our lips every night.
We have so much pride in your strength, courage and valor and we will just keep looking forward to the day of your return and what a glorious day that will be..
God is asking us to be patient, to wait, to learn and to grow and be transformed in all that is possible by knowing Him as we must to get through this absence and worry that we have over our time away from you and the challenges that are asked of you in what you are doing...
but God is sovereign and He blesses us each new day and He will bring you back sooner, than later...I know that.
Be strong, be smart, be alert and don't ever not be the "soldier you"...You are amazing, you are awesome...You always have been overwhelms me to watch you and know you and glorifies us to have brought you into this world...such a gift from God and He is in you more each day...We can see it.....
So, know we love you, I love are my son and be all that you are, you do us proud and we will see you just as soon as we can...
You know we will do anything for you...Gretchen included...never fail to ask (except maybe move to Alaska!)...that can be discussed at a later time...but Go with God...have His peace and carry His flame and ours with you Samuel...
I love you, Mom

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Confession and Forgiveness

We confess to you all the ways in which we dismiss the resurrection news. Foolish and slow of heart to believe, we turn from others and retreat in fear. Come into our locked rooms and breathe into us your forgiving Spirit. Reawaken our trust and strengthen our hope, that we may be witness to your saving power.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Classic Cross Country Skiing- Sam Style

Gretchen Crusing, AK Style

What U Got?

Alaska's newest licensed driver
Surprise!! I passed the drivers test
I'm pretty cool cause' I got an AK drivers license, what u got?

Who's got an Alaskan Drivers license? I DO!!!! HAHAHAHAHA, yeah boy.
No more VA, hello AK.
Enjoy! (Don't be jealous, ok, do be jealous....)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


"There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse, as I have found in travelling in a stage-coach; that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place."
Washington Irving
Tales of a Traveller

Chugach Mountain Sunday

Yesterday was another gorgeous day backcountry cross country skiing in Alaska. We did about 8 miles out Powerline Pass Trail in the Chugach Mountains, south of Anchorage. It's getting towards the end of the season so the snow is much slower, pretty soon it will all be slush.... Afterwards we devoured a Moose's Tooth pizza and several pints of there fine microbrew!!!!

Enjoy the attached photos.

~Sam & Gretchen