Thursday, August 25, 2011


Lloyd was told by Miss Gibbs today that she has four cases in front of him before she can work on his packet. This begs a few questions. For starters, what has she been doing for the last two months that she said she was working on his packet? Why does Lloyd keep getting shuffled to the bottom of everyone's pile? And most importantly, just what is it going to take for the Army to get their act together enough to finish this process that has already taken more than three times as long as it should?

It's news like this that really reinforces our decision to sell the house and set up shop in Lawton. There are really no words to describe....

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. God Bless!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thumb sucking and the Incredible Hunk averted

We are sure that it comes as no surprise to anyone that we have really struggled with the whole distance thing, but we have just accepted it as an unfortunate temporary reality. It has meant lots of letters and phone calls, a whole lot of miles on poor Allie (over 14,000 miles in about 4 months at one point earlier this year), and an emotional toll that has made it hard for either of us function normally and not lash out at random stupid people. A lot of people have told us that they don't know how we have managed it. The only answer is that His strength is shown in our weakness. There is no way that we could have done it alone. We know that He will make it possible to walk the path that He has given us, and we have to continue to listen to know when and where we need to change course.

After much discussion and prayer, we have realized that it is time for one of those course changes. (If we continue on the present course, Sarah will soon be found under the covers in the fetal position sucking her thumb, and Lloyd will be going all Incredible Hulk on everyone in the barracks who even looks at him wrong.) We can't keep with the whole "married and living in separate places" thing anymore. So, as soon as we can get the house sold, a truck will be rented to move what we will need to live in Oklahoma until everything with the Army has been resolved.

There is so much to do in a very short time. There a ton of packing to do, and items to be moved to the storage unit. There are also a lot of those little projects around the house that don't take much time but never seem to get done. Hopefully there will be a fantastically attended Tom Sawyer party at Chez Sheffer in a couple of weeks that will make quick work of it all. Stay tuned for details.

God Bless!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Karl A. Braatz

Karl Braatz went home to the Lord on July 20, 2011. He was born on a homestead near Opheim, Mont. on Jan. 12, 1922 to William and Anna Braatz. He and his family moved to Marshfield, Wis. when he was seven, where he lived until his high school graduation. After high school he moved to Milwaukee and began his apprenticeship as a tool and die maker.

He entered the military in 1943, was a navigator in the Army Air Corps during World War II, then returned and lived in Milwaukee, Wis. There he met and married his best friend and one true love, Teresa (Terry) Braatz. They raised their three children while he worked for 25 years at International Harvester, then 15 years at Allis Chalmers as a process engineer. Karl was a wonderful father, who lived his faith and created beautiful memories.

They retired to Mooresville, N.C. in January 1981 and began traveling more until deciding to sell their home in 1988 and travel full time in their RV. They enjoyed working with Laborer's for Christ building churches and friendships. Their first Laborer's project was in Sierra Vista, Ariz., building Immanuel Lutheran Church, where they learned that an RV park was being built in nearby Benson by Escapees (SKP). They purchased a lot but continued working with Laborer's and traveling throughout the country. After many wonderful years of memories and adventures they were grateful to settle with their SKP friends and Peace in the Valley family, letting everyone know this was the best place to be, surrounded by love. Karl and Terry felt blessed to help build their church in Benson as a true labor of love and continue to worship there.

Karl will be remembered for his deep faith, his devotion to his wife, his keen sense of humor, and his appreciation for all God's blessings. At every stage of their lives Karl and Terry could be heard saying, "These really are the best years of our lives."

Karl will be missed by all who knew him and loved that ever present twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes.

He is survived by his wife, Teresa, his children, David (Linda), Richard (Karen), and Debra, his grandchildren, Ashley, David, Connor, Mackenzie, Sarah (Lloyd Sheffer), Joshua, and Katherine (Neil Olsen), his great-granddaughter Alexis and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 6 at 11 a.m. at Peace in the Valley Lutheran Church on J-6 Ranch Road, Benson, Ariz. Memorials may be given to Peace in the Valley towards the church addition Karl had hoped to help build.

Originally published by the San Pedro Valley Sun News and reposted here to ensure that its continued availability.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Miss Gibbs....continued

Yesterday, Lloyd was able to talk with another soldier who had Miss Gibbs as a case manager. According to that soldier, she had been very frustrated with the delays and concerned that Miss Gibbs wasn't getting the work done on the case.....until everything was finished and she was able to read through the paperwork. At that time, she saw that based on the dates and other notations in the file, Miss Gibbs had been bulldogging the case to the best of her ability, and delays had not been her fault. We are encouraged that this may be the same for Lloyd's case.....even though it looks like nothing is moving, she is doing her best to get things done.

Right now, the hold up is the same that it has been for the last 6 weeks. Lloyd's doctors need to all get together and sign off on the NARSUM. (NARSUM is military speak for "narrative summary." In this case, it is a whole pile of papers that tell the story of Lloyd's medical issues with the US Army and why the doctors believe that his case merits a med board.) Before Lloyd's packet of information can go to the review board in Texas, all of the doctors need to reaffirm and sign that the information in it is correct. Without those signatures, we wait. And wait. And wait.

With all of the waiting that we do, it can be challenging to not let that inertia spread to other areas of life. For everything that we can not move forward on, there are others where we can make progress. One of the current struggles is to not let a malaise overtake everything and keep us from doing those things that can be done. We ask for our prayin' peeps to help us ask for the strength to continue to do those things that we can do.

God Bless!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You have got to be kidding.

Treasonous bastard was supposed to be on our side.
As if life wasn't already difficult enough with everything else that has been happening in life, the last hour at Chez Sheffer has involved unusual noises coming from the utility/laundry room. Luckily, it was not a result of any freaky little demon rodents that are just lurking and waiting to launch themselves at some unlucky person's face leaving them scarred from the gnawing teeth and sharp little claws, so there is that bright spot.

Unfortunately, it is the result of the plumber installing a brand spanking new water heater. Sure, it's a nice water heater. It will have a larger tank capacity than the old one, so it will have enough hot water in it to take a long shower or actually fill the bathtub. It also might end up being more energy efficient. However, it was not in the plan or budget - the bathroom will just have to wait a bit to get redone. The water heater we had was supposed to just quietly go about doing its business and not pee all over the utility room floor. Maybe we should see if the med board office at Fort Sill wants it......that place is full of folks who don't do what they're supposed to do. That whole "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" thing doesn't really make it any better would be nice if He would cut us a little slack on stuff every once in a while. It's not like we'd get all worried that God didn't think we were up to the challenge.

Since it's annoying, it's probably best to come up with a list of things to be grateful for about the situation in order to calm down:

  • Thanks to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, there's cash on hand in the home improvement savings budget to cover the surprise expense.
  • It was only a little hole in the water heater, so there wasn't too much water on the floor, and nothing got ruined.
  • Lindquist Plumbing was able to get here same day to replace the water heater, and even though there was a lot more labor involved than anticipated, they are going to stick to the original estimate.
  • The water heater is nice, and it will probably look good when we sell the house that we have a new heater instead of one that's 15-20 years old.
It would be really nice if this was finally a turning point for our fortune. Good things come to the persistent, right? "Today's the day!"

God Bless!
This one had better be housebroken.  No
more peeing on the floor. (The heater, not the plumber.
 The plumber's a nice guy who had to do a whole
lot of extra work to make the heater fit properly.)