Derek & Rebekah: notes from the first week in transition

Scout is still trying to make up her mind
Scout is still trying to make up her mind

large_159_LET-O-Skay, folks, this blog is back! I know, The Life-Charged Life has only been on a 6-day hiatus, but it sure has seemed like a long time to me. And so much has happened. Wow! My last post reflected on our last Sunday morning in Brandon. Today I’m going to try and write from an “I live in North Carolina” perspective. But it’s hard. I’m not conflicted so much as overwhelmed; overwhelmed, tired, and missing our Florida community profoundly.

Today’s post, then, will play a little catch up. I’ll likely go into more depth (especially regarding our visit to Arlington) sometime during the week – DEREK

IMG_3825Monday was slated for recovery, so Rebekah and I sojourned in north Georgia all day. Rebekah de-briefed with her cousin, Zandra, and I played golf with Zandra’s husband, Ed.

Tuesday late afternoon we arrived at the new Maul Hall. It was raining heavily but we felt welcomed, both with flowers from our daughter, Naomi, and groceries from the good folk at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. We then devoted the next 48-hours to unpacking, rearranging, visioning, and hauling boxes to the attic.

By the time we put Scout in a local kennel (more tears for me) and hit the road for Washington, D.C. Thursday evening, our new house was beginning to suggest the possibilities of home. It really is beautiful here. and the new Maul Hall is taking shape. I can’t wait to share more details with you, but we need to do a little more work before I can post pictures.

With our favorite soldier
With our favorite soldier

We drove to D.C. in order to attend the retirement ceremony for Dana Chipman, who capped his stellar army career with four years at the Pentagon as the military’s top lawyer. Dana served as the Judge Advocate General, the 38th in history, and the ceremony reflected the amazing gravitas of his role. Simply put, where most military careers are predicated on the idea that you say “yes” to your superiors, Dana carved out his niche by having the knowledge, principle, and faith to – quite often – say “no” both to those who outranked him and the politicians applying pressure from Washington.

You know the guy who’s retiring has some pull when the Army Band show up, along with the “Old Guard” drill team, and then the presidential protection detail plus some other elite formation whose name eludes me… and a squad of flag-bearers representing each of the 50-states. There were close to 200 full-dress uniforms demonstrating 30-minutes of closely choreographed drill. Then to cap it all, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was on hand to speak in Dana’s honor.

DSC_0333ARLINGTON: After the literally dazzling ceremony and reception, Rebekah and I spent a few hours wandering around the national cemetery at Arlington. My first time. Talk about a beautiful and heart-rending afternoon. I was blown away by the meaning, by the visual emotional impact, and by the implications of what we saw there.

Then it was time to head back to Wake Forest. It’s still a little too surreal to drive up to this two-story colonial and realize that we’re home.

But we are. Home is where we establish our lives together, and we’re working hard to make it happen. Stay tuned for more, both from Derek and Rebekah’s ongoing adventures, and the adventures of faith that make this such a life-charged life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 29)

Peace – DEREK

From the Lee mansion at Arlington
Washington, from the Lee mansion at Arlington

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Derek, I love reading about your adventures. I always look forward to your new posts and updated pictures. I have to ask, though, what have you been feeding Scout? My goodness,she is bigger than your new home! Or did she get a Mini-Maul Hall to match yours? 🙂


  2. Wow! great pictures. Nice house — soon to become a home. Amazing ceremony to honor a truly fine man. Do the Chipmans have plans to move back to Brandon even though you guys have now moved to N.C.? Happy Anniversary! We love you and miss you. Sandy


  3. We could have kept Scout for you! Pearl loves playmates.

    And how great that you could make it to DC for Dana’s retirement. Not only is he accomplished, handsome, and smart, but he also has a really silly sense of humor! I love that. Actually I love all those Chipmans, not just Dana.


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