Thursday, May 24, 2012

memorial day...

we're heading into memorial day weekend, the time most people focus on sun and fun--pools open, campgrounds are full, and grills get pulled out and dusted off.

saturday, i get to celebrate with my little sister and her fiance as our two families get together for the first time for a wedding shower that will take place in the beauty of the arkansas hills. it will be a day full of joy, laughter, smiles...and lots of food :0)

this weekend, americans from florida to maine to alaska to hawaii will all be celebrating life.

many families, though, in the midst of the celebration and affirmation of life, will be remembering lives passed.
       my family is one of those.

it seems like all too often americans forget the reason for this long weekend.
we get wrapped up in the start of summer and forget what the holiday is all about:

for all of us to celebrate life, 
others had to give theirs.
for us to have the freedom to live peacefully, 
others had to fight.
for us to have the chance to get together and enjoy fellowship together,
others have to be absent.

as you go through the weekend, stop for a moment and remember all those who gave their lives so we wouldn't have to give ours. remember those who died far from home in foreign lands. remember their brothers in arms and their families back home, because this weekend will be a little bit different for them.



Monday, May 21, 2012

what our hearts know...

while i was cleaning out my desk today (for the last day of school with kids--i still have one day left to be at school and get everything finished...) i stumbled across a verse i copied down some time this year. i wrote down the niv version, but the version i really like is the paraphrase from the message:

"we're depending on God; He's everything we need. what's more, our hearts brim with joy since we've taken for our own His holy name. love us, God, with all You've got— that's what we're depending on." (psalm 33:20-22)

nathan and i have been married for eight years, and we've had a lot of stuff happen to us in those years.

i've had times when my mind has wondered if God was really there, taking care of me like He promised. i say my mind wondered because through it all my heart knew the truth.

funny how it works that way--your head and your heart don't listen to each other very well sometimes. or at least that's the case for me, anyways!

what's great, though, is that even when our minds aren't cooperating--aren't remembering what our hearts know--God is still there.

loving us with all He's got.

Monday, May 14, 2012

for mother's day...

so, i meant for this to be posted yesterday...but it was a busy weekend and i didn't get it done. instead, i watched my sister-in-law graduate with honors from high school and my sister graduate with honors from college (so proud of jessie and sarah!) and then spent sunday with family and no computer.

well, better late than never. those of you who know me, or have been reading these posts for any length of time, definitely know that that comes pretty close to being my mantra ;0)

so, here's my mother's day present to my mom. if you are nosy like me, feel free to read on!

*****
dear momma,
this is the 27th mother's day i've seen, and i'm finally starting to get it. i'm starting to see all the things you've done for me through the years and the amazing blessing it has been to have such an amazing, godly woman guiding me through this crazy world. i know it hasn't been an easy 27 years--some of those battles through my teen years may have been worthy of the history books--but you dealt with all of it and got me through.

we are so different in so many ways, yet so similar. like you, i've always worn my heart on my sleeve (probably part of the reason for some of our battles). i'm strong willed and a bit hard headed. i got my love of breads, cheerleading, and singing from you, along with my love of crafts. it goes without saying that i got the majority of my appearance from you. though at times it makes me a little crazy, i also got my "protective momma bear" side from you...that side that drove me batty growing up because i was the one who never wanted to rock the boat.

now that i'm a mom, there are some of your traits i wish i had inherited: your housekeeping skills, your empathy, your love of frills, curls, and all things girly (i guess some things really do skip a generation!). i'm starting to understand why you always wanted me to keep my room clean--even if i still don't do it... i'm getting why you were ready to fight anything you saw as a injustice toward one of your kids.

though i know i complained about having to wear dressy clothes every sunday morning, thank you for teaching me to always give God my best. when i got frustrated with my sister and you reminded me that i had prayed for her, you were teaching me that God's gifts are always good, even when we don't see it. when you taught me the golden rule you were setting me up for dealing with difficult people when i grew up. when you washed dishes with me you were teaching me that families help each other, even with the mundane. when i saw you quietly close cabinet doors left open you taught me to be long-suffering. when we were all laughing uncontrollably in a water logged tent while camping in colorado, you showed me what it looked like to have joy despite the situation in which you find yourself. when you helped work cows even though it scared you, you showed me what determination looked like. when i saw my always put together mom walking in rubber boots through a chicken house i saw a woman who was always clothed in dignity.

now, i get to watch you with your grandbabies. i tease you about letting them do things you never let me get away with, but i love seeing you letting your granddaughter rearrange your entire flower shop every time she walks through the door or letting your grandson keep you up until midnight because he's so happy that you don't want to make him go to sleep (even though it is crazy hard getting them back into the swing of things once i get them home!).


i can remember walking into the kitchen many times growing up and having to ask whether the goodies in the kitchen were for us or for somebody from church. at the time i know i whined and complained that the cakes or cookies weren't for us, but deep down i was always proud to have a mom who was always so giving. that is something that is still true--despite our arguments, disagreements, and differences, i have always been and always will be proud to be your daughter.


i love you, way up to the moon and back.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

my letter to new moms, or "you aren't really failing at this mothering thing"

so, i've decided that maybe that whole "series" thing isn't for me...seeing as how i didn't manage to keep up with it at all! ...sorry about that...

instead, i'm going back to just writing.
definitely less stressful on my part, and hopefully more entertaining on your end of things :0)

so, with that said...

mother's day is sunday.
i am by no means an expert on mothering (i'm sure you're surprised that my 5 years haven't made me an expert...ha!)

in honor of mother's day i'm writing a couple of letters. this first one is to new moms out there, so if you know any send them my way, okay? also, for all those moms with way more experience than i have, feel free to add to this letter. i would love to hear what you have to say!

*******
dear worn out, exhausted, beautiful new mom,

you may not believe it, but you really are amazing.
really--i mean it!
i know how hard it gets, how often you look at that little one and think:
i have no idea what i'm doing!
i'm never going to get this kid through to adulthood...
where did all my time go?
how can such a little person create such a huge mess?!
i wonder if i'll be driving the poor kid to therapy...
i sure wish they would genetically engineer vegetables to taste like chocolate.
God, are You sure You want to trust me with this whole little person?!
surely she can't have all my bad traits...

sometimes you get caught off guard by how much life has changed:
will i ever be alone in the bathroom again?
has it really been a week since i took a shower?!
if surewould be nice to have one shirt without baby stains...
when did i start talking about poopy diapers?
i never knew i could survive on such little sleep...
if another human being touches me, i'm going to scream!

in the middle of all that,
stop. take a breath.

no, you're not doing everything perfectly (as i'm sure everyone from well-meaning family members to complete strangers are quick to point out). 
you know what?
i'm willing to bet that there has never,
in the history of the world,
been a mother who did. mary didn't even have a perfect mothering record--she lost her kid for 3 days--and she was dealing with the Perfect Son!

you're going to mess up from time to time. your precious little one is going to break down in the middle of the grocery store and other people are going to give you "the look."
you're going to go out in public in clothes wet from baby pee...and it will happen on the one day you bothered to put on real clothes.
you'll lose your temper.
you'll slip up and say something you shouldn't.
you'll resort to the "sniff test" to find a shirt to wear because all that's been washed in the past month is kid clothes.
you're going to have to step away from time to time, just to keep your sanity.

through all that,
stop. be still.

it will be okay if the kitchen is a mess because somebody wanted to cuddle on the couch--and you fell asleep.
someday, you really will get a bathroom break by yourself.
that little one really will turn out okay, despite your imperfections and mistakes.
there will be at least one time that someone tells you how well-behaved your little one is...
...it may be followed 5 seconds later by an explosion of some sort from said little one, but it still counts!
one day you won't have to serve macaroni and cheese with every meal.

you are an amazing, beautiful mother, and you really are doing a good job!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

the 1-2 punch

so, saturday morning i went in to pick up one of nathan's medications that had to be refilled. when they rang it up it was $61 instead of the regular $5...

uh oh.

the note from their system said that we needed a new insurance card. well, with tricare our insurance cards are our military ids. so, i pulled out my id and, of course, it had expired at the end of april.

no big deal. school was out early on monday so we made a trip to the national guard armory to get our pictures taken. after an hour and a half drive (luckily it was nap time for both kids), we waited at the armory for an hour and a half...with kids going crazy in the waiting room while both of us slowly (or maybe not so slowly) lost our own sanity trying to keep them reined in.

so, 3 hours into our ordeal we got called in. after clicking through the system the sergeant working with us said, "you aren't gonna like this." he went on to tell us that there was some number not in the system, which meant he couldn't help us out. he did everything he could to try and figure out a way to help us, even giving nathan his cell phone number just in case he couldn't get a hold of him in the office.

so, after 3 hours we headed home empty handed. we made it in time for preschool graduation, though, so i really wasn't too upset. frustrated, yeah, but that's what happens when you deal with the military, so it wasn't a big deal.

besides, we got to watch our little girl graduate from preschool, so how bad could the day be?

this morning, nathan started making phone calls. to make a still long story a bit shorter, he was eventually told that he couldn't get his id updated because--surprise!

after 5 years of getting (occasional) pay stubs that indicated he was retired, along with the uscg retiree newsletter, we were told that we couldn't get new id cards because nathan wasn't actually retired.

hmm...

i don't know what you think, but it seems to me the newsletter makes it official, right?
guess not...

in the course of all his phone calls today, nathan was told that we should have gotten something in the mail 6 months ago...which we didn't, even though our address was in the system...

apparently his retirement pay and our insurance have both been cut off, quite a blow when the pain meds he takes would run us $400 a month without insurance...
and we are already looking at a $10,000 paycut when i go from teaching to being a grad student...
and we are going to be making an 800 mile move in about 2 months...

silly me! i had this crazy thought that all of a sudden things were starting to go smoothly for us!

you would think that these last 8 years would have made me smarter than that... 


so now, everything is up in the air regarding his retirement. he's been told that a military doctor will evaluate the notes from his civilian doctors these past 5 years to decide if he needs to make a trip down to little rock for a physical (which really wouldn't do any good, seeing as how his kidney problems don't show up without a biopsy...which, to my understanding, isn't part of a typical physical...). after that evaluation is done, the coast guard will get to decide whether he is going to be retired or just basically given some sort of severance pay and told "bon voyage! don't call us; we won't call you."


just yesterday, when we were driving, nathan told me that we wouldn't know what to do if things were easy. granted, that was before we knew just how "not easy" things were going to be for us. while that's probably true, i think i would be more than willing to risk a little confusion!


until then, though, i'm going to cling to a verse that i've claimed this year:
"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters." psalm 18:16

Friday, May 4, 2012

more than rubies

"he who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD." (proverbs 18:22)

"a wife of noble character who can find? she is worth far more than rubies." (proverbs 31:10)

noble
1. having eminence, renown, fame, etc; illustrious
2. having or showing high moral qualities or ideals
3. having excellent qualities; superior
4. grand; stately; splendid; magnificent
5. chemically unreactive; precious or pure (actually a chemistry definition, but it still fits)

it seems like a lot of people look at one verse to get an idea of what the bible says women are to be: "wives, submit to your husbands as to the LORD." (ephesians 5:22) i'm not arguing against this verse in any way, but a discussion on it is for another time.

because of this verse, it seems most people get the idea that the women of the bible (and therefore women of God) are weak, docile, and completely domesticated...for lack of a better word. if you were to look at verses 10-12 and 27-29 of proverbs 31 there really wouldn't be anything to change your opinion. when the rest of the passage is taken into consideration, though, you get a much different picture: she is...
picking out the materials for her family's clothes
getting up before daybreak to get food ready for her household and those who work for her
picking out a field and buying it--and then turning it into something profitable
strong enough to do all the things that are asked of her
working long into the night
spinning her own yarn
helping those less fortunate
making bedspreads
making and selling clothes
watching over her household
      ...wow--i'm exhausted just thinking about that "to do" list!

this woman is definitely wonder woman. she can do it all, and she does on a daily basis from before dawn until after nightfall.
she is strong
talented
hard working
wise
and extremely capable,
traits most people tend to attribute to men. she is helping others, teaching, and bringing respect and honor to her husband. definitely a hard example to live up to, if you ask me...

you know what is pretty amazing to me? in this world where so much emphasis is put on appearance this is a bit of a foreign idea, but there is only one verse in this passage that even mentions her looks:
"charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." (verse 30)

one verse about her looks, and basically it is saying that those traits don't matter.

wow...kind of a relief and a gut punch all at once, huh?


to end on a nice note, rubies are worth somewhere between $1,200 and $20,000 per carat.

doesn't this pile of rubies look like a razorback? surely i'm not the only one...
one carat is 200 mg.

150 pounds is approximately 68,000,000 mg.

let's just say that we are worth somewhere around a midgrade ruby, so about $10,600 per carat...don't want to get to conceited, right?

...that means the average 150 pound wife, on today's ruby market, would be worth somewhere around $3,604,000,000 (if you don't want to decipher the place values, that's over 3 billion!)

;0)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

an interruption...

i now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming...oh wait--i would have to have a regular schedule for that! oh well...

seriously, though, i have to jump in the middle of my proverbs 31 series to tell you all my news--
      i just accepted a spot in the utoledo physics & astronomy PhD program!

i am beyond excited...and scared...and amazed...and terrified...and blessed...
     and you could probably add just about anything else in there--i imagine that feeling has gone through my mind as well!

(wow, looking back over what i just wrote i see way too many exclamation marks!!!)

i'll be working on a PhD in physics, but my emphasis will be in medical physics. if you want an idea of what that means, you can look here or here...if you still have no idea after reading those, you aren't alone. most people i talk to have to just smile and zone out when i start rambling about all the stuff i find so exciting...and that they find about as dull as watching grass grow :0)

this is a huge blessing, and i am amazed to be getting this chance. i haven't done any physics since december 2010 so i'm a bit rusty and scared, but i'm clinging to the verse from my joyce meyer daily devotional from yesterday (the message version):

"Jesus was blunt: 'no chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. every chance in the world if you let God do it.'" mark 10:27

*i'll post a proverbs 31 post later today, but i had to share my news because i'm about ready to burst with it :0)