Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR !!

May you all have a wonderfully blessed 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why I don't like the phrase "Happy Holidays"...

... or any other generic, all-inclusive greeting.

It's not that I don't want to be inclusive. It's that I want everyone to be able to celebrate their own holiday without someone else getting offended. Everyone.

As a Christian, yes, my holiday at this time of year would be Christmas, and so yes, I choose to greet others with "Merry Christmas".
If you choose to reply with "Happy Hannakuh", "Happy Kwanzaa", or even "Merry Festivus"... then so be it.

I am so tired of hearing how sharing a happy greeting, any happy greeting with someone is offensive.
I'm also tired of hearing non-Christians make comments like "I wonder how they would feel if the tables were turned.
Go ahead! Please do! Turn those tables! Greet me with the greeting of your holiday!

If I wish you a Merry Christmas, it's not because I'm trying to offend you, or because I'm trying to ignore your beliefs, or because I'm trying to convert you or anything. It's because Christmas is a big deal to me, and I want to share that with you, if even in some tiny minute way, by wishing you a Merry Christmas as well. I want you to share in the joyousness of what this season means to me. I want you to be as happy about what Christmas means as I am.

And if you want to share your holiday with me, in even a tiny way, then... Thank You! Thank you for caring enough to want to share something that is important to you, with little ole me!

I just really wish we would stop watering this stuff down, making everything so politically correct. Wouldn't it be a better world if instead of pretending like none of us have a specific holiday to celebrate, we all take joy in seeing each other celebrate whatever holiday we want? Without worry that we might be offending someone by doing so? I think it would be.

So... MERRY CHRISTMAS to each of you. I wish you & yours a very happy holiday season.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Do you ever just want to give up ??

I do.

A lot lately.

It just seems... like I'm never good enough. For anyone. Work, home, boss, family, extended family, friends, whatever. No one's happy with me.

I can't tell you how many times in the past few weeks I've thought about packing up the car, taking FireGirl, and just driving. Just. Driving.

Sometimes I think I must just really suck this badly. I must just really be awful.

Sometimes I think maybe I'm terribly misunderstood.

And it seems like just when I start to feel good about myself again, something happens, someone says something, and it all goes out the window.

FireMan would tell me to stop worrying so much about what other people think. But when those people are people you care about, who seem to care about you, and they express such negative feelings about you, then how can you not care about what they think? If the people who are supposed to care about you the most think that badly about you, then what does everyone else think? Right?

Sometimes I think maybe it's my PPD.
But then I get angry because then that implies that it's all my fault. Again.

I'm tired of everything being my fault. I'm tired of being blamed for everything. I'm tired of not being good enough.

But if it is my PPD, I don't want it to go without getting more appropriate treatment. Whether it's counselling, a higher does of my meds, a different med, whatever.

But I'm really tired of it being my fault. I want it to be someone else's fault for once.

I just don't know what to do anymore. This goes beyond FireMan. It goes beyond my job. It goes beyond FireGirl. It's just... everything. And I am at a loss.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm a little embarrassed

I realized, thanks to a comment by Jene which got me thinking, that some of my posts might make it sound like FireMan is a crappy husband. So let me make it clear, he is not!

FireMan is so awesome, and I am so blessed to be living out my life with him.

Sure, we have our issues, every couple does, and since I often use this blog to vent my frustrations, it might sometimes sound like I am less than happy with him as my partner thru this journey, but let me assure you, that is not the case!

He is the perfect match for me, a loving & caring man, who works very hard to support his family and provide us with what we need, and more!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I heart messy houses...

...that aren't mine.

Last night I dropped off some Pampered Chef items at a friend's house. I've never been to their house before, and couldn't stay I just peeked thru the doorway, and was relieved to see that it was messy.

Same thing when we dropped by my cousin's house a few weeks ago.

I realize that this might sound mean or something, but I don't intend it that way. It just reassures me that I'm not alone. That I'm not the only one that doesn't always have a neat house. That maybe, just maybe, our cozy little mess is, in fact, normal.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Church was crowded on Sunday

I realize this is a good thing. A really good thing. Our church has been growing by leaps & bounds. We had to split into two services to accomodate the number of people. This is a good thing. More people hearing the Word of God. More people growing in the Word of God.

But I hate crowds. They make me anxious. They make me nervous. I get very tense. I get very uncomfortable. So I did not have a good time on Sunday. I kept telling myelf it was a good thing, but I hated it. I realized halfway thru the song service that I was white-knuckling the chair in front of me.

That's another thing. I really prefer pews to chairs, but our church, and a lot of "modern" churces, have chairs. One reason I prefer pews? Because you can create a buffer zone. I put my coat in the pew right next to me, or even just my purse & Bible, and I have a small buffer zone. But with chairs? When it's that crowded? No such luck. So we were right on top of each other, shoulder to shoulder. Ugh.
I also think it gives you more room, even with the buffer zones. Some people, children for example, don't need the space of an entire chair. In a pew, you can scoot close together with your loved ones, thereby freeing up more room.
Another reason? There are those that need more room than one chair provides. If you have a pew, these people are free to take up as much room as they need, without inconveniencing anyone. But if there are chairs? They either have to lay claim to two chairs, or try to squeeze onto one chair, but really be invading the space of their neighbor.
I like pews.

Back to Sunday.
It didn't help that the woman next to me didn't seem to have any respect for personal space. She's a hand-waver. You know, lifting their hands and waving them during the worship service? Which is fine. I don't, but to each his own. Except that when you're shoulder to shoulder, you pretty much can't wave your hands in the air without invading the space of the person next to you. Then when she sat down, she crossed her legs towards me, instead of towards the man she was with, so that her crossed leg was about halfway into my chair space. If it weren't church I probably would have "accidentally" kicked her.

You know what else doesn't help the situation? I don't even really want to go to this church. FireMan decided that this is where we were going. Period. End of discussion. Obviously, I could go to another church by myself, but I think it's super-important for families to worship together. So I didn't get a say. Actually, I got a say, I wanted to continue visiting churches until we found one that was a better fit for us. But he likes it there, and wants to go there, and I refuse to worship separately so, end of discussion.
And yes, I kind of resent him for this. And it makes it really easy to find fault with the church on Sundays like this past Sunday. And I really have no interest in getting involved with the church. We go on Sundays, we give our offering, we leave. I have no interest in service, or even small groups.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I went off on FireMan last night

And while I'm not sorry for anything I said, I probably could have handled it better.

I reached the end of my rope. I fell, and I took him with me. It wasn't pretty.

Today at work isn't much better. I've already gone off on one tirade. Which was louder than I thought it was, as evidenced by the fact that my co-worker from across the room (and it's a big room) came over afterward to applaud me on what I said. Oops.
Or not. I think it was something that a lot of people needed to hear.

It has been a perfect storm of incidents that has occurred to have me on my emotional edge. Or maybe I should say "ledge". Because I feel like if I don't jump off soon, I'm gonna fall off anyway.

Basically, I feel like I am taken advantage of, unappreciated, and sometimes disrespected. At work, and at home. And a million little things boiled themselves into one hot mess.

Let me be clear. These are not new issues. These are issues that I have brought to the attention of my husband and my boss (respectively) in the past. These are concerns that I have had before, and have voiced them in what I believe to be a calm and reasonable manner.

But things have not changed. In either place.

And I'd finally had enough.

So... I'd originally started writing thinking I would detail everything. But that might take days.

Here's the very abbreviated version (which is still long):

At Home:
FireMan is gone 2 out of every 3 days. Including weekends, holidays, etc. He's a FireMan, it's his job. He works hard, and I appreciate the work that he does.
What I do not appreciate, is the lack of appreciation he shows to me. With him working this schedule, this means that 2 out of every 3 days I am a single working mom (sort of - you get the point). I work full time outside of the home. I am the sole caretaker of FireGirl. I do all of the household chores.
The days that he is home? He pretty much sits on the computer all day. If he's taking care of FireGirl while I'm at work, do you think he could take 5 min to put a load of laundry in? Nope. In fact, it's not unusual for me to come home to what remains of her breakfast sitting on the couch, toys strewn about the living room, dishes piled in the sink.
I understand, it's his only day off. He works hard the other two days. But seriously. I'm asking for 5-10 min to do one miserable little chore to help me out. And he refuses.
And seriously, when does Mommy get a day off? I work 5 out of every 7 days. Come home and have to be "on" to take care of FireGirl. Try to do a few chores after she goes to bed. Weekends? Usually spent running errands, being Mommy, and doing chores. When do I get a day off?
This wouldn't be too bad, I mean I do appreciate how much and how hard he works. But does he show any appreciation at all for the work that I do? Does he say "thank you"? Does he tell me how good the house looks? Does he even notice the work I put into re-doing our bathroom, or putting up the Christmas decorations? No. Nothing.
And if I say anything, he usually starts going on about how he's gone all the time and he works so hard, and blah, blah, blah.
I never said he didn't, I just want some respect & appreciation for how much I work as well. It should be mutual, and right now I really feel that it's one-sided.

At Work:
I am a temp. I have been on the same assignment with the same company for nearly six years. While the individuals that I work with are awesome and treat me well, the company as a whole treats me, and every other variable worker, like crap. We are worthless. We are 2nd class citizens.
So this morning I come in to an email telling me that they've instated a new requirement, for temps only. We now must pass a quiz in order to maintain security clearance to our work area. Let me be clear, I have double-checked, and this quiz is only for temps. The full-time employees have no such requirement. It is a safety-related quiz, and I have asked multiple FT employees if they are required to take anything similar. They are not. Only temps.
I strongly feel that this is discriminatory and unethical.
If this safety quiz were so important, they would be requiring it of everyone, including FT employees. By only requiring it of temp workers, they are singling out a group of people for a specific course of action.
I lost it. Well, not at first.
I emailed our division's diversity representatives, copied my direct supervisor, and explained my position and asked that they investigate further and make sure that this new requirement meets all diversity, ethical, and legal requirements. That's all. I don't think that's bad. Probably should have been done in the first place, right?
So far, I'm being told (in a nice way), that I'm being irrational.
As you can imagine, this did not go over well. Hence my tirade.

So that's the short version. Even though it's long. I left soooooo much out of both.

I didn't mean to go off on FireMan. I didn't intend to have a tirade in the office. But I've just had enough.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How Small Businesses Create Jobs

So, FireMan & I are starting a business.

I mentioned this to my dad the other day, and he asked if we had any plans to eventually hire anyone else. We said "no".

He then proceeded to tell me that this is what is wrong with all the government money that is out there for small business. They do nothing to create jobs, or even to improve the economic situation at all. Apparently he had recently watched a program that argued that gov't money should not be given to small businesses because they rarely hire anyone outside of the one or two people actually starting it.
I should mention that now that Dad is retired, he spends a great deal of his day watching various news programs, and C-SPAN. So generally I will accept his words on these items as fact, or at least as the words of a man who has watched and listened to a great deal more on the subject as I have.
But not this time. From the minute he said it, I knew he was wrong. It just took me a couple of hours to realize why he was wrong.

So, using our small business as an example, let me explain.

FireMan currently works two jobs. If his business grows & does well, he will quit his 2nd job to focus more time on the business. Thus creating a job opening that did not exist before.
Similarly with me, if the business creates enough of an income for us, I will reduce my hours to part time, or possibly even quit my current job. Thus creating at least a part-time job opening that did not exist before.

So even though our business itself will not directly create any jobs, the success of the business will indirectly create job openings by taking us out of the mainstream workforce.

Did that make sense?

On the surface it looks like we aren't creating any jobs. But if you scratch thru the top layer, you see that underneath our business will (hopefully) create two jobs.

More importantly, this is another example of why we need to take what we hear with a grain of salt. We need to think for ourselves and create our own conclusions from the bevy of information available. Listen to various viewpoints, research additional info if you feel so inclined, and reach your own educated conclusion.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Family. Specifically In-Laws.

My sister's in-laws came to stay with them over Thanksgiving weekend. It was a disaster. And it got me thinking about my own relationship with my in-laws.

Maybe in-laws isn't the right term. Maybe it is.

I'm thinking a lot about the struggles we have to merge the two families. Everything from scheduling holidays, scheduling time with FireGirl (now that they are grandparents), to how we communicate, traditions we have, how we handle things differently, view things differently, etc.

I struggle a lot. A lot.

I try not to show it, but I know it comes out from time-to-time.

My in-laws are not, by any means, bad. They are great people. They are very nice, and can be very generous.

But we do not see eye-to-eye in a lot of areas. And that creates... tension. We also do things differently, and handle communication differently.

For example, my family plans things in advance. FireMan's family does not. This has created some tension regarding holidays, as my in-laws now feel that they are being slighted and are "not important" to see during the holidays. Not the case.
What happens is that my family plans holiday gatherings way in advance. Sometimes months. My in-laws usually wait until a day or two before to decide what they are doing. When we tell them we already have plans, they feel slighted, as if we are giving my family preference. I'm honestly not sure how to make this situation better. I've tried asking ahead of time what they're plans are, and I get a lot of "I-don't-know"s, probablys, maybes, etc. So I feel like I have no choice but to go ahead & commit to my family, because we have no other plans. But then my mother-in-law gets upset when we can't make it to her plans, or ask her to change her plans, because she doesn't plan anything or notifiy us until right before. I just don't know what to do.

We also struggle with the issue of respect.
I feel like I am fighting to gain respect in their eyes as the matriarch of my own family, and I am pretty darn sure she feels like I am not respecting her because I don't let her do whatever she wants. It's a fine line, and I don't know that either one of us is going to win this struggle.
I understand her point of view. She is a very strong womanly presence in her family of men (3 sons, no daughters). She has run their family & household, and run it well.
Then her baby (FireMan is indeed the baby of the family) goes off & marries another strong woman.
I don't think she likes that he has another woman in his life. In fact, I know she doesn't. FireMan has told me himself that his relationship with his mother was a cause of tension in his first marriage, because he gave his mom priority over his wife. And he has learned from that, and knows that once you are married your spouse is to be the priority, and so works to that end in our relationship. And momma no like that.
And I don't feel like she respects me at all. Or him, really. I think she still sees him as her baby. And I don't know how she sees me. But not as someone to be respected, that's for sure.

I've been with FireMan for almost four years. Married for over two. And I still don't feel accepted as part of the family. It still feels... almost... like when you start dating someone. You know? and you're just kind of that outsider at family functions? and it seems like no matter what you say, it comes out wrong (or is taken wrong)? and they don't get you? and so you feel awkward and just want to go home, but you can't because it's your new beau's family and he wants to stay? I still feel like that.
FireMan & I are perfect fit. But I do not fit with his family at all. And I don't really know how to make it better, without compromising who I am, which I'm not really willing to do.

I don't know. I realize this post is kind of rambling. And I have so much more to say on this matter. But I'll stop for now.

Later

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I have Post Partum Depression. Still.

Blah.

Even after I was diagnosed & began treatment, I never thought I would hit the 1 year post-partum mark and still be living with PPD.

But I am.

Last week, when I was sick, I didn't take my meds for a couple of days. Partly because I was taking so many other meds that I just didn't want to pop another pill. Partly because I was curious to see if I was ready to go off of them yet.

I wasn't.

I made it two days before I started irrationally crying at stupid stuff. Ugh. So annoying.

Better than the severe anxiety that is usually my primary symptom.

So here I am. Nearly 14 months post-partum. And still dealing with it. Blah.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A few family pics

Because we all like to see pictures.

Thanks to FireMan's cousin, Rob, for taking the pictures.

All of them taken at the same park where we got married two years ago.



My angel-faced baby.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Update on Me. And Us.

So, I know you've all been wondering where I've been and have been anxiously awaiting my return.
Or at least that's the story that plays in my head & makes me feel important or something. LOL.

Well, I've been ill. And busy. Okay, started out pretty sick, got better & got busy.

About 10 days ago I developed a sore throat. Within a couple of days it was so bad I couldn't even swallow liquid, and the pain was excruciating. Went to UrgentCare (it was Sunday), and they gave me an antibiotic. But apparently not a good enough one. Two days later my neck & face had swollen so badly that I could barely move my jaw to talk. Last Tuesday morning FireMan drove me to my doctor's office when they opened, and I sat in the waiting room until they could see me (no, I do not recommend doing this).
The doc told me he thought it was an infection in my throat, prescribed me a different antibiotic and some steroids, but also ordered a couple of throat cultures & some bloodwork to try to figure out exactly what was going on.
Just a few hours after starting the new meds on Tuesday, I felt much better and was able to eat my first real meal in days. Then I woke up early Wednesday morning coughing up blood. Yeah, at this point I was pretty freaked out.
Called the doctors' office when they opened, and they were already trying to get the results of my bloodwork. You know a doctor's worried when they get the lab to give them results in a day. Ends up I had a massive bacterial infection in my throat. All other screens were negative. Just the infection. So I continued with the meds they'd given me, and got better pretty quickly. Was even able to enjoy Thanksgiving!

Praise Jesus for good doctors & strong medication!

Thanksgiving was a long day. Always is. Breakfast with the in-laws, then to my aunt's house for lunch.
Friday my mom & I went shopping. We always go out on Black Friday, though it's been years since we've done any doorbusters. It's become a tradition, and to be honest I do it more because it's become a special day with just my mom & me than for any shopping deals or anything. I look forward to it every year, and love spending the entire day with my mommy.
Saturday was spent running errands & doing some housework, trying to get caught up from being sick. Still not there.
Sunday was church, then lunch, more housework, then walking the mall with FireMan & FireGirl. FireGirl was... interesting... Sunday afternoon. From the minute she woke up from her nap she was testing her bounds with us. She's usually such a sweetie, this was quite the change. It was clear she was trying to see what she could get away with, and how far she could push us. Even threw a complete tantrum in the middle of Sears. Screaming, tears, arms flailing, feet kicking... whole nine yards. And the testing kept going right up until bedtime. Luckily FireMan & I are on the same page about these things (usually), and just kept consistently correcting her.

Oh, and somewhere during all that crazy holiday week(end), FireMan & I decided to put an offer on a house. It's down the street from our current home, and is lender owned. Needs a lot of work, but no structural problems. We originally looked at it as a potential for another rental property, but once we got inside, we're strongly leaning more towards moving there, then renting out the house we're in now. Offer should go to the bank today. We'll see.

Well, today is my first day back to work after 10 days off. Needless to say I had over 200 new emails in my inbox this morning, but only seven voicemails on my phone. Taking a quick lunch break now, then back to the grind. Still trying to sort things out & figure out where I am on various projects.

Thanks for checking in, and I'll talk to ya later!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

If only it were that easy

I wish it were that easy. I mean, thanks for the advice, but do you really think I never thought to ask for help? That's a little obvious. You don't always get what you ask for.
And what do you do when you feel justified in your request, and he feels justified in saying 'no'? Hence the frustration.

And , yes, I know it's in my hands to reach out and make friends.
But that's not so easy either.
I already feel like my quality time with FireGirl is limited, so now I'm gonna leave her to go out with the girls? or bring her along and have my attention divided? go to a small group at church & put her in the nursery?
I know it's my choice. And I made my choice. To spend the vast majority of what limited free time I have with my daughter. And my husband if he's around.
And I'm proud of that choice. But it doesn't mean that I don't still get lonely at times.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lonely & Frustrated

My husband is gone all... the... time. And I get lonely.

Right now he's gone 36 hrs, home 36 hrs.
Of course, there's sleep time in there. And the hours that I'm gone to work. And whatever time he wants to spend volunteering with Water Rescue. And helping his dad cut firewood, or whatever. And... I get lonely.

Lately I've been lonely a lot. I dropped Jena off at my parents the other day, and cried on my way home. Why? Because I missed her? Sure. But mostly it was a pity party for myself, because I was going home to an empty house. I was lonely. No one to talk to.

I'm sure the people at Kroger think I'm nuts. When I go grocery shopping with Jena, I talk to her the entire shopping trip. Ask her opinions on things. Just talk.
Why? Because I have more words that are trying to get out of my mouth, and no one to say them to. So I say them to her.
I also talk to Tucker quite a bit. And Tootsie has taken to listening to me in the mornings, while Buddy tends to listen better in the evenings.

Did I mention I'm lonely?

I go to work, where I sit in a corner cubicle. By myself. Today, for instance, in the 20 seats nearest to mine, there are three other people. The closest one two seats away. And all three of them are managers or above, and so have been in & out of meetings all day.
And none of them do what I do anyway. I'm the only administrative specialist in my entire division. I'm also the only "temp". Which means I have no one to commiserate with. No one to talk to. All day. Every day.

Did I mention I'm lonely?

And then I go home, to just me & Jena most nights. And I talk to a 13 mo. And she's a joy. But I'm lonely. And then she goes to bed. And I'm alone. Just me & Tucker. Alone.

Which leads me to the frustration part of this posting.

Between work, and taking care of Jena, and family obligations & such, I struggle to keep a neat house. STRUGGLE. It's a constant battle. And I feel like I get very little support from Jason. Which just makes it worse.

I understand that when he's gone, he works very hard. But I also understand that if they don't have any runs to go on, he gets to nap, or play video games. I have also done the math and figured out that he has more waking hours at home than I do.
So, for example, yesterday he's off. So he watches Jena while I go to work.
Oh, as background, I busted my butt all weekend to get our house clean. Still not done, still not perfect. But cleaner & looking better than it has in at least a year. Seriously. Busted my butt.
So he's off yesterday. And what do I come home to?

Jena's cereal bowl from breakfast still sitting on the couch, where he fed her about 10 hours earlier.
Jason's dirty sweatshirt draped across the couch.
Jena's toys strewn across the living room floor.
Remnants of the crackers that he had given Jena crumbling all over the house.
A half-full sippy cup lodged in a shelf on our entertainment center.
A sink full of dirty dishes.

So what did he do all day? Well, that I don't really know for sure. But he did tell me that he got in a nice 2 hour nap during Jena's afternoon nap.
Nice.
When does Mommy get to nap?

So, I'm frustrated. I so want to scream at him, or throw things, or just go on strike. I feel really unappreciated. I worked my butt off to get that house in order, and in just a few short hours come home to a mess. Nice.
Oh, and did I mention that once I'm home, he considers himself "off"? So now that I put in 8 hrs at the office, and come home, he gets to watch TV, play on the computer, or otherwise relax, while I have to make dinner, do dishes, tidy up the house, try to get some laundry done, bathe Jena, feed Jena her dinner & snack, get Jena's clothes ready for the next day, and do all of this while Jena hangs on my legs and Tucker winds himself around my feet. And Jason sits there.
Nice.
But I do get his point of view as well. He's been gone for 36 hours, then watched Jena during the day, so he feels like he deserves to rest now & enjoy his evening. Which he does.
But don't I deserve to rest too? When does Mommy get to nap?

So I'm frustrated. How do you tell someone who works really hard that you need more from them? That you need their HELP?

So I'm frustrated. And lonely. And ready to throw in the proverbial towel.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rejoice!!

Last night I received word that a gentleman I was really close to in college had accepted Christ as his Savior! Hallelujah!

Such good news. I was the first person to ever take him to church, when he was 18 years old. It's a blessing to think that in some small way I might have planted the seed that has been tended to by others all these years, and has finally reaped eternal life for him.

There is so much joy flowing thru my heart & mind right now that I don't even have words. So I'll let God speak for me.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." -- John 3:16-17

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." -- Romans 6:23

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." -- II Corinthians 5:17

"...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." -- Luke 15:10b

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gay Marriage

Did you see this article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/11/AR2009111116943.html

Personally, I understand what the Catholic Church is trying to do, but I'm not sure I can respect an organization that is willing to put thousands of lives at risk by stopping the work that they do with them, in order to get their way politically.

This whole topic of gay marriage, plus some issues in my past, have led me to question whether or not the government should have a role in marriage at all.

It's a murky area.

Marriage is an institution put in place by God. Therefore, it is at it's core between a man, woman, and God. No one else.
Yes, biblically speaking, marriage is to be between a man & a woman. The Bible is very clear about where God stands on homosexuality, and all referances to marriage are always in reference to husband & wife, or man & woman.

But is it right for our government to uphold what is essentially a spiritual belief? I say 'no'.

The decision to marry is a very personal, private matter. While the decision should be rejoiced, at the same time who is involved in the decision should be left to the two people and God. Period.

I'm starting to think the government shouldn't recognize marriages at all, within governmental or political bounds. We should absolutely recognize them as a society, but what does the government have to do with it.

Where it gets murky is because a lot of benefits, tax breaks, etc. are specifically given only to married couples. Well, quite frankly, I have thought this was wrong since my single days. You're refusing me a benefit because I'm single? Sounds like discrimination to me.

And while yes, I believe homosexuality is a sin, it doesn't mean I think it's okay to disrespect or discriminate against those who practice a gay lifestyle. That's not okay at all.
We are all sinners.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" -- Romans 3:23

It's hard for me to explain where I stand on this subject.
Do I believe that marriage should be reserved for a man & a woman? Yes. The Bible tells me that.
Do I think that the government has a right to decide who can & who can't get married? or put any other limitations on the institution of marriage? I am strongly leaning towards "no"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New direction

Not that I really had much direction for this blog to begin with, but I've decided to capture more family moments.


And to that end... FireGirl learned to throw a ball. This has kept her entertained for hours over the past two days. She throws it, goes & picks it up, throws it again. Rinse, repeat. So cute!

She's also been a great kicker. She can kick like no one-year-old I've ever seen! Last night she kicked her ball all the way down the hall (one kick at a time), then carried it back to me.

FireGirl has also finally learned to operate the four-wheeler we got her for her birthday. So it looks like we will be cleaning out the basement so she has room to ride during the winter.




I should also note that FireMan has officially started his own business. Got approval from the Secretary of State earlier this week, ordered business cards, and he already has two clients! It's moving really quickly, and I'm struggling to keep up. Need to set up a bank account, get a website going, design a logo, design & create a website, etc, etc, etc.
I am so very proud of him, and am excited for us to start this new adventure.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Christmas" vs "Holiday" Tree

Seriously ??

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gvgLBPF4L2i4LUG3L_bDgTJU7bbwD9BP0ULG1

I can't believe this was even a question. There is no such thing as a Hanukkah tree. Or a Kwanzaa tree. Or a Festivus tree. If you're gonna have a tree on display during the month of December, and you plan to decorate it with Christmas lights, and Christmas ornaments, then, let's all be honest now, it is a Christmas tree.

People seriously need to get over their hangups, and let it be.

We're not forcing you to celebrate Christmas (although I personally know several non-Christians who enjoy the commercialized aspects of Christmas), so don't ask us to not celebrate.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So, I know I've been MIA...

... I just have a lot of things running thru my head right now. Actually have too much to blog about. Fancy that.

Mostly it relates to when FireGirl was born. With her birthday, plus some other small events, I keep flashing back to it.

To those of you who don't know, my birthing experience was... traumatic. Yeah, that's probably the best word.
And I've come to realize that I never really dealt with all the mental & emotional stuff that goes along with having the birth of your beautiful, wonderful Blessing be so traumatic and damaging to yourself.

So, while physically I have healed, mentally & emotionally I am pretty much just beginning to address some of these issues. So my head has a lot going on lately. I'll probably blog about it eventually, but for now I still need to get this stuff sorted out for myself.

God bless!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts

One of my Facebook friends is currently working in a small Southern town, which is primarily black.

She recently posted a status update which said something to the effect that the people in this town have been so horribly oppressed for so long, that they don't even know that they are oppressed.

That got me thinking.

Can you truly be oppressed if someone has to tell you that you're oppressed?

Now, I'm not saying that there might not be injustices that need to be corrected, but, I don't know, what if these people were happy before this group of people came in and started telling them how crappy their lives were?

I don't know the particulars of the situation, but I just keep thinking about how we as humans tend to constantly compare our lives to others. And someone always has it better, right? and if we focused on that we would probably all be depressed.

Again, I don't want to downplay the fact that if there were truly some serious injustices occurring in this town, that they need to be corrected. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity & respect. But... I just keep thinking about the what ifs.
And seriously, what if these people were happy the way things were, before they were told how bad they were? Then are they really better off now that they're miserably going about "fixing" their town?

Just a thought.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Life without Mirrors

or photographs. or video. or any way to see ourselves at all.

What would this life be like?

I vote: better. happier.

The week we were on our cruise, the only mirrors available were head high - meaning all you could see was essentially your portrait. No way to check on how your body looked in a certain outfit, nothing.

And I was happy. And I felt good about myself. And I was confident. And I felt attractive. I daresay on occasion I even felt sexy.

And then we came home. And I was still feeling pretty good. Until I saw the pictures of me from our trip. And was reminded of how much weight I have to lose. And was disgusted with how fat I looked.

I know. This post says more about me and my personal struggles than anything. But I have to wonder. How much better would life be without any way to judge how you looked?

Do you ever wonder if you need professional help? Seriously. Sometimes I think this is a bigger issue for me than it should be.
I mean, on our trip, I felt really good about myself. I knew full well that by conventional standards I wasn't as attractive as the other women on the cruise, but I didn't care. I achieved a lot last week. Had a lot of firsts. Spent some great quality time with my hubby. I was confident. I was fun. I sought out adventure. I liked who I was.
Now? Back home, remembering how fat & gross I am? I have no confidence. I pretty much think I stink at everything. I wonder what people think when they see me. I'm not motivated to do much. And I dare say all this makes me less fun & less attractive.
Maybe I do need help.

Ugh.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We're Back !!

Sorry I've been MIA. Last week FireMan & I took a weeklong dive cruise thru the Bahamas. It was awesome! Lots of fishies!

Will plan to get back to my regularly scheduled posting in no time.

But while I'm here... I big CONGRATULATIONS to Candace on the birth of her son! Congrats!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday FireGirl !!!!

One year ago today my little angel came into this world.

At this time last year, I was in my 24th hour of labor (of 30 total), and screaming to wake the dead. Or so I've been told. And it was worth every second.

Happy Birthday Baby! I love you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Serving the Lord

What does this mean?

This morning, while preparing FireGirl's breakfast, I looked at the decorative plate we have hanging above the kitchen sink. On it is this scripture reference:

"...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua 24: 15 (KJV)

But what does that mean? How do we serve God? Doesn't He already have anything He could possibly need? I mean, after all, He's God. So how do we serve the Lord our God?

Here's what I've come up with so far.

#1 - spread the word of His Kingdom, the Good News, the Gospel. Share your testimony, in big or small ways.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" -- Matthew 28:19 (KJV)

#2 - Pray for the needs of others

" pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." -- John 17:9 (KJV)

#3 - serve your fellow man, in big ways, or in small.

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." -- Galations 5:13 (KJV)

#4 - take care of God's creation (man, beast, plant, or land)

"The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." -- Psalm 24:1 (KJV)

"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast:..." -- Proverbs 12:10 (KJV)

I am by no means an expert on the will of God. I'm just a sinner saved by grace. But I think this is a pretty good start.

Anything to add? How do you interpret "serve the Lord"?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

FireGirl's First Birthday Party...

... was yesterday.

We had a beautiful, wonderful, awesomely blessed day.

I still need to download some pics, but I'll try to post one or two once I get them.

It was a great day. We had a lot of family, and a few close friends, and more love than I can express. I am truly thankful for the blessing God has given us in they way of loving family & friends. I am thankful for the ones who were able to share in this day with us, and for the wonderful generosity they showed towards FireGirl.

On the way to the park where we had the party, I was overwhelmed with the acknowledgement of how blessed FireMan & I really are. Even materially speaking. Don't get me wrong, we're not wealthy by any means. We live in a fixer-upper, drive used cars, I'm a coupon-cutting fool when it comes to our food budget, etc, etc, etc. But we still have so much. Just the fact that we were able to spend what money we did to have FireGirl's party, that we were able to buy her a great present as well. I just can't believe how God has chosen to bless our lives.

Amen!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Different is not necessarily better or worse. It's just different.

The company I work for employees people from just about every diverse aspect you can think of. It's a melting pot of races, ethnicities, and cultures; genders and sexual orientation, religions and physical abilities. You name it, we probably got it.

And with very few exceptions, we all respect each other's differences. It's great.

Oddly enough, the biggest cultural intolerance I see here has nothing to do with race, creed, or gender - it's the cultural differences between different divisions within the same company, even here at the same location.

I have a hard time even describing it. But there are very clear cultural differences between each division. And everyone thinks their division is doing things the right way, and they look down on the others. At least this has been my experience. At times it's almost comical.

The thing that gets me, not only at work, but in the world in general, is why "different", has to be looked at as either better or worse. Why can't something, or someone, just be different, but have the same value?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Feelings hurt.

FireMan really upset me last night. Hurt my feelings. Badly. I'm still not over it.

Of course, the worst thing is I don't even know if he realizes it. Or realizes how much it stung.

That's the downside to loving someone so much. They can hurt you so easily. Why? Because you care. If you didn't care, it wouldn't matter.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rough Night #2

It was another night of Jena screaming at bedtime. I'm not sure what's going on. This started happening out of the blue.

I'm starting to think maybe it's separation anxiety, because after our first try at bedtime last night, after I finally went in to get her up, she would not leave my side. Clung to me.
Second try I got her to fall asleep on my chest while sitting on the couch, was sure she was out, got up, laid her in the crib, and... let the screaming commence. Ugh.

I finally ended up taking her into our bed (we have never co-slept with her). She eventually fell asleep, calmly, gripping tightly to my shirt. I managed to pry her loose, then left her there, sleeping peacefully next to me, for about 30 min before I carefully moved her to her crib.

So on night two it took three tries, and three hours. She wasn't in her crib until nearly 1am.

After that I went downstairs to feed the dogs & lock them up for the night, since they had been barking intermittantly. So I finally got to bed around 2am.

Around 5am I am awakened by the sound of Tootsie barking. They managed to get out. Ugh. She barked for a good 30 min before I finally got up & yelled at her. I staggered back to bed & passed out. I wake up to the sound of her barking again at 6am. At 6:30am, I drag myself downstairs and give her a good talking to. She knew she was in trouble. Guess I should have done that in the first place, because there was no more barking.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much more time for sleep either. I crawled back into bed, only for my alarm to go off a couple of minutes later. I hit the snooze until 7:15am, then got up and began getting ready for the day.

Needless to say I am tired & grumpy today. Jodi needs a nap.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rough Night

FireGirl refused to go to bed. On our 3rd try at bedtime, I decided to let her cry it out. Well, let's make that scream it out. She was screaming at the top of her lungs. Screamed so hard she gagged herself on more than one occasion.

Keep in mind this was our 3rd attempt at bedtime.

After 30+ min of screaming, I went in to get her. She was so upset she had worked herself into a sweat. I did my best to calm her down. Changed her diaper. Wiped her face. Lots of kisses. Showed her that I was still here. Woke FireMan up so she could see that Daddy was still here (seeing Daddy was the only smile I got out of her).
Then we went into the living room. I gave her a bottle and held her tight. Ten minutes of TLC from Mommy, and she was out.

I still don't know what the problem was. She usually goes to sleep so well. I mean, she fights in, but rarely more than 10 min. And never this screaming thing. But Mommy fixed it. {sigh}

I was tempted to sleep in the living room with FireGirl on my chest. Especially after FireCat came in and snuggled next to me.
But I knew that if FireGirl woke up in the middle of the night & saw me, we'd be right back where we started. So after 30 min, and being absolutely sure she was out out, I managed to get up & put her in the crib. She never opened her eyes, whimpered for about 30 sec, and that was all she wrote.

So that made for a long night. But you know, as much as I hated the screaming part, the fact that I could make it all better, and did, was 10x better than the screaming part was bad.

Nothing like soothing a baby to sleep to put life in perspective.

{sigh}

Thursday, September 24, 2009

God's Amazing Love for Us

I had a discussion with a dear friend last night about God, and how He reacts to decisions in our lives.

This friend felt like recent events in her life were evidence of God punishing her for a decision she made several years ago. A decision that she made with her heart, not intentionally committing any sins or knowingly disregarding the will of God, mind you.

I told her I just can't see it that way.

Does God punish us for unrepented sins? Absolutely. Do we sometimes reap the consequences of our sinful actions? Absolutely. Does God wreak havoc on our life because we made one seemingly innocent mistake a few years ago? Well, no one knows the mind of God, but I don't think so.

So here's how I see it:
When we are born, God has this perfect plan for our life. All we have to do is follow Him perfectly. Be within His perfect will all the time. Every second. Then we will live this perfect life and be blessed perfectly.

The problem being that we, as humans, are not perfect. No one can follow God perfectly. No one can be within His perfect will every second. None of us are without sin. And we all make mistakes.

But does that mean that God seeks to punish us? No. God loves us. We are His children. Are there sometimes consequences for our bad actions? Sure. There are also "consequences" for our good actions as well.

I think when we take a step outside of God's perfect will, then He creates a new plan for our life, and begins directing us down a new path. It might be awfully close to the old path, but we as an imperfect person decided to take a detour, so now He has to rearrange the path to get us back to the next best thing.
Sometimes there are little detours. Little tiny imperfect moves on our part that we don't even realize shift our reality.
Sometimes there are big detours. We knowingly sin against our Father. We make a BIG mistake.
But at the end of the day, even if God knows we're gonna have to hit some potholes to get thru this new road, He still wants us to be on His road. He still wants us to see the beautiful views, and be blessed by His goodness. He still wants the very best for us.

Again, no one knows the mind of God. And yes, there are times when we are punished for our sins. And yes, we do reap the consequences (or blessings!) of our actions. But just because things aren't going your way doesn't mean you are necessarily paying the price for a seemingly innocent mistake you may (or may not) have made years ago. Maybe it's just the road with potholes that takes you to new mountaintops. You just gotta take the bumps as they come and wait for the road to smooth out.

Take care. God bless.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Potential

*disclaimer* this post is speaking specifically to professonal aspirations. Has nothing to do with family.



Do any of us ever live up to our potential?

Sometimes I wonder if I could have done something more with my life. Professionally speaking. Okay, well, I know I could have. But am I somehow not living up to my potential by not? Should I have gone into another profession?

I used to be smart. I say that candidly, because I don't always feel so bright nowadays. But back when I was in school, yeah, I was the schizzle. Not that I ever really felt that way. But looking back on test scores, grades, etc. - yea, I was pretty awesome.

Then came college. I was an undeclared major for 2+ years before deciding on History. Why history, you ask? Because I didn't know what to do, and in my 2nd year of undergrad, a professor told me my papers were equal to or better than what his grad students were doing. Funny, because as I progressed with my History degree my GPA was consistently less than stellar. But obviously that professor saw some potential, thought that I was above my class. So it was still there then.

Then I graduated. And I fumbled. I am in my 30s, and I still don't know what I want to do with my life (professionally speaking). I know I'm not really happy in my current job, but I don't know where I want to go. And I haven't felt challenged intellectually in a long time. Which probably has led to the downfall of my brainpower.

What should I have done? Should I have been a doctor? lawyer? engineer? nurse? veterinarian? professional musician? teacher?

Or is this right where I'm supposed to be? Am I supposed to be an under-utilized support staff?

Do any of us ever live up to our full potential? Are we supposed to?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gianotti-Crosti Syndrome

So, the dermatologist thinks this is what FireGirl has. He said he thinks they symptoms are peaking right now, and we should start to see improvement in the next week or so. If no noticeable improvement in three weeks, then we go back for a skin biopsy.

He also explained that it is related to having a "bad viral infection". His words. When we told him that she hasn't been sick in months, he seemed stumped. So I asked him about a possible link between GC and vaccines, and explained the timing issue. He said there was no known "definitive" link between the two, but he did make a note of it in her chart.

Overall, I'm very happy with the appointment. He listened to us, she got a good prognosis, all should be well soon.

{sigh} of relief.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rainy Sunday at the Zoo




We went to the zoo yesterday after church. Rained most of the day, but we still had a good time. Wandered from exhibit house to exhibit house when the rain was light, stayed indoors when it was heavier. FireGirl loved the Cat House. No big surprise there. She especially loved the snow leopard.

FireMan & I spent the first two hours there cleaning the tank at Manatee Springs. It was neat to be able to look up and out the glass and see FireGirl there looking at us. At first she was really scared. I think all the scuba equipment freaked her out. But she eventually waved back at me. My inlaws were with us, and managed to get some pretty decent pics of FireMan & I in the exhibit.

The manatees, Slip & Li'l Joe, will be leaving the Zoo in October. It's a good thing really. They're part of a rehabilitation program, and will be moving to Florida to take the final steps to be released back into the wild. I haven't been volunteering with them very long, but already I know I'm gonna miss those gentle giants.

So after our busy, productive, and fun day at the Zoo, I am sore and tired, but glad we had a good day.

You have a good day too, 'kay?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I am blessed to come from a large extended family

Today was our family reunion. Well, one of them. It's the third one this year. See, back in June we had the reunion for my maternal grandfather's family. Then in July we had the reunion for my dad's family. Then this month we had the reunion for my maternal grandmother's family. Did you follow that?

I love my family. I love that we have a large, extended family that we are close with and see regularly. I love that I grew up so close to my cousins, aunts, and uncles and that FireGirl will grow up close to hers. I love that my best friends are my family. Who needs a "real" social life when you have a family like ours? There's always something to do: reunions, holidays, birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on & on.D

I am so blessed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

PSA: Jobs, pay, benefits, and budgeting

Please, please, please do not base your household budget on your benefits, like overtime & bonuses.

Vacations, eating out, entertainment, even Christmas based on OT & bonuses, fine.

Mortgages, utilities, car payments, etc. based on OT & bonuses, not the smartest idea. Manage those on your base pay alone.

The reason I say this is because you never know when workloads will shift, and you will lose your overtime. But if that happens, and as long as you still have your job, you will still be able to manage with just your base pay.
Same goes for bonuses. I know someone whose company got rid of bonuses years ago, before the recession ever hit. So it's not even just about "these economic times".

You have to remember that those things are benefits. They are not your base pay, and should not be treated as such.

Here's hoping this little tidbit helps you in some way.

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baby and Bumps and Vaccines, Oh My!

It's been a long day. Already.

FireGirl has had some strange bumps on her body for a while now. Didn't pay much attention at first. She had two tiny bumps. They didn't itch, didn't seem to hurt, didn't seem to bother her at all. Then she had a few more, and a few more. The past week or so it seems like they've exploded all over her. She's covered in these bumps. But she had no other symptoms and they didn't seem to bother her so I didn't really worry.

Well, this morning, she had a few on her face, so I called the pediatrician and got in today. They were stumped. Called in another doctor. Got out the dermatology book. No idea. Great.
They told us to take her to the dermatologist (managed to get her in in 2 weeks), but not to worry about it in the meantime, that they don't think it's serious.

I get back to work. Frustrated that they don't know what it is, but relieved that they don't think it's serious. Then my cell phone rings.

I don't get to it in time and it goes to voicemail. It's the pediatrician. They were discussing FireGirl's case after we left, and they still want her to see the dermatologist, but now they are thinking that it is Gianotti-Crosti syndrome, which children sometimes get following a serious viral infection.

Well, knowing that she hadn't (to our knowledge) had any viral infections, certainly none that would be deemed "serious", I googled it.

Yeah. Can also be caused by certain vaccinations.

I am so upset. I checked my calendar to see when her last vaccine was, and the timing lines up that that might be what caused it. I'm so upset.

My mind is spinning. We've delayed a few vaccines. Asked to have others split up. I've never been a "no vaccine" momma. But now.... I just don't know.

All the stuff you hear on TV, and now this.

I haven't done a lot of research on the syndrome yet, just two sites to be honest, but considering she hasn't had any other viral infections that we're aware of, and the timing from her last vaccines, it does seem to fit that one of her vaccines caused it.

If that is what it is. We'll still go see the derm to be sure. But that's not for another two weeks.

I'm just so upset. I'm angry. I'm worried. I'm frustrated. I feel guilty. I'm angry. Did I mention that I'm upset?

If it is GC syndrome, and it is probably from the vaccine, where do we go from here? Do we become a "no vaccine" family? Do we just stagger everything out? If we skip vaccines to avoid the syndrome, what about when it's time to go to school? Does the state consider that an acceptable reason to not have the vaccines? There's so much to consider.

My head is spinning. I have a headache from crying. My stomach is upset. And I don't really see myself being able to focus on work this afternoon.

I really just want for FireMan to come home from work, for me to go get FireGirl, and then for the three of us to curl up together all afternoon.

Unfortunately that's not gonna happen. Blah.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Musings from Golden Corral

Went to Golden Corral with the in-laws last night. Every time we go, I am amazed by two things.

#1 - the majority of the people eating there appear to to not have much, in the way of financial means
This always surprises me because it is not cheap to eat there. Buffet + drink = $13. We only go because my father-in-law belongs to an organization that once a month allows members & their families to eat there for $5.
It just surprises me that those that appear to need to manage their money the most are spending $13/person to eat out.

#2 - there are a great deal of morbidly obese people that eat at Golden Corral.Of course, there are those who will say this is no surprise, how do you think they got that way? But what I don't understand is why someone who is already suffering from obesity (some of them in carts, no longer able to walk themselves) would continue to add to the problem by piling up plate after plate of food at a buffet. I've watched. Heaping piles of not-very-good-for-you food on plate after heaping plate. I don't get it.

Spin-off of #2 - people insist on piling food onto their plate, like they only get one plate for the whole night.
Several of my in-laws do this as well. Never understood it. It's a buffet. You get more plates. You can go up as often as you like. Why pile it all on top of each other?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Can't Decide What to do About Job

I go back & forth on whether or not to stay at my current job.

Some days, I love it.
I like the work that I do, and I love the people I work with.
But the company treats me like crap (I'm "just" a temp), and most days I'm pretty bored. I'd rather be busy than bored anyday.

Part of me thinks I should look for another job where I'll be happier. Part of me says that the positive things about this job are enough to make me stay. And part of me feels like leaving is unethical in some way, during this recession. After all my company is on a total hiring freeze. So if I left, they wouldn't backfill my position, they'd rotate someone else in from a different location, or split up my duties, or whatever. So it's almost like if I leave, I'm taking an eligible job away from someone else. Does that make sense?

Anyway, today is a day that I'm not really thrilled to be here. I'm really bored. I could be home with FireMan & FireGirl, or at least doing some housework, and instead I am here, trying to spread out my work so I have something to do the rest of the week. Ugh.

What do you think? Just from what little I've told you here. Stay? or look for a new job?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Date" Your Spouse

FireMan and I try to have date nights monthly. We ask someone to watch FireGirl overnight, and the two of us go out on a date. Just us. No friends, no baby, just able to focus on each other.

I honestly don't know how marriages survive having a baby if couples don't do this. It has been a life-saver for us.

So last night was one of those nights. And we had a GREAT date night. Nothing fancy. Dinner at a BBQ joint, ran an errand at the mall, went shopping for FireGirl's birthday (probably not really appropriate for date night), then a movie. It's not so much about what you do, it's about spending time together, just the two of you. Reconnecting with one another.

So anyway, while we were walking the mall, one of the topics that came up in conversation, sort of, was how we treat each other. How we speak to one another. The little things we do that irritate one another. Later in the night, as I was dwelling on this mall conversation, it dawned on me.

Dating your spouse shouldn't end with one night. It should be infused in how you treat each other as well.
Think about it. For example: when you were dating, if you did something to upset your partner (even a little thing), what would you do? You'd try to fix it, right? Do everything to make it better, right? What about now? Would you still do everything you could to make it better? Or would you just go about your day and tell yourself that if they're upset it's their problem? That they're too sensitive?

That's just one example. I'm not saying spend every day acting like a gushing little schoolgirl (or boy). Just let the thought cross your mind from time to time.
Ladies, if you got all dressed up for your partner when you were dating, do you do it now? Gentlemen, if you opened the car door for your partner when you were dating, do you do it now?
Just think about the little things, the little actions and the frame of mind that you had when you were dating.

And really "date" your spouse. Not just on the occasional night out together, but all the time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Time to be Honest with Myself

So here goes.

I have gained FIFTY pounds.
There. I said it. It's in writing. It's on the net for all to see. Fifty. That number seems huge. And indeed it is. I'm carrying around the equivalent weight of 10 bags of flour. That's a lot. That's really heavy.

So, I know weight has dominated a few of my posts lately, and that's because it's been dominating my thoughts.

Oh, I didn't gain it all at once. It's not even all baby weight. So how did all that FAT creep onto my body, you ask? Several ways.

#1 - from early 2006 to late 2007 I gradually put on about 20 lbs. Gain five, lose three. Gain five more, lose three more. Etc. Eventually those net gains of two pounds here & there added up to right about 20 lbs altogether.

#2 - when FireMan & I decided to start trying to conceive, I stopped my birth control, and gained 13 lbs in about six weeks.

#3 - I gained 49 lbs throughout my pregnancy. I have since lost 30-35 lbs of it (it fluctuates), but that leaves me with a net gain of about 17 lbs.

Add those up, my friends, and it means I have gained FIFTY pounds in three years.

So what, do you ask, do I plan to do about it? Well, I'll tell you.

I have decided to have a Winter Weight Loss Challenge.

The wintertime is when most people tend to gain the most weight, right? Well, not this year. From Oct 1 thru Mar 31 I will try to lose the 50 lbs. I'm even gonna start another blog so ya'll can track my progress. Or join in the fun.
I'd like to have others join me with their own weight maintenance goals so we can check in with each other, share tips, etc. But even if no one else joins my Winter Weight Loss Challenge, I'll be there. Plugging along.

And if I don't lose the entire 50 lbs? Well, that's okay too. Now, I'm not saying I won't be discouraged. But I know I'll have made the effort, and I will be healthier at the end of it.

So there you have it folks. Can't back out once I publicize it, right? So there it is.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Weight, Confidence, and Attraction

So, for varying reasons the topic of weight & attraction has come up in conversation between me and different parties here recently.

One specific topic that keeps repeating itself is how it's unfair that overweight men are often still found attractive in our society, being the "cuddly teddybear", while overweight women are often written off as "fat cows".

This morning FireMan said he thinks it's not so much how society sees people, as how they see themselves. That guys are still found to be attractive, even when heavier, because they don't care as much about their weight, and so are still more confident in their appearance.

I argue that they're more confident because society as a whole still finds them more attractive than overweight women.

It's the whole chicken-before-the-egg argument. Which came first?

I do agree that confidence plays a big part in how attractive you are. But how confident can you be when society (especially the media) tells you that because you aren't a certain weight, you are therefore not attractive?

One point that I brought up is our recent excursion at Riverfest. I asked him how many overweight women did he check out compared to how many thin women. I got a nervous laugh in response.

Just think about it. You see yourself getting checked out (by anyone) and it boosts your confidence, thereby making yourself even more attractive.
You see numerous other women getting checked out by guys as you sit there seemingly invisible, and your self-confidence plummets, thereby making yourself even less attractive.
It becomes a vicious cycle.

I just hate double standards. The fact is that in our society today, "normal" weight people are treated differently than those of us who are overweight.
And to take it a step further, overweight men are treated differently than overweight women.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We All Represent Something

Since FireMan & I knew we were going to be gone all day Sunday, we attended Saturday night church services at a local church (not our normal church). We had been there on occasion before, and in fact FireMan at one point had been a member of said church.
I really wanted to keep FireGirl with us thru the entire service, and we weren't even sure if they had nursery for Saturday night.
She made it fine thru the song service. Being a contemporary worship service, her squeals & claps went unnoticed.
Just before the message started, a woman approached me and said "you know, we have a nursery you can take her to", referring to FireGirl. Innocent enough statement, it seems. But something in her tone just rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like she was saying "we don't want your kid in the service, please take her to nursery". I can't shake it.
Well, a few minutes into service FireGirl got restless and started wriggling around and babbling, so I got up to take her to nursery. Although I would prefer to have her in service, and in fact get a blessing out of having my daughter with me during church, I also understand that she can be a distraction for other parishioners.
Anyway, back to this lady. I keep going back to it. I just really got the impression that FireGirl was not welcome in the service. That really bothers me.

And today it hit me. That one lady. That one seemingly innocent, even helpful comment, the tone in which she said it, all left me with an impression of the church as a whole. In a matter of seconds, my experience at that church went from great, to blah. Whether she realized it or not, to me, she represented the church.

We all represent something. We all have the power to influence how others see that which we represent.

Whether it be our church, an organization we belong to, our workplace, our family, our God.... our words & actions effect how others view it.

There is power in that. There is also responsibility. Think about your words & actions this past week? Were they representative for all that you stand for?

We all mess up from time to time, but I think, especially as Christians, it's important for us to remember that others are watching us, whether we realize it at the moment or not.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What I Learned While Working RiverFest

So yesterday FireMan & I volunteer for boat patrol with our Water Rescue team for Riverfest. This means that we spend approximately 12 hours on the water, patrolling the Ohio River, basically waiting for boaters to get into trouble so we can be there to save them. We were in one of the smallest rescue boats, so didn't get much action. We encountered two gentlemen who were attempting to swim the River, but by the time we encountered them they were almost across, and were wearing life jackets, so we simply escorted them the rest of the way across, making sure they were safe. We also assisted in escorting the fireworks barge into position, and ran the eastern picket line. The picket line is a line of rescue / enforcement boats that make sure boaters are being safe and maintaining a no wake speed after the fireworks are over.

Anywho, I learned / were reminded of a few things yesterday.

Being in the same general area as my husband and numerous scantily women is not good for our marriage.
He says he can't (won't) stop looking, and to see him to see him checking out other women hurts me deeply. So putting ourselves in that position = no good for the marriage.

Fat guys are teddy bears. Fat gals are cows.
Or that's how society sees them anyway. Saw numerous very large men surrounded by cute chicks. Saw numerous chubby chicks surrounded by... their chubby friends.

Drunk people do really stupid things.
Like when law enforcement is telling them to slow down, they yell things like "Thanks! Now get out of the way!". Right before being pursued by said law enforcement. Nice.

Sober people do really smart things.
Like radio dispatch requesting for a rescue boat to evacuate them from their boat, because the person driving it has been drinking, and refuses to hand over the wheel.

I am too old to be out past 11pm.
That one's pretty self explanatory.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Abortion

I recently read a poll of new mothers asking if they were more Pro-Choice or more Pro-Life since giving birth (than they were before being pregnant). I was shocked to find that more were Pro-Choice.I have a daughter.

I remember getting that ultrasound at 7 weeks. You can see your baby. You can see & hear the heartbeat. At just 7 weeks.How anyone can think of abortion as anything other than murdering a child is beyond me.How these moms, some of whom I'm sure also had early ultrasounds, could say that they are more Pro-Choice after having a child is beyond me.What kind of society do we live in that it is okay to kill the weakest and most helpless among us? That women will choose to go against the nature of their bodies, which is to nurture and protect this baby, and instead choose to kill it.What do they tell themselves to make them okay with this? How can you live with yourself, knowing you have intentionally killed your own child?*disclaimer* the following statements do not apply to victims of rape, or those choose to abort their child in instances where it is medically needed to save the life of the mother, or any other such cases.I have recently come to the conclusion that in most cases, the act of abortion is one of illogical selfish irresponsibility.Why it is illogical?Because many of the women who choose to get abortions when they don't want the child they'v conceived, would also fight to protect another baby that they decided they do want. What kind of logic is it that if the mother chooses to abort an unwanted child, it's okay, but if a stranger performs a violent act that kills a wanted unborn child, it's murder? That is no logic. The difference is only wanted versus unwanted. Whether you want it or not, murder is murder.Why is it selfish?Because you have chosen your comfort, convenience, way of life over the very existence of another living creature. Another person. Your own child. You have somehow convinced yourself that your child is better off dead, than to have the chance at life. I'm sorry, but that is not your choice to make. And before you say "yes it is, it's my baby", just ask yourself if you would then legalize infanticide.Why is it irresponsible?Because there are currently a bevy of contraceptive methods out there to prevent pregnancy. Most of them fairly easy to obtain. Heck, you can even get free birth control from certain family planning clinics. With all of the contraceptive options out there, there is virtually no excuse for an unwanted pregnancy, other than the fact that you weren't willing to take responsibility for your own actions.Along the same lines, if you are so dead-set against having a child that you would be willing to undergo an invasive medical procedure to "terminate the pregnancy", perhaps you should seriously consider abstaining from sexual intercourse. I'm being serious. Just think about it.Okay, I'm sure if you've found your way to this page that by now you're either applauding me, or seriously pissed off. Either way, hopefully I gave you something to think about.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm Fat. And Unattractive.

At least that's how I feel today.

Blah.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just a thought

So, after a lengthy, and disgruntled, conversation between Jason and myself the other night, the following thought / piece of advice came to mind:

Stop doing things for your spouse that you want done for you, and start doing things for your spouse that they want done.

It seems so simple, but I think we can't be the only ones who make this mistake. And I am as guilty of it as he is. We tend to do things for each other based on what we want, instead of thinking of what the other person wants.

I've even read magazine articles & even marital help books suggesting that if you want your partner to do something for you, you do it for them, and they'll reciprocate. One example that I recall is a book suggesting to women that if they want their husbands to be more romantic, the women should do romantic things for the men, then the husbands will in turn do the same for their wives.
I mean, maybe, right? But if I bring Jason home a dozen roses, I don't think he's likely to think "that was nice, maybe I'll bring Jodi some". He's more likely to think "what in the world made her think I want flowers?".

And besides, when you do what you want but for them, even if it's for them, isn't it still in a way, selfish? Because you're giving them what you want, not what they want. You're not taking the time or effort to think about what they want. You're in a sense taking the easy way out.

Is this making any sense at all?

I hope so. Because for me it was a revelation, and I think it's a really good one.

Stop doing things for your spouse that you actually want done for you, and start doing the things that they want done for them.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Doing it All

I hear this phrase all the time lately. Maybe it's because I'm a mom. Maybe it's because I'm a working mom. Maybe I'm just in tune to it because I feel like I'm trying to do it all.

So since I hear the phrase all the time, I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I've come to the conclusion (thru no actual facts, mind you) that we've been taking the phrase "do it all" the wrong way all along.
My suspicion is that when people started using this phrase in regards to women being able to do it all, they didn't mean that we could do everything, do it well, and balance all the responsibilities at the same time. I'm guessing that maybe what they meant is that women are able to do each and every thing, individually.Do you see the difference?
One states that we have the capability within us to do whatever task we set our minds too. It is an encouraging, uplifting thought. It is attainable.
The other says that we can do all of those tasks simultaneously, do them each well, and let nothing fall to the wayside in the process. It is discouraging, because it is unattainable.

So the next time you hear the phrase "do it all", especially in relation to women doing it all, think to yourselves "yep, we can do whatever we want. But we don't have to do it all now."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Judgie McJudgerson

Have you heard of the Duggar family? 18 Kids & Counting? Well, they just announced this morning that they are expecting child #19.

And immediately, on one of the message boards that I frequent, there was judgement. They're "crazy". They "need a psych eval". They "are out of their minds". Etc, etc.

That sort of thinking drives me crazy.

I've noticed I tend to get more fired up about these things since I became a mom. More sympathetic I guess.

I just think that how many children you have is between you, your spouse, and God. No one else. Whether it's zero, or 19, that's your business.

They take better care of 18 kids than a lot of people take care of one. They live debt free.

I know, I know. These people chose to be on a reality show about their lives. They chose to make their lives public. Fine. But why do we have to judge them? Why is it seen as "okay" to judge them for their personal decisions?
Besides, just one generation ago, having that many kids was fairly mainstream. My dad had 11 brothers & sisters. My father-in-law had 10 brothers & sisters. It's only been during this last generation that big families like that have become a novelty. They used to be the norm.

It just makes me really upset. As long as no one is getting hurt, why is it any of our business? Even for celebrities, while much of their lives are public, there are still somethings that are private, or should be. There's something sacred about a family's decision to have a child. It should be cherished & protected, not ridiculed.

I could go on & on. But I'd better not. I'm done for now.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Book Rave

Glue: Sticking Power for Lifelong Marriages by Paul & Patti Endrei


Love, love, LOVE this book. It has real, practical ways to strengthen the bonds of marriage, all based on biblical principles. Although I will say that even for the non-Christians out there, the ideas & advice in this book are good for anyone! Of course, it will help both partners in the marriage read the book & take its advice to heart, but better one person working to improve a marriage than no-one.

And don't wait until you're in trouble to start working on your marriage! Do it now! If your "glue" is strong, you won't break apart!

Read, and enjoy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Boat Patrol last night

Last night FireMan & I ran boat patrol for water rescue. It was a beautiful night to be on the River, and for the most part was a calm, relaxing boat ride. We had one broken down boat, dead in the water. We towed the boat to the nearest doc, then took the boaters (2 adults, one child, and 2 dogs) to the dock where they entered the water (about 10 nautical miles away), so they could get a ride. Didn't tow their boat the entire way because it's too hard on the rescue boat's engines.

Anyway, it was a great night for a boat ride, we did a good deed, and it made me nostalgic. Reminded me of our wedding. We got married on the rescue boat, the same one we were on last night. The picture above is actually from our wedding. Similar weather, same boat, on there with FireMan. It was great.

He's actually out on the River for boat patrol again today. I'm at home hoping FireGirl will finally drift off to sleep (she's been fighting it for 45 min), and deciding how productive I want to be today.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Friday, August 28, 2009

How do you motivate yourself ??

Specifically, I need to lose weight. I even want to lose weight. But for some reason I am just not motivated to do what I need to do to lose it.

It's not bad enough that I still can't fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. It's not bad enough that I hate my new body shape. I'm still not motivated.

I'd like to be motivated. I'd like to be motivated to be more active & eat better. But man! That burrito I had last night was yummy. As was the cookies-n-cream shake from Chik-fil-a. Mmmm....

I don't know. I need to do something, but I just can't seem to get my butt in gear.

{sigh}

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So I've been meaning to post this for a while...

... but I can't seem to find the right words. So I'm just gonna say it and hope it comes out right.

I am more me now than I have ever been.
My husband, my loving Jason, make me more me. He brings out sides of me that I never knew existed. Parts of me that I had forgotten about long ago. Parts of me that I always wanted to be, but never were. Being with him, makes me a better me. Not a better person, mind you, but a better me.

My daughter, my wonderful Jena, makes me more me. I am less self-conscious around her. Screw the rest of the world, I only have eyes for her when she's around. So who cares if I look like an idiot with a paci in my mouth? It makes her giggle. And since I am less self-conscious, I am more me than ever.

And I'm happy with that me. I'm content. Satisfied. In love with my "new" family and in love with my life.

Oh sure, there are things that could be better. Always are. One of my strong points, and simultaneously one of my vices, is that I always look for improvement. In everything (including myself). It doesn't mean that I'm not happy. It just means that I understand that perfection is not achievable, so there is always room for improvement.

One thing that I love, is that although my friends are fewer now, I feel like the ones I have now really know who I am, and love me for me.
I don't feel like I'm typecaste into a box anymore, and I really wish some of my older friends (particularly from college) could know me as I am now. Because I think I'm better this way.

For so long I was the TrumpetChick, the BandNerd. The SmartiePants. The ChristianGirl. The GirlFriend. The BaptistGirl. The NaiveOne. The FatOne. Whatever. Maybe it's all perception, but I felt like I was pigeonholed into one or more of these roles. That I had to live up to that description, and also that I would never be known as more.

Now? I don't feel like I'm in any box. I'm everything, all at once. I'm me. I'm Jodi.

Like I said, I don't have near as many friends as I used to, but I feel like the ones I do have love me for me.

It's been a long journey to this point. But I definitely see how Jason & then Jena were so instrumental in getting me to this point. They're so awesome. They're my family.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I recovered a memory this morning

You know how they say you often repress memories of painful moments in your life, kind of a function of self-defense?

Well, as I lie in bed half-asleep this morning, a flash came before me, and I remembered one of the most painful moments of my life. When my ex left me. Told me he didn't love me anymore. I have no idea what brought this on. What was even more surprising to me was how completely I had forgotten it, until the wee hours of this morning.
Every detail wasn't there, it was bits & pieces, flashing thru my mind like a slideshow. But the details that were there were vivid. What I was wearing, where he had parked his car. Random stuff like that.

The really nice thing was: for the first time (obviously) of reliving that moment in a long time, there were no feelings attached. None. It was like any other memory, like remembering going to a football game, or a high school class, or any other boring memory of your life.

I like that it's just like any other moment from my past now. It has shaped my path thru this life, but does not define who I am. Love it.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I did not eat an entire (small-ish) frozen pizza for dinner last night. All by myself.

I did not pretend not to see my ex as he drove by me in the church parking lot yesterday, just because I didn't feel like talking to him. Or even looking at him.

I did not spray a spider with flea spray, just because I was too lazy to go upstairs and get the Raid.

I did not lock the dogs up last night before I even went to bed just because I didn't want to even think about getting up in the middle of the night because they were barking.

I did not hit the snooze for 45 min this morning.

I did not let my parents talk me into letting Jena spend the night with them last night, just so I could have a night to myself.

And I most certainly am not, at this moment, eating a yummy buffalo chicken salad from the work cafeteria just because it's so very, very yummy and trying to pretend that because it's a salad it counts as being "good", even though it has breaded chicken, cheese, tortilla chips, and ranch dressing on it.

Never. I would never do those things. Not me. Not Jodi.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Celebration Time!

Yesterday we had two celebrations to attend.

First, my cousin & his wife welcomed a new addition to their family - we celebrated the adoption of their son (as well as his 3rd birthday!).

It was awesome. Just to see God work through their lives, transforming them into the parents they have become, and watching this gift of family unfold before our eyes. It has truly been a blessing.

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
- Matthew 18:5


Following that celebration we went to my brother's house to celebrate his wife's 35th birthday. It was a total surprise. She was shocked! For me I think the greatest blessing was seeing the care that my brother took into organizing this for his wife. He is an awesome husband, and I am proud of him.

Well, as you can tell it's been a busy, but great weekend. Now to prepare for the week ahead.

Friday, August 21, 2009

How would you choose ??

Let's say there is a cause that you believe in, but many people are very against it. So much against it, in fact, that you are concerned that to support the cause might cause trouble, if not violence, against your family, either now or in the future.

What would you do?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Not sure what started this thought in my head, but it lingers.

In the past, I would have said "safety be damned, I will not compromise supporting what I see as a good cause". Now that I have a daughter, I think "why would I put her at risk".
Really has nothing to do with me. Kill me. I'm saved by the blood of Christ. I'll see ya in Heaven. Whatever. But my baby? I'd do anything to protect her.

I struggle with which is the best choice: supporting a cause you believe in, and showing your children what it means to be committed to something and how important it is to throw yourself behind worthy causes, or keeping your mouth shut and protecting those same babies.

I just don't know.

You know in Nazi Germany, historians believe that the reason Hitler was able to rise to power and follow thru with his gruesome plan was because the German public was complacent. But now that I have a family, I wonder if complacency is the right word. Maybe they didn't do anything to stop it not so much out of complacency, but out of fear for their own safety, and the safety of their family.
And as much as we would all like to think that in the same situation we would rise up against such atrocities, if you knew that to do so would end up in your death, and possibly the death of your family, would you really? That if you were caught protesting the leader of your country you & your family would almost certainly be killed? Would you still do it?

I've studied WWII Germany in the past, for various educational projects. And I was always baffled at how such a large number of people, as the German public, could let such a thing happen. History has largely overlooked this occurrence. How could otherwise decent, loving human beings let such atrocities occur, how could they seem to not care? It just never made sense to me.

We probably will never know for sure. There are no records as to how many people actually supported Hitler, versus how many pretended to out of fear. But I think it's something worth thinking about.

After all, those who forget history, are doomed to repeat it.

I hadn't intended to go off on that Holocaust tangent, but the idea fits, that's just an extreme example.

Anyway, I think it's worth examining ourselves and our lives and thinking about what we would do. If for nothing else than to help us understand others, and to help us understand ourselves.

Take care, and God bless.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Newport Aquarium








FireMan & I took FireGirl to the aquarium for the first time last night. She loved it. She would grunt and reach toward the fish like she was trying to grab them. Definitely had more luck with the bigger animals. And luckily there were plenty of them, and they were active.

I think her favorite part was on the way out, you can look down into the HUGE tank that has the sharks, rays, turtles, etc. The animals were being very active, and we had a good view. She was just watching them all go by.
I'm thinking that was easier for her to understand - looking down into the water. When we're looking into the water from the side, or all around like in the tunnel, I'm not sure she knows what to think about that. She seemed a little unsure.

My favorite part was the otters. They are so cute! Playing and fighting and rolling all over each other and all thru the water. Adorable!

FireMan got the nectar to feed the birds. That was pretty neat, but I think they'd already had their fill for the day. Weren't too interested. I was hoping to get one or two closer so FireGirl could be more involved, but they wouldn't budge.

All in all, it was a great night.
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