Saturday, December 31, 2011
I started the year learning how important it is to live outside of oneself... I am not the center of the universe... and a little Toyota Prius taught that to me one day as I was completely annoyed with the population around me... I learned the Jesus Creed: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind... and love your neighbor as yourself." That was a hard thing to learn in this society. I am not perfect by any means, but I am a far cry from where I was then... for sure.
I learned how exciting and riveting the Bible can be through a study of Romans I was doing with a wonderful group of ladies I had been studying with for almost 4 years. As the studies were getting ready to pick up once again in the beginning of the school year, I made a difficult decision to move on to BSF, a very intense study of Acts and the Epistles, which coincidentally enough was the same message that was in the Leadership Summit and also in our Sunday services... all echoing the Jesus Creed... I definitely was feeling that the Lord was preparing me for some sort of ministry with a particular group of people that live in my city... I have developed relationships with a new group of women in my BSF small group, learning that God really puts you where you really need to be.
I learned this spring that my daughter has distinctive tastes, to say the least... We started Occupational Therapy trying to expand her food and taste horizons. It was slightly effective. We got Kassie to eat noodles, and eggs and pudding... and to start brushing her teeth with toothpaste, training toothpaste, but toothpaste none the less... it is the small victories.
The girls both started school in the 1st and 3rd grade, full time school... I was a little uneasy at first about my baby growing up, but I guess that is life... just have to cherish all moments little and big with them. Time is fleeting.
Last January, I started another journey, that of Weight Watchers... I lost 30 pounds so far....
Chip's travel has settled a bit more this year than that of last year, although he was gone for a while, just not as much time consecutively. BUT, we did have our first overnight date together... EVER! So much fun! So nice to reconnect with my husband:-)
And of course our big change... WE BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOUSE. It is really crazy knowing that no one can tell us we need to move... it is ours. In fact, a sad but crazy moment was when our beloved cat Peaches passed away at home, and I asked Chip what do we do with her remains? He just simply said I will go get the shovel... how simple an answer, but it is something we can do now... we now have her in her own special spot to one day be in the shade of a peach tree.
In the shadows of buying a house, this December, we needed to get a new transmission in our van. This was a crazy emotional roller coaster. We just didn't have that much left in our emergency savings account. Chip was on travel during this time. I thought I was putting all this in God's hands, but you know... I wasn't completely giving it over to Him... I was still planning... I emptied all savings and had a plan to put the remainder of the balance on a credit card... this card was evil, I tell you... after an incredibly humiliating moment, I took a leap of faith and just paid the remainder out of our checking account, thinking my family just would not be able to eat for the next few weeks. You know, I think it was God... He wanted me to completely put my faith in Him. After a couple of days in a complete daze, I have never been put in this position before, I was able to sit down and figure out our finances and pull together more cash that I had around the house... I found that we were going to be ok... tight but ok... then the miracles happened... We received a blank envelope with only our address typed on it... when I opened this envelope, there was 1 sheet of paper with Merry Christmas typed on it and out fell 2 $100 bills... I was in tears, and Chip was in disbelief... speechless was what we were... what a lesson for our kids as well... I realized, for myself (I have heard and believed but didn't live like it) that our money is not ours... it is Gods... and God is incredibly good...
As for this year, I am not making resolutions, but want to take what I have learned and build on them... I am committing to live my life learning more about our incredible God, learning to fully lean on God for everything, be prayerful in all things... I am committing to get even more healthy and loose more weight, eat healthy and be active. (I am training for a 10k run through the Hollywood Walk of Fame) I am committing to get down to the nitty-gritty and get our family our of debt... we are making cuts, and I am looking at working part-time on a temporary basis until we are debt free... the only way to live... I am committing to cherishing more of husband and my baby girls who will not be babies for much longer...
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Tuesday, September 11, 2001 started like any other morning… The alarm went off at 5:50am and I hit the snooze alarm for that extra 10 minutes of sleep. The alarm went off again so I stumbled out of the bed to start my morning routine, and turned on the television. I had a particularly unusual day ahead of me, as I had an interview scheduled with a couple of ladies that were deaf and were particularly pushy with their disability. I knew that we had to do the whole registration process for Spherion in 2 hours or less, since that was all we were authorized to pay to the Sign Language Interpreter’s services.
The time was 6am, I normally watched the news in the morning, but didn’t even think much that the Today show was on a bit early, that is until I paid attention to the story they were reporting. There were pictures of one of the World Trade Center towers in flames, which grabbed my curiosity. I sat on the bed to see what was going on, and frankly the news media was a bit unsure and only had reports that possibly a plane had slammed into the side of it. Knowing that I had a limited time to get ready for work, I took probably the quickest shower ever. I am such a news junkie and needed to get back to see really what was going on to that I could be completely informed when I got to work.
I quickly returned to our bedroom where I would get dressed in front of the TV. I had picked out a very professional purple suit with a matching scarf. What I saw next would forever burn a memory in my head. As the cameras were focused on the burning building, a second full sized commercial airplane slammed into the other building. That is right; it played out on national television. NBC television scrambled to find any and all information they could about the events, but one thing was clear, this was an act of terrorism.
NBC cut away to their Pentagon correspondent to get the reaction of those there. Jim Maclecheviski (not sure about his spelling of his name) suddenly heard and felt an explosion that rocked the whole building. No one was for sure what had just happened, but the rumors once again flowed, suggesting this too was a plane crashing into a building. At this point there were rumors flying everywhere, including that there were over 20 airplanes that were missing and unaccounted for. I could not help but feel extremely scared, could we (San Diego) be the next target?
My time was running short and I was already going to be late. I ran to my car and turned on AM radio AM 600 KOGO for the news. My car only got AM radio at that time, but it wouldn’t matter that much anyway, all radio stations were tuned into KOGO. Not 5 minutes into my commute (about 40 minutes), I heard that another plane crashed in a field just outside Pennsylvania. Wow, Baris (my co-worker) was from Pennsylvania, we really are going to have something to talk about.
Then, as I was battling the bumper-to-bumper traffic going over the hill on the 52, the first tower fell. I felt the goose bumps rise back on my arms, got butterflies in my stomach, and felt the tears roll down my cheeks. My thoughts were with all the innocent victims that had no chance to get out of the building. I had been on top of the World Trade Center when I was in transition between the 6th and 7th grade. They were very tall and had a huge number of visitors and tourists.
The parking lot at work, which was an rather large business complex, was empty, but yet my office (a staffing agency) all reported to work. The president of our company told us we were to report to work, or face consequences… after all, there may be that slight chance a client may have some staffing needs. I was totally disappointed with this announcement as all I wanted was to be with my husband who was sent home from work as he was considered “non-essential” personnel on the Navy Base.
As we entered the door, all 5 of us stood in the lobby dumbfounded and trying to understand what was happening and what to expect next. Our 2 ladies did show up, and we did the interviewing process… mostly with our minds in other places. However, they were they only business related contact we had all day. The phones never rang once (except for the occasional personal call), and the lobby stayed vacant, yet we were not allowed to leave. We tuned our radios in to find out the latest, but that just didn’t seem to be enough, and at that point found the 2nd building had fallen. Our office had a very outdated television for training videos, and so we tried watching television on it… it worked, if we could see past snowy transmission. We wept as we saw the devastation.
This was truly the longest work day ever! We tried to order food in, but Dominos, Pizza Hut and the usual delivery places were closed… we had to actually go and pick up some food. We huddled around more, in complete disbelief.
Since this was a Tuesday, and I was working with the Middle School girls at Journey Community Church at that time, my husband and I made great effort to make it to church that night. Somehow, it was just the most appropriate place to be. Everyone there was scrambling for information, and seeking comfort as much as the next guy, but there was a greater feeling that God was there at what would become known as Ground Zero. We all prayed and prayed. I can’t say healing and immediate comfort happened, but I can say we felt God’s presence.
For several months after 9/11/01, I remember the feeling of fear as I drove past Marine Corp Air Station, Miramar, just knowing that for sure could be the next target… that somehow there was some chemical/biological warfare… so I held my breath as I passed by. I know this was crazy, but it made me somehow feel a tiny bit more secure.
Our lives have forever changed. America continues to be vigilant about monitoring our safety and security, and for a brief moment, it seemed as if a great revival and unity was taking place… all part of God’s handiwork.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
After all the school supplies were separated, and hugs and kisses given, it was time to leave them be in the loving care of their teachers. So I went to Starbucks with some other moms to catch up on their summer antics and to compare their 1st impressions they gave their teachers... one mom introduced herself and was the eager volunteer... another said to the teacher "oh and by the way there is a restraining order..." myself, well first thing out of my mouth was to ask about taking Kassie out of school every Monday at 2pm for the next 10 weeks for Occupational Therapy for her extreme picky eating... and yes, I do understand that EVERYTHING that is done in the classroom is important and done for a reason... great first impression...
The kids going back to school also marked a recommitment to myself... I got myself to the gym and then to Weight Watchers... where I was super glad that I only gained 3.8 lbs over the last 4 weeks which included my 2 week vacation to the East Coast where I dined on Whoopie Pies and Lobster and Clam rolls, Lobster mac-n-cheese and the like... yumm...
Tonight was also the first night of the 2011-12 AWANA year. As Director of Cubbies, I had a lot of loose ends to tie up and a classroom that needed to get organized. I spent 2 hours taking care of business at the church. Nervious about volunteers, God provided the leaders that we needed. I now have to sit down to see where we stand in our ratios... and start working on grouping and name tags...
I am home now, and the kids are asleep from their busy day, I am reflecting on the fact that tonight I am just plain tired and it feels super good to put my feet up and relax... but really I managed to get through the day with out flipping out and stressing too badly... God is good!!!!
Monday, May 2, 2011
Last week, Kassie (6) had a wicked fever, which had gotten up to 104.8. Kassie has always been very difficult to give medicine to, so Chip and I brainstormed ways to get either Motrin or Tylenol in her to gain control over this fever. Needless to say, we tried the tried and true liquid after a very faulty bout with the chewable, and I wore about half of it... this struggle is nothing new with Kassie. I did take her into the doctor the next day to find out that she had Strep and needed antibiotics. OH THE HORROR! She chose to take, and even pinkie swore to the Doctor that she would take the chewable version three times a day. HA! yeah right! Each time I give her her medicine, it takes the better part of an hour plus... I get super frustrated and a very ugly side of me comes out of the woodwork, one that I would disown in a heartbeat. Kassie's aversion goes far beyond just medicine. She is very particular about her food and can tell the slightest difference between brands and will not eat but a few particular foods. To many this may just be a picky eater, but after this horrible experience with her antibiotics, I could not help but think there is more to her pickiness than we thought... I started to do some research on sensory overload and ended up with what pretty much described Kassie... Oral Hypersensitivity … http://costellokids.com/therapy/oral_hypersensitivity.html while a few things don’t quite fit, the majority does… if you think about it, she doesn’t like the cup to touch her lips, she needs straws, she eats her nuggets off of her fork with her teeth not her lips, not liking to brush her teeth w/ toothpaste, or for that matter liking my breath right after I brush mine…”too minty”, and will not allow water to get on her face/ears which makes washing hair difficult… I had a sense of relief that there was a name for her actions and a reason... and that we could get some assistance through behavioral therapy to normalize her eating habits. Then the rush of emotions changed... There was something wrong with my precious little girl... and because of that, how could I possibly have gotten so angry at her for doing something she couldn't help but do... then I would switch back to relief and then back to grief... AHHH.... In the mean time, I will just focus on getting our doctor appointment to discuss these issues with her doctor and try to get therapy started as soon as possible.
Of course the most major breaking news for the last day or so has been that US Navy Special Forces has killed and taken custody of Osama Bin Ladin. For me this is a completely surreal event. For almost 10 years we have been trying to catch this guy and all of a sudden we have him.... and he is dead. While I contemplated whether or not this was real or could this be an elaborate plot for something else... like the script of Borne Supremacy, complete with plastic surgery... I was really struggling with the whole death aspect, and do WE have the right to take a life, even if he was an evil man? Given that our last study in my Small Group Bible Study was Romans 12:21 "21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good". I sat down to do my Bible Study today which was Romans 13:1-7 which speaks on the role of civil government... In particular verses 1 and 2..."Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished." God's timing is perfect. The leaders of our country, whether we like it or not... were ordained by God, thus we need to submit to their decisions, which are God's ultimate decisions... I soon realized that what I was most uncomfortable with was the flippant reaction a lot of Americans were having... the "let's party" attitude was a bit over the top. First of all, we Americans all felt such a huge loss Sept. 11, 2001 and many more since then... I get that. But if the shoe were on the other foot, and Osama's people killed an American and celebrated the way we did, we would be outraged to take action. What complete disrespect for others... But what really got to me was the fact that the people who were out, seemingly were out to either be on TV, or to have a reason to party. I have a real hard time with people who use the "we" when speaking of a major feat... People tend really do this during various sporting events... I mean, did you really play on the football field? And except for a few... did you really go out and take down the most wanted man in the world? NO, I didn't think so, so lets just drop the "we" speak, and be a little more respectful and put into effect Romans 12:21.
OH MY GOODNESS! We are about to become homeowners for the very first time. For the 3rd time, we were asked to leave our home by our landlords. This time as a result of a divorce and one of them wanting to move back into this house. At first we were dumbfounded, but knew that God had been working on us for a while. About 6 months ago we contemplated moving into an apartment to save some more money to buy a house, but never acted. God knew that unless there were extreme circumstances, we would stay status-quo... so he shook things up a bit... After looking at various rental properties, we decided that for about what we are currently paying for rent, we could get into a home of our own... and this includes the taxes and insurance... we jumped, got qualified and started looking. near the end of the first day we found a very strong contender... then next day we looked at one more house and then took the girls back to look at the house we liked from the first day... that was it... we put in an offer and TA-DAH! here we are, about to close escrow on our first home... and the thing I am most looking forward to doing is painting my girls' room colors of their own! God is good!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Today, we have received a little bit of relief. Osama Bin Laden has been killed and been taken into custody by US Military. It is a bit strange to see so many people celebrating the death of an individual this way. People are gathering in public places chanting "USA!" This is a great day for our nation!!!! Today, a bad man is no more... a small sense of security has been re-established. Patriotism is raging hot...
For me, the wife of a retired US Navy Chief Petty Officer and step-mom of a US Marine, I could not be prouder of the brave men and women who continually put their lives on the line for this moment! THANK-YOU!
Romans 6:23 (New Living Translation)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Being the cool mommy, I told the girls to put on shoes and get their coats on, we were going somewhere... Katie was sporting her peace pjs with her black over the calf boots and her winter coat... she rocked the look... Kassie was sporting her pink night gown, and tennis shoes and her winter coat. I didn't tell them where we were going so the girls turned into little detectives. Katie grabbed her notebook and red pen and both started asking me questions...a million questions... all the way to Yogurt Mill... Such a good memory moment.
As normal, there is always a person begging for extra change as you exit. I told him I didn't have any change but... I reached into my purse and pulled out a gift card to McDonald's. As we walked away, Katie looked at me and said, "mom, good job loving your neighbor!" This made me smile more than the act of giving the gift card away... and then a dialogue was then opened for us to talk about how God had put it on my heart to buy gifts cards and the reasoning behind them...
See at church we have been doing an in depth study of the Jesus Creed.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and all your strength, the second is this
Love your neighbor as yourself, there is no commandment
greater than these.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
We have this sort of silly, yet fun assignment in 2nd grade where we have to take Flat Stanley around with us and write down his adventure... I had grand ideas, but always kept forgetting to take him with us... so today, we were venturing to the park with friends so what a fun it would be to introduce Flat Stanley to. So we packed up the car with our bikes and headed out.
Our first stop was to the bank... he was so excited to leave the house... of course I asked the teller before taking his picture with Katie. I didn't really want for anyone to think we were up to anything bad:-)
Our next stop was to the ever famous McDonald's. I had promised the girls that since we had been so good the last week about cooking and eating at home they could have a treat for lunch. Flat Stanley was thrilled to see this famous place. Kassie was quick to show him the toys that go into the Happy Meals, and Katie explained what he could order, but decided one of our chicken nuggets would equal about 20 in his size so he would pass.
We took our lunch to the park where we had a picnic lunch. Flat Stanley loved the nibble of nuggets and fries, and enjoyed laying in the warm sun.
Wait, he found friends at the park... It was a Flat Stanley play date! So much fun they had playing in the sand, sliding on slides and chasing each other around!
The best part for Flat Stanley was being able to ride in the front pouch of Katie's bike. Katie was extremely scared and nervous and didn't want her mommy to let go of the handle bars. After several melt downs, mommy had to just let Katie and Flat Stanley play on the playground.
When it was almost time to leave, Katie's friend Audrey said, "hey, let's ride our bikes to the car"... and guess what? Katie did... all by herself, on 2 wheels alone!!! Flat Stanley was happy to be back in her front pouch sharing in this historic adventure... AND Katie had such a proud mommy too!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
While reading 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed, I am learning the Shema which is, "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Initially, this passage tells me that I am to love God with everything I have and do... ok fine that is easy.... and to love my neighbor... again this is tougher but with practice this is doable too.
The tough part sometimes is the "as yourself" part of the Shema. We are created in the image of God, and we are to love Him, then so we must love ourselves... We are called to love God, ourselves, others and love the world that God has created for us. Many of us simply skim over the love ourselves part in confusion with humility or humbleness. It is important for us to know the difference between recognizing that God has helped us accomplish so much, true humility/humbleness... that yes, God has given each of us talents for us to use, and yes there are certain things that we can be good at... and thinking/boasting about that we can do everything alone, self-promotion and give up the put downs and lies we have re-playing through our heads. As we learn this, we will truly learn how to live out and fully experience the Shema and become more Christ-like.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
About 4 years ago, I started on a weight loss journey with Weight Watchers and was fairly successful at it, but when I started getting complacent and plateaued, all I saw was $40/month going down the drain... since then, I have put back on that weight and then some. I could not hardly think of spending $40 on ME... I stopped getting my hair colored/highlighted at the salon, and find high fashion at Wal-Mart... we could use that money in so many different areas, especially with me being a stay-at-home mom. Beyond the Weight Watchers, I find my spiritual life being sacrificed for the activities of others. My life was/is completely out of balance. Like a wheel with a flat side, some adjustments need to be made for me to run effectively.
I was reminded in a sermon today by Pastor Ed Noble, that there will never be a good time to take that spiritual step... there will always be some sort of inconvenience... or excuse. We need to retire the "First Let Me...." The example that was used came from Luke 9: 57-59:
The Cost of Following Jesus
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.
This year, I have made the commitment to balance my life. I am making my health and spiritual life a priority. I am vowing to make sure I schedule some time to work on my Bible study throughout the week and not cram it into the day before... In addition, I am re committing my life to Weight Watchers, eating healthy and making it a priority to go to the gym on a regular basis. I plan to reward myself as I hit certain, predetermined milestones by new hairstyles, clothes or other pampering rewards... It has been a whole 3 weeks now and I am still motivated to make these changes... My tire is becoming more round as time goes by...
Sunday, January 9, 2011
This battle made me think, "Who would I choose to be MY earthly hero?" As I thought, it became extremely clear to me that my earthly hero would have to be my dear husband. He is a very thoughtful and loving man, with a passion for Christ, who works hard long hours for our family, and yet will still come home to play with the kids and help around the house. He has given me the gift and privilege of being able to stay at home to raise our family, even if it means he has to work hard. I do not take that privilege lightly, and strive to make his life easier, in whatever way I can. His travel schedule gets him down, he misses his family desperately, and just longs to be home with us, his family... Thank you so much!
Chip, you are my hero!
Saturday, January 8, 2011
This evening I had the privilege of spending time with some of the most dear ladies. My friends. I love how when we get together we can share moments of laughter, and serious traumas in our lives.... and everything in between. We share alternate uses for diapers and grief and fairy advice. This group of women are unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life and I fully know they have my back. One chance meeting in a coffee shop about a year ago and a bond made for eternity, a mystery that continues to baffle me... You see, I tend to have self-worth issue... will I be good enough for my friends? Do they think of me as invisible when I am not around? Do they even think of me at all? These friends break all preconceived notions I have had about friend groups. From the moment I have met them at that chance meeting, I have felt complete love and acceptance and God's countenance completely shines through them, something I am truly grateful for.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Today, our daughter celebrated her 8th birthday, and officially became a "Tweener." This morning started with a round of "Happy Birthday" being sung by us to her as her wake up song, followed by a minimum day at school, and a birthday party with several of her girl friends. The girls painted their nails, danced to Just Dance Kids, played pin the crown on the princess, danced, decorated sleep masks, ate pizza and cupcakes and danced some more. In the midst of all this fun, we also discussed that while the theme of today's party may be about the outer beauty of a person, there were far more things that made a person beautiful inside. The girls all came up with a quite exhausting list. I am pleased to say, my daughter has an incredibly beautiful friendship group. We concluded the evening by spending quality time eating Coldstone Creamery... (ok, so I am on Weight Watchers right now and had to settle with what I thought was the best of the evils... watermelon sorbet w/o a mix-in, but it way yummy anyway).
Our daughter hit another milestone tonight... her big present from mommy and daddy was to get her ears pierced. She was beside herself in excitement and asked several times just WHEN she could go to Claire's. She was so brave and proud, all the while mommy was choking back the tears. Just when did she grow up? and How? When I told her that mommy was tearing up, she grabbed my hand and just said simply... "you will be just fine." But will I? Time flies and I am really wanting to be a sponge and soak up every moment of it... Every beautiful moment!
1 Peter 3:2-4
Thursday, January 6, 2011
On my return trip to the school, for my 1/2 day Kindergartner, I was a cool cucumber... UNTIL I got a block from the school and some yahoo pulls out like he is going to turn left and decides to drive the wrong way right in front of my... I stopped quickly only to pray that the people stopped behind me too.... Did I mention that there are a lot of people who are learning to drive today???? Well, I get to the school to find that not much has changed in the parking lot from this morning, still the madness and craziness... I realized that today is the Feast of the Epiphany, which is a huge thing for the Catholic Church and EVERYONE brings their children to be Christened and blessed... thus the craziness in the parking lot... STILL does this really need to happen during school hours? Just wondering.... As I navagated my way from the school parking lot... did I mention that a lot of people are learning to drive today??? I get to a stop light where a police escort stops traffic for a funeral procession, it must have been at least 1/2 mile long. I am somewhat sympathetic for this interruption in my day, but it does not stop me from reeling about my past adventures in the day.... I come to the conclusion that I am so completely done living in Little Baghdad....
Just as I am starting to steam, I get to an intersection where I see a homeless man whom I have seen often, and then a little blue Prius pulls into the parking lot next to where he is, I assume he is going into the liquor store. The homeless man comes up to the Prius, I think what an annoyance... Again, I am done with this pathetic area.... Then something unexpected happens...
The man in the Prius gets out of his car and opens his trunk to give the homeless man a sack lunch, 3 oranges and several water bottles... I couldn't believe my reaction, I started sobbing... My got moment I suppose. How selfish have I become to really ignore people and assume MY time and convenience is more important than theirs. I have been ignoring the creations that GOD has made them to be for the sake of me... ALL of my inconveniences today all relate to my selfishness... Lord help me to become more patient with ALL of Your creations, and help me to be the person You want me to be!
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them
...and now back to cupcake duty