Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Price Of A Mom

A new report assigns a salary to a stay-at-home mother, based on the jobs she does in a normal week.
By MSN Money staff
What's a mom worth?
According to one new report, $138,095 a year.
That's the figure in a report by, which calculates the wages that would have been paid a stay-at-home mom in 2007 if she were compensated for all the elements of her "job." That total is up 3% from 2006's salary of $134,121.
Moms who have jobs outside the house would earn another $85,939 for their mothering work, beyond what they bring home in existing salary.
Talk back: What's your "mom work" worth?
The job descriptions that used to determine a mom's salary includes 10 jobs that moms do on an average day: housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, CEO and psychologist.
Plenty of overtime In calculating a mom's wages, looked at the "overtime" that both working and stay-at-home moms put in each week.
"Mom works multiple jobs and rarely gets a break from the action, working an average of 52 hours of overtime," said Bill Coleman, senior vice president at, in a statement.
According to the survey, stay-at-home moms work a 92-hour week, with more than half the workweek spent in overtime.
Working moms, meanwhile, logged more than nine hours of "overtime," with an average 49-hour "mom" work week -- on top of their full-time paying jobs.
For the survey, more than 40,000 moms quantified their hours per job description; benchmarked the median salaries for each job to the national median salary for each position as reported by employers.
The final salary was calculated by weighting the salaries and hours worked in each role.

According to this info, someone owes me 1,726,187.50

I'll be gracious and wave the interest. Just give me the principal. Go ahead. Right now please.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Caught Crabs!

Friday 25 April
Day one of our praise team retreat in Crystal Beach Texas:

Our rental house is steps from the beach. You can smell and hear the ocean. It is so peaceful and calming and exciting all at the same time!

We arrived around 5pm and Alto immediately got to making dinner for us while we explored the house and the beach.

I sat down on the deck with the ocean breeze and the sounds and smells of the ocean surrounding me and got out my guitar for the first time in many weeks. I flipped through my book and praised and praised while waiting for dinner to finish. Alto prepared us an amazing dinner and Flautist and Tenor set a beautiful table complete with disposable tablecloth and bubbly non-alcoholic juices. During dinner we had 5 Minutes Of Fame. I positively adore the seven other women I serve with on the Praise Team, but it occurred to me that I really don’t know that much about them so I asked them to be thinking about sharing with the group about their days. It was such a touching and amazing time of sharing and hearing about these incredible women and their incredible stories. It really deepened my affection and respect for each of them. We toasted to being here and we toasted to the 2 girls who could not make it on the trip(Pianist and Violinist).

After dinner we cleared the table and some of the ladies cleaned up the dishes. Then it was off to the beach! The beach. At night. Water about 70 degrees. Ahhh. It was still pretty windy so we decided not to build a fire for S’mores – maybe tomorrow. We walked up and down and discovered crabs! No, not the little handfuls of sand crabs that you find in the beaches in California, and no not the kind that they catch from the Bering Sea on Deadliest Catch. I guess they are somewhere in the middle. As the ladies slowly petered out and made their way back to the house, it was just Guitarist and I left – she with her flashlight and me with my camera. We were trying to capture pictures of the crabs which didn't work so then we decided we just needed to capture the crabs themselves. Picture two grown women in the dark on the beach squealing and jumping and running around. Alto came back from the house and asked if I had the key….oops! The poor girls had been sitting outside the whole time waiting for someone to come and let them in. After about 15 minutes of trying to brave up and actually grab a crab Guitarist says, “We should get the net from the house!” DUH! I said, “You’re so dumb! Why didn’t you think of that 10 hours ago??” *giggling childishly* So we came back, got the key, grabbed the fishing net and a bucket from the outdoor bathroom/storage room and went back with a purpose and a mission; to catch crabs! And we DID! We caught 5! That was such a fun and adventurous time, and also exhausting and possibly too much because now my throat hurts and I am exhausted. I caught crabs! Ha!

Ferry Anyone?

Saturday 26 April

Day two:

I am awakened by conversation and think, "How can this be? I feel like I just went to sleep an hour ago." I looked over at the clock - 6 a.m. - I HAD just gone to sleep an hour ago! UGH. Not because we were up all night goofing off and chatting like teenagers, no. I was with a group of early to bed, early to rise'rs. I tried to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. I really really did. I just did not sleep. And did not sleep. And did not sleep. The last time I looked at the clock it was 5 a.m.
Onward and upward! We have a day ahead of us! I plugged in my earbuds, cranked up the Ipod for God and had my morning worship. About 3 songs into it, I came under attack! I opened my eyes and there on my bed is Alto!! She is singing harmony to Oh Lord, To You. Does it GET any better than this? She stayed with me for a minute then went on her merry way. I lifted my voice a bit longer then said thank You to God. NOW I can begin my day. Someone borrowed my camera and had gotten a picture of the sunrise. I will admit here and now that there may have been one or two times in my life when I was up and coherent enough to view the sunrise live and in person; this was not one of them, so it's good that I have this visual to help me out.

We had originally planned to make a trip to IKEA in Houston, have lunch there, and then have a nice dinner out together before coming home. When we discussed the fact that it was a 2 hour ride to get to IKEA from where we were and that Galveston was just a 20 minute drive and a ferry ride away - we voted for that instead! My first ferry ride! I did not get out of the car (it was cold and raining) and I did not take pictures (we were on the inside row and could only take pictures of other cars). Poor Tenor had anxiety over being on the boat and so she was very quiet and rather miserable until we got onto solid land again. Where we are stationed is not what you would call a mecca, so I am sure you will not be surprised that our first stop after crossing the channel was STARBUCKS. I ordered a Venti Blended Vanilla Chai with Whipped Cream. $4.65.
Then we decided that since the rain had stopped and the sun was attempting to come out, we would leave the car parked and venture around downtown Galveston, with the plan of visiting Target before we headed out for dinner. Like I said - we don't live in a Mecca. I really enjoyed the architecture downtown, and mostly took pictures of that. There were a couple of interesting shops; even one where you can get Mo Bettah Threadz.
My favorite shop though was a whimsical gift shop called the Funky Monkey
where I found the most perfect souvenir. It made me cry. And it made me buy it. I haven't taken a picture of it yet - I probably will for another "Small, Deliberate Acts Of Nurturing" post, but I WILL tell you what it says........

"All my love....

...All my life"

Dreamy. *thinks of brave husband overseas* *tears up* *again.*

We had lunch at Fuddruckers - which I had never been to before and was made fun of because I needed instructions from the cashier. Whatever. All in good fun and another good meal with great friends. Of course I suggested we use the bathroom before we head on - Tenor was already in there. When I walked into the bathroom I hear in the lovely Tenor voice, coming from a stall, "How great is our God, sing with me, how Great is our God." And as I was searching for a stall, Guitarist was also. She happened to test the door to the stall Tenor was in which had no lock. Imagine the exchange there! Then Tenor started singing, "I've got sunshine..." followed by, "Blue saw me sitting alone...." Of course I had to join in. You need a good Soprano sometimes.

Off to more shopping....

Another teary moment....

"Hold on child, I've got you. Love, God"

Geesh. Ovaries working OVERTIME today!! The girls sampled the chocolate shop. Alto bought a chocolate/caramel covered apple and shared it (I didn't have any. I am offended that they ruined perfectly good chocolate by touching it with fruit.) Also, Flautist (who is being such a trooper after having just been released from the hospital the day before after being radiated!) introduced Tenor to saltwater taffy. They were so cute going through the streets of Galveston, rummaging through their brown paper bags for their next try of taffy. All right. We finished up in downtown Galveston - here is some of the architecture....

Next stop: Target! As we were pulling into the parking lot, a fighter jet flew overhead. real. low. It was cool and gave us conversation into the building that is Target. We huddled together - synchronized our cell phones and agreed to meet back at that spot at 5 p.m. - 3 of us were there to purchase a new swimsuit. Although I despise this task, mostly because the body I am trying to suit up is not the body it was when I enjoyed suiting up. But I needed a suit that fits the now body so that modesty can be a consideration in front of my family and the general public. And, I wanted to go in the ocean. I love that swimming costumes are coming back into style. The mo coverage the bettah. So I pick the tanks with the skirts! Alto convinced me to try replacing the skirt with the regular bottoms, and although I am not a fan of myself in a suit, I do have to admit that the regular bottoms were less offensive than the skirt. Thanks be to Alto! After I finally found a suitable suit *wink* (Which happened to be the one Soprano discarded in lieu of a different one)I made quick work of the rest of the store and even had time to use the restroom before meeting back at the rendezvous spot where we waited for Alto. Hey - 5 out of 6 aint bad. We discussed what to do about dinner and headed out to load up into the car. We chose a Mexican restaurant on the coast. We had Superwaitress who took all six of our orders randomly around the table without writing a single thing down. Do you know, she got every single order correct? Amazing. We sang her praises up and down, to the left and right. I enjoyed a frozen spirit with chocolate and whipped cream with my dinner. However, I did NOT enjoy the bill. Pft. Just as well. It was yummy. After dinner it was time to head home. We got in line for the ferry. There are signs there that tell you not to verbally abuse the screeners and that if you choose to do so it could result in you being denied boarding. We discussed how sad it was that they had to have a sign to tell people not be abusive. What could possibly be so bad a problem that it would regularly cause people to be abusive. As we talked about this, we sat. And sat. And sat. I was so excited when we left the restaurant because it was still nice and bright outside. I figured I would be able to take pictures on the ferry back, and catch the sunset on the beach. No. I watched the sun go right on by, except out of range for any good picture taking, and finally all the way down while we sat waiting for the ferry. Alto had to go the bathroom. With the cost of gas, it isn't prudent to run the engine while waiting for the ferry, so we also were getting hot. And bored. It was at this point that it became apparent why they might need a sign reminding us not to get abusive. Finally we got loaded onto the ferry and it was just such a lovely time(aside from Tenor being nervous and sick to her stomache) I got out of the car and went up to the observation deck. The weather was warm and it was dark. Just good stuff. When we got home, we suited up and went down to the beach. Man, God makes some cool stuff! The ocean being one of them. Soprano and Guitarist and I stayed outside for quite a while. Soprano was looking for good shells to take home. Guitarist and I were wading in the water and enjoying each other's company. When we came in, we watched a silly silly movie with the other girls and then it was time for the earlies to turn in. Guitarist stayed up with me a little longer and then we went off to bed. Another great day.

Worship The Creator And Get On Home

27 April
Day three:
I am awakened by the sound of conversation and activity. The first car of girls is already up and packing to head home. After saying our goodbyes to Tenor, Alto and Soprano and seeing them off, I got dressed, grabbed my guitar, songbook, camera and headed for the beach. At that time of day, there are few people on the beach. Totally worth being up at the crack of dawn. Just me, my guitar and God.

At some point, I caught sight of a vehicle out of the corner of my eye. right. behind. me. I didn't even hear it drive up, or stop, or idle. So, I turn around to see what it is. It's the Sheriff. I look at him like, oh darn. He's going to tell me I'm disturbing someone and I have to stop. He said, "I was just listening. Pretty good. Carry on." *sigh* geesh. Flautist came along with a plastic chair and joined me in worshiping our Lord (she sings too!). We stayed there until the rain started coming down.

When we got back to the house, Flautist baked us some berry bread and I went out and picked a bin of blackberries from the field next to our house. After cleaning up and packing up, we bagged up the leftovers from the meal that Alto made us and took them over to our Landlords along with the keys to our house. Imagine my very jubilant excitement at being in the land of Jack In The Box!! Neither Flautist or Guitarist have ever eaten there before so I made them a deal: I'll buy if you take me there! They agreed! Yahoo. After getting our lunches from Jack, we stopped for gas and Flautist pointed out this fun....

Katfish or Catfish? We'll never know. We had a lovely drive the rest of the way home, chatting some, mostly just singing and listening to music. It was a great trip. I want to do it again. With 2 more girls.

This Week's Worship

Monday, April 28, 2008

Get Well Soon And Pass The New Appliances

My husband's parents came in for the weekend to stay with the kids and take care of some things around the house while I went away to the beach with the Praise Team. When I got home yesterday afternoon I had waiting for me the biggest basket of sick-girl lovin'!! Triple G had me delivered a basket full of her love and care!

This morning after my in-laws packed up their car and loaded up the kids to drop them off at school on their way out of town ~ YES THEY DID! ~ I found the small appliance section from Walmart had been transplanted to my house.

I am blessed!
Still sick, but functioning at full capacity now. Praise God! I will post about my adventures this weekend and the Casting Crowns concert and Me And My Girl Problems, but I'm trying to get caught up on life from being sick. Patience. Patience.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Letters From War

(your dell ink has shipped)

Don't be bad and order things online!!!

On a side note, I watched Evan Almighty today, and it made me realize something about you. The wife on the movie was not initially supportive of the husband as he began to build the ark. I think if I were to start building an ark, you would bring me water for when I got thirsty.

I love you

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Word Of The Day Wednesday

EXTIRPATE (EK-stuhr-payt) verb tr.
1. To destroy completely.
2. To pull up by the roots.
[From Latin extirpare (to root out), from stirps (stem, root).]

Point Of Grace

My good friend (and favorite Tenor) Mel took a walk down Point Of Grace memory lane but she forgot to put up MY two favorites by them! So here they are....
The first one is the first Point Of Grace song I ever heard and the second one I actually had the privilege of singing with Mel and some other really missed and cherished friends a couple of years ago. Tra la la la. *update* There was no video for the second one on YouTube. I guess I will have to make one myself and post it later. FOILED.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What A Difference Thirteen Days Makes

I am still sick but today I was able to run the vacuum before knocking out cold for three solid hours. I also cleaned my room AND did the dishes. Apparently my child labor needed a rest from their sweatshop duties and God allowed me to do a bit of it. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for me - don't stop!! I am going to leave with you another great song that I love (and wish I could play) - and also a Hamper Scamper assignment for those of you who are well enough to play...

Hamper Scamper: Pick a window with mini-blinds and wipe them, vacuum them, dust them - or throw them away! GO!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pushing The Envelope Of Hospital Fashion

I have been sick for 12 days. It started 2 Wednesdays ago (rehearsals day); the day after I finished taking my first course of antibiotics for the Staph infection. I would like to just interject here that once I again, I was right and no one believed me. "What on earth is she talking about?" you might be asking. Remember back when....when I said I had the plague all across my neck....turns out, it is a Staph infection. So there you have it: Plague=Staph infection, same thing. FACE! Anyway, this sickness, I really just thought was a cold. I immediately took home-care measures in hand and went straight to the bed on Thursday. People! I have been in the bed ever since with very few exceptions. Each time I have left the bed - even to just walk to the car, drive to the elementary school, let the twins get in, drive to the high school, move to the passenger seat so the 15 year old daughter could drive us home and walk back to the bed - it has left me feeling completely weak, drained and out of breath. Literally, my children and my friends have been taking care of anything that gets done around here AND been taking care of me too. Last Monday I started my second course of antibiotics for the staph infection. There has not been a lick of improvement in my cold symptoms and people were starting to yell at me about going to the doctor. My answer : What are they going to do? I am already taking antibiotics and all manner of cold medicines. Over the weekend my fingers started tingling and that low-grade fever would pop up here and there. So, this morning after Lowe's dropped off our new floor tile, and I spent 35 minutes on hold with the appointment line so that I could be told there was no appointment available for me, I loaded up in the car and went to the emergency room. They decided a chest x-ray was in order so off I shuffled down to the x-ray department in my hospital gown and got signed in and waited. When the technician called me back, imagine her surprise when she discovered underneath my hospital gown my overalls and under wire bra! What are you going to do? These girls need support whenever possible, unleashed they can be a hazard. Plus -it's cold in that place! And nobody told me I COULDN'T wear them. Anyway - 2 blood draws, 2 chest x-rays and checks on my ears, nose, throat, lungs and heart, and 4 hours later.....It's a virus, it has to run its course, nothing more we can do for you - go to the pharmacy and pick up an inhaler. Continue to take whatever you've already been taking. If you're not better in 3 days follow up at the clinic.
Now, I've been a very good girl - doing all the things I am supposed to do, so every one can quit picking at me about taking medicine and going to the doctor and blah blah blah. I am going back to bed now.
But here's some fun: Hubby has weighed in on the telling of Me And My Girl Problems and hopefully pretty soon, I will be posting part quatre with Hubby and HisGirl chiming in!
God's blessings to you all in the mean-time!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Me And My Girl Problems Part Troix

Once again - TMI warning -

*Waves* Hi all! It’s Amber from His Girl’s Blog! S4J asked me to chime in on this story… you’ll see my additions in pink… this should be fun!!!
It has been bothering me the last several days why I am having such a hard time remembering the details of the time around my surgery, and I think I figured out at least part of it today....I WAS UNCONSCIOUS for a good deal of it. The time that I wasn't unconscious I was heavily medicated. Of COURSE I'm not going to remember it all. I didn't EXPERIENCE it all. Of course, those of us who were not drugged (That’d be Mr.S4J and myself) won’t soon forget. It was QUITE a time, that’s for sure.
Now back to the story...At the moment that the doctor's office said they did not have the approval yet and the Doctor really wants to wait so as not to cause you financial harm, I think there was an audible crack. I hung up the phone. Hung my head. And sobbed. Amber was immediately at my side. Saying words of comfort and strength; God's timing is perfect. We don't want to step outside of His will and go too soon. Don’t I sound like a saint here? That’s not how I remember it at all. I remember thinking… I don’t know what to say! I don’t know what to do! Father! Help me! And if anything was said after that, it was not me but Christ in me. I think at that moment, my husband was equally as glad as I was that she was there. I don't think the poor man knew what to do with me and I KNOW I didn't know what to do with me. She prayed over me and things were quickly back under control. If that was the only moment that she could have been there for - it would have been enough. THIS however, was just the beginning of the fun. My husband was a rock. He drove way far to get her from the airport and take her back, he worked so hard to take care of the children and take care of me and he was so gracious to also allow me to have fun times with my Chica. I haven't really heard this from his perspective, but I think she helped keep him afloat too. It’s true, Mr. S4J was a wonderful comfort to me, and he behaved very bravely even though he was scared to death. Amber thinks I am gross (her word)True.. I laugh at the vile (her word) I have a slightly twisted sense of humor, and generally, she would prefer life to be Just slightly, sweetie… and you know I love you for your macabre, dark, disturbing funny bone. However, she indulged me in all things grossly funny and even took some pictures for me. We decided that we were going to approach this with humor. Or, maybe it wasn't a conscious decision, maybe it was just what we did. We like themes. We work well with themes. They give direction to our creative energies. Our Theme for Hysterectomy 2005? Proverbs 17:22, "A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones." We decided that we would make name-tags for all the people that cared for me. We got little wooden hearts, painted them with a bandaid and the Proverbs reference, hot-glued a pin to the back and whenever someone new came in who was responsible for caring for me, they got a name-tag. Custom printed by none other than the queen of fonts - HisGirl. We shopped for things that would help my scrapbooking of the whole event and found a whole page of pregnancy stickers that could be interchanged with the alien pod condition I was in.

I guess this is where I am picking up the story. After all the fun and business of getting ready for the big surgery day, we had to face a certain reality. S4J was truly going to actually have to go through with the surgery. Though that was a sobering realization, Judi was brave and funny and inspiring as usual.

At some point, we got the go-ahead from the insurance for the surgery, and packed up the vehicle to head out to the hospital. Before the procedure, we had some serious tasks to undertake. In order to clean out her system, S4J had a prescription for something called Go-Lytley. which is the most ironic thing because, as the lady at the counter of the pharmacy so delicately pointed out… “Oh you’ll be going alright, but there won’t be nothinlyte about it!” The poor people in the pharmacy just didn’t know what to make of our hysterical laughter… but their dirty looks did nothing to calm us down. Neither did the pharmacist’s confidentiality vow to S4J- “we promise not to tell anyone you’ll be going lytley tonight!”

The next part of the story is graphic, personal, and gross. Just up S4J’s alley- Ball’s in your court, my friend! *bows* I’m out for now!

Ahhh Go-Lytely.... This is a lie. A complete and total lie. For this particular abdominal surgery, my doctor required me to clear my bowels of anything toxic that could poison me should something accidentally get nicked during surgery. This product comes in a convenient gallon jug. All you do is fill it with water. to the top. all the way. to the top of the gallon. Shake well and get to drinkin'. I had to begin drinking it at a certain time in the evening and had to drink it all within 2 hours. The goal is to have completely clear movements. HEY - I warned you this would be gross! Hubby prepared each 'cocktail' for me and patiently told me to drink up. Amber's job was to capture a picture as I came out of the bathroom for that moment when I yelled, "CLEAR!!"

People... I have to tell you that there are a few situations that stand out as the absolute worst parts of this whole ordeal, and the Go-Lytely is one of those. For me it became like drinking weak lemonade tainted with charcoal. A whole gallon of it. It made me feel really ill with nausea, shivers, and of course - diarrhea. Having my cheering section there helped get me through it and I was finally able to declare "CLEAR!!"

I have been ill since Wednesday, *with a gripping fever hot enough to make me feel sorry for myself - 99.9* and I am now worn out. I will post this installment, and pick up again the morning of the surgery.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Letters From War

Feb 25, 08

I hope everything is going good when you get this. If it isn't, I hope this letter at least brings you a smile.
I just got off the phone with you. I'm so thankful for the phones here. I can barely imagine how it was without them. I know I call you a lot. I just want you to know that I'm okay. I'm just sorry that I keep waking you up.
It's rainy here today. It was windy this morning, thankfully no dust storms today.
My work is going good. As much as I despise the slow and boring days, I know they are a good thing. The more peace the better.
I don't really have much to write about. Just know that I love you and I will come home to you. I will do all that I can to be the same man (or better) as when I left home.

Mar 2, 08

Dear Honey,
Not much new to write about tonight. It's Sunday, the day you're recording your album, and I am really excited about that.
I think the hot weather is starting up already, well warm anyways. For sure isn't cold.
The work days drag on and on.

Mar 12, 08

I am a negligent writer. Sorry it's taking me so long.
Today wasn't too bad. A soldier was badly wounded today and I felt so sad about it. This war was a lot easier to deal with from home. There, you only read the news or watch it on TV. Here you see it firsthand. I see the pictures hanging on the wall of heroes everyday. I pray that will never fill up.
I love you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

Me And My Girl Problems Part Deux

Where was I? Oh. Yes - *taps microphone* *clears throat*

Thank you all for coming tonight - I want you to know that some of the things you may hear and see (as I am feeling inclined to post pictures) this evening may be way more than you would ever want to know about me and so now would be the time to get up out of your seat and seek your refund at customer service.

All righty then? Where was I? Let me check my notes.....Ah yes, my gynecological oncologist shutting down any hopes of a lovely tummy or a natural hormone-free existence. Some people are so selfish. I would like to apologize for leaving you all hanging during the intermission. It didn't occur to me until people started protesting that I had done such a thing.

We will do the surgery sometime in June. It will take some amount of hours to do the surgery as it is very delicate, I have to be extremely careful, and this thing is MAD INVASIVE (okay...maybe he didn't say MAD), when we get it out we will send it to pathology to see if it is benign or malignant. You will need to be in the hospital for 5 days and will require 8 weeks off of work. Eh hem... can I sing? 8 weeks off of work. Once again, notice my priorities I ask who is going to take care of my family? No. Do I ask him if he is sure that I could die from this surgery? No. I ask him, can I sing? Yep. Special.

And then I say - so, 8 weeks off of work. Does that also mean that other activities have to wait 8 weeks as well? Yes. I will clear you for other activities at your checkup. Super! Can you take pictures of the thing? Yes. There is a camera in the surgical suite and I will take pictures of it. *why is he tilting his head that way? do people not ask this? why is my husband looking green?*

I'm sure I asked him a thousand more questions but I can't remember them at this moment. We tentatively scheduled the surgery for June 23rd, 2005. HisGirl and I discuss when would be the best time for her to come because we have to wait for Tricare approval before we can even go in for the pre-op stuff and it is possible that the approval may not come in in time for that date. Och. Where is my journal???

*I need to point out here that my Mom asked me if I wanted her to come, but she and my Dad were scheduled to come out at Thanksgiving ~ which was going to be after hubby left for Korea for a year ~ so I said, I would rather have them for Thanksgiving. *

Um, okay - we decide that the bulk of her time should be spent being here for the surgery and after. I remember asking the Chaplain who was in charge of the Praise Team that I served with at the time if he would please pray for us, most specifically for my husband because I was worried about his well-being should he lose me. And that he pray for God's timing and that I would be able to accept it however it went down. Little did I know how spot on the prayer request would be. Cousin Amber left her family behind and came to us. When she got on the plane, my approval had not yet come through. Here's the thing about me, when I know what the problem is, what has to be done to fix it, and when...I can totally deal. Jack up one of those features and I have been known to crack. The afternoon before I was scheduled to go up to Shreveport with my husband and my BFF (aka HisGirl, aka CousinAmber) to begin the overnight pre-op process, I called the doctor's office to confirm that they had received the approval and we were good to go. No. We have not received it.

*I need to point out here, that we are now in the 6th month of this process and countless people have gotten involved on my behalf to include very high ranking Air Force people in my husband's chain of command. They have confirmed that this doctor is the BEST doctor for this job and he is hard to get into and have done whatever was in their power to help expedite the process*
Och. I have to go make dinner now. Looks like there will be a part three.

[I have asked HisGirl to help me finish telling this story because she's so good at remembering stuff and because I am nowhere near as good at remembering timelines as Jenster. (or maybe she keeps a journal)]

Running From God

I have been given permission by my 15 year old daughter to share with you the devotion she wrote today. * God is the God of hope*
Running From God
So you have it all figured out. You're on top of the world, in charge of your own life.
"Who needs Jesus," you say. So, slowly your relationship with Jesus is coming to a close. But think how it is without Jesus; running from Him. In the book of Jonah, Jonah was running from Him. He had no desire to step foot in Ninevah. So, he ran.
Ever hear that saying, "You can run but you can't hide"? Yea - Jonah tried to hitch a ride to Tarshish and run from God. Well, needless to say, he ended up in a whale. Three days later he was spit onto shore of none other than Ninevah. Man, God has got a way of getting His point across. And did you know that even though Jonah ran, God still forgave him? How about that for some serious never ending love?
Jeremiah 31:3
The Lord appeared from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Eh hem. She just brought me another one...
© AC
*She informs me that this one does not have a title yet because she could not think of a good one in the moment*
A teen's life is...well...cruel, judgmental and full of cliques. Always striving to fit in; be, "of the crowd." You would do anything to be admired from afar and looked on with jealousy. But would you do just about anything? 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be deceived: bad company ruins good morals." In past times (and now to every once in a while) I admit to being overtaken by the green envy monster when I see people who are pretty, who have it all. But, you know what? Did God make you that person? No. He made you just that: you.
1 Corinthians 15:38-39 says, "But God gives it a body as He has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish."
So why strive to be this person who has it all? No. Strive to be the person God wants you to be. The light of God and knowing Him personally is a wonderful gift. He looks on the inside; what's your heart - not the outside which is constantly judged by others.
Tra la la la la. I haven't forgotten my girl problems, or the Casting Crowns concert - but have no fear. All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Me And My Girl Problems

This post will contain personal information that you may find is way more than you ever wanted to know about me. You may want to turn away now and wait to come back for another day.
I went to the Casting Crowns concert last night, and of course, I have a lot to say about it - but it seems this morning the thing at the forefront of my mind is my gynecologist.
I have my own gynecologist. Some of you women may not understand why this is special, however, if you are or have been ever - a military spouse - you know that any time you see the same doctor more than once it is a shock and a surprise. This can be especially hard for me as I loathe people touching me and the more 'personal' it gets, the worse it is. Magnify that with it being a different pair of hands every time, and you have the makings of a girl who would just about rather die of a horrible disease than go and let someone figure out what it is and find a cure for it. Toward the end of 2004, I noticed that I was getting....well....fatter. It had nothing to do with a possible pregnancy because I had my tubes tied the day I had the twins removed from my womb. (I will post about that experience sometime too) I kept saying (and no one believed me) I bet I am one of those women who has a giant tumor but you just think you're getting fat. In early 2005 I started noticing some symptoms that weren't necessarily painful - just wrong. I couldn't pee right, and other activities were being impeded. Thing is - it was nearly time for my annual trip with the Chicas and so there was no way I was going to be starting the whole going to the doctor thing until I had had my trip. You've GOT to have your priorities straight for heaven's sake. That was the year that we went to the Women Of Faith conference at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, Louisiana (which may be why this is all coming to mind now - cause I was just there last night for the Casting Crowns concert). After I returned from my trip, the doctor visits began. I started at my MTF (Military Treatment Facility) where I saw a doctor who did a pelvic exam and recommended a vaginal ultra sound. Oh joy. After this test, I was sent for another - mri's, ct scans, blood tests; At some point I got referred to a Gynecologist in town. I love her. Is it wrong to say that about your gynecologist? Anyway, that was in April or May of 2005. She did a pelvic exam - of course. She found a giant mass. She said currently my uterus was the size of a 5 month pregnancy. "I'll be honest here," she says, "I want you to be prepared for cancer. The thing that alarms me is its size and the rate at which it has grown. I am going to refer you up to Shreveport to a gynecological oncologist. You are probably looking at a hysterectomy and it needs to be done soon." Do you know what I heard? 2 things: 1. "Someone else is going to be in your business." 2. "You were right all along. FACE!" Do I care about cancer? No. Do I care about 'losing my womanhood' (oh please). No. I just care that I was right and that someone else has to be in my business. Yes folks, I am special. The tagline of my life will probably be something like be odd, be extreme; or don't bother. So, went up to my gyno-oncologist and the first visit to his office, my husband and I were sitting in the waiting room and this sweet lady came into the office bearing a tray of ICE CREAM. FOR FREE. FOR ME. How can ANYthing be wrong with the world when they bring you ice cream right to your seat? In the waiting room. Fully clothed. Having not even been touched yet. My guy was a matter of fact, no time for pleasantries - although somehow, not UNpleasant. We discussed hysterectomy, I'll have to go in abdominally due to the size of this thing. I said - no drama man, there is a place right down there where they took the babies out. You can use that spot - and tummy tuck me while you're at it. He says no. The size of the thing and its placement and what it is doing to the rest of you is rather tricky. I am going to have to make an incision from your belly button down to that c-section scar and try to do my work that way. It is rather delicate work and I need to be able to move around and take great care with this thing or that thing so as not to kill you off. Me = won't do a tummy tuck? He says no. Pft. What are you taking out? We'll take your uterus and your cervix and leave your ovaries. At this point - I have done some research about hysterectomies, the different types of them and what the possible repercussions are of all. I say - how about you take the ovaries too? He says no. You have at least 20 good years left on those puppies so we'll leave them in. (He said that! I am not paraphrasing!) They're just a bunch of trouble anyway. My pms is way out of control and it seems like it could benefit me to have control of that hormone thing through medication. He says no. I am going to stop for now and watch a movie with my chillins....suddenly I'm rather tired.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Learning Or Lazy?

Seems I do quite a bit of pondering and talking with God when cleaning up the dog kennel and cutting the grass in it. Today I was thinking about how hard I have to push at the children to do a proper job of picking up the dog messes. I usually have to send them back at least two more times for piles they have missed and it drives me crazy. This is across the board behavior. ALL of the children suffer from ididntseeitits. It is SO frustrating. All you have to do is LOOK. You can see it THERE and THERE and THERE. My children are being outright LAZY. Or, are they? Once again, God reminded me that I am an adult who has had 35 years to learn how to see where the dog messes are. How can I rightly expect that people who have lived less than half of that time would have the same experiential knowledge or developmental skills that I do to be able to focus on the task at hand and do it thoroughly the first time? And haven't I been spending the last 5 1/2 years in the swamp learning who I am in Christ; that I was made special and different specifically for the tasks that God has for me on this earth and that He has made us ALL differently? Although it is my job to teach them these things and yes, at least part of it is just good old fashioned lazy - I can't expect them to be so skilled at it and approach it in the same way, JUST because I do. So much more learning I have to do about this thing called parenting. Currently I am feeling lazy about the whole thing.