Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gross Negligence

As a parent and also as someone who is trying to expand her family, I will never understand people blaming their children for their own personal short-comings or failures in life.

Let's start from the beginning, unless you were in a situation where you were raped in some way, the creation of a child is the end result of having intercourse. If you could not handle the responsibilities of such an adult action like intercourse, you should not have been having it. If you were raped this does not apply in any way to you.

Yes, I know there are exceptions when force and violence are used, but if you conceive a child through this method, there are options for you to give your child up to a loving home (where in most cases the new family cannot have their own biological children for some reason). But I'm not talking about those who were raped. I'm talking about the people who knowingly committed a grown up behavior and now do not want to deal with the work and sometimes sacrifice that comes with raising a child.

If there is a doubt in your mind as to whether you want or can raise a child you conceived, please, give it up for adoption. No child will grow unscathed in a home where it is clear that they are not loved, cherished or wanted.

My buttons were really pushed today when I saw someone on facebook had posted a status similar to this: "I've come to the realization that I will be alone forever because no one will want to put up with my son."

Wow? Really?!? First of all it's his fault that you conceived? It's done. It's over. You made him. Now love him. You are obviously not with his biological parent for whatever reason and I see no way why this is his fault. Secondly, if you aren't with his biological parent anymore, your focus should be on raising him. Any romantic relationship you want to have should be second to his well being. To blame him for romantic short comings on your behalf is shocking and disgusting. It makes me worry for this child and everything else he is probably blamed for that is completely out of his control. He obviously has behavior problems, which I have no doubt could stem from being in a home where he isn't wanted and made the scapegoat for your failures.

This really ticks me off. Here we are a stable family and we are trying to add on to our family. Why do these people get pregnant so easily that should in no way shape or form be privileged enough to have children? They are not ready for all that will be needed to raise a child and they are more concerned about themselves than anyone else in the world. We would cherish and love another child. It bothers me so much when I see people treat their kids this way. It's heartbreaking and unfair. And any mother that thinks she can treat her child this way and it not be tantamount to child abuse is seriously out of her mind. That poor child is going to grow up with such a skewed view of what being a loving parent and having a child should look like. No doubt that the foundation is being laid for this child to abuse his kids some day.

I'm not saying I'm a perfect Mom. I know I'm not. But I do know that I do my very best to make my child feel loved, cherished, and wanted each and every day of his life. I make mistakes, every Mom does, but I would NEVER in all my life blame my child for my inability to maintain a normal adult relationship. I would NEVER in all my life blame my child for something that he has absolutely no control over, like my life.

I think it's time to grow up and step up. If you don't want the responsibility of being a parent then give your child to someone who does.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weigh-In (5/16/11)

So here's an official weigh-in for all of my blog stalkers.

First off, this week was pretty good. I ate fairly well. Still having trouble with my water in take though. And I was able to get back to exercising this week. I worked out a little over 2 hours total this week.

I know I've said it before, but my goal for this week is to increase my water intake. I need to get back up to about a gallon a day. I feel so much better when I'm hydrated.

On to the stats (keep in mind these are in comparison to my last weigh-in blog on 4/25/11)

  • 2 lbs lost (bringing total loss to 43 lbs)

Inches lost: 2 inches (again since 4/25/11)

  • 1 inch from my chest

  • 1 inch from thighs (1/2 inch from each)

Onto the pics! The first one is from 4/20/11 (the start of this specific goal outfit) and the second is from today (5/16/11).

I didn't realize how off I was in the new picture until I had already changed back into my regular clothes. I will try to get a picture that looks more like the first one the next time I do an official weigh-in.

BTW, those of you who had been stalking my other blog before my husband's absence will be happy to know it is back up and in full swing. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read this and my other blog.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Waiting Game

Jeremiah and I are in the process of figuring out the next step along our road of life.

This process brings with it situations that teach us further patience and trust in God. But this process also brings with it stress, fear and doubt.

We are no longer just responsible for ourselves. Any and all decision we make will impact Joseph and any future children we may have. It's a teeter totter ride trying to make the right decision for your family while still making a decision that will leave you satisfied in the end.

I'll be honest, being an Army wife for over a year and a half has brought me much maturity. I am not the same person, wife or mother I was when my husband enlisted during the fall of 2009. Before we got to the point that the military was really one of our only options left to support our family financially (this is after my husband spent 2 1/2 years looking for work with his bachelor's degree) I had been dead set against my husband enlisting. It's amazing how time and sheer desperation can change your attitude. When it came to September of 2009, we had a choice, our funds were dwindling quickly even though between the 2 of us we had 3 part time jobs. We had a bit of a nest egg that although it didn't go towards the purchase of a nest was enough to make up the difference of what we fell short on with income since his graduation from college.

Let me go back a little further. When we married in June of 2004 I moved from Michigan to join my husband who was already living, working, and attending school in Colorado. Although our first 8 months of marriage were financially difficult we were both able to land good paying, stable, full time (with overtime) positions in March of 2005. I was an employee of JPMorgan Chase and he was an employee of the United States Postal Service. Life was good for a couple in their early twenties who really had no true expenses. Yes we paid for school, yes we paid a small amount of rent, but we had two great jobs and money wasn't really much of an issue anymore.

I hated Colorado. Not necessarily the state in general, but the mere fact that I was trapped there. I had really no friends and absolutely no family. I had never been away from home up until then. I was scared, lonely and I longed for the familiarity of home.

We had decided before we even said our vows that we would wait awhile to have children. Closer to graduation. My overall goal was to be able to be back in Michigan before any children were brought into this world. I was very head strong about us moving "home" as soon as possible after graduation. So, we started trying for Joseph in February 2007 because my husband was graduating in May of 2007. We had a moving truck scheduled to carry our things cross country back to the only place I was willing to live now that my husband's schooling was done.

We were fortunate enough to have our jobs transfer. I accepted a part time position with the idea that once we actually had a child I would stay home full time. So in our thinking since we needed to learn to live without my income this was a good time to start. We assumed with Jeremiah's job transferring that he would be given close to or the same amount of hours he currently was receiving. We were wrong.

We moved back July 2, 2007. We quickly found out that Jeremiah's hours were to be nothing like they were in Colorado. We were looking at about 8 hours for him every other week. That's a dramatic decrease from the over 40 hours he worked every week in Colorado. But at the time we felt it was a temporary set back. We figured he'd put his new degree to work and get a full time job again in no time. Ya know that saying that goes like this, "If you want to hear God laugh tell Him your plans"? I have no doubt He got quite a chuckle out of that.

We weren't really sure about much after this happened other than the fact that we still wanted to be parents. We kept trying for Joseph and in January of 2008 we found that we had at least succeeded in conceiving. It was a joyful and scary time. We finally achieved one of our goals, but still were completely unstable financially. I am a planner and a worry wort, so we had savings. I am thankful that God blessed me with the ability to be a planner because I know He knew we'd need to be prepared for what was coming.

Eventually Jeremiah was able to start getting 8 hours a week at the post office, and we survived through a couple of not so great (or reliable) part time jobs. Finally he was able to settle into another part time job which allowed him to work every other weekend. At this point our 3 part time jobs barely equaled 1 full time job. There would be no staying home with Joseph after he was born (well except for the 12 weeks of paid maternity leave). This was a sad time for me. One of the only things I wanted in my life was not going to be possible. I probably would have felt better about the situation if we were at least making ends meet but every month we'd come up short and every month our nest egg got smaller and smaller.

The summer that Joseph was to turn one was full of stress and anxiety. Jeremiah had tried to get into several different positions in several different fields and every door was slammed shut. We were at a loss of what to do. God had always provided for us, but it was scary not knowing where those provisions would come from. The summer and fall of 2009 was probably the most difficult time for our family. Our little bit of savings was just about depleted (it had sustained us for over 2 years thus far) and we were compounding the debt every month just to try and save our liquid cash for things that we couldn't use the credit card for (like rent or car payments). We had a decision to make. If something didn't happen, and soon, we were going to be moving in with one of our family's. There was nothing else for us to do. We debated moving back to Colorado where the job market was more stable. We were lost.

Jeremiah then brought up a subject that he had tried to bring up numerous times in our relationship. What if he just enlisted? Every time he'd brought this up he'd been met with my fear and complete dismissal of the idea. This time I believe my response was, "How soon can you meet with the recruiter?" We were desperate. At that point we'd been married for 5 1/2 years and never once had we borrowed money from our parents or been late on a bill. We were getting dangerously close to both happening simultaneously.

I don't think either one of us really thought about what would happen if for whatever reason he was unable to enlist. We had already had so many doors closed that we were desperately looking for the nearest window that could get us out of this situation. It was about 4 weeks from the time that my husband met the recruiter for the first time and then shipped out for basic training.

This move that was made in sheer desperation turned out to be the best decision we've made for our family. Jeremiah loves being part of the military, I love that I can now stay home with our son, and although trying and difficult, this journey has awarded me much wisdom, patience, maturity and growth.

So here we are. At the cusp of yet more life changing decisions. Our feet are a little bit firmer on the ground this time. We know God does things in His own time, and His timing is always perfect.

Jeremiah and I seem to be in agreement that the end result will hopefully look something like him getting a master's degree and being able to be part of the Chaplain's Corp. in the Army. To get to that point a lot of things need to happen and fall into place. We are spending a lot of time listening to God and trying to take the direction He wants us to go. It's a waiting game, and although I dislike it, I've learned to appreciate it. I know during these times is when a lot of growth happens. And although I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, I know God is carrying us and He can see perfectly.

We've talked about the fact that active duty Army probably would have been the better decision for us vs. the National Guard. I've grown a lot and I realize now that home isn't where I was born, but it's where our little family is. The three of us (plus the cats) are what matter. Although I'd love to be able to stay in Michigan I am resolved to the fact that I'm perfectly okay with us not living here too.

Active duty Army would bring changes. Along with the stability financially and benefit wise, there would be a constant uncertainty about where our next duty station would be. We will be at the Army's whim. But I'm oddly okay with that, because I know our family is what matters and we will be together.

But again, here's the waiting game. Jeremiah could go in and enlist active duty today if he wanted, but if he goes about it this way he will lose his officer status until he reapplies for commissioning. We are trying to find a way around this. He's been told by a few people that if you are on deployment it's an easier and smoother transition to go from Guard to active duty (and he'd keep his rank).

So what that means is that we are looking at tours that he can volunteer for. Does this mean this is what's going to happen? No. Because again, God has a plan and we have no idea what that is.

I guess in a perfect world Jeremiah would get a stateside deployment, transition to active duty and once we were settled into our duty station begin attending part time classes to get his master's. But again, this is our plan and not God's.

So we're here just playing the waiting game. Please pray for our family as we face some big decisions and challenges.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

You Live, You Learn

I have a few thoughts floating around in my head. These songs keep coming back to me, and I'd like to share my scattered thoughts as well as these songs with you. Keep in mind I chose videos of these songs that had lyrics (so they are not the artist's official videos). I hope they inspire and cause as much reflection for you as they have for me. (P.S. Remember to pause the music player at the bottom of the page before playing the videos otherwise you will have a hard time listening to the videos).

At this point in my life, if I had to choose a life's anthem, this song would be it. I cannot even begin to express the truth in this song. It's been so applicable to my life.

I mean is there anyone out there that can honestly say that there is no truth or depth to these lyrics. "You live, you learn." Everyday that I have on this earth I learn something new. Something new about me, about my family, about God, about life, about my friends.. The list could go on and on for pages and pages. It's true, and it's my motto, well, at least at this point in my life. I often think about what the soundtrack of my life would sound like, and I have no doubt in my mind that this would be the cornerstone of my life's soundtrack.

"And it's crazy to think that one little thing could have changed all this.." Wow. Have you ever thought about that? Where would your life be if you'd taken a right instead of a left? What would your life look like if you'd gone here instead of there?

When I reflect on decisions I've made, and wonder how different my life would be if I'd done the opposite of them, it's a little scary. I mean who doesn't wish that they could at one point or another take back the crazy, stupid, reckless, irresponsible, childish, wild things they've done? Is there nothing in your life you've regretted, or hoped for a "do-over"? Like I said, "One little thing could have changed all this."

There's times where I've really doubted a lot of my choices, and felt ashamed or regrettful of certain decisions. I'm not going to lie, but from the age of about 13-16, I did some really stupid things that probably should have left me dead somewhere, but only by the grace of God did I make it through.

I've wondered why I could be so reckless and careless for a young boy who cared more about me than I could have ever understood at 15. And I've wondered why the other boy I thought would love me forever at that same tender age could cast me aside after taking far more from me than he could have ever deserved. And I've also wondered why I could be stupid enough to allow myself to get wrapped up in yet a different guy that scarred me in more ways than one - and how I could be stupid enough to continue to endure a physically violent and volatile relationship. This last guy stole more from me than anyone in my life ever has, this is the one that still has open wounds and will probably always cause me to have nightmares. There are so many things in my early teenage years that should have gotten me killed, and I know it wasn't by luck that my life was spared.

I should regret the behavior that got me grounded in May of 2000. After all of the above took place in 1999, I was at a point where I really didn't like myself, and didn't really care what happened. I was so lost, and so confused. Although I was 16 at the time (and did have a valid driver's permit) I did NOT have a driver's license. One of my girlfriends and I convinced her mother to allow me to drive her car. We knew it was wrong. I knew it was wrong. I knew it was illegal. I also knew that if I got caught I could probably kiss any chance of having a driver's license in the near future goodbye. Again, I didn't care.

Again, by the grace of God, my life was spared. My friend and I had stopped at a local ice cream place to have some treats. The car was parked in the parking lot next to the building. We were in line waiting to order when all of a sudden a person came careening off of John R and smacked into the rearend of my friend's mother's car. The person who caused the accident was having a stroke or seizure at the time and had lost control of their vehicle. It was a freak thing. And of course now I had to explain how the car got there when neither one of us had a license. So I did the only sensible thing a stupid, irresponsible, reckless teenager can do, I lied. I lied to the police. Suffice to say, they didn't buy my story. My mother was called. I was grounded. Which given the offense was probably a very mild punishment compared to what I really deserved. The police didn't press charges.

It was this accident that led me to one of the most important events of my life. The event that would shape the rest of my teenage years and lead me to where I am today. Since I was grounded without any chance of parole, I begged to be allowed to get a job. I thought at least this way I could get out of the house. Since it was summer my mother agreed that I could get a job, but I would still be grounded. I could go to and from work but that was it.

The first place I applied for, Target, hired me on the spot. I was to work in the food court and cashier occassionaly. I was excited to have a reason to leave the house again. On July 5, 2000 (which was my 2nd or 3rd day of work) I was working with another new face. This co-worker (named JJ) would be showing me the ropes of closing the food court for the night. It was this night that God delivered my soul mate right to me. It was on this night that I would meet my future best friend, husband, lover, and father to my children.

Hindsight is 20/20 they say. It couldn't have been truer. If I hadn't had my heart broken, if I hadn't been involved with a violent person, I would have never got to the point that I did. All of those stupid things led me to the stupidest thing of all, driving without a license. And all of these wrong turns, these dead ends, led me to where I am today. I am saved. I am forgiven. I am happy. I am married to the man of my dreams. I am a proud Army wife. I am thrilled to be a mother.

So that leads me to this last song. I know that He loves me. I am living proof that try as I did to mess up my life and hurt my body and soul with my irresponsible behavior, God loved me more. He had and still has a plan for my life. I can let go of these regrets because He forgives me, and He will always love me. I serve a faithful, loving God. And although I may not understand why things are hard sometimes, I have no doubt, whatsoever, that my life and future are in His hands, and He will never EVER, give up on me or leave me. He loves me even when I don't deserve it.

Learn from your mistakes, and never doubt that those choices you've made have led you to where you are today. "Life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Life is good.

It feels good to say (uh, type) that. Praise and glory goes to God for getting me back to a place where I can feel confident in saying that. I know my pain, my suffering was not for naught. I know it was part of His plan. I know where I am today was in His plans as well.

Let me start by saying, again I'm sure, how happy I am that my family is once again united. I once again have a sense of satisfaction and completion that was missing during these nearly 5 months. I am happy to have my help-mate and partner back under the same roof as me. I am happy that Joseph has his father home.

There are few people in my life that can truly empathize and understand what my life has been like during these absences. I am so appreciative of the women who have worn these shoes before and can give me direction and guidance. There's a big sense of peace knowing that you aren't alone and that someone has been through (and survived) what you are going through. I really hope that if we ever decide for Jeremiah to go active duty or if he is deployed that we have an opportunity to live on post. There is such a sense of community, unity, and family that I have rarely seen displayed elsewhere.

That leads me to my next point. I love being a part of this community of military spouses. There is such an overwhelming sense of pride for my husband and our family to be able to serve our country in the capacity we are. I love how much my husband enjoys being a part of this community. I love how much appreciation and gratitude he and our family receives for his bravery and willingness to put his life on the line for freedom.

I have such a sense of pride and joy knowing that I can take care of our family while he is away financially taking care of our family and protecting our freedoms. It's hard. It's exhausting. But it is wrought with blessings. I know deep inside that this is path God has been leading us towards. I have no doubt that everything we've gone through prior to enlistment was preparing us to be at the point we are. God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.

There is no way our marriage or my sanity would have survived had we done this right after we met or even right after marriage. I know God led us here in His perfect timing, and although I don't know where He plans to take us from here; I am content with the fact that He is control and will never leave us.

But like I said. Life is good. I am happy.

I am happy to be fulfilling the calling God placed on my heart so many years ago of being a mother. I love that I am a hands on stay at home mother and homemaker know. I am so content and satisfied in the knowledge that I am providing and doing so much more for my husband and son than I would have been able to do with a bi-monthly paycheck.

I've been a wife for nearly 7 years now. Everyday I learn something new. I like to think of myself as a fine wine. I feel I've really matured as the years have gone by. I know a year from now I'll be more capable and mature than I am now. God is great and He never ceases to give me situations to learn and mature by.

I'm so much more satisfied in my life and in my 'roles' than I ever was when I was working and helping to 'bring home the bacon.' I'm getting good at the routines and the cleaning. (For those of you who know me I never really had any cleaning responsibilities until I was married) It's been a learning process. I love planning for and preparing my family's meals. I revel in the fact that I am impacting their lives in ways they probably don't even see. I feel useful. I feel needed. And I know that what I give to our family is just as important as what my husband gives to us.