Monday, May 31, 2010

It's Memorial Day...Do You Care?

I don't mean to insult you with this title, but frankly, it's something I've asked myself today...

Until I heard this song on our way home from a fun filled two days with my brother and his family, including 2 fun filled little nephews that Levi will Lord-willing grow up playing with...anyway, this was the song: "Lay Me Down" by Tim McGraw...

And besides the emotion the song will bring forth, I was thinking about how naive and ungrateful I really am. It's not like I don't know any Veterans or service men. I do. My own Grandfather served. But he doesn't talk about it much. We have friends who are serving as we speak. One in particular, his name is Tuan. To pronounce it, think Twon. Tuan wouldn't agree with much of what I'm going to say, but I'm going to give my view anyway. When you meet Tuan, as soon as you can understand him, you kind of think he's over the top, and he is. But he's also the most loyal friend.

Tuan's Vietnamese. He became a U.S. citizen while in Iraq. Tuan's had a hard life, not something he easily talks about, but compared to my cushy life, it's hard. But he doesn't play the victim. He would give you the shirt off his back if you asked. Tuan says he's just tryign to live the American dream and make something of himself. And he'd say all he needs is a woman to love, but poor Tuan, he doesn't have one. And he'd make you laugh with the sorrow of the situation. He is over the top like that...But we love Tuan. Tuan's been to college for a little of everything, and then he joined the National Guard then he went to Iraq...where he became a citizen and met Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He has a picture with him that he is proud of. Then he came home, and then he went to South Korea after he joined the U.S. Army. He's now in Kentucky awaiting going to Afghanistan, his dream come true, no joke. He says he just enjoys shooting big guns and getting the bad guys. But personally, I think it's more than that. And this is just my opinion, but I think Tuan gets something we just don't. He gets what poverty is, he knows what oppression is, he knows more of the horrors of war than I can imagine. And yet, he serves. He loves music, movies, electronics, trucks, and the newest and best things. He lived above us for a little while and that place was like a mancave heaven. He buys stuff then gives it away.
I don't want to embaress him or make him something he's not, but as much as Tuan's over the top, I couldn't imagine our lives without him. He was the one to never give up bugging Andrew and I that we were perfect for each other. He celebrated our love and since he was in Iraq, he was an honorary groomsmen in our wedding. He said he'd buy our child their first vehicle if we named them after him. We didn't, sadly for him, but we have a picture of Tuan holding Levi this spring, something amazing.
My thoughts of Tuan today were this: Here's a man who doesn't have much family and knows true poverty, but he's willing to serve our country because I think, deep in his heart, he knows it's worth fighting for. He understands what we who have been born and raised in a free country don't always get, freedom has a price, and it's worth paying.

Some of our most beloved patriotic songs carry some pretty important phrases that we don't always focus on
The Battle Hymn of the Republic: "As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free, While God is marching on."
America the Beautiful: "O beautiful for patirot dream That sees, beyond the years, Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears!"
Did you know the Star Spangled Banner has a second verse?
It goes like this:
"O thus be it ever, when free men shall stand Between their loved homes and the war's desolation! Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust!' And the Star spangled Banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!"

These beloved patriotic songs all speak of the spiritual as well as the physical. And so today, as we remember those who have fought, and those who have died, and those that are still waging the war for freedom and justice, let's remember what they're fighting for. Not just our physical freedom, but the freedom to trust in a God who promises us eternity in that alabaster city if we will only seek Christ's forgiveness and redemption for our sins.

As that second verse says, "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto: 'In GOD is our trust!'!!

I don't care whether you think these wars are just, what I care about is that we have many people fighting for the justice of others, and we must conquer, not just our physical enemies, but the apethetic hearts of ourselves. We must be thankful and bend our knees and hearts in humility to Christ, for only Christ can give us true freedom.

A few sidenotes: Fleet Farm has an amazing commercial out that shows a soldier Father saying good-bye to his family to get on a plane and says something like this: "The only thing worse than saying good-bye to your family to defend your country...Leaving your country undefended." I respect them so much for saying that.

Also, In Minnesota this weekend, a Husband/Father was on his way home with his 3 year old girl and almost one year old son. They were in an accident that wasn't their fault. The father and daughter were both killed. The little boy is fine. And He and his Mom were on the News sharing about what a great Father/Husband and daughter they were. I cried, because everyone is losing people.
So today, no matter if the person you've lost is a veteran or not, I pray for you and remember with you...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dear Diary, (If I had one)

If I kept a diary, which I don't, this would be today's entry:

Dear Diary,
I started the day by feeding Levi at 4:30am and then promptly sleeping through my alarm at 5:35am...
Got up at 5:50am and got myself ready to go in the amount of time Christ got herself and 4 girls ready...I have some work to do...
Went garage saling (I don't know how to spell that word and since it's my diary, I don't care) with Christi and the girls for 6 hours...6:30am-12:30pm...we got lots of good stuff and I spent way too much money that we don't have. But I got lots of good stuff for Levi, camping, and to send to Kiernan. I'm starting to think having a girl wouldn't be the end of the world. We sure did find cute little shoes to send her. Have I mentioned how thankful I am for Valerie? (And Will and Kiernan? see Will, I didn't forget you!)

Diary, I had so much fun with Christi and Ryan, Quianna, Loralai, and Kieren!! Christi is an amazing Mom and I couldn't help but wish she lived closer so I could watch carefully how she and Brent are raising such kind, respectful, and wonderful girls. I know they're sinners and not perfect, but for being 2-5 years old, they're doing amazing!!

We came home, finally fed Levi, and had some lunch. Then the girls started the long trip home and Levi had a nap. He slept for 40 minutes and then cried for 20. He really needs to learn to sleep longer. You'd think he'd get tired of crying for so was an hour the other day. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Levi wore blue jeans for the first time today Diary!! He looked so grown up and cute in his jeans and MN Twins onesie!!! Which lasted until he puked violently on himself. Mental note, spend the money to buy nice Carter's Bibs from now on, they are amazing and worth the extra moola!! It's hard to believe he's big enough to wear these onesies we bought when he was still in the NICU. I couldn't imagine then that he'd ever get this big. God is good.

So we had a wardrobe change and then some tummy time. Where Levi finally rolled over!! He went from his tummy to his back over 5 times!! How exciting!!!!

Now we're crying and fussing and getting ready to go for a walk. We're going to try to be in bed by 9pm. Well, Levi in bed by 9, us by 10pm...we'll see if that works. I'm contemplating letting Levi start sleeping on his belly for naps now that he can roll over. I wonder if he'd sleep better...

Well Diary, it's been a long and crazy and puky day. But I'm so thankful for good friends, a healthy baby, and a husband that makes my toes curl still!!

Until tomorrow,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

8 days and one lick later

I've been doing fairly well on this no chocolate stuff...hadn't had chocolate since I finished that bag of chocolate chips 8 days ago...until today, when at the 'Bou Katie said "taste this" and I stuck my finger out and then licked it. And then realized it was chocolate, and so did she, and we both went oh no!! But really, one lick after 8 days is okay.
I had decided to go a week and see what I thought with no chocolate. Then after a week I wanted to make it two to see how it went. Levi seems to be doing better gastrointestinaly with me not eating chocolate so I want to give him another week and see if it's just a fluke or not.
Before you pat me on the back, I'll tell you about the entire pan of rice crispy bars I ate the other 2 days. The ENTIRE PAN, by myself. So no, I'm not cutting out sweets, just chocolate. But we'll try for 2 weeks and not count the lick today as more than not paying attention. I will say the little micro chocolate chips were calling to me at work, but instead I just went and ate a donut.

Yep, I've got some work to do.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Thrush, Chocolate, and Money

Levi has thrush. Pretty sure I have a female form as well and no I'm not expounding on that. Except to say I assumed I'd ask my gyn for a RX for me, nope should have asked the pediatrician since I'm still nursing..blast it, now I'm waiting for a call back from his nurse, which could take hours...ugh...

Moving on, ever since being pregnant with Levi I've been fairly addicted to chocolate. I never used to be a huge must have sweets person. I was more of the salty foods variety. Now, I must have chocolate!
I really want to stop eating/drinking chocolate as I know it's not great for me and I can feel the effect it has on my body. This may be a hard thing to do. Mostly because I do crave it and don't look forward to the withdrawal process. And because working at the 'Bou has me drinking chocolate a LOT. And frankly I don't know if I would like my coffee without a little chocolate in it...I guess I need to learn. So I think I just may give up my soon as I finish this bag of chocolate chips of course. Wouldn't want to waste them.
On a similar note, I'm very curious about those who eat "all naturaly" I could never do it as I'm much to picky to eat greens. But I will say that I've stopped buying things that aren't made of wheat or whole grains. I'm almost out of pancake mix so either I start making my own or I need to find a wheat version. I will say cookies and crusts and breads that are homemade are where I'm falling short...I need to figure out how to substitue wheat flour and have them taste the same. I'm doing about half and half in recipes right now to maintain the texture with white flour but not have them all white...

Money, oh how we like/hate thee...To be honest without being too honest I'll just say that these medical bills and frankly regular bills are intimidating me.
Church on Sunday was amazing. Pastor Darryl gave such an amazing word picture that I was literally in tears. He basically said to hold a penny, and when we are so afraid for our jobs/homes/possessions in this economy and clinging to them, think of our salvation and Christ's work on the cross. How does that compare to our houses/jobs/posessions? They are like a penny when held to Christ. So why are we clinging so tightly to our pennies? And I was convicted, because my heart wants to know what and when God is going to work and provide for us?! We've already seen God provide so much with Levi's care, but really God, there's still tons of bills!! Don't you see how hard we're trying?! And what about when we finally pay those off? Will we ever make enough $$ to be able to buy a house? have more kids? own a non-rusted truck?!
And I was convicted, because not only do I not trust, but I think that I must have those things. That until we do we'll be "poor". I forget that what I already have is so much more than what most of the world has. Yes, we have less than most people in the city, but really, I have so much in Christ.
I'm in tears again, because I'm still convicted and I don't know how to move past that to action. I'm still wallowing in my self-pity and wanting out but wanting to wallow as well. And I know I can't. I must trust Christ and release my pennies...

I'm just not sure how.