Breaking Bad…Habits that is.

I suffer from approval addiction. There is an inane desire in me to please everybody and anybody I meet.  This is impossible and probably why I spend most of my time worried, exhausted, and stressed.  

(Yeah, this is something I’m working on surrendering to God. I also do not think some sin struggles that aren’t instantaneous in their surrender nullifies my Christianity.  Some in the faith might disagree.  I’d request they assess areas that have been life long struggles that Christ might call sin.  I know approval addiction is a sin.  I will not deny that.  I tend to seek man’s approval over God’s.  It is a tiring endeavor.  I’d advise not delving into these murky waters of people pleasing if you can avoid it.)

Anyways, my inclination to seek approval also makes me a bit uptight when it comes to following rules.  I don’t try to intentionally break laws.  (Contrary to what a Netzari Jew might say of my Christian lifestyle.  Bitterness?  I probably should submit that to Christ too…)  Anyways, my apartment does not allow dogs.  I dislike this rule.  Frank and I are dog people.  Now I have a friend who wants to come over, but not without her dog (if you can even call it a dog…).  I’ve expressed that this isn’t possible.  So is it really that insane that I got upset when she and another friend told me they were coming over with the dog?  I called someone to vent to and he justified their desires, not mine.  Yes they weren’t spending the night with the dog and it would have only been a few hours, but breaking rules is a frustrating principle to me.  (Now sometimes rules are meant to be broken if there are rules which institute injustice or conflict with glorifying God and the greater rules of Scripture, but this is not one of those rules.)  

So why am I being told that I’m irrational when I’ve made the bylaws of the apartment complex known and they choose to ignore me?  

It seems that in trying to please on set of individuals you will always piss off another set…

Like I said, approval addiction really is futile and something that should be surrendered as quickly as possible.  I’m still trying to find a way not to care what others think.  That is at least one positive thing about being ill—I care less what offense is taken if I’ve made the rules known and they choose to think me ridiculous and insensitive.  Maybe that’s why I get sick so often—it aides in the process of breaking this nasty sin addiction called the pursuit of man’s approval…

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A Backyard Party

So though I was hacking up my lungs yesterday I took a drive over to a dear friend’s house and partook in a lovely dinner party.

The white linen tablecloth was sprawled across the maple-colored tabletop, its legs bound in burlap as the piece sat nestled on the grassy patch in the yard.  Atop the linen sat candelabras with green candles, fresh flowers, shiny cutlery, and sparkling dinner plates.  Above the table, near the patio, were strings of lights.  A ladder to the right of the table had candles too.  On the patio sat a table with icy beverages and warm, soft, home-baked bread.  It was a cozy, inviting spread that made this weary heart cheerful.  

As guests poured in you could hear the excited chatter.  As the black of night thickened the candles were lit and their wax melted slowly with the fluctuating voices.  A fire was started by which to warm ourselves.  At some point I excused myself to the restroom.  As I returned I stopped by the window, peered out at my friends all gathered around the table, with the glow of the fire illuminating their faces, and smiled as I watched this merry fellowship.  

Sometimes when you don’t feel like doing anything but sitting at home and sulking about sickness it is best to meander to the comforting arms of friends and find the joy your heart needed, even if you grow more weary in the traveling.  God gave us community.  I’m so glad I’m a part of theirs.  I am truly blessed.   

Wish Upon Strep

I haven’t been meeting my goals.  It seems like whenever I start something I begin with enthusiasm, giving the goal 110% of my effort.  Then as time progresses I make excuses- more time with hubby, house needs cleaning, vacationing, and illness to name a few.  As I realize I haven’t achieved what I initially set out to do-a post a day-I get disheartened.  Afterwards, I remember that sometimes you need to cut yourself a break.  It is okay to fail.  I really am sick and for the most part, I’m pretty consistent about posting.  Also, it is hard to stay enthused when my readership isn’t that high.  I have to remind myself that I’m doing this as a therapeutic mechanism for coping with our miscarriage about two months ago.  It has been cathartic and been serving its purpose.  Anyways, now that I got that “needed” rant off my mind I’ll proceed.

I went to the doctor Wednesday for my sore throat.  My odd looking tongue seemed to appear fuzzier than normal.  It was just my imagination I guess.  It wasn’t strep.  This cold is viral, not bacterial.  The thing is I was hoping it would be strep because at least a course of antibiotics is administered and it goes away.  A viral cold has to run its course.  Why do I feel the need to run to antibiotics and pain medications whenever I’m the least bit sick?  Am I a product of the American pharmaceutical industry?  Probably a bit.  That and I just don’t like pain or sickness.  Who does?  I have a really poor immune system.  I pray for our future children, if and when God grants us that desire, to have Frank’s immunity.  He hardly ever gets sick and unlike what most women think, this is a man who doesn’t whine or complain about being sick.  When he is ill, he just lays in bed sleeping.  He doesn’t utter a word and lets the sickness take its course.  I’m the one who acts like it is the end of the world, that this sickness is the plague that will end me.  I’m not good at being sick.  That’s why I was hoping for strep because its usually an easy remedy.  I’m so ridiculous that I thought this could be an offshoot of an ebola outbreak—yeah, sickness drama queen.  So I don’t like being sick and confess that I’m the worst at illness because I act like it is the end of me.  Although if you need to take my blood I won’t whine when you can’t find a vein because I’ve been poked so many times.  I guess that’s one area where I’m a good patient.  In all other areas, I secretly pray for easy-fixes.

 

I think we all have a tendency to do that at times…and not just in regards to illness.  

A Truly Short Perspective

Having a raw throat that even gurgling one syllable from which results in surging pain significantly reduces a loud, opinionated extrovert’s desire to talk.  Then the world said,” Thank God and Amen!”

I don’t handle sickness well…how do persecuted Christians sing praises and remain strong when beaten?  I admire them.  

The Cough

When you are an Army wife you spend a vast majority of your time trying to manage your home alone.  Your spouse is often away.  That is the case now.  I have a cold.  My home is in disarray.  My voice is ragged, the only instrument able to be used to communicate with my spouse thousands of miles away.  When you have to cope with illness as a single person, or sorrow, it is much harder.  Prayers for healing please as well as for my friend who is a single pregnant mom (i.e. pregnant and has a one year old already) who has to  do things on her own most of the time. Well, we shouldn’t have to should we?  The church should assist.  It does at times, but at others it seems like our own self-absorption gets in the way of being inconvenienced for a day in order to help someone out.  Pray for sickness to be eradicated and the sleepy slumber of the American church to have the crusted eyes pried open.  

A Sweet Spouse

While I was weighing out samples today I received a sweet gift. A woman from Edible Arrangements hand delivered a fruit bouquet to me. I wish I had access to a camera at work that would allow me to post what the arrangement looks like. There is nothing special happening this week, no anniversaries or birthdays. It was simply an act of love to say I’m thinking of you. Those are the best gifts aren’t they? Also, it is fruit so it is healthy sugar.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of all the ways Frank quietly loves me. He does it every day in the simple acts—doing dishes, making dinner, watching a TV show I like that he doesn’t necessarily want to sit and see, taking me to watch a Shakespearean play, making kites with me, and well frankly (hehe, oh I made a pun like he often does) the list could go on and on. I was completely surprised by this generous display of affection.

If Frank is even half the kind father of possible children as he is a husband, he is going to make one amazing dad. There were glimpses of his affection when we were pregnant before the miscarriage. He would constantly research the development of the baby and inform me of its growth. He would wash my veggies and fruit so I would eat well. He would kiss my belly and tell Teddy Graham he loved him/her daily. When we lost the baby he would hold me as we wept together. Granted he was able to recover sooner than me, but he still cared. Frank still hurt and wasn’t afraid to let me know that he was sad from the loss as well. I know he’s going to make a wonderful dad and I only hope he’ll one day get the opportunity to raise a child.

(I think I found a photo from the website similar to the bouquet he got for me: gift from Frank 8112014 )

I love you Frank.

Marching to Cadences

I went to watch my nephew sing in a VBS play last night. Afterwards I saw my mother-in-law and she inquired as to Frank’s whereabouts. I informed her that he was called away early for training and was not able to see the performance. I’m not sure how the conversation began, but after shooting the breeze of random topics, my friends and her started discussing sports. I mentioned that Frank and I don’t really watch sports but that I find hockey somewhat entertaining. I don’t feel like baseball has much contact or interaction between players. Hockey has guys slamming into the glass, chasing the puck, and hitting each other and the black disc with sticks. My mother-in-law asked why I’m okay watching a sport like that but I’m not okay with infantry. Well, there are many grave differences.

One difference in fact being the grave. In hockey there are penalties for intentionally causing brutality to another player. In war, as many rules as we might have against it, there are individuals (yes, even on the American side) who hate the “enemy” and kill. Sometimes these individuals never receive repercussions because some missions are so secret the American populace never knows about them and never will (same goes for other nations). Most contact sports also have opposing sides shake hands after a game. War just sees broken soldiers crawling along the blood-stained soil of their comrades and “foes”. Before sports begin the anthem is typically sung, an anthem that speaks of unity and brotherhood. Many military units have cadences that speak of attack, wringing out the veins of the opposition, and the glorious sweat of victory.

What these cadences don’t reflect enough of is that the sweat is usually salted tears on the brow of burdened soldiers. Men who have been to battle are never the same. When our soldiers are carrying packs across paved paths they can rally cries of hate and winning, but when they have been in the trenches and return they shudder at the remembrance of bodies bombed into oblivion. Non-combative units can banter about the fun in killing for sport, but when you actually witness bullets pummeling human flesh there really isn’t any victor, a good side or bad. All battles spring from thinking one side is right and the other side is oppressing. That pride is always bad and shredded flesh, no matter what color it is, bleeds the same and should always forge a tear among observers. There shouldn’t be serenades that boast of puncturing another body and soul.

So while I know that war is sometimes inevitable, and in fact Jesus will return with a bloody bath against Satan, I shake my head in sorrow when someone wants a job that is specifically for the killing of human targets without a hesitation. I’m saddened when a march is led by happy shouts of murdering. I’m disheartened when t-shirts print images of skeletons smiling and holding the ID chains of a soldier.

Why does our society rejoice in defense even though it could lead to death, both on the home front and for those abroad? Why do we find entertainment in the slaughter of those who disagree? Why do we seem to more vehemently oppose films with sexual content than violence? Then again if I truly ask myself all this I guess my mother-in-law has a point…why do we watch sports that entertain through beatings? So while I said I didn’t mind watching hockey, anyone that knows me understands that I truly prefer not to engage in or watch sports at all that encourages opposition and brutality rather than unity. Also, if I do watch or play such a sport (in the rare occurrence it does happen) I see that a sport doesn’t usually lead to death and sleepless survivors. Survivors, who when they nod off to slumber are shaken awake from the tremors of war’s harsh realities and the haunting of burning brethren.

I guess that though while I’m a proud Army wife I am also a bit of a pacifist. (I’m a paradox at times, I guess.) I want to instill the same regard for life in my children that I’ve learned to have. I don’t want them to see Christ as a Savior only for the white man. (Listen to one of my favorite and first songs I heard from Gungor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WybvhRu9KU (God is not a White Man).) I want my children to see Jesus as a Savior for the whole world and that love will conquer far more effectively (in the end) than judgment, bullying, and bullets. I don’t want my husband to enter into battle without a reverence for all of humanity, not just men in checkered patterns. I want Frank to be reserved when firing a gun and preferably never have to use it. I want him to use his hands for repairing objects, his voice for helping heal souls, and his mind to pray that wars would cease. I want our children to see that though their father is a man in uniform, he doesn’t use it to boast about anything but Christ. I pray they’ll see him reach an often non-evangelized group because he “blends” in with the other soldiers. May our children observe a compassionate heart of a uniformed man that refuses to raise his voice with the multitude of men and women gleefully chanting the ruin of supposed enemies. I pray we’d be a family that shares Christ with all, not just with the ivory-tinted folks. I pray, and I hope Frank will to, that we’d be an Army family that marches to a different song and through love would show the world that Jesus offers salvation to ANYONE who would believe in him. I also pray that Frank will really start to understand my reservations towards the infantry band. (That MOS tends to more frequently and pridefully pounce at the chance to sing about obliterating an “enemy”.)

Camouflaged Breasts

Before my miscarriage I had thoughts about how I would feed my child, deliver my child, raise my child.  These thoughts haven’t really passed and I find myself perusing articles about child rearing and associated controversies.  Mentioning a topic with a friend last night and seeing his skeptical look caused me to wonder why it is even an issue.  The topic—breastfeeding.  Now sure most of society is okay if breastfeeding is behind a locked door.  Infants aren’t always cooperative about feeding when it is convenient.  You can put your kid on a feeding schedule, but why?  I’m all for a sleep schedule, I want my naps when I have kids. A feeding schedule though?  I like to snack, why should I forbid a ravished infant from doing so?  

Anyways, the article I read discussed a recent debate among military personnel.  Now I am an Army wife and not in uniform myself so while it doesn’t really apply to me, I still feel it to be a personal cause I needed to discuss.  The debate was whether or not breastfeeding in uniform would be considered degrading to the uniform. Some equate breastfeeding in public, in uniform, to defecating in public, in uniform.  I don’t see how these two parallel in the least.  One is used to expel waste and stinks.  The other is used to provide nourishment.  Yes, boobs can be used for sexual pleasure, but when did society forget their intended purpose?  If watching a woman breastfeed turns you on, I’d say you need to pray and assess other deeper issues in your life.  If you are truly bothered, look the other way.  Now do I really want to see a woman whip out her boob in front of me?  Not particularly. I do think women, when ABLE (i.e. they do have a sling readily available or the kid isn’t screaming at ungodly decibels) should cover themselves while breastfeeding in public.  However I do not think there should be a ban on women in the military being able to publicly provide food to their babes.   

Women shouldn’t have to do covert ops in order to feed their kids.  It is a boob for goodness sake.  It is meant for food.  If you are disgusted, look the other way, a baby has to eat and sorry if biology makes you uncomfortable.  Also, not all infants enjoy bottles.  Some won’t take them.  We can try and have military women cut their hair, tape themselves, and exercise like men but we are stripping them of their femininity.  Feminism, at least how I understand it, isn’t about wanting to make women into men, it is about equality among the genders, the ability to be free to live out our fullest potential and not have gender be a discriminating factor.  Women should be respected based on their credentials and not looked at differently because she has boobs and a vagina.  If a man can’t take a woman seriously in uniform if she breastfeeds he should ask himself if he’s ever really respected her regardless of her gender or if he only respected her because he tried to envision she was masculine.  

Breastfeeding shouldn’t even really be an issue.  Boobs are really meant for food, we can’t camouflage that no matter how much we decorate them in lace or make erotic movies.  Breastfeeding empowers a child to grow strong.  It is no where near equivalent to degrading a uniform like defecating in public (although sometimes when you got to go you have to go…that’s probably for another thread).  

The stipulations on what is respectful to the uniform and what isn’t makes me gawk at times.  The military touts itself as being family oriented but when we have articles like this and spouses can’t touch each other if one is in uniform, I begin to question how truly family oriented the authorities of our forces really are.  I wonder if they camouflage death, war, and bankruptcy through a veil of touted and unfounded (no evidence truly supporting the claims) tales of being family oriented.

 

Note:  I respect our Armed Services.  I am proud to call myself an Army wife.  Like all things though, I question its history and reasons for particular principles.  I do not mean this to be disrespectful to my strong, courageous husband in the least.  Honey I hope you did not perceive it this way.  

 

Thoughts?

I Dig You

Yesterday was my last day for 2.5 weeks with Hubby (hence I didn’t post yesterday).  He left this morning at 4 am and has made a long flight trek with his unit to California.  We were supposed to spend today together, but the military called this past Friday and moved his leave date from August 8th to August 6th.  I just pray continuously for his safety.  I don’t like when he’s away.  His absence does leave ample time for me to draw near to God on my own, however.  I could look at Frank’s time away as an opportunity to forge a deeper relationship with God so that when Frank returns, Lord willing, I will be more devoted to God and less distracted when Frank is around.  Anyways, the reason today was so special to me is that Frank turns 29 today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEST FRIEND!!!  

I hope it is a birthday as great as he is.  I also hope the guys in his unit do something special rather than letting this day pass as if it is any other.  I also hope Frank will use his age acquired wisdom to share the gospel with the guys in his unit.  I wish I had more time (don’t we all) to do some last minute stuff for Frank’s birthday before he left, but it was such an abrupt leave from the command.  It is my hope that a post expressing my gratitude for this man will help him celebrate his birthday with joy and help stimulate a desire for him to seek God fervently on this trip to California.  

Frank has been my biggest supporter.  I couldn’t have endured a miscarriage alone.  I’m so blessed to have a man that drew me into his arms and prayed healing over me when I felt scarred from that experience.  He constantly encourages me to pursue my dreams.  This blog is actually due to his encouragement to pursue my writing again.  I hope to take some writing classes soon and hone my poetry so it flows better.  Perhaps then we can use that as a source of income and we can travel.  (Yeah, dreaming big here.)  Thank you Frank for helping me get back into the realm of words and praying over the outcome of my writing endeavors.  

Frank also brings me much laughter.  He is quiet in public, but silly with me.  He makes quirky faces and goofy dances.  When we have power outages he is so prepared it makes me giggle.  He’s also extremely witty and uses puns constantly.  Lately he’s been perusing the web to tell me science puns.  His love of pretzels and insistence on driving a diesel truck brings a smirk to my face;  at times I can find it annoying, but in truth it’s just part of his predictability that makes me feel secure and protected.  

When people think of Frank they think of a hard-working man who is outdoorsy and handy.  His recent birthday celebration at Diggerland USA helps to reinforce these impressions of Frank.  We enjoyed the day working with construction vehicles, climbing a ropes course, and riding some military equipment.  We went a few weeks before his birthday to celebrate since August is such a crazy busy month, but it was still enjoyable.  Enjoy the photos below and may his smile and enjoyment of such things like Diggerland bring you as much joy as they bring to me.  

 

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A Sweet Life

I’ve been dropping the ball on weekends and not posting.  Frank leaves for California on Wednesday.  He’ll be gone for 2.5 weeks.  I figured I’d rather spend the couple of days this past weekend with him rather than concerning myself with blogging.  I’m sure you understand.  Thank you.

Anyways, since Frank will be away, we went grocery shopping yesterday and tried to stock up on a few items.  In April, we started an eradication of sugar in our diet.  Now I am a chemist and understand that carbohydrates are sugars and that we need sugar in our diet.  It’s really all the additives and fructose we are trying to cut out.  We haven’t been perfect and shopping for August projects me falling off the band wagon slightly more since I’m a cook of convenience when I’m alone, but this endeavor has helped us significantly reduce the amount of sweets we consume.  As such, life has been much sweeter.

We, or at least I, don’t crave sweets as often.  I can have the self control to minimize the portions of sugary goods I do eat.  This life change has also helped us realize just how much sugar is being added to American’s diets.  Processed goods, including crackers, hummus, salad dressings, veggie chips, meats, and condiments, to name a few, have added sugar, some even including high fructose corn syrup.  In small quantities this isn’t an issue, but sugar is in almost every food product being sold in super markets.  Then our society wonders why we have rampant obesity and diabetic problems.  We’ve seen a surge in cancer related diseases since I was a kid.  I can’t help think that our nutrition is playing a key role in that.  Also, we are a nation that needs caffeine to help us wake up (I’m guilty of this too and I just like coffee).  Excess sugar leads to fluctuating insulin releases in your body’s system.  These fluctuating levels of energy will leave you exhausted.  Also, sugar is addictive.  The more sugar you eat the more you need so you don’t experience the decrease in insulin from not maintaining constant food consumption.  It is a vicious cycle.  Next time you are grocery shopping look at the labels and see just how much sugar is in the products you eat.  (Consider the amount of fruit you eat in a day too.)  See these photos for just a few sugary culprits (some expected, some not so much):
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We started this as a means to help our fertility.  It helped (granted we had a miscarriage, but we were able to conceive when doctors told us even that would be a feat).  Although it began as a journey to help fertility, it has morphed into an awareness of what we eat.  It has been an eye-opening experience and a wake up call to the sugar comas we were falling into.  We’ve risen from the trap.  We aren’t chained to processed foods and when we do eat prepared goods we make wiser choices in those goods.  Eradicating sugar also helps me sleep better (since eating sugar a little bit this weekend, I’ve been restless at night).  This process has helped us have better nutrition.  (Despite the negativity towards this diet from slightly overweight folks and people that think fat free foods are good (which they aren’t but that’s a whole other rant).)  I can honestly say that for my life, sugar reduction has given me a taste of a sweeter life.