Sunday, August 30, 2009

I've been thinking

A friend of mine on Vox recently posted regarding the whole health care debacle. Basically, the CEO of Whole Foods wrote an editorial opposing the current health care plan(s) being pushed by our nation's leaders, and offering other ideas. While this isn't the purpose of my post, I will say that I like what this man has to say. And, as such, I posted a link to his piece on my Facebook page. (And now I get to the point.) My sweet sister posted something to the effect of, "Let's ask the owner of Trader Joe's what he thinks, too." To that, I responded, "Spoken like a true liberal," or something like that.

Since that exchange, I've been thinking. And recently it occurred to me that she - and likely many others - are ignoring this man's suggestions simply because of who he is and what he does! People who consider themselves open-minded won't even give these ideas any consideration because of their source. SERIOUSLY? And you call yourself open-minded? :nah: If there's a really good idea (not necessarily this one, but in general), does its source really matter? Does the fact that a CEO of a successful company came up with the idea make it a bad idea? And, if the source does matter, then perhaps we should disregard anything (concerning health care) put together by members of Congress (and/or the President)! I mean, really - I would daresay that most (if not all) of these people aren't any more qualified in regards to the health care industry than the CEO of Whole Foods.

Perhaps we should be asking people who work in the health care industry. See what the top dogs in that industry say would help lower costs and make health care something to which everyone has access. And, really, I think even people in the health insurance part of this industry should be included. After all, they're often blamed for the high costs of health care in this country. Perhaps they can also provide some valuable insight to how the system currently works. I highly doubt anyone in Congress knows how things work in this regard. Perhaps we should tap into the knowledge of those who are in the trenches. After all, no one understands the way things work as well as someone who's right there in the center of it all!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My nerves got the best of me

Today was my son's first day of preschool. I was a nervous wreck. Generally speaking, he doesn't separate from me very easily, so I was dreading a tear-filled good-bye. Apparently, that's not what I should've been worried about.

I have to get Grant there at about 8:30. I was very nervous - heart palpating, breathing shallow, slight shake. (There's a lot more to this than me just being worried about preschool. He has a speech delay, and was evaluated in June for Autism. Praise God, no Autism, but I get the feeling the school's not 100% convinced, hence my nerves!) It was very lightly raining - kind of a drizzle or sprinkle. You know, one of those times you'd wish it'd just rain and get on with things!

Anyway, we pull up, and parking is hard to find within a couple of blocks of the school. That displeases me, as we're running a tiny bit late and I have to lug my 22-month-old around, too. I spot a pretty long spot right in front of the school, where only parallel parking is available. (You can see where I'm going with this, can't you? If not, let's just say I don't normally do parallel parking ...) Having no other real options, I attempt to take the spot.

Bear in mind that this is a narrow street, and there's a full-sized school bus on my left. The spot I want is the second car in, so I have to maneuver with very little room around another car. That did not go well. As I'm pulling in, I hear the alarm go off on the car in the spot behind mine, followed by a scraping sound.

I muttered an F-bomb under my breath as I realized what that meant. (And, I must say, I'm quite proud of myself for keeping it so the kiddos couldn't hear it!)

First things first, I gotta drop the boy off. So, I get out and get the boy out of his seat, then proceed to the other side of the van - the side with the damage - and check it out briefly. Surprisingly, no dent or major damage - just scratches! Praise God, as it could've been MUCH worse! So, I get Natalie out and we head inside.

Grant shows me just how ready he is for preschool by dropping my hand the moment we enter the building. I was surprised - but happy. It must mean he's at least comfortable in the building! (He attended speech therapy there last spring, and we were there last night for the open house.) We go to the cafeteria, and he's fine. He was a little reluctant to let Natalie and me go, but his teacher held him and showed him the HUGE indoor playset they were going to be using in a few minutes. While he remained reluctant to let us go, no tears were shed!

Back outside go Natalie and I. The car I scraped is still there. I go look, and it's really not bad. Just the front driver-side fender, really. Unfortunately, though, both vehicles have scratches. Definite scratches. So, I wait with Natalie in the car, hoping the owner of that car comes out soon. (Natalie was a little upset by leaving "Dude" - her pet name for her brother - behind.) When they finally do come out, they get in the car and don't even notice anything. I feel EXTRA bad, because she is in tears - apparently her child didn't have as easy a drop-off.

After looking things over, I give them my insurance info. Come to find out, we have the same agent - hopefully that somehow works in our favor. (Thankfully, we did avoid involving the cops.) I apologize profusely, fighting back tears. We finally go on our merry - er, not-so-merry - way and I freak over how my husband will handle it. Our renewal is coming up in a couple of months - how will this affect our rates? He's gonna kill me!

You'd think that after being married to the man for 11 years I'd know him well enough to know I didn't have to be so worried. He was fine and understanding. Just told me to call insurance and get it settled. He closed with "Just don't make it a habit, OK?" LOL He made me laugh - I should've known he'd do that. That's his thing - breaking stress by making me laugh.

Pick-up time was at 11, and I decided to leave early in hopes that we get a better parking spot - with less trouble. It worked out. When picking Grant up, he was doing just fine. Didn't seem upset or anything - slightly concerned (probably wondering where they're going now), but not upset. I had to call his name a few times before he heard me. He was all smiles when he saw me. On the way back to our car, we ran into his teacher, who said he did great. When asked, he says he had fun, and when we ask what he did, he says "Play with friends." That makes me smile. Perhaps he most enjoyed playing with his peers, rather than his older and younger sisters - must be a nice change of pace.

As for the car, I took it in for an estimate - which was just shy of $1,800! Shocked me, especially since I was told the other car only had about $300 of damage. Thankfully, we have a low deductible - only $100. I also learned it'll take THREE DAYS! Fortunately, we also have rental-car costs covered. Praise God for insurance!

Now, I just pray our rate doesn't increase too much. This is our first accident of any sort in 11 years. Hopefully they take that into account!

So, I've learned a few things today:
  • Yes, my son will be OK without me.
  • There's a reason I generally don't do parallel parking.
  • While expensive, car insurance is DEFINITELY worth it!
  • I have an amazingly awesome, caring, understanding, and sweet husband. (Well, I already knew that - just needed a reminder.)
  • There's a reason I generally don't do parallel parking. (Yeah, I know, I already said that - but it's worth mentioning one more time!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

One Man's Trash

It's that time of year - time for garage/yard sales. I'm impressed by the devotion that some people have to religiously go through the garage/yard-sale circuit. Wake up early, hit the sales as soon as they open, and walk away with great deals. I've never had much luck, so I don't really go to any very often. Plus, honestly, I prefer to be my stuff's first owner. I guess it's the snob in me. LOL

The problem I have with these activities is more the behavior of those attending the garage/yard sales than the sales themselves. I live in a community that has alleys, and almost everyone on the block has their garage back there.

Perhaps you can see where I'm going with this.

If you like to go to garage/yard sales, and you find one in a community that has alleys, please keep the following in mind:
  • Do NOT block the alley. I cannot believe I even have to say that, but you would be surprised by how often it happens!
  • Do NOT park in front of others' garages. Not even if you're only planning to stop in for "a moment." NEVER DO THIS.
  • Do NOT drive fast in the alley. Many of the neighbors likely have children - or pets - who might suddenly appear.
  • DO be mindful of the other residents. You know, the ones who aren't hosting a garage/yard sale. If not for their sakes, do it for the sake of the sale-holder, so they don't piss off their neighbors!
Heck, some of these could be applied to garage/yard sales in non-alley communities, too. Some - what seems to me - simple common courtesy and thoughtfulness is all that's required.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tweet! Tweet!

I found a nifty new thing on how to add an easy re-tweet button into my Blogger posts! (You know, those nifty buttons that've popped up all over the place lately.) It was on Blogger Widgets, and can be found HERE. It took me a little bit to find the code to place it after, because one important thing is missing. When you go to edit html, make sure you check the box that says "Expand Widget Templates" - otherwise you won't find the right spot! And just like that, it works! :-) Happy blogging!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Freedom In Christ

I recently received a Tweet wherein someone called the idea of true freedom being found through Jesus ironic. I responded, asking why she thought that. Her response (in summary) was questioning how there's freedom in following a bunch of rules out of an ancient book - or something like that. Anyway, I've been pondering that for quite some time now. How do you explain the freedom found in Christ to someone who hasn't experienced that freedom? Better yet (or should I say worse?), how do you explain that to someone who clearly doesn't even believe and who considers the Bible merely ancient literature? I asked some of my friends over on FROGs how one goes about tackling this, and the responses I got where interesting. Some were that there are rules in all facets of life - just being part of society, there are rules to follow. One I got was a reminder that in the Bible it says that the Truth is foolishness to those who don't believe - or something like that. So, to me, that means we might have better luck explaining this freedom to the walls.

I think I have been pondering this subconsciously (incubation is one of my FAVORITE tricks the human brain has mastered) for a couple of weeks now. While I still don't have an idea how to explain or describe this amazing freedom, I did have a bit of a breakthrough regarding rules in general.

I know that the familial relationship mirrors that of the God/Man relationship. We have the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost), which is represented by the marriage (God, Husband, Wife) - all three separate but the same. Then we have mankind (God's children, all created by Him) and Earthly children (a product of the marriage, created by Husband and Wife). The connection between the two doesn't stop there. Now that I am a parent, I can see that so much more clearly than ever before.

God gives us rules, just as we give our children rules. God does everything He can to train us, just as we do our very best to train our children to survive - hoping they do more than that, and THRIVE - in this world. This is not done to spoil our fun or to take advantage of us, just as we don't give our children rules to be mean or ruthless dictators. No. We give our children rules and teach our children the way we do because we love them and we want to protect them. THAT is why God gave us all those rules in that old book! These rules aren't to spoil our fun. They aren't to control us. They aren't to deprive us of living life to the fullest. Rather, they ARE in place to protect us. Because He is God, He knows what certain actions and choices can cause to happen. He knows all about cause and effect - and He knows how best to avoid the less-desirable effects by not committing certain causes. We, too, try to keep our children from experiencing the less-positive side of life by teaching them and giving them rules.

Once these rules are broken, oftentimes the effect cannot be stopped. While someone might be able to get away with something for a time, wrongdoing always comes to light - ALWAYS. It might take years, it might take decades, it might even take a lifetime, but it WILL come to light. Heck, sometimes some wrongs aren't discovered until after someone passes. I don't know why the discrepancy for who and what gets found out when, but I do know that everything becomes known. Everything. Often, the effects of such acts are punishment in and of themselves. So, while people might think God is punishing someone, chances are they're reaping the results of some past action. I think mistakes our kids make also sometimes are best punished by letting the consequences be what they are - to ignore the temptation to shelter them from the consequences of their actions. For me, it goes against everything inside me to let my child suffer even the slightest, but how will they learn if they never see what happens next?

Back to my original thought. Freedom in Christ. Knowing that God has these rules in place to protect me makes it a LOT easier for me to follow these rules. Just as I know better than my kids in many cases where experience is the best teacher, God knows better than I do in EVERYTHING. Perhaps I should be a model of obedience for my children to follow? Perhaps if I can show them that while I believe myself to be intelligent and a decent human being, I know God's knowledge and understanding surpass mine, then somehow I can use that to reach them. Maybe I can explain my obedience and choices to them in a way that they will understand, using this analogy. Clearly, this is something that will have to wait until they are older, as I doubt a preschooler and a toddler can grasp this concept. I'm not so sure my first-grader could, either. But, perhaps if I start to SHOW them what true obedience is now, it'll be an easier lesson to teach when they're older. Something tells me there's only one way to find out, and that is by doing.

How does all of this make me free in Christ? (Man, I'm good at tangents, aren't I?) Well, if I follow the code of conduct (for lack of a better term) He has given me, then I am free! I'm free from the consequences of poor choices. I am free from the wages of sin if I live a life following the example set by Him. I am free from everything that comes with not following His will: pain, suffering, loss - the list goes on and on. If I can figure out how to get my flesh in line with my heart and my spirit, I've got it made! I can live a truly free life! And if not, well, hey - at least I know I'll be COMPLETELY free in the afterlife!

Book Review: Nyphron Rising

Nyphron Rising (The Riyria Revelations) Nyphron Rising by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another absolutely riveting installment in The Riyira Revelations series! We are now halfway through the entire series, and I cannot wait to see where it's going. Once again, Michael J. Sullivan did not disappoint. There was suspense, humor, action, treachery, and even a tiny bit of love thrown in.

I found that I was able to guess what was going to happen in a couple of instances. I suspect that it was not a problem with the story, rather a familiarity with Royce and Hadrian. This being the third book about these central characters, I feel like I "know" them and can guess what they're thinking. I think that is why I was able to figure out what they were going to do a couple of times. This speaks volumes of Sullivan's abilities as an author. To have characters that readers can learn so well is pretty impressive. They are well-rounded and very consistent from one installment to the next.

Getting back to Royce and Hadrian, I loved the exchange while they were imprisoned in Hintindar. I thought Hadrian's revelation regarding Royce was touching.

The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, and I do wonder what "the truth" is and whether Royce and/or Hadrian learn it in time. I will be waiting impatiently to get my hands on the next book in the series to see how this all plays out!

View all my reviews >>

Friday, August 7, 2009

Well, Now I Feel Loved

I checked my newest comments tonight to find that a friend has left me something on her blog. So, I immediately clicked on the link to find Michelle very kindly left me a blog award! :-) I'm so touched and thrilled - this is my first blog award of any kind. The fact that it's from another blogger (one I actually look up to, nonetheless) makes it that much more special! There's nothing better than being recognized by your peers.

Michelle kindly gave me the Humane Award, which is for kind bloggers. Thank you, Michelle!

It's my turn to pass it on, and I'm choosing some of my favorite bloggers who I consider true friends. Whether it's from support here, on Facebook, in real-life situations, or as a general rule, these bloggers are people I couldn't imagine my life without!
  • Kelly ~ From helping me with the design for this blog and the design for my site to being a true friend, I just couldn't do it without her! Kelly defines a kindhearted person! Love you, Kelly!
  • Sara ~ I've had the pleasure of meeting her in real life, too - and I suspect I'll see her more, now that her sister lives down the street! She's one of the kindest people I know.
  • Heidi ~ I know, we hardly know each other. But, I love reading your blog. Not only that, but you've always been quick to help me when I have asked you questions regarding how to do something here on Blogger! Thank you!
  • Lisa ~ You've always been so sweet to me. Back in the M-Z days, and now when you comment on my posts. Thank you!
  • Chris ~ You're last, but definitely not least. I can't remember if your blog is open to the public or not, but I couldn't leave you off the list! You're one of my BFF, and always will be!
If you were tagged, download the image, post it in your blog, and share the love: nominate your Humane blogging buddies! Please don't forget to link back to the person who gave you the award!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm famous!

Well, sorta! Click on the image below to check it out:

Yeah, I know, it's not a huge thing. Yeah, I know, I submitted my own blog. Yeah, I know, it doesn't really mean much. But, still, I think this is one of the first non-occupational interviews I've ever had! :-) So, I'm gonna bask for a bit. Enjoy and have fun with it.

I just have one question: Does this count as my 15 minutes?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What's with the Guilt?

Mommy Guilt. If you're a mom, you know what I'm talking about. I just wanna know: What's up with that? I mean, why do we feel guilty for everything and nothing all at once? Why is it that being a mom seems to make one a guilt magnet?

Example: I have three kids and I worry about equal treatment - as much as is possible, as perfectly equal is not. Individuals can't be treated exactly the same simply because they aren't the same. That said, I still find myself feeling guilty over just about anything. The latest is pictures, of all things! When Abby was born, I was diligent about having pictures taken at regular intervals. I started at 6 weeks (figuring her hospital pics were good enough for newborn), then 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, and annually after that. When school started, we just started relying on those for her annual individual shots. For Grant, I was pretty good about sticking to that schedule. There might have been some slight variation - like 19 months instead of 18 months - but I still did a pretty good job. Poor sweet Natalie, however, is getting the short end of the annual-pictures stick! Long story short: I missed her 18-month pictures! My husband was gone to Fargo for 30 days when she hit that milestone, and I just never got around to it. And now, she's 21 months - three months from her 24-month pictures. I feel bad - and I am sure this will be a source of regret at times in the future. We do take pictures of her at home, but not nearly as much as we did Abby - or Grant. Poor kid is getting the classic third-born treatment!

Why do I feel so friggin' guilty about this? I mean, seriously! It's not like it's a life-or-death thing! And it's not like she hasn't gotten treatment the others missed out on! For one, we take lots of videos of her - something we didn't do with Abby very much at all, simply for lack of the requisite equipment. Same for Grant. Plus, I worked full time, so I missed a lot of what I've taken video of with Natalie. And then Grant got more ultrasounds (prior to birth) than the girls. Poor Abby didn't get any - our insurance wouldn't pay for it! Natalie got the standard mid-point ultrasound. Grant, however, got two in-depth sonograms. Poor Abby, when we showed her Natalie's pictures, asked about hers from when she was still "in Mommy's tummy." The disappointment on her face brought on major Mommy Guilt! I found myself wishing we'd gotten one - but that would've cost us $300 or more! We didn't really have that to spare.

All of this to illustrate the things over which I tend to struggle with feeling guilty over. There are many more that come and go, depending on what we're dealing with and how I'm feeling, but those are the major ones right now. It's annoying, to say the least. There are times I get down on myself because of this stuff, but then I remind myself that these aren't major issues. Overall, we do a good job (I think) with our kids. We love them; we take good care of them; and we do our very best to make sure we do right by them. Still, there's always something that brings on the guilt. Why is that?

How about you? Do you suffer from Mommy Guilt? If so, what brings it on for you? If not, how do you manage to keep it away?
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