27 July 2008

Update

I finally posted my blog about finding out I was pregnant (it's further down). I had a few more people to tell and I didn't want them to find out from my blog.

So anyway, it's been 8 days since Mike and I found out we're going to be parents and we are VERY excited.

I will try to post pregnancy updates at least once a week. Of course I'll have thoughts and stuff to post. I had no idea that a person could be so preoccupied with something mentally so much. It's absolutely amazing. It seems like the thought "I'm pregnant" is always on my mind somewhere. When I get up, when I eat, when I'm doing something, when I'm driving. It's amazing how the Lord created us.

I did find out I can't eat chocolate anymore. Linette and I went to Sonic on the way to pick up Becca and I got a hot fudge sunday. Well, I was not even to the part where the ice cream would be even with the top of the cup and I felt sick. So I gave the rest of it to Becca. Then later I kissed Mike after he had eaten a Nutella sandwich, and I felt nauseous after tastine the chocolate on his tongue. So no chocolate for Tegan. :(

Craving: I crave Korean food. Dolsot Bee Beem Bap and Yak E Man Do. (I think that's how the latter one is spelled). It is sooooo good. :)

That's all for now. . . .

24 July 2008

You decide . . .

I saw a really interesting article. . . if Mike weren't beckoning to come to bed right now, I'd research it further. Perhaps this weekend . . . anyway, it's perhaps more ammo for the whole "please stop playing video games" arguement. :)

Playstation 2 component incites African war
Console war reaches past the couch and into the Congo, claims report.
By Ben Silverman
http://videogames.yahoo.com/feature/playstation-2-component-incites-african-war/1231745

Has the video game industry dug up its very own blood diamond?

According to a report by activist site Toward Freedom, for the past decade the search for a rare metal necessary in the manufacturing of Sony's Playstation 2 game console has fueled a brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the center of the conflict is the unrefined metallic ore, coltan. After processing, coltan turns into a powder called tantalum, which is used extensively in a wealth of western electronic devices including cell phones, computers and, of course, game consoles.

Allegedly, the demand for coltan prompted Rwandan military groups and western mining companies to plunder hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the rare metal, often by forcing prisoners-of-war and even children to work in the country's coltan mines.

"Kids in Congo were being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms," said Ex-British Parliament Member Oona King.

So where's the connection to Sony? According to Toward Freedom, during the 2000 launch of the PS2, the electronics giant was having trouble meeting consumer demand. To pump out more units, Sony required a significant increase in the production of electric capacitors, which are primarily made with tantalum. This helped drive the world price of the powder from $49/pound to a whopping $275/pound, resulting in the frenzied scouring of the Congolese hills known for being ripe with coltan.

Sony has since sworn off using tantalum acquired from the Congo, claiming that current builds of the PS2, PSP and PS3 consoles are sourced from a variety of mines in several different countries.
But according to researcher David Barouski, they're hardly off the hook.

"SONY's PlayStation 2 launch...was a big part of the huge increase in demand for coltan that began in early 1999," he explained. "SONY and other companies like it, have the benefit of plausible deniability, because the coltan ore trades hands so many times from when it is mined to when SONY gets a processed product, that a company often has no idea where the original coltan ore came from, and frankly don't care to know. But statistical analysis shows it to be nearly inconceivable that SONY made all its PlayStations without using Congolese coltan."

Currently, the Playstation 2 is the best-selling video game console of all-time, having sold through over 140 million units.

20 July 2008

And then there were three . . .

I am writing this on Sunday, July 20th, 2008 from Abby's home at Sheppard AFB, TX. I won't post it right away because I want to tell people in person. This post is to kind of retrospectively look back on things.

Yesterday I drove down to Sheppard AFB again to see Abby and the girls. Since Asher is away at OTS (Officer Training School), she has been a bit lonely. And I really miss my best friend so much. After the incredibly long week I had, I was pretty tired, so I ended up getting down a little later than planned, a little bit after 1200.

Not too long after I arrived, I asked Abby about some physical things I'd had going on and I wanted her advice. I'd been having some cramping for several weeks. I kept expecting my period to start since the cramps felt EXACTLY like pre-menstrual cramps, but it never did. Also my breasts have been really tender. Something I also experience right before my period. They're also a size bigger. So I described these symptoms to Abby and she said "Congratulations! You're pregnant!" Or something along those lines.

Of course, that thought had been in the back of mind, but it's been in the back of my mind since Mike and I got married, and I had taken a pregnancy test back in June and it was negative. (I took one because I had three dreams in a row the previous night that I was pregnant.)

I kind of doubted Abby a little and she suggested I get a pregnancy test. At first I was going to wait, but then I knew that I couldn't wait. So while the girls took a nap, Caylee and I went to the BX on base and I picked up two boxes and also some Oreo's for the girls for dessert that night (if they were good - which they were.)

Abby suggested I urinate into a disposable cup instead of just holding the stick mid-stream, so I followed her advice and grabbed a cup and headed to the bathroom.

I did my business and opened the test and stuck the absorbant end into the cup for about 15 or 20 seconds. I remember thinking I'll hold it there a few seconds extra just to make sure that I'm not pregnant.

I pulled the stick out and held it horizontally in my hand. The blue started etching across the circle. At first the white horizontal line appeared and for a few brief seconds I thought to myself: "See, I'm not pregnant." That thought lasted all of about two seconds. The vertical white line appeared almost immediately afterward. I looked at the front of the box in my left hand and back at the stick in my right hand. Then back at the box in my left hand.

Okay, a cross means positive.

There's a white cross in the little circle.

I looked back at the box and back at the stick. Nothing is changing. I'm pregnant. The first thought wasn't one of shock, or fear, or excitement. I was just kind of numb. Okay . . .

I mechanically emptied out the cup and flushed and put it in the trash. I went to the kitchen to show Abby.

"I don't think this is right." I said to her. I stood to her left, and trembling rather visibily, held up the box in my left hand and the stick in my right. I just stared at it.

"Yep, you're pregnant. Congratulations!" Abby just smiled at me and gave me a hug.

Then the tears came.

"I'm pregnant?!? How did this happen????" I cried.

"Well, . . . you know . . . have you guys been following the rules?" Asking whether Mike and I had been sticking to the rules of Natural Family Planning.

"Well, no, we've been cheating a little bit. Well, a lot." Immediately I thought of all the people I had told about Natural Family Planning and how it really does work if you follow the rules and here I was pregnant!

I'm pregnant! I hugged Abby and just held on for a few minutes. I really wished that Mike was there.

Excitement started to mix with fear. I thought about school, I thought about Betsy, who had just lost her little one in the first few weeks of pregnancy, I thought about Mike and I being parents, I thought of Abby and Asher's girls and how beautiful they are. I thought about my life was no longer my own and that everything was going to change. I worried about being too selfish to have a child.

I couldn't wait to tell Mike. As luck would have there was no answer on his phone when I called him. Mike was still TDY at Ft. Gordon, GA. I sent him a text to please call me as soon as he could.

What seemed like a long time later, but was probably only 10 minutes, he returned my call. I beat around the bush, suddenly terrified to tell Mike. Finally I got up the courage to ask if he liked the name Charlotte for a girl, or Edward for a boy? He didn't really hear me, so I had to repeat my question. "What do you mean? Are you . . . " he asked . . ."Yeah . . " "I want to hear you say it." "You're going to be a daddy." At first Mike asked "How did this happen?!?", then he got really excited. I started to get excited as Mike sounded so thrilled and excited at the news. We talked for a few minutes then got off the phone to call our parents.

I called Dad and asked him if preferred being called "Grandfather, or Grandpa, or GrandDad?" He asked if this meant I was pregnant. I told him yes, that I was, and he was so excited! If he asked if it was planned or a surprise and I told him it was a surprise. He said Congratulations and we talked about it for a few minutes. He had dropped Karen off to shop, so she wasn't with him at the time. I don't think I have ever heard Dad so excited before. He was even more excited than when I got married to Mike.

Then I called Karen on her cell, but I got her answering machine. I called Dad back and asked him to call me when he picked Karen up from shopping.

Then I tried to call Mom, but I didn't get through. I tried to send her a message telepathically to please call me. I havn't heard from her yet (I did just talk to her on Friday night), so my telepathy must be a little off. lol . . .

Ruth called me a few minutes later, absolutely thrilled, and "grinning from ear to ear" with thew news. :) We talked for a little while and she gave me some really great advice about first being a new mother and not being afraid to just say you want to hold your baby if a lot of other people want to hold it. We talked for while and Dad beeped in twice while we were talking, so after I got off the phone with Ruth, I called Dad back.

[I knew I should have brought my cell phone charger, but had decided not too, since I was only going to be gone for one night. Sure enough, I really need to charge me phone right about now. :) ]

I called Dad back and talked to Karen. I asked her if she liked to be called GrandMother, or GrandMa? She asked if this news meant anything. I said, that yes it did and that it in the spring, she would be a grandmother again. I think at first she was confused, so I just said that Mike and I had just found out that we were pregnant. Karen gave a little yell of excitement and we talked for a while about things. She was so thrilled for Mike and I.

Later that afternoon Dad called me again asking if I had talked to Thomas. I had tried to call him a few times, but hadn't been able to reach him. He said he wanted me to tell him because he was too afraid that he'd let it slip when he called Thomas later that night. It's so funny to hear Dad so excited. He sounds like a little kid at Christmas that just found he's going to get to ride in the conductor's seat on a coal train all the way to Norfolk from West Virginia.

I called Thomas and finally he answered the phone. I asked how the cats were and stuff. Then I asked him if was ready to be an uncle? He quietly asked "Are you pregnant?" "Yes, I am!" "How did this happen?!?" "Well, when a man and a woman love each other . . . " I began, jokingly. Thomas gave me the usual "okay, okay, okay." We talked for a few minutes.

After talking to family members who were all so excited, I started to get more excited too.

Now, as I write this, I am all excited and have no more fear. I have uncertainly about school and what's going to happen, but I prayed last night, and I know that the Lord has a plan, and He knows what is in store for Mike and I.

I'm pregnant. Wow . .. I'm going to be a mother. :D

God + Mike + Tegan + LOVE = a Child :D

17 July 2008

MEPS

One of the things that I do for the Red Cross is go down to the federal building to the Military Entrance Processing Station and hand out information to the service members who are about to leave for basic. I go with Gwen (the supervisor, who I also found out is a Christian today) because I'm still learning and we explain how the Red Cross can help them out. We request they return the white card filled out with their information and we mail it to their family.

I try to also talk to some of them personally; they are mostly so young, just out of high school kids really, and some of them looked scared, so I try to give them a word of encouragement. One particular young man didn't return the white card that is supposed to be filled out and I explained a little bit more. He looked down at the counter top, a little embarrassed and said that he didn't have any family here and he was just trying to leave for the military as soon as possible. Both of his parents were dead; he got a really sad look on his face. I think that he has been through a tremendous amount in his very short life so far. I encouraged him that a lot of times members of units become like family and band together to look out for one another and protect one another. He got a little smile on his face, sort of like maybe there was a glimmer of hope for him to have a family. He had a smile on his face when he walked out of the break room. I will be keeping him in my prayers and I ask that you do as well.

I was also encouraged to see another young man sitting in the back row of chairs in front of the TV, with a pocket sized Bible in his hand, and he was showing two other young men some verses in the new testament. I thought I heard the word "disciple" as I walked by. I thought that was pretty awesome.

If I wasn't volunteering with the Red Cross, I never would have gotten to see these things. I feel that the Lord is using me in ways that I haven't gotten to be used before and it is very uplifting. You never know what a genuine smile or a kind word or taking a caring minute to listen can do for a person.

Thoughts of the day

I seem to have a bad habit of making myself quite busy lately (i.e. this summer), even if I don't really want to be busy. There seems to be some underlying urge that I must be doing something; I can't just sit and rest and not do things.

Now that I am feeling fully recovered from mono (yes, it took a full year to feel 100% better), I seem to have filled by schedule so full that sometimes I find myself double booking myself. And I seem to have a new problem in life. I can't say no and do anything to get out of it. So I pray to the Lord, and the Lord has always arranged something to happen where I get a call from one scheduled thing and they move or cancel. The Lord has delivered me several times in this manner. I guess I'm just afraid to disappoint. I know how disappointed and sometimes hurt I am when people say they're coming and then cancel. Unless of course it's for a legitimate reason.

Today, however, it was pointed out to me by Phyllis that this is an internal belief system that I seem to have. By internal belief system, I mean that it seems like in order to fell self worth, I must be accomplishing something. She asked me what I thought about putting my health first in my life to which I replied that I thought it was a bit selfish when there were so many things to do. She looked a bit horrified. Isn't it selfish to put yourself about the needs of others?

Let's take this week for example:

Monday: went to UCO to complete some scholarship paperwork required by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Then stayed at school to do some other stuff to prepare for the fall. Then I went to Sam's and then to Becca's to help her edit a research paper. Then came home and made dinner for Thomas and I. Other than that, I did rest.

Tuesday: Volunteer at chapel from 0730 - 0900. Then immediately went to Gerrity Pool to volunteer with the Red Cross from 0900 - 1245. I came home and ate lunch. I did cancel plans with Marilyn because I felt so worn out and sick from being in the sun. I felt really really bad about it, especially since Jason's was working early and so wouldn't be home that evening, but I just felt so sick from the sun and tired.

Wednesday: Volunteer with Red Cross from 1245 - 1530. Came home and ate lunch. Babysat Josh from 1715 - 1830. Got ready for work and got to work at 1945. Worked until 0730 Thursday morning.

Thursday: After getting off work, got some breakfast at Jimmy's Egg. Went straight to the Red Cross (changed at work) and volunteered from 0845 - 1115. They knew I had worked the night before, so I went home early. Came home at 1140 and slept until 1410. Got up and went to go see Phyllis. Then went to Mardel's. Then came home and slept from 1745 to 1830. Got up, ate dinner and got ready for work. I arrived at work at 1945 and will work until 0800 tomorrow morning.

Next week is actually worse. On the schedule for next week:
Monday - volunteer at Red Cross from 0900-1130. Visit friend all afternoon.
Tuesday - volunteer at chapel 0730 - 0900. Work at Hillcrest teaching 0930 - 1230. Clean apartment and prepare for Mike to come home in the afternoon. (And the apartment is really messy.)
Wednesday - Work at Hillcrest (tentatively scheduled) from 1300 - 0030.
Thursday - volunteer at Red Cross from 0900 - 1515ish. Pick up Mike from airport at 1600 (YAY!!!!!!!!! :D ) Work at Hillcrest from 1945 to 0800 Friday morning.
Friday - sleep, date with Mike (I'm making plans. >:) )
Saturday - Bible study from 0730 - 0830. Help friend move in afternoon. Work at Hillcrest from 1945 to 0800 Sunday morning.
Sunday - Church 0900 - 1145. Sleep. Work at Hillcrest 1945 to 0800 Monday morning.
Monday - nothing.

Today I'm actually so tired that I feel emotionally numb.

Do I really want my schedule to this crazy and harried. No. Do I feel like I have any power to do anything about it? Absolutely not.

It is true that I find great value in accomplishing things/work/projects/etc. I've been like that my whole life. Even when I play a game (i.e. the Sims), I have to be accomplishing things. I can't just play. I have to have a purpose. Now this does make me a really hard worker. And a work-aholic. Mike hates it when I work this hard, but he's not here, and I miss him, and this makes things go by faster. I just can't seem to say no though.

It is frustrating, because it has gotten me in trouble in the past. I couldn't say no to work or whatever, and then I am working when I didn't need to be and didn't want to be. And then I feel like I am a slave to the job. Part of this may also have come from my single years when I was really poor and I would take any extra work I could get because it allowed me some financial freedom, such as buying exotic things at the grocery store like fresh fruit. Or a extra meat (I didn't eat meat every day). Or a condiment that I usually skipped to save money. (I still do have a bit of that mindset by the way and thus I feel very rich indeed when I come home with tons of fruit and fresh vegetables and steak for Mike and I.)

Anyway, Phyllis said that I need to work on erasing the belief that I am only worthy when I accomplish something. She thinks that it stems from certain things in my childhood. I have to say that I left a little bit frustrated because I have been like this my whole life. How do I change such an inate feeling? If there is a job to be done (except, ironically, cleaning the apartment), I have to get it done. I feel very frustrated.

On the way home from, I stopped at Mardel's to pick up a book called The Faith for a Bible study I'm going to start attending with my Sunday school teacher's wife. It's not actually a church-sponsored Bible study, although most attendees go to Capital Hill. Anyway, Mardel's was having a huge sale today. When you go in the store, there are little stands highlighting specials of the week. Well, there were a lot of books marked down to $4.99 - 7.99. Books that are normally ranging from $13 to $30. So, naturally, I splurged and bought some books. I think I saved about $100. One book in particularly practically jumped out me: Woman to Woman by Joyce Meyer. After I picked it up and read the back cover, it seemed like the Lord put that book there just for me.

The back cover to the book states "Frustrated, frantic and frazzled?" (Yes, yes, yes.) Reading on: "Today's woman lives in a fast-paced, high-pressure world. The challenges of career, finances, marriage, raising children, and other urgent demands limit personal privacy and crowd out her quality time with God. It is no wonder that she is frustrated and under pressure. (Hey! That's me! Except for the raising children part.) Skipping down to the last paragraph: "Joyce explains how she overcame the devasting effects of being abused in her childhood. The intimate details of her transformation from unhappy, hurting victim to victorious woman of God will bring you hope and help you cope with your own circumstances and find your place in God's will." (That paragraph really got me.) Then there's a quote from Joyce: "You are a rare, one-of-a-kind, valuable woman, and God wants to help you become all that you can be. Then He wants to use your unique abilities to share His love in your little corner of the world." (I felt like the Lord had taken me from where Phyllis had just told me that I was a valuable person and I needed to work to get over the belief that I had to accomplish something straight to this book.)

So I bought the book. It was nice that it was $5 too. :)

I started reading it tonight at work (that's where I am now - all the patients have gone to sleep), and immediately I feel like the Lord is talking to me through her book.

For example:
She suggests starting each day quoting Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the Lord has made. [I] will rejoice and be glad in it."

Reading into the next chapter, I felt like my story about nursing school being pushed back was right there between the lines. From Woman to Woman: "We are afraid we will not get what we desire . . . [I] shoudld wait on His perfect timing to bring to me those things that He knew were best for me" . . . . (We should learn to trust God) . . . I do now trust the Lord that He has a plan for me (Jer 29:11) and that He knows the desires of my heart even better than I do (Jer 33:3).

Joyce also talks about the Lord's trust keeping us in perfect peace, just as it did for Paul. And that the Lord delights in a contented child.

I stopped with that chapter because I wanted to do my daily reading before I went any further. I'm still in Deuteronomy, and I was reading about the Israelites the chosen people and even when they were wandering in the desert, they did want for anything. I saw a parallel to my life in the last year and it seemed to be summed up in the following verses:

"And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. . . . You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you." Deut 8:2-3,5 The passage then goes on to show how the Lord will bring the Israelites into a land of plentiful. There's such hope and promise in these verses and it's so wonderful to know what an awesome, merciful God we love and serve.

I also came across this verse: "Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments." Deut 7:9 I remember the first time I read that verse, sometime in late 2006. I wrote it on my white board in my apartment so I could be reminded of God's love every day. Those words have brought such warmth and love and hope in the Lord.

I am also reading in Luke, and wouldn't you know, the passage was Jesus talking about a number of different things. One of the things that He talked about was not worrying (as you probably know, I am a huge worrier). One verse that really stood out was Luke 12:29 "And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, not have an anxious mind." I immediately thought of Phil 4:6 ("Do not be anxious about anything . . . )

So to sum up from where I started with this blog: I feel that I was pointed something out that I had almost always looked upon as a positive, but in reality, is actually a negative because it is really starting to interfere with how I want to live my life. (This summer was supposed to be about resting, and staying home to make Mike lunch often and studying the Word a lot.) Have any of those things happened? Not the way that I had planned or wanted. However, the Lord is merciful, and I know that He is teaching me and showing me things. He is already teaching me and showing me in His Word and through others.

16 July 2008

Leaning

While Mike has been gone, I admit that I have felt a bit lost and lonely without him around. We really enjoy each others' company quite a bit, so we often spend most of our time at home hanging out with one another just doing things or talking or being close or laughing and joking around. I would say that we have a very happy and loving marriage. So I'm sure you can see that without Mike around, the apartment has not felt as alive as it normally does. And of course Eowyn and Missy are always by the door meowing at lunch time (Mike comes home for lunch every day and he always plays with them while he is home) and the time when Mike comes home from work. I think they really miss.

While Mike has been gone, I have found myself leaning a lot more on the Lord. I feel comforted by Him and talk to Him a lot. I love the confidence in Christ that I have that I am not really alone, Jesus is right there with me. It's a quiet inner peace that I'm not sure I've experienced in this way before. Lately the Lord has been showing such kindness, mercy and love to me and I feel very warm and loved. Normally I think that He does through Mike. Now that Mike is not in the immediate proximity, or, the state, I feel the Lord's love in a different way. It is of great comfort to me.

I came across some really great verses tonight in my reading that I wanted to write down for later reflection:

Deuteronomy 4:7 "For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?"

Deut 4:29-31 "But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice, (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them."

Even though these latter two three verses are talking about the people of Israel and warning them to stay away from idolatry or they will be destroyed, I think there is relevance in those words today and I take comfort in them.

Deut 4:39-40 "Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command to you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which theLord your God is giving you for all time."

Deut 6:5-9 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on your doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Luke 11:9-10 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

I have been seeking comfort and peace while Mike is gone and I have received it. Praise the Lord! What an awesome God we serve and love!

Update

Just a quick update before I leave for a Red Cross Disaster Education talk.

Mike is at Ft. Gordan, and he is doing all right. His classes are from 1700 - 0200 EST unless they get out early, which so far they have been getting out by 2300 or so every evening.

He actually returns the 24th, not the 23rd. :( I had to reset my 10 day clock and start counting all over again!!

I really miss him of course and the apartment has been pretty lonely without him here, even though Thomas is here. Thomas mostly just stays holed up in his room playing video games with the door locked and instructions that he doesn't want to be bother. Say it with me now: Depressed.

Anyway, yesterday I was at Gerrity Pool for about 4 hours working a Red Cross event called the Tinker Swim-A-Cross. Basically I counted laps that people were swimming as they raised money for the Red Cross. It was really hot outside, but there was a nice breeze, so it wasn't too bad.

Before that, I volunteered at the chapel like I do every Tuesday morning. I have made a friend there. He's in the Air Force and says he's a Christian. I have invited him to Bible study several times and have even given him Joe and Mike's phone numbers (not mine, as I don't think it's appropriate for woman to recruit men and vise versa because usually they come for the wrong reasons), but he has declined. From what he has told me about his life, he is one hurt guy that needs a lot of Christian love. I cannot imagine the pain from some of the things that this young man has been through. However, in the hour or so a week that I see him, he seems to trust me and has told me things that I doubt he has told many other people. Please keep him in your prayers. He's at the chapel from security forces because he got shot last spring and is recovering.

Well, I have to go and finish getting ready.

13 July 2008

Mike's TDY

Mike left early this morning (I took him to meet his ride on base at 0540 this morning) for Ft. Gordon, GA, for some QHSAT training. He'll be gone until the 23rd. I know it's only 10 days, but I really miss him so much already. I feel very hollow inside without my other half around.

06 July 2008

Answered prayer

I got a reply in the mail yesterday from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. I received a scholarship from them!! And it was enough so that I don't have to pay for any part of my schooling for the next whole school year! Including books, school uniforms, tuition, fees, insurance and all the other miscellaneous things that nursing students have to have additional money for!

Praise the Lord! He answered my prayer!! :D

With everything that has happened this past year, this feel like validation that the Lord has me right where He wants me to be! :D

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." James 1: 2-6

"And my God will meet all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:19

Happy 4th of July!! :D

We went out to Dave's parents house out in Chickasha for the 4th. It was really great being out in the beautiful Oklahoma countryside. The weather was great too. Not too hot at all. Hardly any wind, which is a good thing.
Here is Mike and Thomas at our "spot" for the fireworks.
Tom (my boss) put on a suprise Elvis show. Actually, I've known about it for several weeks, but it was a surprise for everyone else. :)
He is really, really good. Sounds just like Elvis. He could probably make millions out in Vegas. He had everyone clapping and some of the women swooning and dancing. It was definitely a good show.
There was a lot of food out too. Fried catfish with hushpuppies, fried chicken, salads, chips, cookies, cakes, donuts, hotdogs. It was really great!

The fellowship was really great too. I think that just about everyone out there was a Christian. It was definitely a good time had by all. And it was nice to see that there wasn't any alcohol out there too.
After the Elvis show, the fireworks started, which lasted over an hour, easily.

About halfway through the fireworks show, some of the fireworks went into a nearby field instead of up into the air, catching the field on fire. Within minutes, there was a huge blaze.
And of course, Thomas was one of the first ones to run over to help out the fire out. I can understand his heart to help, so I just prayed the Lord would keep him safe.
Luckily they had a firehose out there just in case something like that happened.

This picture is when the blaze was starting to die down a bit. If you look closely, you can see Thomas right there in the middle of it.
After the fire was put out, the fireworks started again. Although I had a hard time enjoying them after the fire.

All in all, it was a pretty good night. Good time, good fellowship. Dave's Dad gave a little speech about how our founding fathers looked to the Lord for guidance, and the nation was founded on Christian principles. I was glad that we were in Christian fellowship for the 4th. I think that true Christians (along with military personnel) understand what our country was really founded on and what freedom really means more than any other peoples.

03 July 2008

One down . . .


. . . many more to go.

I mean projects for the summer. Not beds. :)

I just wanted to post these pictures for posterity. After Mike
and I went to Brady's wedding and stayed at the Hitching Post Inn, Mike really wanted me to get more pillows for our bed and a comforter, as opposed to my mink blanket. So this is what I created. :) And all for under $60. Okay, I already had the curtains. But still, I rather like it. :) And the comforter is reversible, with cream on the other side.

I do have ideas to put curtains hanging from the ceiling, making it have the feel of a medeival, four poster bed or something . . .

Comments anyone?

Missy in a basket


Yesterday at lunch, Missy decided to curl up in the basket that I had sitting under the table. Well, Mike, being the wonderful cat lover that he is, decided to drag the basket up and play with Missy in it. I love this picture. They are so cute together and I like to think that they love to play together. :)

Later Eowyn came over after seeing all the fuss and tried to get into the basket, but she was too big to fit the handles over and pick up. She was still so cute though.


Red Cross

It's official! I'm an American Red Cross Volunteer! (see picture)

Actually, it was official a few weeks ago, according to all the paperwork I've signed. And I think my official designation is Intern.
I think I wrote about my first full day volunteering with the Red Cross, when I went to the community disaster education talk that Susan gave.
I have to say that I really enjoy working/volunteering with the Red Cross. Everyone there has such a servant attitude and everyone is there to help. In most offices there always seems to be a complainer or someone who doesn't want to be there. It just isn't like that at the Red Cross. I would say that a good bit of the volunteers are Christians. Even though the Red Cross is supposed to cross all religious lines and be religiously neutral, I can definitely see the Christ-like values that are an integral part of the who the Red Cross is and what they do.
I've taken a few of the training courses so far, and I feel like I've been learning so much! Today our chapter had the national call center telephone lines to answer for a few hours, so I learned how to do that. There are certain chapters that are contracted to answer the national hotline for a few hours every few weeks. However, because of the flooding in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and the tornado in Nebraska and the California wild fires, we were called to answer the national hotline for an extra time. I even took a few live phone calls and got to help people out with assistance from the floods in Iowa! It was so great to be able to talk directly to the people and give them reassurance that the Red Cross can help them and then within minutes direct them to exactly where to go for food or clothing assistance or whatever it was that they needed. One lady even started crying after I told her where she could get food and clothes for her two children. They had lost everything in the flood. I felt really bad for them that they had lost everything, but also glad that I got to be the reassuring voice that was able to direct her where to get the things that she needed.
Other things that I do for the Red Cross - I go to MEPS and give all the recruits getting ready to leave for basic training a card to fill out in case the family needs to reach them in an emergency. Then they give that card back to me and the Red Cross mails it to the families. Most of them are leaving that day for basic training. It was pretty neat to see the other end of the military side of things. Eventually they are going to train me to do military casework. Military casework is when a family member needs to reach someone in the military, say a son in Iraq, because of a family emergency. And the system works. It's pretty neat.
Tonight I went to a training class for the DAT or Disaster Action Team. Basically this team has members who are on standby 24/7 for small disasters in the community. Over 90% of these disasters are single house fires. So if the fire department calls the Red Cross for a house fire, they send out a page or a phone call and two or more Red Cross volunteers go out to assess the damage to the house (to see if the family needs a voucher for food and/or clothing) and if they need immediate assistance with shelter. The Red Cross can put up a family in a hotel for up to 3 days and possible help them out with other expenses. The volunteers also hand out water, coffee and snacks to the family and also to the fire department. In winter, they can hand out blankets. This weekend I am on call to observe to see if this is something that I want to do. I'm not sure how I'll handle a case emotionally that involves small children or fatality. The DAT also responds to your basic natural disasters, hazmat disasters, grass fires, 3-alarm fires, apartment fires, police stand offs and so on. They can also send out DAT members nationally. For example, there are a few teams that are up in the midwest where all the flooding is.
For now, the bottom line is that I really enjoy volunteering for the Red Cross. So far, I haven't found anything that I don't like doing. And I really enjoy all the people who work/volunteer there. It's really neat that some of the volunteers have been volunteering for years and years and give so freely of their time. What a gift to their community and a what a blessing the Red Cross is to so many families.

01 July 2008

Stressed

So I had a lot of things on my plate for this week. Among them was a CPR for Healthcare Providers re-certification course, which, by the way, is past due by about 2.5 weeks.

The course is at Francis Tuttle Technology Center, to which there are four campuses, most of them on the northwestern part of Oklahoma City.

To help explain some of the stress, I will back up to yesterdays events.

Just a typical Monday. Went to the commissary with Marilyn and we got to hang out while we shopped. :) That was fun. I was worried about getting pulled over for the break lights not working in Mike's car, and that was stressful, even though it was a minor thing I kept trying to push in the back of my mind.

Why was I driving Mike's Buick you might ask? Well, because the break lights went out the other day (all of them) and being the wifey that I am that stays at home, I offered to take it to the shop for Mike to get that fixed and also to get an oil change.

So yesterday afternoon, while Mike was at work, I took his car to Dean's Shamrock, where I have been taking my vehicle ever since I found out about him. He's a Christian and he's got a good reputation, so I feel that I can trust my vehicles in his hands. And he's been in business for quite a while, that alone says he's a good businessman and knows what he is doing.

I waited the hour and a half or so and just read my ANA magazine that I brought with me. There was a really exciting article about microorganisms and infectious diseases that I can get nursing credit for school for.

The problem with the break lights was that the toggle switch or something went out and they had to order the part. So that got ordered and replaced and all was finished and off I went to go home to the four loads of laundry waiting for me.

Traffic was somewhat slow for late afternoon Monday in the small town of Midwest City. So I was a little more than halfway home when I realized that the car was acting pretty sluggish. And it wouldn't go over 35 mph. So I decided to play it safe and turn around and head back to Dean's. Pulling over into the turning lane for Heritage Park Mall I heard a distinctly loud "POP" that sounded like metal cracking and breaking and then smelled something burning.

Big problem.

Good thing there was a parking lot was right there and there was no traffic to wait on to cross the road.

I pulled into the parking lot, park the car, turn off the engine and get out. I bend down to inspect under the car, half expecting a metal part to be hanging down. Everything appears to be in place. I do know that a multitude of problems can hide very well in a car though, especially to the untrained eye. I didn't bother to pop the hood because, really, who am I fooling? I can't tell when something looks out of place, especially on a computerized model like a Buick.

The car still starts, so I decide to call Thomas and have him follow me back to Dean's just to be safe. No answer. I call again. No answer. I call a third time. Still no answer.

Pushing back my frustration that he's probably asleep even though it's around 2:30(!!!!!) in the afternoon, I call Michelle. While calling, I decide to walk into the mall to get a drink. Just as Joe answers the phone, I step into the mall and my voice sounds all echoey because this particular mall is mostly desolate of stores and abandoned of shoppers. Michelle was busy with something, so I explained the situation to Joe and I just needed someone to follow me back to Dean's. He said Michelle would come out in a few minutes.

I walked around the mall looking for a bookstore. There isn't one so I turn around and head back toward the way I came and get a drink at Chick-Fil-A.

Michelle calls and I go to meet her at the car. She swears it's deathly hot or something outside (she's from Massachusetts though). I disagreed, it was only 94 degrees. Not even close to 100 yet. I explained the situation and got into the car. Michelle backs up and patiently waits for me to pull out of the parking space.

The car starts just fine. I try to put it in gear and the stick is stuck. Will not budge from park. At all.

That's new.

I turn off the car and turn it back on. The stick works this time and slips easily into gear, just like it's supposed to. I push on the gas just like normal.

Nothing.

I double check that I'm not in neutral or the gear hasn't slipped halfway between gears. Check, it's in reverse. I push the gas again, a little harder this time.

Still nothing.

I put the car in park, put on the E-brake, take off the E-brake, and put the car in reverse again.

Doesn't budge.

I put the car in drive.

No go there either.

Okay, so the car isn't going to move. I decide to give up and get out of the car and ask Michelle to just take me home.

So Michelle takes me home. She does have a surprise for me though. When she was home in MA last week, she found these two stunning, brightly painted horses from Sweden. She thought of me when she found them and brought them back for me. They are really gorgeous! (I'll have to post a pic later.)

When I get home I call Dean and tell him what happened. I had been debating on the way home silently to myself whether I should call USAA or call Dean directly to have the car towed. In the end, I decided to call Dean and find out what he would charge to have it towed back to his place.

He said to put the keys under the seat and he would come out and pick it up.

"Sure," I say, as I look down at the car keys in my hand, which is in the apartment, which is a few miles from where the car is.

Luckily Thomas was indeed awake when I came home, (he had been in the shower when I called), so he took me back up to the car. I debated waiting until Dean got there with the wrecker, then realized that if someone was going to steal the car, what where they going to do with it? It wouldn't go anywhere.

Later Dean called and told me that the brake switch they had replaced was too long and essentially was holding the brake down the whole time. Dean said he would replace the switch and also the brakes and it would be ready in the morning.

Well, it wasn't quite ready in the morning.

Because I had taken Mike to work in the morning before going to the chapel to volunteer, he needed a ride home; possibly. Finally he sent me a text to say that he did indeed need a ride. I knew it would be cutting it pretty close between picking him up and getting him to Dean's and then driving all the way to NW Rockwell for my CPR class. It takes about 45 minutes to get there, and it was rushhour when I had to leave for the class.

We got to Dean's just fine and Mike picked up his car and I dashed off to head to my class.

Of course there was construction on the way and I had to wait on long lights and all of that.

I tried not to get impatient. I just hate to be late for things, especially things like classes.

Well, 45 minutes later I arrived at the Rockwell Campus of Francis Tuttle Technology Center, just four minutes before the class in supposed to start. I had decided to bring my water bottle in with me and when I get to the door I see the sign that says no food or drink allowed. So I go back out to my truck, toss the bottle inside and go back into the building. Three minutes to spare.

I go up to the reception desk and inquire about where the class is located. I recognized the classrooms from when I took the class there last year.

The receptionist looks up at me a little confused and says: "I don't think I have a CPR class scheduled for tonight. There's no one here for that."

I clarify that I was there for the CPR for Healthcare Providers.

She refers to her scheduling book and confirms that indeed there was no such class there tonight.

I grab the little summer schedule booklet from the nearby bookrack and hastily flip to the HealthCare Classes section.

Next to all the times and dates of the classes are little blue blocks with two white letters printed on them. The one next to todays' date says "RN" to indicate the class is at the Reno Campus.

As opposed to "RW" for Rockwell.

I ask directions and ask if it's possible that she can call them to let them know I'll be late. She says she'll try, but she doesn't think she'll be able to get through.

As I head out to my truck and turn onto Rockwell, I realize that it's going to be at least 20 minutes before I get to the class. And since I really hate being late, I decided to call Francis Tuttle and just see if I can reschedule. Still driving towards the other campus, I find I am able to reschedule to a later date. So I do just as I am able to get off the exit to take me towards the east side of town on a different highway.

Relieved, I get that all taken care of head home. So now I'm just venting. It helps. :)

The biggest stress about the whole thing is being on time. I don't like have to rush around and make it to a destination breathlessly late. I would rather be early and calmly watch everyone else arrive breathlessly late. And I also had to wait hours longer than expected, so there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding how Mike would get home, if I would be able to pick his car up at all tonight (so he could have it to take to work tomorrow), and if all of that would cause me to be late to my class.

I used to get really stressed out when other people would arrive late for something that I was part of, but being friends with Abby and Michelle has taught me to calm down quite a bit when it comes to that. Now it hardly bothers me at all.

However when it comes to me being late, I can't stand it. Honestly, it makes me feel like I have more control of the situation if I am early. If something unexpected happens, such as a traffic jam from a car accident, I have leeway minutes. It has come in handy. If I'm early for school, I can review notes or something while I wait for others to get there. And if the class is moved, I have time to find it. (That has come in handy several times.)

I suppose that this intense desire to be early has come from being raised in a Marine family where on Marine bases where if you're not 15 minutes early for an appointment, you're late. It would be nice if everyone lived by the same policy, but I have lived and worked in the civilian world long enough to know that is never going to happen. Most people run late for things.

Anyway, whenever I think I'm going to be late (i.e. make it on time or barely on time), I really stress out on the way there. My limbic system just can't help it.

So that is why I am so stressed out tonight.

Hopefully tomorrow won't be so bad. :)