Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A few of random thoughts....

1) We can't go diving this weekend:( I'm SO bummed! I have a bit of a cold this week & you can't dive if you're congested (you can't equalize when you're congested so it's very dangerous). We will reschedule for some time in July; I'll keep you posted.

2) I officially stopped pumping today. I plan to continue nursing in the mornings & evenings, but he can stick with formula over the next couple of months. I just can't pump enough during the day & I hate pumping anyway (I do love nursing though). He's about 10 1/2 months, that's a good run, so I'm okay with this decision. Besides, we're transitioning to table foods now so he'll probably become disinterested in breastmilk & formula soon anyway. Unfortunately, he's a late teether so the transition is taking a while.

3) Today two things happened to me at work. One reminds me what I hate about my job & the other why I love it. At about 10:15 this morning I had the unpleasant task of advising a car dealer (one of our customers) that he sent me the wrong backup for some invoices he shortpaid. He's a big jerk-face & said, "Look, you're bugging the hell out of me about this." I said, "I know, but I have to get this resolv -" & then he hung up on me. It was an upsetting conversation, but now I feel less bad for making the balances collectible since he's a complete ass. I sound like a 12 year old on the phone. Far from threatening. What the heck did I do to elicit such a response? I'm trying to help him out & was even prepared to credit balances he deserves to pay for. Well, now he's the Collector's problem. Sucks for him. The second event happened minutes later in my quarterly meeting with my boss. It went fantastic! She said she was very proud of me & I'm doing a great job. It's nice getting pats on the back. This is my first meeting since my promotion in April, so this is about the best news I can get at work. My goal is to get another promotion this time next year. More money equals more babies. I really do love my job, though.

That's it for now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm really angry right now. I don't feel comfortable talking about it here, though. I'd hate for those I'm pissed at to see it. Especially since I'll get over it soon enough, I'm sure. Really it would just cause an unecessary fued over stupid, petty things. There is something seriously wrong with my Heart. God, please free me from these negative feelings; I don't want to be angry. My identity lies in You & You alone. Help me to rest that fact.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I’m not convicted enough to stop buying Starbucks coffee

So I went to Long Beach with a few fellow Lifers on Saturday – there were 7 of us in all (plus Solomon, so I guess it was actually 8). I feel I don’t really have much to report this time. I was deeply touched by those we came in contact with. My heart broke for these people & I was so grateful to have an opportunity to reach out to them. We walked along this river, on a bike path, & it’s so crazy because there are SO many homeless people living here & all day long non-homeless people are riding bicycles back & forth, not even giving a second glance to the residents. Boy did we catch some attention though. Most of the bikers riding by would go right past us, jerk their heads back so they can watch us, all the while still moving forward & never slowing down. A few of these inhabitants are simply mentally unstable; some were heavy drug users; others were just “stuck” there due to poor living & financial situations.

One lady we met, “Shorty,” spent the most time with us. She shared how she got stuck living there – she & her boyfriend/husband split up so she had to move out. She had a job & a home, but living in Southern California is really expensive, so it isn’t hard to fall behind your bills & lose everything when you’re on your own. (Especially when you don't have equal opportunities that, say, a middle class white girl has.) The two of them have 3 children together, but since she could’t support them & ended up living on the streets, she hasn’t seen them in a very long time. She told us she talked to her daughter on her birthday & she asked her daughter what she wanted. She told Shorty that what she wanted could’t be put in the mail; she just wants her mommy to come home & take care of her. She was very emotional when telling her story. Who can blame her? I was even feeling a little guilty for having my child with us as he could be a reminder to her of what she’s lost. Shorty told us that she used to be on dope but she hasn’t used in a long time. Her current boyfriend, James, along with her brother, Jesse (who are also homeless), are now in jail because they were wrongfully accused of robbery. It was reported that a couple of Hispanics just robbed a home & the two of them were looking for food in a nearby dumpster. Some police found them in the vicinity & saw that they were two Hispanic males so they took them into custody. So now Shorty is literally by herself on the streets. We asked her if we could pray for her so we gathered around, placed our hands on her, & prayed for her for quite a while.

The people who live along the river are very resourceful. They can seriously build homes out of trash – totally pimped out & everything, no joke! I wasn’t able to see the ones that were pimped out because we had to climb down these rocks, down to the water, but since I had the stroller, I stayed on the bike path. Jason told me about these homes, so it’s trust worthy second-hand information. One guy actually took wood & built a house against the cement wall, for him & his wife.

I was moved by the people we met & am excited to make this a regular part of my life. I still don’t feel convicted about drinking SBUX coffee everyday, though. God has blessed me immensely with my job, my family, & finances. I guess since we stretch ourselves to give financially on a regular basis, I don’t feel bad about enjoying one pleasure each day. Maybe I could give up coffee & give the money I save to someone who needs it more, but I think what would be more challenging, & more sacrificial for me, is to give up my time & energy. Anyone can write a check. But there’s a bigger calling here, which is what I feel God leading me into. I need to physically be the hands & feet of Jesus.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I'm super pissed about my last blog. The Grasshopper blog posted is not the original blog. I lost the original blog when I accidentally left the site, checking on a link I was adding. And it wasn't like I was at the beginning of the blog when this happened, or even in the middle. I was at the friggin' end of it. I was finished! It's moments like this when I hate Macs. You can't toggle on Macs, so had I been using my computer instead of Jason's, it probably wouldn't have happened. Damn it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Am A Grasshopper

Are you familiar with the fable about the Ant & the Grasshopper? If you aren't, then you should read it as the title of this blog will make much more sense.

Anyway, I really identify with the grasshopper. All he wants is to be carefree, & not worry about anything other than his own momentary pleasures. That is the core of me. I am a narcissist who wants what I want without consideration for anyone else. As mewithoutYou, in January 1979, puts it, "I've grown overfed, unconcerned, & comfortably numb." Well, God is now calling me out of my "comfortable" lifestyle (or at least now I'm listening), & quite frankly, I am not that okay with it. But we, as followers of Christ, are to be blessings to others in response to the blessings He has given us. I, for one, have been hoarding all the Goods.

Over the course of the past year, God has been working on my heart. I feel He is calling me to serve the homeless.
Looking back I can point to specific moments regarding this calling & confidently say, "Yep. That, there? That was God." If you know anything about me, you would be aware that I lived in the suburbs of Baltimore for many years. There, you see homeless people all the time, right outside your neighborhood, & you become desensitized toward them. I did not care about homeless people & never felt compassion for them in any way. I would think things such as, "Why can't they just get jobs?" or, worse yet, "Hey, sucks to be you, huh Buddy?!" I can't believe how terrible & uncaring I was toward them. It's a miracle I'm even recognizing God's direction on this now. This has been a very long, drawn-out process, but like I said, God's been working on my heart for (at least) the past year.

So, what am I doing about this? Glad you asked. I'm doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. I still spend $2 a day on my coffee at SBUX without batting an eye. That's more than $50 a month which could easily be used to support another child through World Vision, or perhaps increase the amount we give to our friend, Terri, as we've been supporting her through the Great Commission Ministry for several years now. But, no. I gotta have my fix. I can't believe SBUX is such a huge, spiritual issue for me. It seems I'm storing my riches in the kingdom of Howard Schultz.

I do have some good news though. I've successfully ignored God for quite some time, but I'm going to actually pick up the phone tomorrow, instead of asking Him to leave a message at the beep. Most Saturdays, a few people in our Life Group (our small group at church - going forward you may see me refer to them as either "groupies" or "lifers") go up to Long Beach to serve sack lunches & hang out with some homeless people. I will be joining them tomorrow. I must admit, I'm a little apprehensive about this. Yeah. Not really okay with this.

Well God, You called me into this, & You promise to show up when we obey, so You'd better be there tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We have 2 cats, Gabe & Lucy, that I dearly love.

However, we now have Solomon who I love more. We rescued Gabe & Lucy from a shelter in Irvine when we first moved to SoCal 3 years ago. They were already seniors when we got them - Gabe was 10 & Lucy was 9 - so it isn't like they have a lot of miles left on them at this point. Lately, for the past few months, it's felt more burdensome to care for the cats. Pretty much since Solomon has become mobile. They are low-maintenance cats & don't really require that much work, but Solomon is a handful so any additional work makes things stressful. (Although I would never admit that to Jason as I badly want to have another baby now!) On top of that, Gabe is Solomon's favorite toy. He can't catch Lucy; she's too spry. He pulls Gabe's fur & tail anytime he's within reach. I can't say I feel that sorry for Gabe though because he practically asks for the beatings. He always wants to be where we are, knowing full well that the child is there too, & he doesn't make an effort to get away once the abuse ensues. I have to give him an ounce of credit though - he doesn't retaliate. Another thing, that never bothered us prior to having a child, is the cat fur. It's everywhere. Anyone who owns a furry pet is well aware that there is nothing you can do about it. Everything goes in Solomon's mouth, thus he's probably eating a good amount of cat fur in the process. Yuck. I refuse to get rid of them though! I told Jason we will not get rid of the cats because we made a lifetime commitment to them. We did not invite them to be a part of our family conditionally. The only way I'd be okay with getting rid of them is if we found one or 2 friends (or friends of friends) who would be willing to take them. Someone we can trust, who will love them & care for them. They will never go back to a shelter.

Monday, June 11, 2007

When did we become so lame?

Last Wednesday Jason & I went to see my favorite band, mewithoutYou. I was really excited to see them again, but at the same time, I was dreading driving all the way to Pomona & being around kids who were nearly 10 years younger than me. I barely look old enough to drive, myself. Maybe that's why I dislike hanging around kids who really are barely old enough to drive. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind looking so young. I just don't want people to think I really am that young. Maybe I'll sing a different tune 10 years from now. Who knows?

Anyway, on the way to the show I turned & asked Jason, "When did we become so lame?" I used to LOVE going to shows & seeing different bands perform. Now, I hate being in crowds. I'd rather stay in the comforts of my home & watch Court TV or TBS all evening. Now, I hate staying up past 10 o'clock. I get up at 5 every morning to get Solomon & myself ready for daycare & work. Now, as I mentioned above, I hate hanging around teenagers. It wasn't really that long ago when I was one myself. Now, Jason & I are tired all the time. We're too young to feel this way!

I feel like I'm in a weird place in life. You know? I'm still really young, but I'm too old for the "childish" things I love to do. I guess by marrying & having children early in life you forfeit those freedoms (that is NOT a complaint, by the way). A good example of this issue, that validates my feelings, is our church's college group. They categorize the college age group as "18 - 26 year olds." Jason & I have been in that category since we moved out here 3 years ago, but we've never felt a part of that group. Being married & having a kid greatly widens the gap between you & your single peers. We've been very fortunate with our close friends; the fact that we're married with a child doesn't hinder those relationships much. We just don't go out much anymore. Like I said though, we're lame.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Maria is officially old today.

Maria Stewart turned 25 today. Although, she's probably been telling people she's 25 for the past 5 or 6 months now. She likes to round up. Each year she shares her birthday with her husband, Chad, who turned 27 today. So maybe it's Chad who's sharing his birthday since his came first. In any case, as of this year, not only does she share this day with Chad, but now her oldest sister, Shani, will have her wedding anniversary on this day from here on out.

Let me tell you a little story about how I came to dedicate an entire blog about this girl...

Maria & I have been friends since the summer of our senior year of high school, right after graduation (we went to different schools). We knew of each other for many years prior to that though, thanks to Davey Brickman. Maria loathed me & I was indifferent toward her up until that fateful week of church camp. We rode in separate vans the whole way to Centrifuge at North Greenville College & Maria trash-talked me the entire trip. Then she decided the only way she was going to like me is if she forced herself to love me & asked me to room with her. At first I told her no, but eventually she won me over. The first couple of days were really awkward & we didn't talk much. Then one night, we ended up staying awake nearly all night talking about Davey Brickman (he was my best friend at the time & Maria was his on-again-off-again flame - apparently this is part of the reason she hated me). Who knew there was enough to be said regarding Dave that would necessitate an entire night of conversation?

Later that summer Maria moved into my parents house & I shared my bedroom with her (we even had bunkbeds at one point!) for 2 1/2 years. Most of the time it was great, but at others, not so much. As is the case for any 2 people sharing one room every single day for 2 1/2 years. She became my best friend & a sister to me.

Then she & Chad started dating in December '02 & shortly thereafter moved out & got married. During this time we stopped talking to each other. I'm still, to this day, not completely sure why we grew apart. Fortunately, this didn't last long & we got over whatever it was that came between us.

Now we live 3000 miles apart as Jason & I moved to SoCal for his PhD program. We still talk quite frequently. I'd say, about once a week. I think I talk to her more often than my entire family combined - that's a whole freakin' lot of people. If you've ever read Maria's blog or either of our myspace comments, you would know we tell one another that we miss the other all the time. Maria says we're totally gay. I'm okay with that. So Maria, if you read this blog, Happy 25th & I miss you.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Our 3 year anniversary is just a few weeks away. I told Jason I really want to go diving. I haven't been diving in 2 years! I suggested we go to Catalina Island since beach diving sucks (unless, of course, you're on some tropical island). The last time I went diving was at Grand Cayman Island. It was the best place I'd ever been diving. The water was so warm, I just wore a rash guard. You could see about 80 to 100 feet away. Perfectly blue water. We saw a wide variety of colorful tropical fish, barracudas, lobsters, sting rays, eels. Breathtaking. Diving gives me this complete euphoric feeling like nothing else does. I feel so special, like I'm a part of a club or something. I know that sounds ridiculous until you understand the context of that statement. Not many people get to enjoy this part of God's creation. I get to see & be immersed in a place most people can only experience through pictures in books. If you ever have a chance to go SCUBA diving, do it.

Alas, we do not have the time or the money to go to a place such as the Caymans this year. I will have to dive in cold, murky water, in a thick 7mm full body suit. I will probably only see Garibaldis (Cali's state fish), an underwater field of sea cucumbers, & a plethora of other fish I can't identify. Maybe if I'm lucky I will spot a sea lion or two. (We had the pleasure of diving with a handful of sea lions in Monterrey Bay for our first anniversary.) I should probably just be grateful to have an opportunity to dive at all. I can't wait to get back in the water! I will tell you all about it after the trip!