Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We Have Arrived in Washington!

We are in Everett, Washington! We made it safely on the last leg of our trip with no car problems but a ton of beautiful scenery. We left Monday morning from a rainy Nampa, Idaho with lovely Springish weather and literally drove into Winter as you can tell by the photo below once we got up into the Oregon mountains. It was beautiful and the two younger girls enjoyed themselves a lot. We let Sarah stay to visit with Grandma Mary and she will join us a week from this Friday/Saturday. She's having a good time and she's been able to spend quality time with Uncle Andy and her cousin Jordan. I'm not sure what poor Gus (Grandma Mary's German shepherd), will do once she's gone. Sarah brushes him every night and plays with him till he can't stand.
Anyway, we arrived in the middle of rush hour traffic and quickly discovered the joys of having 2 or more people in the car meant you could drive in the car pool lane which didn't slow down quite as rapidly or often as the other lanes of traffic. Tuesday, we went and spent time getting to know a friend from Facebook, Patty Kraft and her younger children. They are coming over so the kids can get to know each other better this weekend and hang out and swim at the hotel swimming pool.
Wednesday, saw us meeting with Heather Boetler - she is a professional apartment/house hunter that was contracted by Boeing to help us find an apartment. She did an excellent job and while our new apartment is in actuality smaller than our former house (it was 998 sq ft and the apartment is 920 sq. ft.) it has closets. We figure even if we stay there for a year or so once we've gotten caught up on all of our other bills and the things we got behind on because Chris was unemployed and I couldn't find work either - then we can look at a bigger place. I am going to want a place with a washer and dryer hook up after one year of paying to do my laundry. However, even though the new apartment is a bit small, it is in a small apartment community - which is nice and the management is very nice and friendly there. Cindy the manager has a three grandchildren that one of her daughter's and son-in-law adopted who have special needs so she was quite taken with Elizabeth and Beka.
Thursday (today) saw us contacting Graebel Moving Company and arranging for our stuff to be moved in to our new apartment. We take possession of our new place April 11th! The girls are excited - there are ducks and geese in the pond next to our apartment. There is a fence that keeps them out of the water, so that is helps ease some of the anxiety I would have felt if they didn't have a gate and there is a small playground area and a place for them to ride their bikes. An elementary school is a block away and I called up there and spoke with the school Psychologist. I filled out the enrollment paper work for Elizabeth and gave them her most recent IEP papers from Spaght, if she feels that Madison Elementary can't meet Lizzie's needs then they will bus her to a school that can. She will still be the Psychologist though who will work with me and the transition team to help Elizabeth make a semi-smooth transition into her new school.


I will write more tomorrow. I hope you all have a good night and great weekend. Also - now that Chris will be working in the evenings expect me to blog more often - I'll have the computer! :D


Love in Christ,

Maureen


Friday, March 25, 2011

On the Road to Washington

Well we are official in the middle of transition. We currently are homeless - in the fact, that we have no place that is our current home. Monday, the movers came and packed us up, Tuesday they loaded the minivan and we hit the road early Wednesday morning. After a long day on Wednesday (we spent 14 hours total travelling) we stopped in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Until this point, we had spent a minimal amount of money fixing our hub assembly on the minivan. We had taken the van in to get a once over at Firestone and they informed us, that is needed fixing, so Chris is good at fixing stuff and he fixed it for us. On Thursday, we started our second leg of our trip to the Everett, Washington. If you've never been in the Wyoming/Utah area, it's is mountainous, and amazingly beautiful. We drove up into the mountains and down the mountains and stopped at the Echo Information Center just outside Echo, Utah. I took the girls to the little girls rooms and came out to hear Chris yelling at the girls and very upset. My husband is pretty easy going - so for him to be this upset, was something big. I went and he started yelling how I didn't know how to pack the minivan (I'm the one who figured out how to get it all in the minivan - so it was his frustration talking) and then I realized he was working on the passenger side front tire. The bolts began BREAKING AND SHEARING off! He was mad, so I grabbed the AAA card which we had thankfully renewed faithfully each year when we got our tax returns, and made a phone call to the roadside assistance and got a tow truck on it's way. The lovely older woman working at the Information Center was extremely helpful.

This is our van after Chris fixed it. After getting the phone number to a Napa Auto Parts store in Coalville, Utah, we waited for the tow truck. Thinking that it might only seat two additional people, I had taken the goody bag out of the van and took the two younger girls, Lizzie and Beka inside to wait while Daddy got the tow truck to take him to Coalville, but to our pleasant surprise he had a truck that had a backseat so we were all able to go to Coalville together.
This is the lovely man who owned the Napa Auto Parts Store - he was very pleasant and had the part and the new bolts waiting for Chris when we arrived - the AAA tow truck driver was so sweet and pleasant. The man who owned the store, even had a small playroom that he let Lizzie and Beka go play in while we waited on Chris and Sarah to replace the hub assembly.

This is the co-owner Jeremy who is also the man's son. Both men were amiable and so kind. He has a little baby who's less than one year old. So they understood about bored children and even gave the girls a sucker each.


So while this may not seem like a huge story, it is in fact, a VERY HUGE story. When Chris went to look at the assembly the first bolt that had sheared off - was cold to the touch, this meant it had sheared off while we were driving. By the time we started calling AAA - three out of five bolts had either sheared off or broken off with very little effort on Chris' part. If any of these others had broken or sheared off while we were driving - we would have been killed when the tire came off the van. We had been going up and down all of these mountains and the speed limit was 75 miles per hour. None of us would have survived that accident. We had even been reading scripture and had prayed a few hours before for safe travel and that God would protect our car and ourselves. And we absolutely made sure we gave prayer of thank you to God for protecting us. If I had been driving or if Chris hadn't known how to fix this problem we would have had to pay a ton of money. The man at the Napa store took one look at the assembly and told Chris that what happened should not have happened at all - it appeared that whoever created that hub assembly had used the wrong bolts - they were the wrong size and the metal was not as it should have been AT ALL!!!!!! Chris was very upset, and super vigilant for the rest of the day, because he this shook him up. One man almost came over into our lane and he started yelling how his family had almost died today and he would take out the other car?! So it definitely scared the crud out of him.
We are currently in Nampa, Idaho visiting with Chris' mom for a few days. For now the plan is to stay here until Monday and rest. Monday Chris and I - and most likely Beka will go on to the Everett, Washington area and do some house hunting and spend some time looking around and getting our bearings.
I hope you all have a great weekend.
Love in Christ,
Maureen














Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God's Purpose for Your Life

When you are young and life is throwing some pretty crummy stuff your way, you often find yourself wondering why? You ask why me? Why does my life stink so badly? What is God's purpose in all of this? Why can't I be like those who seem so happy and carefree and who have very few worries in their lives?

Growing up wasn't easy for me. In fact, it was hellish - I don't mean that in a swearing kind of way, I mean it was as if I was living in HELL. Through a series of misfortunes, I had very low self-esteem. But I was also a "fixer" of problems if you will. Being the oldest in my family and with Dad being dead, it meant a lot fell on my shoulders to help my mom out. And even when I couldn't fix the problems, I felt as if I should have been able to do something about them.

During college this all really came to a head for me. I remember watching my classmates and I yearned to have a normal life. I life with two parents who took care of me, who gave me a car. I yearned for my biggest problem to be about making good grades and having a date on the weekend. I wanted it so badly. I was broken, scarred and felt as if I were a monster trapped in a cruel glass cage - doomed to watch others live a happy existence while I was trapped, taking care of my family and cleaning up other people's messes. Even then, the broken seemed to gravitate towards me. I don't think it is a coincidence that God placed other people in my life - fellow college students in my path who shared a broken past, broken heart, and a mending soul.

I realize all of this now - but then I wondered so many things - why did my childhood stink so badly. Why was I made fun of constantly in school? I didn't understand and I wouldn't for several more years, but in 1999 while living in Catania, Sicily for a year, I got the time I needed. I developed a routine. I would go for a walk every day during Riposo (think Spanish culture's siesta time - it's a lot like that from 2 - 4 p.m. every day) down to the beach (a 30 minute walk) and I had a special area where I would sit quietly on a cliff and read my Bible and spend time in prayer. I don't know when exactly - there is no one certain date when I realized it happened, but I found healing for my bleeding and wounded heart and psyche. I found out a bit about who God wanted me to be. I also began to realize I had a talent for writing while there. I began to realize that I liked who I was - although I didn't like the past I had been given, I began to make peace with it.

Fast forward to 2005 and our daughter, Sarah came to live with us. I had been reading A Purpose Driven Life a year or so before, but until Sarah came, I wasn't fully sure what God had planned for me. I still didn't completely understand why my past was my past. As I grew to know Sarah and love her even more, I realized that God's purpose for allowing me to walk the road I did growing up was so I could understand Sarah and where she came from. His purpose for me was to show empathy and compassion to those who are suffering from brokenness and offer them hope that it isn't lost. He gave me an understand of people and the ability to see things from an often very different perspective. As I grow older I realize that while it hurt like crazy to live my childhood, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

It allows me to understand the girl or boy who is being bullied? Or the child who is never allowed to forget their mistakes? With the pain I went through I can understand (most of the time) the anguish that comes from an abusive stepparent. While I would never wish my life on anyone else, I am content in the knowledge that it was meant to be put to God's purpose and plan. I just hope and pray that I live up to the potential He sees in me so someday I can hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

If you are struggling to figure out your purpose these days - don't give up. Sometimes God has us wait for a very good reason. It may make us a little nuts to wait, but I find when I wait in the Lord, that it is much better than rushing towards my own goals and desires. I also find that God doesn't give you a desire for something unless it is a part of His purpose and plan for you.

I hope you all have a good week.

Love in Christ,
Maureen

Monday, March 14, 2011

Goodbye's

Saying goodbye is never easy. And we have made Wichita our home. For ten years we have lived here and made friends, expanded our family and loved everyone here - new friends and those who are old friends.
As I was driving home this evening from my mom's (wait it's Tuesday already - so make that yesterday evening) where I took Lizzie to visit for a little while to get in some Grammy-time. I was driving home and realized that in a few weeks I won't be able to drive quickly to Mom's or walk down the street to Sheri's or meet with Karen or Beth or Lisa for lunch or breakfast. No more visiting with Laurie in church (sometimes during the service in the lobby - I'm guilty I admit it). And I had to quickly push these thoughts out of my head.
It isn't that I won't miss any of these things, but going there in my head will only lead to crying and right now I have to work on helping the girls make the adjustment to the move. Elizabeth is doing state assessments this week for Math at Spaght and is throwing off her schedule. She's leaving so much behind - the only home she's ever known, but Sunday in church she shared with the kids that God gave Chris a job because he didn't have one and we have to move. But she isn't worried or scared, because she knows she will make new friends and Jesus will be with her.
When Miss Lana shared this with me, I almost burst with pride in her.

So while I hate goodbye, we must say at least, "Til we see you again, Wichita." You have welcomed us in, made us feel at home and introduced us to some very awesome people. While Goodbye's really do stink, it's nice to know that we can always come back and visit - and that you will always hold a special place in our hearts. We have welcomed all three girls into our home that we leave behind here. First, Lizzie, then Sarah, and Beka - all have come to live with us, by different means in this house and while I hate that it required and still requires so much work, it has taken us in and we made it ours as time went by.
I hope you all have a good week.
Love in Christ,
Maureen


Friday, March 11, 2011

A LLLLLOOOOONNNNNGGGGG Day

As you know if you read my blog, we are preparing to move. When I woke up this morning my plans included laundry, laundry, and more laundry - oh and run to the store to get stuff to keep doing laundry. However, the day proved anything but what I planned.

One of the things we've needed to get for some time now are birth certificates for both Elizabeth and Rebekah. So since we discovered we'd be moving sooner rather than a little later, I realized I needed to take a flying trip up to Topeka. This meant I picked up cash, Rebekah, and a phone call to ensure I could in fact, pick up the birth certificates the same day that I arrived. After securing the necessary knowledge, I picked up cash from the ATM and made sure that I retrieved an excited Beka from preschool and hit the road.

We were making good time, I was on the turnpike and then my phone rang - literally, a ringing phone is my ring tone for those who I have yet to assign their own ring tone. It was the woman in charge of our application for Elizabeth to gain disability. She has been found disabled - honestly, if they had denied her, I would have been shocked. While the decision to apply for disability was a tough one to make, it served two purposes. First, it meant that Elizabeth would not need to attempt filing on her own later - so it saved her a trip. Second, it meant that we would have some more money coming in and it would be a lot easier to take care of Elizabeth's need - medicine, doctor's visits, etc. . . Until the time when Chris became unemployed we'd managed to take care of the girls rather well and even Elizabeth's doctor's visits, medicine, and the lovely things we needed for her like clothing, food, a roof over her head. You know frivolous things like those pesky things. This will make meeting her needs much easier for her and for us in the future. So I had to pull over so I could write down the information. I sat there for quite some time - so long a nice Highway Patrolman came to check on us. They really are under appreciated for everything they do. Have you told one thank you recently? I know I intend to do so very shortly.

After taking care of that information and quieting a fussy Beka with promises of McDonald's after we ran our errands, we made good time to Topeka. Have I mentioned we invested in a Garmin? Well if you are directionally impaired as I am - I suggest you invest in one. It has saved me tons of grief and aggravation! It made getting the building to get the birth certificates so much easier. By the way if you go to Topeka to get vital records, make sure you have a ton of change for the parking or park at McDonald's just down the street from the building - it isn't ideal, but it was a nice walk. Beka was quite happy to get to walk with me to the building. She was cute, and friendly and enjoyed talking with a nice couple from Kansas City who came to get a birth certificate as well. The drive home while uneventful, was long and took it's toll on Beka. She got pretty fussy with me the last 45 minutes before crashing on me on the way home.

This may not seem like a long day, but it seemed pretty long by the time I got home. I had to lay down for a few minutes. It was nice to talk to Chris and get his details of his day. He spent the day talking to Boeing, the woman from the Disability Office and the woman who will help us find housing. Her entire task is to find us a home to move into to - so we don't have to stay in a hotel any longer than necessary. At first, our budget was a 3 bedroom with 2 bath or even 1 bath for around $1,000 a month. Let me tell you in the state of Washington - that is a pretty tall order. So after talking about it - we agreed we could up the budget - which helped Heather out a lot. At this point she is going to talk to Crystal Cove apartments - because they had originally had an apartment with our needs for $931 a month - but they'd raised their rates - so she thinks she may be able to talk them into lowering the price and they offer a no deposit thing for Boeing employees. I sent her a quick e-mail and she called me back pretty quickly and was happy that we could be a little more flexible. Let me tell you, being from Kansas and having been spoiled by a less than $600 a month house payment - Chris is in quite a bit of sticker shock. Renting a place should not cost a person 1/2 of their monthly income and I agree with him. Sadly, it appears this is the case in Washington. So we'll learn to adapt and do what we can to make it work.

So after all of that, Chris was sweet and took us out for dinner at Carlos O'Kelly's. The girls thought that was pretty awesome - it's one of their favorite restaurants. It was nice to not need to cook supper this evening and I foresee a lot of sandwiches in our future this next week.

This was my day - oh and we picked up Sarah from her boyfriend, Wesley's house in Derby - three girls in the van in one row was a bit too much for anyone. It is nice to be home - Chris is giving Beka a bath and Lizzie is washing herself and I am enjoying a little quiet time.

This was my day - how was yours? What are your plans for tomorrow? My list is growing a bit.

Have a good weekend.

Love in Christ,
Maureen

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Laid on the Heart

I have felt all day that God has laid this on my heart. So after spending the day putting it off, here is what I feel God wants me to say.



This is what God has laid on my heart: A message for the broken, abused, and misused.


I AM Jehovah, Abba, Yahweh. I go by many names, but I AM. I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and I AM the one who knows your hurt, pain and needs. I AM is here. I AM loves you and while I cannot remain in places of unrighteousness, I AM the one who can cleanse you and make you whole.

I see the pain that you are in and I know the way your heart groans for me, even when you are so lost in the dark that you cannot see me, I AM is there. I AM knows that you are searching even now as you fill your life with things that cannot fill the void inside of you.

Those who hurt you, abuse you and tell you that you are worthless. . . THEY ARE WRONG!!!! I made you and I know what you can become. I promised this to my children in Jeremiah and throughout the book that is my love letter to you. I do not make junk, I did not make you as a mistake. I love you because you are flawed, not despite it. I am waiting on you and for you and long to know you in a deep personal relationship.

I AM is the Great Physician, the Healer of Healers and the I AM more than just an Alpha and Omega - I go beyond the boundaries of science fiction, beyond the limitations of your human mind and beyond the boundaries of your heart and soul. I created this world and I CAN HEAL YOUR PAIN. I AM the one calling to you while you are in the desert searching for what you hope will fill the void, all the while you fill it with things that last only a moment or so before you are void again. I AM the one who longs to take your broken, battered and bruised soul and make you something magnificent. I AM the one who takes brokenness and turns it into something beautiful. You know me, you seek me, but you do not seek me with all of your heart. Cry out to me and I will hold you and carry you through the time that seems your lowest ever.

Please do not wait to long - I want to spend eternity with you and I want you with me. I long to show you all of the wonders I can and have created that will be beyond your wildest dreams. I know there are others pulling at you and asking you to trust them, but if you trust me and my grace and mercy I will make you whole. Ask one of my children, they will share their stories of healing and how I have had my hand on their lives with you. Please, come to me, let me in and allow me to show you the love you never had, whether it is from having no father or mother who loved you, or if it because you had them and they hurt you. They are just people. Flesh and bones who will die someday just as you will die someday, but I am forever. I AM the one who is a FATHER TO THE FATHERLESS! I AM the greatest love of your life if you will let me and I long to be everything to you so that I can help you through your life and through your choices.

I know surrender is difficult and tough. I know that listening to the world is easier than listening to me. I have lived among you, I know of the temptations you face even if they are a bit different from when I walked the Earth. I AM the god who loves you so much I sent my son to you as the ultimate sacrificial lamb. The LAMB who removed the need for a high priest - HE IS YOUR HIGH PRIEST.

Please I love you and my love is a gift. My mercy, my grace - they are free. You do not need to earn them - they just are there for you to accept when you realize you no longer wish to travel this life alone.

I love you and I am waiting.

Love Always,

Yahweh

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Different Love

As a child growing up, we watched a lot of movies. Being poor, it means that you find whatever entertainment you can, so we invested in a VCR and rented movies. I grew up watching My Fair Lady, Oliver, Oklahoma, The Music Man, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Wizard of Oz, Now Voyager, and other non-musical movies as well as a healthy plethoria of musical movies. I still love a good musical as well as Lucille Ball & Henry Fonda in Your's Mine and Ours.


So I thought I'd add a movie review to my blog. I will rate it for family friendliness as well as overall content. I will give it either thumbs up as opposed to stars. I hope you enjoy it.

The first movie I will review is: "I AM NUMBER FOUR!"



The premise of this film is that there are nine children and their guardians sent to Earth after their world is taken over by other fellow aliens. These nine children all possess special powers. The first three have been murdered and you witness this in the first few moments of the film. Cue into number four - a young man who you will know through the majority of the movie as John Smith. Alex Pettyfer is a good choice as the ruggedly handsome young man who struggles to control his burgeoning powers as they make themselves known. Timothy Oliphant does a good job as his guardian, Henry. Diana Agron of Glee fame actually does a good job as the photographer in training who is not a cheerleader. Of course, the story isn't neatly cut and dried, as we see another one of the nine following John and trying to find him as well as helping hide his tracks. Number 6 is played well by Teresa Palmer - who can also be seen in The Sorcerer's Apprentice as the love interest of the hero. The action is great and if you love science fiction or a bit of the supernatural (not ghosts, just having special powers) then this is a good movie to see. However, it is not a good movie to see with children under the age of 13 years of age. It does contain mild bad language and there is a lot of action. It is short on blood though and graphic violence - you never see the actual knife go into Number Three - you just know he's being killed by the knife that takes his life but you don't see it go in and there is no blood spattering in it.



As a family friend movie I have to give this one thumb down. While this might be a decent choice to see with an older child it is very intense in moments and the fantastical elements in this film make it unsuitable for smaller children, since they often have trouble distinguishing what they see on TV from what can happen in real life. I also give it a thumbs down in family friendliness since John often ignores his guardian and he is rebellious.



However, for adults and older children it was a good movie and compelling. But I also enjoy science fiction, and if you aren't an enjoyer of science fiction you may not enjoy the movie. So if you are an adult who enjoys science fiction and action adventure, then you'll really enjoy this movie.



Have a good week and God Bless.

Love in Christ,

Maureen

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Red Faces

After week of blogs about important issues, I felt like today should be a good day to share some lighter fare.

As a girl growing up, I seemed to find myself in some sticky spots sometimes. Sometimes due to my own stupid mouth that seemed to speak before I could think about it first. Sometimes, I acted first and thought about it later. I was a teenager, and I should have been named Anne Shirley. Okay granted I never turned my hair green, or got stuck in Barry's pond with only Gilbert Blythe to rescue me and I didn't hold a grudge quite like Anne, but I got into my fair share of scrapes. I think one of the things I struggled with most was comparing myself with others.

By the end of my Freshman year of high school I was in pretty bad shape. Middle school had been incredibly tough on me and Ninth grade hadn't proved any different - actually it probably was worse. It got so bad that my mom looked for teaching jobs out of state after finished her master's degree and she and her best friend had a plan in case she didn't get to move our family away from Oklahoma to send me to a private school. As God would have it, my mom was offered in job in Great Bend, Kansas. Where you ask is Great Bend, Kansas? Yeah, we asked that question too, it's two hours northwest of Wichita, KS and it's situated on the bend of the Arkansas River. That was about all we knew about it.

However, I had Driver's Education to finish and she needed to move a month or so ahead of time so I stayed with her friends, Ginny & Phil Schwarz. A week or so before I was supposed to leave and join Mom and our family in Kansas I went on one last youth group activity for our district. It was huge, all of the youth groups from our church district were there, and there was a choir there. What I didn't know was that some families that used to attend different churches had now moved their church homes to Calvary Church of the Nazarene. All I saw was my good friend Starla and it didn't occur to me that they all happened to be wearing the same clothing for a reason (remember act first, think later). So I went and sat with Starla and went through rehearsal with them as they prepared to sing for the service.

I am sitting up there, happy as a teen about to head into the unknown can be as they prepare to move from everything they've known (no matter how miserable they were it was still tough) when the speaker announces, "And after our time of prayer, Calvary Youth Choir with sing for us." WHAT!!!!!!! CALVARY YOUTH CHOIR!!!!!! OH NO! I ATTEND YUKON FIRST CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE!!!!!" How am I going to get down out of here? The answer? I couldn't. Acting first and thinking later I was sitting in the front row in a bright red shirt and a khaki shirt! There was no way to get out. I looked into the audience and my best friend Patty looked at me and we both had horror in our eyes. I am pretty sure she was looking at me wondering how on earth I got myself into these messes? Honestly, I used to wonder that as well. Then I looked at my friend Jeannie who is laughing her butt off and all I could do was close my eyes pray with the others and prepare to sing.

We performed the song, and the choir director even thanked me for joining them. I didn't have the courage to tell him that only I could get myself into something like this and discover what a doof I'd made of myself in the middle of the whole ordeal only to have to face it with what little shreds of dignity I had left. I thought I'd head to the bathroom and burst into tears, but as I got to the ladies room something inside me kicked in and instead of tears I started laughing uncontrollably. I sat in that bathroom and laughed for a good 15 minutes because it was laugh or cry. While I could think of better ways to end my time with my youth group, it happened, and there wasn't a lot I could do about it, except fasten my seat belt and go along for the ride.

I moved to Great Bend that week and joined my family. It was a new start for me, one in which no one could use my past against me. I was able to learn to blend in, watch my fellow classmates and discover things about people. While the time in Yukon made me who I am today and I wouldn't trade it for anything - I'm still not convinced that that experience was so much for growth as it was for my own personal embarrassment story.

Have a good weekend.

Love in Christ,
Maureen

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vaccination and Autism

Okay, I just read a very disturbing article that was talking about an outbreak of measles in Boston that is beginning. Many people there have chosen to not vaccinate their children because of a study performed by a doctor in England who claims the Measles, Mumps, & Rubella vaccine caused autism.

Having studied Psychology and taken Research Design, there are things that are necessary for as study to be a good study and one of them is that other scientists must be able to duplicate the research and get the same results. This doctor was also found to have a deal with pharmaceutical companies to create a new vaccine making him millions upon millions of dollars.

Please, please, please, vaccinate your children. This study was not a valid or good study. It has been removed from Medical Journals and false and unethical. The doctor is going to jail and is awaiting his trial. So please, do not listen to this man. I know that some of you will ignore me and that is one you, but let me try one more question.

Would you rather have a special needs child who may struggle some, or would you prefer your child die from measles? People do die from measles you know. They used to lose people all the time before they came up with the vaccine. I have seen families bury their children and seen the pain, anguish and heartache. Yes, there is heartache and grief that comes from learning to accept your child has special needs, but your child will go on to live and in a lot of cases can go on to live a normal life.

Out of curiosity when did Jenny McCarthy go to college and gain a medical degree? She hasn't - so why are you listening to a woman who makes her living by selling her body to Hollywood for pictures and for men's lustful thoughts? She may be a mother, but that doesn't make her a doctor. Last time I checked, she hadn't done 4 years of college, plus 4 years of medical school and residency that can last from 4 - 6 years. While I don't think doctors are always right, I do believe they are right when they debunked this study.

So please, if you are wavering on whether or not to immunize your children, ask yourself this question? Would I rather lose my child to measles or navigate the challenges of special needs and have my child to hug another day?

Have a good week.
Love in Christ,
Maureen

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kissing Fertility Goodbye

Chris and I were dating and as we discussed our future together, we came to an agreement. If we didn't have more children by the age of 32 then we were done. Several months later we were getting married and expecting Elizabeth at the ripe old ages of 26 and 27 years old.

My pregnancy with Elizabeth was not a smooth one. I had a gall bladder that had begun going out and as luck would have it, pregnancy often makes the gall bladder worse or causes it to go out all together. Lucky me, so I spent from mid-January until I gave birth living on the couch or in my bed. I did finally have a few months where the nausea subsided while Sarah was visiting, but it all came roaring back to life shortly after she left. Actually, I think it might be a miracle that I gained any weight while pregnant - between a bad gall bladder and nausea, I didn't eat a whole lot. We were at the hospital at least once ever two weeks because the gall bladder would flare up and the contractions would start up and I'd feel like I was dying. So I was not overly enthusiastic about the idea of getting pregnant at first.

However, as time went by we decided that Lizzie really needed a sibling who was closer to her age. Sarah was not living with us at the time and so when shortly after Elizabeth hit one year old, we began trying to have another baby. What we thought would be an easy process turned into a four year ordeal of negative pregnancy tests and lots of tears until we finally gave up.

When facing gastric bypass, they offer to tie your tubes for you. At first, I thought this was a good idea, I was 32 years old and we had said, if we didn't have any more children by that age, we would be done. But as the surgery drew closer, I realized I wasn't quite ready to kiss that dream goodbye. And now soon to be five years later, we have a beautiful Rebekah who is all smiles and sunshine and who can light up your day by snuggling you any time.

But after Beka was born we knew that this was it. Getting up ever couple of hours was taking a toll on us and rather insanely we both had opted to go to college full time while Chris worked full time AND we had a baby at home! I can't believe we survived that year. But we made it and around Christmas time Chris went and had that special surgery men have to stop them from having children and our fertility came to an end.

I still love to look at babies, and there is a small insane part of me that wishes for another baby. We enjoyed each pregnancy for it's own reasons - Chris loved talking to the girls while they swam safely around in my tummy. And after a smooth and with minimal hospital visits during my second pregnancy, I know I could do it again. However, common sense overrules me more often than my desire to have more children. I know that I have high blood pressure, I also know that while we could adopt, that three children is a good number and it works for us. We are getting close to one child leaving home and then our family size will go down to four while Sarah starts her own adult life. So while there is a small part of me that sees babies and smiles and thinks, "Gosh, I'd like another one of those." the other part of me smiles and says, "Thank goodness they aren't coming home with me". I love children, I also love giving them back.

So as I kiss my fertility goodbye it is with a little sadness but also with a bit of excitement for the future.

Have a good rest of the week.

Love in Christ,
Maureen

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Marriage and Perspective

I went with my handsome and wonderful husband today to meet with a couple he is performing a wedding for on Saturday. Yes, I realize most of you don't know that my husband can perform weddings, but he can and he does from time to time. Ironically, as we left the restaurant today and headed to mall for Chris to complete an eye exam for Boeing, we chatted about this couple and as luck would have it, I happened to read an article from Reader's Digest.

This article talked about how perspective plays a big part in marriage. Scientists conducted a study and found that when a couple told the same story it depended on perspective. They showed how two different women told the same story. The first woman shared how they had gone on a hike for their first date and they had gotten lost and how they laughed and joked about their poor sense of direction but ultimately in the end they both realized they shouldn't go hiking again. The second woman told the same story, but her version was how HE lost the map and it was a terrible day and how after that day she knew she never wanted to go hiking again. Notice the difference? Each woman had a similar story, but it wasn't what they said, it was how they said it and scientists discovered that even though some newlywed couples hardly argued, it didn't mean they would stay together. In fact, the couples who were bickering during the first part of the study (it was followed up three years later) were actually still together, but the couples who sat quietly and hardly ever argued had usually split up.

I have a friend who is now into her third year of marriage and her husband told her, "You know how Koeppel and his wife tell each other everything? I could never do that." It may come as no surprise that this couple is having serious marital issues and is contemplating divorce.

As we sat and talked to the young couple today, I shared with them how we had friends who said, they could never have a relationship like ours. I also told them that it didn't happen overnight, it came with time and that we sometimes bicker, but we wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Trust and security come over time. It didn't come overnight. Our deep trust in each other came as we grew closer and began to know each and trust each other. Chris and I may disagree, but we still talk about it and we often find the humor in the situations that have caused us to bicker.

I hope you all have a great week and God Bless you.

Love in Christ,
Maureen