Thursday, February 28, 2008


Me being speechless; it's a rarity. And by speechless, I'm not implying "quietness," but rather "having no idea of what to say." I have a general policy of attempting to keep my mouth shut when there's nothing good to say, because that's what my Momma told me to do. :) Anyways, to give you some of the background to the dialogue: the speaker in question is a female doctor I work with, her husband is a lawyer. She has two young girls, one is 4ish I think, and the other is 4 months. Currently, a nanny in their home is looking after the little ones. Fast forward to our conversation >>>>

Us: banter, banter, blah, blah

Me: "So everyone I know seems to be pregnant and about to deliver."

Her: "Yeah, I have several friends in the next few months who will too. They're all teachers and they'll be taking time off to be at home with their babies. [time off = not just maternity leave]

Me: "Oh? like not coming back?"

Her: "Yeah, it makes me sad to think about that, so I try not to."

Me: [awkward pause and speechlessness]

So I immediately pick up on what she's really not saying... "I'm not staying at home with my daughters, and I hate that, buuuut I'm not really going to focus on that or try to change anything."

I realize I probably haven't covered my position thoroughly on raising children, etc., but I am of the persuasion that mommas need to be mommas at home. No one else can raise your children the way you can. And as everyone who takes this position will usually provide a disclaimer, I completely understand in single-parent homes, safety/abuse issues, etc. where you do need outside help for your children. But I would say for the majority of families, being a stay at home mom or wife (SAHM, SAHW) can work; if you are willing to make some financial and personal sacrifices. I also understand the duration differs between SAHMs. Some stay home until the children graduate from high school, some homeschool their kids, and some go back to work when the children are able to be in school.

Back to the awkward pause part, I really had no idea of what to say. Mainly because I am certainly not going to be the one who places even more guilt on someone else's frame, especially when they're already feeling it. I'm pretty sure that women (moms or not) have a built-in guilt section in our hearts; simply put, we are professionals in that regard. Anyways, if I knew her on a personal level, beyond work, as a friend, I would've tried to encourage her to find ways to be more at home with the kids. Change career stuff around, etc.

I mentioned this incident to my sister and her husband (she's a SAHM of two), and my brother-in-law said, "Clearly this isn't a problem of means..." And it's not, and that's what bothers me. I don't know much about doctor and lawyer salaries, but it's pretty safe to say their annual income would still be large if she came home to be with the kids. But herein lies another dilemma.

She's a doctor. She's invested years of schooling, not to mention tuition to be at the point where she is today. If you start comparing the different professions between moms that give up their careers to be at home, it gets dangerous. As humans we deal better with labels. Heck, even Blogger deals better with labels! We can't handle ambiguity, so it's easier for us to compare and attempt to assess value of things. We'll use my job and hers as an example for this. I'm an administrative assistant. I manage research, mailings, patient appointments, etc. When I leave this job, this position will easily be replaced. A doctor however is different. She treats illnesses and diseases. She manages medications and diagnoses. She has probably saved lives. Do you see the difference?

I'm not getting into this as a point of self-worth or value. I don't feel any less valuable as a person by my job. I am secure in my Father's love for me and that He planned for little ol' me to be a part of His big universe. What I am saying is that, it's hard for me, even as a staunch believer of SAHMs, to really grasp the giving up of such a beneficial career. I guess what it boils down to is, do others (patients in our example) need me more than my children do?

The potential answer to that question leaves me with a sour stomach. If you say, "others do," then you're saying "no" to your own children. And really, in the scheme of things, they're only children for a little while. A very short while. But if you say "my children do," then others can wait. There have always been "others" and there always will be. But your children only have one mommy for their lifetime. No one else holds that particular role in their entire lifetime. Pretty powerful huh? My point exactly.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cooking Withdrawal and Lessons from God

Good morning guys! It's been about three weeks now since I've had the opportunity to cook. Sure it's been a nice break, but I'm feeling rusty and need stretching. Plus, my dishes, pots & pans, and bakeware are dusty. Literally; from all of the sheetrock dustcloud that is our home. I don't know if I can still be labeled a newlywed, but as far as cooking skills are concerned, I still haven't gotten them down yet, i.e. it's still a struggle for me to monthly meal plan and cook a hearty meal every night.

For ladies who have traveling husbands like mine, it only makes my cooking frequency worse. He desires me to 'save' the meals he really likes during the month instead of cooking them while gone. I totally understand this, the only problem is, is that I end up having a meal plan deficit. Can anyone else relate to this?

But back to the post's title, I cannot wait to return to cooking and baking once the kitchen is completed. As I was organizing the new cabinets last night, I lustfully held each bag of flour, thinking of what tasty breads and cookies could be made. How bizarre is that?! Yes, I'd say you're certified insane if you're lusting after flour :) Thinking of a related quote by the great C.S. Lewis, "He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it, hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart."

Update: Brent just called and said our oven was hooked up and that I could cook tonight if I wanted. Ironically, the next thought I had was "Tonight? Too soon...." LOL!

I especially grew impatient when I read all the yummy things that Jess over at Making Home has been preparing prior to her son's birth. Those chicken pocket sandwiches sound really good. I definitely think we won't be lacking for homecooked food once the kitchen is done. Mainly because 1) we're tired of restaurant food and 2) we "owe" several meals to lots of our friends and both families. If anything, I continue to be amazed at how God provides through those we know in our time of need. We are truly blessed to have such generous and hospitable friends. Heck, we even owe showers to Adam and Amanda, lol.

God taught us some other lessons too; such as learning how fortunate we are compared with most of the world's people. Not having hot water for almost a week now has been a humbling experience. And over the weekend while we stayed with Brent's family, we dealt with getting very little sleep because of the cold. (Mind you, Brent's family does have heat, but we were staying in the (frigid) basement on an air mattress with only some light covering). We huddled as closely as we possibly could for any trace of heat, and I realize that that's a sad reality for lots of people. I am not in any way attempting to compare the depth of my experiences to those less fortunate or trivialize that. I am only saying that God showed me through the lack of daily conveniences I casually partake of, that I am blessed. Those teachable moments have gotten me beyond myself, and thinking of others in dire circumstances.

I know that one way God seems to get my attention is by taking away something or someone to show my great need and dependence for Him. To recognize the gifts, but more importantly the Giver.

Deuteronomy 8: 10-18, "When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath." (Emphasis mine).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Since you asked: a few of our wedding pics

Brent and I were married on September 3rd, 2006. It has been a blast since :) Here are some of our photos, with one of them that he framed (see prior post).

Dad walking me down the aisle

During the ceremony

Just married!

First Dance

Friday, February 22, 2008

Just praisin' my man!

I feel compelled to praise my husband today for the wonderful man he is. Not only has he had to serve as the pseudo-contractor while trying to work from home, but in the last week he orchestrated the purchase of a car for me :) Lest you think we have oodles of money to throw around especially on a new car, please think again; my current car is 17 years old and has almost 250,000 miles on it, and we needed a more viable replacement. It's my dream car still, a 2003 Honda Accord. Enough about the car though, back to my husband.

He's been such a sweetheart because he had to take time off of work today to get the license plate and registration for it, the keys programmed, and the insurance application. Not only that, he just surprised me at work by dropping it off so I could drive it home :) What a guy! I am so blessed to have a godly man who is constantly surprising me with kindness.

He has also been patient with me during this entire renovation process. Trust me ladies, when your kitchen is uprooted from beneath you, you'll be more than flustered. He has taken this in stride and has done everything in his power to ease my apparent "suffering."

One last thing, I forgot to tell you what he gave me for Valentine's. He surprised me with three frames mounted above our headboard in the bedroom. The middle and largest one is my bridal portrait. The left one is a picture from our first dance that show only his hands around the back of my waist. The right one is from the same pose, only this time you see my hands wrapped around the back of his neck. What's more romantic is that he had the vows we said to each other placed under both of the photos. :) (I will reprint those on a future post). He is so thoughtful and no one I've ever met compares with him! God has been so good to me by blessing me with Brent.

"I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine." Song of Solomon 6:3

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kitchen Remodeling Update #2

Work on our kitchen was supposed to begin yesterday. It didn't. The contractor called and said he would come today. He did. And thankfully my dad was able to housesit all day while they worked. We are a day behind schedule, but it's somewhat of a loss because everything (cabinets and major appliances) will be delivered tomorrow. Things could be a lot worse...anyone seen "The Money Pit" with Tom Hanks?

Last week for laughs we watched that movie. I can still hear the contractor in the movie reply the alleged completion date, "Two weeks!" Of course the running joke was that he continually said that several months into the project. Enjoy one of my favorite scenes from the movie :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

391 years of marriage and still going...

I read an interesting article off of yesterday that discussed a family where the siblings have racked up a total of 391 years of marriage between them! I don't think Hallmark has crafted an anniversary card for that amount of years. Along with enjoying a rare positive news article, I began smiling as the siblings detailed their "secrets" to a long lasting union:

  • "attribute their marital success in large part to the moral example set by their late parents" (The father was a Christian minister and they were wedded for 58 years).

  • "the belief that marriage is for life"

  • [On their parents' marriage]"They always showed respect for each other, which made us know that was part of marriage. There wasn't a lot of verbal advice. You just watched them and knew how it was done."

My favorite portion came later in the article by a history professor:

  • "Coontz, who has studied marriage trends for 25 years, said many marriages that began in the 1950s ended as more women entered the work force in subsequent decades. That wasn't an issue for the Estes siblings; all the wives were homemakers." (Emphasis mine).

Interesting, eh? I would love to explore the reasons and possibilities behind this issue. I know it's silly, but every time I read something that points out how Biblical principles are put into action and work, I think "Yep. God knew what He was doing." Well, of course He does! But the modern feminism movement wouldn't allow you to even go visit that idea in your mind. There are countless articles, blogs, sites, etc. that detail the plague of modern feminism, so I won't go there, at least for this post. I have a great e-book entitled "The Feminist Mistake" by Mary Kassian which I'm looking forward to reading; and no doubt I'll post about its content in the future.

So I'm curious to know and I'll have to think back myself, out of the housewives you know or have known, what did the longevity of their marriages look like? And yes, I do realize that it's not always quantity but quality that counts, but I'm just curious. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Kitchen Remodeling Update

I apologize for the delay in between posts. Nothing has really grabbed my attention as of late. The kitchen is pretty much in the same state I last told you about. However, we have regained a bit of our den/floor space back since Habitat ReStore came and collected our stove and all the cabinets. It is much more open again and looks less junky :)

The great fantastic news is that the contractor and crew will be coming on Monday (!) to begin work. And get this, the guy estimated that it would take only 2 days (?!) to complete. Yes, I know our kitchen is small, but I'd be very surprised if it took only 2 days given the amount of work that needs to be done (electrical, plumbing, sheetrocking, etc.). Once the crew is finished, our cabinet installation team will be coming. Heck I don't care if it takes a week. I am just relieved since I had prepared myself that we wouldn't have a kitchen until mid March. I might instead have a brand new one by next weekend!!! Hallelujah!

I've caught myself while at work daydreaming of what our kitchen will look like. In all honesty, I have a concept of what it will look like, only because I did not design it or pick out the cabinets, appliances, or countertops. Yes, you read that right. My husband chose all of it. He has great taste generally speaking. That minor discrepancy did not come to light until I mentioned it to my sister. I can remember her shrieking, "What?! How were you not involved in choosing your kitchen? It's the woman's domain!" Even though I wish I could've been the designer of our kitchen, for some odd reason, it didn't really bother me. Mainly because I trust my husband. He picked out brand new appliances and everything else so why should I need to worry? He's an avid watcher of anything HGtv so there again, he knows what nice kitchens look like.

I have gotten to choose some of the fun details of the kitchen like the hardware and the pendant lights. Both are gorgeous. The hardware is very modern, stainless steel, and sleek. I also chose a cute fork handle that will be on the silverware drawer. I figured everyone always asks "Where's the silverware?" Now all they'll have to do is look for the fork handle. :)
I also chose bin pulls for the rest of the drawers. The pendant lights I chose are two bold colored Tiffany shades that will be over the main bar/countertop area. I like the eclectic combination of modern and vintage. It suits me :) I am just so excited to see it come together! And I'm looking forward to posting pictures for your viewing pleasure. :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kitchen Remodeling

I probably should have been taking photos of the demolition so far of our kitchen or lack thereof. The former avid scrapbooker in me is kicking herself. I promise I'll try to remember to take some photos and definitely post some before & afters.

In the meantime, use your imagination:

  • all cabinets have been pried off of the walls
  • sheetrock dust has an unbelievable knack for going in every room of the house despite where the work is actually occuring
  • the fridge is in our den now
  • there is a huge pile of doors, nails, baseboards, sheetrock, studs lying beside the couch
  • I've been dustbusting constantly, fearful of splinters and rabid dust bunnies
  • our entire pantry is either a) on the utility table b) under the utility table c) lying on the guest bed d) residing in the guest bedroom closet
  • the light switch panels are dangling by their wires only
  • there will be no oven/stove come Monday (!!!)
  • our downstairs neighbor probably hates us by now and most likely won't be talking to us once this remodel is finished

I've actually been adjusting pretty well considering. Please pray for patience, contentment, and adaptation. God willing, the entire kitchen remodel will be completed in early March. I am honestly not looking forward to all of the restaurant meals we will be eating; because of cost and nutrition. I'm hoping that my electric griddle will come in handy... hibachi chicken anyone? And can I get an Amen for the inventor of the microwave?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Loving the Lost

Earlier this week during my Bible study I came across this quote,

"We are given small windows of opportunity to show God's love in tangible ways."

Jesus' mission on earth was to redeem the lost, the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners. If you're a Christian today, you were once lost too. So how come as Christians we find it so hard to relate to lost people? Maybe because the very word relate depends upon the fact that we develop relationships?! Right there's a clue. And I may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but I figure if we're not in relationships with lost people, we sure won't be able to relate to them easily. And lest you forget, we do have a common thread: we are all image-bearers of the one true God.

Jesus had the uncanny ability of living in this world, yet He was not of it. He didn't care who He was hanging out with; the sinners, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the lepers, etc. So why should I? He developed relationships with them. He invested Himself into their lives while on earth, yea unto His death even!

Might I propose some insight as to why Jesus was able to accomplish both? Everything Jesus did was intentional. Intentional is defined as "being characterized by conscious design or purpose;
done or made or performed with purpose and intent." Never on earth has there been a man of such purpose. And while hanging out with these sordid types, His conversations were thought-provoking to say the least. He talked about God, sin, eternity, love, hope. I wish I had the ability to see through peoples' facades like Jesus did. He played no games, He cut to the core and dismantled the beliefs and values that people were clinging to by asking simple questions. Yet He did so with love and humility.

I'll admit it. I am stuck in the proverbial Christian bubble. It's a nice place where you know your friends share the same beliefs. You can let your hair down. You can blast your Christian music. The only time I am around or should I say in the vicinity of lost people is at work, my condo community, and while doing errands; a pretty limited scope of interaction. Yet all the more reason to really do something about it and be intentional with loving the lost and sharing the Gospel.

I've been reading the book "Revolution in World Missions" by K.P. Yohannan and some chapters have been extremely convicting. I'd say the one that hit me the most discussed how Christians have begun to equate helping/serving/relief work as evangelism. Yes, we do need to show God's love to others by doing all of the aforementioned things, but we are missing an extremely crucial element if we are not telling them of the Gospel. By taking care of only someone's physical needs and not spiritual needs as well, we are doing them a disservice. Likewise, vice versa. We must show God's love to others by serving them and by sharing the story of His Son.

A great illustration of this is found in James 2:14-16, "What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?"

Loving the lost requires that we take risks by developing relationships and that we truly love them. While fully recognizing their spiritual condition we should not let that determine or affect how we love them. We don't love them any less than we would our own flesh and blood! We needn't worry about that imaginary white elephant in the room.


  • Am I honestly concerned for lost people? Jesus wept over Jerusalem and its need for peace. When was the last time I was that moved or actually cried over someone who is lost?
  • Am I accepting active responsibility for ministering to them? Or is that just for super spiritual people to do?

Get real:

  • When was the last time I really shared the Gospel with someone I know is lost?
  • Am I willing to get messy and develop a real relationship with them?
  • What is hindering me from doing so? Embarassment? Pride? Apathy? Fear?
  • When I'm talking to a lost person am I exuding humility? Am I speaking Christianese? Jesus was able to be humble and speak an everyday vernacular with the common folk.

Just do it a.k.a. because-I'm-commanded-to-do-so!:

  • What ways can I show tangible ways of God's love to someone specifically in my life? (Read James 2 for insight)
  • Share the Gospel and live life with lost people (1 Thessalonians 2:8)