Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Long Shaky Week

This has been a long week, but at least the weather is starting to turn bearable. This week seems to have been incredibly long and definitely full of shaky events.

My employer has announced some personnel changes that have left many unsettled. They are offering select employees an enhanced severance package with little knowledge for how things will look beyond the point of choosing to stay or go. In this seemingly increasing economic downturn, everyone is just concerned and considered taking that old CV out of the back of your computer "closet" and making sure it is up-to-date. While I am not personally feeling threatened at this point in time, it is a humbling reminder that we are all truly vulnerable. Keeping me focused on debt reduction!

The next unsettling event was the EARTHQUAKE! Seriously, a big one, here in the midwest! D had left to go work out early in the morning and the next thing I knew my bed was being tossed around as if someone were roughly jumping on it and honestly, I thought there was an intruder in my bed. The fight or flight instinct deep within me went into overdrive as did the overprotective mama gene. I could not have been more relieved when I realized that a) there was no intruder, b) a vehicle was not ramming my house from the outside, and c) that it was ONLY an earthquake. The kids slept through it and D was driving, so I was the only one who felt it. I was shocked at the magnitude of shaking a 5.2 Richter-scale quake could do, it literally shook me awake, and not gently!

The final big event of the week (besides the normal school and work headaches) was our grand idea to have all of the church trustees over to our house on Friday evening for a "thank you" and house blessing. As you might imagine, this included the cleaning, from top to bottom, of our house. Now we do try to keep a clean space, but with 3 kids and both of our school books, regular house paperwork/bills, and my NFP paperwork, it is hard to keep it spotless. But let me tell you, it looked like a magazine on Friday evening, thanks in large part to D and Shenzy who cleaned and hung some pictures and things that we have never gotten hung. I was proud to have them tour our house and we had a nice time entertaining them all, but it was an exhausting endeavour...

Oh yes, how could I forget, my next oldest cousin had a baby girl on Monday. We visited on Tuesday and she is the cutest little button. She slept the whole time so I couldn't see her little eyes, but she truly was adorable and I am excited for my kids to have a cousin on my side of the family that is closer in age. It is so weird to see people become parents, especially people who still think of as so much younger than you, but my cousin is married and in her mid-20s so plenty fine to start a family, but it is just weird. I wish them all the happiness in the world.

All for now, off to bed.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Can of Worms?

Okay,this quarter in school, I feel like I am standing in front of a fire hydrant because I am being flooded with so much information, some interesting, some not, but it is making me so very aware of how much there is to learn in the world. It is exemplifying the old adage that the more you know the more you realize you don't know. So stinking true!

Well, part of my classes in the online structure require me to post thoughts on a variety of topics and one of them that I just decided to discuss tonight was regarding the "feminist perspective" in viewing organizations. Now, let me just reiterate, I was raised by a single mom, who was never married, I am very sufficiently employed based on my education and my abilities and I could completely survive financially by myself, BUT, these factors do not make me a feminist. I guess I would just consider myself a "humanist" (is that a word?). I try not to judge based on any factor, including gender, race, education, etc. as every time you prejudge, you get put in your place. So, back to the post regarding feminism...the whole topic came at the end of the chapter and was highlighting things such as females in leadership roles, are more likely to be authoritarian in nature - but if they are, we must define her behavior along the lines of it is her attempt to fit into the predominately male culture...

Well, I think we have come further than that, at least in the places I have been employed. In fact, this book even went so far as to state "ordinary activities in organizations are not gender-neutral". Seriously? Please provide examples? I mean, am I missing the boat completely on this one? No examples were given in the text and honestly, aside of which restroom door I should enter, I can't think of a single example that would prove that statement true.

My lingering question was at what point do we chalk supervisory attitudes and agendas up to personality traits instead of gender traits? Well, that is essentially what I posted, let's see if I get eaten alive by my fellow students.

Am I too far removed from the suffrage movement? Am I blind to it all? I mean, I realize women are by no means in the highest levels of management compared with men, but I do think we are getting there. But, I don't think constant focus on gender is the way to level the playing field, I think it should be based on merit and abilities. Help me, am I in left field? Have I opened a can of worms?

Thinking and thinking, that is what these classes are making me do, I guess I am getting my money's worth!


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Happy Birthday D!

My hubby is turning another year older today! Happy Birthday D! It is amazing for me to think that we started dating when he was 16, we have been together over 1/2 of his life. Wow!

While never boring, we have certainly had our share of adventures over the last 20 years together for sure. We have bought and sold 2 homes. We have adopted 3 children from across the world, we have lost his father and 2 dogs (Foefie and Habi, our newfie babies), started a nonprofit organization, both completed graduate degrees and are now both working on another, become a family who is at the will of either the ministry or the Navy (not sure which is worse - hah!), we have traveled together everywhere we could manage to go (Cambodia 5 times, China 1 time, Florida 3 times, Hawaii, Virginia, D.C. several times, Harbour Island, San Francisco, Monterey, San Juan Islands (Friday Harbor), Oklahoma, Illinois, and likely other fun places I am forgetting.

When I think about how blessed I am to have him as my husband, it is almost too much to comprehend. I thank God for him every single day, I am glad he is my husband, but almost even more, I am glad he is the father of my children. He is my best friend, my favorite person, my safe place. I am amazed how I honestly NEVER get tired of being around him, in fact, just the opposite, I am always craving MORE TIME with him. How cool is that!

Happy Birthday D - I love you!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Coming Up With a Prayer

I have found a new friend and that is exciting. It is hard to find someone with whom you connect and really WANT to connect. We shall call her Red because she has this beautiful red hair. We met because our kids had gymnastics at the same time and while sitting in the same room waiting, I met her mother who goes to our church (who had come to watch her grandson), and then Red and I just clicked. We have similar personalities and senses of humor and she is just a real blessing for me and we are slowly getting to know each other. It is kind of odd, like dating, because most of my friends are from work or from college or from adoption (war buddies), and she and I have to make an effort to connect because my kids are not doing gymnastics right now. But, one of the greatest parts about her is that she is a great Christian and a career woman who is also a mom. All those qualities are hard to come by in a friend (that you also click with), so I am praying that Red and I continue down our path because I have been missing having a close friendship like that. I didn't realize it really, but once I met her, I realized that I had that gap for sure. Her son is adorable and her husband is funny and sarcastic too, my kind of family!

Anyway, I tell you about Red because we were talking this weekend and I was discussing how I am already getting that catch in my throat when I think about D going away and being gone for 2 months this summer for Navy training. I am really trying to keep my calm and cool demeanor, but on the inside I am freaking out. The rationale side of me knows that going to the East Coast for 2 months is a far cry from going to the MIDDLE EAST for 15 months, and that he will be fine and all of that happy stuff. The irrational (and seemingly dominant) side of my brain says OH MY GOSH, MY BEST FRIEND, MY KIDS' DAD, MY LOVER, MY EVERYTHING, is going to be gone for 2 months. My chest gets tight, my eyes sting and my nose burns at it all. Now, I don't mean to insinuate that I am not a very independent chick, because I truly am, but I love this man so much and home is where he is. I will miss him painfully and the kids, well, I will obviously do my best to maintain an optimistic outlook, but they will miss him so much. He plays differently with them, he knows how to roughhouse, he LIKES to play outside (I really don't...), he lightens the mood when I am frustrated, he brings another perspective. I am going to miss him terribly.

So, Red comes up with a beautiful suggestion, every time I feel this way or when he is gone and I am missing him (by the minute), that I should come up with a prayer to say in my head that will strengthen me and carry me through this challenge. See why I like her? What a great idea. So, I am in the midst of trying to find a calming, strengthening prayer that I can call my own that will help. I know that I tend to be very self-sufficient and do not rely on God enough, even though I am fully aware that I am able to be self-sufficient through the gifts that God has given me. I don't like to be vulnerable though and this position leaves me in a position that is not really comfortable. I keep reminding myself though that it is through those times that I can grow in my walk with God.

Any other suggestions?

Life is This Good,

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Manhattan and the Food Emporium

Well, my absence can be explained by my trip to New York as well as this PhD annoyance that I have attached myself too. But first to the fun stuff, my trip to Manhattan was great (although I missed D and the cherubs very much).
Highlights of the trip:

1. Ground Zero and the drawing from a child above. It is a storyboard of sorts that shows the Twin Towers being crashed into and then the towers, who appear to be made up of hearts (how incredible is that), falling apart but it is through the flying up to heaven of the hearts. It took my breath away and I am so glad to share it. Through the art of a young child, I was so very touched. The rest of the Ground Zero experience was incredible as well. The St. Paul's Chapel that was right there, and had NO WINDOWS even break, was just goose-bump creating. The church itself has turned into a sort of shrine and has lost a bit of its holy factor (at least for me), it was wonderful to know that the church was such a useful and special place during the days and months that followed the tragedy. This visit should be required for every American, it left me speechless indeed.

2. Seeing Lady Liberty - that was cool, but COLD. We waited in line for the ferry for almost 2 hours, brrr. It would indeed be an awesome sight if you were new to the country and came upon that symbol of freedom after traveling the seas for weeks/months.

3. Seeing a play, November, starring Nathan Lane. While I must admit to being disappointed by the proficient use of the "F" word, mostly during the first act, I also had my feathers slightly rumpled by the negative language surrounding one of the character's adoption of a child from China. Essentially, the President was offensive to every single group you could think of, and that was the point, so while I acknowledge it was on purpose, it still was a good little prodder for how SOME people in society view international adoption "buying", etc. Regardless, it was still neat to see a play up close and personal.

4. Going to the big Macy's. Ridiculously large and when we first arrived they were having a Flower Show and there were gorgeous flowers everywhere! My aunt who went with loved it as she is a major gardener.

5. Going to ChinaTown and Little Italy. I bought no fake purses, wallets, or sunglasses - I didn't find any I liked! It was fine, but I actually think I liked Chinatown in San Francisco better!

6. I LOVED all the little grocery stores, delis, etc., that were on every street corner it seemed, with my absolute favorite being the Food Emporium . Why oh why can't we have one here! I was loving that as it was only a block from our hotel.

7. The Top of the Rock - Rockefeller Center, it was beautiful to see New York at night from up there. The ice skating rink was also cool to see in person, much smaller than it seems on t.v.

Okay, that is all for now, I have finished my assignment for today for school (only 5 more to go this week!!!) and am ready to crash.

All for now,