Monday, September 21, 2009

Another helpful tip

Last time I wrote about something I had observed, I was surprised that so many of my readers had also observed it.

Now I know that you are a bunch of astute and, quite frankly, brilliant people, just like me. So, what I have to share with you tonight will come as no surprise. No doubt you already are in the "in the know club," I just haven't had the fortune to be at a gas station filling up at the same time as you.


Yes, my tip tonight is about gas stations. Most people (other than you, of course) don't seem to realize that the gas hose is long enough to reach to the other side of your car. That means, if all the pumps on your gas door's side are taken, you can go to the one on the opposite side and just stretch the hose over.

I feel bad for all those other people who wait in lines 2 or 3 cars deep for a pump on their side, while I just zip around them and have my bank account emptied tank full in no time.

Now, I am not going to guarantee that every gas hose in the world is long enough to reach over your vehicle. But I have been trying this out at any station I go to for the last few years and haven't been disappointed yet. Sometimes I have to pull up to where the hose just has to go around the back and not over the top, but it always works.

Everyone waiting in line must be from New Jersey and is just learning how to pump their own gas. Let's give them some time and enjoy our no-wait pumps in the meantime!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blue Friday

[Spoiler Alert- The blog below contains honest emotions. If you're one of my work colleagues or someone who would feel uncomfortable seeing this side of me, please feel free to click away to one of my funnier blogs now. :-)]

[and it's really long]

It's a good thing I didn't get my makeup on before leaving for work, because it would've been all over my face by the time I got there. I'm not a crier. Well, that's not true. But I used to not be. Then, when I started dating John, I started crying all the time.

Oh, it wasn't him. It was the fact that our relationship was long-distance bi-country (him:US, me:Honduras) until 2 months before we got married, so I missed him alot.

I digress. 

Today (Friday) started out really early. I had a presentation to give in the Instructor Training Course I'm taking at the Defense Information School. It was just a demonstration, so I didn't spend as much time prepping for it as I should've. I got up at 4:30 to work on it, but never quite got my head in the game.

On the drive up to Ft. Meade (35 miles away), the song All My Praise by Selah, came on the radio. One of the singers in Selah is Todd Smith. I came across a blog by his wife, Angie, several months ago. Eighteen weeks into their 3rd pregnancy, they learned that their unborn (4th) daughter, Audrey, had no kidney function, an enlarged heart, undeveloped lungs and no amniotic fluid. Angie's blog about their journey was one of the most read blogs of 2008.

The short version of the story is that they were told they should have an abortion because Angie would probably miscarry, and even if Audrey survived delivery, she would take one gasping breath and die. Plus, carrying a live baby with no amniotic fluid is very painful for the mother. They decided that God gave Audrey to them and they'd hold on to her as long as they could. She was delivered via c-section at 32 weeks and lived for a peaceful two and a half hours. (I highly recommend you read her version of the story, just keep a tissue close.)

The song was recorded 3 years before their ordeal with Audrey started, but the blog was fresh on my mind. The lyrics--

And even in the shadow of death
I will praise You
And even in the valley I will say
Holy, My God
You are worthy of all my praise
Holy, My God
You are worthy of all my praise

--just seemed really poignant. I wonder if even as Todd sang this song, God was preparing his heart for what he would actually have to walk through in the future. And I wonder what God is preparing my heart for.

I can't hear a song by Selah without thinking about their story, so of course my heart got sad for them. --Tears start. -- And then sadder still for anyone who loses a baby. And sad for me because I want a baby. And happy-sad for my friend who just had a healthy baby 3 weeks early, before her husband got home from his Navy trip. And sad for all the daddies who can't be there for their babies' births. And hoping John is there for ours (because we WILL have them).

By this point, I'm not even bothering to dry my cheeks off.

And then I cried for our future foster children, for their parents who will make bad choices that will lead to us taking care of their babies. And for all the children in the world who don't have loving homes to live in. And then some more for myself for wanting a baby, and for all my friends who want babies, and for missing John, who is only gone for 2 weeks, but it seems so much longer.

Do you see why I was a mess when I got to work this morning? My mind was a million miles away from my demonstration on how to make a trifle. 

I made it through today, but I feel like I've been in a daze. I write this not to be all "woe is me" but just to let you know that it's okay to feel the blues every once in a while. I try to keep what I write very encouraging and full of joy. But today, I knew I had to tell you about this.

Because joy tastes so much sweeter when you know the bitterness of sorrow. Our character can be developed more in our times of 'weakness' because our hearts are softer to the Potter's hands. 

I don't dwell on these things every day, but today I was able to offer all of it up as a prayer, knowing my God is big enough to hold it all.

I'll be glad to see this day tucked into history and look forward to His new mercies tomorrow.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Three birthday wishes

I'll be honest (aren't I always?), birthdays are not my love language.

A few years ago I tried to stop celebrating my birthday. It did not go over well. I ended up offending more people than I thought possible. My desire to ignore my birthday didn't stem from not wanting to age. That's inevitable and -for me- very desirable as I seek the wisdom associated with age. I just didn't think that I did anything the day I was born to warrant a celebration. My mom did all the work.

My loved ones protested saying my birthday was a chance to celebrate me and all the great things I mean to this world. My argument was, if my birthday is about me, why can't we honor me by not celebrating it? I've done things worth celebrating other days, like graduating from college or joining the military. I don't mind a cake and cards to congratulate me on the anniversaries of those events. Sigh. Like I said, this was an ineffective pursuit and I gave up.

Anyway, now I have an idea to harness birthday-loving-people-everywhere's desire to celebrate and my desire to do something worth celebrating.

I give you three great causes to send some money to. This way, you and I both make a difference!

1) Solomon Jordan Siegel - He's my nephew and turns 2 on Sunday (now there's something to celebrate!). He was born with Down Syndrome, and has been through a lot in his life. He is amazing. This year, he's attending a special school called The Little Light House. The school will invest $26,000 into his education this year and not charge his parents a dime. They can do this only through fundraising ferociously and partnering with people and organizations who care. You can find out more about him and donate as much as you want on his page here.

2) Philippines trip/Camp Sonshine - I'm going to the Philippines with my church from Oct 25-Nov 7. We're going to be working with the Anascos (ORU grads) and the camp for street kids they run called Camp Sonshine (yes, related to the one in Maryland). My team of 12 (plus a baby) needs to raise $27,600 total by Oct 1. This amount goes towards our plane tickets and expenses, then the rest goes to putting on the camp for 150 to 200 kids. If you want to 'go' with us, you can contribute here and choose any of our names to put in the 'For' line.

3) charity:water - a simply amazing community of people who want to provide clean drinking water to everyone on the planet. I started a campaign to help and the webpage is You'd be amazed how much a little can do.
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