This and That

Archive for July 2011

In the past ten days the following things have not been done:

The toys have not been picked up:

The trash has not been taken out:

(And a strange odor has started coming from its’ general direction but I am too afraid to investigate.)

The laundry has not been put away:

(And instead of putting it away this morning, I recruited my 3-year-old to help me sift  through it to find his brother a clean shirt.)

I haven’t straighten my crazy, frizzy hair.

I have not paid rent. Oh wait, that is really bad. OK I am going to do that today.

Now, why have these things not been done you may be asking?

Because I have started writing. I have started writing this blog and started writing for TheSmartlySocal.com. I have started writing and I love it! It’s all I want to do.

( Please note that I am normally kind of a freak about keeping a clean house. Well not kind of, I am a freak. About cleaning I mean. Though I suppose an argument could be made that I am just a freak in general. But that is another post. Moving on.)

Since I left work to stay at home and have babies, I have been in full-blown mom mode.  Which I have loved, has been great, and is still great. But  I have stumbled across something that I really love and want to spend time doing and thinking about more than my son’s dirty diapers. I know it’s shocking.

Even if no one reads this blog and even if no one thinks I am a very good writer, I still love it. I am still going to write because it has given me a voice that I kinda lost when I left work.

But in my defense, I am still making three meals a day, changing diapers, playing dress up pirate games, and wiping noses.  And luckily the best thing about having boys is that they don’t care what clothes they are wearing. Even if it’s the same ones three days in a row!

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When God called Moses up to Mount Sinai He delivered the 10 most important rules that His people should follow. Most Americans can probably rattle off at least five of them…maybe more…and a few of us could probably get all 10.  I am going to let you see for yourselves how many you can remember. However, today I am going to write about the one that has been giving me a lot of thought recently- commandment number five: Honor thy father and mother. The reason I have been giving it a lot of thought is because I heard a message on the fifth commandment on the radio and then on Sunday my pastor used it as an example in his sermon. Coincidence? Maybe. Or God was hitting me over the head saying ” Pay attention Jami. You are not doing great on this one.”

If you run through the list of the commandments there are two main categories: the first half focuses on God and our relationship with him, and the second half focuses on sins God wants us to avoid. And then there is the fifth one – Honor thy father and mother. Right in the middle of the list. It seems so out of place, so random. But is it?

What does it mean to honor thy father and mother?  For many of us, when we were young our parents were our heroes, then when we were teenagers our parents turned into our mortal enemies, and in college our parents were idiots that were so out of date with the times.  Until the day we turned between 25-30 years old and then miraculously our parents didn’t seem so out of touch anymore. In fact we may even start seeing them like people we want to emulate.  Our parents are people – shocker! People with a past. We start understanding what makes them tick, what their experiences were growing up, and how they came to be who they are.

This applies to our grandparents too. I know, I know grandparents can be very opinionated, definitively old school, and sometimes smelly (you know that old person smell).  But more often than not, your grandparent has had an amazing life. For example, my great grandmother was a very prosperous woman in England and had just purchased her first class ticket for the maiden voyage of the Titanic….however her traveling friend really wanted to take a more leisurely journey, so at the last minute they switched boats. Hello!!!! If she hadn’t changed boats I may not be here today going on this rant about the fifth commandment! (I learned this story, of course, from my grandmother.)

So even though my parents and grandparents are flawed and have made some huge mistakes which have affected me personally. They are still my parents.  And God calls me to honor them by maybe spending time with them and/or looking after them when they become too old to care for themselves.

Of course not all of us had good childhoods. There is a lot of pain and heartache that people have to deal with everyday that was caused by their parents. I am deeply saddened about that…but the commandment doesn’t go away either. It may look different for you though…maybe honoring your father and mother just means forgiving them for what happened or finally not wishing them ill will. There isn’t a formula for this, it can look a thousand different ways.

I just spent an hour and half the other day with my grandma and my boys eating lunch at a play area. I could see it on her face….it was the best hour and half of her week. Just watching her watch my boys was so wonderful -she was so happy and content.

I think God included number five in the commandments, specifically in the middle of the list, because after our relationship with Him the next important relationship is with our parents (our family). Then all of our other relationships fall out of that. How we honor our father and mother is a huge indicator of what kind of people we will become and how are relationships will be with others.

I have resolved to do better on commandment number five-how about you?

I am in no way a biblical scholar or theologian. These are just one of my thoughts on this one thing. I’m just a girl with a computer. I do have more thoughts though so get ready. 🙂

Image by thekingsvineyard.com

The first blog I did on the debt ceiling was mainly just my ranting about our politicians inability to find a compromise and make a deal. This second part will focus on the current facts of the debate, my thoughts, and the plan I would impose if I had a say. Be aware I’m not just a pretty face. I have an economics degree so I am qualified to make these statements.

Here are the facts:

-Our current debt ceiling is at $14.294 trillion

-Our country hit this debt ceiling on May 16th,

-Aug 2 is the last day to make a deal and get it passed through Congress so America doesn’t default on our loans

-The debt ceiling needs to be raised around $2 trillion through 2012

-Defaulting on our loans would result in the following: rising interest rates, a decline in the dollar, increased instablility in financial markets, and a loss of confidence in America’s credit and promises.

-Republicans believe the debt ceiling is too high already and raising it more would only increase our problems. Republicans want to cut spending in Social Security, Medicare, and other government programs. They do not want to raise taxes on any Americans to earn extra money to offset our spending.

– Democrats believe the debt ceiling needs to be raised in order to avoid all the consequences of defaulting -it’s a must do. They do not believe in cutting money from Social Security, Medicare, etc. They want to raise taxes on the wealthiest of Americans to increase our country’s income.

Here’s the current situation:

Last week, negotiations seemed to be making progress. Our politicians were talking, there was some give and take, and there was hope that a deal was going to be made. Yes it wasn’t a perfect deal, but a deal none the less. But then the Democrats wanted more taxes and then the Republicans walked away from the table….seriously?!?

This week, Obama addressed the American people calling for our help to push through the Democratic plan.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s wisely commented “you don’t want politics messing around with America’s faith and credit.” Geithner acknowledged the debate issue saying, “They have taken this a little too far, frankly.”

“We are now getting to a point where markets around the world will question whether the political system in Washington can come together and compromise for the greater good of the country,” White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Here’s my thoughts:

There is a two step plan on the table (well… that’s being revised) that I generally think is a good idea but I would add one additional step. The two step plan calls to raise the debt ceiling in stages but have it be tied to spending cuts through 2012 and the over the next 10 years. I would raise the debt ceiling in stages, cut spending, AND increase our country’s income with some taxes. That would be my plan…a three step plan.

It is amazing to me that someone would think that our spending isn’t out of control. We can’t keep spending money we don’t have! That is not how a government prospers, that’s not how a company prospers, and that is not how a household prospers. I manage the budget for my family. I know how much money we have coming in and how much is going out. If I spent more money than I have, I would have the bank and creditors knocking down my door demanding their money. Running from creditors, accumulating more debt is not the way to live, and it’s not the way for our government to run our country.

Spending needs to be cut, but I don’t believe that all or even the majority of spending cuts should come from Social Security and Medicare. So many Americans rely on these services and they would be greatly hurt in losing them. I think spending should be cut evenly throughout all our government programs. Then hopefully there won’t be too much pain on the Americans who rely on them.

Now on to step three. It’s not just about cutting spending. There does need to be an increase of income and some of that can come from raising taxes. I don’t think it is an outlandish idea to tax the wealthiest of Americans. Being the richest I think they could afford it.

So as you can see my thoughts are a little Republican and a little Democratic. You know, like a compromise. A word that doesn’t seem to resonate with our politicians.

What do you think? What would your debt ceiling plan look like?

Image by conservativebyte.com

Seriously….seriously…..I can’t believe this can not get resolved. That a compromise can not be found. Really? Are our politicians so one sided that they can’t see the other party’s point of view? And are they all so prideful that they can’t find some middle ground? Sure, not all of the Republican wants will be met but not all of the Democrats wishes will be fulfilled either. That’s called a compromise people. Letting some things go in order to do what needs to be done – -like avoid an economic crisis like defaulting on our loans!

Another alarming fact about this whole debate is that raising the debt ceiling has never been a huge problem for either side in years, decades. Every year the debt ceiling is raised and most people are none the wiser. Sure there is grumbling here and there, usually from the Republican side, but it’s never been made out into this huge issue. Why has it become such a big deal this time you may ask? Well for starters it’s a big election season and I think everyone on capital hill is more interested in sticking to their ideological agendas and platforms than actually helping our country and the American people. Also, there has been an alarming trend over the last 8+ years of none bi-partisan cooperation. My three year old son knows how to share and compromise better than our politicians.

I freely admit that I am not a politically driven person. Most days I feel like a Republican with Democrat sympathies and other days I am a Democrat with an underlining Republican wishes. But I think that this loose description would apply to a lot of Americans – dare I say the majority of us?? We can understand both sides in a lot of issues…not every issue but many. So why does that not work for our politicians? If someone can please tell me their thoughts or opinions on this I would greatly appreciate it. Let’s hear what you think. Correct me if you think I am wrong. Let’s see if we can find a compromise.

Image by clotureclub.com

Every Sunday my family and I go to church and every Sunday as we are driving there the same thought pops into my head. I really wish our church was held in a church. Like a church with a steeple and cross on top, stained glass windows, and pews. I love seeing churches I pass by that are traditional looking like this. They seem so safe, so pretty, so holy. I sometimes go as far as to think that I would have a better spiritual life, a better relationship with God if I’d only worship in a church, church. Of course I know this is untrue and the second after I think it I then proceed to scold myself.

Most churches in the first centuries were located in homes, believers in China and other places all over the world have to worship in secret locations away from persecution. And I am complaining about going to church at a big warehouse.

After we had been going to the warehouse church for a while, my hubby and I decided to try out some new churches…just to see if there was another church we liked…that we could connect with…and that might be a better location. Location to my hubby meant what city the church was in (our church was in a different city from where we lived). I, on the other hand, was talking about the building the church was located in. A church with a steeple and a cross on top, stained glass windows, and pews.

We tried different churches for the next six months or so. We tried a lot of different churches. And I mean a lot. Tons. Hundreds. Ok not hundreds but it felt like that. Almost every weekend we were at a new church. Most of the churches were in great church locations -meaning they were in church, churches. With a steeple and cross on top, stained glass windows, and pews. So for me, externally they fit the bill perfectly. But internally my hubby and I left each Sunday empty. The church was beautiful and welcoming but we didn’t connect with the pastor, or we didn’t connect with the people, or we didn’t agree with the core beliefs of the churches.

So one Sunday we went back to our church in the big warehouse. Where there was no steeple with a cross on top, no stained glass windows, and no pews. And you know what…we felt filled again. Filled in our hearts because we connected with our pastor, our people, and the core beliefs.

So every Sunday my family and I go to church and every Sunday as we are driving there the same thought pops into my head. I really wish our church was held in a church. And maybe that thought will always pop into my head on the way but once I get to my church in the big warehouse that thought always disappears. My heart fills up and I feel at peace and at home as I begin to worship God with my pastor, and my people who share the same beliefs.

Image from berkeleyheritage.com

I recently received this comment from my son’s soon-to-be preschool teacher. Well, not just his preschool teacher but from a few of the volunteers as well. He was at his new preschool for their summer school program.

“Your son is very active.”

This statement was not given as an answer to a question from me like ” Oh excuse me, but do you think my son is active or not active?” Nope, this statement was given to me either without solicitation or in response to the general question of  ” how did he do today?”

“Your son is very active.”

So….what does that mean? Does it mean “he did great today because he played all day and did all the activities we asked him to”? Does it mean “your son is so full of life and happiness”?

Nope, I don’t think that this is what was being implied. The tone was not a positive one. It sounded negative and tired…it sounded very tired.

“Your son is very active.”

Here’s what I think it means…I think it means that my son is full of natural energy and you can’t keep up with him. I think it means he is enthusiastic and full of passion and you have been at this job too long and no longer appreciate when a child has spunk. I think it means  you wish my son was a wallflower that just sat quietly and didn’t make sound. I think it means you are trying to classify my son as being hyperactive, having ADD or ADHD when you have only know him for a week!

Have we forgotten that our son’s male ancestors were hunters. Men born to take on danger, find adventure, and to discovery new worlds. God made them to love outdoors, to be full of curiosity, and to be very active.

My son IS very active. But I see that as a good thing. That is how God made him – like his ancestors. He has a lot of energy, he is very social and outgoing, and he isn’t afraid to express his emotions. He is wonderful, loving, and passionate.

Now, I do think I am going to be keeping a very close eye on you Ms. Preschool Teacher and your helpers and how you treat my son. And maybe my comment to you will be:

“You and your school just aren’t active enough for my son.”

Somewhere in the last seven years of my married life I have become domestic. I feel like a completely different person most days. Before I was married I was a certified tom boy who could only make mac n’ cheese and a PB & J sandwich.  The first few years of our marriage, my hubby did all the cooking, God bless him! Now I  am much more girly and love cooking. I try new recipes all the time and they turn out good! It’s amazing. My favorite recipes come from The Pioneer Woman (thepioneerwoman.com), Cook This Not That (from the writers of Eat This Not That), and SkinnyTaste.com. I recently just cooked a whole chicken and it turned out great! Seven years ago I would not have touched raw meat let alone shove my hand inside a chicken to pull out the guts! And then shove onions, lemons, and garlic back into that chicken…ugg…grosses me out just thinking about it… but I did it!

I also have a garden. I have tomatoes, strawberries (well one strawberry), and a huge cucumber plant. Oh and I have even pickled my cucumbers and again they turned out great! Hello?!? Who am I??? I have homemade pickles in my refrigerator..look below for proof. CRAZY!

I am seriously not bragging. I am just so shocked about how much I have changed. How did this happen? I am the only person without a penis in my house so maybe that has intensified my domestic, feminine qualities. Or did my marriage vows alter my hormones? Did having children enhance my domestic genes? Am I a step-ford wife? Or has an alien taken control of my body?

Anyone else experienced this vast change after marriage or children or just as they have gotten older? Or am I just a freak??