Thursday, January 30, 2014

videos that might just make you cry (consider this a warning)

Words.  I feel like I have written so many lately and yet few of them have made it to this blog!  I've been working on all sorts of things which meant my blog has been a tad neglected this week.

Anyway, in the past week I've seen two different videos on parenting that have brought tears to my eyes that I wanted to share.  Could I just be a super sappy mother?  Maybe.  Probably.  But maybe you'll end up liking them as much as I did.

Thanks to my friends Pita and Stephanie for passing these along!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 - The Year of Hard Conversations

Let's talk honestly about Air Force life, shall we?

Last week we had an information night for spouses that I helped organize.  Among many other speakers, we had someone come in and talk about surviver benefits.  So, with my husband sitting beside me, I learned what would happen if he died.  I learned how much money I would receive, I learned how long I could stay in base housing, I learned how long my son and I would have medical coverage.

It was weird.

I've dubbed 2014 "the year of hard conversations" for our family.  Being in the Air Force, they strongly encourage families to plan for difficult situations.  And we've actually talked about death and the future on many occasions.  But we've decided that this year we need to discuss it all in depth, record our decisions and make sure everything is in order from a legal perspective (will, power of attorney, etc).

I am pretty pragmatic about all of this and, thankfully, so is my husband.  We both recognize that at any time either of us could be injured or killed so we want to make sure things are taken care of.  Perhaps this is part of my natural tendency to over-plan everything, but if something were to happen to my husband, I would want a list.  I would want to go to a notebook and remember that we discussed and know exactly what my next steps should be.  Where he should be buried, what he would like at the funeral, where I should move with our son, how I should invest the money.  And I want him to have the same for me.  It just seems too great a burden to bear to have to make those decisions alone in moments of unfathomable grief and mourning.

It's hard, too, to think of the future.  If we were unable to raise our son, who would we trust to do it for us?  If we were to remarry and that person wanted to adopt our son, would we want his last name to change?

I truly hope that I'll never need these contingency plans, but I feel safety in knowing that I could honor my husband by following the decisions that we had made together.

Have you had these conversations with your spouse?  Or do you want to?  I have friends who swear they could never talk about this with their husbands because they can't possibly imagine him dying, but my husband and I both think it's important and we are able to have these discussions fairly calmly, which I appreciate.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Show Us Your Singles Link Up - Meet Megan!

Although I write about a wide range of topics on here, I am absolutely sure this is the FIRST time I've posted anything like this!  I'm linking up with Kelly today for a Show Us Your Singles post because it just so happens that I have an amazing friend who is single.

I'm not usually the matchmaking type, but when I heard about Show Us Your Singles, I immediately thought of Megan.  I texted her a link to the blog and asked if she'd consider letting me post about her.  Megan is super fun and is usually up for an adventure so she said yes!  And I'm glad she did because it's fun to share about a best friend.

Megan and I met in a freshman nursing class, but, within a week of each other, we both ended up switching our majors to psychology.  We spent the next three years in the same classes, spent two years living in the same dorm and spent a year working together as RAs.  After graduation, Megan moved to Colorado to begin her graduate studies in clinical health psychology and since then we've kept in touch through emails, texts, phone calls, and she even came to visit when Haddy was a newborn (I think I was still in the zombie stages of new motherhood then!).

What I've always appreciated about Megan is her thoughtfulness - we always have the best discussions.  In college we had several lunches each week scheduled together and would spend the whole time talking.  Megan is full of wisdom and asks really good questions, so I like getting her advice.  Megan is thoughtful, too, in how she integrates Christianity into the rest of life and this was a subject we talked about a lot in college.  Megan is such a positive person, but I've see how she chooses to have a positive outlook even when life isn't perfect.  She's an example to me in perseverance and joy.


Megan loves music and actually plays piano in her church's worship team.  She likes nature and enjoys walking/running on trails around Denver.  Megan also likes interesting food, whether it be trying a new recipe or a new restaurant.  In college (after we got tired of the usual cafeteria food) we created a special grilled cheese sandwich that makes me hungry just thinking about it - we had to go to all different corners of the cafeteria to collect the ingredients, but it was worth it!  Megan also likes game nights with friends and traveling (the picture below is from a trip to Ireland).  And although she'd never say this about herself, I can say that Megan is a great mix of intelligent and hard working.  I mentioned how we had classes together through college and she set a high bar in terms of grades and projects!


Like I said, Megan is a super fun, amazing woman!  I'm so glad that we became friends and thankful for her wisdom in my life.

I do have one warning though: Megan doesn't eat chocolate (she says she's allergic, but I think that's impossible;)  So if you are trying to impress her, don't send chocolate!

**If you think you know someone who might be a good fit for Megan, leave a comment here or send me an email directly and I can pass the information along to her!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"no-reply commenters" - check your settings!

Ever commented on a blog and wonder why the blogger didn't respond?  It might be because of your settings!

When you leave a comment here, I get an email from the address associated with that Google account.  However, many people unknowingly have their email address set as private since that is the default setting in Blogger.  So when your comment comes to me, it comes from a no-reply email address.  Instead of being able to write back to you directly, I can only leave a comment on the post and hope you check back.  I've heard other bloggers make similar remarks about trying to track down a commenter with whom they are trying to connect.

Here's a quick guide to checking your "noreply" settings!  Start at your Blogger dashboard:

If you have your blog linked to your Google+ profile, the box below might look different.  Then you'd want to select "Revert to Blogger profile" before going on to the next step.

Right above the Blogger Profile, I've blacked out my personal email address

This step is simple enough.

See where the underlined portion?  That will tell you which email address the bloggers will see.  I have a email address just for the blog, so that's what I use for my comments as well.  It's a nice way to keep things separate from my personal email.  If you'd like to keep your personal email private, but still comment on blogs, I recommend getting a separate email address under which you can comment!  

Make sure you click save (at the bottom of the page) when you're done and then you'll be all set!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

the happily-ever-afters they don't mention in the fairy tales

A highlight from this weekend:

The baby was finally down for a nap.  My husband and I were collapsed on the bed in the throes of food poisoning.

"There's no one else I'd rather have food poisoning with."

"Me neither."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The National Museum of the Air Force

I promise this is the last post about our trip to Ohio!  I've been meaning to post these pictures for awhile I just hadn't gotten around to it yet.  I've written about my husband's eye surgery (our reason for going to Ohio in the first place) and about staying at the Fisher House.  The Fisher House was beautiful, but we did get cabin-fever since we were there for so long with a busy, little person so we were on the lookout for free/cheap activities.

Wright-Patt AFB is home to the National Museum of the Air Force which is FREE!  It took us about ten minutes to get there from the Fisher House so we ended up going about three or four times while we were in Ohio.  The museum is gigantic and not very busy so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.  The museum is three airplane hangers full (and they are planning on building a fourth hanger in the near future).

From what I could tell, the museum is staffed by volunteers, most of whom are veterans.  Everyone we met was so kind, especially when they found out we were an Air Force family.  There were signs all over saying that food and drink was prohibited, but when our bags were checked at the beginning, they allowed us to bring in Hadden's drink and dry snacks, which was nice.

Hadden took full advantage of all the open space by running everywhere.

There were many simulators, which kept my boys busy.  The one above shows how the tail of the helicopter controls which way it turns.

Watching a recording of a Bob Hope USO performance

The sweetest little feet in the world.

Hadden's inspiration photo in case he decides to become an astronaut

These planes are SO much tighter than they look!  I think I'm too claustrophobic to ever consider a career in aviation.  

This is the tune of the Air Force song with the original lyrics:

"Off we go into the wild blue yonder, climbing high into the sun,
Down we dive giving 'em hell from under, once we ride, battle is done!
Down below infantry men are marching, mixed in one hell of a row!
With scouts in the fore and bomber galore, Boy, what do you think of the Air Corps now!"

I was excited to see several signs like this one showing the history of women in the Air Force.  At the same time, many of the older planes we saw were decorated with pin-up girl images, so there was a bit of cognitive dissonance.

I had already agreed to review this book before our trip, so when I was especially interested to see Gold Star Mothers remembered at the museum.

These service flags always remind me of the Molly books (the WWII American girl doll) which is where I first learned of them.  

After awhile, Hadden ended up on Caleb's shoulders, which is usually one of his favorite places to be.

Hadden's absolute favorite part of the museum were these coin funnels!  I try not to carry a lot of change, so I was digging through the diaper bag and my wallet to find coins for him.  He probably would have stayed there all day if I had had enough coins to keep going.  :)

Eventually baby boy got tired and ended up conked out in the stroller so we just laid him back and let him sleep while we explored the museum in peace.

This is aerial view of the last hanger and it definitely doesn't do it justice.  If I were a better photographer, I would have taken a panoramic photo because this only shows about a third of the planes in that hanger.

Just a few more pictures!  I promise!

We also took a day and visited two additional exhibits, the Presidential exhibit and the Research and Development exhibit.  Both of these are located on base, which means regular visitors to the AF museum have wait until they have a bus going there.  Since we are DOD cardholders, we got to go on our own time.  I loved the Presidential side of the exhibit and seeing all the old Air Force Ones.

Hadden loved climbing up all the steps on the planes and I loved having him use up energy that way ;)

The passages through the plane were SO narrow.  In the beginning, I had Hadden in an Ergo and we fit, but it was definitely tight.

On Kennedy's Air Force One.  
If I remember correctly, the plane had been refigured since Kennedy had used it, but it was still a bit eerie thinking about Johnson being sworn in on that plane with Jackie next to him in a blood-spotted suit.

As always, Hadden found a place to wiggle and wriggle.  I have absolutely no recollection of what this little trailer thing was, but I DO remember Hadden walking through it about thirty times.  :)

I knew the AF museum would be a good place to release energy, but I wasn't sure how I would like walking around "a bunch of old planes" (my view before we went there) even though I really like most museums.  But we learned quite a bit about aviation, the Air Force and the military in general.  The next time we're in the area, we'll definitely be going back!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Books for the Journey: Women and Christianity

When I was an undergrad at our Christian college, I had a group presentation about women's roles in the Church.  If I recall correctly, we had about a month to prepare.  That sounds like a lot of time, but a month in the middle of college (with four or five other classes, extracurricular activities and lots of other homework assignments to juggle) goes by pretty quickly.  Our professor's goal was for us to take that month, do an in-depth study and emerge with a conclusion.  But a month isn't a lot of time to tackle a subject that complicated!

Up to that point, I had always been taught (and believed) that women couldn't be pastors or elders or have leadership over men in churches.  But I was beginning to question all that.  I saw the inconsistencies in hermeneutics, the incomplete arguments and knew there must be more to the issue than I had been taught.  But, unfortunately, it was a lot easier to just parrot the opinions I'd been given for years, find a few sources, make my powerpoint and take my easy A.

In a lot of ways, I'm disappointed with myself that I didn't go deeper then because I stood in front of a class and taught complementary views even when I had hesitations.  But to be fair, I think this issue (and many others) has been a lot more of a journey, than an assignment.  I've been researching and discussing this issues for several years now and, while I feel I've made a lot of progress, I don't think that the issue is closed to me yet.  I'm still learning from new writers and friends and still forming my opinions.  Perhaps I'll always be.

Last week I wrote a review of the book Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, which sparked a fun discussion in the comment section and gave me a chance to pull all that knowledge I've been storing up.  As I responded to comments, I realized that I just kept recommending books, which is in line with my undergrad experience.  Majoring in psychology meant a lot of papers and even more references.  And it doesn't hurt that I just happen to like books. ;)  Because of that post, I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite books on women and Christianity.

I'm labeling this "books for the journey" because I want to encourage people to view it that way.  It certainly has been a journey for me, and, in talking with other people, I feel like that's a common sentiment.  I don't expect a complementarian to read my post about Jesus Feminist and immediately change their mind about women's roles in the Church.  But if something I write piques their curiosity and that curiosity causes them to pick up a book and that book causes them to reconsider, THAT is worth it to me.

So here are the books that have helped me on this journey of discovering where women fit into Christianity.  I'm not saying that I agree 100% with each of these books, but each has caused me to think and helped me develop a more robust understanding of feminism and Christianity.  It is VERY hard for me to write 3-4 sentence book reviews, but I'm just giving a quick summary to explain why I'm recommending it.

1. Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women

Obviously, I liked this book.  You can read my whole review here, but I just say a quick bit here as well.  I appreciated Sarah's gracious tone and how she prays "for unity beyond conformity" (p. 5).  She advocates for "grace and kindness...especially for those who we believe are profoundly wrong" (p. 5).  If you're just beginning to research this subject, this book would be a good one to start with.

2. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Half the Sky is another great book to read if you're just beginning this journey.  And when you do get to the other books on this list, you'll see Half the Sky quoted over and over again!  Kristof and WuDunn explore how women all over the globe have been subjugated simply because of their gender.  Oh, and there's also a documentary by the same name if you feel like I'm listing too many books!  

3. Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women

This title is obviously a play off of Half the Sky, but it's on another important topic: women in the Church.  Carolyn Custis James encourages her readers to look at these issues through a global and historical lens, instead of simply through our American perspective.

4. A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master"

I read Rachel's book last year and loved it (although her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town, is still my favorite!).  Rachel spends a year examining (and living!) God's commands for women.  It's funny and thought provoking.  So much more I could say about this book, but I'll leave it at this: read it.

5. Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis

If you're looking for a book that goes in depth on the hermeneutics of women in the Bible, this is it.  It is very academic and I still haven't made it through, but what I have read has been wonderful.  It comes recommended by my friend and mentor, Marlena Graves, who is one of the most trustworthy people I know.

6. Good News for Women: A Biblical Picture of Gender Equality

I read this for a college class my senior year and it was the first book I read from an egalitarian perspective.  Until that point, I had always been taught from a complementary perspective, both implicitly and explicitly.  Groothuis' book gave me the confidence and the curiosity to continue on this journey.

7. ProLife Feminism: Yesterday and Today

 This is in my "to read" pile, but comes highly recommended.  Sometimes in conservative Christian circles, I think we see the word 'feminist' and immediately think of abortion.  And I think that's a dangerous correlation.  Certainly, there are many people who are both feminist and pro-choice.  But this book shows that there is a very strong history of feminists who are also pro-life.  (Side note: I hate the terms pro-life and pro-choice terms as they are misleading and inflammatory, but I am using them here because I think it is the easiest way to explain what I mean)

And if you're looking for something FREE that you can read right now, I recommend this article by The Junia Project dealing with I Timothy 2:12, which is one of the most confusing verses in this conversation.  And make sure you read the comments too!

Okay, it's your turn!  What books have helped you?

**This post contains Amazon Associates links
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