Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Family Readiness Group

I went to family readiness group. It is a place where a lot of women of various backgrounds who would never meet eachother any other place but family readiness group get together and talk about our husbands who have been deployed. I met a few women, none of whom I will name because who knows if their husbands will see this blog. But, a couple of women and I talked about our binges, shopping, eating, drinking, and combinations thereof. Personally, I have done a little of all three, but that is neither here, nor there (and yes, Josh, I am following our pre-established rules; Kristin has checked). And to others who think that their wife/girlfriend may be doing any of the above, we all discussed how important it is to follow the rules set by our husbands.

Anyway, we learned how to read a leave and earnings statement. And we learned what part of our husbands pay was ours. Yeah, doesn't that sound weird. But, if men get housing allowances, they have to send it to their wives.

I also got a couple of tips from those who know things. So, here's the gem of the day: you can call up your bank and convert your husband's checking account to a military account. This reduces ATM fees, so it's worth doing.

I also went to my friends' church to see their baby get dedicated. So, now my Lutheran friends are confused and my evangelical friends are like "right on." So, let's talk about baby rites.

There are two baby rites going on in the Christian church, baptism and dedication. And the big deal is: when is it proper to baptize? The orthodox (with a small o) church believes that the grace of God is imparted in baptism and it is an important part of your initiation into the Christian church. Evangelicals believe that baptism is an indication that people are serious about their faith. Let me back up here...

OK, so when the apostles were asked "What must I do to be saved?" They responded "repent and be baptized." Jesus also said, "You must be born again." The orthodox place more value on repenting and baptism, evangelicals place more value on the "born again" experience. Neither have the entire picture right. In the evangelical world, baptism becomes an act that shows how spiritual you are. There is an unspoken age that veries from church to church where kids are too young to be baptized. In my opinion, if you're too young to be baptized, then you are too young to have a "born again" experience. The two should go hand in hand. In the orthodox world, baptism is part of the two fold "get out of Hell free card" of baptism and confirmation. That is also not the proper attitude to have. We are saved by grace through faith. I personally place some value in the mysteries of the Christian faith that cannot be explained through logic. For example, how is an aspect of the grace of God placed on someone who is being baptized? Since it is important for me that I not deny my children this grace from God, I will see that they are baptized. Of course, we are talking theoretical children...

Anyway, so dedication is the welcoming of a new baby into the church family and Christian community. Sounds like of like baptism, doesn't it? Well, when you add the mystery of the grace of God to baptism, not really, but both are done to welcome a new baby into the church family and Christian community. Neither the evangelical or the orthodox will say that this is the only means of salvation.

So, was I baptized? Yes, as a teen. I was about 14 actually. My sisters were all baptized when they reached about that age as well. How do I feel about this experience? Well, it is not for me to judge this from my parents point of view or whatever. It is for me to think about what I would like to do. Now, I know parents of both the orthodox and the evangelical school that ignored the spiritual growth of their children. My parents read the Bible to us from an early age and taught us to love God. What matters in my life is that my parents taught us to be Christians in thought, word, and deed, and did so through their example. And I know my friends will do the same for their children.

Well, and for something different... Tomorrow is Reformation Sunday, the day where we Lutherans celebrate the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Don't forget to set your clocks back!

I can define a difficult feeling...

I've been trying to define or express this particular feeling for a couple of weeks now. After I got over the period of sleeping a lot (darned ITP), I got this feeling. And this feeling causes me to be a little insensitive towards those I wish to not be insensitive to. And I can finally express this feeling. Talking to Dad often does this. There are really not many grown ups that I can express this to that understand. Dad does. I think my Uncle Jim does too. Anyway, so in the last few weeks, I have been making the rounds of calls the wife of a deployed soldier sometimes feels obligated to make. I've been making these calls at leisure. And here's how a typical conversation will go:
Callee: "So, tell me Liz, how are you doing?"
Me: "I miss Josh."
Callee: "Well, we all miss Josh," or "Well, you're not the only one who misses Josh."

OK, yes, I understand that others miss Josh. But, to put this in perspective, my life has been turned upside down. This would be like telling one of my grandmothers when they talk about my grandfathers, "Well, we all miss Grandpa." Most people do not wake up every morning and see that Josh is gone. Most do not come home every evening with the knowledge that Josh will not be there. This is not to say that others can't miss Josh, but the response, "We all miss Josh," puts our feelings on the same plane. So, what should be a mutual expression of sharing a burden ends up with me listening to how much someone else misses Josh and I don't get to share my burden.

And this is the other remark that stings:"Talking to you makes me miss Josh even more."

Well then. So, how am I to respond to this? Should I not call or e-mail? Is this something that I should apologize for? So, I don't call.

I've been spending the last few weeks determining my primary support system. This will probably take the next several months and there will always be new additions. I like talking about Josh and I like talking with others who like talking about Josh. But, I would also like to talk about Liz and how Liz and Josh's marriage is going. And I like talking about what's going on with my friends.

I had a really good "Liz" week this week. Misty came over on Wednesday, and we talked a while. Misty and I have been accountability partners for five years now. Then Jon and Pam and I went to a Geoff Moore concert at church. My family also was there. Mandy Mae remembered that Geoff Moore wrote one of the songs that was sung at Josh and my wedding, and had the foresight to plan on him performing the song. I did not remember that, and I was out of pocket tissue. A special moment sharing a good cry with ones sister always makes you feel better. My sisters are good to me.

Well, today is our first Family Readiness Group meeting. Perhaps I will gain additional tips on how to not be insensitive to others, even when they may not be sensitive to you...

Pray for the Captain and his First Mate

Please pray for Captain Ed and his First Mate . May God be gracious and merciful to them both this weekend.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Men want feminine women

Dr. Banaian wants to know what gender ratio female college students prefer. Vox Day has a lot of interesting insights as to what men prefer in women. (I have only given Vox Day a general link this time because he talks about male/female relationships at least every second day.)

Parents send their children to college with two hopes in mind: that they will get a degree in which they can support themselves and that they find a nice person to marry. The problem with a high female to male ratio is that it is difficult to find a nice person to marry. (Josh and I did not meet at college, though I was a college student at the time.)

Even my most ardent feminist sisterhood friends want to get married and are doing things that will hopefully make them more attractive to the type of man they want. And, from experience, I believe the problem is how the high female to male ratio causes people to behave.

Men are attracted first to looks, and generally after that they want someone who is good company that they can take home to mom without being embarrassed. So, to enhance looks, women resort to one of the easier forms of attraction, skimpy clothing. When this does not work, “putting out” is often the next step. And when there are more females to males, females resort to dressing in even less clothing and putting out even more. A young woman needs to do something to differentiate herself from others.

I chose a different path. I learned the ins and outs of my dorm oven and learned to cook a couple of meals and make several types of baked goods using these ovens. As I was telling my dad earlier today, I didn’t win Josh by my looks, but that I sent him chocolate chip cookies when he was at his two week National Guard training. Good looks only last a season, but the ability to make good chocolate chip cookies lasts a life time.

I say this somewhat in jest. I was looking for a husband in college, and I did use my cooking to attract men. But, I also treated men with respect and I expected respect in return. I was often treated better then their “girlfriends.” Not because I am personally all that good looking or whatever, but because I behaved myself like a lady and served my friends, both male and female, with Christ like love and honor.

Vox’s point, though it is often very harshly put, is that women should be feminine and not manipulate men. Dr. Banaian’s question, though academic in nature, is answered: regardless of the learning environment, women who want to be married should prefer the company of men and behave in a manner to attract a good husband.

My mom is a good woman and a beautiful wife. Though I probably don’t tell her this often enough, I hope to emulate her behavior. She is not demanding of my dad, and they love each other and complement the strengths and weaknesses of the other. She taught me something that I try not to forget: it doesn’t matter what Liz likes or wants, but what Josh likes and wants. And I am happier when I am serving Josh and seeing to his needs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

My more recent blonde moment

OK, so maybe I should pay a *little* more attention to the baseball pages that I mail to Josh. I thought the Yankees won the series, but the Angels did. I concur with Josh, "Go Cards! Go Angels!"

And some of you are wondering *how* I thought the Angels lost when they really won... I really wish I could explain it, but I must have misread the headlines.

My heartfelt apologies to Angels fans.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

He called!

Sunday evening, I felt just like I did the first time Josh called me. Utter excitement. My beanies and I had a little ice cream party to celebrate! (A very little one.)

Josh called me. Now, don't get me wrong, I knew he had made it down to Mississippi safely. One of the things you get with power of attorney is access to your husband's checking account. And since I hadn't heard, the only way I could assess his needs was to see if he needed money. And, sure enough, he made a purchase at the PX. But, I hadn't heard from him at all until Sunday.

It was the best possible way to end a day.

It seems as though he is getting to know a couple of the guys in his unit. Yes, I said, "guys." He's a forward observer, there are no women who do that. He asked for a couple of creature comforts to be sent down, and I spent 4 hours on Monday taking care of that. Josh and I had been window shopping for a lot of this stuff, but he didn't know if he really wanted it all until he got down. So, I sent it off today and he'll get it by Friday.

And for all of you who like a good Army story... On October 2, whe thought he was leaving on October 4 at 4:45 AM. Then, on October 3rd we were told he was staying until the 9th. And October 4th, we got a call at 8:30 am saying he was leaving that day and had to report at 11am. So, when we waited around for the vans to take them up to Fargo. Yup, you've gotta go north before you go south. They arrived at Fargo in time for the 2100 flight (9 pm). They got to their final destination at 3am on Wednesday, just in time for 4am formation. And they didn't get to bed until 2200. Yes, I am glad to be a civilian.

Anyway, I have heard from Josh, twice now. And his voice is wonderful.

Josh says, "Go Cards." He's still cheering for the Angels, too, because he hasn't got that paper yet and I don't have the heart to tell him. He'll learn soon enough, and we mustn't tell him too much bad news at once.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

An unexpected blessing

Last night, our friend Jon called wondering if I had a place for his girlfriend, Kathy to stay. Of course I do, and so they came over. I should invite her to stay every time she's here.

And my philosophical thought for the day: I've been taking the cordless to our room each night. Not really expecting Josh to call, but in hope that he does. I haven't heard from him since Tuesday, and I'm trying very hard to be patient. But, I want to be available when he can call. And so it must be with God. He is not expecting us to pray as it is not in our nature. It is in our nature to draw away from God. However, as God is in Heaven, we need to be in regular contact with Him and pray. Pray without end.

Wedding blessings to Tonya and Ben! I wish I could be there, but under the circumstances it's best that I'm not. A trip to Montana and a wedding would have been too much so soon after Josh left. My prayers are with you as you start your marriage.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Supply and Demand of Soldiers

We’re facing a little re-write to selective service. Apparently, there are those in Congress who wish to give pacifists a break and let them serve in other areas like the Peace Corps if drafted. I am in agreement with John Kline.

Well, let’s back up here for a moment. OK, we, in America, value a volunteer military. As such, we have some non-written agreements with our citizen soldiers. First, if you are active duty, then we don’t take you away from your family for more then a third of your time. Second, we only call up our National Guard for overseas service maybe once or twice in a 20 year career. However, since our overseas commitments are increasing, and war hawks are starting to talk about Iran, North Korea, and other locations, this is not going to be the case. Plus, this is a war time and people have an aversion to death. So, the supply of military members goes down. What happens when supply decreases and demand increases? Well, price goes up to induce people to join up. Not that the straight time earnings increase, but some fringe benefits do, like signing bonuses or tuition reimbursement or tax breaks. And if this doesn’t work, we either need to fill our remaining demand with more overseas tours of duty, re-evaluating or overseas commitments, or draft what we need.

Service members expect to spend more time overseas during war, but we can’t expect them to keep it up for an entire career and be compliant. We also have an aversion to re-evaluating our overseas commitments. So, eventually, if we can’t fill or needs through voluntary means, we’re going to start drafting.

Welcome to the 21st century with gender equality. We are going to draft women too. Furthermore, the powers that be would like to give the draftees a choice between military service and other volunteer opportunities. In a war time, given peoples natural aversion to death, it is my guess that we will still have this shortage of people willing to fight. And this leads to re-evaluation of overseas commitments which we don’t like doing…

This is what it all comes down to: sacrifice. Some believe that if we start drafting kids and putting them in the Iraq war, we will get out of Iraq sooner because people will protest more, etc. No, what will happen is that it will all last longer because we can fill our need for troops via the draft. Some people believe that a draft will mean that the rich kids of the world will finally sully their hands. No. They’ll just move to Canada or France or choose the volunteer option or whatever rich kids do these days. And people are always willing to sacrifice other peoples’ kids.

In America, we ask very little of our citizenry. We ask that they pay taxes, but that’s about it, and there are even people who don’t pay taxes. Everyone wants someone else to pay the price for the freedoms we enjoy. And if we need people to volunteer or serve in the military, we need to start teaching our children to be altruistic. The lovely thing about America is that it is very easy to identify the honorable people. They’re the ones serving others. They’re the ones who like being in the military or like volunteering or like helping others. And chances are pretty good that their parents are also honorable people.

If we keep on insisting that “someone else” pay the price or “let’s just draft people” into service instead of saying, “I’ll go” or “I’ll send my kid or spouse” then this this is what we will end up with; someone who feels like they “just deserve” to have the benefits of living in America and going to college and being successful even if they break the rules. I would hate to live in a country of Jills. No, we need to teach our children better.

Jeff Stillman wrote that children are the embodiment of their parents’ hopes and dreams. Don’t expect someone else’s kid to be altruistic if you’re not going to teach your kid to be altruistic.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

And he has left

Josh left yesterday after an emotional roller coster. On Sunday, he was supposed to leave at 5:45 yesterday morning. On Monday, it was put off to Saturday. Then, he got the call at 8:30 yesterday morning. I was still living off of the excitement from thinking he'd be around another week when he called me at work.

He picked me up and we met my folks at the armory. They waited it out with us, which meant the world to me. And I drove home. I even changed a fuse in my car by myself! Not that I don't regularly change my own fuses, but doing that yesterday made me feel competent.

It wasn't until I got home that it was real. There was a pile of the civies Josh was wearing yesterday when he dropped me off at work. There was a message he wrote for me on the computer. This morning, our alarm went off and it was the radio show he likes to listen to.

He called me last night to let me know that the first leg of his trip was over. When I hear that he's made it to the training location, I'll tell you about his trip. It's pretty funny.

As for me, I'm going out with my cousin tonight. I also have a couple of more issue oriented things to post, but I think they will wait. Again, I'm going to get to cleaning up my links this weekend. I'm pretty much doing what I feel like doing for now, and I don't particularly feel like doing much.