Monday, November 7, 2016

Book Review: One of the Few

After reading the synopsis of One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot's Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview by Jason B. Ladd, I was intrigued by what I would find inside. The opening is gripping and exciting sharing the story of the author's father during a helicopter rescue mission. I was drawn in. Some of the following chapters were incredibly relatable since, as a military brat myself, I could understand and nod along to some of those classic experiences we share as dependents.

The main point of this non-fiction is actually Ladd's personal account of his faith awakening, which was not a quick enlightening, but slow and somewhat calculating. He joins the marines and marries his sweetheart and over time begins to find disparity between how life can be lived with and without faith in God. Delving into theology to find and share the truth and comparing what he finds to his role in the military and his family can make the reader examine their own life and how their own faith lines up.

I truly enjoyed reading the personal stories taken from Ladd's military and family life. It is there I think Ladd's communication really shines through. My only wish is that they were slightly longer. Once the chapter ends the reader is quickly transported to a new time and location, whereas I wish we could have taken things slowly.

A personal favorite inclusion to One of the Few was probably the chapter beginnings with two conflicting quotes on the same topic. It was fascinating and somewhat amusing to see such stark difference laid out between worldviews and it assisted with the introduction to a new topic.

This is not a quick read book to take to the beach and browse through. It should be read gradually with time to contemplate between chapters. Some of them can be hard-hitting. Others convicting. And yet other chapters may have nothing to relate to you personally. Each one had a strong point to come across and nearly any person could glean truth from them. This is a good read to share with those searching for God as well as those who are established in their faith.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
http://www.jasonbladd.com/

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Year Gone

It has been over a year since I posted on here.

This place used to be important to me. It's where I kept a history of our family life and shared some memories.

What happened?

I think I became bogged down in the whole "blogging" world and I was having a hard time focusing on why I did this in the first place. My blog started as a way to keep interested family and friends updated on our lives since we live so far away. I lost sight of that.

Now I'm not sure where I want to go with this.

I still love to write. I still want to share what happens with my family... but I think I want to take more precautions if I start again.

Since I don't want to completely delete everything I've written over the past 7 years and going back and editing all posts to change names and locations seems very daunting I'm not sure what my plan will be.

I might just have this closed to specific audience.

I might stop posting here and just start a new blog from scratch with PERSEC as a high priority.

Then again, I might post this and then write nothing again for an indefinite about of time.

So, until I figure things out, here's a bullet point list of big developments from the past year:

  • After a year of planning I went on a major month long road trip with my best friend and our combined 5 children hitting up almost all of the Western United States
  • I enjoyed family time at Sea World and Aquatica with my husband and learning more about how daring and adventurous our kids can be
  • In the fall we took in 2 TINY foster kittens and eventually found them a new home
  • Will started 1st grade and Lana started Kindergarten
  • A friend needed somebody to take in her dog, so we did and are still hoping to find him a new, permanent home.
  • After fighting with the school (mostly administration) with treatment of my special needs child, both children were pulled from public school and I became a homeschool mom
  • For Halloween Will was a clown, Lana was a gray cat, and I was a ladybug
  • We stayed in Texas for Christmas and my MIL came down to visit and spend the holiday with us -- checking out Zoolights and Sea World Christmas
  • In January, we finally received an Autism diagnosis for Will which then began new therapies
  • We had a fun time at the Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico for their Military Winter Fest in February, despite the van getting stuck in the mud and having the front bumper ripped off when somebody tried to tow us out.
  • We celebrated birthdays and holidays and grew and changed.
Life happens. There's so much from the past year that I'm surprised how it all happened. It's like time speeds up and the years fly past.

This year has brought on it's own challenges. I won't go into them at this time, but I am thankful for my husband and my kids, our extended families, my friends, and the life I am blessed to live.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Farewell to our Fosters

In January we took in our first foster dog. Arden was a brand new mama with 7 tiny puppies.

After 6 months we are back to a one-dog household.

Those tiny adorable puppies turned into big, beautiful puppies and quickly found their homes once they were old enough. I have kept in contact with several of the adopting families and see that those little puppies are now bigger than their mom!
Will with all the puppies on the last night we still had all 7 of them.

Lana with our final remaining puppy on her adoption day.

It took longer to find a place for Arden, but she just went to her forever home last week. The new owner seems to be a perfect fit and they are all adjusting nicely.

I've been asked if it was hard to give them all up and I don't feel it was. With the puppies I was totally ready to pass them on. I mean, after picking up the poop and cleaning the messes of 7 (nearly 15 pound) puppies I was happily handing them over! Arden required work of her own from separation anxiety (tearing up a door frame) and chewing on random things left unattended (R.I.P. the numerous colored pencils and crayons). Additionally, I don't miss the flood of dog hair.

We all had a fun experience. As soon as Arden left, Maya became inseperable from us again. She misses her friend.

Lana and Will have asked if we could get ANOTHER mama dog with puppies. I laugh now, but I think we will do it again. Probably in the fall, depending on what lonely dog is in need of a foster home... and I think we will max out at 5 puppies next time.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

This year on Memorial Day I took the kids to Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
 
It is a well cared for, peaceful, and somber place. Even now I get choked up seeing so many rows and rows of headstones.
 
 
I talked with Will and Lana about WHY we have Memorial Day.
 
We live in America and are given so many freedoms... and it is because a lot of people fought for us and many died.
 
Will said it was very said that we will never see the people and that they can't see their family anymore. I told him it was sad, but it is important to remember them and that is why we go to these places. They cannot be forgotten.
 
Lana said we need to bring them ALL flowers next time we come. I told her we probably couldn't, but when we visit Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa on our big trip coming up, we could bring them flowers.
 
Recently Texas has had some severe rain and wind. As we quietly and respectfully meandered through the markers the kids were allowed to upright the flags to help the other military volunteers we saw doing the same.
 
 
I hope this year made a little bit of an impact for them. It's not the first time they have been to a cemetery... in fact, I don't even know how many cemeteries they have been to! But it is important for them to learn (in an age appropriate way) why they are blessed to have the freedoms they don't even realize they have yet.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Writing Confessions

It has been radio silence in this place for some time now. I've still been reading favorite blogs, but I haven't been writing.

At. All.

Well, I did write an article for USAA which was published. That was an awesome!

But otherwise, I have been staying away from my blog page. Most bloggers go through this season... it has happened several times for me.

Should I keep going? Why am I writing? Is anybody even reading? Is this fun? What am I going to do with this place? Am I good enough?

I don't find myself as a niche blogger entirely. I write about everyday life, raising my kiddos, the fun trips and explorations we go on, life in the military, books and sometimes food. Nothing is very profound. I write straight from how I think and talk with very little editing.

Maybe I should invest more time in that.

Then when it comes to photos... I'm not an awesome photographer. I usually post straight out of camera with some minor cropping or blurring out if necessary. And my cameras aren't even fancy! I use my iPhone mostly or my small Olympus Tough since those fit the lifestyle I live.

Safety and security for military families has been all over social media recently. It's something I've pondered on -- watermarking photos, changing names, blurring faces, removing all hint of locations, scrubing clean anything related to the military. But I don't think I can do that.

I've been writing at the Tervo Times for nearly 6 years. Six-freakin-years!

I'm terrified of starting over. This place has documented my family life, the developments of my children, the growth of my marriage... I don't want it erased.

But I don't know where I want to go from here.

If I'm willing to commit to growing my audience, branding, trying to turn an income -- then major changes will have to happen. I'd probably move to wordpress. I'd pay money for a domain name and a designer. I'd be seeking advice.

I would be dropping into the mental cage that I MUST write and it MUST be good.

Would that hinder creativity? Would I be more open? Would I just be presenting a facade to my readers?

I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do. I want to write again. I have many things I want to record for my own interests. I can't guarantee that I'll be posting like clockwork, but I do know I want to start writing about some things and hopefully there are a few readers still around. If not, that's okay.

For now I'm back.


Monday, March 2, 2015

The Love of Travel



Wanderlust - a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

Wanderer - to go by an indirect route or at no set pace; amble

Sightsee - to go about seeing places and things of interest

Roadtrip - A usually lengthy trip taken in a motor vehicle, especially for pleasure
 
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I love those words. When I hear them I feel excitement and a longing to travel.

Someone asked me once why I feel so strongly about trying to see and experience so much. After a moment of thought I answered, "almost everything can be taken from me - but what I've experienced can't."

There is an itch I have to not stay put. I have to explore. I want to see what is out there! National Parks, landmarks, cities I've only read about, sunsets, landscapes, cultures, food... the list is unending.

My sister has called this the "gypsy spirit." Apparently it is hereditary since my Grandmother had it, my parents have it, and I'm not the only sibling with it. I am, in fact, descended from Oregon pioneers and settlers in addition to my European imigrant ancestry. They didn't stay put either!

The military has provided me with the marvelous opportunity to be a tourist wherever I live since it is only for a short time. I get to see new places and discover what there is to see. Always!

I'm one of those crazy people who plans trips I may never get to go on.

And I plan trips I DO get to go on.

If the finances were available and I didn't have certain responsibilities, I'd love to live my life traveling and seeing the world.

Even now it is envigorating to load up in a car and just go. Go anywhere. I'll pack up my kids and drag them along with me if I have to! I hope that through me they will grow up loving travel and experiencing new things. A person can learn so much from doing this, not just the obvious about history and natural sciences and some anthropology... but I'm talking about patience, empathy, understanding, a desire to learn. It can make us aware of how much materialism we don't need. It can help us understand what is important to us in life.

Wanderlust. The love of travel. And I would go anywhere.

===========

thanks www.thefreedictionary.com, www.merriam-webster.com, and www.wikipedia.org for providing me with a variety of definitions for some of my favorite words.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

More Eye Issues

Listen closely and I will tell you the tale, the tale of an accidental injury from long ago and the continuing saga as it heals.

In late August of 2013 I experienced an incident I thought I would never have to deal with again.

I received a scratched cornea courtsey of my daughter. To add insult to injury it also became infected.

It was such a stupid injury! It still makes my blood churn when I think about missing the Sounders game I had been looking forward to for over a YEAR because my eye was hurt.

Even though I was cleared by the base optometrist in Ohio about 2 weeks later... apparently it wasn't over.

Basically every few weeks I would get that same pain in my eye. Think of a sharp, burning pain and the feeling of something stuck in your eye. It usually went away after a few hours or at least by the next day it was gone. I just figured my eyes were dry in the morning and my brain just attributed that dry eye, gritty feeling to the pain of my scratched cornea. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night wanting to scream out because it felt like my eye was being stabbed! It didn't matter if my eye was opened or closed. It was stupid, but I told myself it was all in my head -- the doctors had already said it was all healed up. I asked other friends who had scratched corneas before if they experienced any pain after it was healed and they all said no.

So this went on for months and actually stretched out to about a year and a half. A few times a month, horrible eye pain. I ignored it. I would complain to Ryan and he would tell me to go in to see the doctor, but I never wanted to because I was certain they would tell me I was making it up and I was totally fine.

Well, several weeks ago we had friends come to visit. We hadn't seen them since leaving Japan and they had been stationed in Australia for several years. They came to the states and were doing a cross country drive and visiting old friends on their way to their next assignment. We were more than happy to take them in!

But, because of their international travel and then numerous stops with lots of different people... they brought new germs and were generous enough to share them with me.

By the time they left us I wasn't feeling so hot and spent a lot of time over the next couple days resting and sleeping A LOT.

My eye started bugging me on the Saturday before the Superbowl. I assumed it was because I'd been sick. On Superbowl Sunday it was hurting worse... and it was starting to turn red. I went to the Superbowl party and even commented that I didn't know what the heck was wrong with my eye and really tried not to mess with it. By then it was starting to be very sensitive to light and I just wanted to rub it, but didn't.

Monday morning I woke up wanting to cry because I hurt (it also didn't help the emotional pain I was in from the Seahawks' loss). That morning I think Ryan took the kids to school for me and I called the base optometry clinic to see if I could get an appointment. They said to just walk in, the earlier the better.

So I go in. They look over my history and examine my eye (a bunch of drops and bright lights that seem like torture). Well, a student does this. Then he leaves and brings in another student (I later learn these guys are what the optometrist calls his ex-terns, 4th year civillian optometry students). I can see some happy anxiousness in their movements and speech.

I'm told I have Recurrent Corneal Erosion (or Recurrent Epithelial Erosion) with Etiology. It is not common. Basically, after the original injury the epithelial layer that was scratched did heal, but didn't properly adhere to the eye... it was kind of loose. So, there were times when I would open or close my eye and my eyelid would stick to that epithelial layer that hadn't fully adhered and rip it off - again.

I was freakin' re-tearing the injury open every few weeks... for OVER A YEAR!

When you sleep your eyes become more dry. Being sick and getting all that rest made my eyes become dry, which allowed me to re-injure my eye the worst it had been in a long time.

The optometrist comes in to talk with me over everything and they decide to do a debriding of the epithelials to create a clear area for them to heal and hopefully stick securely to the eye. I could see the excitement in the ex-terns on who would get to do it.

After getting numbed they begin... and it isn't plesant. I won't go into details, but I will say it hurt even though I was "numb."

They rinse out my eye and put on a bandage lense (like a special contact lens) and I'm given steroid/antibiotic drops to use until the lens is removed. They were hoping to take it out within 2 days.

The goal is to have my eye heal, then give it time to securely adhere with months of specialized drops and several follow ups. If this doesn't work, I will have to be referred to opthamology and undergo laser surgery.

That first appointment was not short. I was there for several hours. I basically monopolized the base optometry clinic that morning, I apologize to anybody that had to wait WAAAY past their appointment time. The doctor said they are lucky to see this injury once or twice a year. I have a great case, good history, and am a wonderful teaching tool. (Gee, I wonder where I've heard that before.)

I return 2 days later (Wednesday) and probably spent more time chit-chatting with the optometrist than actually doing anything eye related. I like him. He's very personable, about my age, some common backgrounds. I think if I met him and his wife outside of the whole medical situation I'd probably be friends with them. Anyway, he decides not to remove the lens, has his ex-terns also look me over and understand why he chooses to wait.

I'm back again 2 days later (Friday) and we talk some more and he examines my eye. He tells me that he consulted with an opthamologist about my case and was told that they would leave a bandage lens like the one on my eye for up to a month and not think it wrong, so there was no need to worry about keeping it on there as long as necessary to allow the epithelials to heal in a safe environment. My doc and his ex-terns do not remove the lens and tell me to come back on Tuesday.

Get this: my doc tells me that he is going to write a case report on me. He said I am the most perfect acute case he has come across and I can be trusted to follow through with anything prescribed or told to do which will provide an accurate assessment of his care. Or something along those lines. He is trying to obtain Fellowship (any of you doctors will understand, I'm guessing).

When I came in on Tuesday he removed the lens. As much as the lens felt somewhat strange to me (since I don't wear contacts or glasses), suddenly having it gone made my eye feel vulnerable and sensitive.

Since then I have had to take bunch of stuff. I have to do culluvisc drops (gel drops) 7-10 times a day, give myself sodium chloride drops at least twice a day (which burn like heck!), use an ointment to protect my eye every night when I sleep, and take a low-dose oral antibiotic/anti-inflammatory twice a day. This will continue pretty much for 2 months (except the antibiotic, which is just for a month).

This whole thing has seemed crazy to me. I'm actually a pretty healthy person and rarely need to go to the doctors. Lately it feels like if I ever do have to go it is for some stupid, random things that happen to me!

I am supposed to go back and see the optometrist sometime early next month. I am hoping that my eye is healing well because the sooner I can get this all over with, the better!