October 26, 2007

Time IS Money!

Yesterday, I had to get meds at our pharmacy, and it is a lengthy task. I spent about an hour and 15 minutes waiting for meds (that was a quick day) versus 15 minutes that I spent at Walgreens when I was in Dallas. Honestly, Walgreens was quicker than that because I would call the prescription in, and just pick it up in the drive thru. As I sat at our pharmacy yesterday waiting for Sam's meds, I was thinking about how I would much rather pay in time than money!

When I got home, I quickly calculated that the cost of the 3 medications I picked up was $1519.95. That's only 3 of Sam's 5 medications, and that wasn't even a 90 day supply for all of them. If I had to pay that out of pocket, it would save me an hour, but look at what it would have cost me in dollars! And even if I had used our insurance, but gone to a civilian pharmacy, I would have spent $63. I would obviously sit for an hour at the pharmacy instead of pay $1500, but even that lesser dollar figure is crazy when you think about ongoing medical care. I would have to work an 8-hr day to even come up with $63 for meds. Today I am once again thankful for military insurance in which we don't have to pay a cent, and I am thankful that I have an hour of my time to give.

October 25, 2007

Community Kindness

The San Diego fires have wreaked havoc through several communities. Entire neighborhoods have burned to the ground. I can't imagine trying to find a place to live for months until my house gets rebuilt. In the midst of this, there has been an amazing outpouring of support from the citizens of San Diego. They say Qualcomm had equal number of volunteers as evacuees. As a resident of this city, that warmed my heart.

I realize it's hard for me to describe how close (or far) the fires are from us, but in general we are pretty much the least affected in the whole county. If you've seen a map of the fires, there isn't much of the county not affected, especially as the Harris fire (in the south) continues to burn. I sound like a children's song when I say that you can't go North of us and can't go East of us. You can go about 7 miles south and 5 miles west (the beach), and that's the safest part of San Diego!

Obviously, our little neck of the woods has not had to suffer much. The biggest need we have is a place for our kids to play because we can't go outside. The recommendation has been for all small children (with or without lung issues) to be indoors. Coming to our rescue is the Hebrew Day School, right outside our military housing. They have opened their air conditioned facilities (with good circulated air) to the military community to bring their kids to play. How awesome is that? I am a born again Christian, and I hope that if we had a Christian pre-school close by that we would have offered the same thing. Meeting people where their needs are. Love it!

October 22, 2007

San Diego Fires

Even though I've never suffered from a natural disaster (my heart goes out to those who have), I have been around them all my life. Growing up in TX, there were tornadoes throughout Dallas & Ft. Worth every year, but none ever affected me. The coast was hit with some pretty nasty hurricanes, but by the time they got to us, they were just bad thunderstorms.

I moved to the Philippines in 1995 (so hard to believe it's been 12 years!), and it was a particularly bad typhoon season. We had a string of typhoons, the most tragic being Typhoon Rosing (Angela), which took almost 1000 lives. This storm lasted for 6 days, and at one point both sides of it were in the ocean and covering our island at the same time. I lived about an hour inland, so I was hardly affected. We lost power for 10 days, but I just used it as an excuse to write letters by candlelight! Thousands of people were displaced from their homes.

By far the worst weather I have experienced was in Little Rock, AR, on Christmas Eve, 2004. I was hosting a party that night and ran to Walmart 7 hours before the party was supposed to start to get last minute food and supplies. While I was in the store, the ice storm descended. I was at a stand still on Cantrell for hours. The frightening part occurred, though, once I got out of that traffic. For those of you who don't know West Little Rock-it's HILLY!!!! I got a 1/2 mile from home and seeing people all over the sides of the road didn't think I could get up the last hill to our apt. I parked my car in a parking lot, and started climbing the hill, groceries in hand. With no gloves, my fingers were frozen by the time I got home. I was just happy to be alive and couldn't figure out how I hadn't crashed our car into someone.

But today has been an entirely different experience. San Diego is an awesome vacation spot because it doesn't have the things I've mentioned above. We don't have tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, or even noticeable earthquakes like CA is famous for. Sadly, we don't even get good rain, which sets us up for what we do get: Fires. Fire and Santa Ana winds are the only 2 real weather conditions San Diego gets, and they are a lethal combination. If you've seen the news, you know that San Diego is inundated with fires right now. Because wildfires are new to me, I thought I would share some things I've heard today that I've never heard before:

1) 211 - this is a non-emergency number
2) Reverse 911 - Police call your home to tell you to evacuate
3) Black screen on network television station, with this scrolled at bottom: "We have suspended televised broadcast due to fires."
4) Evening television lineup (including Heroes) will be broadcast next Sunday
5) Charger practice has been relocated to Phoenix, AZ, and 40 players have been evacuated, including LT.
6) Sea World closed due to fires.
7) "Interstate closed because of fires" on the traffic billboard.
8) Fires are referred to by names (ex: "Witch Creek Fire"). The name usually comes from the area the fire started. The fires now are commonly being compared to the 2003 Cedar Fire, but they say the Santa Ana winds in that fire had lessened by this point. They still expect another day of these winds.
9) I've never been 10 miles from a mandatory evacuation region.
10) "The fires won't make it past the ocean."
11) Spoken by a firefighter being interviewed, "If you recognize any of the following addresses, your home has burned to the ground."
12) Lay Down-this is the term used for the Santa Ana winds calming in the night. Because the winds die down, they say the fire "lays down" at night. As soon as the sun rises, the winds pick back up.

As I write this at 7am on Tuesday, these fires are mostly Zero Percent contained. One is 5% contained. They are hoping the Witch Creek Fire will not go beyond where it is right now because evidently if it does, it's got a clear path all the way to the coast. A new "finger" of the Harris Fire down south came out of no where in the middle of the night. It seriously looks like lava slowly coming down a mountain.

October 21, 2007

Sweet Moments of Mommyness

Yesterday was Timothy's first dentist appt. Yes, everyone can collectively gasp. He is 4 yrs and 4 months, and just had his 1st appt. With all his sensory issues, I have been terrified to take him. The school he goes to requires a current appt, so I had to do it. Dan was truly my hero by getting off work early and taking Timothy to the dentist for me!!! Did I mention I was dreading it?

Timothy turned out to be quite the trooper. He listened to the dentist very well and got kuddos from everyone. As soon as he got home, however, he was glued to my hip. For those of you who really know Timothy, you know that he is rarely needy or clingy. I thought maybe since he had to push himself to his sensory limits in that appt that maybe this was his way of balancing everything out. I thought that until this morning!!!

He woke up and immediately wanted to lay on the couch with a blanket and said, "I want mommy to cuddle me". He's not emotional. He's sick! Within hours he had a fever. It's been so long since he's been sick like this, but this is the type of virus that he always gets. The only symptoms are fever and exhaustion. And boy is this fever for real. He had tylenol in him when I put him to bed tonight. When he woke up a couple of hours later, it was 103.4. (Moms: Am I right to add a degree if it's under the arm?)

Now is the part where I sound like a terrible mom. I had the nicest day today because I got to love on Timothy all day. Dan had duty today, so it was me and the kids. Thankfully, Samantha is very good at entertaining herself. I held Timothy all day unless I was feeding Samantha or going to the store. I'm usually lucky if I get to hold him for 1 minute, much less all day! And this is the 2nd day in a row! I enjoyed it very much.

October 19, 2007

Military Comments

Stephanie was very kind in her response to the IA blog by saying again how thankful she is to our military. I should do the same thing. I don't want to discount what the Army and Marines have been doing in Iraq for years. My cousin, Chris, is an exemplary soldier in the Army. The Army is lucky to have him. His wife, Tabitha, is the perfect Army wife. She is a wonderful mother and strong woman. He was in Iraq for the better part of this last year, and one of his more horrendous jobs was knocking on doors looking for our missing soldiers. I worried for his safety. He's home as I write this, but since the Army has implemented 17 month deployments, he could be gone again anytime. It's ridiculous. Our last military neighbors were Marines. The husband had been deployed 3 years in a row-7 months in Iraq and 5 months home. What our Army and Marine families sacrifice for the sake of war is mind boggling. Sometimes they sacrifice the family itself.


I think I learned that word and it's definition in 6th grade, but preschoolers do it without knowing what it's called. This morning Timothy woke up way earlier than I was ready, and I wasn't quite thinking straight as I got him started on his day. I was headed back upstairs to get myself ready when Timothy said, "Mom, your glasses miss you." Who knew personification could be so cute?

Individual Augmentation (IA)

If you are in Navy circles, the title of this blog probably sent chills up your spine. It's what every Navy family is trying to avoid (or single Navy members are volunteering for if they want to ensure a promotion). To help with the increasing number of troops needed, the government is hand selecting random sailors to go on 1 year assignments on the ground in Iraq. I have no idea how they decide who gets picked, but someone in their brilliance decided they would pick Navy guys who are on shore duty. It's the 2-4 years of working you get to have your family all home together and "re-energize" for the next 4-6 years of the sea schedule. People are evidently being selected more and more often. Dan even started prepping me a couple of months ago that in 2 years (when we're up for shore duty), we really may want to consider extending sea duty. Yes, it would mean deployment(s) I hadn't hoped for, but they would only be 6-7 months, and he would be safely on a SHIP. Plus, we would be given fair warning.

So, why am I bringing all this up? We found out last night that a precious family we know has just been leveled with this awful news. He was was told this week that he will be going IA. They have 2 sons, and a beautiful 3 month old daughter. My friend waited until her husband had shore duty to have a 3rd child AND get a long-awaited degree. He will get back from Iraq 2 months before his shore duty is up, and then will go straight to sea duty. It's AWFUL. I'm sick to my stomach.

I'm sharing because 1) I want you to know that IA is happening and will probably increase & 2) that you can enter into prayer on behalf of my friend and her family. Please pray for them. Your prayers for someone you don't even know will do more good than any words any of us could speak to her.

October 10, 2007

Quote of the Day

Earlier this week, I was getting ready and explained to Timothy what hairspray is. He saw my hairspray can today, and I could see the wheels turning as he was trying to remember its use. Obviously forgetting my explanataion, Timothy thought out loud, "helps girls not get bugs."

October 7, 2007

Marriage Seminar

Dan and I attended a Gary Smalley Marriage Seminar this weekend called "I promise" (http://www.smalleyonline.com/). A church we've been visiting regularly hosted it, and it's kind of hard to pass up CHILD CARE when it's being offered.

The speaker at our particular seminar was Ted Cunningham, a pastor out of Branson, MO(http://www.woodhills.org/). At bigger conferences he co-teaches with Gary who is his mentor. He told several anecdotes that gave a picture of who Gary is as a person, and I think I would like the guy. Here is an example: Ted was going through a vicious church split a few year ago at a previous church. When he sat down with Gary to tell him the whole thing, Gary said, "That's great!!!" That's great? Gary said that the lessons Ted would learn by the pain he would experience would be more than Gary could ever teach him. How true is that! Once I started learning how much trials help me, I find myself thinking that same way. No matter how we wish we could become wise and Christlike without them, it's not possible, so why would we hope that Christians could avoid trials? How many of our prayers are some form of "trial prevention"? Okay, that's for a different blog.

The seminar was very "story-esque" in nature, so it's kind of hard to pass on the info, but there are a few things that struck me in interesting ways:

1) "Women dress according to the messages written on their heart." A huge part of this conference was about "guarding your heart" and discovering/rewriting the messages that have been put there. I have to confess, I can think pretty judgmentally about women who are scantily clad. Tonight at the mall, every time I saw a woman dressed inappropriately, I thought about the messages (lies) that have been written on her heart to make her feel like she has to dress like that. Anything that helps me love people more can't be bad!

2) Speaker says to his daughter: "You can walk down the aisle when I know "that guy" loves you as I do." What a beautiful picture.

3) Sex is not a need. Food, water, and shelter are needs. Ted said that we've taught Christians the scriptural principal that they are not to deprive eachother. This is true. Unfortunately, it has become so strongly "explained" that Christian men have been convinced that sex is something they can not live without. Not true. (That was not my commentary. It was all from Ted, and Dan agrees.)

4) Wherever you go, you are there. (Examples I'm about to use are from the speaker, so I'm not trying to point at anyone.) If you keep trying to find a job you like, if you move from relationship to relationship, or if you are frustrated by every church you go to, there really is only one common denominator-you!

5) "Fear Dance" is the biggest barrier to great communication. Let me try to boil it down. We each have buttons (or feelings) and subsequent fight or flight reactions to them. Many times our reactions actually push our spouse's buttons which creates a vicious cycle. There wasn't time at the seminar, but we were encouraged to write down our buttons and reactions on our own. Dan and I have not had time to do that yet, but we identified with the examples given. I'm sure there are hundreds more we could come up with.

Male Buttons: Feeling Controlled, Judged, or like a Failure
Male Reactions: Withdrawal, Defensiveness, Sarcasm
Female Buttons: Disconnection, Abandonment, Rejection
Female Reactions: Escalation, Negative Beliefs, Exaggeration ("You always", "You never")

6) Win/Win. Ted said that you should walk away from arguments with win/win, that if it's win/lose, really nobody wins. Even though I said outloud to Dan during this that I wanted to win (and he agreed with me), I could grasp a bit what Ted was saying. Ironically, that's what keeps sticking in my head, but I don't think I would describe it the way Ted does. I understand that I shouldn't feel like I have to "lose" an argument, but sometimes my will just has to die. Sometimes, no matter how much I hate it, I may just have to die to myself for my marriage to have new life.