This week, I have been inspired by some Elton John songs thanks to American Idol. I big, pink, puffy heart American Idol. Lucky for me I get to watch it without the hubby whining and complaining about it. =P One of the few perks of deployment. I digress. I also love me some Elton John. Maybe it's in my blood or maybe it's just because I grew up with my mom listening to it. She big, pink, puffy hearts him, as does my uncle. My mom has pretty much been in heaven what with Stevie Wonder performing last week and this week being all about some Elton. Haha. =) 

Anyway, I chose two of my favorite Elton John songs to link up with Goodnight Moon for her What's YOUR Song? linky party. Take it away, Sir Elton! ;-)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

I love that they showed Haley working on "Bennie and the Jets," and the producer told the pianist to really bang the piano. =) Believe or not, my uncle plays the piano exactly like that. He's freakin' amazing. Even if I am being biased, it's really the truth. Every time he goes to visit my mom, they end up singing/playing the piano. That poor piano (now at my Nana's) pretty much gets beat to death every time he visits. =P And, yeah, he totally played at my wedding. And every time I hear that song, I think of the movie 27 Dresses, where they're up on the bar singing it. =) It also reminds me of Joe, because he likes it so much. 

Then there's "Your Song." I think it reminds me of Joe too. He wrote me a song when we were dating. I have the lyrics, but I don't think I really want to share. Not that I couldn't, but... It's just something sweet and private. Maybe one day. =) He also wrote me a song on the piano...but I'm pretty sure he's forgotten it by now. Maybe that's why I think of him when I hear Your Song.

Hope you enjoyed my choices this week!! 



Do you realize how often you talk to yourself in your head? I don't think I really notice that I'm doing it half the time. Then, of course, there's the other percentage of time that I actually think out loud. I try to keep that just at home but lately it's been sneaking out in public too. =P

I don't know about you, but I over-analyze ev-er-y-thing. Everything. Past conversations, events, things I wore, stupid mistakes and everything in between are criticized minutes, hours, days and weeks later. Only lately have a realized that this is not a good habit to have. And I don't know how to stop it. 

Sadly, it almost drives me crazy. Yes. I drive myself crazy with all these over-analyzing thoughts. Did I do this right? Did I say this right? Should I have done this? Why didn't I do that? How could I do this? It goes on all the time. Oh, sure, I get breaks while reading, watching TV, volunteering and sleeping. Other than that the analytical thoughts happen a lot. Since it's getting to me, I think I'm beginning to realize that this habit is doing a whole lot more harm than good. We've all said it once or twice before...

I'm my own worst enemy.

If that isn't the truth, I don't know what is. I don't think anyone is as hard on me as I am. When I really think hard about it, I am downright mean to myself. Always thinking that I said something stupid or did something stupid, wore something that made me look fat...  These thoughts make me extremely self-conscious, to the point where I sometimes don't say anything in groups because I'm afraid it will sound stupid. Or I change clothes 3 times before I leave the house because I think it makes me look fat/ridiculous. Deep down I know these things aren't 100% true, but why can't I convince myself of that?

I've prayed and prayed about it. I've tried to become more aware of when I'm doing it so that I can stop, but that only seems to make it worse. Because then I'm fully aware of everything I do and say... I think it's been getting worse lately. Honestly, I think it gets worse when Joe is deployed/not around. That doesn't even make a whole lot of sense to me, but it's true. I don't know why his presence would effect that... Maybe he reassures me better than I reassure myself? I don't know.

What I do know is that I have got to find a way to stop this. I think I've always been this way and...to be honest, I think this behavior was helped out by the attitudes of my family. I don't really want to get into it, but my family is very...critical. I suppose it only makes sense that I would be even harder on myself because of that. Anyway. 

Last year, my MIL mentioned a Bible study she was doing. I don't know how we got on the subject, but I told her that I thought it was interesting and she said she'd try to get a book for me. That was about a year ago. As I've been thinking about my thought processes, the book she gave me came to mind.

It's been hanging out in a drawer in my bedroom since we moved in last year. I think it's about time that I started this Bible study. I read the intro and part of Day 1 this morning, and the idea behind it is to figure out what lies you're telling yourself and replace them with God's truth. The truth about who He is and who I am in Him. One of the verses that keeps coming to mind when I have those negative thoughts is this:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. - Philippians 4:8

So, tonight I'm going to start this Bible study. I'm really looking forward to getting rid of this bad habit and - as the author says - cleaning out my thought closet. 

I was thinking of maybe sharing this study with y'all on the blog once a week, but I wasn't sure what you would think of that. Would you be interested in going through this study with me? Or would you rather just be updated on how it's going? {'Cause that's probably going to happen whether you want it to or not. =P} Let me know!! 

And don't forget to enter my super-awesome book giveaway!


The Big 4-0-0!!

Hello all!!! I honestly can't believe I have been blogging this long/so much!! 400 is kind of a big number. I think it needs some sort of celebration, don't you!? And since doing something like this would take too much work...

I figured we might want to celebrate in a different - but still fun - way. =)

As most of you know, I've been doing a whole lot of reading lately. About a month or so ago, I fell in love with a certain series of books of the "chick lit" persuasion. And goodness knows I have loved every single book ever written by Nicholas Sparks. (Yes, even Three Weeks with My Brother which was not even fiction...or romancey.) I also "blame" him for getting me to love North Carolina even before I met my husband and moved there. I've read many other books, including ones about the lives of milspouses, but I always come back to "chick lit" for good, easy, fun reads. So, when I was trying to decide how to celebrate my big 400th post I finally landed on a pretty darn good idea.

Why not do a book giveaway?! =D

After much consideration, I decided that I would give away these lovely books:

If I were all of you, I would be pretty darn excited right now!! =D I chose the Bride Quartet mainly because they're just really fun reads. The Guardian is my absolute favorite of Nicholas Sparks' books. And, of course, we can't forget the Milies! The Ocean Between Us is a really great book about a Navy family. I have loved each of these books. I thought I would share some of my favorite books with one of you lucky readers!!

Now, I bet you're all wondering what you have to do to enter. I'll try and keep it simple for you, ok?

1. You must be a follower. {And please don't just click the "follow" button just because you want to win something! I find that very annoying.} Leave me a comment letting me know you follow me.

2. Tell me (in another comment) the name of your favorite book.

3. Tweet about it! Just make sure you mention me (@gijoeswifeblog) and come back here and leave me a comment. Limit one tweet per day.

4. Blog about it! Link your post to this one and then leave me a comment.

That's it! Please leave me a comment for each entry!!! I will be using random.org to select the winner, so you are responsible for all of your entries. 

This giveaway will end on Monday, April 4th at midnight, EST. The winner will then be selected and announced here on the blog either that night or the next day. 

Go forth and enter!! =)

Happy Monday!


Getting to Know You

It's Sunday, so that means another "episode" of getting to know you with MannLand5! =)

Here are this week's questions:

1. What inspires you?
Hm. My hubby, books, God...

2. What was the last thing you bought yourself?
Well, I bought some fabric from Etsy last night so that I can make myself a makeup bag. I guess that counts. =)

3. Would you rather watch a movie in a theater or from the comfort of your own home?
I think it kind of depends. I really like being able to chill out in my own home and eat whatever I want (not to mention being able to pause!), but there's also something nice about going to the theater.

4. Household chore you don't mind doing?
Hum. At this point in deployment, I'm not sure there's one left! But, I guess vacuuming and dusting are the lesser of the many household chore evils. =)

5. Coffee or tea?
Well, I drink a lot of sweet tea, so I guess I have to say tea. I do like to drink coffee, but since I don't need it to wake up in the mornings I don't drink it that much anymore. I do go on the occasional Starbucks run though! 

6. What could you eat every day and not get sick of?
Gosh, I don't know. However, I have been eating Cinnamon Burst Cheerios every day for the past couple of weeks... So let's go with that. 

7. What's the last book you read?
Currently, I'm reading Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban. I finished The Chamber of Secrets along with Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deanne Gist last week while I was sick. I did a lot of reading last week because I didn't feel like doing much else. The last book (by Gist) is a historical fiction/romance novel. I've read three of her books (possibly four) so far. She really does her research about the city and people she writes about. As a historian and lover of romance novels, I think she does an excellent job! And, you really just can't go wrong with Harry Potter. =)

8. Do you think you "look" your age?
I'm gonna say no. I know that I have a baby face and most people think I'm barely even 20. I go back and forth between hating it and loving it. A couple months ago someone told me I looked like 22 or something. Close enough for me!! I know I will love having a baby face in about 15-20 years, but sometimes it's pretty frustrating. About 2 years ago, I went to WalMart in NC and bought some NyQuil. The lady at the checkout looked at me and said, "You're over 18, right?" I just thought, Um yeah, for about 5 years now, thanks. Le sigh.


Did you guys watch the Army Wives episode tonight?! Wow. I cried through the entire episode. I thought it wasn't going to be too bad, but...no. Of course, watching it with a deployed husband is probably a bit more difficult. Lucky for me, I finally got an email from Joe after it went off. That made me feel so much better. =)

In other news, I have a big surprise for you tomorrow!!! Be on the lookout for something awesome!! ;-)

Hope y'all had a great weekend!



This week has been not-so fun. What with AF hanging around, windstorms knocking out hubby's internet and being sick with some sort of nasty cold.... I haven't had much fun. In fact, I've looked a little like this all week:

Except that I've been on the couch and haven't needed those kleenexes. Yesterday after calling my mom, I called my doctor's office. I was still pretty ticked off at the acute care doctor's assessment and I felt awful. So, I called and talked to a nurse who put me on the triage call list. 2 hours later, I talked to another nurse who completely overreacted to the fact that I have asthma and that I wasn't using my inhaler every 4-6 hours. What can I say? I'm not the best patient and if I know it's not going to work, I'm not going to use it. Seriously, she told me to call 911 if I couldn't breathe. Hi, honey. I'm 24, I just told you I've had this since I was 10. I'm pretty sure I know how to handle this by now. Thanks. After all that, she got me an appointment with my doctor for today. I also found out (and this is going to be a newsflash to all of you) that I can call at like 0630 for same-day appointments. Oh, if I'd only known...

Yesterday around 3ish, my throat started getting better. I also did a breathing treatment because I was tired of feeling pressure in my chest. This morning, my throat was basically fine. A little scratchy but nothing near what it was the day before. Go figure, right? The day I actually get to see a good doctor and my symptoms magically disappear. Well, not all of them. My asthma is still giving me trouble. 

As per usual, I got to the clinic about 20 minutes early...and my nurse literally sat down in the waiting room and waited for me to finish checking in. I am never too early for this woman! After all the initial stuff (including her asking me for the third time if I have asthma...), I went in the room and waited. Doctor comes in and asks me what's going on... I give her the whole spill and she - wait for it - asked me questions about my medical history with asthma! *gasp* She's actually concerned! Then she listened to my lungs for more than 2 seconds. Of course, they sounded fine. Not surprising. This is normal for me. 90% of the time I have trouble breathing, I don't wheeze. Either I'm super awesome at catching things early or I'm weird. =P Anyway, she said that because of my migrating symptoms (one day sore throat, next day fine, but congested) I probably have a cold that set off my asthma. And instead of giving me a breathing treatment and sending me packing, she gave me an inhaled steroid to help open up my lungs and relieve the pressure I've been feeling. What do you know?! A real doctor!

Even just after that, I felt better. Knowing that she actually listened and that she wanted to help me made me feel better. She also scolded me for not using a spacer with my inhaler. Sorry! Honestly, I haven't used one of those since I was diagnosed 14 years ago! I guess pulmonologists (lung drs) now prefer that asthma patients use them. News to me! I haven't seen a pulmonary doctor in a few years. =P I love my doctor. =) And I will no longer be visiting the ACC if I can help it. Virus my a$$!

The only good thing that's really come from this week is all the reading I've been doing! My poor little Nook has been working overtime lately! I've had to charge it twice this week! Partially because I left the wifi on and partially because I've really just been reading that much. What can I say? Daytime TV sucks! I've finished 2 books this week and started a third. =) Oh, and Jasper has been very cuddly lately. Maybe he's ok with having a cuddly buddy during the day for a change. I'd much rather have my hubby here to cuddle with and to go get me goodies but Jasper's a fairly decent stand-in. ;-)

Not much longer!!!! =D


Back to my Roots

That's right. Tonight, (or today, rather, since it'll be tomorrow by the time most of you read this) y'all get to get a little bit of a glimpse at me. I guess you do every day, but... 

I'm linking up a couple of my favorite Rascal Flatts songs today with Goodnight Moon. You see, Rascal Flatts is my absolute favorite country band. Be still, my heart! ;-) I grew up listening to country music. Seriously. Y'all, the first song that I remember being my "favorite" is Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks. I think I was 10. =P And don't worry, the beer and the whiskey parts were changed to something like Coke and Dr. Pepper. Haha! I was also forced to listen to my mom's 80s music, so don't worry. I'm a well-rounded country girl. ;-) I love all music, but there's just something about country music. 

These songs are deployment/feelin' kinda down songs. So without further ado, here are 2 [of many] of my favorite Rascal Flatts songs. Enjoy!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Don't forget to head over to Goodnight Moon to link up and listen to other songs!!

And just because I died laughing at this earlier, here's a picture of my super-cute, crazy puppy.

For the record, this crazy pup did that all by himself! He had pulled his "binkie" (I blame Joe for getting me to call it that. *sigh*) up on the couch, trying to get me to play with it. Next thing I know he's got it on his head and is staring at me like I had something to do with it! Crazy dog. Definitely gave me a good laugh, though!

Hope y'all are having a good week!


Diagnosis: Ridiculous

Where do I begin?

About this time last night, my throat started hurting oh-so-badly. I tried everything I could think of (except for taking a shot of tequila because I didn't have any) to get it to stop hurting. Nothing worked. As usual when I'm hurting, I drugged myself before I went to bed. Pain = no sleep for Sarah. Pain killers = deep sleep for Sarah. Win! ;-)

Well, this morning it really wasn't any better. Sure, I could swallow, but it hurt. My chest was still tight from whatever asthma flare-up I'm having, so I decided to take my booty to the ACC (acute care clinic) as soon as I could muster up the energy to shower. I got there around 11 and the parking lot didn't look too crowded, so I was hopeful. Ha. There were quite a few more people than I expected. Maybe some of them live in walking distance? *shrug* 

Anyway, I took my number, filled out ridiculous paperwork (I mean, seriously, I'm already in their system...) and waited to be checked in. 30 minutes later, I handed Mr. Couldn't be More Quiet my paperwork, he checked me in, and I took my folder to the "triage" area. 30 more minutes, I get triaged. I give CPT RN my spill about how I've been having whatever this is for the past week. She swabs my throat twice and tells me it'll be about an hour before I can see the doctor. *sigh* Great.

1 hour and 15 minutes later, I get called back to a room. 15 minutes later, doctor comes in. The extent of his exam? Look in both ears, glance at my throat twice, listen to me take ONE breath and listen to my heart for 10 seconds. "Nope, doesn't look like strep. Looks like a virus that's "going around" and is hard to get rid of. We'll do a breathing treatment and then you can go to the pharmacy for your meds. " 

As soon as the door closed behind him, I groaned. A breathing treatment?! I've had a nebulizer since I was a teenager. I have the meds for it. I can freakin' do that at home! I was really hoping for some decent meds at the pharmacy. Meanwhile, the PA comes in and tells me what a breathing treatment is. Hello?! I'm 24 and have asthma. Chances are I've had it for a while and know what a breathing treatment is. I sit there and not-so-patiently wait while inhaling the medicine. I texted a friend here because just last week, she and her son were diagnosed with this "virus." I told her I wasn't sure I was buying the "virus" diagnosis.

I walked to the pharmacy where I waited another 30 minutes to get my medicine. The pharmacy technician walks back, with a bottle in her hand. You gotta be kidding me. It's freakin' lidocaine!!! I'm supposed to gargle with it. That's it. That's all he gave me. Here I've been struggling to breathe the last 5-6 days, and my throat is sore enough that I don't really want to talk and he gives me lidocaine?! Seriously, I could pick up some throat spray at the PX that would probably be just as helpful. Nevermind that my bronchial tubes are inflamed and swollen. Nah, I can handle that. If they call me tomorrow and tell me that my 2nd throat swab came back positive for strep, I am so going to be pissed.

I honestly felt like he diagnosed me with "a virus" because he wanted to get me the heck out of there since they were so busy. You know, I know that it's free for me to go there and I do appreciate that it doesn't cost me a dime. However, I don't appreciate being examined for 2 whole minutes and being immediately diagnosed with a virus because it seems like that's what it could be. I'm extremely frustrated. I had something similar in December '09 and saw a civilian doctor. Wanna know what I got? Allergy meds, a steroid shot, steroids in pill form and an antibiotic. That is what I call treatment.

I almost hope that I have to go back in a few days so that I can prove their diagnosis was ridiculous. Almost. I just want to feel better.


Assorted Thoughts

I can't seem to find something specific to write about tonight, so randomness it is! Aren't you just thrilled?! Thought you would be. ;-)

❊ I can't seem to catch a break lately. I've felt like crap for about a week now. First it was my throat, then that quit hurting and my asthma started acting up. And as always, my shoulder is giving me fits. (I need to schedule a massage ASAP! Any island buddies have suggestions?) Today is the first day in about 5 days that my chest hasn't hurt and I can actually take a full, deep breath. But now my throat is hurting. Ugh! Before, it was just scratchy and mostly annoying. Now it just plain hurts and I don't want to eat, drink or breathe for fear it will hurt. =( Seriously, what the H is going on with me?!

❊ I've been on a sewing kick lately. It started with all these baby shower gifts... I got a little crazy today and made these for myself. Nope, not pregnant. Hubby's not home, so we're not "trying." And I made them anyway. Someone stop me!

They are cute though, right? =) And there will be a super cute blanket to match them at some point in the near future! Seriously, I think I need help.

❊ My hubby got a new roommate! =D This makes me exceedingly happy. Oh, and him too. =P His last roommate wasn't too keen on things like showering, getting up on time and being considerate of others. The last time they had a day off on the same day, he refused to turn down his TV/music, so Joe and I couldn't Skype. Jerk. Joe's been trying to get another guy to move in with him for a few weeks and he just moved in a couple days ago. My favorite part? This guy is married. And his wife is pretty nice. Praise the Lord! Oh, I didn't mention that Joe's former roommate was, ahem, with a female soldier several times? Should have mentioned that. *sigh*

❊ I've also been on a reading binge lately. =P Last week, I got a book in the mail from PaperBackSwap... Once I finished reading what I'd been reading, I picked up that book. I'm fairly certain that I read this one in about 3 days. Now, I have read a book in a day before but that was when I was a teenager with nothing better to do. Considering that I've also done a few things around the house and watched TV, I think 3 days is kind of a big deal. And, yes, I do read with and watch TV at the same time. It's honestly almost harder for me to read in silence. My family is, well, loud so I guess I learned to deal with it/block it out and now I need the noise. I find that a little sad, lol!

❊ My favorite quote from tonight's TV: "Viagra: It makes peaks where there once were valleys." (Mike & Molly) Hehehe. =)

❊ We are currently in double. digits!!!!!!!!! "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." I can't freakin' wait for this deployment to be over!!! One of my friends put this as her FB status today: "You know your husband's been deployed a long time when you forget his cell phone number but remember his SSN." Yup. That pretty much covers it. =P

❊ Oh! I met up with Miranda and Annie (for the first time!) yesterday for lunch. =) It was a great time, and a much-needed outing for me. Luckily, we all felt the same way. We're all stinkin' hermits. Seriously, I feel like I never leave my house. I know it's kinda my own fault, but I just really don't do going places alone well. Running errands, sure. Shopping, dinner and movies? Not so much. {Though, the shopping alone does happen. Retail is therapy.} Anyways, we had a great time and I'm hoping to hang out with them more! 

❊ I'm not ready for summer yet. I know y'all are just getting geared up for spring, but that means summer is going to arrive in Hawaii shortly. I can already feel the sun getting hotter. While there are days that I really do enjoy soaking up that sun, this little white girl has no desire to bake under the extreme summer sun. However, I do need a new bathing suit. =P

❊ I should probably start going to bed earlier, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I know I'm going to regret that when Joe comes home. He's always been the "early to bed, early to rise" type and I've always been exactly the opposite. I almost had him trained when he went to basic. *sigh* 

I miss his silly face. =)

❊ Keep an eye out for a giveaway in the next several days!! The big 4-0-0 will be here soon!! =)


Getting to Know You

I was super excited when Keely over at MannLand5 decided to bring this back!! I kinda missed it. =)

So, here's this week's questions!

1. if you won the title of miss america, what would your platform be?
Ha. Well, probably not world peace. It's soooo overdone. Probably something like education reform, considering I was going to be a teacher once upon a time.

2. outdoorsy or indoorsy?
I like to think I'm a little bit of both. Ok, that's a lie. I'm definitely a little bit of both. I like to be inside reading, watching TV or doing some craft. But I've also been camping, I like to do the ATV thing (and did a lot when I lived at home), take a walk in the woods, I've hiked before...I like to shoot guns on occasion... Are you satisfied yet? =P

3. pajama's out in public..classy or tres tacky?
Tacky. There is absolutely nothing classy about wearing bed clothes in public. Even sweat pants are questionable in my book. {Note: This is from the girl who doesn't go to the shopette without mascara.}

4. what's your favorite room in your house?
Um... I don't really know. I spend most of my time in the living room, but I think our bedroom is the most relaxing place in the house. Does that count?

5. nook, kindle, or book?
Nook! Although, I do still read normal books. =) But I don't have to lug around a whole bunch of books with my handy-dandy Nook. It travels with me on the plane, to doctor's offices and we spend many a night cuddled up in bed together. Shhh. Don't tell my husband. ;-)

6. would you rather wear the same outfit for a week or not brush your teeth for a week?
Ew! Umm... Either way it's kinda bad... I think I'd choose not to brush my teeth. At least you can chew gum and pop mints! I figure the same outfit would be getting pretty smelly and there's not much you could do about that.

7. what's your favorite blog at the moment?
Hum. I'm not sure I really have one. But, I have frequented Homemade by Jill a lot lately because I've been making baby shower gifts. 

8. lately i've been daydreaming about.........?
My hubby. =) Having him home again... Talking, laughing, watching movies on the couch... You know, the normal things. I just miss us...just being silly...hanging out - the simple things.

circa 2007

Lucky for me, the donut is looking a little bit better...

Hope you had a fantabulous weekend! =)


Roller Coasters Suck

Particularly emotional roller coasters. And I've been on one of those pretty much all day today. I know part of it is that dear Aunt Flo is coming soon and I'm sure the other part is that I haven't been feeling well for a few days. Add in a few frustrations and I suppose that's enough to make any girl a hot, emotional mess.

My day started out well enough, though. I chatted with Joe for a while and then Melissa and I talked for a while on Skype. Then, I decided I'd do a few things around the house. I bought a Swiffer Sweep Vac yesterday and I really wanted to try it out. It works like a charm!! Seriously, I think it might be one of the best things I've ever bought. There's still some Jasper hairs on the floor, but I can handle that. Then I mopped! *gasp* ;-) I did a few other things, and then my mom called to tell me that my Papa had been put in the hospital. He's been sick and refused to go to the doctor until today. At first they thought he had blood clots in his lungs. He's prone to clots, which is one of many reasons he was in the hospital last summer. She didn't sound too concerned, so after we hung up I decided to go about my day.

After lunch, I finally got out the door and headed to WalMart. You see, I have just become sort of addicted to Cinnamon Burst Cheerios. I found a box at the commissary a couple weeks ago and decided to try them since Mom had said they were good. Well, when I was at the commissary yesterday there wasn't a single box in sight. Luckily, Annie had informed me during a Twitter conversation that WalMart stocks them. =) Hence the trip. I ended up buying some sewing supplies and a couple other things I hadn't really planned on. Isn't that the way it always goes at wally world though?

After my unplanned spending, I decided it was time to wash my dirty car. Oh, I've let it go for so long. It almost made me a little sad every time I looked at it. So I went to an automatic wash, paid for the "deluxe" wash (though not their "best" choice) and waited my turn. After it was done, I was kind of excited and proud that I'd finally taken care of it. Then I got home. Turns out that it didn't work that well. My car is sort of clean... There are still streaks of dirt. *sigh* I see another trip there in my future.

On my way home,  Mom called to tell me that Papa just had fluid on his lungs and that they were sending him home with a water pill and potassium. I was relieved, but then couldn't help think of the "what ifs" and remembering events passed with him. It's hard for me not to be there when things like this happen...even if no one really wants to be there for it. I ended up crying and then getting mad at myself for being worked up when he's going to be fine.

Instead of being all upset all afternoon, I decided to be productive and work on a baby gift for a girl in the FRG. Her shower is next week but I figured while I was wanting to be productive, I might as well take advantage of it. About 1.5 hours later, I ended up with these:

2 burp cloths and a taggie/crinkly toy (I put cellophane in between the 2 pieces of fabric) for a baby girl! The only thing I had to go out and buy to make these was the batting for the burp cloths. Everything else I already had! I also bought a card, but I don't really think that counts. So now I'm all prepared for the next baby shower! Go me!

Next roller coaster moment? Waiting for Joe to get online. Tonight started his day off and we had set a "date" to Skype. I know his schedule pretty well, so when 2030 rolled around I figured I just wasn't going to get to talk to him. I silently cursed the internet in the sandbox and/or his NCOs making him work - whatever it was that was keeping him from talking to me. So, I turned on the Xbox and tried to find something good to watch on Netflix. Once I had decided on LOST, I went to the kitchen for ice cream. And whaddaya know? He gets online. =P 'Bout time!!

At first, we had a great connection... (which is extremely rare) Then, my webcam was be finicky so I tried to call him back. Then he called me back. It went on this way for a while until we decided to ditch Skype for iChat. (We think the main problem was that he hadn't downloaded the update for Skype and I had.) This is the first time we've been able to get iChat to work using video! I was pretty excited. =)

Not the greatest picture, but I'm used to that by now. I think he had a really great connection today. We had only one interruption and iChat worked! I'd much rather use iChat, but the video calling doesn't always work as well as Skype does. Anyway, Joe was even able to get Jasper's attention tonight. =)

 See him there in the bottom right corner? Joe was talking to him, and at one point Jasper even brought his blanket and put it up on my laptop!!! It was so cute! I wish I had gotten a screen shot of it, but it was pretty hard to maneuver. =P

One of the not so great chat moments happened when he said he wanted to get lunch. It's sad, really. He says he needs to go eat and I start crying because we don't get to talk face to face like this very often. *sigh* Guilt trip much? I didn't mean to do it, it just happened!! He kept asking me what was wrong and I just felt so bad telling him. =( I do want him to eat, but I also want to talk to him! Life just really isn't fair. =P Luckily the crying spell didn't last long. My hubby is really good at cheering me up:

For the record, I am wearing a shirt - just a tank top. =P 

Hahaha! Silly hubby! At one point, he was moving back and forth and he looked like a big 'ole pixelated sleeping bag or something. It was hilarious. Probably one of those "ya had to be there" moments though. =)

Overall, it wasn't a bad day. I just wish I wasn't so emotional sometimes. I'm more emotional while AF is around, and I get...emotional/touchy when I'm sick too. *sigh* Maybe both will go away soon. I'd really like to not have to go to the doctor again...and there's really nothing I can do about AF. But at least I know I have this hottie to cheer me up when I need it. =)

 Seriously, doesn't he look hot in that picture?!

Hope your weekend is off to a good start!!


The Ma'am Issue

Since I'm feeling a little bummed out and generally on the icky side of life, I figured I'd write about something a little more interesting than my depressing deployment issues. =P

The age issue is always a touchy subject with us women, and quite often the word "ma'am" is identified with age. I read a blog post or two in the last couple weeks about being called "ma'am" and women thinking they were "too young" to be called that. I remember a time when I felt that way myself, and I say this as a 24 year old. =P

I don't remember when it was, but I'm fairly certain that it was in the last couple of years. I mentioned to Joe that someone had called me "ma'am" and I said, "I just can't believe it! I mean, do I look old enough to be called 'ma'am?!" I'll never forget his response: "I should hope he/she called you that! It doesn't mean you're old or young. It's a sign of respect." I'd never really thought of it that way before, but it's definitely the truth. I think the reason it's associated with age is because most people respect (to a degree) people older than they are. But shouldn't we respect everyone, no matter what their age?

I've since realized that the "yes, sir" and "yes ma'am" customs are generally held only in the South. When I flew home over the holidays, I found myself saying those exact things to men and women who were probably my age. I guess I never realized that those...manners had been drilled into me. I suppose they're drilled into most kids raised below the Mason-Dixon line, though.

 Ever since Joe had reminded me that it's a sign of respect, I've warmed to the idea of being called "ma'am." Of course, the only time I ever hear it here is when I'm at the gate having my ID checked. I love it, though. It doesn't make me feel old, and I know that I don't look old. I highly doubt that anyone would mistake me for someone over the age of 20. I have a baby face. Always have and probably always will.

It's a sign of respect, and I'm not going to balk at being respected! I miss the days when men (other than my husband) would hold open doors for me simply because it was the polite thing to do. I miss walking into a room full of cussing guys only to hear them trip over their words because they know not to say such things in front of ladies.*  Believe it or not, those days aren't that far behind me. I think it's a cultural thing, though. These are just things that happen on a daily basis where I come from.

So to all you ladies who are afraid to be called "ma'am," don't take a trip to the South anytime soon. ;-)

Do you love or hate being called "ma'am?"

*That's happened to me a lot, including this past Christmas when one of my brother's friends came over. My family could care less, but I love that his friend refused to cuss in front of me. 


One From the Hubby

I'm linking up with Goodnight Moon for her weekly "What's YOUR Song" party.

No song in particular struck my fancy this week, so I decided to share one my hubby suggested this morning while we were chatting (first time in 4 days, woohoo!). He's always finding new music and I really never heard of this group before today. Don't let the title fool you, it's not really a Christian song. =) I had to give you the warning hubby gave me. Also, the chorus might make you tear up. Don't say I didn't warn you!!

Let me know what you think, too. I'll be sure to pass the info along to Joe. =)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Don't forget to go over and link up your favorite song with Goodnight Moon!


Religion vs. Faith

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his own tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. - James 1:26

Today, I want to show you the difference between mere religion - what I like to call “rule-following” - and true faith. The two are very different but are often mistaken to be the same. Usually (but not always), they are mistaken to be the same by non-Christians. This discussion is going to be very lengthy, but in order to cover it all it sorta has to be. Please bear with me!
Webster’s defines religion as this: 
“1b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and fait”

Faith is defined as this:

1a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs faith>

Even the dictionary recognizes a difference between the two. Religion is basically the practice of your faith. However, religion can become tainted and worn down by putting emphasis on tradition and routine. In the New Testament, we see Jesus refer - and talking - to the Pharisees frequently. He often calls them “hypocrites.” Why, you ask? Because since Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the 10 Commandments in his hands, the Pharisees became great rule-followers. Not only did they start following the rules, they also added laws to keep them from breaking God’s laws!! Laws upon laws! Over time, the Jews and Pharisees began focusing so much on the rules, they forgot why the original rules were made...and that they were supposed to be worshipping God, not priding themselves on being “good little rule-followers.”
I could paraphrase the Pharisees’ rule-following history and tell you all day how much Jesus wanted them to change their ways. However, I don’t think that’s the best way to make my point. Instead, I’ll show you through His Word. His is a whole lot more reliable than mine anyway. =)
In Matthew 23, Jesus talks only about the Pharisees. It’s pretty lengthy, so I am going to cut much of it out and leave you with what I feel are the most important points. I encourage you to go back later, though, and read for yourself. I should also note that I’m using the NASB version of the Bible.
“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them... But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries [boxes containing Scripture texts, worn for religious purposes] and lengthen the tassels of their garments. And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men, Rabbi... But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in...” (verses 2-3, 5-7,11-13)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and uncleanliness. Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (verses 27-28)
In the middle of the verses I’ve just quoted, Jesus goes on to criticize them for following rules they have made for themselves. None of these rules - or laws - have anything to do with God’s purpose for giving them the law. They are all trivial and meaningless.
In Mark chapter 2, the Pharisees began to question Jesus’ actions and the actions of His disciples. Jesus was notorious for breaking their “rules” and - I’m assuming - that they found it odd that He would claim to be who He was and yet He broke their rules. I can just see them talking in groups to each other: “Did you see what Jesus just did?! I can’t believe he’s breaking these rules, and yet claiming to speak words from God!” I can only imagine. First they asked Jesus why His disciples weren’t fasting. (I’m not sure why the Pharisees were fasting in the first place, and that would take lots more research so I’m not going to dwell on that.) This is Jesus’ reply:
“While the bridegroom is with them [referring to a wedding], the attendants of the bridegroom do not fast, do they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” (verses 19-20)
Jesus often spoke in parables, metaphors and similes. If you read the New Testament much, you’ll come to find that. If you don’t do well with these types of things, I’ll explain what He meant. Jesus is referring to Himself as the bridegroom. He’s telling the Pharisees that while He is with His disciples, they do not need to fast.
A few verses later, the Pharisees are questioning Jesus because He and His disciples were picking grain on the Sabbath. He replied, saying that Dvid himself ate consecrated bread when he and his companions were hungry, which is illegal (verses 25-26). Then He said,
“...The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Consequently, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (verses 27-28)
Bam! I love that. =) He is Lord of even the Sabbath. 
In Matthew 12, starting in verse 10 the Pharisees question healing on the Sabbath. Jesus replies, in verse 12 saying, “So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
See, the Pharisees are so focused on obeying the commandment that says “Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy...the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord; in it you shall not do work...” (Exodus 20:8-11) that the didn’t do anything! Nothing! Nothing good, nothing bad. They just did nothing. Imagine how frustrated and disappointed Jesus must have been... Here these men have had the chance all this time to be doing good for the kingdom on the Sabbath and yet they did nothing. All the rules that they had set up were to keep them from disobeying the Ten Commandments, but along they way...they became more. The high priests and rabbis took pride in their rule-following... Putting themselves so far above others. 
There are so many - so many - verses I could share. This is really what the difference between religion and faith is; the difference between the Pharisee and “the sinner.”
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all I get.’ But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)
The Pharisee is self-righteous, seeing himself as above all others. The sinner is humble, weak and believes that God will help him - have mercy on him. Faith is believing, without being able to see and know. Religion without faith is just that. Religious people go through the motions. Yes, they may believe God exists, that Jesus died on the cross to save us all, but they pride themselves on being Christian and having been saved. [Personally, I'm not sure I believe that religious people ARE saved.] Those with faith are different. They follow the rules as well, but with a deeper understanding of the rules.
It only takes believing in Him to become saved. Saved from what? Spending an eternity in Hell. 
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes* in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17
In Matthew 17:20, Jesus says this of faith:
“...truly I say to you, if you have the faith as [big as] a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.”
Faith is BIG - it is powerful. If you have faith, if you believe that Jesus truly did come to this earth to die for us, to save us from our own sin, you’ll be forever saved from an eternity of a burning, torturous Hell. It is a real place. It is so far from God, so terrible... The Bible describes it as a burning lake of fire. Personally, I’d rather spend an eternity worshipping and loving God than burning in a lake of fire with Satan himself.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
There is nothing you can do to save yourself. You can follow all of the rules, give to the poor, volunteer daily, never kill or steal or anything. NONE - and I mean none - of that will save you from spending your eternity in Hell, separated from God. 
All you need to do to be saved - to live the life that God has for you, with Him - is to pray to Him, letting Him know that you believe all that the Bible says about Him. You believe He came and died on the cross to save you - to forgive you of ALL of your sins (John 3:16), all the bad things you’ve done in your life and all that you will do in the future. You believe that He has a plan for you, a great plan (Jeremiah 29:11). And though it might not be easy, you trust that He knows what’s best for you. You know that, no matter what, He will NEVER leave you (Hebrews 13:5).
Dear friends, I hope you realize that I am sharing this with you because I care about you. I want you to know the truth - the absolute truth. I am not here to say “Look at me! Look at what I know and believe! You can be just like me!” I am here to say, “Here’s the truth. I want to share it with you because I know how wonderful God’s love, mercy and grace is and I want you to experience it too.”

All comments on this post are welcomed, as always. However, any unnecessarily rude or argument-starting comments will be deleted. Thanks for understanding.
*Note: all of the emphasis in quotes are mine, as well as the inserted explanations. They might look like this: [ ] or this ( ).
** I apologize for the length, but given the topic it was definitely necessary.
*** If you have ANY questions please feel free to email me. I may not always have the answers, but I know where to go for them!