Friday, December 19, 2008
I was at the commissary last night, counting up every penny I was spending because we have a little over $300 to last us till the end of the month...and that has to include getting TWO vehicles down to Florida...and behind me, a single soldier with his weekend ration of junk food stepped into the express lane. The commissary manager walked up to him and asked to see his ID card, then said "The commissary would like to give you a $25 gift certificate for the holidays. Merry Christmas!" Very wonderful, even I agree with that. It's great that any agency would be looking to honor our active duty servicemembers with Christmas "bonuses", but what he did with it turned that fluffy moment into something that churned my stomach. Like other active-duty families around me, I was sitting there scrimping and calculating whether we could have seconds on salad last night....and this single soldier used his gift certificate to buy......cigarettes.
Yes, it bothered me. I'm not going to deny that. Momentary jealousy? Eh, maybe. More so that there are so many people hurting financially this year, it's just hard to see gifts that generous used on something so....oh, I don't know, wasteful?
I spent a good amount of time immediately and afterward praying about my own attitude, knowing that somehow, God would take care of things. He always does. Well.....Pete came out of the office today with an envelope today at lunchtime from the installation chaplain....full of commissary gift certificates for TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS!
Yep, I'll eat crow. And I bought nothing wasteful, I'll have you know!
At least now the wrapping paper is finally dug out of the storage room so I can start wrapping. Yes, I said START. Not a single gift wrapped. Nothing mailed. Nothing packed. My groceries (for THIS week) still aren't bought, and it's Friday! (How'd that work out?) But the tree...is finally decorated! Why does that not feel like a victory? Maybe because my to-do list is longer than my got-it-done list? I still don't have our suitcases out ready to be packed (another on Pete's list), so I guess I'll resort to stacks of stuff on the beds for the moment.
Looks like I'll have to get the warmer-weather clothes back out, because the forecast for the panhandle is nearing 80 degrees on Christmas Day! For the record, that's one of the reasons I don't like Florida!
I'll be on a blogging hiatus during our trip, as I'm sure there's just going to be too much to be done to sit in front of a computer! I wish each and every one of you a blessed Christmas, and hope that you all have a wonderfully peaceful week.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Introduction: Betcha’ Can’t Eat Just One (Lays Potato Chips)
This weeks topic deals with eating potato chips and how good they are. I love salty foods so I have a terrible time eating just one. Along with these chips that I can’t eat just one of, I cannot get enough of studying my Bible. I think it’s ironic that chips (salty foods) are such a temptation. In the Bible (Leviticus) it tells us that salt is regarded as a disinfectant and when babies were born the midwife covered the baby with salt to clean its body and also to ward away any evil spirits or demons.
Assignment: Tell us about something that you can’t get enough of and what scripture(s) in the Bible you cannot tear yourself away from.
I have serious issues with salty foods....I LOVE them, but usually not by themselves. I also have a weakness for cream cheese. Bad, bad, bad. My worst (and weirdest yet) weakness has to be dipping Spicy Guacamole Doritos in whipped cream cheese. I can eat a whole bag. It's awful. I end up with green fingers and funny looking cream cheese on my bagel the next morning! But OH, it's yummy. Yes, I actually did start that while I was pregnant (Dani's fault!), but it's a craving I kept after the preggo hormones died off! Funny thing is, I really don't like plain nacho Doritos, I only like the spicy ones like the Guacamole and (my most recent favorite find) Spicy Sweet Chili. OH my....did I just drool on the keyboard??
As far as Scriptures I can't tear myself away from, I tend to gravitate toward passages that instruct regarding daily living--the matters of the heart and the responsibility Christians have to live out our faith. Probably my favorite is:
That passage has such strong wording! Phrases like "rule in your hearts", "dwell in you richly", teaching and admonishing in all wisdom", and especially "do everything"....that leads us to believe just how EXTREME God expects us to live for Him. There's just no allowance for mediocrity there! I love it!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Not too long ago, while perusing one of the discussion boards I piddle around at now and then, I came across a mom who was wondering how to explain to her children just why people were SO cruel with their comments about the size of their family. Her story wasn't the typical "Are they all yours?", no....this one took the cake. She'd gone to run errands with her five children, who were being well-behaved (not the standard post-office brats who can't seem to understand that public offices aren't playgrounds), and just the mere size of her brood aroused the ire of a man in the office. He resorted to shouting insults and suggesting very loudly that she should just "slit her throat and get it over with", that she must be psychotic and needed to be on medication. She calmly assured him that she did indeed LOVE the wonderful children that God had blessed their family with, but his tirade continued, to the amusement of several others in the office. Her children were terrified, but that didn't seem to deter the nastiness, and when she got home, she had to attempt to alleviate her 9-year-old's fears that their mother was one step away from insanity.
I've had some off-the-wall comments since our family size expanded past the 2.1-child "average", but that one...I'm not sure I'd have handled it as calmly as she did. What is WRONG with people? Nevermind that mothers don't seem to be enforcing the "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" rule anymore, this type of attitude goes straight to the core. Has our society truly rejected what God calls a blessing, and decided across-the-board that children are burdens to be avoided, insulted, and considered a "curse" when their arrival is unplanned by the parents?
By society's standards, what is the criteria for determining how many children each family should have? National averages? Seating arrangements in a vehicle (don't laugh, I've actually heard that one--"Don't have more children than your sportscar can hold")? How many bedrooms a house has and whether or not you'll still have space for that media room and an office? Social status? Are only the Brangelinas of the world allowed to have large families (nevermind they're not even MARRIED--he says they'll marry when "everyone" can)? Maybe it's your tax bracket or the size of your bank account. Is it the number of designer wardrobes you can afford and how many college degrees you are willing to finance?
It was actually that question that prompted us to reverse what we now consider to be a horrible mistake, although it took almost eight years of mental agony to get to that point. We'd not really even considered the attitude we'd taken toward children until the vasectomy had already been done. But almost immediately, a comment I'd only half paid attention to started echoing in my mind. A year before the vasectomy, when we announced our third despite-birth-control pregnancy, the only thing we could say was "Obviously God meant for us to have three children." The reply was "Well, I certainly hope He doesn't intend for you to have FOUR!" We lost that baby, and very quickly made the decision to end the possibility of having more "accidents". We weren't even really thinking about what we'd said regarding that third pregnancy being "obvious". It didn't really hit home until we realized we were feeling a twinge of heartache every time one of our friends announced a pregnancy by using the words "blessing from God". With each birth around us, the fact that maybe God had something in mind that we'd not even considered for our family smacked us firmly across both cheeks. Did we even believe they were a blessing? Or was the 'blessing' thing just a fluffy little euphemism that we attached to baby shower cards just as flippantly as people say "bundle of joy"? Is it true that they really are a BLESSING? A gift? Something that God WANTS us to have?
We have both known for a long time that we are the type of couple who does things differently. Neither of us has ever been "mainstream" people, but yet there we were, letting mainstream ideas form us and plan our life so we looked like, talked like, and lived like everyone else in the world. What if God wanted something different? Looking to God's Word, neither one of us could find anything in Scripture that spoke favorably of man (or woman, for that matter) plotting his own path--there is plenty speaking negatively of man's "plans", though. We also couldn't find anything that agreed with the world's anti-child view of family planning. It perplexed us to learn that until right around the beginning of the 20th century, the vast majority of the world's Bible-preaching churches (of just about all 'flavors') condemned the use of birth control, and people truly believed that God was the Author of ALL life--that each and every child born into every family was a blessing to be treasured. More horrifying was the knowledge that Planned Parenthood's founder is one of the most outspoken humanists of our time, and that "modern" birth control was used by feminists to promote the idea that a woman should have "more" than the life of a wife and mom. As if all of that wasn't enough, we then found out that the now widely-accepted birth control pill and IUD (as well as several other forms of hormonal contraception) use aborifacient--abortion-inducing--methods of "avoiding" pregnancy (that is, unless you believe that life begins at conception and not only when implantation occurs).
All of these things really began to eat at our hearts, and we were convicted to hand that portion of our lives back over to God. In November of 2001, we did just that--Pete's vasectomy was reversed. We didn't have the reversal in an effort to have as many babies as we could possibly fill our home with. We're not competing with the Duggars, I assure you--although Morgan and Jamie are fascinated by such a large, loving family when we watch them on TV. We had the reversal to surrender to the Lord a portion of our lives that we'd kept Him out of and told Him that we "knew better". It has meant adding four new faces to our family portrait, and in all honesty, we'd welcome ten more if that's what the Lord has in mind for our family before my body loses the ability to bear children safely. Why? Because we believe God when He says He opens and closes the womb. We don't have children because they're just some natural function of a biological event, we have children because God chooses to place each and every one of them in our family.
Do we judge people who don't do things the way we do? Heavens, no. Quite frankly, I'm a little too busy with my own bunch to worry about somebody else's convictions! Am I overwhelmed? Sometimes, but you know....I find myself far less overwhelmed than I was with just the first two, because my heart and my mind are in a different place now. I don't see my kids as burdens. I don't see them as financial liabilities or injustices against my own personal dreams. I see them as individual souls, to be raised up for God's service and aimed into the world to bring glory to Him.
Am I psychotic? Maybe...I'm sure I have my moments! I'm human, I'm not perfect, and I struggle with my own issues just like every one else in this world. Am I on medication? Well, that depends--does chocolate count?
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Shelby is, as of yesterday, four months old. She celebrated her "birthday" by breaking out in a side-splitting full-bodied giggle that had us all nearly in tears. I'm not really sure what makes babies laugh (perhaps just seeing her big sister act like a total goof?), but it's well worth the wait, and it's one of the milestones we look forward to the most! There is just nothing quite like a baby-laugh. Well....I take that back.....there is something oddly satisfying about catching Daddy behaving like a raving lunatic in the name of trying to get said laugh...observe (you may have to turn up the volume a bit to hear Pete's babbling):And "they" say that moms lose brain cells with each pregnancy?
Friday, December 12, 2008
We attended a dress rehearsal for the Huntsville Ballet Company's "Nutcracker" last night, and at different times during the performance, both of us ended up with our eyes closed, just listening to the music. At one point, Pete was actually mock-directing the orchestra. Oh boy, we've got it BAD. Sure, the ballet was amazing, and all of the dancers were wonderful. But we're musicians straight to the core. We were there to hear the music; the visual stuff, well, it was just icing. I wonder how long it would take me to work my 'chops' back to performance standards? Think the symphony would take an old, crusty trumpet player who can't get rid of "the bug"? Probably not.
The girls loved the ballet, of course. Jamie is ready NOW to take lessons, she says. She'd probably be a natural; the child walks around on the tops of her toes...not the ends, not on her 'tippy toes', but with her toes curled under. It hurts the rest of us to watch. Morgan just wants to twirl.
I just want to find my Tchaikovsky CD!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Do the happy dance with me, will ya? No...on second thought, don't. I have terrible moves and I'd rather not embarrass myself, thanksmuch.
How about you? How "smart" is your blog? Shhhh...nobody tell Kelsey, but I just checked her blog, and it rated hers as "College/postgrad". THAT is sooooo not funny. I'm sensing a conspiracy.
Teri started it...and then posed a challenge for others to blog about their own neuroses (I still can't use the spelling 'neurosis' for the plural, Teri, I just *can't*, it's frying my brain! LOL), so since I'm having another one of those brain-dead days...sure, why not?
One of my biggest "issues" as my family likes to say is that I'm a grammar/spelling fanatic. A word nerd. Jon actually threatened to buy me a tee shirt once that said "Grammar Police". Well yeah, ok, sure...make fun of the one who wants people to speak and write properly. I've told my kids that if there's one surefire way to get me weilding a red pen, it's to get their/they're/there mixed up or to misuse your/you're. It's something they've pretty much known from birth that I'm completely obsessive about, and now I'm avoiding Kelsey's blog because she TOTALLY BUTCHERED all the grammar and spelling rules I've enforced in her writing over the last however many years that she's been writing. I've been known to edit my own blog post up to ten times AFTER I published it. Webster's dictionary-people offended me personally when they started to include such atrocities as "ain't" in newer dictionaries, and sometimes I just have to shut my ears and run away in agony when I'm around a group of people who don't seem to know how to use proper verbage.
It's a personal belief of mine that using profanity is a symptom of a poor vocabulary. Why else would you need to rely on "eff-n" this-or-that unless you just didn't have any adequate adverbs or adjectives in your memory banks?
Oh, and people, for the love of all that is proper English, PLEASE learn how to use your apostrophes! Those little punctuation marks are not supposed to show plurality except in very specific cases, such as abbreviations like cd's, ABC's, 123's, and tv's. NOT the Jones's, the Smith's, or the Campbell's, unless you're talking about something that belongs TO the Joneses, the Smiths, or the Campbells. "Happy Holiday's" is NOT correct, sorry! (Just say "Merry Christmas, even if it's not PC...less possibility for grammatical error!)
Is grammar not taught in school anymore? It just amazed me to learn that people whose native language is NOT English can somehow have better grammar than we Americans do. Are we forever stuck in grammar pre-k as a nation? Yes, I know I still leave my participles dangling now and then. I know I goof up, and I do still use sentence fragments in my writing for effect. I'm still a stickler for correct usage and spelling. I'll not apologize for that, either! I'll also continue to insist on proper grammar and spelling from my own children, I'm not bending!
For the record, the worst example of the lack of good education was a sign on a vending machine, penned by a Wal-Mart employee, that read "Borken, Do Nut Used."
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
...and thus begins my holiday rant.
While my parents provided a comfortable life for our family, I don't think I was really "spoiled". I heard the word "no" pretty often, and I remember distinctly (even though I was six) being told that there wouldn't be as much under the tree that year for me because we were going to be having a new addition to the family a month after Christmas. I don't remember it bothering me all that much. Something happened to me six years later, however. I don't know where the attitude came from, but when one of his little friends arrived for my brother's sixth birthday party, I remember my mother recoiling in embarrassment when Greg greeted him with "Where's my present??"; at that point, I became very uncomfortable with gift-giving. It has not been easy for me to receive gifts since then, and I stress big-time over giving them. I can't really explain why, other than that little incident with a sugar-charged six-year-old really made me see what greed looks like. (And for the record, he's a pretty okay 28-year-old today!)
We've all known at least one spoiled-brat kid in our lifetime, and I am fairly certain there are enough out there for each of us to know at least one spoiled-rotten adult, too. Not too many months ago I was in the post exchange looking for a blouse for Kelsey and overheard a conversation between two such people. A wife was telling her husband that the Coach bag he picked out for her to get (it was $180, by the way) was just NOT good enough. It was too small, and she was just NOT going to be upstaged by her friend's bigger, more expensive bag. She actually made a point of telling him that she wasn't going to have ANYTHING that was cheaper than what her friends had. I had to take a second glance to see if she was going to flop on the floor in a screaming fit. I feel for the poor guy, he didn't look like he could have been old enough to be any more than a Specialist (E-4), and I know his pay is probably nowhere near what it takes to support that kind of wife-spoilage.
Where does this come from? Well.....it comes from spoiled KIDS, and those kids come from parents who are afraid to buck the system and limit the 'stuff' their kids get. These people grow up with a sense of entitlement that is unreal--feeling that they "deserve" the best, that they are "worth" splurging on, and oftentimes it's at the expense of other (more important) things. Ridiculous.
Jill told me last night that her neice spent TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS on her TWO children. No, these aren't teens who are begging for Wii systems and hundred-dollar shoes and jeans, these kids are four years and three MONTHS old. Does Daddy make a ton of money? Not really, but that's kind of a moot point. HOW do you spend $1200 on two preschoolers???? HOW?? I just can't imagine. It seems that when they took everything out (to inventory the toy store stockage she had amassed in the closet), it took up their entire living room. The four-year-old, when asked what she wants for Christmas, says "Everything". Yikes.
For about two seconds, I almost felt bad trying to figure out if I even spent $350 on all six of our kids. I did, but maybe a couple of dollars over that...not much more, and half of that amount was spent on one child. I am not trying to make all things 'even' for all of them, because in all honesty, life isn't about 'even'. We don't live in a socialist economy (yet....time will tell), and the kids have to learn that not everyone gets the same things all the time. Sometimes one of them has more than another does, and that's okay. But it's also okay to have LESS. Our entire country is hurting right now, and yet Black Friday spending was UP from last year? Why? Are people trying to compensate for daily frugality by over-filling their Christmas lists? Is there some weird need to "prove" that this nationwide financial dry spot isn't affecting us?
Hey, I'll be humble. It STINGS this year. More than in previous years. And not because we've got more kids. It's because everything is more expensive, and the paycheck is going down, not up. But you know, I'm teaching my kids through all of this that life goes on. We can still give--and receiving less is sometimes a blessing, not a sacrifice! I don't know about anyone else, but I want my children to appreciate the luxuries we have...and they can't appreciate it if they are so overindulged that they can't see the difference between 'need' and 'want'. I'm beginning to see that there is real virtue in having less, and having more can be a true curse sometimes.
I almost wish I'd signed my Christmas cards, "Have a simple, blessed Christmas, and may you be given no more than you can handle under the tree this year." If you're so inclined, I found this article on Crosswalk.com about much the same thing I've blogged about. It's a good read.
Intro: Finger Lickin’ Good - You can read about Christ feeding the 5,000 in many places in the Bible (Matthew14:19;15:36; Luke 5:6;9:3-17). I am a fairly new Christian and one of the many things I love about reading the accounts of Jesus’ miracles, is that there was not a big drum roll, fireworks, a thousand dollar suit or an agent building up some big preview of what was about to happen. Jesus would calmly say things such as “have faith”, “believe”, “have them sit and pass out these loaves of bread”, and then the miracles began.
Assignment: Although I am not able to produce miracles, it sometimes feels like I need to when it comes to meal time. There are times when money is tight, groceries are few and I have to feed my family. During the holiday season, you might have so much going on that you need to make a meal quickly with as few ingredients as possible. This week post your favorite recipes that require six (6) ingredients or less. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!
How about a 4-ingredient dish? I'll admit, this is not my favorite thing to eat, and I'm not even sure why. My family loves it, though, and we usually have enough left over for Pete and one of the teens to fight over for lunch the next day! This is one of those dishes that I can always manage to have ingredients in the kitchen on reserve to fix, and it's easy enough that it was one of the first dishes my teens learned to make.
Easy Shepherd's Pie
2 lbs. ground beef or turkey (I do one of each because we like the flavor of beef)
1 box instant mashed potatoes
2 cans whole kernel corn
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Prepare mashed potatoes according to the recipe on the box--you'll need approximately 10 servings for this recipe. Combine the cheese with the hot mashed potatoes and set aside. Brown and drain the ground meat, seasoning with garlic powder, salt, and pepper as you brown it. Place the drained meat in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, then sprinkle the [drained] corn on top of that. Top with some pepper, then spread the potatoes evenly over the meat and corn. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, till the top is just slightly golden. Simple!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
For the last three nights, she's been up half the night. Last night, it was midnight-1:45, then up again at 3, 4, and 5, flailing and whacking me in the face the whole time. I just had to say it, didn't I?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
If you feel so inclined, read the whole story, but the long and short of it was that a youth minister and Hospice chaplain called his wife to tell her he'd be a wee bit late as he was helping someone out...and was never heard from again alive. He was stabbed, run over with his own car, and left to die. The very thought of someone who is killed by the very people he's trying to help makes you sick to your stomach, but then it begs the inevitable question....
If we are to be "good Samaritans" (and we are), how do we protect ourselves from kooks and murderers? Pete and I had a long discussion about this yesterday over lunch, and while I think we were just too emotionally charged to be rational, we really couldn't come up with any workable possibilities that would be a solution to the risk you take. Are we to blindly take risk, just figuring that "if it's my time, there's no point in fighting it"? Is that blind faith in God's protection, or do you think God expects us to take a little of the initiative in protecting ourselves? To what degree???
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Intro: America’s Favorite Dessert J-E-L-L-O - What we read affects what we believe. When we feed the Scriptures in our spirit, faith comes alive and becomes a living force within you.
Assignment: Write about your favorite ‘faith food’. Tell about the books of the Bible that you read that help to build your faith. Nurture the seeds of faith inside you. ex: Acorns become Oak trees.
The intro to this assignment was interesting to me. Why Jell-O? But as I got to thinking about it, the idea of being spiritual gelatin really does fit in with what's on my mind. While we were in Germany, we noticed an odd thing--there are a LOT of things in Europe that have gelatin in them. Meat in aspic or encased in some clear gelatin is pretty popular. Gelatins are used to thicken, to make a nifty presentation, and....well, they're used in ways that my palate could just not comprehend. See, gelatin is kind of like tofu--it takes on the flavors and smells of the foods it's combined with. Even though there are just a few fruity flavors of Jell-O on the market at any given time, you could pretty much make any flavor of your own homemade Jell-O by mixing gelatin with whatever you wanted. Got a hankering for strawberry mango Jell-O? Cranberry white chocolate Jell-O? Mince pie Jell-O? Fish Jell-O? Well, EWW, but totally do-able if that's what floats your boat.
Same goes for our faith. God created us to be free agents in this world, and unfortunately, a weak and ungrounded faith can easily become spiritual Jell-O, taking on the 'flavor' of whatever it's around. That's why most of these false doctrine 'movements' gain speed so quickly and take in as many people as they do--they appeal to those of weak faith who are looking toward the temporal, the seen, the here-and-now rather than looking toward God and finding their purpose, their lifeblood, their zeal in what He wills. Spiritual Jell-O is wobbly, it melts easily under the slightest bit of heat, and it really can't stand on its own; it takes the form of whatever it's placed in. The most ridiculous form of spiritual Jell-O is the watery type. No flavor at all; no zeal for anything. I believe Laodecia had a bunch of them--lukewarm Christians.
The book of James has been my antidote to the gelatin in my life. James is the "hard" book when it comes to training in godliness. It's the curriculum in the School of Hard Knocks. It's the....okay, one cheesy cliche was enough. James teaches that faith lived out is the ONLY type of faith worth having. He writes about the tough stuff--taming the tongue, having rock-solid convictions, living godly life to the extreme. Having a lived-out faith means God's will is intertwined into every (EVERY) aspect of your life, and that's really not as easy to do in reality as it is to talk about in theory. Real Christianity isn't a college course. It isn't a philosophy. It isn't a touchy-feely, warm-fuzzy, mushy-gushy thing. Faith requires work. Lots of it. Faith that will please God requires that you surrender everything. Got plans? They're hooey. God has bigger ones. Got opinions? Well good for you, but they won't get you anywhere. Got clout? I hope you're prepared to endure stricter judgment. Got earthly wisdom? James calls it demonic. This is tough stuff, y'all. Not for the faint of heart, or the weak of faith.
Then again, I suppose there are reasons that you don't serve steak to someone who's sick. You give them Jell-O. Steak is hard to chew and hard to digest. Personally, I need more steak in my diet! Bring it on, James! I'm ready to be challenged!
Monday, December 1, 2008
It flabbergasted me to learn that there is a divorce happening every 45 seconds in the United States. Okay, maybe not during the wee hours of the morning, but unless you're a staunch literalist like some teenage girls I know, you get the gist. We were also dumbfounded to learn that in the year 2005, there were over 2 MILLION divorces in the US. When you consider that the estimated population of the United States in 2005 (not accounting for the ebb and flow of birth and death rates) was 295 million....that's just mind-boggling. That number hit home for us, because 2005 was the year we very well could have become part of that statistic. Ouch.
We had a conversation over lunch with one of the couples at church we've become good friends with about divorces and how widespread they've become. One of the snippets from Pete's lesson yesterday that thay said kind of 'stuck' with them was that if your Thanksgiving celebration consisted of people who were completely untouched by divorce, you were in the minority. None of us cold think of a single family NOT affected somehow by divorce. Just in Pete's family alone, he's got a set of divorced parents, divorced grandparents, two divorced aunts, a divorced uncle (twice divorced, in that case), and four divorced cousins. My family isn't that bad, but we're still not unaffected.
What is this doing to our country, and the future of the church? I can think of some smaller churches we've been a part of that will not have any men qualified to serve as elders and deacons becuase of divorce within the next 25 years. I know of too many kids who have expressed a lack of desire to marry, because they just don't have any faith in commitment. That's pitiful. What's frightening in all of this is that the legacy of divorce for America translates into 37% of American children being raised in households that do not include both biological parents. That's the highest rate in the Western world, folks!
The facts show that the divorce rate in the US is on the decline...however, that is a bit deceiving, because the marriage rate is also WAY down. People are far too willing to just cohabitate rather than to 'risk' marrying the wrong person. That's not fixing the problem!
Why aren't we teaching our children the value of commitment, even through the hard times? I'm not proud of the mess our family went through in 2005, but the result of all of that on our children is far different BECAUSE we fought the battle together and kept our union intact even when we had the "right" to dissolve it. Jon and Kelsey got an up-close view of how a married couple can work through even the worst of issues, and they learned that commitment is much bigger than most people believe it is. I had a discussion with Kelsey not too long ago about the permanence of marriage, and to my surprise, she's just as staunchly grounded as I am now. They are both very concerned about choosing the right person to marry, knowing firsthand that even the best of intentions can't prevent problems, but that it all comes down to underlying values. It was a hard-fought battle, but the kids have learned the lesson I hoped they'd learn from our struggles. They learned that stick-to-itiveness is far more important than emotions, and that being happy ain't everything!
(eww, I just used "ain't" in a sentence.....)
America, have we forgotten the part of the vows that pledge our devotion during the "worse"?