Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Notes from My Bible


"Wisdom and philosophy never found out God; He makes Himself known to us through our needs, necessity finds Him out. I doubt much if we have ever learned anything solidly except we have learned it thus."

J.N. Darby

Friday, June 20, 2008

Baby Mueller: Boy or Girl?

It's a boy!


We had our 19 week ultrasound appointment yesterday, and, yes, we are now expecting a baby boy! Joe and I are definitely excited to see our little guy and to give this baby a name. Joseph Allen Mueller, Jr.

We're not quite sure what we'll call him though...Joe, Joey, J.J., lil Joe (see here), or Junior (that's what Joe's rooting for). But I'm sure it'll come.

It was a great ultrasound though. He was laying on his side facing us and we could see his little heartbeat and breathing with his lungs (not really breathing, but performing the function). His cute little arms were moving all about and he sucked his thumb and flipped over. He was an active little baby.

He no longer has an alien head, but we sure did see a lot of his skeleton in the pictures. It was kind of funny to see his head turn and look at you and you see more of a skull than a head. But he has a cute little nose and definitely has boy parts.

Momma and baby are feeling good and growing great. Stella, our ultrasound technician, says he weighs about 1 lb. and his head was measuring 19 weeks 3(-5) days. My protein and glucose levels have been normal and I've only gained 4 lbs. since our last appointment (making a total of 7-8 lbs.). The midwife, Jude, I saw yesterday said from now on I should be gaining about a 1 lb. a week. And between 5 to 7 months lil Joe will start getting some meat on his little bones.

It was an exciting time. Here are the rest of the pictures:





Thursday, June 19, 2008

A question only a child would ask...hopefully...


Yesterday, was Parent-Teacher Conferences for the other classroom. One of the sets of twins (we actually have 3 sets of twins!) is in our class, so to make arrangements easier for the parents the twin from the other class joined us yesterday. (Whew! That felt a lot harder to explain than I thought it should.)

Anyways, as you can see they're identical twins and one of the little girls in our class asked a teacher, "But which one's the real Ian?"

Notes from My Bible


Sometimes when I'm flipping through my Bible, I come across a passage with a little note that catches my eye. I always enjoy reading these forgotten notes and am often surprised by their insightful timeliness. I thought I'd begin sharing them here.

*******************************

"You were bought with a price, you are my daughter."
(That's like your undeniable worth!)

Having been bought--paid for--solidifies that we have value. Compared to Christ our value is nothing, but God looked out and saw what He could do in and through us and that gave us worth in His eyes--His plan gives us value.

Not only that, but the payment for us gave to us an intrinsical value.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SMS Maternity & Baby Tutorials

Sew, Mama, Sew! posted a on readers creativity and it reminded me that I wanted to share a few things I've been eyeing at to try...

Maternity Skirt from Sew, Mommy, Sew


The Nappy Bag from Amy Butler (I love her fabric too!)


Nursing Cover-Up from Sometimes Crafter


Maternity Belly Band from Christy's Creations

I'm also working on a baby quilt for Baby. I'm still cutting out the squares though. It's colors? Yellow, white, green, and denim. I'll try to post some pictures of what I have so far later...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Literary Meme

My friend April "tagged me," so here goes...

Who is your all-time favorite author and why?
Jane Austen. Why? She's like the fly on the wall who not only explains all the happenings in the house, but knows the inward thoughts of all. What I love about her is her sense of humor and her intelligence in looking into the human race, but not only that she had a great deal of feeling. She takes normal emotions and explores those that possess them. Then there's always the question, how could she write such compelling stories of love and never married? Which leads to the questioning of a certain young Irish man's attentions, Tom Lefroy.

I think what I find so interesting about literature in general is it really is the exploration of the human mind and experiences. It's an opportunity to look at life in another realm and experience than your own. For me, it's almost the study of people and I think Austen did a superb job of that.

Who was your first favorite author and why? Do you still consider him/her to be among your favorites?
Probably the authors of the American Girl series. I've always been interested in what life was like for people back in ___fill in the blank___, especially in relation to history. I grew up on the east coast, so seeing historic landmarks for the Revolutionary and Civil Wars it was much easier to be sucked into the idea and wonder of the old South. I mean, who couldn't fall in love with plantations? Then, I found the idea of traveling west to the unknown and its trials fascinating.

Who is the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?
Flannery O'Connor. She's unconventional (esp. for her time and religion), yet writes the truth of human nature.

If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?
Jane Austen and Elisabeth Elliot (She holds nothing back when it comes to the Truth. She's not afraid of offending someone's opinion, and she doesn't feel the need to write in a flowery words to appeal to women. I love that about her!)

...then Louisa May Alcott (and not just Little Women, you have to read the short stories that couldn't be published under her own name)



My Tagees:

Joe: My Family's Money

Mom: Rockville Down South

Brandon (Bro): Brandon Oxendine

(I guess I don't know that many bloggers for "real.")


Rules

  • Link to the person that tagged you.
  • Post the rules somewhere in your meme.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag six people in your post.
  • Let the tagees know they’ve been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Let the tagger know your entry is posted.

Menu Plan Monday



Monday - Romaine Rice Tuna Salad

Tuesday - Teriyaki Steak w/ rice and veggies

Wednesday - Honoring Our Fathers BBQ (Youth Event)

Thursday - Christmas Lasagna

Friday - Taking Joe's dad out (here, maybe?)

Saturday - London Broil w/ TBD

Sunday - CCMS Graduation


******************************************

THIS WEEK I kind of got lucky this week and don't need to actually cook to many dinner meals (only four!). My plans for this week hope to include some baking, perhaps banana bread. My other plan for the week is start mapping out some deep-cleaning/organization of our home. I've realized that there are cabinets I don't even go into, but have stuff in them. That doesn't seem very useful.

It also looks like I may be working a few hours extra this week (my boss's mom passed away yesterday from stage 4 lung cancer). We only have seven more days of school (counting today) and our graduation program is on Sunday, so there's so stuff I've got to do for that. Please pray for Katie's family though. Both her parents aren't believers, and they've been witnessing and praying for them for a long time now (her parents live with her family). As far as they know, Katie's mom never made any decision, but clung to her traditional Chinese beliefs. Pray for their family as they are taking care of arrangements and family coming to town, as well as Katie's dad and their children.

On another note, the baby has been moving a lot more this last week and we have our ultrasound/prenatal appointment this Thursday at Best Start. Hopefully, if the baby is in a good position we'll be able to tell if Baby is a boy or a girl! (Joe still doesn't want to know the sex, but don't worry I still get to share...everyone just has to keep it a secret from him.)

More to come later...hopefully!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day

  • Don't be a knucklehead. This is something my dad would say to me almost whenever I left the house as a teenager. I always interpreted it as don't do something you're going to regret later.
  • Always remember who you represent. This was another wise saying I heard often growing up, "Remember who you represent." God first, family second, and country third. So, I knew that whenever I walked out of my house whatever came out of my mouth or actions I did would reflect on people's view of my God, my family, and my country.
  • Snot is better with salt. Don't worry, I've never tried it.
  • Don't sign your name like you know somebody, sign your name like you are somebody.
  • HONOR, COURAGE, COMMITMENT. Enough said.
  • Take a stand for something.
  • Be proactive. Do something, don't sit around waiting for it to get done for you.
  • Live above reproach. What this reminds me of today is the tag line for Drug Free America commercials: live above the influence. Don't be conformed to the world. Live a life where people don't have to question your intentions or standards. "Live a life worthy of the calling you have received" (Eph. 4:1)...one of my favorite verses.
  • Forced Family Entertainment (FFE). These weren't always loved outings by us kids, but necessary. My parents decided to make family a priority, so we actually had to spend time together and go do stuff. You know, be a family. What an amazing concept! And you know what? In the end, we actually had fun!
  • Know what you believe. This is one my parents taught without ever specifically saying so. Don't believe something just because you are told it's true. Seek it for yourself. Make your own decisions and assumptions about life and Truth, don't piggyback on someone else's thoughts. Know what you believe and why.
  • Always continue to grow. In my college years, my dad said something to me once that I wish more people heard. It was something to the affect of "It doesn't matter what you ultimately do [as a job or study], but always seek to better yourself." That's always struck a chord with me. Don't stop. Continue to strive for excellence. Continue to be better today than you were yesterday.

It's interesting that as of late many of the random musings I've had are based on my upbringing and the life lessons I learned under the leadership of my parents. (Even though this is for my dad, I had two parents who worked together in raising me. Here's to you mom, too!)

Excellence, virtue, honor, respect. Sometimes these characteristics make it hard for me to be tolerant of those who live otherwise. I've grown-up in unique circumstances. I've been privilege to a view of the world and mankind few see. I've been blessed with parents who made a difference. Parents who chose discipline and set standards of excellence in life and behavior, not because they were harsh dictators but because they saw that it would produce lasting fruit.

And as I look back on my life and think of ways my parents taught me without words, the overarching theme can be summed up in these verses

"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God. [...] Whatever you do,
do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men."
1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:23

Happy Father's Day!

Love,
Jess

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Babies in the News



Air born: Dad delivers infant son — at 37,000 feet
Want a surefire way to get upgraded from coach to business class on a long overseas flight? Jacel Brown has a way, but she wouldn’t recommend it — just go into labor at 37,000 feet. Read full story.

Fuller house: Arkansas mom pregnant with 18th child
The Duggar kids planned a big Mother's Day surprise for their mom this year. But the surprise was on them when Michelle Duggar announced on the TODAY Show that they were soon to welcome an 18th sibling. Read full story.

(Visit the Duggar's website at www.duggarfamily.com)

Medical marvel: Baby Macie Hope was born twice
When Chad and Keri McCartney say their infant daughter, Macie Hope, is born again, they aren’t referring to religion — the month-old miracle baby really was born twice. Read full story.

Isn't this just so quaint!



This property is in Sharon, South Carolina which is about 30 minutes from my parents house. It's so cute...and it's even in a little poe-dunk town. (Only about 400 people live in this town .) It's perfect for goats and chickens and a big garden...not to mention all the cosmetic work that needs to be done on it. The asking price? $49,900.


This land parcel (5 acres) in the center of Sharon has the perfect combination of pasture and woods, it even has a stream on the property that leads to a small pond nearby. Sidewalks, Town center, town playground across the street, historic district, charming community. It is less than a 40 mile commute to Charlotte and York county schools are excellent.

This property also includes a 2 story historic home approx 2400 sq ft., 4 + bedrooms, parlor, living room, formal dining room, kitchen, butler's pantry, 2nd story balcony, front porch, back porch. The home needs TLC to bring it back to it's original glory. We purchased this home to relocate to and restore however, family illness has prevented our move from Florida. We can't continue to pay taxes and insurance on two homes. This home deserves to shine again.

We will be showing this home by appointment only. The home was purchased by us in late 2006 for 55,000 and it is valued by York county $78,200, the land alone is worth our asking price. Email me with your questions, I have more pictures, serious inquiries only since we will be traveling from out of state for showings. Home is being sold as-is.


Here's more info that my dad got when he e-mailed the owners:

It will require a new septic tank or French drain system & appliances to make it
livable and a great deal of cosmetic work. The flooring in the bathroom
needs repair, we replaced the subfloor and beams in the one room that had damage
from a water heater that a prior owner left to leak once he lost the home to
foreclosure. The roof has been repaired and there are no leaks. The
home was built around 1910.


Our original plan was to live in it while we fixed it up. We purchased the home cash from an investor who bought the home while in foreclosure. She basically owned the home for a month prior to our purchase. The home was occupied up until then.


















Friday, June 06, 2008

Maternity Fashion Show: Take One

This week I got a package of new clothes from my parents & sister...so here's their requested fashion show...

Onto the {maternity} fashion!








Wednesday, June 04, 2008

You know you're a military brat when...


--If, when you went to a civilian movie theater for the first time, you were shocked to learn that nobody else was standing up before the movie.


--You see a child crying as they say good-bye to their daddy as they go off to combat and you start crying because you know what that feels like. (I have a little girl in my class now who's dad is “on a ship” and she's wearing a bell around her neck, so whenever she misses him she rings the bell. It's cute, but kind of annoying...)

--Your history teacher talks about different war sights in high school and you know where they mean, because you've been there.

--There's a new kid in town, and you can't resist the opportunity to welcome them into the community because you know what it's like to be new.

-- You've learned to write other military family's address in pencil- and you warn people to do the same with yours.

--The national anthem is played at a game and it means much more to you than just time to play ball.

--You never really know how to answer the question "Where are you from?"

--Your knees start to go limp at the sight of a military uniform.

--What will trouble you most about graduating college isn't becoming a real adult, it is that your ID card will expire and you'll become a civilian.

--The term "permanent address" is an oxymoron. (This was laughable when applying for college.)

--Your childhood friends were Christians, Buddhists, Jews, black, white, brown, and you never noticed a difference. (I don't think I noticed race until we moved to Virginia and I was in public school when a black girl asked me why my skin was still dark in winter. I don't know...maybe 'cause I'm injun. I don't think I even knew what to think of the question.)

--Your childhood neighborhood had a "Yard of the Month" award. (My mom won this award numerous times. In Japan, we even got a big torii to sit our front yard because of it.)

--Your base promoted safe driving by arranging wrecked cars with "bloody", mangled mannequins in high-traffic areas.


--"The economy" means going off-base and paying higher local prices.

--by the age of 10, your shot record was more than a page long.


--by the age of 10, you knew how to convert at least one foreign currency to U.S. dollars.


--the church you attended during childhood offered both Protestant and Catholic services.

--It's a daunting task to obtain transcripts from every school you've ever attended.

--All the "nice china" in your house came from the 100 yen store in Japan. (I never got china, but I sure got a lot of dishes there. I miss that place. It was the best.)

-- Bases you have lived on overseas were separated from the "economy" by a barbed-wire fence.

--Your house had a building number rather than an address.


--You cried on September 11th, you were also silently praying that your dad (or your friends, my dad actually warned me which of my friends were likely to be shipped out soonest) won't be sent to war because you knew war was now inevitable

--You have to explain to someone what a "7Day" is

--Your 10th birthday was a big year because you got your own ID card.

--You remember staying in an airport terminal waiting for Space-A.

--Base housing sucks, but you call it home anyway.


--You showed up to school the next day after a big sale at the BX- and 10 other girls are wearing the same shirt.

--You find typical American stereotypes of other cultures odd

--You saw protesters outside the base gate on the way to school on the bus.
(Not on the way to school, but it happened.)

--Traveling across the country in one car with two kids and your parents on the way to your next "home" was a vacation. (It was one van, three kids, and my parents. Vacations have rarely, if ever, actually meant a real vacation. It meant traveling across states, oceans, or continents to visit friends and family.)

--The question "where are you from?" becomes a conversation, not just an answer.

--You have to constantly repeat to yourself "My dad is fighting for the freedom for them to do that," so you don't beat the crap out of some civilians for disrespecting the military.
(I still have to do this. I have given my fair share of “you get to have your [stupid] opinion, because of what my dad/friends are doing” speeches.)

--Before doing anything too mischievous, you stop and think how it will affect your father's career.

--You experienced culture shock upon arriving in the States. (That first year back was rough...people just didn't/don't get it.)

--You've ever had to face being called down to the office while your dad was deployed.. and crying with relief when it turns out its only your lunch that you forgot at home....or your mom needed something out of the car!

--Saying good-bye is harder not because you're moving, but because you know this won't be the last time you do it. (I've been known to bawl at saying bye to little kids I knew, just because I knew this pattern would keep repeating over and over and over...until they're at least 18.)

--Your civilian friends find it weird that you can make friends in minutes and best friends in hours.

--Those same civilian friends will never understand what you've been through. But that's ok because they're the ones that are missing out. (I wouldn't have always described it as the “best” life, but I wouldn't want anything different. I got to live and experience a way of life that is...I guess there's no real point in trying to explain it, because the only people who will ever really understand are the ones who lived it too.)