Monday, June 29, 2009

Baby's First Year Doesn't Cost as Much as You Think!

While's cost calculator estimated that it should cost us around $9,000 to raise our child for the first year, I think that is a gross over-estimate for us.
For my husband and me, the only real costs so far are that he hasn't been working part time (which honestly didn't earn a ton of moolah anyhow), the fact that I chose to take 3 months off, diapers & wipes, and the occasional babysitter (which is sometimes free). Samson's birth was covered by my insurance. My husband does daycare, my breastpump was a gently-used hand-me-down (which means Samson's food has been free thus far), and everything else was a gift.
It is amazing how the Lord has provided. Family, friends and even a bunch of people I had never met came to fill our needs with baskets-full of clothes, baby gear, blankets, and everything we have needed. I even had to give some away, because there wasn't room to store it. I wrote right around One hundred thank-you notes to all the people who gave gifts for my baby. This has really allowed me to spend some money on more of the "want" items rather than more of the "need" items.
If I hadn't taken those extra weeks off work, and if I hadn't bought those "want" baby items, I think we would easily get away with spending under $1,000 on Samson's first six months.

P.S. If you are reading this and wondering where your thank-you is, I promise its on the way!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thoughts on My Marriage: Part 2; The Mystery of Love

Have you ever been in a bad romantic relationship or had a "failed relationship"?
I am little obsessed with the idea lately.
If you have been following my posts and links on Facebook or my blog, you probably get the message by now that I have been feeling extremely depressed about the state of relationships and marriage in our society. The reasons are many and multi-faceted (and maybe its a little bit because my own relationship is admittedly imperfect). My heart has been heavy-laden with the weight of thinking about sexual sin and the impact of parents' relationships with each other on their children.

I am no expert--I have only been married 4 years! But I think if there is one thing that has kept our marriage strong it is that I always have this sense of commitment and this sense of hope...hope that if we are going through a rough time, we will get through it. Most of the time marriage is a great thing, but you wake up some mornings and you don't feel like loving the person next to you. You decide to do it anyway. You go through seasons that are not filled with passion...occasionally you even go through seasons that are filled with flat-out disdain. But you stick to your commitment, because you made a promise.

The mystery of love is the great mystery of life. I believe to love someone is a choice. You choose to make sacrifices for a person no matter how much they bug you or how messy it gets. And you know what? It pays off. The feelings follow the actions. And the actions are reciprocated. This is not to say that you should love out of expectation for reciprocity, rather you should love knowing that you will reap blessings one way or another. That's part of the mystery.

If you are a follower of Christ, he calls you to love your neighbor, strangers, even your enemies. Love the people that may never show you mercy.

I would venture to say it can be the most difficult thing in a person's life when the person you are trying to love won't love you back. What do you do? (No really, I am asking. What do you do? I would like to know.)

When I am struggling with loving my neighbor, it helps to consider Christ's great love for me. I have rebelled against him, cursed him to his face, hated his followers, and broken my promises to him. I am an adulterer in his eyes.

Yet, he loves me.

The mystery of my relationship with my husband
is that it is more than your average American marriage. Stay tuned for Part 3!

(For those of you reading this on blogger, here is excerpt from 'Thoughts on My Marriage: Part1'
"Ivan and I balance each other in a lot of ways. Its never a perfect balance, but its a balance that blesses us and challenges us. If Ivan didn't have me, he would walk around in the same pants for two weeks and he would be late for everything. If I didn't have Ivan I wouldn't have as much confidence. If Ivan didn't have me he would play an unhealthy amount of video games. If I didn't have Ivan, I would be incredibly bored and my life would be a waste")

Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles

Read the article.
This is sort of a scholarly treatise on marriage and how advantageous it is to both society as a whole and to the individual.

I think marriage is incredibly important; the lack of commitment I see in all types of relationships around me is heartbreaking.
What do you think about divorce? Cohabitation? The abundance and acceptance of premarital sexual relations? Please comment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Beautiful Piece of Prose on Purity
I loved reading this. This whole idea of marriage and sexual purity has really been on my mind lately. God is impressing something new upon my heart: what can I do to improve the state of relationships and families in our nation?