Thursday, May 31, 2007

Network Evangelism

So, I've been pondering evangelism today. I'm moving up to a new place where there will be new people and we'll be living on base where I will be guaranteed to be around people who aren't Christians. Also, I was talking with Steve yesterday about how excited I am that I will be able to do things that previously were unavailable to me because I was working. For one example, I am really excited to be able to attend ladies' events at church (like Bible study) that happen during the workday. I feel like I really want to use my free time before the baby is born to make a lot of friends at a new church and really grow spiritually. I think of it like the nesting instinct to get my house ready for the baby, but this is getting my heart ready.

I was also telling hubby about how much I want to be a part of the community. As corny as it sounds, I want to be a part of the Officer's Spouses Club. I don't think I'll suddenly become a social butterfly, but I want to be involved in base activities and meet other women who share my lifestyle. I also found a great indoor pool complex up in Whidbey. I can go there before the baby is born to take a load off, and then they offer mommy and me swim classes once baby is 6 months old.

So I have my two goals: get involved in the new church and get involved in the new community. Which brings me around to where I started: evangelism. I am definitely not the type of person to just ask someone if they know Christ, or if they are religious. In fact, in a lot of circumstances I personally feel that this can be rather intrusive (even if intentions are good). I definitely feel there is a time and a place for challenging people to think about their faith or lack thereof, but I don't think that it necessarily shows up at the beginning of a relationship, or should be an element of every outing with a friend. My pastor talks a lot about something he calls "network evangelism" and it's something I'd like to start doing. Basically, it's all about making friends in the community outside of the church, and showing them Christ through your own life. To be clear, it doesn't involve compromising your beliefs in order to be friends with someone, or be a part of a group. As an example, a local pastor was part of the rotary club in town but they didn't want him praying in Christ's name when it was his turn to pray to open the meeting. He worked hard to resolve the issue and almost left the organization until they eventually allowed him to pray in Christ's name at his turn.

This is turning into a lot of rambling, but basically I just want to be a better witness. I want to have more non-Christian friends, and be more spiritually prepared to talk to them about church or invite them to a church event when the opportunity comes up. I also want to be prepared for when the tough discussions do arise.

Anyway, if you've read this far, your reward is pictures! By the way, I hate trying to put pictures in here. The formatting NEVER works!

#1) Our dog Tallulah is on the lookout for squirrels and/or cats.

#2) The latest belly pic taken by hubby on Memorial Day weekend (not flattering I know, but I have to document this baby's life)

#3) This is our new baby until the new baby gets here. It replaced my 1999 Nissan Sentra. Good-bye ol' Blue. Hello, RAV4.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Why Steve and I Don't Live Together

My husband is coming to visit me for this long weekend, and I am very excited, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to talk about us and why we don't currently live together.

Steve and I met in the summer of 2000 at Goodfellow Air Force Base in the small town of San Angelo, Texas. We met through mutual friends on a Memorial Day Weekend trip to Dallas (seven years ago this weekend). He was a Marine and I was in the Air Force, we were both attending an intelligence course at Goodfellow. The only problem was that he was slated to graduate in about a month, and he was being stationed in Hawaii. I was graduating in 3 months and being stationed in San Antonio. Although we liked each other almost instantly, the deadline seemed too soon to actually date or anything of the sort. But, we did end up dating long distance after Goodfellow, for 3 years. We saw each other every 4-6 months and kept up with letter writing, emails and phone calls.

When Steve got out of the Marine Corps in 2003, we got married! I think a lot of people worried about us never having really "dated" for an extended period of time in the same city, but as it turns out there was nothing to worry about. Even I kept waiting for a period of frustration after the newlywed feeling wore off, but we have just grown closer and closer. I am constantly amazed at how well we are suited for each other and I can definitely see God's work in our marriage.

So, after we married, we lived together for 3 whole years! Steve went to school to finish his degree (hurrah for the G.I. Bill!) and I continued on in the Air Force. I even reenlisted in 2004 for another 4 years, because we thought maybe Steve would go for his Master's and maybe I would still need to be working. In the end he stuck with the Bachelor's, and when he did graduate he ended up getting a job as a government contractor for a company called SAIC. He loved his work there, but since the contract came up for renewal every year, it was a little bit unstable. After much discussion and prayer, Steve decided to go back into the military, only as an officer this time. We knew what we were getting into with deployments and a lot of moves, but there are a lot of pluses to military life that we both love: job security, health insurance, housing allowance, moving to new and exotic places, commissaries, base exchanges, etc, etc, etc. The best way to describe the military lifestyle is with an oxymoron: very unstable and very secure all at the same time!

So at the current time, Steve is an ensign in the U.S. Navy, studying intelligence. He is in Virginia and I am still in Texas, but we will both be moving to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station very soon. I will move first, at the beginning of June, and Steve will be up there before the end of July. God provided us with this wonderful blessing of a baby, which guaranteed that I could get out of the Air Force and move with Steve, and He provided us with a child at exactly the right moment. Literally just before Steve left for Virginia. I wouldn't have been able to get out of the Air Force for another two years if we hadn't gotten pregnant and that would have been a huge separation, even for us. I was definitely beginning to panic about it until I got that + on the stick.

That is our story, a bit long, but since I'm trying to catch up with people I haven't seen in 10 years, I suppose it's okay. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I saw it!!

I saw my belly move today. From the inside. I'm just getting little thumps here and there, so it didn't occur to me to try and watch for them until today. But I can see the kicks! It looks like I have a twitch or something, but I can definitely see them. This may be old hat for some of you, but I am still amazed that there is a little person inside of me, and everytime I reach a new milestone in this pregnancy I am awed. I was thinking in the shower this morning that even though we didn't find out the sex of the baby, God knows if it is a boy or a girl, God knows how many hairs will be on the baby's head, God knows what he or she will grow up to be, God promises that this is a covenant child that ultimately belongs to Him -- Steve and I just get the honor of raising him or her up to love Him and know His ways.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Baby Shower

The wonderful Ladies of Redeemer hosted a baby shower for me tonight and it was amazing! I was taken aback by everyone's generousity and enthusiasm for this baby. I feel more prepared now for the baby's arrival, even though he or she is still 4 months away from being born (hey, at least now I am past the halfway point of this pregnancy). Seeing all of the tiny clothes (I just learned tonight that I love the little sleeping sacks/gowns!) did make me more anxious to meet this little one I'm carrying around. Baby Bremer is making his/her presence known more and more each day in the form of kicks and punches to my insides!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Plug...

Since I know that at least a few of the people reading this blog are women in the same stage of life as I am, I wanted to encourage you all to check out the Femina blog I have linked over to the right. It is written by Nancy Wilson, wife of Doug Wilson who is pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. Doug Wilson has written many books; my favorite book on marriage is one of them. He is the owner of Blog and Mablog, which I also have linked.

His wife Nancy shares her wisdom of raising children, maintaining a household and doing it all with incredible grace and love of the Lord. I have only met her once very briefly, but reading her blogs really inspire me to make my house a joyful and beautiful place, all to God's glory. Her posts on Sabbath Living and domestic life have really spoken to me lately, being that I am transitioning very soon to taking on more of that role in my own home. I confess that working full time, while having its own benefits for the family, often seems to result in a house that is less taken care of than I like. I know that it will be an interesting transition for me (to say the least) but I can't wait to take on the challenge of being a full-time wife and mom!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Perks of Pregnancy

So, now that I'm finally starting to show, I have found that people tend to be a bit nicer to me. Texas has fairly friendly people in general, but it seems they are now nice in a different way. It is hard to explain, but today was the first time I'd really experienced being treated differently because I'm pregnant. I went to a mini airshow up at Randolph Air Force Base. It was really more of a training event for navigator students, and the aircraft were parked so you could tour the insides of them -- sounds boring, but is fairly interesting for an Air Force nerd like me. :) At any rate, in every single airplane we toured, I was offered one of the crew seats while the people talked about their aircraft's mission and equipment. It was almost embarrassing, since everyone else had to stand in the plane all squished together. It was fairly hot here today, so I think most were relieved when I sat down because it meant they didn't have to catch me if I passed out. I honestly never felt like passing out, but I'll take what I can get.

Also, if it seems like I am posting an inordinate number of badly taken pictures of myself and "the belly", it is mostly for hubby who cannot be here to see the daily increase of my roundness. Also, if I'm ever blessed with another child, I probably won't have time to document my pregnancy as extensively as I do now.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Ultrasound Pics!

Today I had my "big ultrasound" to look and see if Baby Bremer was normal. The good news is that the baby is as normal as any baby of mine could possibly be. The bad (?) news is that I didn't cave on finding out the gender, so all of you will just have to wait until September to find out with me. The funny thing is that I wasn't even tempted to ask after I told the tech I didn't want to know. I was so entranced by what was on the screen that I forgot all about finding out the sex. The idea that I have a little person inside of me seems more real now. S/he was really be-bopping around in there while we were watching. I still don't feel too much except the occasional "could be gas, could be the baby" fluttering. Enjoy the pictures!

Click on the image to see it full-size.