Saturday, October 23

My Birth Story

I really just wanted to share my birth story. It's detailed, graphic, and TMI - so if you don't like the gory details, please don't read anything after this short summary sentence: Hoyt Donovan Martin was born on 10/21/2010 at 8:36 AM after four hours of labor and 18 minutes of pushing. He weighed 8lbs and 12 oz and was 21 inches long.

Long version:

It was one day past my due date, and I was not doing well emotionally. People kept telling me, "Have the baby on this day because it's ____." "Do ____, it helped induce my labor." And worst of all, "It's okay, I was LATE with my child." I would not have considered going ONE day past my due date to be such a terrible thing if other people didn't think so! The average gestational period for a first time mom is 41 weeks! But it didn't matter - I've never been a person blessed with patience, and I just wanted my baby. It felt like I was being inconvenient to other people's lives, jobs, circumstances, etc. And I hated that feeling!

Finally, I'd had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday (10/20) and, for the second week in a row, I was 3cm dilated and between 80-90% effaced. For the second week in a row, the doctor told me, "I don't think you'll be here much longer." He gave me a "gentle" membrane sweep, monitored my contractions and they were not very productive, so I was sent home and told to call if I didn't have him by the morning.

The rest of the day was spent with me in utter emotional horror, crying and trying again every known method of natural induction (except castor oil, which I'd been forbidden from since I tried unsuccessfully that Sunday and just ended up angry and with no contractions) and I just knew none of it would work.

Daniel and I went to bed that night with a special prayer - that it was in God's hands and to let things happened as He saw fit. Beforehand, we had prayed "please let us have the baby soon/today." We did not pray that, we just prayed that we would have the wisdom and the patience to deal with whatever God saw fit. If that meant considering some sort of medical induction for my emotional well-being, so be it. I went to bed that night knowing that God would give me the answers, one way or the other.

I woke up at around 3:30AM with an urge to use the bathroom. I kept getting in and out of bed, trying to go. I was irritated and sleepy and not happy. I had no cramps, no contractions, nothing but an urge to go to the bathroom. A little before 4:30, I was sitting on the toilet when I heard a distinct *pop* that sounded like a bone breaking. I stood up and fluids gushed out of me. I'd already had a "my water broke" scare the previous weekend, and it just ended with me feeling embarrassed because it amounted to nothing, so I thought, "ugh, not again!" and I thought I peed myself or had some wonderfully inconvenient discharge. I put on a little pantyliner just in case.

I laid back in bed and woke up Daniel to let him know I had had more fluid but that I wasn't getting my hopes up. Then I stood up and it kept coming. I had to change undergarments three times in five minutes, and I knew it was the real thing. Then the contractions started coming like a Ferrari - from 0 to 160 in 3 seconds! They were immediately extremely intense, 2 minutes apart - and I hopped in the shower real quick for some relief, and told Daniel to call the doctor and tell him we were on our way to the hospital and wanted a room with a jacuzzi.

He made me some eggs and toast so I'd have energy throughout labor. I scarfed them down with some water. We called our parents - my dad and his mom BOTH eagerly answered on the first ring - and they were on their way. I called my doula - my best friend Tiffany, a CNA who has attended two previous births. She didn't answer her phone, and I shrugged it off, intending to call her again at 7AM. After all, I was only in early labor, right?

We were out the door with our thankfully packed hospital bag at around 4:50AM and at the hospital by 5:08AM. I'll never forget wearing my cutest casual dress and waddling up to the door with fluid dripping down my legs and a huge wet spot on the front of my dress. The nurse saw me coming and just said, "Oh boy."

I immediately got out of that dress and into a hospital gown, and they started asking me questions. My contractions at this point had only 1 minute between them, and they were completely situated at the bottom of my uterus. I did not feel them in my back or at the front, but each one made me feel like something was ripping apart my cervix. I was checked, and again, I was still only a "tight" 3cm, fully effaced, and baby was at 0 station. It was horribly discouraging, and I thought, "well, I'll be here forever." Then, worse - I was told both rooms with a jacuzzi were taken. There was not even a shower in my room. That was the worst thing ever! I was disheartened immediately - I'd really looked forward to using water as a part of my natural birth.

I was hooked up to monitor my contractions and fetal heart rate, and the nurses were shocked and amazed at how intense the contractions were. I wasn't really able to verbalize a lot, and the worst part of everything was when they were asking me questions. I absolutely did not want to talk and I wanted people who weren't there actively helping me through labor to shut the heck up. She asked me my height, and I answered "22." Great!

Then, I threw up all over the floor - eggs and toast part 2. A sign of transition - but for all I knew, I was still at 3cm and would be for the rest of the day. My mom had just come in during this part, and she looked disgusted and horrified. I had Daniel send her out, because I could just feel her negative energy. Another nurse came in to put in the required heplock, but mentioned to me that if I allowed saline fluids, it would help with my uterine irritability. I agreed and didn't see the harm in extra fluids.

Then - a stroke of luck! One of the nurses, Susanne, knew my mother-in-law, and she actually requested me as a patient. She was wonderful to me the whole time, which was great, since my doula wasn't there yet. She could have easily been the only person in the room and I would have been fine. But that was the problem - I wasn't fine. While this was going on, I had a team of nurses coming in and out, trying to get this needle in my vein. Right now my wrists and hands are completely bruised from multiple injection sites. It was horrible. It took an hour and five people and seven injection attempts to get the dang needle in. My veins were crooked, deep, and small - plus I was dehydrated. And - because of the needle situation - I was unable to get out of bed and get on the birthing ball. By time they finally got it in, I didn't even want to. I was in so, so much pain. I had no breaks between contractions, and each one made my body shake.

I told Daniel at this point that I was going to get the epidural and lie to everyone and say I didn't get one. I told Susanne my pain was an 11 on the scale. She convinced me that a half dose of Nubain would help me focus on the progress of contractions, and that then I could decide if I wanted an epidural. She checked me again - I was 6 or 7 cm. This was at around 7:30. She was shocked, and then told me that I wouldn't even need to get an epidural because I was going so quickly. That finalized my decision - I told her I'd accept the Nubain. If I'd had access to one of the jacuzzi rooms, I would have just gone there instead. To me, it was a different way of getting to the same result. It wouldn't take away contractions, but it would help me relax and focus through them. I would have preferred a more natural route but I really wasn't that disappointed in myself - I avoided an induction and an epidural.

After the Nubain, Daniel and I completely forgot to call Tiffany. She would show up at the hospital at 9AM in shock. Anyway, the pain was still there, just as intense as before, but I didn't feel like they were ripping me apart, and I could actually visualize my progress. Then the anesthesiologist came in to find out if I was on any blood thinners, just in case I changed my mind or needed a C-section, and he looked like a Greek god. He said coyly, "I hear you won't be needing my services." I almost wanted to say yes just because he was so attractive, but I just managed a "We'll see." And before I knew it, I was at 9cm.

While I was going from 6cm to 9cm, the only thing I did to ease the pain was lie on my side, move my feet in time with the waves of the contraction, and squeeze Daniel's hand. I didn't like him to talk to me, distract me, or massage me like we practiced for nine months. I wanted to be in control of my own pain relief, I guess - but he really helped. The only things he would say are "Breathe..." and "Squeeze...." He had marks on his hands after he was through!

At 9cm, Susanne had me sit up so I would dilate. She told me to fight the urge to push, which as so many of you who've done this before know, is nearly impossible. I would lean forward with every contraction and Daniel would make me go back down. They ran to get the doctor, and I was fully dilated in ten minutes. Then they had me give a few practice pushes... it felt best to push in the "C" position with my shoulders and back raised up. It was around 8:15, and I told Daniel to go back out and get my mom so she could watch and help hold up my leg.

Pushing really, really sucked. As with everything else in my labor, it was just really intense. I was told that pushing would feel like a relief - but to me, it didn't. I was told about the ring of fire - and I assumed I'd only feel this through the last push. I didn't - I felt it with every single push. However, I knew there was only one way out, and I told myself, "Let's get it over with." Every push made me think I was ripping apart my entire pelvic floor, but I just thought, hey, it's too late to go back now. I pushed and pushed for eighteen minutes, and I did not scream or verbalize once. I just concentrated and thought about my son. The only time I raised my voice is when they asked if I wanted a mirror and I said "Absolutely not!"

When Hoyt Donovan M. came out at 8:36AM, I felt two things: an unbelievable feeling of relief, and an unreal gush of fluid. Mom later told me it scared her and she thought I was hemorrhaging. I announced to the room: "Oh my gosh, that feels SO much better." I delivered the placenta (and honestly... don't laugh... it kind of tickled.) and the doctor stitched a minor tear on the (last warning, tmi alert!) inner labia. Huh? How did I get a tear there?! They let me hold him and breastfeed him and then took him to weigh: a whopping 8lbs and 12oz! At my 38 week ultrasound growth scan, I was told he was 7lbs and 5oz, and I did not gain any weight in those two weeks! I'm glad that she'd gotten it wrong - I would have been more intimidated by pushing if I'd known he was going to be almost 9 lbs.

But I did have a lot of blood loss, and it was a bit scary. Because I'd had no pitocin or epidural to start with, they had to give me a smaller dose of pitocin to get things moving along. They pushed my uterus and fluid just kept gushing out - including several golf ball clots. I hear this is common with fast deliveries. Despite this, afterward, I felt so energetic and great. I wanted to talk to everyone and show off Donovan to the whole world. Visitors did not bother me at all. I was wide awake for the rest of the day.

Recovery has been pretty tough. The blood loss has made me feel pretty weak, and my iron counts were way low - so low, in fact, that I got an extra night's stay at the hospital. 48 hours instead of 24. Bleh. I got a prescription for heavy duty iron pills. It hurts to change positions with my pelvis, and I feel like my entire bottom is going to fall off at any time. Despite feeling so great emotionally, I feel pretty weak physically. All my visitors commented on how pale I looked.

Breastfeeding is going really great as well with the exception of painfully sore nipples. My supply, as of right this second, is fantastic. The latch is good, too. I haven't pumped yet, but I think I'm going to do really well.

Even though I love my doctors and the hospital stay was really good, I was told by Susanne that I would make a good candidate for a home birth in the future. I have about three years or more to make that decision, but I'm seriously considering it. I'd have to find a certified midwife in my area that I trust. I think that I'd really enjoy a water birth.

The most disappointing things about my labor were related to being in a hospital, even though I really enjoyed having constant access to medical professionals to talk about breastfeeding and recovery. I really wish there was a way to deliver at home and recover at a hospital! I was not at all disappointed in myself about the Nubain, and in fact, would be open to it again. I was disappointed that I didn't have time to try all my Bradley/hypno methods or get on the birthing ball, and I imagine that if I'd had a nice build-up starting with simple contractions and if my water hadn't broke first, I'd been able to use them. But I can't complain too much - my four hour labor was very lucky. My doctor said it is extremely rare for a first-time mom to deliver that quickly, without an epidural, without screaming my head off. Susanne said I was single-handedly the best delivery she'd had this year.

So after all the people who told me "there's no gold medal at the end" - fine! I award myself a silver medal instead. I'm still pretty proud of myself, especially considering how horrible my contractions were.

Also, FYI: someone's decision on circumcision is REALLY none of your business to comment on. I have wished bad thoughts on several relatives over the past few days.

Mostly though, I'm just in love, in a way I never thought possible. My whole world is now wrapped up in a blue-eyed, soft-skinned 8 pound package. He had an 8 and 9 on the Apgar scale from a touch of purple skin tone, and has a wee bit of facial bruising from such a fast delivery. He's the most gorgeous baby I've ever seen, and to me, he is completely perfect. All of it was worth it!

Monday, October 11


It's Daniel, Jennifer is anywhere from one day to over a week away from going into labor.

Anxious I think is an understatement for me. There is such a mix of emotions I am experiencing right now. I am nervous about the trip to the hospital, I am unsure about how we will know it's time. I want to hold my son, but at the same time, I'm terrified about how I'm going to be as a father.

I would tell you that I'm sure I am going to be a great father, or that I have done my reading so I know what true labor is supposed to look like, or that I know the fastest way to the hospital and it shouldn't be a problem.

I am telling myself these things constantly, but that doesn't mean I'm not nervous. This whole pregnancy looking back seems to just have flown by. I know it's just nerves and I am as prepared as I can be. I guess I feel like writing this just to see myself say this and assuage some of my fears, but hey, why not make it public. Nothing like being neurotic in a medium where everyone can read amirite?

I guess it's natural to have anxiety about the future right before a big change, just like before you get married or start college. I got through those. I can do this. As always I will take any suggestions or words of wisdom. I can't promise I will follow it, but I will listen.

In all honesty, I can't wait to meet Donovan and start teaching him about life. I know I will learn just as much from him. For those of you reading out there, say a prayer for Jennifer, and for Donovan. I don't think I'll need as much prayer as they will, they're the ones doing all the work. Just send it all their way, I sure will be.

Wednesday, July 7

Update on Donovan Martin - the newest, now named member of our family!

How far along? 25 weeks
Weight gain/loss: Initially I had lost 15 lbs, now I'm back up 9 lbs
Maternity clothes? I haven't bought any new ones, but I've finally racked up a good collection.
Stretch marks? None yet.
Sleep? I’ve started tossing and turning just this week. Trying to sleep on my left side. But Daniel has 7:45AM classes and I'm sure I'll soon be kicked to the hide-a-bed in the living room.
Best moment this week? Daniel felt his first kick!
Food cravings: Popcorn.
Gender: Boy, boy, boy!!!!
Belly button in or out? In... but barely!
Movement? A lot at night and in the morning. He is on a Chinese sleep schedule.
What I miss? Wine and sushi and roller coasters and not having my every move judged and criticized by others... and honestly.. not talking about babies 24/7...
What I’m looking forward to: Soon I'll be in third trimester. But honestly I'm so impatient that I wish I could skip that and it would be October already. I can't believe it's only the beginning of July. I have sooo much longer to be pregnant.

Monday, May 10

A change is in the wind.

Many things have happened since I last updated.

  • We are holding off on our trip to the Philippines. Yes, I know that people "hold off" on little things they meant to accomplish all the time - like college, jobs, moving out and living independently like God instructed us to do in Genesis 2:24... but I really mean it. God's will doesn't just disappear from our lives, and my God still tells me what He wants me to do.... but on that same note, God's will certainly does not work on our time.
  • I got a new job. I am working not only for EPPC Global Management now, my dad's wonderful company, but I am also working for Riverworks Marketing Group. It is run by a fantastic couple just getting started, and so far I love everything about this job. I write and research for articles to go into their clients' websites or newsletters. Soon I will learn about SEOs, integrated social network marketing.. so much more. I love that all my little talents have combined into this one perfect job. Not to mention the extreme flexibility and being able to work from home.
  • Daniel and I have purchased a house. This house is an absolute steal. It is brick and veneer paneling on the outside, and gorgeous new paint and hardwood floors on the inside. All new kitchen appliances. Ample yard space. Three bedrooms, one spacious bathroom. Central heating and a/c. We are very, very blessed to have been able to purchase this home at an outstanding price.
  • Perhaps the biggest change and surprise: we are expecting our first child around October 19th. This was what led to the three above life decisions, and how God honored this little surprise with his will and our ability to work hard and live independently with the above blessings. I was shocked by how quickly things just fell into place after coming into God's will.

I'll be honest - I was not expecting - or even wanting - this pregnancy. I struggled with it off and on (baby bug, then career bug - it's still instilled in most women that you have to choose between the two) but ultimately I felt like God was calling me overseas and it was not my time. We continued regular marital practices to ensure pregnancy would not occur. I'm not some thoughtless silly girl and I prided myself, perhaps a bit too much, on my reproductive knowledge and scoffed those who simply "got pregnant" while "forgetting" to get birth control. I've been on birth control since I was 15 due to medical issues - and I would certainly never deceive my husband. Still, it happened anyway.

I imagined good financial wealth for my first child, a house, and two parents with college degrees and stable careers. I was terrified. I cried and sobbed to Daniel and asked why this would happen to me. Yes, I know that it's terrible for a woman to feel this way. I know that it's ungodly to not appreciate something that some women struggle with for years and years. Daniel never told my that my emotions were "wrong" and supported me with optimism - like he always does.

And then, after coming to the slow but sure realization of what my new reality was, I found myself with a contract to a house (we're moving in the first week of June) and the perfect job. Daniel received more work and continues to work on his college degree at his own pace in order to keep food on the table while furthering his own career. I've never been more proud of him, and I would say I've never been more proud of myself - women often complain about having to work or having to be an adult while pregnant. Women say they "can't" finish school while pregnant. While being a mother. Etc etc - but I know I'd never be able to do any of this without the support of a great family and the provisions of God in my life. (also, that is ONE thing I had going for me - I already graduated from college.)

But God will provide for you, and I've never seen that to be more clear. Don't ever be afraid to take that extra step - ENROLL back in college, move out, and TRUST GOD. You are in His hands... would he really lead you astray?

Now we have grown excited. Mother's Day just passed me by, and I'm almost in my 17th week of pregnancy. I'm not one of those women that thinks I deserve a Mother's Day when all I did so far was uh... have a little fun with my husband and happen to get pregnant, but it was an eye-opener from how far I've come since I cried over the little digital frame that read "pregnant."

And I've been blessed with an easy pregnancy that has been right on track with glowing reviews from my obstetrician the whole time (except some weight loss... but that's an entire other rant!) We will know the gender on June 3rd and I am just in awe of how God blesses us, we who do not deserve it. To Him goes all the glory.

Tuesday, February 16

What a cliche

It may be cliche, but I'm really going to make an attempt to update more.

Though we are not Catholic or liturgical, Daniel and I choose to involve ourselves in the Lent tradition. We are not necessary strict about the specific rules laid out by the Catholic church, but for forty days, we give something up that we like a lot, and try to remain frugal otherwise in both our diet and our lifestyle.

This year, I will be giving up pizza, my absolute favorite food. Daniel will be giving up soft drinks. But I should say right now that this is not a diet, this is not for our weight loss. Many Christians I know (most of whom are not Catholic and/or liturgical) use Lent as an excuse to give up dessert, or give up bad foods, as an attempt to lose weight. It frustrates me to no end. The Lent season is not about losing weight for Jesus. It's not about YOU at all. It's about going through a period of self-denial, penitence, and most importantly, prayer to remember what Jesus went through during His time here on earth.

Another part of Lent that Christians often forget is charity giving. Daniel and I are blessed beyond all means, and we have more than enough for clothes, food, shelter, utilities, (Daniel's) school, and even entertainment. Not everyone has been this blessed. We tithe regularly, and we give to most every organization when we are prompted, at stores, at church, and through other means. I fell in love with community service at Lee University, where I was required to complete eighty hours to graduate. But I don't know that I would say I was pro-active about it, without getting the credit hours for it. However, when I graduated, I agreed to continue this service, and signed a certificate promising I would, long after graduation. This was completely optional - but it was very important to me.

"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it... but I'm afraid He might ask me the same question." - Anonymous

I will be keeping this in mind as I "celebrate" this Lenten season. I invite all Christians - even if you're super-Protestant-Pentecostal like me - to give Lent a try. Don't resent liturgical traditions just because they aren't specifically Biblical. Any way to grow closer to God through Jesus Christ is another way we can honor HIM.

Monday, November 9

Goals for the Week

Lately I've found myself without a lot of motivation. I'm at the end of my graduation journey, and it seems so hard to force myself to do school work or anything. Along with the ever-present pains of a possible stomach ulcer and the joys of fall allergies, I seem to be slooowwwing doooowwwn. And it's not something I enjoy! I feel miserable when I'm not being productive.

So, I'm going to try something new, making goals for the week:

  • Finish media law guides
  • Take lots of pictures for my photography class and catch up on journals
  • Attend every class until graduation barring emergencies
  • Keep track of calories for the rest of the week - keep under the goal!
  • Exercise at least twice
  • Get most of the laundry done/folded
  • Attend at least one of my church's revival services
  • Do not eat pizza for the rest of the week!
  • Make one new recipe for dinner
Let's go Jennifer! You can do it!

Over, off, & out,

Sunday, November 1

My list of Underrated bands

This is Daniel chiming in with my list of 5 Most Underrated Bands/Groups.

Most of these groups had one or two hits, but I feel they are just footnotes in music history. Some bands just get passed over for whatever reason. Whether it's from not being able to quite gain more recognition after a few very successful songs or it might be the musicians just never quite caught on. I feel the need to bring a few of my favorite underrated bands back to the light for a moment to "enlighten the masses." (Wow, that sounded less pretentious in my head.)

Okay Let's get started then:

#5. Spin Doctors - While best known for their songs "Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," Spin Doctors are a solid group with a knack for making some "feel good" songs. They are a tight group of musicians and they should get more recognition.

#4. Mott the Hoople - In the US, Mott the Hoople were hardly known at all. They got some light radio play with All the Young Dudes. Glam rock never had a huge venue in the states; America was only selectively interested in some of those musicians such as David Bowie. Mott the Hoople however, had some interesting insights into the Glam Rock genre. Read the lyrics to All the Young Dudes. It epitomises the rocker of their day with real issues and troubles, the genre was not just about the show, it was about a creative escape from the pressures of life. With a unique style and some really good guitar playing, Mott The Hoople deserves more recognition.

#3. Steppenwolf - All Hail the Great Rock Organ! While in their hayday of the late '60s, Steppenwolf was a great act. Somehow their music didn't have the staying power it should have. (My guess is because most people can't name more than two of their songs.) Now all but a footnote of great classic rock, this underrated band mostly gets credit coining the term heavy metal and having an awesome grasp of how to use a Hammond organ in classic rock properly. Yes Magic Carpet Ride and Born to Be Wild are good, but I really like the tight rock grooves they have going on for some of their other songs. Some of my favorites are Sookie Sookie, Tighten Up Your Wig, and Berry Rides Again (Tribute to Chuck Berry, another one of my favorites.)

#2. MeatLoaf - This one I think really applies to the US. Sure he is written off as cheesy and all show sometimes. MeatLoaf is underrated in the US for several reasons: #1 Because Bat out of Hell is the third best selling album of all time. It is still selling about 200,00 albums a year. #2 MeatLoaf is a great singer with a very powerful voice and an impressive range. #3 Try singing along with Bat out of Hell. There is no good alternate interpretation of those songs, the best way to sing them is how Meat sang them: all out, over the top, and hamtastic. There is just simply no other way to do it and you couldn't find a better singer for the job. It's that simple.

#1 Thin Lizzy - C'mon admit it, if you had one of their albums it was the one on the left. Most widely known for their song "The Boys are Back in Town" this Irish founded group was a great source of inspiration and pure talent. This band had everything from the bombastic drums to duel guitar runs in harmony (sometimes bass played along too) and good lyrics. Jailbreak was a fantastic album from the Title track to Emerald it was one good song after another. And this is where Thin Lizzy may have hit a little problem. The album was so good that they never really could capture that kind of magic again and their sales waned. This band influenced a great many musicians and were about as tight and in-sync as a band could get. Just for sheer guitar playing skill listen to Emerald or Whisky in the Jar. Although those songs are two very different styles you can still hear the precision and flow that the guitar players possesed. Thin Lizzy really was an underrated band that really should have gotten more recognition than it did.

Can you think of anymore good underrated bands? If so, post a comment, let me know what you think!

Friday, October 23

one more for the road

This is Daniel

Wow, well it has been a long time since posting last. I just need to lay down some personal opinions about religion in this country.

We as christians, have become so obsessed with being PC that we are afraid to voice our opinions or be outspoken for whatever reason. When did it become not okay for christians to be passionate about something?

The people who do speak up are often labeled as "intolerant" or "fanatic." We need someone who is unafraid of truth and unafraid to ruffle some peoples' feathers and shoot straight.

Think of the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel. He didn't try to be tolerant of those who mocked God. Instead, he challanged them to a show of who was more powerful. He approached without fear.

He showed the prophets of Baal who the real God was. When Elijah prayed, he asked for everyone to know who God is. Knowing God is different from knowing about God. People have seemed to forgotten about this. I have personally seen so many people intellectualize about God and treat him as some abstract philosophy instead of having a personal relationship to him.

People these days are forgetting how important relationships are to Christianity. I have seen too many people ignore the church in their relationship with God. Fellowship with other believers is vital to doing the work of God. And yes, one of the basic foundations of Christianity is helping others, caring for the poor, and evangelising.

So many people of my generation compartmentalise religion and think about the life-affirming feel good aspects of Christianity but never really act. Now I do appreciate the fact that non-religious people also donate money to the poor and help them out, but I really want to encourage Christians to give more and do more to make a positive impact on this world.

And last, evangelism, this is probably the greatest challange of my generation. The reasons are twofold: people in general are becoming more desensitized to religion, and this generation seems less willing to evangelise to their peers.

People these days seem more resistant to people telling them about religion and what the truth is. People today are more cynical and tend to have less faith in things. They act like they can't trust what anyone says, and people today need more proof until they believe something. I am encouraging my generation to gather their faith and believe in something; we need to have more than just a vague hope. We need good 'ol fashioned FAITH.

To the Christians of my generation, don't be afraid to tell people what you believe. If you act ashamed or timid about your faith, why should anyone else believe it? It is not pretentious to tell someone the truth, nor is it to disagree with someone based on your faith and what you believe is the truth. If you start accepting wrong for right or ambiguity for morality, then you are selling your faith for doubt. Christians do not profess their faith as intolerance, but the truth has absolutes.

I believe in absolutes: Heaven and Hell. Pro-life. Creation.

So yes, I have absolutes and yes, I will tell anyone who asks. I challange those in my generation to rise up and speak their faith and act on their faith and make themselves known. The time to philosophise is over and the time to act and speak out is now!

Thursday, October 15

It's been a while...

Since we updated. Daniel is still struggling with his job and career choices, but he knows that I just want him to be happy. In the meantime, the Philippines is becoming more and more of a reality. We're looking at airline tickets, we're filling out applications, and we're doing whatever it takes to get our baby, Tiger Lily, on the road with us.

Cooking and baking is still amazing to me. Recently I made my great-grandmother's butter divinity. It was amazing. Kind of hard to make, but I did it juuuust right. I'll make it again soon and post pics and her recipe. Grandmama Crouch will be turning 100 this December and she's still relatively healthy. That's pretty impressive to me.

My sister got married, younger than me, even - and my new, favoritest brother-in-law David is now in Coast Guard boot camp. I miss him already. Having him around was such a blessing. I've never had a brother before, so it's a new experience - one that I certainly won't be taking for granted. It's like having a buddy to just chill with, without necessarily having all the crazy emotional turmoil that sisters do! Not that Julie and I fight... we just certainly do not keep our opinions or thoughts to ourselves. But perhaps that's just a Bowman thing.

Right now I finally get a break - fall break! No school until next Tuesday. AHHH. And I just got back from a big business trip. I presented my 31-page published Media Guide to Indiana Healthy Marriage and Family Coalition, part of Madison County Health Center. I did really well. I met lots of amazing people and ate way too much chicken. I don't think I'm going to be able to eat chicken for the rest of the month. Literally every single meal we were served was chicken.

Anyway, I'm doing really well recently. Daniel and I recently were forced to make some firm-set decisions about having children, and we have both decided that we WILL wait until we can completely and totally financially support ourselves, in our own house, before even trying. And nothing else will deter us. I had really gone through a really rough patch - I really did want to throw away my future to have kids soon, no matter the consequences - but Daniel talked me through it. Sometimes what you WANT isn't always what you NEED. What our future children NEED is two fully mature adults with their careers on track and the income needed to provide them a comfortable lifestyle. I don't want my kids to live in poverty or with dependence on people other than their parents. And Daniel is the one who had to whisper these jewels of wisdom into my ear. I certainly wasn't able to do it myself. Sometimes, my emotionally charged brain can get the best of me.

I hope you're all doing well. If you're reading this, well, God's blessings upon you. You all mean a lot to me, you probably just don't know it.

Over, off, and out.


Sunday, August 16

I've got MY world on a string

So, the next semester of college is approaching fast and I am look forward to the change of pace. Don't get me wrong, summer is great and all, but Daniel needs some routine in his life.

I know this sounds hokey, but I do like some of the new challenges that classes bring to the table.I am still struggling with what I want to do with my life, but the more classes I take, the more direction I feel that I have; ya know?

I've been at this college thing for a while, I just wish I knew what path to take. I envy my wife a bit because she has a goal, she knows what she is doing next and she is ready to make it happen. I feel like a bit of heel because I am still wandering around not knowing with path to take.

My problem is I have trouble deciding exactly what I want to do in the long term. If I could study medicine and become a doctor in a year I would go for; the same would go for teacher or scientist or anything. The problem is the point of no return seems too far away and I get flooded with possibilities and I can't make one solid choice and stick with it.

Heck, I can't even make a character in an RPG like KOTOR or Morrowind; I have to make three or four or five and then find which one works best and then beat the game with all of them. I would do something similar with college by taking extra classes in a bunch of different subjects, but I feel like I am running out of time to do so.

I am open to suggestions, please speak up. I do not generally want to dump all my problems on strangers from the internets, but I thought why the heck not I might as well go for it.

Friday, July 3

Independence Day Cookies

Independence Day! The Fourth of July! Whatever you call it, make sure you celebrate it in style, like all Americans everywhere, eating to your hearts' content.

Try, for instance, this delicious Red, White, and Blue cookie recipe! This is completely my own recipe - so any complaints can be directed here. I haven't played around with it and have only made it once, but I thought it was DELICIOUS.

Anyway... here goes!

Jennifer's Red, White, and Blue Cookies

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 package white chocolate pudding
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tbs. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 scant tsp. of salt (if using salted butter, half this)
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/4 scant cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup of oatmeal (optional - I also blended mine in the food processor to give it a finer texture. I imagine 2 and 1/4 heaping cup of white flour would also do the trick)
  • 6 oz dried cranberries
  • 4 oz dried blueberries
  • 1 package Nestle white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix together both flours, salt, baking soda, and oatmeal and set aside. I blended all mine up together in a food processor to make the oatmeal have a fine texture.
  3. Combine butter, sugars, and package of pudding on high speed until completely blended and fluffy. About two minutes on stand mixer.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, until completely blended. Add vanilla and mix.
  5. Reduce the speed of mixer and slowly add the flour mixture until just blended.
  6. Stir in dried cranberries, blueberries, and white chocolate chips.
  7. Scoop by the spoonful onto a nonstick or greased cookie sheet, and bake about 12-15 minutes at 325 degrees.
  8. Let cool 5 minutes and enjoy!

These were insane delicious. I don't normally like white chocolate or dried fruit, especially in my cookies, but altogether these were amazing. Daniel and my mom liked them too!

I hope you enjoy these and have a very blessed Fourth of July weekend!

Over, off, and out,

Make-up Minimalism

I've never been one to cake on the make-up. First of all, I've been blessed with good skin (if only we could work on my thighs!) and have never had an acne problem. Second of all, I'm pale! When pale people wear too much make-up, they either look like goths or clowns! And, third of all, I have light eyes and dark eyelashes. This means that I have really good color contrast around my eyes, and too much make-up would only serve to make it look terrible, and take away from the natural beauty that my mama gave me.

But, I'm still a girl... I have to wear some make-up. I like to ENHANCE, not cover up my features!

So here's my basic summer make-up regimen. You should always try to play up the colors according to the season.

I should note here that I do not have either cool or warm colored skin - no olive or pink tones specifically. My skin has always been kind of a creamy color, even when I got a bit of a tan, it was a neutral color.

First things first, I start with.....

CoverGirl Trublends minerals loose powder in translucent fair, 405. The palest color they have. Minerals are all the rage right now, and I can't afford that expensive stuff on the infomercials! This is $10 at Wal-Mart and lasts about two months.

It's all I wear, no foundation or anything underneath. If you need more coverage, this might not be for you, but if you're into an au natural look as I am, well, here you go. You can barely feel this on your face, except that it makes it smooth and makes your skin look really good - in a natural way! I recommend using a little moisturizer first (and letting it dry) if you have dry skin.

Anyway, I liked the Trublends so much that I....

Also use it for blush! My color? Shimmering sands, 430.

And yes, I use the loose powder here too. Why? Because in my opinion, it makes your skin feel smoother. The ones with the applicators are more expensive, and I think you get more in the loose powders.

It's a little bit more messy, but it's not that bad.... in this day and age, you want your blush to blend into your skin, and not necessarily notice it... you know this 80s girl here. Especially if you're pale like me, you don't want it to be THAT noticeable!

I do like one thing to pop in my make-up regimen - my eyes.

Lashblast mascara, from Cover Girl. I'd always been a tried and true Maybelline Great Lash girl - you know, the pink container with the green lid - until this came out. I tried it, and I'm hooked! My eyelashes are already dark, and have some nice length to them, but aren't very voluminous, and I've always had trouble with clumps too, even with Great Lash. Lashblast to the rescue! This wonderful applicator separates and lifts my lashes, giving my eyes the pop that drives my husband crazy. It makes them look longer simply because they volumize so much.

No lash is left behind with Lashblast!

I use it in very black because no other color shows up on my dark eyelashes, but if you have light eyelashes you should be using brown-black and if you have blonde eyelashes you should be using straight-up brown! Otherwise you'll look like you're dressing up for Halloween!

And, lastly, everyone wants to have a lucious pout, right?

Recently, I've been using Cover Girl Lipslicks in Demure. I've been feeling burnt out from all the teenage-esque lipgloss, but I feel like I look 40 years old wearing straight-up lipstick. Well, Lipslicks is a nice middle ground. Shiny, but not too glossy, gentle color, nice moisturizers, and a good pout.

The only thing I hate about Lipslicks is how it tastes. Blech! It tastes AWFUL. Cover Girl really should look into getting rid of that nasty taste!

I'll be honest and admit I don't use this everyday. Sometimes I wear other various tinted lipglosses that I own. I hardly ever wear lipstick. Sometimes I just wear tinted chapstick, or softlips lip balm. But as far as a neutral color for natural looking make-up goes, the "Demure" color can't be beat.

And I just realized that every single one of these products was from Cover Girl! I promise, I'm NOT getting paid by them nor do they hold a more special part in my heart than any other make-up company! It just happens to be reasonably priced, good quality make-up.

To jazz it up, I might add eyeliner or eyeshadow. To play it down, I honestly sometimes just wear the Trublends loose powder without the blush and one coat of mascara. But this is a good place to start for the make-up minimalist like me.

All in all it takes less than five minutes to apply!

Over, off, and out,

Tuesday, June 30

♫ Musical notes ♫

Daniel and I are especially fond of music... I mean, who isn't?

Daniel actually plays music often, and finds it to be very important to his spirituality. He's very picky about what he likes to listen to.

I tend to view music as more of a hobby - each song is either something I like or don't like. It can be background noise, something to dance to, or something to use as a conversation piece. And I'm not very picky at all - indeed, I think there is something positive to be found in almost every type of music. And I hate judging music based by genre or artist - I judge each and every song differently. It's very rare that I can actually listen through an entire CD of one artist... I really appreciate some variety.

My favorite band is The Beatles for this reason. Each album and even each song is so wildly different from one another. I really think they're an extremely creative, imaginative band (duh, that's why every single current band lists "The Beatles" as an influence) who could never bore ME, anyway.

So recently I've been on a folksy-Beatles kick. Ob-la-di, Blackbird, and Here Comes the Sun, to name a few.

But especially this song, as it relates to how I feel about Daniel so much.

I just wanted to share that with you all. The song is cute, just like Daniel... but the lyrics in it represent a lifetime that unfortunately too few people will be able to share, as the percentage of single versus married people swings upward in the former's favor. Maybe some people consider it dull or boring, but fulfilling God's purpose for you in another person and in yourself is really one of the best feelings ever - and it's a feeling that just doesn't go away.

Even when you're sixty-four.

Over, off, and out.

Saturday, June 27

Daniel, sorry, I don't mean to 1up you, I swear!

I've been meaning to blog for a while now.... Daniel beat me to the punch! I don't mean to take away from his wonderful webcomic blog, of course....

Back before Snow Patrol was annoying, they had this really amazing song, "Run." I listened to it (and Drift by Puddle of Mudd) to help get me through my three months in Europe away from Daniel.

And I can barely look at you
But every single time I do
I know we'll make it anywhere
Away from here

Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I'll be right beside you dear

Louder louder
And we'll run for our lives
I can hardly speak I understand
Why you can't raise your voice to say

Light up...

Daniel and I have struggled a lot lately with disappointing other people. A wise man told me you spend your first year of marriage kicking people out of the bed. When you get married, you bring in your family's traits and habits into the marriage, for good or for bad. You essentially bring them into bed with you. But to have a healthy marriage, you have to separate them! You've gotta kick your parents outta bed. This is especially hard when you live in a town where your whole family and whole in-law family lives!

But we've been creating our own little life. Yes, this might mean my mother guffaws at how I organize my cabinets. Yes, this means disappointing people... but it also means independence for our family.

I've never been more excited about our new life together. Daniel and I are so much more than simply "in looooove" like I see so many other couples using as the basis for a relationship, or even worse, marriage! We're compatible, we agree on almost every religious, political, and lifestyle paths, and we're just in sync in so many ways. We know each other so well and we really are each others' best friends. I never knew it would happen so early, no, but I'm grateful that God wants us to get started right away. And we have...

In light of all the horrible decisions I see people making lately, I encourage you, before you consider a step like marriage, get as much pre-marital counseling as possible. Not just the required "oh I get a 30% discount on my license lol" counseling. Financial counseling. Parental counseling. Pastoral counseling. Take EVERYONE'S opinions into account! A lot of people told me I was too young... and even though I disagreed, I took them seriously! After all, they had a point.... the divorce rate for people who get married under the age of 25 is DRASTICALLY higher than everyone else's!

  • Please don't get married just to have a big wedding. The longer you wait, the more money people save, the bigger wedding you'll get, and the more ideas you'll get from your soon-to-be-divorcee friends' weddings.
  • Please don't get married just to have sex. It's awesome, I'm not gonna lie, but if you think that a marriage can solely sustain on good sex alone, *cue Judas priest* you gotta another think coming! Just ask any celebrity who has been divorced!
  • Please don't get married just because you're desperate for some "home ec"-esque lifestyle. Blech! Hello, it is the 2000s. The June Cleaver lifestyle is a gross waste of a woman's (obvious superior) intelligence (IMO) and if you have a talent you should be using it! Besides, you're gonna look back 10 years from now and think, "Well, I wish I'd done ________" before getting married.

Besides... after you finally do get married (hopefully after making a good, long, well-thought out decision!) you will have to spend your first year of marriage making your OWN decisions. You'll never get to take back the opportunity to get good pre-marital advice again... because after you're married, it's over!

Over, off, & out -
We return to blarg once more!

Well, we will blog at least, maybe even blag, if you're lucky.

Speaking of the inter-blag, I am going to review a webcomic! This will be my first installment of ... wait for it....

Daniel's Webcomic Review

Yes, after being gone from blogging for a while, I will begin by reviewing a webcomic. Not just any old webcomic that has been around for long time. No, I will be reviewing a fairly new comic. The author has been webcomicking for some time, but this is a new project of his, of such great scope and depth that his old webcomic (among other reasons) had to end.

I speak of Finders Keepers. This is a fantasy comic by Garth Graham. The kind of fantasy feels alomst like the second Hellboy in a sense that there is an unknown world beyond this one where all of our myths, fantasies, and nightmares exist. The interactions between the two are separated by "the veil."

The story begins with a young girl thrust into the other side of the veil and begins learning about the strange new side of her world. Her name is Cailyn and she partnered with Cardinal, a being that can find anything.

The world that Garth has put before us is incredible. In his previous comic, Comedity, we were introduced to several personifications of the voices in Garth's head. Among them being, Red-Left-Hand, Prime, Ninja, Good shoulder, Bad shoulder, and Penguin.

Now instead some characters inside of Garth's head, he has created an entire heirarchy and system of mythical creatures, not to mention a rich, but somehow familiar environment. I want to learn more about the world Garth has created with every new comic. And I find his attention of details fascinating. His characters and mythologies seem fully fleshed out; not to mention his mythologies cover several different befiefs. This ranges from the Grecian Fate to the more traditional British pixies and an interpretation of death that is truly unique.

My only real complaints with this webcomic is updates. Garth only schedules two updates per week. For the detail of the comic, that is fine by me and a rather reasonable rate. However, Garth has a reputation for not sticking to his schedule and will miss updates more often than I would prefer. I don't expect for every comic to be like Ctrl+Alt+Del and never miss an update, save for a really really good reason, but Finder's Keepers does not have the best batting average for on-time updates.

So I will sum this one up and give my overall rating.

Title: Finder's Keepers
Author: Garth Graham
Update: Tu, Fri
Genre: Fantasy (Modern Setting)

Artwork: Very Good
Storyline: Compelling but not overly so
Setting: Creative and familar at the same time
Charaters: Vivid, well defined and believable.

Overall score: 4.5 of 5

I would highly recommend this webcomic. I usually give out recommened links, but this is one of this webcomics you just have to start from the prologue and go through.

I would also suggest taking a look at Garth's first work, Comedity. It may be ended, but is still an excellent webcomic with some very slick artwork.