Monday, January 30, 2012

Santorum and How We're Connected

Disclaimer:  This is not a political post.  I have my personal views but will not air them here.  
At least not right now.
I'll confess I don't really have the time right now to follow the political scene like I would like.  I do make an effort to place my vote based on education and intelligent decision.  Yesterday at family lunch my Dad asked me if I had heard about Rick Santorum's daughter.  I told him that I knew she was sick, that he had went home to be with her, and that I didn't really know why this was important to me as my homemade macaroni and cheese was getting cold.  He proceeded to correct me as usual.  Mr. Santorum's daughter has full Trisomy 18.  Just like our daughter Johanna.

I did some online searching and found some really interesting articles and Youtube videos related to his daughter Bella.  She is an amazing child who has already overcome many obstacles that she has had to face.  

Rick Santorum and his wife(who is Bella's primary caregiver) chose life in a time when fewer families choose life.  I don't know if he will win election or even the primaries.  But I do know that his little girl brought Trisomy 18 in to the national spotlight this weekend.  Of course there were many negative comments and remarks across the webiverse directed towards him and his family because he took time off to be with his very sick child.  Uhm.....isn't that why we are parents?  But that's another rant for another day.

So that's how I'm "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" connected to Rick Santorum.  I wouldn't even attempt to speculate how his presidential campaign will proceed.  But I did like his Facebook page.  And I sent his campaign staff an email thanking him for making family and children important in an era and a society that doesn't anymore.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


So I just want to get this off of my chest and then hopefully I will feel better.  I lost my job(that I actually liked a lot and was decently good at) right at two years ago.  I have been fortunate enough to get to back to school with very little money out of my pocket because of grants and scholarships.  I currently have a 3.8.  I have worked very hard and missed out on a lot of sleep to get that GPA.  I recently applied to finish my BS in EMS to an online program at a school about two hours away.  That program has a few classes that I can get locally.  I had the time in my schedule to get one of these classes out of the way so I decided to go for it.  It isn't an easy class and I didn't expect it to be.  I completed every preliminary assignment appropriately and on time.  And somehow I still got dropped from the class.  So I email the instructor inquiring as to why I was dropped.  And I receive a very terse response basically stating that I had not completed what I was supposed to but that I would graciously be given another opportunity because I have good grades.  I completed everything again and hopefully that will make the instructor happy and I will be allowed back in to the class.

My rant is this.  I find getting an education to be very difficult.  Not the actual class work but all of the red tape.  It is very expensive.  It is very time consuming jumping through all the hoops that have to be jumped through.  And right now I'm just a little irritated.  I know my rant won't change anything but I feel the need to vent.  Every day we tell Clayton that he can do anything he wants to do.  And Chad and I stress the importance of an education to him.  We did not listen to our parents and both of us have had to go back to college after we got married and it is a lot more difficult than doing it while you are younger with less responsibilities.  With that being said we have both succeeded.  No it isn't easy but we have still done it.

Why in the world does it have to be so difficult?  I guess if it were easy everybody would be doing it.

End rant!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Random Brain Dump

  • It is super rainy and just plain nasty in western NC.  While this is fantastic for the water table and eventual summer drought that will follow, it is very bad for my pants legs.  I do NOT like wet pants legs.  And seeing as how I am only 5 feet tall(literally) my pants have always dragged the ground.  So I compromised with the weather today and wore a skirt and boots.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with cooking.  I always feel like I should be cooking regularly to be a good wife and mother.  But I just don't like doing it.  And on days when I'm on the ambulance for 12-24(or anywhere in between) hours I really don't feel like thinking up something to cook when I get home.  So I decided last week to dust off the crock pot, plan meals for each day, and get them in Crocky before I left for work or whatever else I had that day.  And it worked.  We had dinner every night and I felt accomplished.  I dream big folks.
  • I'm slowly but surely weaning myself off of my Dt. Mtn. Dew habit.  I couldn't stop cold turkey because I drank a very large amount every day.  I am incredibly picky about what I drink so I knew my step down drug would have to be planned out appropriately.  I think I need a 12 step caffeine program.  It's pretty bad.  But with the aid of Crystal Light Tea(with caffeine....Hallelujah!) I am stepping down.  In a few weeks I can fully rely on tea(the regular kind) and water.  And speaking of tea, I need something to sweeten it with.  I don't really like traditional southern sweet tea because it's too sweet and I don't want to use a lot of Splenda.  Is there a more natural alternative that is going to taste like the tea I love without using something that is super processed?
  • Clayton decided this week that he wants to be a pandamagnet(paramedic) when he grows up.  Swoon!
  • We are going to the circus next weekend and I can't wait.  All the Carrs(including my Grandmother) will invade Ringling Brothers.  And I'm sure we'll fit right in with the circus people.
  • My floors need a serious sweep and mop but I have no motivation.  And there are about 400 other things I would rather do.
  • There are only 13 class days left until graduation.  I am stoked about this!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

My amazingly hilarious and brilliant(it's true he's way more awesome than I am) is the author of the blog The Chapel Door.  He writes about a varied topics but most notably he writes about theology and the "tipping of sacred cows".  Sometimes said cows need their figurative(if not literal) tipping.

A few days back he wrote a post(that you can read here) about the emasculating of men our society and how that has negatively effected the church.  Basically it's a no holds barred look at the way we(men and women alike) view men and the way men act themselves.  Now I have no idea what it is like to be a man in our culture(nor would I want to).  But I do have a husband and a son.  And I work in a field that is very recently finding itself open to women so there are a lot of men around me regularly.  And I have noticed that chivalry and manners are traits that are very swiftly being swept aside.  Why I don't know but it breaks my heart for my son.

Before I ever got pregnant with Clayton we were praying for a child and specifically a son.  For the very simple reason that our world is in such short supply of "men".  Now I know that statistically men make up roughly half of the world's population.   Our culture is short on men that willingly and unashamedly stand up for their family.  Men that are not afraid of hard work.  Men that also aren't afraid or too dignified to help their wives with the housework or give the children a bath.  Men that take their families to church on the Lord's day and lead their families in private worship.  The reason we prayed so specifically for a son was to have the opportunity to raise a Godly man.  I know that anything that Clayton(and any futures) becomes is a direct result of God's sovereign hand and His perfect design.  But God chooses the foolishness of parenting to make babies in to adults.  Chad and I regularly say that we aren't raising a boy, we are raising a man.  It is our belief, hope, and prayer that God uses the things that we are attempting to teach Clayton to show a future generation the love of Christ. 

When we prayed for Clayton we didn't pray that God would call him to be a preacher so he could carry on the "family business".  We prayed that God would give a son because the church needs Godly men and it needs them now.  Chad and I believe that the father that brings his family to church on Sundays and teaches them how to worship and shows them how to love Him is just as important to the church as the pastor, if not more so.

In a world where feminism reigns(and there were some changes towards women that needed to be changed) and where women are supposed to be equal to men it makes me wonder if our men are getting the raw deal?  When we decide that women are equal(or better depending on the conversation) to men does that make them less than God has planned for them to be?  And for the record I believe that men and women are independently special and shouldn't be compared for equality.

 There are specific roles that women and men can fill better than the other one and should be allowed to fill that role.  A parenting example, Chad is a much better disciplinarian than I am.  I can and do discipline my child but it seems to come so much more naturally to Chad.  But I am much more nurturing than Chad is.  And that is by God's perfect design.  If we were both the same Clayton would either be raised in boot camp or in lala land.

So here's my point(or maybe even my soapbox), let's let our men be men the way God designed them to be.  And stop trying to make them in to a softer weaker version of themselves.  Let's let our men lead our homes.  Let's let our men protect our families in a world that is out to destroy the family.  I wouldn't want to be a man in today's society.  Ladies I think we have it so much easier for so many reasons.

Here's to men and boys that will be men very soon.  Thank you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book List

I'm a reader.  I much prefer reading to watching television.  I do watch television occasionally but I could lose myself in a book 90% of the time.  I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas from Husband Clause and that has just fueled my love even more.  Unfortunately right now I think most of my reading is done through a text book(which is kinda boring).  However, I do still try to find time to read real books.  Here's my list for the last year or so(it is by no means a complete list, it's just some that really stand out):

  • "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
    • Loved it.  Read it in about 3 days over Christmas break.  I haven't seen the movie because of lack of time.  But the book is definitely worth a read.
  • "The Blind Side:  Evolution of a Game" by Michael Lewis
    • I love football and I love reading.  Of course the marriage of these two would be close to perfection and they most definitely were.
  • "Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow
    • I know there are a lot of late comer Tebow fans and that's great.  He is using his notoriety quite well to proclaim that Christ is Lord.  With that being said we have followed Tebow since his UF days.  The book is good.  It's an easy read that anybody over the age of 12 could easily read through in a few days.  And the book does exactly what Tebow always does.......proclaim Christ as Lord.
  • "Choosing to See" by Mary Beth Chapman
    • So I went through a phase where I only read what I call "baby death blogs/books".  Please understand what I'm trying to say.  These blogs(and for a while I was the author of such a blog) are wonderful outlets for a grieving and hurting heart.  They are wonderful snippets of life and I still follow some of them.  As my heart is being mended by Him, I have somewhat moved away from that line of reading.  I read this book during the darker days of early grief when I needed to know that what I was feeling was completely normal.  I mean that we made a conscious choice not to be completely bogged down or consumed with grief.  Chad and I made active choices to honor Johanna and the Lord by using her life as a platform to proclaim God.  And that is exactly what the Chapmans have done with their daughter's life and death.
  • "I Will Carry You" by Angie Smith
    • This was another book I read during the early days after Johanna's death.  I could ditto everything I put in the last bullet about this book.  Want to know how to praise God in the difficulties?  It's easy.  Just do it.  
  • "Rekindling the Romance" by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
    • I believe that Chad and I have no "real" marriage problems but we are still very much human living in a very busy life.  It's so easy to get sidetracked about the real reason why we got married.  And no it's not because we "love" each other despite what we all think when we say "I Do".  This book is a great reminder that "love" is always the under current of marriage but not always what moves the boat along(really lame analogy but it's the best I got).
  • "Feminine Appeal:  Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother" by Carolyn Mahaney
    • Oy, I should read this about once a week and then immediately start reading it again.  I need to be reminded that often.
  • "My Dog Skip" by Willie Morris
    • One of us reads to Clayton every(almost) night at bedtime.  We are hoping to start a love of reading(and in my humble opinion a love of learning) in his heart and mind too.  this is the first chapter book that we have read to him.  I was a little unsure how he would do with it since there are no pictures but he loved it.  He wanted to know every night was Skip was going to do.  Precious memories with my favorite red head.
That is just a really short list of the books I've read in the last year.  There's a lot of fiction thrown in there too for "mindless" reading.  I will honestly read just about anything.  I try to read new books that are all the rage and I try to read the classics too.  I read fiction and non-fiction alike and both in equal amounts.  We read every night to Clayton.  It's just important to read.  It does the mind good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To Real Food or Not?

I'm sure most of ya'll have seen or heard about eating "real foods".  Well, at first I thought this was a lot of nonsense and was kind of like the Atkins/Sough Beach craze.  And as it turns out, it is exactly like that.  But I'm not convinced that it's crazy anymore.

Back in the spring of last year I watched Food Inc. mainly because I'm a super nerd that actually likes documentaries.  I found it very interesting but I didn't really understand a lot of what I was watching.  So I watched it again with my more agriculturally minded(country boy and amazing) husband.  He was very helpful in teaching me more about what I was watching.  With that being said I began to research more in depth the foods that we have been eating.  I'm not going to start a campaign or try to convince anyone that this is right for them because basically it's a personal decision.

I slowly began to change how we were eating and began paying much closer attention to the foods that we eat the most.  The main reason I became obsessed interested had to do with Chad's diabetes.  Chad is a Type 1(what used to be called Juvenile diabetes) diabetic.  He has had an insulin pump for almost four years that has been an absolute life changer for him and us.  I did not know until I began to learn more about commercial food processing that we as Americans eat such large amounts of corn and other varying not great for us grains.  Corn is a carbohydrate(which in and of themselves aren't bad for us and are absolutely moderation).  Carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels requiring more insulin to be secreted by the pancreas or by the pump whichever.  And again that isn't a bad thing because that is how God designed the body to work.  But if there are hidden grains in things like the proteins that we eat it so much harder to control ones blood sugar.

Very slowly we have started changing some of the things that we eat.  And in the sake of honesty we completely fell of the wagon last year and are having to retrain ourselves.  It's a never ending process with us Carswells.  And there are things that I am not yet ready to give up.  Mainly Dt. Mtn Dew.  I'm addicted.  And I'm OK with it.  For now.  It's a day at a time and one step at a time and one better decision at a time.

For now, I do my very best to buy whole grain foods that have ingredients that I can actually pronounce and that I know where or how they originated.  I do everything I can to buy meats that are hormone/steroid free and that are grass fed.  And if I can find local meat I am a happy girl.  We don't live near(like 100 miles away from) an Earth Fare or any other type of whole foods store.  We are fortunate to have some great grocery stores in our area that do have a very broad selection of whole foods.  Mom and I also discovered the beauty that is the Farmer's Market during the spring and summer of last year and I can't wait until they open back up and we can get all that fantastic fresh produce again.  A garden may be on the horizon for this year but I'm not completely convinced that I can accomplish this task.  I could kill a Chia pet in one day flat. 

I have learned to make some things that I would have never even tried before.  I make all of the chocolate syrup for Clayton's milk.  I make my own creamed corn and it is so much better than canned.  I make my own spaghetti sauce.  I make my own granola bars.  The list could go on and on.

The main reason for our change is to attempt to see a decrease in Chad's blood sugar levels.  And when we were very serious about the way we were eating we did.  And once we were less serious and fell off the wagon we saw those numbers increase.  I think that's enough of a reason for us to pick ourselves back up and try again.  One day at a time.  Our goal for the year is to continue to eliminate processed foods from our diets, to continue to learn more about the meats and produce we're eating, and to buy local as much as possible(tastier food and an economy booster....score!).  We can do this.  It's a process and we are learning.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Catching Up

So, you're probably wanting an update of sorts.  Here goes:

  1. Still love football.  Roll Tide!  In fact I surprised Chad with tickets to a Bama game for our 10th anniversary back in October.
  2. I graduate with an AAS in EMS(and any other letters you want to add) in May.  I am way beyond excited to be finished with this stage of gaining an education.  However, I have already applied to an online program to get my BS in EMS(hopeful to be a WCU Catamount in August).  Can we say glutton for punishment?  Yes!
  3. Clayton is almost 4.  How did that happen?  When did that happen?  I'm not sure but I absolutely love it.  He is an amazing little boy that just lights up the world around him.
  4. We're still at Calvary Baptist in Lenoir, NC.  Our church is absolutely amazing.  We love worshiping there and are so fortunate to serve.
So much has happened in my 18 month sabbatical that I don't know where to start to catch up on it all.  I guess I could just add a picture of Clayton for pure awesomeness.

(This boy is a train loving cowboy through and through)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bringin' it Back!

It's been a while but I think it's time.

Our life is as busy as it always has been, if not more so.  I'm not really sure which direction the blog will go now but I'm excited to bring it back.  I don't know how often the posts will come but I believe that ya'll will find our lives to be as humorous as always.  I fell out of an ambulance at work last week.  Who does that?!?!  Moving on.

It's great to be back!  See ya soon.