Friday, August 31, 2012

5 Things Every Husband Should Know [OR 5 Things Their Wives Want Them To Know]

Girls grow up dreaming about their prince. The wedding is only part of what we dream about, it's a significant portion, mind you, but it isn't the full story. We dream about the honeymoon, what it'll be like when he comes home from work and the first thing he does when he sees you. We dream about our kids and growing old together. We dream about a romantic life. These extravagant expectations are often what lead to a let down in many marriages. However, there are a few Biblical principles that men are expected to live up to as far as husbandly duties, and if they do these things, us women will be satisfied beyond what we could possibly imagine. "Why?" You ask. Well, it's amazing what happens in your life if you keep your focus on the right thing: God. So if your aim is to live as He expects you to, well, true peace follows. That does not mean, however, that life will always be easy or fun, but it does mean our eternal blessings are worth the trials. I can honestly say that most women know what they want, deep down, but most do not really understand why they want it or how to express what they want. I can tell you why we want it... God put it in our hearts. BUT there's another far more important reason. Marriage is a reflection of our relationship with Christ. Jesus calls His church - His people, His bride. The day He returns will be a wedding celebration unlike any we have ever attended. Think for a second of the food, the dancing, the music... the love... hmmmmm.... Our relationship with our husband is supposed to reflect the deep intimacy Christ wants with us.

Some expectations are not realistic, but the one's that are, are the ones that Christ set in place. How your husband treats you should give you a better understanding of Christ. What are these expectations we have for our husbands? I'll start with the most important and go from there...
  1. He needs to be the Spiritual Leader of the house. If you read my God Wink story you'll know why this one is so important. If it wasn't for Kyle taking this expectation seriously from our pre-marital counseling, we would not be where we are today. There is a hierarchy for how things should be in his life: 1. God, 2. Wife, 3. Kids. and then everything else. I witness Kyle reading his Bible and praying daily. Every Monday he meets one-on-one with our pastor just to study God's word and when I saw him doing that, I wanted it too because I saw how much it blessed his life! That's when I began meeting with a woman in our church, knowing it would help in my walk with Christ and I began studying God's word and spending time in prayer. Together we are studying the book of John, we pray together, we get together and talk about what we're learning as we study the Bible on our own. We attend Bible study every Tuesday. This is all because Kyle wanted these things to happen. We bought a his and her's devotional because Kyle suggested it. We bought A Marriage After God's Own Heart by David Clarke to read together before getting married because Kyle wanted that to happen. We read the books, For Women Only and For Men Only by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn because Kyle had heard other husband and wife duo's rave about it's Biblical, but scientific analysis of women vs. men. I can't tell you how much I learned about God because of my husband's desire to focus on Him not only in his life, but in ours. Once Christ became everything around which our conversation revolved, decisions made, the things that we did and said, our lives became that much more blessed. It was all because KYLE MADE it happen, otherwise, it wouldn't have happened.
  2. We want to know we are loved and cherished. I've seen this amazing quote being passed around Facebook and Pinterest stating that the best thing a man can do for his children is love their mother. Ultimately, that's what we want.
    "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:25-33)
    I LOVE this verse! For two reasons: 1. It vividly talks about how a husband and wife become one flesh and 2. how our husbands should love us as deeply as Christ loves us. Think about how deep that is... CHRIST GAVE HIS LIFE FOR OUR SINS. He gave himself as a selfless sacrifice! That, ladies and gentlemen, is how deeply women want to feel loved and cherished. It's ingrained in our brains. Sorry, we can't help it. We want to hear how much you love us and why you love us all the time. Tell us how beautiful we are, we want to get little notes that describe your feelings for us, we love stupid little gifts that you made or thought up, we love it when you pick flowers for us, or whisper secrets in our ear, or open the door for us... just the simplest act of grabbing our hand and squeezing it to show affection means more to a woman than you can possibly imagine! These acts of love do not have to be extravagant, but doing them daily and every time you think about how much you love us, even in the slightest (or even when you don't feel like you love us, haha, that never happens, does it ladies?) will make the world of difference in your marriage.
  3. Decisions are ultimately up to him. This does not mean, however, that our opinion should not be valued. Being a team is vital here. He should listen to what you have to say, but like Christ is the head of the church, your husband is the head of the house.
    "Wives submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." (Ephesians 5:22-24)
    That's a hard pill to swallow in today's day and age, but I promise that it's freeing once you decide to LET GO, and LET GOD. If you do that, you'll also let your husband feel less pressure from you. After all, you will not be held accountable to God the day you meet Him for the decisions you made with your husband. Your husband will! Can you imagine the pressure they're experiencing? Trying to please you and most importantly God? When Kyle disagrees with me I find that super irritating, but when I look at it from that perspective, I try to back off. Am I perfect? Heck no. Kyle will gladly tell you that. But knowing that Kyle will be held responsible in front of God for the decisions we make, well, I swallow my pride. That doesn't mean I won't refrain from telling him I disagree (at first I wrote gently telling him, but I erased that, because I'd be a liar! :) I need to work on that...), or having this urge to say, "I told ya so!" but it does put things in an eternal perspective and forces you to have faith in God and in your husband.
  4. Have a strong work ethic. It is ingrained in a man's head to be the provider of the home. After all, God calls him to be the leader of the home, so it would only make sense that this desire also comes into play. Women, however, do want to see their man working hard (laziness is not attractive) but they also want to see him set aside time to rest and play. Part of having a strong work ethic is making sure your working hard on making your marriage work. Set aside a date night, watch movies together, go hiking, whatever it is, work hard at making time to do what you love to do together.
  5. Be sensual. This goes back to #2, but I'll be more specific: I'm talking in terms of your intimacy and yes, that does include sex, but that's not all I'm talking about here. Women are flirtatious creatures by nature, we love to squeeze the butt, or make out as soon as you walk through the door... or share a secret "message" exchange at a gathering... Massages are a must as well. We love to touch and be touched and most of the time we want a gentle caress or a whisper. Boys are rough and rowdy by nature, girls are not, so do not treat us like that if you want us to feel like a woman. (Granted some moments call for rough and rowdy, but that's up to you and your spouse, and it's not a topic I really want to dive into here... lol.) Women want to know that you treasure everything about us, especially in today's society when we feel pressure on a daily basis to look a certain way. Make us feel BEAUTIFUL. After all, we belong to you, so show us how much you appreciate it!
    "The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
    Notice how your husbands body also belongs to you? :) It's a two way street here, hehe. If you want to know what I mean by being sensual, read Song of Solomon together. It's a beautiful story of a man and a woman coming together for the first time, whispering sweet nothings, describing the feelings and emotions they have for one another... and that's exactly how God intends it to be and it's what women crave.
So now the burning question. Why did I chose to write about this? Yesterday, I was thinking that I was blessed with an amazing husband. I began writing down all the qualities I love about him and realized these are the qualities of a godly husband, that every woman deserves. My hope was to share them so single women know what to look for in a godly husband, so wives know some realistic expectations they should have for their husband, husbands can look at this list and try to better their own marriage by living up to these expectations, and lastly, I wanted to dote on my hubby. He deserves it. So thank you God for providing me with a man who loves you, who loves me, and who inspired me to write this list in the first place. I am truly blessed!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Favorite Psalms!

David was a man after God's own heart. He knew how to pray and worship. Thankfully the Psalms guide us in our own prayer and worship life. They've helped me tremendously as I give praise to a God who is faithful, loving, sovereign and unchanging! Here are a few of my favorites (up to Book Three, Psalm 73):

Psalm 9:1-2
"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."

Psalm 14:1-3
"The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one."

Psalm 16:1-2
"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."

Psalm 18:1-3
"I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised..."

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."

Psalm 19:14
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

Psalm 25:4-5
"Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long."

Psalm 27:1
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Psalm 27:4
"One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple."

Psalm 27:14
"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!"

Psalm 29
"Ascribe to the Lord, O Heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, "Glory!"
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!"

Psalm 34:1
"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth."

Psalm 34:8-9
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!"

Psalm 37:4-7
"Delight yourself in the Lord, trust in him and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will act."

Psalm 37:23-24
"The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand."

Psalm 40:4-5
"Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told."

Psalm 46:1-3
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling."

Psalm 46:10
"Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!"

Psalm 47:1-2
"Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
a great king over all the earth."

Psalm 52:8-9
"But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
I will thank you forever, because you have done it.
I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly."

Psalm 56:3-4
"When I am afraid, i put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?"

Psalm 62:5-8
"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us."

Psalm 71:14-24
"... I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your powers to all those to come.
Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have made me see many troubles
and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
Oh Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Being Pregnant {Just like with everything in life, there's somethings you love and somethings you hate.}

There's most definitely pro's and con's to being pregnant. With 4 weeks left I am counting down the days not only until we meet our precious baby girl, but I can't wait for...

... drinking a Corona, with lime. I have been craving one since the first trimester, what an awful thing to crave. Some say that it's fine to indulge in a sip or two, but I'd feel guilty, so I'm patiently waiting.

... sleeping on my back and tummy. My shoulders are sore.

... tying my shoes AND being able to breathe normally.

... not worrying about my shirts being "belly shirts."

... taking a walk without Braxton Hicks contractions.

... getting up from a seated position without asking for assistance or looking like a lumpy klutz.

... clipping my toe nails without gasping for air!

... being able to fit into all my shoes, not just the ones that fit my extra wide feet.

... getting my brain back. I swear I'm turning into more of an air brain daily. I do the stupidest, most ridiculous things!

Although my "what I don't like about pregnancy" is rather extensive [and there are pieces I won't share here... haha], there are reasons why I love being pregnant.
  • I love feeling her move. There's nothing like it. I try to guess body parts as they move across my belly, or guess whether it's a little hand or foot that's jammed into my ribs, or fascinate over the amount of times she can get hiccups in one day and the fact that you can see my whole belly twitch every time one comes up. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it gets old, but when she moves I can't help but share it with EVERYONE around me. I want to scream, "LOOK! MY BABY'S MOVING! HOW COOL IS THAT?!"
  • Seeing her ultra sound brings me to tears. I find it fascinating.
  • God is amazing. Throughout this process I have been reminded of how absolutely amazing God's creation really is - everything, and I mean everything, works out for an exact purpose. The more I learn about her development, breast feeding, the intricacies of birth I'm reminded of how finite my mind really is and how BIG God is. I think, wow, my body does what? This happens because... wow! I had to laugh at a comment made in my breast feeding book because they're talking about how the breast milk has "stages" and as milk develops it has very specific vitamins and minerals that help the baby through the first moments of life, formula can't mimic this, so they said something to the fact that mother nature knows best. Au contraire... "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" - Romans 11:33 {Psalm 139:13-16 is perfect for this as well!}
  • One of my friends said she experienced some separation anxiety after the birth of her daughter because she was suddenly very aware that from now on she wouldn't know exactly what she was eating, exactly where she was or what she was doing, or that she was warm and cozy. Suddenly she was thrust out into the world and taking care of her became that much more difficult. So I'm going to enjoy this part of getting to know her because I know she's warm, I know she's fed, I know she's safe, and those are things I won't always know through her life.
  • I love the selfless service people offer. "Oh, do you need to sit down?" or "Here let me help you carry that!" or "Sit down while I get that for you!" or "Sit here, this seat is way more comfortable!" or "Honey, I've so been there, take my place in the line for the next bathroom stall." (Thank God there are women like that out there... or I'd have peed my pants on more than one occasion. LOL)
  • This might sound a tad crazy, but I think of my belly as a little "accessory." Pregnant women are so cute (however, there's times where I DON'T think this about myself) and I actually enjoy picking outfits. Not all the time, mind you, but getting a whole new wardrobe - come on ladies - who doesn't enjoy that?!
  • I love the intimacy you share with your spouse, I have a part of Kyle growing inside me! We are responsible for this life. Together we love her. We discuss our expectations as she grows up. We pray together asking God to help us raise her in a Godly home where He is the focus. This has brought us together in ways I couldn't possibly imagine. Every day he talks to her, kisses her, holds her and while I watch him love her, I love him all the more. He's been there every single step of the way, through the yucky stuff that you don't talk about with anyone else to the amazing moments that put you in a place of awe. Kyle has been amazing so far and I can't wait to see him in action through the birth and, I might burst into tears just typing this, I can't wait to see him hold her for the first time. I didn't know how much I loved Kyle until I saw how much he already loves his little girl.
I'm sure that as time goes on I could add to my love/hate lists, but this is a great place to start. I'm glad I ended with the things I love because now I feel all sorts of mushy. To make things worse we have a doctor's appointment today and we get to tour the hospital. Hehe, it seems so crazy to get excited for something like that!

Ladies, we are blessed with bodies that are able to endure some pretty amazing things. Yes, there are going to be parts that we hate, but there are just as many we can ooooo and awwwww over, because this 40 week journey is pretty AWWWWesome if you truly sit down and think about it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Homemade Granola

One of my favorite breakfast meals (and mid-afternoon snack) is cereal. I realized that was one area in our groceries where we were spending gobs of money because it costs three to five whole buck-a-roo's for one box and we went through a box a week. PLUS, they're loaded down with sugar and sodium. In order to solve that problem I began looking up granola recipe's and tweaked here and there to make it my own so I knew exactly what we were eating and saving money, all the while satisfying my cereal fix!

I thought I'd share...

Homemade Granola
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Honey
3 Cups Oats
1 Cup Nuts (Your choice, I've used almonds, pecans and walnuts and they're all yummy.)
Cinnamon to taste
  • Melt Butter, brown sugar and honey in a medium pot.
  • Once melted add the oats and nuts, stir until well coated.
  • Cinnamon to taste.
  • Set oven at 350, bake 8-10 minutes. Oats will be a tad brown on top.
  • Let it cool completely before putting it in a container, this also allows it to crisp nicely.
Eat with milk and fruit or with your yogurt. (I like banana's or blueberries... craisins are nice as well and so are chocolate chips. :) There are so many options!)
It's so easy, so quick, and so yummy! Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Countdown = 29 Days Today!

August 14, 2012 - That was yesterday and that was the 8 month mark!
That makes me happy as a lark
My countdown is now at 29 days and counting
I've noticed the skin on my nose and upper lip is browning
Thankfully, from what I read, that should all go away
Which is one reason why I'm counting down the days
We've done a lot these last few weeks.
Like traveling to some of the nations best mountain "peaks"
Baby Lowery may not remember but we visited Scotty in Cody, Wyoming
In Yellowstone we saw quite a bit of wildlife roaming
We literally ran into a big black bear
It gave us quite a scare
Then we stayed with Steph in Missoula, Montana
We joked that it was a popular place for havana
Our favorite was floating down the river
The cold water did make us shiver
While we were there I hit 34 weeks and I felt HUGE
I apologize if I was acting the scrooge...
The view from our hike was breathtaking
Afterwards, Steph's dog Maebe was aching
She cuddled with the bump for quite a while
Which made me smile
After we left Montana, Baby Lowery also visited Idaho.
The drive went by soooooo slow
When we finally got to Grand County Auntie Mandy felt her move
I decided she spends her time practicing dance moves, and by now has quite the groove
She had her first baby shower and came away with a lot of stuff
She won't have to worry about going out in the buff
After that Daddy, Uncle Matt and Gpa Reno did a lot of work on our home
So when she finally gets here we can experience some shalom
We're now down to 29 days
Which will go by in a blaze
I'm getting all panicky when I think of all that still needs to be done
Despite all that I can't wait to meet our little one!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ten Reasons I HATE Living in a Remodel Project

We've been working on our house since moving in three years ago. We've resanded the hardwood floors, painted walls and kitchen cabinets, replaced floors, installed carpet, and we're currently gutting and rebuilding the bathrooms. It's a pain in the butt, BUT I know we'll appreciate it that much more. I hate living in it though because...
  1. One project always leads to another! For example, we decided to put a full bathroom in the basement. When we did that we realized how absolutely screwy the electrical box and plumbing really was and needed to be fixed, badly. So instead of simply building a bathroom, my brother (an electrician) put in a new box for us and organized it so it's up to code and Reno (my mom's hubby) replumbed everything because we couldn't understand the logic of the DIYourselfer who tried before us. In fact, we were surprised that we hadn't experienced a basement flood or a fire because of the way it was put together. We honestly didn't realize how bad it was until the walls were down and we had to stare the problem right in the face. I'm not an electrician or plumber, but even I could see the issues and the difference!   
    Before and After Matt fixed it.
  2. If we're working on one room, everything from that room must  be moved to another room, creating complete chaos! For example, right now we're working on our bathrooms. So my toothbrush is in the kitchen. The vanity is on the porch. Everything from the vanity is in plastic sacks in our bedroom. When we were working on our kitchen, every appliance went into our living room. When you're big and prego, maneuvering around all the stuff is rather... interesting.
  3. It's a dusty, dirty mess everywhere, not just in the room where you're working. It doesn't matter what precautionary methods you take (like plastic over the doorways), it seeps through every single nook, cranny, and crack. So it's embarrassing when people stop by and you have to explain, "Uh... this isn't an indication of my house keeping skills. Please ignore the mess. Sorry."
  4. It always takes longer than you originally thought it would, which forces you to LIVE in it LONGER. (Reason? See #1)
  5. It's noisy. Hammers, Sanders, Saws...
  6. It's smelly. Glue, finish, paint... the plumbing is especially awful.
  7. It's expensive. Even after creating a budget you have surprise costs. Reason? See #1
  8. It's exhausting. You work your butt off because you know that leaving and coming back just forces you to live in it longer. So you work longer days, harder hours, and all with less breaks than you normally take on an average day of work. And you do this until it's DONE, or you literally crash.
  9. Living without electricity or water while something is being worked on makes day to day living difficult. You have to think ahead for simple things like using the bathroom or getting a drink.
  10. Exhaustion and frustration are a deadly combination, and they go hand in hand with remodeling. So there's times you're literally on the verge of killing each other!

Still, there is a positive aspect to living in a remodel project: we will enjoy and appreciate the finished product that much more!

Friday, August 10, 2012

What I Learned From My 2 Year Old Niece Alexi Today

I had the privilege of hanging out with my niece Alexi while her Daddy and Reno remodeled our bathrooms for us. While doing so, I learned a lot... like...

Dolls can be naughty too. I saw her throw a toy in the toy box after I asked her to start picking up and she looks at her doll and says, "Doll! Be Nice!"

You can get a sticker off by using your teeth!

Solar lights need water too. I gave her a watering can as I watered the flowers. Instead of watering the flowers that I pointed out, she made sure each and every solar light got plenty of water.

The best way to drink hot chocolate is by dipping your fingers in and picking out the marshmallows.

The only way to eat blueberries is by squishing them first.

Banana's taste ten times better if you eat one while dancing to country music.

The water from a dog dish works wonders on a dirty floor. I gave her a broom while I was unloading dishes and I turned around to see her dipping it in the dog dish and "mopping" the floor. Marley watched her with an irritated curiosity.

Mommy's kisses are the only kisses that work on owies.

You can never out grow a swing.

It doesn't matter how the silverware is organized as long as it's in the same drawer.

I have to say that I love her to death and honestly can't wait for her to wake up from her nap. She's definitely a wonderful source of entertainment. Besides she's cute, cuddly, smart as a whip... what's not to love?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Heart Mountain Japanese Internment Camp

Kyle and I enjoyed our vacation to the Cody, WY and Missoula, MT areas. We enjoyed so many activities - floating down a river, visiting the historic Irma Bar in Cody, WY and visiting with good friends. However, there was one part of the trip that stands out because of what I learned about our history...

You grow up "hearing about" American history. Textbooks barely scratch the surface level. Teachers rarely have time to cover anything but the basics. We grow up not knowing or understanding what happened, why it happened, and why it's so important to learn about it. One piece of our history that is too often glazed over in the classroom is how America treated the Americans of Japanese heritage during World War II.

I knew we sent them to "camps," forcing them to abandon their homes and livelihoods immediately following the tragedy of Pearl Harbor. What I didn't know was where or what their lives were like while they were in these camps, how long they were there, and what they did to rebuild their lives afterwards. Thankfully, we have a close friend in the Cody, WY area who knew of an education center designated for this specific purpose: to teach and remember the people who endured this racist treatment.

Why do I encourage others to learn about the horrors of how we treated African Americans (slavery and segregation) or our awful treatment of American-Indians or the Japanese? So we are not doomed to repeat it.

----- Heart Mountain Memorial ----- 
First of all, could you imagine the fear these people experienced after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941? Their nation was under attack! They knew nothing of the plans to destroy Pearl Harbor, so naturally they were as shocked and as horrified as the rest of America.

THEN, they get a notice that they are considered dangerous and must be relocated. This means everything they have worked hard to build must be left behind. Their dream of living the American dream... gone. They put their stuff in storage. They were forced to decide what was precious enough to pack in a tiny suitcase and take with them. They had no idea what was to become of them, their families, or their future.

They ride a train to different camps all around the nation. One was near Heart Mountain in Wyoming. This relocation center was open until 1945 and was heavily guarded with guard towers and barbed wire fence. Nearly 11,000 people were forcibly uprooted and two-thirds of them were citizens of the United States!
A view of Heart Mountain.
Due process was denied. They were assumed guilty simply because of their heritage. They were under suspicion and despite what the Constitution stated, this executive order violated the rights of thousands of Americans - including orphans and infants! Democracy failed these individuals.

What was life like while they were there? As you walk through the museum you will find items they used and an example of the living situations. They show pictures of them swimming, eating, going to school, working, it seemed as though life was decent - on the surface level. Once you read on you find that families shared one bedroom "apartments" with no kitchen, bathroom, or bedrooms of their own.
Example of how they set up their "apartment"
They created privacy walls with fabric hung on strings. They described newlyweds having to live with their in laws and the embarrassment of needing to use the bathroom or getting dressed without so much as a wall to offer them privacy! Private conversations happened outside the apartments and they said they simply had to get over it!

I'm not going to share everything with you, but the another piece that shocked me was a yes/no questionnaire the government required all internee's to complete, determining their loyalty. If the WRA determined that they answered questions incorrectly they were considered disloyal and placed in a "jail" called the Tule Lake Segregation Center. One of the questions asked, "Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty, wherever ordered?" Can  you imagine trying to answer that question? NO I don't want to serve this country knowing it might mean death - look at how you're treating me! but then again if you answered it that way you'd end up in the segregation center. Another question that irritated me was, "Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and... forswear any form of allegiance to the Japanese emperor or any other foreign government, power, or organization?" I like how one internee discussed this question later, "How were we supposed to answer that? If we answered "yes" weren't we implying that we had once been loyal to Japan? Did a "no" mean that we were disloyal to the U.S.? No matter what we answered, we seemed guilty."

What was life like afterwards? I can't even begin to explain the horror I felt for these people when I read what Americans said about their release.
"We do not want a single one of these evacuees to remain in Wyoming." - Governor Lester C. Hunt, August 1945

"We don't want those Japs back in California and the more we can get rid of the better." U.S. Representative Clair Engle of California

"We shall take it but we shall not pretend to like it." - the Los Angeles Times
They had no where to go. The possessions they put in storage were looted. Money - gone. They were given $25 by the government to relocate, but where would they go? Where would they live? What would they do? This is the part of the story that breaks my heart, because we threw them to the wolves.

How did it affect them? Some people might argue that they had food, shelter, clothing, they were allowed to garden, they had a swimming hole, life for them was good right? When they moved from their homes and into these camps they lost: freedom, privacy, possessions, rights as American citizens, and their dignity. One of my favorite quotes from the museum was what one "prisoner" stated, "Underlying all the suspicions of disloyalty was racism. People thought we were enemies not because of something we did - but because of where we or our ancestors came from." This affected them in more ways than we can possibly imagine. Suicide rates after camp, for example, were double the national average. In 1997, a study found that these prisoners were 2.1 times more likely to suffer from heart disease! Those were just a few ways on how it affected them.
Just in case you can't read it, it says, "What do we remember about camp? Most of us talk about the day-to-day activities, such as food at the mess halls, bad weather, and the latrines. We reminisce about some of the fun we sometimes had. These are the "easy" things to talk about, the things that everyone can understand. But they only tell a portion of the true experience at Heart Mountain."
Remembering. One of the stories that I loved reading about was about the Haiku Rock.

Taketaro Azeka created this Haiku Rock by carving a poem into the slab of granite and burying it, hoping it would become an archaeological find. The Solbergs, who were homesteaders in that area, found the rock and donated it to the Heart mountain Wyoming Foundation.
Thankfully our government admitted their wrong. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, signed by President Ronald Reagon, apologized on the behalf of the nation. Redress payments of $20,000 were given to each individual who had been imprisoned.
"Here we admit a wrong; here we reaffirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law." - President Ronald Reagon
What you see today:

Heart Mountain Memorial Museum

Short walking area where you are shown the location of where buildings, the swimming hole, etc. were located.

A clear wide view of the buildings that are left...

The remainder of one of the buildings.
The windows are mostly covered... but you can still peak in one or two of them and this is what you see...

The leaning smokestack that stands as a historical icon for this place. It still is a prominent feature of the boiler house that provided heat during the cold Wyoming winters to the hospital.
The view of heart moutain from the corner of one of the buildings. The location seems so ironic to me: a prejudice act of moving thousands of Americans to a place called Heart Mountain....
As I was visiting this memorial site, I knew that it was something I needed to share. I also highly encourage you visit it if you ever decide to go to Cody, WY or the Yellowstone National Park area. Take your kids, talk about it with your friends, share pictures, and encourage others to do the same.

Great quote from one of the internee's, Shigeru Yabu, to end this blog...