Thursday, July 26, 2012

Government Handout?

I'm hesitant to talk about this subject. There is much debate on it, for one, and two, there is a lot of shame and embarrassment. But I'm also passionate about it, which is why I'm setting aside my pride and talking about it.

Food stamps.

You guys all know we've struggled financially this past year, but I haven't talked about the fact that we got on food stamps in February. It's not something you shout to the world - hey, we're so poor we can't afford to eat! Did you know every time that card is pulled out at the grocery store I feel shame? I feel judged. I know the cashier is looking at this young couple, baby in tow, wondering why in the world they need food stamps. There's been a couple of times the card wouldn't swipe and we'd hold the line up until a manager could come over, and the cashier would loudly announce, Yeah, their food stamp card isn't working. I'd never wanted to be invisible so bad as in those moments.

I suppose when you just look at us from the outside, we don't look poor. In fact, we've been tremendously blessed by the gifts of others. But I guess strangers don't know if what you own is a gift or something you purchased. Guess what? I own an iPhone. You know why? It was refurbished for $10 and my parents pay for it. Rob doesn't have a cell phone, we share that one. People in the grocery store don't know that.

Actually, we have zero debt. We are very frugal, we do without a lot of things. Did you know that just yesterday we finally purchased a high chair for Josiah? We knew it was something we could live without until he grew out of his bumbo seat. We own a $20 piece of junk couch. But it's somewhere to sit. In conclusion, we've simply learned to be content with what we have, we don't spend money we don't have (aka credit cards), and this was random tangent. Back on topic...

On Facebook I've recently seen some of those sarcastic comics - you know, the one with a sketch drawing of a person and some random quote - geared towards people on food stamps. I try to not to take offense at them, but it's hard. I KNOW there are plenty of people out there who should NOT be on food stamps. The goverment makes it so easy to get on the program, and does nothing to empower people to take care of themselves. Plus, I see the junk some of these people buy in the stores and the way they waste that money. There is a lot of crap going on with the food stamps program, I get it, but it's not that way for everyone. It was necessary for us when I only brought home $700 a month and couldn't get a second job.

It's especially disheartening when I see Christians being the judgmental ones on stuff like this. You really have no idea a person's situation until you talk to them. Maybe that girl you see in the store on her iPhone using her food stamps card is desperately hiding behind a mask of shame and trying to do anything to escape the reality of her situation.

It's time to show some compassion rather than judgement. That's all I'm saying. And if you read through this entire post, many kudos to you. Spread the word.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Josiah decided recently that water = best thing ever. Bath time, swimming, water bottles - if it has to do with water the kid loves it. Maybe we listened to Brad Paisley's song "Water" too often while I was pregnant...?

So anyways, we can dunk him in the pool a thousand times and he comes up splashing and smiling. In the bathtub he'll splash and splash until every square inch of the bathroom has a drop of water on it. And last night the hilarity was over my head.

Since he can pull himself up now, the world has become a whole new place. And last night he pulled himself up on the side of the tub, but we all know that can be a slippery place, and he promptly slipped and fell back on his bottom. Just as I was about to panic he started cracking up at how big of a splash he made. Then proceeded for the next ten minutes to pull himself up and fall back down.

This is my child. Adventurous. Unafraid. Hilarious. How did I get so blessed?

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Seasons of Life

I'm so excited to say that Rob is FINALLY a permanent resident of the USA! This means:

Rob can apply for jobs
No more worry or possibility of him being deported
We are free - free to dream, free to plan, free to have a normal life. This is a BIG deal.

After this agonizing week without my family, I still managed to have some fun.

I spent time with my best friend Emmie, like every day.
I slept through the night. Every night. Not once did I wake up to a baby crying. Glory.
I went shopping. I came home late. I ate cereal for dinner sometimes.
I lived like a single girl. Ha. Oh the days.

I wouldn't take those days back for anything! Oh I made the most of them, in fact during 2009/2010 I wrote frequently about being in a long distance relationship yet still living my life. It was awesome. But having a husband and a precious little boy to come home to every day...

Now that's the good life. 

This song is called "Never Once" by Matt Redman. We sang this song in church and in our small group many times this past year, and often it made me angry. We were in a valley so low that I found it hard to believe we'd ever make it out. I felt like God really wasn't faithful sometimes, I felt alone. But yesterday, singing this once again in church, I became overwhelmed at God's grace. Not that we are on that "mountaintop", but we are certainly out of the valley and above the clouds. I look back and I see now all that God has been doing. Even in my doubt and anger and disbelief, He never left me alone.

My prayer now is that these experiences wouldn't just be something in our past, but that it would be a testimony that God uses to reach young married couples, young people with babies, even older people with financial struggles. Really, anyone that God can use our testimony to reach out to.

And now, on to the next season of life...whatever that may be :-)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Remembering the Old Days

In 3 days Josiah is going to be 9 months old. Folks, that how long he spent inside of me. What the heck?! He's been here transforming our lives long enough that, not that I forgot, but I guess I did forget, what life was like without him.

Due to Rob having to wait to get his passport back with his new Permanent Resident Visa, him and Josiah are staying in Canada until that comes (hopefully no more than a week!) while I came back to Texas to work. So I'm going back to the days of no child and no husband.

And I'm just not sure what to think of my temporary freedom.

Josiah is the joy of my heart and the apple of my eye. He has caused me to love so deep that only a fellow mom can understand such love. Whenever he is asleep I look forward to him waking up so I can see his precious smile and kiss his sweet cheeks. Whenever I go out alone to the store or gym, I can't wait to be back home and snuggle my baby. He has changed my life and taken my 'freedom' alright. But life is so much better with my little boy.

Now I'm getting my 'freedom' back for a week. And the house is so quiet; a little bit of spunk, and love, and life is not here. He's up north bringing sweet joy and smelly poop to all of his Canadian family. I don't miss these single days, these days without children. Clearly getting married and having babies is God's perfect plan for me, because I want nothing more. This is gonna be a hard week ya'll!

I did have an amazing time in Canada though. The weather was beautiful, family was awesome, my phone was turned off the whole time and it was so peaceful! Memories made, pictures taken, good times had. Hope to get to go back for Christmas.

Monday, July 9, 2012

When Daddy Leaves the Country

Rob has been gone a week now; he's in Canada preparing for his Visa interview. So this past week I've been so blessed to have friends come and stay with me and watch Josiah while I worked. We've had a lot of fun! For July 4th we tried getting Josiah and Joseph together for some pictures [did you know it's really difficult to get a sharp picture when you have two nonstop crawlers?!] But here's a couple of snapshots that turned out decent :-)

Tomorrow I get to head to Canada with Josiah. Flying with my squirmy and very vocal [almost] 9 month old is going to be an adventure!

Did you catch that? Almost 9 months old?! I feel like it was just a few days ago that we were bringing him home from the hospital [am I still going to be saying that when he turns 10, 13, 18...?!] Oh my. I just love that little guy and I'm pretty thankful for the one on one time I've had with him these past few days. Definitely soaking it up because I'm about to be working full time, normal people hours, and I'm going to see even less of him. I can't wait until the day when I get to be the one staying at home full time with a house full of little Griffioen's. 

Off to do some more packing for our flight tomorrow! Yes, I am going to be THAT mom with the billion pieces of luggage...all for baby. Oh, and lets hope this doesn't happen!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Thousand Mile Journey

 So many roads and races are on their home stretch at this moment. It's quite exciting! A dear friend commented last week that I look "fresh", and I agree. I feel like a different person, inside and out. I'll post more in detail at a later time, but here is a snapshot of one road of the journey.

Losing weight has been a near impossible task for me since having Josiah. Really, it started while I was pregnant. I was in the best shape of my life before I got pregnant and remained very active during. But the scale wouldn't stop climbing, and even my doc couldn't understand what was going on. Ya'll, I know I have the kindest friends and no one would say anything, but I got big. Really big. And since having Josiah, I've lost a pound here or a pound there, but nothing significant. Training for a half marathon, I only lost 5 pounds. I've been eating sooo healthy and cracking down on portion control, but nothing! So I decided to try a program called Insanity after seeing the results of a few of my friends. But even during that first month I wasn't really seeing results.

Finally 3 weeks ago I saw a doctor, because seriously, I was FRUSTRATED.

And guess what?! It's not been my fault at all!! Turns out I've got hypothyroid. Yes, big word, let me explain. My hormones are out of balance in such a way that my metabolism essentially is running at the speed of slug. Big fat stupid slug speed. Aka you ain't losing weight sista! So anyways, started some medication to correct this and in two weeks I lost almost the same amount of weight I lost the previous two months. I've actually seen noticeable results in the past two weeks alone. HALLELUJAH.

And so, I plan on doing Insanity again, and this time I'm gonna kick those pounds to the curb!