Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sofia's Corner

Sofia has been moved from the baby car seat to the toddler car seat and she loves it. She still falls asleep but she seems to really enjoy the view.

Sofia with Daddy acting goofie and of course she loves it!

Picking up the mail!
Now, this video below is what Sofia is currently doing every day. She loves books! She will play with her toys very little but her books is what she's really after these days.

and besides reading she loves to dance. Her dresses are not fitting like they used to anymore, my baby girl is growing pretty fast.

oh and talk on the phone of course.

and more reading time with Daddy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rain! Yey!

Hey! This is what I call a good shot at rain! and it gets better, it looks like all week long! Thankfully, we were able to enjoy some pool time yesterday. Love rain in the summer time, now more that I find myself pregnant. Oh, and my water bill loves it too!

Quality Control

John and I, are of course, against this nationalized health care crap. Last week, I read that in Britain, they did not allow for a 22 year old to have a liver transplant because they (the doctors) concluded that this 22 year old man could not promised them that he would kick his alcohol addiction so instead they let him die. Hmm...of course, the mother had no option but was left to watch her son die fully knowing there was a liver organ for him. I'm not sure I want the Doctors and/or the government to have such a big decision on who lives and who dies. BTW: Britain does have a nationalized health care program just like Canadians! -Sandra.


Who Lives, Who Dies?
By Chuck Colson

In a world of rationed health care, what standards should we use to determine who lives and who dies? That depends on your worldview.

Maybe the single biggest issue in the debate over health-care reform is cost. By “cost” most people mean how we are going to pay for the president’s and Congress’s proposals.
But there’s a more important question of cost when it comes to health-care reform—that is, the price paid by the most vulnerable among us.

In a recent New York Times magazine article, ethicist Peter Singer explains “why we must ration health care.” Singer, a brilliant writer and a master logician, begins by pooh-poohing the idea that “it’s immoral to apply monetary considerations to saving lives.”
After all, Singer is right when he says that “we already put a dollar value on human life.” Mattresses aren't as fire-resistant as they could be because government officials have decided that it would be too expensive to save those additional lives.

Still, Singer couldn’t resist the temptation to play God. He rejects the idea that the “good achieved by health care is the number of lives saved.” In his utilitarian calculus, the “death of a teenager is a greater tragedy than the death of an 85-year-old, and this should be reflected in our priorities.”

How? Through the use of a “quality-adjusted-life-year,” or QALY. Say, for example, that people prefer living five years disability free to living 10 years with quadriplegia. Then, Singer reasons, when it comes to rationing health care, we ought to treat “life with quadriplegia as half as good as non-disabled life.” Believe me, he is not kidding.

What’s even more telling are the considerations Singer says we should not take into account—for instance, whether a patient is a mom or a dad. Thinking about a patient’s children, he says, “increases the scope for subjective—and prejudiced—judgments.”
As abhorrent as Singer’s ideas are, they are coldly consistent with utilitarian thinking that now dominates medical ethics. As early as the 1990s, Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the president’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, envisioned “not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.” Why? Because, he claimed, they are “prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.”

I’m sorry, but this is the same logic the Nazis used to exterminate the physically and mentally handicapped.
The only viable alternative to this horrific utilitarian and materialist vision is the imago Dei: the Christian belief that man is created in the image of God.
Being created in the imago Dei endows every person with dignity—a dignity that is not derived from the majority’s opinion (or a government definition) about the quality of their life or their contribution to society.
In the absence of this belief, every decision about the allocation of health care—and indeed about any area of life—becomes an occasion for the young and strong to impose their will on the old and weak.

The word for this is “tyranny.” And all the hand-wringing and rationalizations about the need to overhaul the health-care system shouldn’t distract us from the very real danger of nationalizing health care and granting government the power to decide whose life is worth living.
I say leave it to the family and the doctors as it is today.

Friday, July 24, 2009

John's Garden

I have fallen a bit behind posting on John's garden. But in the last couple of weeks, we have gotten more tomatoes and for the first time bell peppers! Along with more beets, garlic, peppers, corn, green beans, cilantro, basil, oregano and thyme. I hear broccoli is coming. I can't wait for that!

And carrotts! tons of them! Yesterday I bought a small bag of carrotts and today, I got more than what I got yesterday out of the garden! This year's crop has truly been a blessing!

Oh and pumpkins! tons of them! We are making sweet treats out of them. John was trying to hold them off for decoration for Halloween but my auntie said, heck no! We are eating them!
Below, is an experiment by John and my Auntie is helping him. John wants to grow an avocado tree (yes, I know, in Texas) and so far the seed is doing exactly what it's suppossed to do. We'll see.

Craigslist to the Rescue!

I am in search and buying mode all over again for a baby dresser and glider for our second child's room. We found exactly what...I mean, I found exactly what I was looking for when I was shopping for Sofia's room before her birth and I pray I find exactly what I'm looking for this time around.

I remember John expressing to me that baby's don't need glider's and/or dresser's and of course he changed his mind pretty fast after Sofia was born (I reckoned he didn't want to spend the money then.) So, this week John gave me the green light to start looking for these two items our new baby needs.

I am also struggling on the wall paint for the new baby's room. Since we are not finding what we are having colors need to be neutral. For some reason John was picking blue the other day at Home Depot...I looked at him and said, "you know something I don't?" -Sandra.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Seaman Photography

In order to pay for college, I decided to start my own photography business about 5 years ago. I did pretty good and paid my tuition and books without getting a school loan. Below is a job that I got recently to take a portrait for a Quinceanera, or a "fifteenth birthday girl." They throw a party just like a wedding and of course there is no groom. Parents can spend as much as weddings. And of course, what teenager doesn't want to look like a princess.

I took the Quinceanera to the Dallas Arboretum. We went early in the morning to beat the heat, even though it was already hot, I wanted to beat the heat before it reached 100 degrees. I took 36 different poses and it took about an hour and a half to shoot. I told John that I am going to start this business again next year (God willing) to help pay off a couple of our bills. Photography is one of my strongest hobbies; Black and White photography my favorite among all. I love developing B&W and only wish that some day I have my own developing room. But right now, I want a medium-format camera, the best of the best!

The picture below is the picture the Quinceanera picked for her 16x20 portrait. One of my favorites.

This was the second best.

This was the third best. There were others but unfortunately, this Quinceanera didn't smile much....I noticed she had some teeth issues so, I reckoned that was the reason she didn't fully smile in any of her pictures.

Monday, July 20, 2009

All You Need to Know About a Dog's Butt!

Our Chihuahua Dog Billy was not acting himself the last two days and I sensed something was up. I noticed his tail was curl down like he was scared or something so, I didn't think nothing of it. Saturday around 3am, I heard him scratch on our door which is very unusual unless is thundering pretty bad outside.
So, Sunday, I noticed he had trouble walking fast and he wasn't playing with me or our other dog Lenny. I told John that Billy was acting weird and that we better check what was wrong with him. So, John checks on him and declares him ill. He declares it as the "Anal Sac Disease."
I'm like, wait, he's had this before! So, on a Sunday there are very few veterinarian clinics open, but we found one, taking him to the pet hospital would have been too costly.
So, here's the rundown on dog's sac gland:

"Your dog has a set of anal glands placed on either side of their anus. In the wild these glands secrete scent which your dog uses to mark its territory when it has a bowel movement.For many reasons, sometimes these tear-shaped glands get blocked. This means that while more and more liquid is produced, none is being expressed into your dog's stools. Signs of blocked anal glands include bum scooting, bloody stools, strong odour or a swollen anus.Expressing your dog's anal glands is relatively easy. Use one hand to hold up the dog’s tail and pull it gently toward the head."
John tried to squeezed the glands but couldn't because it was too disgusting and Billy was already in pain. So $100 +plus bucks later the Vet did his job and put Billy on medication for pain and antibiotics so it won't get infected.
I hate seeing dogs in pain. Everyone knows that Billy is my favorite, Lenny is cool, but Billy is fierce like mommy. So, there's a lesson for you on a dog's bootie. -Sandra.

Praying for Marriage

Reflections on a Joy-Filled Day
By Mark Earley

I rejoiced at the recent wedding of my son to a wonderful Christian woman. And I was reminded how precious the institution of marriage is to our Lord.
Two weeks ago, my wife, Cynthia, and I witnessed the marriage of our son, Mark Jr. He is our third child to be married—we have six. As with the weddings of my other children, it was one of the happiest weekends of my life.

There is little more a father can hope for than to see his children grow to maturity in Jesus and to marry someone who also loves Jesus. Mary Alice’s face was astonishingly radiant as she and Mark stood together at the altar. And Mark’s face was filled with a sense of awe and wonder—as if he were asking, “Do I really deserve this blessing?”

The pastor reminded the young couple that marriage involves submission, humility, respect, and love. (I reminded them that a sense of humor helps a lot!) And we were all reminded that marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with the Church—a glimpse of the joy and unity that will one day be made perfect at the coming of His Kingdom.

As I stood there, assuming the position of best man, my thoughts kept flashing back to when Mark Jr. was a baby. Cynthia and I would stand over his crib and pray for his life and destiny. We prayed for a wife who would love God, love him, and love people. Now I was seeing the answer to that prayer some 22 years later. And it gave me renewed confidence in God’s faithfulness over the long haul.

I had recently been reminded by Mike Timmis, the chairman of Prison Fellowship’s board, to reflect upon the fact that Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding. He could have picked the most auspicious public event in the Roman Empire, but He picked a rural wedding. And he turned water into wine. Indeed, weddings, marriage, and all the solemnity and celebration that go with them are important to Jesus.

So now, after our celebration, I go back to praying—praying for my three children yet to be married and praying for our newlyweds. I pray that as romance and roses turn into diapers and dishes, their union would continue to bring honor to God, joy to them, and blessings to others.
But I also have to pray for the institution of marriage itself—especially within the Church. It’s no secret that marriage is on the ropes in this country, with anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce. Even worse, divorce rates among born-again Christians are about the same.

And of course, we’re witnessing the reinvention of marriage in America as something other than a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman.
But today, would you join me in praying for marriages around the world? Would you ask God to restore to His people a sense of the sacredness of marriage? Pray that God would defend the institution of marriage.

But most of all, pray for the marriages of your family and friends—and your own. Ask God to rekindle love, fidelity, and servanthood as the cornerstones of these holy relationships.
I know that’s my prayer for Mark, Jr., and Mary Alice.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Retrouvaille Weekend

For this marriage weekend beginning tomorrow, July 17th to the 19th, we registered 45 married couples who are desperately seeking help in their marriage with 3 couples calling it quits. As the Registration Couple for this past year, we have cried and prayed with many of them who find themselves desperate to save whatever is left of their marriage.
This job has been extremely hard for both of us. Many times taking us back to past painful moments during our fall, however, it has also been extremely enriching within our marriage because, God has used our testimony to give hope to those that don't think there is any hope out there. It is weird how God uses our fall to glorify him and to help others.
So, our journey as the Registration Couple for Retrouvaille ends as of tomorrow as we turn it over to a new couple. It is a bittersweet feeling. By that I mean as our family goes from 3 to 4 very soon, our time will be limited and it will be hard for us to give as much to it as we have been this past year. There has been times where we just didn't want to do it anymore because it can take a lot of you emotionally but we will also miss connecting with people who are seeking help.
What I take out of this past year journey is that no matter how great you think your marriage is, there should always be time for a tune-up before things change before your eyes.

We thank the Lord for this great opportunity to have served him. Now, we will wait on Him to give us our next assignment to serve Him. -Sandra.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baby Seaman No 2 Update

Not much to tell besides that I have gained more weight. I am currently at 24 weeks and I have gained a total of 14lbs. When I was pregnant with Sofia, I had gained 25 lbs around this time. So, I am below that but there is still plenty of time left to catch up. With Sofia all I did was sleep, eat and put my feet up. Now, there is none of that, Sofia keeps me pretty busy and I have no time to think of rest.

My next visit will be in three weeks and I will be taking the glucose test. I hate it. And in 5 weeks time, they will be doing the 3D Sonogram! Can't wait to see my baby's face!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

7/11 - John's BIRTHDAY!

My baby John celebrated his 36th birthday yesterday, July 11th. And even though, I used to go all out and surprise him with big presents and/or vacations, but now since our situation has changed he's just happy to be with us.

So, I have this co-worker who's also Hawaiian who told me about this Hawaiian restaurant that extended out to the Mainland (USA) called L&L Driveway. I was like, "yeah, I remember John taking me there when we were in Oahu." And my co-worker told me this place was as good as the one in Oahu.

Therefore, I told John about it and he couldn't wait to go and try it and see if it was as good as his hometown. Well, John gave it a 10 out of 10 and was extremely pleased with the taste. I had my favorite Soy Chicken. I don't venture out much when it comes to food.

Here's Sofia trying the Haupia while wearing a Lei in honor of her daddy's b/day.
Below is Sofia's reaction to the Haupia, I think she gave it a so, so review. John said, that he'll be bringing her out more to L&L so she can get used to Hawaiian food.

After L&L, we went out shopping for John. He bought shoes and clothes. I helped picked both. He's gotten so used to me purchasing his clothes, he rather leave the choosing up to me. I have no problems shopping, in fact, I took Sofia around the men's clothes to teach her a couple of shopping lessons. I told her first, go to the back and look for the sales rack.

Here is Sofia with daddy. She was, at first, somewhat confused, she was thinking we were heading to the girls shoe department.

Here she is looking lost and not very happy with the selection. She knew there was something wrong. She was right, we were at the wrong department.
So, after shopping at the mall, we stopped at John's favorite store, Sports Academy. Every time, I go with him, and I try not to go with him because it is not MY favorite store, he tells me "I love this store" more than twice.
This is John's Happy Birthday Sofia Dance. She seemed to pick up a little bit of dancing right at
the end.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is it a bird? no! it might be Rain!

As I drove back home yesterday at 5pm from work, the temperature here in West Plano was 102 degrees. As I descended down to East Plano, where my humble house is and yours as well, I started noticing the temperature dropping and dark clouds entering my view and to my surprise it was raining hard! The temperature was down to 75 degrees! Alleluia! I didn't mind getting wet as I stepped down from my car to Albertson's to buy milk for my baby.

And today, it might look like rain again. But we can't count on that either. Here's what the weather people are predicting for today:

"Heat index values will top out between 105-110 the next couple of days. An isolated t-storm is also possible today. Mostly sunny & dry through the weekend." Again, the word we want to hold on to is "POSSIBLE."

No, not fun at all. I want that 75 degree from yesterday evening . darn it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Independence Day and more

Tomato fest happenings at the Seaman's house. every three or 4 days, John was coming in with tons of them. My Auntie counted them and we got about 40 tomatoes. They are huge and delicious!

Here's my Auntie holding the tomatoes John had gather in two days time. She's a gardener herself so she was delighted with this crop. We got tons of beets as well.

Here's Sofia displaying one of her summer hats. This one is one of my favorites because is a reversible hat. Too cute!

Here's Jasper MacIvor. We babysat him for the July 4th weekend. Such an adorable and lovable dog. I wish I could keep him but his owners actually do love him. darn it.

And here we are at a 4th of July festival. It was HOT! We stayed for about a couple of hours and we left. I love this jogging stroller. Now I have to buy me another one; they are worth it.

And why go to a 4th of July fireworks event, fight traffic, fight for a parking space, walk where everyone gathers to watch the fireworks, walk back to the car, fight traffic again when all we have to do is get two chairs outside of our front yard and watch fireworks! Now, how good is that. This is one of the things, I will miss when we decide to sell our house. The fireworks in this video look small, but in actuality they are seen pretty big from our house. Besides, this is about the only time all our neighbors come out and greet each other.

The Pinnacle of Success?

It is pretty sad to have seen the way he ended. His whole image changed. He certainly wasn't happy with himself. - sandra
The Passing of a Pop Star
By Chuck Colson

So you might think that I am surprised by the frenzied and non-stop media coverage of the death of Michael Jackson—perhaps the greatest pop star of all time. But I’m not.
You may think that I don’t “get” why his fans by the millions are grieving, buying up Jackson CDs like they are going out of style, holding vigils at his mansion, desperately trying to get tickets to his memorial service in Los Angeles. But I do.

Here is why they have reason to mourn: Michael Jackson was, by any standard, a musical genius. His albums and his videos thrilled successive generations of pop fans. In fact, I was enthralled myself when I first watched his video presentation at an Epcot exhibit some 20 years ago.

There was, indeed, no one quite like Michael Jackson. And now there will be no new albums, no comeback concert tour, no new dance moves. That’s why they’re mourning.
But here’s why they—and all of us—should mourn the real tragedy that Michael Jackson’s story is. Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic Monthly blog said it well: Michael Jackson “was everything our culture worships; and yet he was obviously desperately unhappy, tortured, afraid and alone.” He was, as Sullivan noted, nothing but a creature of our culture, which puts “fame and celebrity” at its core, with money as its driving force, without regard for the person caught up in it or the character he exhibits.

By numerous published accounts, Jackson was emotionally abused by his father, a man consumed by the idea that his child could be a superstar. Jackson was a drug addict accused of pedophilia, given to all manner of bizarre behavior. He was, in the end, as Bob Herbert opined in the New York Times, “psychologically disabled, to the point where he was a danger to himself and others.”

It makes the scenes of adoring crowds pushing and shoving to get near yesterday’s memorial service, and the non-stop live television coverage, all the more bizarre and tragic. We worship the celebrity for his fame, degenerate lifestyle not withstanding.
Jackson achieved the summit of what this culture values most—fame—and paid for it with his life. And that is a tragedy.

Life is filled with teaching moments. And for parents, this tragedy is an opportunity to talk with our children about what they really want out of life—what matters most.
And it’s also a time for parents to look in the mirror and ask what we really want for our kids. If the answer is success in life, then we had better know what that definition of success is.
That’s because even Christian parents are not immune to the siren song of fame and fortune for their kids. It’s great that your child can sing and dance. It’s wonderful that he can hit a baseball a country mile. She just might win that academic scholarship to Harvard.

But winning that scholarship, or playing in the major leagues, is not the Christian definition of success. Doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with your God is.
Character matters. Not fame. No matter how un-hip that sounds.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Purpose Driven Life Exert

I haven't done one of these in a while, but this one is pertinent to where I am today. I feel God is leading me in the direction of leadership, and even though I have been contented with surface realationships. God is leading me to take it deeper. I wanted to find out why I was resisting and this one hit home. -John

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).When we’re full of fear and anxiety, we don’t get close to each other. We back off from each other. We’re afraid of being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, hurt, or used. All of these fears cause us to disconnect in life.This fear is as old as humanity. When Adam and Eve sinned, and God came looking for them, Adam said, “I was afraid . . . so I hid” (Genesis 3:10 NIV). People have been doing that ever since. We’re afraid, so we hide. We hide our true selves.We don’t let people know what we’re really like. We don’t let them see the inside of us. Why? Because if we let people know what we’re like and they don’t like it; we’re up a creek without a paddle. Tough luck. Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? Because if I tell you who I am, and you don’t like me, I’m in for it. I have no alternative. So we wear masks and we pretend.Fear does three terrible things to relationships:1. Fear makes us defensive. We’re afraid to reveal ourselves. We defend ourselves. When people point out our weaknesses, we retaliate and defend ourselves.2. Fear keeps us distant. We don’t let people get close to us. We want to withdraw, pull back. We want to hide our emotions. We don’t want to be open and honest. We become defensive and distant.3. Fear makes us demanding. Whenever we’re insecure, and the more insecure we are, the more we try to control. So we try to have the last word in a relationship. We try to dominate, control. It’s always a symptom of fear and insecurity.Where do you get the confidence, the courage, to take the first step in connecting with someone, to go into a deeper intimacy? Where do you get that courage?You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people but to be wise and strong (courageous), and to love them and enjoy being with them” (LB). How do you know when you’re filled with God’s Spirit? You’re more courageous in your relationships. You love people. You enjoy being with them. You’re not afraid of them because God’s Spirit is in your life. The Bible says “God is love,” and “Love casts out all fear.” The more of God you have in your life, the less of fear you’re going to have in your life. So the starting point in connecting with anybody is to pause, pray, and say, “God, give me the courage to take the first step.” You need to do that now with a person you want to connect with.