Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bringing up Geeks

My husband is a school teacher and so we have made our way into conversation many times about the culture of cool. How parents really feel the need to push their kids into popularity or let them slide into it or even how adults who were never cool take their opportunity when they have children. Either way there is an obsession that we do not want our children to be a part of.

I have to admit I checked out a book from the library recently that I knew would jive with what I already believe about parenting. Sometimes you just need someone to encourage you along the way even if it is an author you have never met. I was in the parenting section because it is right next to the kids section and I had already selected books about trees and the sun and moon for my son. So, while he played, I skimmed the titles. I came across one that caught my interest "Bringing up Geeks: How to Protect Your Kid's Childhood in a Grow-Up-Too-Fast World." 

I think my parents brought me and my 3 siblings up as geeks and for that I am truly thankful. I am looking forward to raising my two boys as geeks also. I am also a little intimidated. It is not going to be an easy task. This culture really is obsessed with "cool" it is all around and more accessible than ever. But what is that true cliche? Nothing worth having comes easy.

People will scoff and say: "Let's see about that in a few years" but below I have listed those things that are very important to me as I raise my boys.

1) Looking people in the eye when they are talking to you.

This is about more than eye contact. This is about respect. Also in this world of cell phones and technology it is about being able to put it down for awhile and focus on a real person in front of you. Yes, something that bothers me very much.

 My son was given a Leap Pad last year for Christmas and he was only 3 years old. I was at least in Elementary School before I ever played a video game and I certainly did not have my own device to play it on. I have already had to learn how to limit technology and already had to have conversations about those limitations with him and people he visits with. I was hoping for at least a couple of years before I had to do this, but I have realized it is only going to get more difficult and it is one I am steeling myself for.

Right now he is allowed 25 minutes of play time on his Leap Pad every other day. He must earn watching a half hour of TV by accumulating 10 stickers on his "helping" chart. Or he may watch television with his dad on the weekend which usually consists of two Alton Brown "Good Eats" a really informative cooking show.

His list of okay television shows:

Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
Veggie Tales
Thomas the Train
Word World
SuperWhy
Good Eats
Shaun the Sheep
Timmy the Sheep
Bible Stories

No Calliou (whiny!). No Sponge Bob (ridiculous, questionable). No Word Girl (disrespectful!).  I don't even approve every Disney or Pixar movie. Brave. No. Not for a four year old. Toy Story and Cars. Yes.

2) Playing outside 

I actually notice a real difference in my oldest son's attitude when he plays outside more. Too many kids are at a loss when they get outside. He can play in his sandbox for three hours straight. Sand is not fun to clean up but I would rather that over him staying inside.

3) Being a lifelong learner (I actually have this phrase in large letters in our library)




Sure I want him to get good grades which equals a good college which equals a good job but more than that I want him to love learning. If he doesn't get a good grade but he worked hard I am happy. I want to help him find things he is interested in and pursue knowledge. I want him to be curious about how things work and why things are the way they are. I want him to be able to find information for himself. To explore. To love life and to be amazed at what surrounds him. I want life to be an adventure. I hate the purposefully cool "bored" attitude. Learn something. I want him to be child that is not afraid to be enthusiatic. Even writing that seems ridiculous but it isn't. When you are enthusiastic about things people laugh at you. But I don't want him to care about that. Which brings me to my next point:

4) Principled

Most parents would say that they want their child to be honest, upright, generous, etc. but I think one problem people have in this world right now is DEFINING those words. Everything is so relative now. The thing is that character really is not relative. Morality is not relative. But when a person cannot define what is moral they obviously cannot teach someone to live morally. Some things are right and some things are wrong. Some people will laugh at you, some people will stop being your friend when you stand up for those things. Tough. Living an honorable life is more important than people who cannot respect that.


5) True friend and Neighbor/ Friendly

A true friend is principled, of course, but it is worth mentioning this one as a point in itself. It is difficult to be a true friend. Sometimes you need to do things you don't like doing, sometimes you need to share, sometimes you need to apologize and all the time you need to be able to listen and to be aware of how you can love this other person.

When I am in line, an especially long line, I find talking with the person before me or the person behind me makes the line seem so much shorter, but I have also found that some people are engaged to their phone ( do I mean "with"?) or that they are not friendly. Many really enjoy the distraction too  after their initial surprise. I hope my sons can engage in friendly conversation. There is so much to learn from others. So much benefit that will never be garnered from their phone and the internet.


6) Team Player

Sports for children have become a BIG deal and with it another way to showcase your children or to live out your own fantasies- for them to be your living trophy. The thing is I want sports and competition to teach my child more than how to win. I want them to learn how to cheer on others, how to be principled even if it means losing, how to lose gracefully. And also how to master (as well as they can) a new skill.

7) Late bloomer

I want my kids to have a childhood. I don't want them to have shirts with wry phrases, I don't want them to dress in the latest trends, I don't want them to be savvy. I want them to have innocence and imagination. I want them to play.  I want them to know that romantic relationships can wait...for a long time. There is so much to explore, to know, to do. I have a pet peeve about "girlfriend" jokes. "Is that your little girlfriend?" or "Do you have a girlfriend yet?" Even his kisses to his friends that are girls are acts of friendship. I love his naivete about the world and their pettiness. They will not be allowed to have a television in their room or a computer in their room (or anything with internet capacity). Social media will be something they have to wait to do. Movies will still be screened. I won't know everything but because he is principled he will know right from wrong and, hopefully, make right choices.

8) Competent

Why do kids in this day and age dress like adults, talk like them, and yet have no idea how to sweep a floor, clean a room, do things for themselves? I want my kid to be a kid, dress like a kid, talk like a kid and know how to clean a room, do their homework, and stand up for themselves. I also want them to be able to take criticism from adults (whether warranted or not) and not rely on us to get them out of things they don't want to do.

9) Lover of Family

Sometimes my boys will be forced to be at home even if they would rather be out with friends. We will have family down time, we will not always have to have an activity or be on the go. They will talk to us, to each other and we will have traditions and things that set us apart as a family. They will roll their eyes but secretly they will love it. They will defend each other and us and know that no matter where they are, who they are, what they do their family loves them and there is always a place for them here.

10) Think for themselves/ Be themselves 

Like what you like. If you have read any of my other posts you also know that extends to the gender box.


I want to bring up a geek. I don't want them to be "cool." It took me awhile to figure out that I was a geek growing up. I was fun and pretty and smart but never included in the cool. I never understood until I realized that it wasn't so important and that I liked who I was and who my family was and that that was more important than being cool. That sounds a lot like confidence. Confidence will carry my boys further than cool will. Childhood and youth only last so long. Be a child. And when you grow up...well, I also read a book called "Geeks Will Inherit the Earth." Geek adults go far.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

When Your Mother Heart Cries

Well, baby boy number 2 has finally arrived and is at home with me now and is almost always in my arms. But before I could bring him to the place where he belongs I had to leave him in a place that he did not.

After hours of labor four years ago, I brought my first son into this world. They placed him in my arms almost immediately and he stayed there until they wrapped him up so that he could join my husband and me in my room. He stayed there with us until it was time for me to go home, we placed him in his carseat and he has been with us ever since.

3 weeks ago I labored  for hours but had an easier birth. I brought my second son into this world except that he didn't get placed into my arms right away. I looked around and waited expectantly, my husband says euphorically. They told me to hold on while they cleaned him up and then I heard low voices. They let me hold him for a minute and then took him away again. I was disappointed but knew that soon he would be where he belonged. Then they told me that he was breathing rapidly and that he would need to go into the NICU. I wanted to know what they meant and how long but they didn't know how long, they couldn't say. I couldn't process the fact that they were taking him from me, my labor had gone so well and this wasn't supposed to happen. I asked them if I could hold him and if his big brother could see him. They hesitated slightly and then said that we could. So, I held him and Elijah touched him and smiled and said: "I love my baby." But just for a minute and he was taken away from me.

Each day I was in the hospital I hoped that they would bring him to me but as the hours passed I began to realize that even bringing him home when I was discharged could very well be an impossibility. I went to visit him every three hours to try and get him to nurse. At some point my legs got very swollen and the nurse in the NICU did not realize that I was walking up to the room every three hours and not being wheeled up. She told me that the next time I needed to be wheeled up there and that I needed to rest. I took her advice because I felt as if my legs were going to give out. I wanted to make sure I was there with my baby.


The longer I stayed the more I could look around instead of staring intensely at my new one. I heard one mother singing to her child: "Just put your mind to it, you can do it" and in a soft mother voice that small rhyme made me cry. How long had she been there? What was her baby going through? Mine had only been there three days and seeing him with so many wires on his small body, knowing he had to stay there, that I had to leave him there, was torture. 

When I was "discharged" from the hospital on Thursday night my heart felt like it was breaking. We would only be 15 minutes away and we were coming back in 6 hours. We left at 11:59 the minute before it turned to Friday and came back at 6AM.  Around 5PM the next day the nurse in charge of him said that he was going to be able to come home with us that night. I was so happy I didn't know what to do with myself. Finally after paperwork and instructions they wheeled us out of the NICU. My happiness did not dissipate but I started to feel a weight on my heart as I became aware of every other mother that was in there, still by her baby's bed, looking at me taking my lovely one home. And I started to cry. I had cried so much that week: not being able to hold him, not having him with me, seeing him breathing rapidly and wondering what that meant for him. But now I was crying for all the mothers that saw me take him home after only four days.

And now my blessing is home where he belongs. I cry for happiness that he is here and in my head "Put your mind to it, you can do it" still plays in my head and I think of all the mothers and yearn for them to have their babies home too.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Little Man's Birthday Cake


So, yes, it is another recipe post but this seems to be the easiest option when you are about a month away from delivering a baby but you want to put something out there on your blog. Besides this turned out way more delicious than I even thought it would be.

I have to admit that when I looked up this recipe I typed in "Vanilla Bean Cake" because I thought it would be extra Vanilla-y if it was made from Vanilla Beans. I wasn't looking for a gluten free cake or anything but I got one and all the sweetening was natural and good for you. Nothing with Vanilla Beans came up in the search and  I found them too expensive anyway. So, I thought I would give this cake made with white beans a whirl.

My son asked for "Manilla" cake for his birthday and he loved it. My dad ate four pieces of the cake (but he still doesn't know what it was made out of) and everyone else finished their's off. So here is the recipe. I altered it quite a bit from the original source:

"Manilla" Cake:

Add to blender (or food processor):

3 Cups of ....cooked white beans, pureed (I used dry White Northern Beans, soaked and then cooked them) let them cool to room temperature so that they do not cook the eggs.

9 eggs

1.5 T Lemon Juice

2 T Vanilla extract

1/2 cup of honey

Puree well.


THEN ADD:

3 T Agave Nectar
3/8 cup of Coconut oil
1/2 cup flax seed meal
 1/2 t sea salt
1.5 t baking soda
2 t baking powder

Puree well

Pour into a 9 x 13 and bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes.

"Manilla" Frosting ( I did a very thin coating)

Melt 1/2 cup of White Chocolate Chips
Dash of Vanilla Extract
A little Heavy Cream
A teaspoon of butter
Whip it with an egg beater and then spread on the cake.




Saturday, September 7, 2013

Healthy Popsicles


So, I am sure that it is not just me that has a problem getting their child to eat vegetables. I used to think that it was a matter of parents not introducing vegetables early enough and not requiring them to be tasted. I am not sure if there is some influence in some other sphere that causes my son to think he should not try vegetables but my 3 year old declares that he doesn't like them (and then as kids like to do he contradicts himself and says he likes this or that vegetable for that day).

He has both been introduced early on and is required to eat at least a little bit each day. My husband heard a theory that our taste buds, when young, respond very negatively to bitter tastes as a means of protecting us from harmful substances. So, when children taste vegetables they react instinctively. I get that. Maybe that is part of it.

I have had some success by explaining that it is healthy for him to eat vegetables and by not allowing him to say that he does not like them until he has eaten some of what is on his plate. However, he still doesn't love them so I have to get them in any way I can and I have found popsicles to be an amazing resource. I would also like to note that he is aware that there are vegetables in his popsicle but he still loves them and I think that is an important step.

Through experimenting I have found ways to make a variety of colors. Kale and Spinach are virtually undetectable when paired with Banana and apple juice, I promise. I was a skeptic until I tried it. Now I regularly make banana spinach smoothies. So, green smoothies were my first experiment, but, then, my son wanted some orange popsicles and I knew the green juice would overwhelm any other color, what should I do? Carrots are sweet and orange, Squash is so mild-bam, orange popsicles! Then my son wanted red popsicles. I decided to go with a beet. It was risky but they have so much benefit nutritionally and, also, they don't have to be juiced because they aren't leafy so they puree perfectly. NOTE: I don't cook any of the vegetables, you don't have to and you get way more nutrition.  Guess what? Success!

My advice? Just don't try to go too far, sneaking in as much as you can, and pushing the veggie limit because then they will be unpalatable and you will not have won any battle. Not only do these get much needed nutrition in but he views them as a treat and soon maybe he will view a platter of veggies the same way.



Green Popsicle  (6 popsicles)

Juiced Kale or Spinach (3 oz. of juice)
Banana (1.5 large banana)
Apple Juice (2 cups)
Carrot juice (3 oz. of juice)

Red Popsicle (8 popsicles or 6 and a smoothie for yourself)

Beets (2 large beets)
Raspberries (1 pint)
Strawberries (1/2 cup)
Banana (1)
Apple Juice (1 cup)

Orange Popsicle (6 popsicles)

Juiced Carrot (5 oz.)
Squash (half a yellow squash)
Banana (1.5)
Apple Juice (2 cups)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Guys and Dolls


In a few months my son is going to have a totally new experience thrust upon him, one that will change his life from all he has previously known. He will no longer be an only child, he will become a brother. It is funny to think that the son in my belly will never know what it is like to not be a brother, he will always be one.

In preparation for the birth of this new one I decided to buy my son a doll. I could show him how to hold it properly, push it in the stroller, change a diaper, and all sorts of things that will be useful for him to learn. He can learn to care for a small person, to be gentle, to nurture and this can be a great thing even if he were not going to have a baby brother soon.  We do not buy many toys for him so this was going to be a treat. He only gets one birthday gift and three Christmas gifts, maybe some crayons or a book during the year. There are many people who love to get him gifts, though, but none have bought him a doll, I imagine it hasn’t crossed their minds either. Why? Because he is a boy.

The fact that boys aren’t supposed to play with dolls was brought home clearly as I tried to find a doll for my son. I am not ignorant or na├»ve, I understood in the back of my mind that, largely, pink and dolls aren’t acceptable for boys in the collective mind of society, especially the Christian community (do I want to “make” him a homosexual?!) It is interesting and frustrating to me that teaching a boy how to nurture is not a top priority and is, in fact, something people are a little uncomfortable with or downright adverse to. It was also interesting and frustrating trying to find a doll for my son and encountering what I have heard dubbed the “pink” aisle.

My son is three years old and will be four shortly. I let him know that we were going to find a baby doll for him before we ever set out on the mission, he was excited and couldn’t wait to get his “baby.” I had already perused the internet and Toys R’ Us was the only place that seemed to have a somewhat life like male doll. So, we started there. When I got to the store I wasn’t sure where to look and asked an associate for help. He looked at me surprised and said that he didn’t think they had anything like that. I told him I had seen it online and so he went to ask a superior about it. She looked at me sort of quizzically, said they didn’t have anything like that and was also surprised when I said that I had seen it online.  They looked it up and I was escorted to an aisle that was inundated with pink and light purple.  In fact, the only other color was the one male doll dressed in blue. It was twice as much as all of the other dolls and hard, immovable plastic.  I didn’t know what to do, this was the ONLY doll that wasn’t dressed in pink or purple, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. Now, I have written a previous post about my son and how he likes pink. I’ve bought him a pink cup and he admires it along with all the other God given (to every gender) colors. However, my husband has a qualm with too much pink stuff. Not that he thinks that God only set that color aside for little girls but he believes that although we should encourage our son to be his own person we shouldn’t set him up for bullying. I respect my husband and so I conceded when we went to the store for socks and my son wanted pink socks. We settled for white.  My problem with the pink aisle is that making everything pink and purple signifies to everyone that “this toy is a girl’s toy.”

If making everything pink and purple was not enough to warn you away, this is what is written on the box that you buy the doll in: “Soft baby dolls to cuddle and exciting features dolls ready to nuture are all part of the fun in You & Me! Young girls will love taking care of their precious bundles while pretending to be a mommy or a caring friend” and Toysrus.com: “You & Me baby dolls, baby doll clothes, and accessories let girls be girls while pretending to be adults. You & Me baby dolls offer collectible and pretend play time dolls that reflect the personality of every girl.”  Beside the use of “girl” it is certainly untrue that only pink and purple dolls will “reflect the personality of every young girl.”

I want my son to be able to pretend to be a daddy or “caring friend” and I want it to be encouraged among society at large. I know this is a large order with all that has been ingrained in us, but I am only stating my wishes. At the least I would like for opinions to be left to the people who own them.  To me the pink aisle is not only a discouragement to little girls to branch out, to be strong, courageous, brave, and thinkers (in addition to nurturing) but it is a symbol of the lack of encouragement we give to young boys to be gentlemen and loving fathers in our society. We think we are breeding “men” but our definition seems to be grotesquely skewed.  I realize that seems to be a lot of emphasis placed on one small thing, but to me it symbolizes a lot and that is what I am getting at.

My son is still only three and he hasn’t quite internalized all of this yet. He saw a doll he liked, picked it up and placed it in a violet heart stroller, he happily pushed it around the aisle while I tried to make up my mind what to do. The associate came around to see if I had found it and marveled at my son’s gentleness with the baby.  After a little deliberation I decided to check out a few more stores, my son was disappointed that he wasn’t able to take “his” baby home. Needless to say ( well not needless) the other stores had so many dolls and great accessories but they were all in your choice of two colors-pink or purple.
With some dismay, I went back to Toys R’ Us and bought both the stroller and the doll my son had picked out. It wasn’t until a few nights ago that I managed to make some new clothes and new seat cover for the stroller.

 
  


Tonight as we ate dinner my son told us that we needed to talk quietly because the baby was asleep. My amusement was replaced by a sweet feeling as he put his doll on the couch, grabbed a blanket from his bed and covered him up. I could hear him whispering quietly to the baby. He was letting him know that he didn’t have to be scared of bad dreams and he tucked him in “comfy and cozy”.



After dinner he spent a little snuggle time and gave his baby a few kisses before he was off to the park to hang out with daddy.


I want my son to be strong and courageous, to be brave and sure of himself. I want him to be a friend to the friendless, to have a heart for the poor and the weak, the lonely and the unloved-the old, the young, and children. I love that he plays in the dirt, makes towers and knocks them over, gets muddy, wrestles and races. I also love that he dances and signs, gives kisses, loves to cook, want to learn to sew, and tucks his baby dolls in for sweet dreams. I do not want those aspects to be teased out of him. I do not want that diluted manhood subtly hinted at and taken in by him. I am afraid because it is woven in and out and all around us.  Enough small things amount to something big-comments, looks, disapproval. Everyone from the stranger in the grocery store to his boyhood friends will help to prod him early on. My question is: “What are we actually teaching our boys both about themselves and women?” What value is it to extract things he loves and are of no harm-to suppress emotional expression, tenderness, gentleness and to promote a superior attitude and mindset? Strength and gentleness are not mutually exclusive- neither is logic and emotion.  If we all pondered this or believed it we could all accomplish greater things. There wouldn't be such a war between the sexes but a mutual respect for the abilities that each one has and what each one contributes.

I want my son to be a man who loves and honors God, his family, and his neighbor…strongly, gently, and unabashedly.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Modesty

Camp Swim Time

Now that summer is upon us my Facebook page is rife with posts about swimsuits and modesty. I want to begin by saying that I place a high value on modesty and have read both links I have received (one that is very popular right now of Jessica Rey speaking) and one that I have only seen once. Further, I want to say that I place a value so high on it that I am concerned with the way it is treated and taught in the church (when I refer to the church I mean the body of believers as a whole and the place we meet).  

I am troubled with the church in the state that is in today in quite a few ways and I freely admit that as a woman this particular aspect affects me. However, if it only affects me and not also a significant other half of the population I would not be so impelled to write about it. An attitude and teaching that is perpetuated like this keeps us divided, unequal, and therefore, makes it difficult to use all of one's abilities to reach out to those within and outside of the body of believers-to love our neighbor as deeply as we should, the neighbor that we see next to us in the pew, in a store, and on the internet.

The church I grew up in had a few rules when it came to any sort of outing and a large percentage pertained to the way we dressed, most of it being directed to the female population of the league of extraordinary youth. We had rules about sleeveless shirts, the length of our shorts, the tightness of our clothes, and, the most layered, what we could swim in. The girls were required not only to wear a one piece swimsuit but to also wear a T-shirt and shorts over the swimsuit. Don’t forget that the t-shirt could not be thin or white and the shorts still had to measure the correct length. And I don't mean TO the pool I mean IN the pool. The boys did have to wear a shirt as well.

We also had a Sunday School series that was called “Someday…A Marriage Without Regrets.” It covered roles of men and women, communication, etc., etc. I don’t remember a lot about it but I do remember a few scenes that have stuck in my head. I remember them as clearly as I would like to on an emotional level but not as clearly as I would like to for purposes of sharing. That being said, one particular scene: a girl-tall and beautiful- standing up in front of our class both boys and girls. The question was about modesty. When I say “modesty” I mean the definition that Christians have come up with to mean the way that a woman dresses. The boys were encouraged to answer as this girl stood in front of the class while the teacher said: “If _____ was your girlfriend and she was dress in such and such a way…” I don't remember specific words but I remember shame. I remember I wanted her to sit down, feeling embarrassed for her, I wanted to tell the proud answer givers my opinion but sat there, instead, knowing that a differing view was not actually welcome; knowing that I was an exemplary youth and that if I said something against it I might be looked at as less, embarrassed that I should be sitting in shame and not the in the glory that God made me- God’s glorious image. There was shame of my body, shame of sex, shame of being a woman. I remember being angry-angry that she was standing there helpless while guys were allowed to criticize her and all womanhood in a roundabout way; while guys were allowed to be above us; while guys were allowed to be unaccountable.

Once again, I believe that modesty is a virtue something to be pursued. I believe in the right of men to want a “lady” but also in the right of a “lady” to desire a “gentleman.” I believe that God calls all of us to help each other and that modesty in dress is beneficial. I also believe that modesty does not have only to do with outward appearance and that humility, modesty, and self-control should be expected in men. I believe that a man’s desire is not uncontrollable and that his lust is a choice. I believe also that there is a very real problem not addressed- this problem is that the church does not acknowledge the very real feeling, desires, and nature that a woman deals with as well. That the call for women to be the “gatekeepers” of purity leads to them having to tend to a man’s desire and hold back her own as well. It is taught that women are reactors so that any desire she feels has not originated in her but has come out of desiring affection or previous lack of affection in her life, want to please, or debasement. Ironically, while this shows our lack of spirituality a man can be fully spiritual when he admits to being lustful. In fact, he is now fully a man. 


The series that my Youth Group did led to many discussions about women and modesty both from our teachers and within the youth group from teen to teen. It led to male youth feeling "led" and very proud that they could come up to a girl and let them know that their particular outfit was "making them stumble,” thereby, shaming her but elevating himself somehow. There was no shame for their stumbling, only toward the stumbling block. No matter how hard we would have tried or decently we dressed their mind was their own stumbling block. There was no love and there was no humility. There was no modesty in their attitude.   

Modesty-

1.      Having or showing a moderate or humble estimation of one’s merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.
2.      Free from ostentation or showy extravagance
3.       Having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent.


PART TWO

We are all called to humility, modesty, and love. As men and women we are equal and different-then again, not so different really.  We must all uphold one another. We must not perpetuate women as less, women as seducers (I was taught about the “strange” woman and her luring of men), women’s desire as unnatural (looking only to please and for affection), women’s responsibility as sole gatekeeper, women’s gullibility.

One more story. I was on Youth Drama Team at our church. We regularly presented skits and plays before the sermon at our Friday night youth gatherings. So many of them were powerful and I remember being affected by quite a few of the characters I played, all in a good way even when it was painful emotionally. However, I do remember being required to be in a certain skit that I am still ashamed to have been a part. A boy in our youth group, being inspired by all of the talk about modesty and girl’s dress, wrote a skit. It was approved and my best friend and I were picked to do the two parts it required. I remember reading it and being conflicted, memorizing it and feeling ashamed and angry. The skit featured two female biblical characters (I believe it was Jezebel and Potiphar’s Wife) discussing modesty and all of the hurtful thinking that has been spouted by the Christian church was packed in that little space of ten minutes. I cannot even quote the script verbatim because I don’t have it anymore. I kept almost all of the scripts I received but not that one. I grimace thinking about that play. I was so ashamed after the skit I didn't want to come out of the changing room afterward. Funnily, I remember my best friend doing a pretend tease and saying: “Take it off, take it all off” while we were changing, which was pretty clever considering what we had just done. I think we were both ashamed Ironically, I did glance at myself and my outfit in the mirror on my way out and wonder if it met all the standards it should. 

This is all a problem because it focuses on how we relate to men and not to God. It makes our lives centered on them, not around God. It makes men elevated, and women left alone. It creates a culture that faults anything that happens to a woman's body and emotions to her lack of spirituality. It stunts women's creativity, talents, and gifts. It stunts the work the church can be doing in this world that needs us. Not just the teaching that modesty and the suffusion of male lust is up to the woman, but the thoughts that molded that idea in the first place and then the attitude it perpetuates.

Men, we will uphold you. We will try to act modestly, dress modestly, and behave so-for God. And we ask you to do the same. Act with humility and do not blame your lustful thoughts and actions on anyone but yourself. You are in control of them. Also, we need your help because we do not lack desire-physical desire. We have desire both for love and for your body. We enjoy the sight of your body, your looks, and your touch as well and not just when we are loved or think we are loved by you. We believe that you can be hurt by a physical relationship without love just as we can and that we can enjoy a physical relationship without love just as you can (though neither of us should). Act with modesty in speech, in manner, toward us. Act with responsibility just as we will.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer

Well, it has been so long since I have written that I don't think I am going to write an in-depth blog, just something to start the writing juices flowing again. I have been out of commission for a few months because I have terrible first trimesters. Yes, I am pregnant with a second one. Another boy! My first 16 weeks are terrible, the next are bearable, and then I get to week  20 and I feel as close to normal as I will get during pregnancy. I even did a Step class this past Wednesday which is a pretty intense workout. I had to modify some things because there are a lot of push-ups and jumping but I think I did pretty well and I didn't stop once which is saying a lot because the percentage of the class that stops often is quite high.

So, during this pregnancy, I learned a lot because it is certainly different when you have one already. Also, I am in  a completely different place then I was with my first pregnancy. During my first I was a Full-time Camp and Retreat Center Director alongside my husband, I lived in Hitchcock, Texas on the campground and we went to a tiny church that had probably one other couple our age. Now, my husband is a teacher, I am a Homemaker/Stylist, I live in Baytown, go to a mid-sized church with a few families that are the same age and in the same place. All those things add up to a different lifestyle.

Funny because summer always has me thinking of camp even though we were year round. I guess because the whole year was always a gear up for Summer Camp no matter what other retreat we were running at the time. During the summer I can almost tell what time of day it is just by sounds and the way the air feels and the sun shines. It is odd and beautiful and it leaves a small ache sometimes. Knowing. The fact that it seems to be in my blood but that it is not where I am called right now. But also knowing that I am happy right here and that it is exactly because I am not there right now. Splashing in the pool makes me think of it, being with a group of kids, even mowing the lawn. Now it makes me much happier than it used to. I mean remembering. I am glad to be able to remember in this way. I love summer.

I love my brown little son learning to swim, smelling sunblock, teaching baseball to him, feeling the kick of my new little one swimming in his own private pool, having my husband beside me for a few minutes when I wake up because he doesn't have to go to work yet. Love. Summer. Smiles.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Something Old, Something New

Well, as I told the owner of this shop, I thought I had discovered all of the resale shops in Baytown! Looks like I discovered a new one that I definitely plan on going back to.

I was perusing Craigslist for a desk and saw one I really liked located in Baytown. Score! I liked it and it was nearby. The price was not within my budget but I sent an e-mail and thereby got a lower price AND found a great new resale shop.

The shop is located at 120 S. Alexander at the corner of Alexander and Texas in the storage units which have apparently opened up to house local businesses. Choice Plumbers just got a space there too and if you ever need a plumber they are fair and do great work. Anyway! Here is the desk I got:




Love it!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Just a Thought

Just a thought I had today. People need people. I think people who say: "Who needs people?" are actually people who need them the most. The things they strive for, usually recognition in the form of "success" or fame, is so that they can say to all the people they did not need: "Look at me!"

It was just a thought as I was making my bed and thinking about how I get looked over a lot. How my little man gives me kisses when I am sad (or happy) and flowers just because. How he makes me feel more special than most people.

I was thinking about how I still need to be recognized for skills other than mothering to make me feel whole. Thinking about love and disappointment and setbacks, and goals. How life takes you places that are unexpected and that that phrase isn't as romantic as it sounds. How I need people and I can't say I don't if I am being real. I want to be real.

 I want to be a conduit of truth-either the waters of truth refreshing or the electricity that is shocking. Beauty is made up of truth. Symmetry or not. Everyone wants to beautiful too whether they admit that or not.

We need people. We want to be beautiful.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What I Wore to Church

I was so excited to find this shirt that I had to wear it to church the next day. My husband and I set out this past Saturday to hit some garage sales but the weather was not up to garage sales standards and we couldn't find any. So, we went to an antique store and Goodwill. We checked everything out in the store and came up with nothing until I was walking out and this blouse was on a mannequin. 

The skirt is a hand-me-down from my Aunt Marilyn years ago (and I mean YEARS like 15 or more). The belt is from a tunic shirt I bought a few years ago, good ol' black tights from Wal-Mart and the shoes that must be most featured on this blog, my black Nine West shoes I snagged at the Cookie Jar Resale. 

I've often thought of writing to Clinton Kelley and Stacey London to remind them that a super cute, appropriate, and chic wardrobe can be built around thrift store items. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me how to thrift shop. Also, thank you for letting me put together funky outfits because I know my choices probably made your orderly personality cringe sometimes. 




Friday, January 11, 2013

Dispel All the Dark

This isn't polished yet but it is still sort of shiny


Little child dream
Dispel all the dark
The dark that tries to bite you
And hide you in its cloak.
Make bright the world around you
Love all who you see
Wish and wish and wish
And climb every tree.
Dance in the puddles
Run in the rain
Laugh when you are joyful
And cry when you are in pain.
Emotions have value
Just as logic does
But let neither overtake you
Only let love.
And love until you burst
Because sometimes that how it feels
And sometimes you bruise your heart
When you’ve fallen head over heels
But laugh and laugh harder
Laugh at all the world
Because their ideals aren’t so important
As living life unfurled.
And living life with purpose
If that purpose only be
To live with love unfettered
And to be what you must be.
To know that God is bigger
Then you will ever understand
And you are living life secure
But not jailed by his hand.
People will always wonder at you smiling
Or for most anything at all
Except for being like them
And that dream is sort of small.
-Emily Chumchal Andrews

Culture, Part One


Culture, Part One

Plastic silhouette peel-off
On your mud flap
Bumper
Crumble it up and discard
When it isn’t shiny anymore.

-Emily Chumchal Andrews, C. 2010

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