Grief Is Stupid & A Surprise Turnip

Grief is stupid. The world is broken.

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This beautiful beast is no longer with us:

CastielHer name was Castiel, she was 4 and a half years old, and we got her between having a miscarriage and be able to try to get pregnant again. She played fetch and would literally cuddle with you and take a nap under the blankets like a teddy bear. She would let the kiddo (or me) put weird stuff on her head, was super patient with said kiddo, and would literally play with her – shove duplos towards her, let the kiddo chase her, “boop snoots”, or just sit there, watch and “talk” while the kiddo played in her room.

She was absolutely fucking wonderful. She was also brain damaged. Seizures (she’d had small ones her whole life, but they were very infrequent), which became more and more regular. The seizure medication caused other issues, which stressed her out, causing more seizures. When she first got sick again in November, I told myself we could patch her up again – and we tried! We did all the things! But her little body was just done. When you’re on seizure medication 3x a day (and the third one that’s been tried) and on morphine, and you’re still having minute long seizures? Your brain is glitching pretty hard.

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Toddler and kitty shenanigans circa 2015

So on December 29th we put her to sleep. She died knowing she was loved, with people who’d loved her all of her tiny life, having her song sang to her. She was so very tired.

Grief is stupid, you guys. If you ever wanted proof that Creation is cursed, that something is fundamentally broken with how the world works right now, just experience Grief. Even the relatively small grief if losing a beloved pet (small compared to say, a child or parent) is awful. Every time I sat down or made coffee, my left hand was empty for days after Castiel died. Why? Because I didn’t realize how often I’d drop my hand to pet her, she was always there.  The first nap I took after she died I woke up sobbing and reaching for her, and even now, a month later, remembering her hurts. The toddling still asks about her, still reminds us that Cas had to go away because she was sick. There have been serious conversations about if Toddling would need to go away if she got sick, and a very upsetting episode when said Toddling took off her pajamas, threw her blankets out of her bed, was shivering, and thought she had the “shakeys” like Cas did (she’d seen the cat have seizures, it was unavoidable) and would have to go away. Great.
Grief is stupid. The world is broken. We need Jesus, so that not everything will be broken for always. Daily the curse on creation eats up things we love, yet we deny any chance at redemption. We stubbornly sit here declaring “There is no God! I bow to no one! He’s not MY kind of good, therefore He isn’t!”, like ants in the sunshine refusing to acknowledge a storm is rolling in. You’re getting washed away regardless, kid.


 

In other news, Gardening is January is pretty mellow. We planted collards, carrots, garlic and onions back in September, so right now we just kind of hang out and wait for them to ripen. Collard Greens are great, because you can harvest some, wait for some to come back and keep harvesting. It’s really the only thing we’re getting from our garden right now, but it’s something. A tasty tasty something.

I noticed when said Collards started coming up that one of them was a little different. Assuming it was just another kind of green that could be thrown in a pot, I didn’t think much of it and let it grow. Then, curiosity got the better of me, and I pulled it.

Surprise!
SUPRPRISETURNIP

That is a 1.6lb turnip. We have never purchased nor been given turnip seeds. Gardening is amusing in ways I never expected.

A Note On Halloween Costumes: Let It Go.

If your child says “I want to be a Disney Princess”, and you tell him or her they can’t because of their race, you are the problem. You are a broken, sad, possibly confused person, who has utterly lost the plot. 

Bless their hearts, some people are just born to suck the fun out of everything. I don’t know if God didn’t give them a sense of humor, or if they feel so guilty about something they’ve done in the past that they left their sense of humor behind, but oh goodness. These people are like black holes of emotion, sucking in everything innocent, happy, and joyous.

Like this poor dear, Sachi Feris, who wrote a piece about why her five year old daughter can’t be Moana. (spoiler alert, it’s because the little girl is white.). It’s on the blog  “Raising Race Conscious Children”. I tend to hate things like this, because they ultimately boil down to overly complicating race issues for children, shoving the horribleness of the world down their throats way too young, and/or possibly teaching little white children to be ashamed of their skin. Bravo, you joyless harpies.

If your child says “I want to be a Disney Princess”, and you tell him or her they can’t because of their race, you are the problem. You are a broken, sad, possibly confused person who has utterly lost the plot. Your crappy opinion makes the world a worse place for children.


You’re also – inadvertently or not – teaching your children that there are limits on what they can do, and enjoy, because of their race. You’re literally teaching them to put people in boxes based on race. Shame on you.

In the same way that Evangelical Purity Culture teaches women their value is in sex as much as Cosmo and Hollywood do, this particular brand of “Racial Awareness” teaches racism.

I understand that “race consciousness” is your gig, but your child is innocent, and her mother, of all people, should respect that. She’s a baby. She gets one Halloween to be 5 (or 6, since she wanted to be Moana next year) and you’re just teaching her she can’t, because of her skin color and your personal online branding. She doesn’t need to have her head filled with this crap. Are you going to tell her to go up to non white Rapunzel and complain about cultural appropriation of Germanic Fairy Tales? No, because that’s awful. Are you going to tell the mother of that non white child to consider not having her be Rapunzel? No, because that makes you a twat.

Why on earth would you do it to your own child then? You’re her mother. You’re her natural “safe space”, her defender and protector, and you’re talking down to her, limiting her, telling her to dream smaller, because of her race?

You probably give out Dental Floss on Halloween, too.

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Let me pause here to say I read the author’s entire post. I read a few of her other posts. I completely understand where she’s coming from, to the point that in a conversation with my Republican Husband I can argue her point of view.

I just think she’s wrong, unintentionally (?) mean spirited, and laying her daughter’s happiness at the alter of progressive political correctness.  But the more I look through her posts, the less surprised I am by that.

If you read the article she wanted her kid to be Moana’s sister, which makes no kind of sense when you break it down, because Moana’s sister would still be…wait for it.. Polynesian. The poor girl who wanted to be Moana isn’t even completely white, her dad is from Argentina. Oiy.

She also wrote a blog post with this title: Telling My White Four Year Old About Alton Sterling and Philando Castil (“But they (the police) don’t hurt White people,” my daughter digested and confirmed.” Statistics argue otherwise, but what are facts in the land of feels?) Other posts about how she dragged her children to anti Trump protests (I don’t believe in using children as a political prop, which is why my kid won’t go to political outings with me until she has an opinion of her own), and teaching her child about dissent on the 4th of July, instead of, you know, teaching her about how kickass this country is and how awesome it’s various cultures are, regardless of who’s president.

SHE’S FOUR. Why are you telling her about murder? Why on Earth?! My kid is almost three and I won’t let her watch the movie where Ariel’s mom doesn’t come back because she’ll have nightmares. Have you no respect for childhood? Good Grief. Sweet Baby Jesus, what is wrong with you? Are your children people, or props for your branding and tools to achieve your version of social justice?

YES these things matter. YES raising aware children and having the conversations with them to help them processes these big, awful things, matters. But at four? Really? The line is like ten feet behind you, lady.

Since the child’s father is from Argentina, she suggested her being Che Guevara. This Che Guevara:

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Alright, being honest here, I probably wouldn’t let my kid be Che Guevara.


Guys, there’s a line. We can have conversations about culture costumes (and yes, there are two sides to that conversation. One of them has a sense of humor), but there’s a hard line that most sane, kind, reasonable human beings from all political parties agree on, and that line is Disney.

There will be Black Elsas and Annas this year. There will be Asian Belles. There will be White Tianas and Moanas, and somewhere, a little boy is probably going to be Cinderella. I know of at least one adult Hispanic Marry Poppins happening this year and she’s gonna be cute as anything (I’m so excited to see her costume) Disney characters are all about being brave enough to be who you really are, working for what you really want, making your dreams happen. Wearing an awesome dress. 

Even if you’re _________.

My little white kid wanted to be Princess Tiana. Because Tiana “makes doughnuts and soup and does her chores and sings”. Quite frankly, these are amazing qualities to emulate, and good reasons reason to be Princess Tiana.

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Your flipping five year old is not trying to “appropriate” Polynesian culture or assert the “power of her Whiteness”. She’s a little girl, who thinks Moana is cool. LET HER BE INNOCENT WHILE SHE CAN. Let her not blink at whatever race being whatever Disney character. There are some things that our children don’t need to be aware of RIGHT NOW. I would go so far as to argue that it’s our job as parents to protect them from some of the ugliness of the world until they’re mature enough to process it. Racism is one of the biggest uglies in the world. Telling your child “You can’t do X because of your race” is a wholly inappropriate way to go about helping them process the ugliness in the world.

A conversation of “You can’t do this because your skin is X and your culture is Y” is not an innocent conversation to have with a child that just wants to be her favorite flipping princess. Limits because of race are not okay. Limiting a child’s imagination and super important pretend play because of their race is just wrong.

The world would be an awful place if we all stayed within our own culture. How much art would we miss out on without appropriation, how much beauty? How much personal growth would we lose if we didn’t poke our nose into other people’s ways of doing things, and let it teach us?

Let kids be innocent. Black Elsa isn’t “Black Elsa” on Halloween, she’s just…ELSA. Let it go, guys. Let it go.

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This is President Barack Obama about to give candy to a Black Princess Belle. He’s doing the right thing. Be like Barack.

Once More For The Kids In The Back

I have to separate the individual from the movement. I have to accept the individual on their own merits and character even if they’re a part of the movement I disagree with.

Just because someone voted for a candidate you hate doesn’t make them a bad person.

Just because someone voted 3rd party or write-in or didn’t vote at all, doesn’t make them a bad person.

It does not make them blind to any candidate’s faults.

It does not mean that they approve of everything that candidate does.

It does not make then guilty of or complicit in any bad things that candidate has done or will do.

People are nuanced. Very very few people are single issue voters. How about we not judge others based on who they voted for?

Yes, there are racist dicks who voted for Trump because he was a white male. Your internet activism isn’t reaching them, and your riots and violence are letting them think they’re right in hating people who disagree or have different skin. Stop it.

Yes there are ignorant sexists who don’t realize voting for someone because she is a woman is just as sexist as not voting for someone because she’s a woman. You calling them names and making fun of their looks just makes them double down on 3rd wave inter-sectional feminism. Stop it.

People have a right to free speech. That goes equally for Nazis, Black Lives Matter, End Of The World Doomsday Cults, and anyone else you can think of.

You should respect their rights in the same way you want your rights respected. This is how civilized society works.

What people do NOT have a right to do is harm individuals or property. In the context of public discourse, words =/= violence, unless they are giving direct orders to enact violence, as in “GET ‘EM!” or “BURN THEIR SHIT DOWN”.

Someone exercising their right to free speech – be it abstaining from anthems, or holding a really damn offensive sign – is not violence against you.

 

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I’ve seen people on the anti Trump side say “Oh, we’re not condemning them, we just need them to see how awful they voted and decry their choice now”. Guys, that’s basically the same thing. It’s a nice way of saying “You need to debase yourself and say I was right all along and you’ll listen to me next time or I’m going to defame you and call you names”. WTF? No. Stop. If you’ve done this, I forgive you. Fully. But please, really, stop it. It’s not helping. It’s making people rally against the Democratic party/ Progressives / etc even more. It’s basically campaigning for Trump in some ways.

If you’re still rubbing it in a Hillary Supporters faces that they lost, stop it. That’s not gracious, and it makes you a dick. We know that Trump is POTUS, and so do they, regardless of how many times they hashtag that he isn’t. You’re turning people off of any chance of having a rational conversation. Losing with grace matters. Winning with grace matters just as much, assholes.


 

I voted for Trump. Am I 100% happy with everything he’s done? OF COURSE NOT. Would I vote the same way if the election were held again today? You bet your ass I would. I didn’t see the other candidate’s POLICIES as worthy of my vote. They were not a direction I believe the country should (have continued to) head in.  The other candidate believed in some things that would have been very bad, I believe, for our nation and my family. So no, even if she’d been the flipping Pope, I wouldn’t have voted for her.

 

BerkleyVictim
This poor dude was beaten by an angry mob for peacefully supporting President Trump. They then mocked him on social media for peeing his pants. While being beaten by an angry mob. This is a snapshot of a larger problem.

Even though I personally cannot stand her, if her POLICIES had been better, I would’ve have strongly considered and likely voted for her, in the end.

Can we please start talking about ideas, and not continue the great character bashing of our online acquaintances and political opposition? Calling people names doesn’t change hearts and minds, it just rallies people around a common cause.

Can we discuss ideas without using whatever victim hierarchy we need? “Black Lives Matter” is not a full argument. Neither is “It’s A Child, Not A Choice.” People are complex and nuanced, HISTORY AND FACTS are more complex and nuanced (and so awfully boring), and if we are ever to heal the great divide in this nation, BOTH sides are going to have to “give” some.

Let’s use for our example, abortion. Something on which nearly everyone has an opinion. Holding out for “ABORTION ON DEMAND WITHOUT APOLOGY” is not compromise, it’s not meeting in the middle, it’s complete obliteration of the opposing side. And “COMPLETELY OUTLAW ABORTION AT ANY STAGE, JAIL TIME FOR ABORTIONISTS AND MOTHERS WHO ABORT”  is not compromise, it’s not meeting in the middle, it’s complete obliteration of the opposing side.

Neither side is seeking to understand the other, much less build a nation and society with the “other side”. Pro life people 100% think that abortion is child murder. If they weren’t so riled up about CHILD MURDER it would be a little weird. Pro choice women literally think and have been taught that giving a child in the womb personhood denies the mother her own personhood and self ownership. If they weren’t so riled up about denying women self ownership, it would be a little weird.

COMPROMISE ON THIS ISSUE WOULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS: No government funded abortions, no government funds to organizations that do abortions such as Planned Parenthood, regardless of allocation of government funds. Abortions illegal after 12 weeks (after a short waiting period) unless there’s a medical issue with the mother or the fetus (this 12 week cut off is what some other 1st world countries do. I didn’t pull it out of my bum).

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This isn’t helpful. Not even a little bit. It’s just pretty freaking awful. Scared lonely mothers need compassion and assistance, not the threat of charges hanging over their heads.

As an anti abortion person, I am not 100% happy with that. I promise you that no pro choice person would be 100% happy with that. But both sides get something, and that’s what compromise looks like. Politically, we ALL need to start looking at compromise, before we get another civil war.

Look at that person who voted for a different candidate. Why did they vote differently? Why are you taking that candidate’s actions and using them to judge that person’s character? If this person supports Black Lives Matter, why? Do they have bad data? Do they have information you *don’t*? Was someone they love the victim of police brutality? If this person waves a Confederate flag, instead of just calling them racist, do you know why? Do you know the long drawn out complex reasons that some think the Civil War was justified? Do you understand that those reasons have nothing to do with slavery and everything to do with the Sovereignty of the States, which is an currently ongoing political battle? Does the person you’re trying to take the confederate flag from think you’re trying to take part of their identity and culture because it’s this flag has grown to mean a lot more in the last 200 years? Do you care? Or is it just easier to scream racist, police what flags they’re allowed to fly, claim moral superiority and call it a day?

When was the last time you saw your opponent as a person, instead of a pile of symbols? A pile of symbols and slogans that you and that opponent might assign different meanings to? When did you last listen and try to see the hearts and the life of a person that puts them where they are, making the choices they have?


To get personal for a moment – I hate Black Lives Matter the movement. I think it’s a terrible reaction to an actual problem (police brutality) that has worsened race relations in this country, and doesn’t intelligently or usefully address the actual problem at all. The movement would happily crush myself, my husband and my daughter, then dance on our bodies because of our skin color. I fear groups of people with BLM shirts and signs, I fear for my safety and the safety of my child. I could go on for an hour about my problems with the movement, but just so we’re clear, I disagree with it’s actions, and I see it as just another form of racism in actuality, and the actuality is far divided from the rhetoric in many cases.

However.

Not everyone that is a part of Black Lives Matter is an ignorant, foolish, racist person. Many who are vocal, who make stupid tweets and say stupid things are,  but I can’t assume the person in front of me, or on my twitter feed, or facebook is. It’s frustrating. It’s difficult.

My gut instinct is to feel that people who are very pro “Black Lives Matter” are very anti my family. Us vs Them. But I have to fight that instinct in my gut that says ‘THEY HATE YOU, BE AGAINST THEM” and talk to them as people. Share links, share information. Share, don’t condescendingly scream, is if one tweet makes your argument. Ask them why this data and that data.

Turns out, you can’t tell if a person is racist based solely on their stance on Black Lives Matter. Some of my friends who are very active parts of the movement I would trust with my daughter’s life, no questions asked.

At the end of the day/tweet storm/ conversation, if they haven’t said “I think white are horrible and shouldn’t have rights”, I need to treat them as if they aren’t against my family and myself because of our skin color. I need to force myself to believe the best in them, even if we both walk away still disagreeing. I need to see them as a person of value, of humor, of whatever their personal character – which is so so so much more than politics – is, not just this one or three labels of their politics that I disagree with.

I have to separate the individual from the movement. I have to accept the individual on their own merits and character even if they’re a part of the movement I disagree with. We all do.


We – you, me, Keith Olberman and Tomi Laurhen – need to start seeing the “other side” as people, and having conversations about these things.

Conversations that are longer than a meme or 140 characters.

Conversations where we listen. To broken and scared hearts.

Conversations where we can both walk away with different opinions, still, but see the other person as person, and go forward attempting to live peacefully and build a society with that person of a different opinion.

Conversations that maybe, just maybe, don’t have a damn thing to do with politics, where we can just enjoy the company of another human being and let their hearts and minds add to the richness of our lives.

If you haven’t had a cup of coffee or a meal with someone you vehemently disagree with politically in recent memory (like, a week or two), I strongly urge you to do so. And don’t talk about politics. Talk about their lives, their kids, their favorite books and their dog and their mom’s health. Ask how their baby is. Talk to the person. Love the person. Leave the politics at the door.

These conversations are good for us. They heal us and add to us as people. If we have enough of them, we might start to heal the nation.

 

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Why Does My Shoe Still Smell Like Dog Poop After I Scrape It Off?

I am a spiritual being living in a tainted, abused, scarred and imperfect meat suit, and sometimes the signals my meat suit is sending my soul are just wrong, and I have to survive their war for another day.

I am frustrated. I am hurt. I am mad. Today I have poop on my shoe.
You know how you can step in dog poop, and scrape it off, maybe rinse off your shoe, go about your day, and then randomly later that afternoon, you realize you still smell dog poop?

That’s how being raised IFB / Old Paths is for me (and many others). That’s how being abused (in any way – physically, emotionally, sexually or spiritually) is for many people, even years after the abuse ends. It’s not unique to those raised in cults, but my personal abuse came from being raised in a cult.

I’ll be having a good day, then something – a phrase, an asshole’s tweet, a song – will trigger a memory or a feeling and I’m plunged back into that utter helplessness you feel growing up as a girl, a clever girl, in an “Old Paths” church. Then all day, the smell of poop follows me around. Only it’s not really poop, it’s anxiety and second guessing and self hatred, because that’s what Old Paths “churches” teach their children.

It continues to boggle my mind how people lost in this cult can say they’re doing the “right” thing, be so sure in their own holiness, and turn a blind eye to those their cult has hurt. They seem to continually double down on their self sanctification through works and judgement, and claim that those who are victims of their schemes of self sanctification have brought pain on themselves through “sin”. Those who are “In” at the church are never wrong, even if everyone knows they treat their wife like crap or have a serious porn addiction. If you want proof of how utterly lost these people are, just see how they follow, quote and demean those on social media who would call them out on their lies and abuse. I’ve been called demonic, a Jezebel, a horrible mother, a neglectful mother (because I don’t beat my child AND because she fell off playground equipment and was fine), a liar, a busybody, and the list goes on. I’m sure they’ll add to it soon. Because that’s what they do when someones hurt, they call them names. They show their true colors in their pettiness and name calling, these same ones which profess to be the experts on all things Holy and “Separate”. No, they’re just a different flavor of the same pride and arrogance that befalls most of Western Culture. At least some of us admit we’re a hot mess.

The “sin” for which others are shunned and doomed and degraded is usually disagreement or questioning. It’s quite rare that an Old Paths preacher preaches against actual, biblical sinning. At least, not with any coherency or educated context. They preach that women can’t wear pants, but they themselves don’t keep the commandments within the same chapter. To justify this, they make up some term through their own understanding (upon which Old Paths preachers lean heavily) and twist verses out of context from crappy translations to justify it.

You cannot keep up with these laws. You aren’t supposed to, by the way. They were designed to show us how desperately we need God, not laws, to save us. The Old Testament Laws point to Christ. The entire Old Testament points to Christ and how desperately humanity needs Him. That was the point. The New Testament church is absolutely supposed to be separate – not in clothing, religious boasting or loud prayer, but in their attitude, humility, and how they care for others.


I realized, sitting in church this Sunday, that the church I was raised in would not have flourished during Hurricane Irma. The pastor I was raised with would not have spent his entire week with a chainsaw helping out not only fellow church members, but other neighbors who weren’t related to the church at all.  He wouldn’t have canceled services – indeed, many times as a child we drove through dangerous snow to get to church, to show how much we “loved Jesus”.

This kind of Christianity – the get sweaty, get your hands dirty, share your AC with people you barely know kind – is the kind of separate the church is commanded to be. It’s difficult, it’s beautiful, it’s overwhelming and it’s true humility and service, which is different than self hatred and legalism. This kind of “freedom” from legalism demands so much more of a person than I ever expected.

It’s painful sometimes, like the ripping off of a band-aid. THIS is what “church” is supposed to look like. THIS is what was missing. Why didn’t anyone love me enough as a child to take me out of a cult and find THIS? I am so broken and spiritually exhausted, how can I ever contribute to this anyway?

 


Sometimes I can snap myself out of a funk. Sometimes I can honestly just meditate on how much Christ loves us, how much God loved us to send Christ, that I remember deep in my soul that we are *not* supposed to live in fear. I can play with my child and soak in the gratitude of her life and innocence, and remember that God Almighty loves us this way. Some days, 5,000 repeated plays of “Shake it off” & “Dandelions” can’t help with this feeling, and there’s no way out but through.

It is on these days that I have to accept that I am a spiritual being living in a tainted, abused, scarred and imperfect meat suit, and sometimes the signals my meat suit is sending my soul are just wrong, and I have to survive their war for another day. It’s a fight to be healed, it’s a fight to be healthy, and it’s *okay* to just accept that some days the signals your brain is sending your soul are wrong and you just have to hunker down and survive.

Whatever the poop on your shoe may be today, random internet person reading this, I am hoping and praying that you are overwhelmed with God’s love for you.

P.S. In case you are unfamiliar with the “Dandelions” to which I refer –

I Have The Best Husband

Today was not the GREATEST DAY EVER. I got an ocular migraine. Which for me, is usually followed by a regular skull splitting migraine. Despite the fact that I’ve had them since I was 10, ocular migraines always flip me out and give me massive anxiety.

Hi little blog that I haven’t updated in a month due to emotional turmoil and lack of sleep.

Our garden is mostly “done”. It’s just sitting and hanging out until it’s cooler, with the exception of some pepper plants and the moonflowers.

This phase always makes me feel melancholy. Everything is hot and dead and everything seems to have the life and color sucked out of it by the unrelenting heat and sun. Nothing feels fertile. Then it rains, and it’s beautifully verdant for an hour to a day, and again the sun comes and claims even that beauty. And so the cycle goes.

I miss autumn. I count the days until the light slants again and paints everything gold, rather than bleaching the depth and richness out of the world.


 

Today was not the GREATEST DAY EVER. I got an ocular migraine. Which for me, is usually followed by a regular skull splitting migraine. Despite the fact that I’ve had them since I was 10, ocular migraines always flip me out and give me massive anxiety.

I also sent a really *REALLY* long email that I’ve been praying about and crying about and editing and re editing for over a month that could be a big huge thing God uses, or could be a giant can or worms that ruins my relationship with my parents. Huzzah!

The proper thing to do when met with massive anxiety is to, of course, frantically message your husband walls of text while he’s at work. My husband, being the reasonable person he is, told me to put down work, take some meds, sit in the dark and cold, watch tv if I needed to.

He also took it upon himself to bring home drive through junk food for dinner so no one had to cook, and a venti coffee for me to go with my tacos.

This man. Y’all.

This is an old old old photo

 

We fight. We have our issues. The first few years of marriage were really hard in ways I was completely unprepared for. But he loves me, in ways I was not and still am not able to fully comprehend. He does not keep score the way I was always taught me husband would keep score, or grade me, for being a wife. He sees me as his equal in ways that I do not and may not ever fully appreciate, while at the same time leading me and our family, and stepping in to take care of shit when I am just too tired or in too much pain to deal.

The hair migrated south to his face.He’s clever, and kind, and a little bit twisted, but in the same ways that I am, mostly. I couldn’t have made a better father for our kid if God had let me design him myself. And yeah, he’s damaged. He’s not perfect, but neither am I, and the pressure of living up to a perfect spouse is something that I don’t think I could handle.

Also his butt is like so amazing.

Inferno

thatnewcrunchymom

An inferno rages within

Of heaven, madness, and sin

And everything that has ever been

On top of this volcano you’ll see

Everything I’ve ever professed to be

And that my freedom is not reality

Smoldering ashes grace the sky

Rage and anger keep me alive

By blood and ink I will survive

Your sweet attempts to pull me back

Will prompt the monster to attack

Due to the words that I lack

I won’t speak because I know

The truth that boils just below

To keep you from it I will go

Into the inferno
Inferno

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A Small Family Thank You (& dreaming garden update)

Following Big Family Homestead (and others in the homestead community) has also given my husband and I a shared dream again that isn’t being crippled by our current finances or his job frustration.

You guys, being married is hard.

Hard in ways that I never could have fathomed before we got married. Not hard in the screaming yelling ways (though we’ve had our share of that) but in the “we just aren’t connecting” ways. It takes time to be good at it, and when you master one thing you find another that needs work, or you’ve been so busy on mastering this that you have to backtrack and fix things you hadn’t been focused on.

Parenting is also hard in unexpected ways. It requires much patience and you can’t be assured of a good outcome until much much later.

Making a French Press of coffee instead of using yee olde drip pot w/pre ground dirt, also difficult, sometimes finnicky, more time consuming, and requiring patience.

It would seem that many good things in life are this way. So of course my weird little heart is starting to fall in love with our garden and dreams of a homestead of our own, where nearly everything is much work, not assured outcomes, and oh, also, this is how you feed yourselves.

It was in one of these difficult seasons of marriage that my husband and I realized we had no hobbies in common.  I like to sew, paint, write, read & cook. He likes to game, both tabletop & video, do gaming related things, and shoot. Our interests don’t overlap as much as we thought they did when we were dating.


So we found ourselves, five years in, with a tiny baby, having month leftover at the end of the money, overall pretty crazy about each other, and in agreement on The Big Things – religion, finances, parenting, politics (ish), and the overall quality of Vin Diesel films (Sci Fi yes, Cars no). But we didn’t have anything to *do* together. Gaming early on in our marriage was disastrous for many reasons I will not go into here. So we prayed.

And we thought. And we prayed. And we thought. And I stumbled upon these lovely people –

Brad & Christa of Big Family Homestead have been a huge encouragement to me, personally, and also kind of set us off onto the “eventually we want a homestead of our own” path. Husband has always wanted to be off grid, and I’ve always loved growing things, but we didn’t know/realize that there was a community for this, a cohesive term for the thing we both wanted but couldn’t name. We thought we were just weird. Maybe we are weird, but we’re not alone in the weirdness.

Big Family Homestead is very open about their homesteading journey and the realities of their life/finances/etc. Brad does short devotional type videos, and for someone who’s has issues with church, and is slowly dealing with that hurt and baggage, crawling her way back to the Body of Christ after being deeply hurt – it’s safe. He’s not telling me I’ll go to hell if I don’t do X Y and Z, but rather just saying “Oh hey fellow Believer, here’s a thought, perhaps you can think on this too”. Christa homeschools or has homeschooled their SEVEN children, which gives me hope that if she can handle seven (and not look like a hot mess all the time) I can probably, maybe, handle one, and not cripple her little mind. She also makes amazing breads, and I have taught myself to make Husband bread following their videos (Bread! Demystified. Woo!).

Following Big Family Homestead (and others in the homestead community) has also given my husband and I a shared dream again that isn’t being crippled by our current finances or his job frustration. It gives us something to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon when we can sit down and watch homesteading videos on projects we’re dreaming of or attempting the next seasons and work to do together when it’s sunny. We aren’t an active part of the community like some because we don’t have a youtube channel, and we don’t have a homestead yet – we have our little dreaming garden – but it’s something we share and enjoy, and I love it. I’m pretty sure he does too.

While there are many in the Homesteading side of youtube (I’ll link to some other channels at the bottom) what I love about Brad and Christa is that they explain things in such a way that you think “Oh hey, I could probably do that!”. They don’t put on airs. Their house looks like a house full of children and family instead of like a magazine, they speak frankly about the realities of caring for a special needs child (one of their children has a g tube among other health issues) and their content (with the exception of perhaps goat birthing) is very toddler friendly. To the point that my toddler gets excited to watch new “FAMY HOSTEAD”. It’s adorable.

Despite all the crap they’ve been through in life, Brad is happy and upbeat. Christa is pragmatic without being bitter. I guess it’s easy to seem that way online, if you really really want to put forth the effort to be fake, but I really don’t think that’s the case here. I think they’re just genuine people who love God and love their family and love homesteading. They’re moving to a new farm, from a one acre homestead to a 30 acre farm with barns, and they’re sharing the journey of moving and setting up the new place. I’m so excited to watch.

If you’re even vaguely interested in homesteading, homemaking, or just watching interesting things, I suggest you take a look at Big Family Homestead. Aside from the information in their videos, BFH means a lot to our little family.

So, Brad & Christa, should you ever read this, from the bottom of my heart, Thank You. We are so excited for what’s happening with you guys, and to watch/support you in the journey God has you on.


 

Oh hey, speaking of gardens, I have a little one. Stuff is happening. By “stuff” I mostly mean stifling heat, but none the less, not everything is dead, so here’s where we stand in mid July:

Tomatoes. We have fruit! But this fruit was already setting before the blight got bad.

Tomatoes, Abe Lincoln
Tomatoes, Abe Lincoln
This is gross AND frustrating! Double points.
This is gross AND frustrating! Double points!

This is still happening, even after treatment/fertilization. I am much frustrated. Yes we have fruit, but we don’t have abundant “LOOK I CAN MAKE SAUCE” fruit. We have “1-2 sliced tomatoes with dinner a week” fruit. We’re still buying tomatoes at the store. I don’t see any fruit that’s set (or any more flowers) since the blight got bad, so I don’t know if we’re “done” after this and should just yank the plants, or if we wait and see.

Our Bean Box! You could say we’ve let it get out of hand, but that would imply we ever hand it “in hand” and knew what we were doing. We’ve had four dinners with beans (five, maybe?) have have 2 big bags of frozen beans in the freezer. So that’s something! Does anyone know if you’re supposed to prune/trim pole beans? Asking for a friend.

Green Beans
Green Beans box o’ doom.

 

Tasty dinner side. No we didn't eat the huge one.
Tasty dinner side. No we didn’t eat the huge one.

That box is going to have all the bean plants pulled at the end of this month, get a month or so to bake in the glorious southern heat (maybe with a light layer of DE on top? We have beetles and snails) before having more dirt/peat moss added and amending the soil for our fall garden. Is it really a fall garden here though, when it’s horribly hot into October?

We’re hoping to try some broccoli in the fall (low expectations y’all) and are going to plant a lot of collards again this year b/c they did SO WELL last year, we were quite pleased. Husband really wants to attempt carrots even after last years dismal experience, so we’re gonna to try pots now. Pots of carrots on a patio in the South. Okay.

Speaking of planting, we got seed mail today. I was so freakin excited. Also, they will allow you to order stickers and a magnet for free. These (plus broccoli) are what we’re going to attempt for fall/winter. Any tomato container gardening  in the south advice is welcome:

SEEDMAIL

Big Family Homestead does a “seed swap” every spring, and we participated this year. We haven’t planted all the seeds we got, simply because we have to do everything above ground, and dirt/containers ain’t cheap y’all. I think this is a large part of my frustrations. Just planing something is a considerable time/energy/money investment, because we can put NOTHING in the ground here. Then it doesn’t bear fruit, and I feel like I’m wasting the limited resources we’ve been blessed with. But I’ve also learned that half-assing it doesn’t cut it. You HAVE to get good dirt, you HAVE to fertilize, you HAVE to water 2x a day on days it doesn’t rain, otherwise you’re just wasting money to enjoy cute seedlings that never produce food.

So of the seeds we got sent this year, here are three of the things that are actually doing quite well:

Behold! The Mighty Moringa! Husband takes capsules of this and it really helps with his back pain. So we're hoping to grow our own.
Behold! The Mighty Moringa! Husband takes capsules of this and it really helps with his back pain. So we’re hoping to grow our own.
Jalapeno. Which of course we eat very little of. Most of these will be given away. But look at how beautiful!
Jalapeno. Which of course we eat very little of. Most of these will be given away. But look at how beautiful! Dear other Peppers, take the hint.
Egyptian Spinach. This stuff is doing amazing in the heat here, and is really darn tasty.
Egyptian Spinach. This stuff is doing amazing in the heat here, and is really darn tasty.

The Moonflower (seeds I sent in for seed exchange) is finally starting to cover the bit of fence by the door. This makes me stupidly happy.

JulyMoon

Bonus garden friend

He was about the size of my pinky fingernail.
He was about the size of my pinky fingernail.

 

So there’s where we are with our little dreaming garden. There are some of the people who have helped us recognize our dream, and here are others who are just so willing and happy to put gardening/homesteading content out into the world, and absolutely worth looking into :

Guildbrook Farm – family homesteading in North Carolina. Good canning/gardening/prepper info. Thoughtful explanations of how they got where they are and why they do what they do.

An American Homestead – Completely off grid homestead in the Ozarks. They don’t have a washing machine or flushing toilet, so maybe too hardcore for me. But I admire and respect what they’re doing, and they’re full of good, practical info.

Deep South Homestead – Older couple homesteading in the south, full of practical wisdom & southern charm.

David The Good  – This guy is really passionate about composting, permaculture, and being able to feed yourself via your garden should crap hit the fan. He makes white boy garden raps which are amusing. He and his family live somewhere in the tropics.