Her 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.
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.
That is a 1.6lb turnip. We have never purchased nor been given turnip seeds. Gardening is amusing in ways I never expected.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 –
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
Bonus garden friend
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.
“Hating” can mean anything from verbal attacks & bullying (not cool), to simply disagreeing with someone, to a strong dislike of that person (unavoidable facts of life).
If you’ve ever spoken out, ever taken a stand for anything, ever succeeded in anything, or had the misfortune to sit next to someone who was feeling insecure that one day in sixth grade right after you got your braces put on, congratulations, you have “haters”.
I am “hated on” by some, and I have done and continue to do my fair share of “hating”, so as someone on both sides of the coin, allow me to discuss reasons why people hate, or why I have hated on someone:
Jealousy – Self explanatory. Get ya hater blockers on. Some people will hate you because you have what they think would make them happy. Oh well? Try and be gracious.
Loneliness – Technically this could be part of jealousy, but I’m putting it by itself for a reason: when you’re lonely, everything sucks. Sometimes we try to connect by lashing out. At least fighting with someone is a conversation. Someone hating you is someone having an emotion tied to you. Crappy human connection is still human connection.
Hurt – Was this person hurt by the object of their hate or a part of a group in the past? If that hurt wasn’t resolved, it’ll taint everything. This is something I deal with a lot. Old Paths/IFB churches are notorious for, as someone recently said “Not Cleaning House”. They don’t hold themselves or people within their organizations accountable and they dismiss those who say they’ve been hurt. I hate it, and as a result, I pretty much hate the IFB. I may not hate all the individuals in an Old Paths church, but I surely don’t trust them, and wouldn’t trust them with my daughter. Every argument one of them makes is tainted with “Well yes, but you’re one of them“. I’m not arguing this is healthy, but it does happen, and I’m not pretending to be perfect here.
Shitty Day – Hey, we all have them! And while God in his infinite wisdom created many people who just let that shit roll off their backs, He also made people like me, who are far too quick tempered and bitchy when the situation doesn’t even remotely warrant it. At least I know I’m not alone in my club – see above, the woman who wrote an online article about not getting her favorite shopping cart at the store. Everyone, every. Single. Fucking. Human. Will make a huge personal deal about something insignificant/ take something absolutely the wrong way and lash out, because they’re having a day, at SOME POINT IN THEIR LIVES. If you’ve not done this, you’re lying. Sometimes it goes further than it should.
Ignorance – No, seriously, this is a thing. Doesn’t really matter the subject. Some people have less information than you do, but have formed an opinion that they then take in as part of their identity, based on incomplete or miss information. Try and educate them and…things go poorly. For everyone. Or they have more information than you do, and when they try and educate you…things go poorly. For everyone. Goes both ways.
Fundamental moral differences – What you say is wrong and what I say are wrong are vastly different. And that’s okay. Until one of us tries to tell the other that they’re wrong. This can be seen in everything from mommy tribalness to the great political divide in our nation, where one side is unfeeling selfish bastards and the other is thieving lazy hippies. The important, imperative thing to realize is this – Generally, everyone is living/speaking/believing what they believe is best, and what they believe is right. Every villain is the hero in his own story.
People want to stay ignorant – Ignorance is bliss. I think the easiest example of this in my own life is the Cult of KJV-onlyism I was raised in. If one but considers a little bit of history, and learns but a bit about the Greek manuscripts, and employees merely a smidge of critical thinking, one would realize that KJV onlyism is bubkiss. And yet, some Baptist Preachers will die on that hill, that the King James Version of the bible is the only “real” bible. Okay. You can’t argue with someone who wants to stay ignorant.
They’re terrible people – If you’re a person of color arguing with a Nazi, there’s no having a conversation, walk away. If you’re a white person arguing with someone who keeps screeching that you can’t have an opinion because of “white privilege”, there’s no having a conversation, walk away. Trolls are real, children. And they’re often racists.
You’re just a fucking twat – I’ve been a fucking twat, quite often. I’ve also known some, and called them out on it. I’ve needed to – and I’m sure I will again – humble myself, and consider that just maybe perhaps, my “haters” had a point. And ya know what? Sometimes they did.
When someone is criticizing you, ranting at you on the internet or in real life, calling you a bitch, telling you that you have no idea what you’re talking about, saying this and that and your mom – consider their points. Because they might have a valid one.
This is true for your spouse, your old Sunday school teacher, that stranger on the internet, and yeah, even our kids. I cannot possibly count the times that I thought someone was just “hating” on me, when they were actually pointing out areas where I was morally lacking. Or ignorant. Or bitchy.
Maybe their delivery wasn’t perfect. I am well aware that mine is often not “seasoned with Grace” as Paul would implore us to be (working on it!). To completely dismiss someone’s message because you don’t like the words they used is the height of pride and arrogance.
And to lose out on possible correction or growth because it comes out of the mouth of someone you’ve seen in some sense, even temporarily, as an enemy, is grossly immature. (Past self, I’m looking at you and shaking my head). Weigh what everyone says to you. Neither accept praise nor deflect criticism blindly.
Sometimes we forget that losing an argument doesn’t mean losing part of ourselves and that being wrong doesn’t decrease our value.
So, consider your haters.
Take a moment, try to back away emotionally, and see if they have a point. Everyone has something they can teach you, even if it’s teaching you not to be like them.
If they have a point, reflect. Humble yourself and ask them to explain further. Engage in conversation if possible.
If they don’t? Forget ’em and move on.
P.S. – If you’ve got “haters” for speaking about something that burns a fire in your soul, that you have a strong soul deep feeling you should keep talking about, still pause. Check yourself when you hear a new argument. Then, let that assurance that you are speaking and doing the right thing encourage you. KEEP GOING.
Today is Sunday. When this is published it will probably be around 9 or 10 PM EST, Sunday night, July 2nd, 2017.
All across the United States today, Christian churches (not all, but many. Too many) took a day off from teaching Christ and made patriotic declarations about God & Country. The church I was raised in sang a song about how “The Cross is my Statue of Liberty” (gag). Pulpits were pounded, veterans and military were praised, and people were berated for having questions about the direction the country is headed (or for not having questions, depending on your political team). The Battle Hymn of the Republic was sang next to worship songs about Christ’s death on the Cross. Red white and blue buntings hung from pulpits and tiny hands waved flags.
It’s weird, you guys. Growing up, I didn’t realize exactly how weird, or wrong, or heretical it was, but it is in fact all of those things. I have no problems with any of those patriotic activities, except when you tie them to church, or make them equal with and a part of your faith.
Your faith should be in Jesus Christ, not the United States. Therefore, you should not worship the United States alongside Jesus Christ.
So here are some crazy ideas of churches on Memorial day weekend, 4th of July weekend, etc:
-Jesus did not specifically endorse the United States
-Worshiping the United States is idolatry. Christ is greater than Country.
-Christians who are not patriotic are no less Christ-like than those who are patriotic.
-Consider what exactly you’re doing when you drape the cross with the American Flag, or the pulpit, or replace some of the worship music with patriotic songs.
-Jesus is not personally in favor of your political party. Every side and independent philosophy does things that would make Jesus facepalm so hard.
-It is very easy to be more excited about your nation, where you live right now, than it is to be about your Savior, who walked here 2,000 years ago. Be honest with yourself & God.
Don’t misunderstand or me. I friggin’ LOVE this country. I am “Don’t Tread On Me” (or “no step on snek”, however you roll) for life. The United States – Under Obama or Under Trump – is the greatest nation on the face of the earth. I won the genetic lottery to be born here, and that’s true for everyone born here, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender or religion. ‘MERICA.
But this crap? This has to stop:
Jesus didn’t say anything specific about the US. While the bible and Christ do speak about Government, I’m preeeety damn sure that wrapping a Flag (any flag) around a cross counts as Idolatry.
This is kind of a crappy subject for me. I’m way more excited, in general, about being an American than I am about being a Christian. Christians kind of make me twitch in the bad way, and Americans are….everything. From amazing to horrible and back again. We’re all kinds of crazy, a nation built on the idea of “GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR SHOOT ME RIGHT THE HELL NOW, CAUSE I AM PUTTING UP WITH YOUR TAXATION BULLSHIT NO MORE!” (paraphrasing).
Christianity, to me, comes with baggage, and being an American, to me, comes with hope. (I am, by the way, 100% aware that this is backwards. My hope *should* be in Christ. I am working on it. I won’t lie and say I’m all fixed up and have my faith screwed on right, though. )
But even *me*, broken, bitter, jacked up me, who’s crawling her way back to the Body of Christ, I’m saying “Uh, let’s not worship the country, let’s worship Christ”.
So maybe, pastors, fellow moms, people in charge of guiding the next generation – let’s focus on Christ in church, and other things outside of Church. Just a crazy little idea I had.
They’re just gone. They never gave us a single zucchini, and then they turned yellow and shriveled up. I am at a loss. Year 3, no zucchini. Hopes dashed. Also my beans and cucumbers are full of grasshoppers and these awful grey beetle things. I got some organic soap spray, I’m hoping that helps with the beetles.
I’m pretty sure a flamethrower is the only way to kill grasshoppers. Oiy.
But! The tomatoes are starting to come in. They’re like 7 feet tall and just starting to fruit? Am I doing this wrong? Should I have not let them get so tall? Do they have too many leaves? Don’t they need leaves to make fruit? I have no idea what I’m doing. My green bean plans are also huge, but making far less beans. Gardening: way more complicated than putting seeds in the ground.
These guys are assholes:
And what the HECK is this? yeesh:
Also it’s almost July. Which means we’re going to plan the Autumn garden soon. I can’t tell if we’re making valuable progress, or just wasting money at this point. Oiy.
As soon as I think I’m good with something, I’ve got it down, something new comes up and I feel like I’m just not seeing all the ways I’m failing yet.
I was raised, as I have possibly mentioned before, Independent Fundamental Baptist or IFB. As some within the denomination like to call it, the “Old Paths” (they aren’t the old paths, the name is a lie. Shocking).
Just so we’re all very, very clear, Independent Fundamental Baptist theology is a cult. One day I’ll go into a post about that, but if you’re were raised that way, and you look into the red flags of a cult, it’s pretty obvious. At best, if you balk at the “C word”, they are a line by line example of pharisees. An accurate description of any IFB pastor, complete with the fake/”honorary” doctorates from unaccredited schools their friends founded:
Matthew 23 1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
4-7 “Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’
I’ve forgiven my parents, years ago, for raising me in this cult. I love them, I want them in my life and my daughter’s life, so I forgive them. I see them as victims stuck in a spider’s web as much as perpetrators of this awful “theology” that causes so much heartache and is not from God, but rather from man. From old crusty prudish men who wanted order and obedience and to feel important more than they wanted God.
Why do I go on this random and jarring tangent? Because I am tired. Because years after leaving I am broken in new ways over how I was treated and taught as a small innocent child. Because I have tried for years to reconcile that SOMETHING I was raised with in an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church was beneficial.
I have held on for so long, justified the manipulation, and emotional abuse, and actual abuse because I thought there was something good. WELL AT LEAST I KNOW SCRIPTURE, I told myself. AT LEAST I KNOW DOCTRINE. At least I know the Gospel
I can’t pretend anymore. God would have found me and loved me and longed for a relationship with me if my innocent self had never darkened the door of such a horrid place. If I had never been held down and beaten until my “Will was broken”. My heart would yearn for my creator like it did for years while I was there, so confused, so thirsty, so alone. When I was so desperate to be seen and accepted and loved as the mess I was (am), and be allowed to rest – God saw me, and loved me, and wanted me to just rest in that. And no one told me.
In my head, I do know the gospel. I know the gospel backwards and forwards. I can quote the verses, I can state firmly that I choose to believe in Christ as savoir. But my heart? It’s been quoting poetry without appreciating it my whole life.
See, what I was taught was not that the gospel was proof of how much we are – I was – loved, but rather, proof of how awful I am. I learned, growing up Independent Fundamental Baptist, that I am trash. I also learned a lot of stuff that I am just now realizing, is crap. Such as….
Dispensationalism Isn’t supported by the scripture. It just isn’t. It’s a cultish theology that John Darby came up with and Schofield treated as it’s is part of gospel. I don’t know if it’s replacement theology that’s correct, or something in the middle, but…wow. Looking at it with fresh eyes, it’s a fresh crock of bullshit. And if you trace it historically, it’s just a man made thing. More on what this is and why it’s wrong here.Also here. 1611 KJV only-ism. If you know even the basics of translation, this is a bad translation. It also begs the question – You believe that God can preserve his word through thousands of years on pieces of parchment, but you don’t believe that the integrity of his word is preserved through updating? You worship this translation of this book as much or more than you worship the Father? Furthermore they claim superiority of a supposed Byzantine text over texts supposedly from the Library of Alexandria because the people of Alexandria were all heretics and hedonists. This shows a gross ignorance of church history and…basic world history. This is a great debate which not only teaches the basic of translation, but also shows the KJV only arguments so that you can easily see the holes for yourself in this vile doctrine.
Purity Culture teaches women, just like “the world” that our value is in our sexuality. It teaches young men that women are enemies and vile temptations, and it teaches women that our sexuality and sexual desires (and our bodies) are dirty and wrong. I can think of fewer things that have damaged my generation more than this insane, controlling, man made, insane version of what Christ has called us to. If you’re someone who was raised in Purity Culture, I strongly urge you to listen to Rebecca Lemke, who’s done some amazing work unpacking all the baggage that comes with Purity Culture, and has written a book called The Scarlet Virgins: When Sex Replaces Salvation. Very much worth reading is this blog post on 3 Big Lies Modesty Culture Is Teaching Your Sons.
Legalism claimed to be “standards”. Now “Old Paths” and IFB give lip service to them not being legalistic, because they claim that salvation doesn’t come from following rules, but what they DO say, and quite frequently, is “If you don’t have standards I have to wonder if you’re really saved”. Bitch that’s legalism. I understand what you’re trying to say, but what you’re saying is stupid and illogical and you shouldn’t say it. Here’s an example of the modest standards women are told to hold to and are taught. It’s amazingly convoluted bullshit. However it’s absolutely how people in Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches decide your value as a woman, a person, and decide if you truly have a relationship with God.
It should be noted that men don’t hold to standards. They hold women to Mosaic law, but themselves are allowed to be gluttons and eat shrimp/bacon, and sit there, staring at a woman’s ass, declaring she’s shaming God in her jeans while they can barely button their ever present suits over their guts. Lovely. Jesus is super duper proud, guys, I just know it.
There’s more I could go on and on about – that Jesus never drank wine, it was grape juice! (a google search of greek words proves this is bullshit), the screaming from the pulpit. The fake degrees from friends. The advice to beat your children until they submit, when the “rod” the old testament speaks of was a shepherd’s rod, which they use to guide their sheep, not beat them into submission. The flat out hatred of gays, and jokes about killing them. The terrible, awful, no good, very bad music. The “altar calls/invitations” that go on and on and on until the pastor feels he’s seen good enough numbers to brag about how many were “saved”. How my family and my relationship with my parents suffered through the busy work they did and still do for the “church”. How my mom is constantly taken advantage of and never appreciated, even though she literally did more physical work for the church than the pastor’s wife did, for decades. It’s all shit, it’s all bread and circuses. I’m sure I’ll ramble on about it here at some point.
Now the last of it that I had clung to is falling away, and I feel like most of my youth was wasted in a cult, being afraid, and hating myself. My years for a basic education was wasted by homeschoolers who taught very poor christian curriculum and no fine arts, actual history or literature classes, and everything I learned at church was just…ashes. Pointless nothing. Things I have to do work to unlearn. Destructive and evil habits I have to week out of my heart. And while absolutely my childhood was not as bad as many had it, and my parents tried their best while being controlled and lied to by an evil man who said he was a man of God, it’s really hard to get to 31 years old, and have to say “Yeah, I was physically, mentally and emotionally abused as a child. Gaslighting was a normal thing. And there’s nothing spiritually to show for it. My parents are still there, my dad still yells at me about the KJV.”
The few things that I was clinging to in order to justify my upbringing are crumbling under my feet, and I’m just here. Tired, empty, and very very sad.