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.

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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 –

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.

 

 

Here’s a crazy idea: America is not a religion

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, who or what did you worship today?

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. 

EAGLEEEEEEissooveryourbs

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:

american-flag-wtf

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.

Happy 4th of July!

My Zucchini Plants Are Dead & Everything I’ve Ever Been Taught Is A Lie.

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:

crawlyassholes
These guys are jerks

And what the HECK is this? yeesh:

 

20170620_135105.jpg
Eww what is it? It’s not a bug!

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.

cross

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming Update…

I went to a playdate yesterday at the church we’ve been going to but are not members of. Met some other cool moms. They were impressed with my garden. My garden that I’ve been lamenting to my husband and God all week about being discouraged about. I’ve been questioning my entire life – why garden? It’s not GREAT, everyone else’s is so much better! Why blog? My blog is tiny, no one reads it, and my writing is crap! Every one else’s blog is so much better!”

Funny how we see things, isn’t it? I watch all these youtubers and I think “YOUR GARDEN IS MAGICAL” and mine is…not dead yet? My “this doesn’t even count!” is someone else’s “Wow, you can do that? That’s so friggin cool!”.

Note to self: Don’t disparage the work God is doing in your life or your garden because it’s not done yet.

Also, making mom friends. So weird. Nice, but weird. Apparently I’m still ten years old and awkward in my head. As one other mom, who I found TOTALLY AWESOME and cannot for the life of me remember the name of, commented on. We’re all still awkward tweens inside.

I said update, so here’s an update. I present to you, our June 1st 2017 Harvest:

20170601_132217

 

Edit 10/18/17: That mom’s name was J and we’re actual friends now. Whee!

I Don’t Want My Kid To Be A Team Player

So I’m listening to a podcast about the Seth Rich scandal, and of course there’s commentary on Hillary Clinton and Marine Le Pen, and I am struck by the inconsistencies in politics.

Then I read a blog by the current leader of my parent’s cult about the “Old Paths”, and I’m struck, again, by how “old paths” ideology is more about idolatry and legalism than it is about Christ, than it has ever been about Christ.

Feminists don’t care that Hillary has treated rape victims deplorably, it’s fine, because she has a vagina! She’s on our team! 

Marine Le Pen is a horrible person because she’s honest about religious threats in her country. It doesn’t matter that she has a vagina, she’s not on our team!


Obama sold weapons in the Middle East! Fuck him! Traitor! Muslim Terrorist! Unless Trump does it, then it’s totally cool, because he’s on our team.

They love Christ, but they don’t have the same “Standards” I do, they don’t dress the same way, they like different music, THEY aren’t *real* Christians. They aren’t on our team.

They like Jar Jar Binks! They Aren’t Real Star Wars Fans! Filthy Casuals! They can’t be on our team.

And so it goes.


There’s a balance here, as there is in most places in life. Which sucks, because black and white are easy, but balance is hard. It’s important to understand that teamwork matters, that pulling together for a common good is important. Particularly when we consider society as a whole (but society is a group of individuals so…).

It’s also really damn important to remember that your personal identity does not, and should not, come from what religious, fan or political team you’re on, but rather, those “teams” should be a reflection of your character. How have we not taught our children this? How do we ourselves forget this so often?

I see it so often – whiny college children who demand free things from other’s pockets, but aren’t giving themselves. Being a part of a “team” that cares about giving, doesn’t make them givers. Your team doesn’t give you merit and value, your actions do.

People DEMANDING others be more “Tolerant” and “Open Minded”, but refuse to even hear other points of view. To even hear them, much less consider them for their own merit, because those points of view might be from the other team. This is a real thing, by the way, and it’s called “Motivated Ignorance”. Recent studies show that people will not read news from the opposing political side, in many cases, even if you pay them. The hell? If you read The Libertarian Republic, you should also be reading Vox, and vice versa.

Christians who claim the love and grace of Christ over their own lives and sins, but judge others for things as vapid as the clothing they wear or the music the worship with. They’ve gotten so lost in their “Be Ye Separate” that they’ve completely separated themselves from the point of the Gospel, and of Christ – Levitical law is out, guys.  You are not a Good, Holy, Christ-like person because of your team. You’re just kind of an ass. You should see to that.

Serious question, adult peoples of the internet : When was the last time someone treated you like shit because you weren’t a part of their team? Was it because if who you voted for? When was the last time you treated someone like shit because they weren’t a part of your team? Was it because they did or did not like your religion? Did they say that they were or were not a feminist? I got called a Nazi and lost a few friends over the last election, simply because I voted for President Trump. They didn’t even ask why. Different team = Nazi.

I’m guilty of this. I have a very hard time with women who voted for Hilary. Not in the vote against Trump sense, which I can understand even if I disagree with, but women who wholeheartedly supported her as a candidate and think she would have been awesome. I have a very hard and have to constantly remind myself it doesn’t make them all giant hypocrites who are ignorant and easily bought. I shouldn’t think that way, but I do. Because Hillary? She pretty much the opposite of everything I believe in or find to be of value in a person. She’s not on my team. 

Do you know who you are without your “Teams”? Do I? If we strip away our teams tomorrow, removed labels we proudly pin on ourselves, what are we left with?

girlalonestanding

How can we possibly learn to love, accept, and form deep connections with those on other teams, until we ourselves learn to be okay without being defined by our teams?

How do we raise children to be individuals, if we ourselves are not comfortable with being individuals? Do we forget to teach them that standing up for what’s right often means losing people and being mocked? Do we forget to remind ourselves?

I would really, if at all possible, like to raise my child to not be a part of this bullshit, this needing to feel like she’s a part of a self righteous group in order to feel validated. I hope to raise her to be able to be friends, close friends, with those who have different religions and points of view. I also want her to be able to look at an idea or ideology and go “Well that’s a bunch of evil bullshit” and not waver when people call her mean. I hope for her to be able to weigh those things on their own merits, and do the damn research, find the historical context, get into the nitty gritty, to not just take these things – bible verses, political ideologies, movies, poetry – at face value, but rather dig deep and fully understand them, and come to her own conclusions. Conclusions that, hopefully, because she’s done the legwork and considered all sides, she can stand confident in. Even when her protesting peers go “YOU AREN’T PART OF OUR TEAM!” and she finds herself standing alone.

I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream…

My husband and I have a dream. We would like, within the next 8ish years, to produce around 80% of our own food, and within 10-12 years be completely energy independent, probably via solar. A large garden to grow almost 100% of our produce (and living in the South, banana and avocado trees are possible), can and preserve both veggies and ready made meals like taco meat and black beans, raise and butcher our own hogs (and maybe a steer), and have a cow for milk. Husband wants goats, but we don’t like goat milk and aren’t huge fans of goat meat, so I don’t know why he wants them, other than because fainting goats are amusing. Husband is also very interested in aquaponics and wants to get a tilapia pond going.  All this, and a private gun range, on 10+ acres of land.

I didn’t say it was a small dream.

Simple, maybe, but not small.

There’s a lot of reasons for this, and maybe I’ll go into them at some point, but the simple honest truth at the heart is that growing things makes me calm, and pretty darn happy. It makes my husband really happy too. So we have our dream of a 10+ acre homestead. A dream I can’t even share with a lot of people I know, because they just go “That’s stupid, go to the grocery store” (thanks dad!).

I watch these amazing homesteading families on youtube – Big Family Homestead, Fouch-o-Matic,  Deep South Homestead, Hollis and Nancy’s, Justin Rhodes – and I feel like, we’ll never get there.

I feel like I’m behind. 

I look at my friends who don’t want a homestead, and they, mostly, at least own a home. We do not. Finances have been hellish for us since ten minutes after we got married until very recently. It’s just the way it goes. And yes, some of my friends are older, which I forget, and some married much older men, partly to have that insta security of owning a home and a good job. I made different choices.

But still, I feel like I’m behind. 

All my friends, literally, have two children. I possibly will not. I love my daughter with all my heart, but getting her here, during a high risk pregnancy and then having a csection, and finding out her cord was in a true knot? It was terrifying. On top of that, there are other very serious reasons I can’t go into here. I love being a mom. I’m absolutely in love with my daughter.

But compared to my friends? I’m behind. I’m half the mom they are, literally. 

 


I know that, logically, comparison is the thief of joy. I’m also pretty damn sure none of my friends think I’m only half a mom compared to them, or that I’m a loser because we still rent. But in the dark little places of my heart, *I* feel that way. I feel like I will run out of life before I get to these things I want, or that they just may be out of my reach forever, like a second child may be.

And some days, I am so consumed with this “being behind”, not just on these things, but on my writing, on spending quality time with the kiddo, on cleaning the house, on spending time with my husband, that everywhere around me, all I see is a pile of failure, of being behind, of life moving faster than I can keep up. I think of a Homestead of our own and feel like it’s an impossible pipe dream that we’ll never get to. This feeling permeates everything I do until I feel like nothing I have to offer will ever be good enough. For the people I love, or even myself.

This is fucking insanity, by the way. Were I to hear someone I cared about, or hell, even a random stranger with a small child say this shit, I’d buy them coffee and tell them to chill the fuck out.

Morning Glory


God told Zerubbabel to rebuild Solomon’s temple. It took a few years to build the foundation, and then, because of political crap, it just sat. A foundation. For 17 years.

17 years is a long ass time to be behind, guys. 

Zerubbabel was sleeping one night, or probably not sleeping, because he was WAY BEHIND ON A GIANT PROJECT FROM GOD, and God sent him a message, in the form of a terrifying messenger, as was his way (Zechariah 4):

“Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me. 10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

I do not have a Homestead, but I do have a few small beginnings. I have taught myself to make bread. We eat out far less than we did a year ago, in fact I cook most nights unless it’s payday.  Later this year I hope to get a waterbath canner or pressure canner and start canning some of our own stuff. And we do have a garden. A small, stubborn, completely-above-ground-because-our-soil-is-crap, garden. It’s small, but it’s a beginning.