Let’s Talk About All Of Those Children You Keep Having…

Okay, while we are talking about child related topics let me just jump onto a new little hobby horse of mine. Thank you to everyone who comes up to me and comments on my “lovely family.” I agree. My guys are pretty awesome. You can stop there. The next question that usually follows is, “When are you going to start trying for a little girl?” And I don’t want to hear that.  It just makes my head hurt.

First of all, that question implies that somehow our family is incomplete because we haven’t given birth to a girl. Or that our ridiculous reproductive organs are somehow defective because they only make boy babies.

Second of all, do you really want me to answer that question? Really? I have decided— just for kicks – the next time that little jab is sent my way I’m going to respond with the following statement. “Well, I’m in the mood for some really rocking sex right now. Excuse me and my husband. Since you seem to think it’s so necessary for us to have a baby girl we’ll be in that closet right over there trying our best to make one.”

I know, in my lifetime, I’ve probably made some comments about family dynamics to someone. And I want to go on the record right now with an apology.  If you’ve ever heard any such nonsense uttered from my mouth I am so sorry. Some wisdom does come with age. Thank goodness.

The point of how offensive we can be when making statements on these kinds of issues was driven home to me not so very long ago when I sat in a room and listened as someone talked about a couple who was mourning the loss of their unborn child. This couple already had several children, and I guess the person speaking felt their family was complete as it was, because she said, “I think God is trying to tell them something. Leave well enough alone.”

And I literally felt those words all the way to my soul. They took my breath. She was implying that God—who is the Giver of Life and loves children—was sitting up in heaven saying, “Your family is big enough, idiot! Since you can’t seem to figure that out on your own I’m going to kill the child you are carrying.”

Where exactly is this official handbook that describes what the perfect family looks like? I mean, it must exist. We all are quoting passages from it every chance we can get. Well, we were. Not me. Not anymore.

Here’s my new official policy on this matter. When you announce you are pregnant I am going to celebrate like crazy with you. When you announce it’s a boy…or a girl…I’m going to celebrate like crazy with you. When you decide you are done having kids you don’t have to announce it…since it’s not really my business. I’m just the girl standing on the sidelines celebrating life and all the different shapes, sizes, and genders that make up the beauty of family.

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk About Beating Your Children With Plumbing Parts…

Anyone out there in the world of Facebook has probably seen a news piece floating around in which the death of a young girl at the hands of her parents is described. They have been found guilty of murder. According to the article the parents were using the book “To Train Up A Child” by Michael and Debi Pearl as the guidelines for their parenting style. It went on to say several other deaths have been linked to the book.  

Of course, I had to do a little digging. What I found was alarming to say the least. Not only did I find that other children have died, I also discovered multiple articles by moms who were expressing regret over the fact that they used the book as a manual for child rearing. There were some pretty blood-chilling stories told of spankings that went on for hours with plumbing line. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear—these women were not horrible people who sat around all day drinking alcohol while thinking of ways to torture their children. They genuinely felt they were doing what was best. They wanted to raise their little ones up to be thriving adults who took a productive place in society. And the book told them how to do that. Or so they thought.

Look, I love to read. I love that we live in a day and age where there are so many resources at our finger tips to help us with a variety of issues…including parenting. I love that there are people who take the job of parenting so seriously they try to discover ways to do it better. But—here’s the deal—we cannot abandon our common sense when we are culling through the big, wide world of information.

And, while I’m talking, I’m going to go ahead and specifically call out Christians. I’ve heard a lot of preaching and teaching over my years inside religious circles about the need for avoiding trends. We are to be “set apart.” Well, let me just say, we start our own trends inside the church walls that are just as dangerous as anything any secular entity could spew out. This book is one such trend.  It has gotten passed around the church by the thousands. I know, because someone handed one to me. I read it, and promptly dismissed it.  I assumed others would as well. But, if my research is any indication, they haven’t.

Apparently, as a whole, we’ve excused extreme parts of the book by saying, “But it also has so much good.”   Any doubts are tucked away. We’ve become so very well versed in the rhetoric of not judging we’ve kept our thoughts to ourselves.

I’ve seen this type of behavior up close and personal.  As a teenager I once sat in a church service and listened to an evangelist talk about beating his children with a PVC pipe because, “God told him that was how he should dispense discipline.”  No one called him out. He wasn’t asked to leave. There was no intervention on behalf of his children.  Nope, he finished preaching the revival. And everyone just sat there and listened to him spew out his evil. This actually happens pretty frequently. People pull out the “God told me” card and everyone around suddenly becomes scared to death to speak up.  Throwing the name of God into a conversation takes it to a whole new level.

Look, I generally hate blanket statements when it comes to parenting, but I’m getting ready to make some here. If you are using pieces of plumbing to discipline your children you are doing it wrong. Period. If you are depriving your children of food to discipline them you are doing it wrong. Period. I don’t care what some whack job says using the name of God. And, no, I don’t care about all of the other things they may be saying that are good. Just a little tip for anyone trying to give me advice. You will lose my attention right about the time you veer over into Crazyville.

People, we have to stop latching onto anything and everything that comes along.  We must learn to think for ourselves. We must know the Bible so we can discern who is misusing its principles. Yes, I understand that this takes time and effort on our parts. But there are just some things you can’t afford to get wrong.

~T.

P.S. To any woman who has went to the Pearls website and asked their advice about what to do when your spouse abuses you. They’re wrong. Leave. Now.  I know God hates divorce. You want to know what else He hates? Women being killed by their husbands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk About STD’s…

I fill a lot of roles in my everyday life. One of them is caregiver. One day a week I look after an elderly woman. I really enjoy my job. It is fulfilling and provides me with a very flexible schedule so I can focus on the most important positions in my world…wife and momma.

And there is another perk that comes with my employment. It provides me with new learning opportunities. For instance, just a few days ago I took my little lady to the doctor. The whole experience was very interesting. And, maybe, just a little traumatizing. When we first got there we were greeted with this sign.

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Now, I’ve got four boys. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in a variety of medical settings. But I didn’t know it was illegal to tap on the small sliding glass door that separates the office staff from the waiting room. Looking back I’m pretty sure I’ve probably broken this law at some point. That’s just me. I get a good ole’ case of crazy going on from time to time and do risky things like knocking on partitions.

But my education was just beginning. You see, we were there to see an infectious disease physician. Silly, naïve me. I thought most of the people who went there were struggling with things like an infected wound on their arm…which is why we were there. Turns out that’s not the case. One look at all the pamphlets lying around let me know the biggest problem this particular office dealt with was STD’s. Yes, I’m going to admit it, I began eyeing everyone sitting around me with curiosity.

It got worse. Soon we were escorted back to an exam room. They had pamphlets there as well. But they weren’t content to stop there. A large poster plastered the wall filled with pictures of the impact of STD’s on the body. Graphic. Detailed. Pictures. I’m not completely out of the loop. I know what sexually transmitted diseases are. I’ve read about them. I’ve heard about them. But I’ve never seen them. Not like that. Male and female genitalia were on full display. Extremely disfigured genitalia. The best comparison I can offer you is ground hamburger oozing yellow pus. Yes, that’s what it looked like. Are you sufficiently grossed out yet? Good. So was I. And I hate to suffer alone. Now I was extremely uncomfortable. And just really, really wanting to take a bath in pure bleach. I literally felt the germs crawling off of the chairs and onto my body.

But there’s more. You know how your children get a prize on the way out of the door after a visit to the doctor? Here you got to choose something as well. From a large bowl you could pick from a variety of condoms. Because, clearly, that’s what people who have private parts resembling the meat section of the grocery store need. More sex.

For the rest of the day, in between washing my hands every three minutes, I did a lot thinking.

A little research into the topic quickly showed that STD’s are on the rise with twenty million new cases being diagnosed every year. A whole bunch of people have went out looking to discover the beauty of sexual freedom. Instead, what they’ve found out there in the murky world of random hook-ups is very ugly. And I do mean ugly. Trust me, I’ve seen the pictures.

But, never fear, my fellow citizens, our government has plans to increase the amount of funding they are putting into Pregnancy/STD/ HIV prevention. The hundreds of millions of dollars they already spend just aren’t enough. Throw more money at the problem and it will get better. I mean, that’s not worked up to this point, but it’s not any indication it won’t work in the future. See, don’t you feel better knowing Washington is handling this issue? And, don’t forget, they also have laws in place that prevent us from touching glass partitions in waiting rooms as well. It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I think of all the ways they are looking out for us.

Or, here’s a thought, why should the government be involved at all? Maybe we can just fix this whole mess ourselves by refusing to jump into the sack with anything and everything that moves. Maybe we could abstain. Maybe we could even give marriage a try. I mean a real try. You know, where both parties are actually invested and committed. I know, I know, any talk of a life time of intimacy with one person is scoffed off as impossible or only experienced by those who are repressed in the bedroom. But I read those kinds of statements from all of the sexually “liberated” crowd and simply smile. It is possible to have a great sex life with one person on a long term basis. You want to know how I know that? Because I have one. It turns out this works in my favor for a variety of reasons. Not only do I get to enjoy some pretty awesome sex with my husband, I get to avoid having my girl parts look like they have suffered an alien invasion. That’s what I call a win-win.

Personal responsibility. What a concept.

~T.

 

 

 

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Judging You For Judging Me…

Okay, World, I’ve been watching you watching me. I have to say, it’s pretty interesting. My social media page is filled with a variety of things. It is a real reflection of what is going on inside of my very blonde head. Scary, I know. Some people probably get whiplash when they watch me jump from topic to topic. I don’t blame them. I’ve given myself a headache from time to time.

Witty sayings from my kids are a big hit. People find my four boys amusing. As do I. Right up until I don’t. Which is usually somewhere around the time one of them is doing something life-threatening. I have had to actually say the words, “Please, stop antagonizing the alligator at the pond.” You would think some things go without saying. Apparently not.

I’m not gonna lie—I was pretty happy with all the “likes” I received when I posted a picture of me in my wedding dress twenty years after the fact. Yes, it still fits. I kind of like that quite a bit myself. Of course, given the fact that I’m forever keeping up with the shenanigans of the previously mentioned kiddos, it’s really not that hard to pull off.

My commentary about celebrity culture is pretty popular. I tend to be sarcastic. Particularly about this subject matter.  It isn’t hard to do when you are throwing out names like Kardashian.

Even my religious postings go over fairly well. I’ll be the first to say that’s probably because I haven’t launched into any deep theological discussions. But, still, my faith is out there on full display. And I’ve never been attacked for it. Yet.

The one area where things get a little dicey is politics. I’ve gotten some flak. Sometimes it’s direct. A few intense conversations have occurred from time to time. Sometimes it’s indirect. It usually goes something like this. I post about the atrocity of Obamacare and the next thing I know snarky little comments pop up in my newsfeed  insinuating people should keep their political views off of Facebook. As uncomfortable as in your face confrontation can be at times I far prefer it to these sneaky little jabs. You know why? Because all of this talk about the need for silence when the topic turns to politics bothers me. A lot.

Yes, I’ve seen y’all  judging me. You want to know something? I’m judging you for judging me.  You’re darn straight I’ve been posting about the Affordable Care Act. Which, incidentally, is not affordable at all. And I’m not just talking about money here. The price this country is going to pay for this despicable piece of legislation is astronomical. More than I can even begin to comprehend. That we are not all screaming from the rooftops is appalling. And this is only one topic of many about which we should be knowledgeable and vocal. That you are neither of these things is offensive to me.  The fact that you are calling me out for doing what we should all be doing is even more offensive.

For the most part we Americans have the remarkable ability to ignore all of the horrors that are occurring. The truth is my social media world is pretty small in the great scheme of things. But if this is happening in my little Facebook bubble then it’s probably happening everywhere. And I can’t help but wonder if that’s how we got into this whole mess in the first place. How can we be so willingly blind?

Just for kicks I once did a little research on the word apathy, and I found some interesting statements on Wikipedia. “Apathy is described as a result of the individual feeling they do not possess the level of skill required to confront a challenge. It may also be a result of perceiving no challenge at all…they have learned helplessness.”

Learned helplessness. These words strike deep.

This country of ours was founded by the people, for the people. We really do hold the power here. But many have become overwhelmed by the corruption in our government, and have chosen to lay their power down. It turns out freedom requires a heck of a lot of hard work. And we’ve got celebrity sex tapes to discuss. We can’t be bothered with the challenges of responsible citizenship.

Even worse—with all the rhetoric being thrown around about tolerance and being politically correct—the vision of many others has become blurred to the harsh truths about the world in which we live. We perceive no challenge at all. Reality check. Just because we refuse to acknowledge our enemy does not make him our friend. It just makes us clueless.

The good thing about learned behaviors is they can be unlearned. Maybe you don’t care that I’m judging you.  But I’m not the only one passing down a verdict on your actions…or rather your inactions. History will judge you as well. And it’s not going to be gentle.

~T.

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It’s A Love Story…

    I’ve been seeing a lot of pictures of the British royal family recently. I’m not an avid watcher of all things monarchy related…but I’m guessing some of my FB friends are because most of these pics keep popping up in my newsfeed. It’s reminded me of something I wrote several years ago back when there was a lot of wedding buzz across the pond. I thought I would share again. 

   If you have been on planet earth over the past few weeks you may have heard something about a royal wedding. I couldn’t help but get caught up in the buzz…just a little. Now let me make it clear that I would not get up in the middle of the night for my own wedding, much less for a complete stranger, but I did have some curiosity about the big event so I scoped out the news the next afternoon.

     I have no explanation for my interest. Given the choice between a chick flick and football, I will choose sports every time. This is not typically my “thing.” As much as I loathe shopping for clothes you could not accuse me of being obsessed with fashion…yet I wanted to catch a glimpse of “the dress.”  As much as I despise the thought of crying in public you could not accuse me of getting all emotional at the idea of a wedding…but I did get a goofy smile on my face when she started down that long aisle.

     What can I say? There is a small part of me that loved the romance of it all.  I loved the dress. I loved the pomp surrounding the ceremony that was so rich with tradition. I loved listening to the prayers and the vows because, let’s all be honest, everything sounds better in a British accent.  I loved listening to the pure, authentic voices in the choir. I loved laughing at some of those silly hats.

     It’s a love story. And at the end of the day the woman in me responds to that.

     While I found the whole thing fascinating there are times when I cringe at the thought of the royal wedding, because I know all of the gals are getting caught up in the idea of their own “prince” swooping in to rescue them from the pain and problems of their past, and whisking them away to their very own well-planned out version of happily ever after.

     Having been married for over twenty years let me just go on record as saying this scenario is not anywhere close to reality. Before you fall out of your chair and then climb back in it to send Matt mass emails full of sympathy because he has the sad misfortune to have me as his wife… let me explain.

     I came into this whole marriage experience with a lot of expectations.  Marriage was going to be the great band-aid that made me all better. I wanted happiness. I wanted him to fix me…and yet at the same time I held myself back from him because my entire past experience had led me to believe that men will always hurt you. Talk about a lose- lose situation. Poor Matt. He never stood a chance with me.

     Matt is just about as close as a man can get to being the perfect husband. He gets me. He is not bothered by the fact that I am not into cuddling and sharing feelings… I need space…yet he knows I am romantic enough to appreciate flowers and love notes from him. He has incredible talent in the kitchen, and has made me some mouth-watering meals. His work ethic is off of the charts. He is very skilled, and is good at literally every single thing that he attempts. I have yet to see him take on a job that he does not complete well.

     He surprises me with things that really matter to me…like a freshly painted office. He supports me in every single thing that I do. He is an awesome, hands-on dad.  He always makes an effort to let me know how beautiful he thinks I am, and there is not a doubt in my mind that, four kids later, he still finds me attractive.  And-this one is very important- he makes me laugh.

     In spite of this very “princely” resume he could not rescue me from my past, and he could not carry the full weight of my entire future happiness. No human shoulders can. No man can…for any woman. While I am sure that not every woman walks down the aisle with all of the issues that I had, I am equally sure that most women have expectations that cannot be met.

     At least they cannot be met in a spouse.

     The core problem with the whole courtship process is that it is usually based in façade. We always put our best foot forward. No one goes on that first date thinking, “Well, tonight I will unload all of the baggage from my past…that sounds like fun!” And when we do finally start going through our luggage with a potential spouse we usually take out the sexy black dress. The stained t-shirts and the pajama pants we wear when we are feeling fat get left in the bottom of the suitcase. In one of the zipper pockets on the side we leave our expectations. We rationalize that it would be silly to go through the trouble of pulling them out…after all, surely our significant other can guess what they are because we were made for each other. A few weeks after the wedding ceremony we start to unpack, and the ugly truth is revealed.

     My truest and deepest wish is that every woman would open her heart to the healing grace of Jesus Christ…as I did. His extravagant love rescued me in the truest sense of the word. Not only did He save me from my sins, He saved me from myself. The discovery of the trustworthy character of God gave me the courage to trust my husband. I stopped sabotaging my marriage. The freedom that I have found through my relationship with God has allowed me to release Matt from false expectations. While his love for me has helped my restoration process, he is no longer expected to be my sole source of healing and happiness. He can just be my husband… a job that he is doing quite well.

     God knows what lies beneath the facade, yet He is hard after our hearts. He has gone to extraordinary lengths to show us the depth of His compassion for us. There is nothing that He will not do to lavish His care upon us. He is the source of everything that is good and right, and He offers life-giving hope. He longs to fill every aching need that burns in our hearts.

     It’s a love story.

~T.

 

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