Friday Random Mess

Hey, we made it through our first couple of weeks of school! I have some stuff bookmarked that I could share. I’m not sure how much good news I can find these days, but Jesus saves, so there’s always that Good News. Leading with the low-stress:

Kelly, at Generation Cedar, is a mom I look up to. She posted this week about having her children in worship. “Big church” as the church we’ve recently left used to call it, is for everyone.

I’ll give that a hearty “amen” by reposting a snippet from something I wrote on GAH 1.0 on the topic:

The reason most often given for separating the little ones from their families during worship is that “they need to learn at their own level”.

Children emphatically do not need to be taught about Christ “at their level”. In fact, I think children need us to go over their heads. It gives them something to grow into. Understanding doesn’t grow through spoon-feeding and condescension. It grows through exposure to difficult concepts. One of the most important things I’ve learned while teaching my own children is that if you don’t teach “over their heads”, growth takes longer, and sometimes doesn’t happen at all.

I frequently read to my children from the difficult-to-understand translations of the Bible. Our read-aloud books are above their heads sometimes, but they still learn, as evidenced by their ability to retain information that I myself skip right past at times.

I spent much of my childhood listening to things that were “over my head” and that little ones shouldn’t be “allowed” to hear.

It was in those services that were supposedly so difficult for my little brain to comprehend that I learned the hymns that comfort me in my afflictions now. It was in those services that I  ”couldn’t understand” that I found out that Jesus was not just a comfortable friend, but a Redeemer and a Savior, and a Sufferer who bled and died for me. I don’t know about most people, but I can’t remember a single Sunday school class where it was really brought home to me how little I deserved such treatment from God Himself. It took grown-up preaching to do that.

I wanted to take this opportunity to recommend to you the Revero website, a carnivore community in which I’m both a lifetime member and an investor. If you want to get on the path to health, whether you suffer from metabolic disease, chronic pain, or auto-immune problems, a carnivore approach can help. Get community support for free for a month and see what happens for you.

I’ve been fermenting up a storm (not to be confused with fomenting a rebellion, which hasn’t happened…yet) this summer. DTG shows you how here:

Homemade Pickles

We’ve been attending a Baptist church lately, as I may have mentioned already. I’m not knocking my brothers and sisters there, but this post from Young Gospel Minister has some truth to throw down: Baptists have made some mistakes.

The Safe and Effective Narrative is Collapsing, by Steve Kirsh, is a good read. As the political left starts to realize this, and they give Trump all the blame, let them. He wants the credit. He’s still singing the praises of Operation Warp Speed, which made all this sickness and death possible. He let us down when it came to covid, and then the shots. Fool me once, shame on you…

Preppers are insane, right? Don’t listen to what they say. Watch what they do. Barrack Obama has an industrial-sized natural gas tank installed at his vacation home. Now, what do you suppose he’d need all that for?

While they’re installing smart meters and rationing electricity, and while admitting they couldn’t possibly charge that many electric cars:

BREAKING: California to BAN Sales of Gas-Powered Vehicles

This is not about taking care of the environment. It’s about starving you out, Americans.

If making you ingest the industrial wastes of seed oils and fluoride for the last hundred years wasn’t bad enough, wait until you see what they want to feed you now: wind turbine blades. No kidding. You’re not just slaves, but living garbage disposals.

If you’re resisting the idea of quitting coffee (I explained why I did in my post earlier this week), this might encourage you to kick the habit in the very near future.

Coffee Prices Set To Skyrocket

Is chocolate any better than coffee? Well, no. And it turns out it won’t help your heart-health much, either:

Can cocoa help prevent cardiovascular death?

I’ve been trying to get my body temperature up for the last couple of years. Due to my thyroid dysfunction, it’s been a struggle, but I’m finally about 98.0 most days! Some researchers have found that the population’s average body temperature has decreased over the last hundred years. They’re baffled as to why. They hypothesize that it is because we are less inflamed and healthier as a population. You have GOT to be kidding me. Obesity afflicts nearly 3/4 of the adult population, and growing. We are not less inflamed. We’re in a state of torpor, high inflammation.

Stop eating seed oils and high carbohydrate processed foods. Get more exercise. Get more sunshine. If everybody did that, in 20 years the geniuses who study our society will be absolutely stumped as to why body temperatures are increasing again.

They’ll blame global warming and inflammation, of course, and call it a bad thing. But you’ll feel like a million bucks, so it won’t matter what they think.

 

 

Large Family Homeschooling Tip

Stagger your start.

I told somebody I was doing this, and she said “That’s some next level thinking, right there.” Well, shucks, if she sees it like that, then maybe somebody else will, too. Since I have only seven students this year, the eldest having turned down my offer of home-college, you’d think I’d be looking forward to an easier year. For some reason, I’m all nerves about this school year. Perhaps it’s the precocious nature of my youngest students, and their incessant demands to do more, or the fact that I flubbed last school year royally by trying to join a co-op against my own personality and academic judgment. Or maybe it’s just the caterpillar’s dilemma, homeschooling a family this size, it’s easy to get your feet all tangled together, not knowing which one should move next.

Whatever it is that has me feeling like an absolute rookie this time around, I just didn’t feel ready yet when the time came, but we really needed to get started. So I just started the two smallest on the first week. We dipped our adorable little toes into the kindy-and-first grade stuff, and I let the bigger kids do whatever they wanted for the week. Some of them decided to get out some independent work, and some of them played in the mud. It was a nice week.

Then I added the next three, “grades” 3, 5, and 6. Finally, this week, I added the high schoolers.

Did that help me feel any more prepared? Well, no. I still feel like there’s no way I’m ready for this. But we’re into the swing of it now whether I like it or not, and at least it helped me prepare my smaller ones to anticipate the routines, and to get familiar with the curriculum. It also gave me some sweet moments to pay extra attention to my littles. These baby days are so painfully short.

No matter how many students you have, you may find that starting them at different times is a less stressful way to get everyone moving.

Happy new school year, homeschoolers! Keep doing what you do!

Of Kale and Coffee

“What’s wrong with kale?” a reader wanted to know after my post about parental bribery, which was not really about kale. I trust this means that my point about parenting was well-taken, at least.

If I didn’t have a personal clean speech policy, I’d gladly don the t-shirt that Paul Salad-no–er, Saladino–likes to wear:

I know people hear that and think it’s some kind of anti-health joke, but I am in earnest when I say you shouldn’t eat it. It is mostly unusable fiber, useful only for making your poops big. It is also loaded with compounds that both inhibit absorption of any nutrients that might be found in it and could potentially harm you in other ways. Cooking it can take care of some of these chemicals, but not all. It’s a leafy green that has iron, you say? Sorry, mom, it’s not iron that a human body can use very well. You’re much better off eating an ounce of liver, or just plain old ground beef, than several cups of kale.

The goitrogens found in kale and all of its relatives are the main reason I find that mother’s feeding of her children to be appalling. That wasn’t just kale, but raw kale. The kids’ thyroids will survive a few doses of that, but over a lifetime? This is an incredibly bad idea.

Is kale good for anything? Well, we took a weekend trip to Asheville a few years ago and saw that they had kale planted in the flower beds. I approve of this use of kale. And look, if you cook it real good to get the goitrogens out and eat it far, far away from any foods you want to actually absorb, you can eat some kale and not be harmed by it. If you really like it (you freak), your pleasure is a good). It’s not actual poison in the right dose, delivered the right way. You might even get some trace minerals with your snack, if you salt it with an unrefined salt. But kale is not really helping anything, once you factor in the numerous downsides.

And now I turn my baleful gaze on coffee. I can hear you already screaming “Why do you have to ruin everything, Cindy? Why?!” Coffee is good for you. Everybody says so. Just like kale. In fact, Ken Berry says it’s good for you (or did, back when he posted this), so you can comfort yourself with this happy video:

I believe I heard that the good doctor has quit coffee himself now, and become somewhat less certain of himself in this regard.

I’ll let Paul Saladino explain the problem with coffee, which also happens to be the problem with chocolate.

If you don’t have time to watch, that’s fine. It’s all pretty sciencey and involved. Suffice it to say that there are good reasons to turn down that morning cup of wakefulness.

For myself, coffee and chocolate both were causing hormonal acne. I’m not sure if it was the high cortisol, the disturbed sleep, some chemical from the growing or processing of those beans, or something else I can’t even think of, but my face had at least one, sometimes two or three new oil volcanoes every month, right about that time, IYKWIM. I looked awful. One thing I’m certain of is that caffeine all by itself is not causing these problems. I’m still having the equivalent of one to two cups a day with Run gum (that link gets you 20% off for the next two shoppers that use it), which I will be stopping as soon as I feel like it, which is not right now. I also like a yerba mate or yaupon tea from time to time, as they’re a low-oxalate alternative to pekoe tea.

I quit chocolate first, and things got some better. I did see improvement, but not enough to think I’d really solved the problem. It wasn’t until I finally broke the coffee (not to say the caffeine) habit that I experienced healing to an extent that made me a believer. Since I quit, my body temperature has risen, as well, so it was affecting my thyroid, as well.

These beans are not good for me.

Should you quit your coffee? I don’t know. If you’re sleeping beautifully (you’ll have to let me tell you about my Oura ring sometime!), no skin problems, stable mood, no gut or hormonal problems, then go ahead and enjoy your bitter brew. But know that it’s probably going to bite you someday if you can’t moderate the habit.

You should definitely quit kale though. Definitely.

One of Us Is Miserable

And it ain’t me.

A few weeks ago, we had some men removing some dead trees around our house. While I was walking out with one of them to look at the job, he asked how I was doing today.

“I’m a little bit groggy, but good. Quit coffee.”

“Why’d you do that?”

“It’s just not good for me at all.”

“Does everything you do have to be good for you?”

That question struck me as funny. It gave me a little insight into the thinking of a guy whose physical condition and demeanor makes me think he’s probably not doing very many things that are good for him at all. In fact, I think he’s probably having a lot of temporary fun at the expense of his future happiness. He seems to be about my age, maybe a few years older, but he already has greying hair, a big ol’ fatty-liver belly, and weathered-looking skin that makes me think an early bedtime and clean food and drink are not priorities for him. Nice guy, still has a great set of teeth.

He’d driven past while I was out running earlier in the week, and probably at this point figured out that I’m pretty heavily invested in my health. I don’t care what a random guy thinks of my lifestyle, but it made me want to explain myself to the Universe, which is about all this blog is good for.

Does everything I do have to be good for me?

Well, no. In fact, not everything I do is good for me. For instance, today is my birthday, and I will probably eat something ill-advised, but not too ill-advised, certainly not cake, right before I have a gin and tonic and go bowling with Get Along Husband. I don’t know why, but one little drink makes me much better at bowling. For that matter, it’s a magic elixir for playing piano and writing, as well. So I guess you could say it’s good for me in some small respect. Two drinks, though, and I’m nearly retarded, so it’s a self-limiting indulgence.

Since I’m in good health after a few years of intensive repairs, it’s not really much of a ding at all to my system to have a little birthday treat. But if I did things like that regularly, instead of just on my birthday, I’d eventually slide down into the same pit this guy is clearly headed for. How long would it take? How many times a month or week could I get away with such things? I don’t know. I used to joke that when I’m ninety, I’m going to take back up smoking and eating pizza. I can’t possibly have long enough to live after that for those things to really wreck me, right?

But I no longer joke that way. When I’m ninety, I expect I’ll care just as much about the way I feel as I do today at…well, I’m not twenty-nine anymore, anyway. Or even thirty-nine. Sob.

Obviously, there are people who look at the lifestyle I’ve gotten myself into and think it looks absolutely miserable. I exercise for at least forty-five minutes, four to six days a week. I have very little “entertainment food”. (Anything that is not meat is entertainment food.) I have regular bedtimes. I’m still working on no drugs, since caffeine is a drug, and I still dose that in the form of an energy gum. It doesn’t harm me the way coffee does for some reason. I consume very little alcohol. It sounds awful to some because they want comfort, self-indulgence, and entertainment all the time. Many people don’t think what I’m doing would fulfill all those “needs” of theirs.

That’s just not true! I am very satisfied with my food. I’m entertained by all sorts of non-food and drink activities. I’m pain-free. I’m having so much FUN zipping (it’s zipping for me, anyway) up and down these mountain roads, lifting heavy weights, and doing high intensity training. I feel good pretty much all the time. I’m not huffing and puffing just walking around. I don’t have pain in every joint from eating inflammatory foods. I could go on, but suffice it to say, as Owen Benjamin likes to phrase it, nobody is having more fun than me! (I know, that should be “I”, not “me”, but good grammar just doesn’t sound like as much fun, does it?)

When I first started on the long road to getting fit, I had a negative goal. I didn’t cut carbs and seed oils out of my life in order to feel good. I cut them out because I felt bad. I sometimes thought I was condemning myself to a life of no pleasure, every day, forever. I once sat and watched people eat pizza and a lone little tear trickled out of my left eye, because I missed it that much. But even without a vision of myself in good health and mental state, I still had a very compelling example before me as I watched my grandmother’s decline.

She was diagnosed with Type II diabetes many years ago, and I watched her devolve over those decades from a vibrant, hard-working, helpful (sometimes overly so, bless her heart) individual with a rock-solid will and an inordinate amount of self-confidence to a frail, sad, weak, dependent old lady with several advanced diseases, all metabolic in nature. It was sad and frustrating to stand helplessly by as doctors operated and injected and dosed her to death, when all she really needed was to stop taking the poison that had made her that way. She died last October, and instead of celebrating a long, victorious, productive life, we were mostly just relieved that she was no longer suffering. I simply did not want to live or die like that.

It didn’t have to be that way.  Her food was poison to her body and her mind, and nobody ever told her until it was too late. So far as in me lies the ability, I won’t let it be that way for myself, or for anybody else that I have any direct influence over.

Now, though, I don’t do “crazy” health things because I’m scared. I do them because I enjoy life in a way that I didn’t even know was possible before. I now have a positive reason for not eating that nasty, super-sweet birthday cake I used to think was so good: I want to feel good on my birthday! I want to have as many good birthdays as possible!

I want that so much, in fact, that there’s a good chance that, while I do fully intend to let loose a little bit today, I may come to the point of decision and not even care if I have a treat or not. I can take the ding to my temporary metabolic state. It’s hardly even a thing at this point. But I don’t have to. I can just not do that.

That is power.

And I guess that’s the point I really want to bring to my reader today, especially if you’re a food or drug or caffeine (I’m still working on that, myself) addict. You always have a choice to make, even in the middle of that bite you shouldn’t have taken. You can spit it out. You can choose to do better with the very next breath, without hating yourself, without punishing yourself, you can just decide right now:

“No, I want to feel good. I want to perform. I want to be sharp-minded. I want to be proud of myself. I don’t want to be a slave to my pleasures any more. I don’t want to become weak, demented, and helpless.”

It is not a life of misery to love the body God gave you enough to go through the emotional pain of not eating or drinking the things that you just can’t resist. It is temporary. Once you’re through it, you’re through it, and for the rest of your life your health will be as much within your control as the Lord wills.

Everything I do doesn’t have to be good for me, but everything I do does have to be a conscious and rational choice that doesn’t hinder me from getting better and better. I’m in a place where I can do that now, and it feels like super-power. I’m not special. Anybody can get here, and if anybody reading this wants personal encouragement, hit me up in the comments or by email, and I’ll cheer you on and advise you as much as I can.

Can You Stay at Home Too Much?

A friend on social media asked how often she should be getting her children out of the house, and I remembered this post from my younger days, when I had things all figured out. My answer is simply this: You do not have to be out all the time to be busy. You do not have to be outside the home to be productive and engaged and happy. In fact, being outside of the home for play and education too often can really hamper your family’s peace. Small children are happiest in a quiet home with family for 90% of their waking hours.

Having lived eleven more years in the same way, and with a couple of older teens to show for it now, I can affirm the truth that your children will be well-adjusted and socially normal people (unlike public schooled kids, alas) on a diet of just one or two contacts a week with non-family members, and sometimes a whole lot less than that. We didn’t really even have that many playdates. Social contacts have been natural relationships– family, neighbors, church friends, etc.–for the most part, not groups that we cobbled together out of fear of not having enough “socialization”.

Staying Home (Originally posted October 11, 2011)

I mentioned once in a different post that my first reason for homeschooling, chronologically speaking, was a desire to avoid the typical American “real life is everywhere but home” attitude. A lifestyle different from the one I grew up with just sounded good to me, so I did it.

A commenter, as people on the internet frequently do, thought that from that single post she had learned everything she needed to know about me, and accused me of “projecting” my introversion (some people seem to think introversion is a mental illness instead of a personality trait) on my kids instead of letting them live real lives like other kids do. You know, full, active lives spent behind desks, on school buses, and standing in line.

The problem with blogging is that a single post is all some people ever read. I have many good reasons for homeschooling my kids, but even if that were my only reason, it would be good enough. You see, I have a right to live my life the best way I know how, and to provide for my children whatever lifestyle I think is best. I think it’s best if we live quieter lives at a less hectic pace than most Americans seem comfortable with. If anyone doesn’t like that, then that person is free to live some other way!
While I don’t think my preferences are necessarily the best for everybody, they are wonderful for my family–a realization that asserts itself anew every time I spend more than a few days in a row doing something “out”. We’ve been on the go for the last week, without a single day just being at home, and my life has gotten away from me! My schedule is still doing its job, getting us back on track as soon as we get home, but I’m so tired I could cry. Not just tired, though. Tired, I can deal with.

It’s the lack of time for thought that’s killing me.

I used to wonder why people don’t seem to apply much thought to, well, anything that they do, really. Well, I’ve figured it out. The average American lifestyle (and homeschoolers, this goes for a lot of us, too) leaves absolutely no time for reflection. We’re busy, and we like it that way. Busyness means never having to think uncomfortable thoughts. It means scurrying past the little, but important things to do the urgent, less important things. Even if we accidentally end up with some time on our hands somehow, there’s always the mindless entertainment offered by the idiot box to help us in our quest to avoid introspection.

One of the frequent defenses I hear from homeschooling moms and stay-at-home moms is “We don’t stay home at all! We go everywhere, all the time!” May I gently suggest that we concede too much in giving such an answer to those who think we’re not “working” or “socializing” enough? As if there were something wrong with staying home all day!

Having spent the last several days with an outside-the-home obligation at least once every day, I’m more convinced than ever that the typical American lifestyle is extremely unhealthy in its pace. There’s no need for me to join in the madness.
Repeat after me, homeschoolers:

Home is a good place to be, and I’m not missing anything if I stay there four or five days a week. 

Trust an old mama on this, ok?

That’s Some Lousy Parenting, Right There

And I’m not even talking about the kale. 

Watch this:

Let’s get the obvious point out of the way first: Children should not be made to consume large quantities of raw kale. There’s nothing in that “superfood” that is actually going to benefit their bodies, and harm can be done. We can argue about that some other time, though, veggie lovers, because what I’m really appalled by is the “manifestation of goals” this mother engages in, also known as “bribery”.

Now, tell me this, Mom: When your kids grow up and drink a raw kale smoothie, will that then “manifest” as a reward at Target without your intervention? I’m going to insert here an old post I wrote way back in November of 2010, because everything old is new again eventually:

Taking my six year-old to Pizza Hut last night to collect his very first–and very last—Book-It reward for reading, I asked him if he was looking forward to reading his next book.

“Why would I want to do that?” 
was his reply.

With those words, uttered in complete innocence, the fine mood I’d been in came crashing down to the ground. Suddenly, I was angry. Great. I have de-motivated my son instead of motivating him. Since I hadn’t told him I have 6 vouchers for free pizza, he thought this was all there was. So why try?

I relieved my frustration by envisioning my wildly-chuckling self ripping the vouchers to shreds and burning them. I may have even thought up an incantation to recite while lighting up that offensive booklet. Then I got my son the pizza I’d promised him, came home, and completely forgot to rip those suckers up. Oh, well. They can rot, for all I care. They’ve done me no good whatsoever. Before, I had a boy who read books just to be reading. Now I have a boy who thinks reading is such a miserable chore that you have to bribe him to do it.

Parenting 101: Our kids’ attitudes are formed by our expectations.
 In implementing this reward system I signaled to my son that reading is something disagreeable, and not worth doing for its own sake. Here’s the thing, though: I knew that. I do not reward my children for doing what they ought to be doing anyway. I’ve never used candy or stickers to bribe my kids during potty-training or for anything else I want them to learn. I do give gifts to celebrate milestones sometimes,  but not as rewards the child is working toward. For us the finished product is the prize. So what happened to those high-falutin’ ideals this time?

Instead of sticking to my usual methods, when I learned about the Book-It program for homeschoolers, I went for the freebie. Free is good, right? Try as I may, I can not resist a freebie. I just wanted to get some of that sweet pizza action for my kid.

I hearkened back to my memories of the program when I was in school. I loved to read, so the pizza was just a neat thing to me, a poor kid who didn’t get restaurant food very often. I do remember feeling like my teachers were being rather patronizing, thinking I’d never read if they didn’t trick me into it. I wasn’t deterred from reading after the program ended because I didn’t care very much what the pizza was for. If they’d offered rewards for something I hated doing, like public speaking, I wouldn’t have been getting that pie. The fact that I can remember feeling that way–slightly embarrassed to even be accepting the reward–really ought to have deterred me from “encouraging” my own kids this way. Ah, but everybody says it works!

In public schools, kids expect their teachers to be condescending, handing out a certificate every time a student remembers to cover his mouth when he sneezes. Our system pretty much demands it, lest some slow child be left behind, or worse, feel inferior. The children recover from those slights and do what they’re going to do anyway, incentives or no incentives. A good learner will learn. A poor learner won’t, no matter how high the cheesy, saucy stakes.

Kids do not expect that kind of horse-trading from their parents, however. At least, mine don’t. I don’t work that way, and they know it, so it must have thrown my son for quite a loop when I explained this program to him. He must have gotten the idea that that reading isn’t to be done for its own sake. Now I’m going to have to undo my bad work.
Hopefully, the memory of this whole thing will fade and

the child will rediscover the joy of reading just because he can.

 

I have no doubt he will, since I’m just going to expect it and he’s just going to have to. I’m trying not to kick myself too hard for this ridiculous mistake. It’s really just a hiccup for us…

So why would those kids drink the kale in the future? (Perhaps we should be relieved to think that they probably won’t.) Why would my son read a book?  When he reads a book, that does not “manifest” as a pizza anymore. If I didn’t like reading, I either wouldn’t read now, or if I did read simply because I was taught that I should, would I then hie me to the kitchen for a brownie to reward myself? Probably. This goes for allowances, too. Is your allowance based on whether children get their daily chores finished? The chores that they should be doing because the reward is a clean home and a happy family?

Are they learning that working around the home, for your family, is a cash transaction?

What are you really teaching your children when you tie an unrelated reward to the action?  Let’s pretend for a moment that drinking kale (God help us) actually is a healthy thing to do. Only if the children’s goal was “get healthy” is that “manifestation” going to happen for them outside of your parental intervention. What that child has learned is that if he does something unpleasant, he now deserves something pleasant that is completely unrelated to the unpleasant thing.

You’re setting up an addictive and self-destructive cycle in your child! Every “good” thing he does is now an excuse for self-indulgence. 

Do you know somebody who has a piece of cake or a glass of alcohol (or more) at the end of a hard day (or hour) because he “deserves” it? If so, you’re looking at someone who never learned to do the Thing for the sake of the Thing itself. It’s not a bad thing to have a piece of cake or a glass of wine, provided that you’re healthy enough to take the temporary hit to your biological state, but it is a very bad thing if the only reason you stayed on your job after the boss yelled at you was so you could justify your indulgence afterwards.

Mom, if kale is good for him, then he should be drinking these hideous smoothies because the health effects are manifest. If he’s not far-sighted and self-controlled enough to do that yet, you simply expect him to drink it, and model that behavior for him, until he’s old enough to make that decision for himself. Good luck with that, though. Kale is so far from healthful that small children instinctively avoid it. But if the health effects are real, he will see them, first in you, and then in himself. That is the true manifestation of the true goal.

I’m sure that none of my readers would ever do this. You are obviously of a discerning mind, or you wouldn’t be here, right? But I have fallen into that trap, lacking discernment myself at times. Any parent who is desperate to get a struggling child onto the straight and narrow has at least been tempted to use these tactics. Don’t fall for it, moms and dads. As you can see from my own experience, it is counterproductive in the long run.

 

Testimony, Replayed

A social media friend posted this today:And I agree. Depression, while it involves chemicals being all out of whack, is not caused by the chemicals being all out of whack. Western medicine does in regards to mental perturbances exactly as it does in physical ones: it blames the illness on the body/mind itself instead of finding the root cause, then gives it a pill to “correct” the body’s perfectly reasonable reaction to that root cause. The root cause is either spiritual or environmental, or both.

Anyway, this post reminded me of an old post I’d written on GAH 1.0, and since I don’t have a lot of time to post today, I thought I’d copy and paste that in here. There’s a lot more I can say, and will, after the chicken run is repaired and the drainage ditch out back is re-dug. (Anybody want to help me learn to drive a little backhoe so I don’t have to use a shovel? Is that what those things are called?)

Anyway, here you go. This post was originally published May 23, 2011:

Testimony, Delayed

Yesterday, on my way out the door of the last gas station on earth that doesn’t have pay-at-the-pump equipment, I walked past a young woman in a pretty orange-flowered dress. I’m very distractible, so the colors caught my eye—so much so that I didn’t see the face of the woman wearing the dress. My mother later informed me that if I had lifted my eyes a few inches further, I’d have beheld the face of a cousin of mine, who was accompanied by her sister and mother. I was disappointed to have missed a chance to speak to them. Despite my social anxiety, I really am a people person. I love to see and speak to absolutely everybody once I get past the initial “Oh, God, please make the ground open up and swallow me before I make a fool of myself” part of social encounters.

It occurred to me later that, if they saw me, they must certainly have recognized my face (and thought me all kinds of stuck up, but honest, I’m just that absent-minded),  but my heart and mind would be utterly foreign to them…and so would my faith, my lifestyle, and this blog. Especially this blog.

I haven’t had occasion to speak to these particular relatives of mine in about 8 years, several of which were spent in a sort of spiritual convalescence where I didn’t speak to or see practically anybody besides my immediate family. Few people would understand it, probably, but I was a very weak person, and God had to put me in a very lonely place for a long time so that I could learn to hear His voice over the voices of those around me. In those years, I changed so much that I can barely comprehend it myself. I hesitate to even try to explain such a transformation. Words can’t do it justice.

If this blog didn’t have my name and picture plastered all over it, my aunt and her daughters would never in a million years guess who was writing it (in the event they found themselves reading blogs by homeschooling social media addicts, which seems unlikely). (Editor’s note, 7/8/22: This aunt has now received Christ and transformed amazingly herself!)

And you, my friends, would never guess what I was like before, given the content of my blog. I haven’t given you very many clues about my past. I have hinted in previous posts that I made a lot of mistakes, but I have mostly left my personal history out of things. This is partly because I prefer to focus on ideas rather than myself when I write, and it is partly because I don’t spend very much time thinking about a past that has been gloriously defeated.

I have to admit, though, that my reticence is also in part because I am a coward. My past could easily be used against me, and I’m exposing the softest part of my very soft underbelly in writing about it. But my weakness is His strength.

If someone from my past were to read this blog, the word “hypocrite” might easily pass their lips, and not entirely unjustly, because there is barely a word here that suggests the kind of human refuse they knew me to be. Who, by reading this blog, would ever guess that this writer, who believes so strongly in the sanctity of marriage, has been divorced? Or that this mother of four (and, God willing, more to come) was once barren? Or that this apparently sane person more than once spent several weeks in locked-down psychiatric care, unable to form a coherent thought due to mental and spiritual illness?

I don’t like to brag, but I was as thorough an example of human fallenness and brokenness as you’re ever likely to come across. When I screw up, I do it completely. I have no sense of self-preservation at all. A crude flowchart of my adult life, starting at age 16 (believe me, I could write a book, but it wouldn’t be edifying at this point) goes like this:

depression—>drugs—>confused teenage love affair—>suicide attempt—>depression—>promiscuity—>marriage—>adultery—>alcohol—>divorce—>mental illness—>drugs—>depression—>suicide attempt—>psychiatric drugs—>remarriage—>depression—>suicide attempt—>drugs—>prophecy (which I will tell you about sometime!)—>depression—>drugs—>Christ—>recovery—>motherhood—>depression—>drugs—>recovery—>victory—>?

You’ll notice that even after Christ turned my life around and confirmed my faith with the gift of a son, I slipped up and had yet another bout of depression and drug use. I wish my story included a nice clean break between past and present, but redemption is as much a process as it is a crisis point of salvation. Some of us start out from a weaker place than others. God never left me through my struggles, and He brought me out the other side victorious!

There is nothing hypocritical in my keeping silence about these things. But there is such a huge disconnect between my present and past that anyone who used to know me might read my words and wonder why I’m hiding so much. Rest assured, I’m not intentionally hiding anything, nor am I ashamed anymore, though I will always regret all the harm I’ve done. I just haven’t gotten to writing about that stuff yet. It’s not as easy to write about as, say, feminism.

I knew I’d have to explain these things eventually, of course, and I’ve sat down to write it out many times. My chance almost-encounter at the gas station opened up a flood of memories for me and made the writing of this confessional post seem a little less scary. If I had seen the faces of the people who were right in front of me (something I apparently need to work on),  I might have had opportunity to tell them just how much God is able to do for even the most pathetic loser.

If it were my story, it wouldn’t be worth telling, but it’s God’s story. He deserves the praise for it. I hope the next time I pass by a person who knew me back then, I won’t be so blind to the opportunity to introduce them to the God of the here-and-now.

Isn’t It Funny?

How in the midst of an energy crisis, “scientists” can still find enough energy to crank up their hadron collider/demon-summoner?

They can afford nice idols, too:

And while you’re paying $5 at the pump and 1/3 more for every item at the grocery store, they’re sending YOUR oil reserves overseas?

And the people telling you to get ready to enjoy insects as the protein percentage of your kibble are eating an awful lot of meat?

You’ll never get a headline on this, but the people who want you to get your booster every 9 months didn’t even get their first shot.

Funny, all that, ain’t it?

Update: Somebody pointed this out on SG. Whether the author meant to induce some sense of guilt or absurdity in his globalist audience, or whether he was unironically stating facts as he sees them is beyond me. It’s really on the UN website. The Babylon Bee couldn’t have done any better. Update: It really was on the UN website. I’ll take the fact that they’ve yanked it down to mean that they finally understood that the linked article went too far in showing what they really think of the cattle…er…people of the world. These people have zero self-awareness.

Friday Mess-o-links

Let’s dig right in with some stuff I’ve collected this week.

If you’re seeing all these scary stories about the cattle dying from heat stress, please know that it’s not quite the big deal it sounds like. It’s not great, but it’s pretty normal, according to Ann Barnhardt. Bill Gates would still like to starve you into submission, though. You want to keep an eye on his kind.

Farming isn’t looking too good right now. Pray, plant as much as you can, and pray some more:

The Price of Gas and Friend/Enemy Distinction. Read that whole thing. Jesus said to love your enemies. That means that you are going to have some. You’d better be able to discern who they are. Fortunately, these days they make themselves obvious.

Consumer Groups Step Up Pressure on Lowe’s, Home Depot to Stop Selling Cancer-Causing Weedkiller I think it would be a good idea for everybody reading this to call their local Lowes or Home Depot, and all other sellers of Round-up, and tell them you won’t shop with them until they remove the poison from their shelves. We might also politely remind them that they could be sued along with the manufacturers for selling environmental toxins. I do plan to make that phone call myself.

Equal protection under the law is a thing of the past. Know your enemies, and know what power they hold, and where they hold that power. I wouldn’t set foot on federal property for the world right now. Simone Gold to be sentenced for walking into the Capitol building and reading a prepared speech on January 6th.

Along the same lines, this will not be used even-handedly or in a measured way:

Words from Jefferson Smith, Confederate Soldier, North Carolinian, prophet:

And finally, some good advice for women facing c-sections from SG moms with c-section experience. I’ll just grab some of my own thoughts from GAH 1.0, back in the c-section-having days to go along with that.

We’re back into the swing of things after a few weeks of having and then getting to know our new baby:

She’s in good health, and so am I. My doctor said she has me down in her book as the “fastest c-section recovery ever”. Guess that makes me some kind of winner. Where’s the prize for that? I’ve been told it’s because I “must be one tough lady”, and maybe that’s part of it, but it’s even more because I’m too restless and distracted to lie around and recover in a more leisurely, sedate fashion. Never did know how to behave myself. (Added 6/17/22: Also, every surgery is a little bit easier to recover from because the incision area becomes numb, though still itchy. That’s not super. It’s irritating and a little bit scary.)

C-section tip: Try getting up and moving around, sitting in a chair instead of the bed to eat those abysmal hospital meals, showering, changing the baby’s diapers, etc., as soon as you recover feeling in your legs. You get better faster if you just face the pain and get it over with. Besides, the morphine they give with the spinal wears off after 24 hours, and if you wait that long to get up, it will hurt more the first time you move, not less. Don’t overdo it, though. Rest as much as you can between all the self- and baby-care.
The surgery itself: I don’t want to scare anybody, so I’ll say the reassuring part first: Most c-sections are completely painless, just weird, so don’t be afraid! My first three were textbook, perfect, no pain. But! Did you know that sometimes the spinal doesn’t numb you as far up your body as necessary? I was sure they were trying to stuff the baby into my chest toward the end there. Perhaps they were using my spleen as a stress-ball. Sure felt like it. I would have preferred any amount of labor pain over that experience.

The baby was well worth it, of course. Her siblings are over the moon for her, and Get Along Husband and I have to fight the kids for our turn to hold her.

Speaking of childbirth, it has been very hard for me to let go of that phase of my life. After the fifth c-section, there just wasn’t a lot of uterus left to hold any more babies, and I’ve mourned my inability to have any more children the way a warrior might mourn his glory days on the battlefield. While I was searching for that old post, I found this post that I’d written to a woman who questioned the wisdom of my multiple c-sections. Still worth sharing, I think:

While I’m extremely uncomfortable with the idea that children are a choice to be made, rather than a gift to be received, I am equally uncomfortable with the idea that women’s lives are fully expendable in the service of procreation. Not every risk we can take is an honorable one. Sometimes it may be foolhardy or even heartless, depending on the circumstances.

In speaking with my husband about it last week, I likened the situation to that of a soldier. A woman’s valor in childbirth is certainly comparable to that of a soldier in battle, and her necessity to the survival of her people is just as clear. The potential for grief is great. Childbirth is scary, painful, messy, smelly, bloody and dangerous. There is often cursing and violence involved. It is also good and necessary. We’d think very poorly indeed of an able-bodied young man who was needed to defend his nation from an enemy, but who refused to do so.

At some point, depending on the health and circumstances of the woman, she can certainly become wounded and unable to return to the battlefield, just as a wounded soldier can. Sure, even a crippled soldier could probably hobble back out there with just half of one leg and one eye, and many would be glad to do so if they could. But not only would our wounded soldier be unlikely to do any good for his cause, he’d be a liability to the other men who’d have to cover and care for him. So we salute his valor, honor his sacrifice, and keep him out of the fighting from now on. We revere him as a hero, despite his inability to continue. This is true whether he was wounded in his first battle or his twentieth.


Likewise, I could (and want to!) get right back into the “battle” and try making a new baby. But if my uterus is extremely thin (or some other complication arises), trying to have more children would probably result not only in my or the baby’s death or disability, but in the rest of the family suffering for it, too. I trust God in all things, including pregnancy. I also trust my doctor and the understanding God gave him to help me figure out when my body is failing.

 

As for my own impending c-section, I still have no idea how things are going to turn out. I am praying and preparing for a good birth, good news about the condition of my uterus, and the all-clear to go back into battle if the Lord sees fit. Given the risk of hysterectomy, thinning, and placenta problems with each subsequent c-section, I am also trying (with limited success) to emotionally prepare myself for the bad news that my child-bearing days are over.

Fortunately, the Lord saw fit to give us one more child even after that one, and then in the last c-section, my doctor said to me “Cindy, your uterus has just lost all its integrity! I can’t make this safe for another baby.” And so we had my tubes tied, and I’ve cried about it every month since. It is not easy to be discharged from service, even honorably.

Anyhow, deep breath. That’s all I’ve got right now. What’s interesting in your neck of the woods? Links to your own blog posts or social media finds in the comments, please!

 

 

 

Food, Food Everywhere

And not a bite to eat.

We’ve been attending a new church lately, and we’re really feeling like we’ve finally found a home. One thing I’ve found about Christians is that they’re pretty lovable, so it’s not too hard to jump right in and get to know them. There is a little bit of awkwardness because of the differences in how we live out our faith as compared to the vast majority of Christians. Nobody condemns us, of course. Quite the contrary: while they don’t join us in our convictions, they often (claim to) admire them. I feel like if they really admired the differences, they’d adopt them. But at least they’re willing to step inside our worldview long enough to relate to it. I can content myself with that.

But explanations must occasionally be made. Where many are content, or feel they are forced by circumstance, to send their children to public schools, we think that Christians are called to protect their children from Godless indoctrination, whatever the cost. While I cover my head in worship (but never my face), most regard that act as outdated and legalistic. Unlike practically every evangelical Christian in the South, we don’t believe that it is a sin, or even unwise, to drink wine at appropriate times. These last few years, I’ve had to add one more thing to the ever-growing pile of differences to be navigated in a group setting: food.

Y’all know what church food is like. It’s the Standard American Diet, but with more of everything that is wrong with it. More sugar, more flour, more seed oil, more “love” in every bite. Also, more heart disease, diabetes, and cancer in every body. I know this can’t please God, and I can’t get comfortable with it.

Of course, most churches don’t meet for a meal every single day, or even every week, so excepting my own very restricted diet and a few serious allergens that must be avoided, a meal once in a while that includes a lot of refined carbohydrates or seed oils should be something the kids can just skate past with little difficulty. But I don’t want them to learn to take poor nutrition as a fact of religious life. It just rubs me the wrong way to make egregious exceptions for the sake of fellowship. I try my best to guide the children in eating what is advantageous to their bodies, and politely declining the rest, while hopefully managing not to take ourselves too far outside the group’s comfort zone. We often don’t even have to mention it, but can just pick and choose from the available items.

But sometimes we do appear extreme. We have a gluten problem for one of my children that makes any amount of wheat beyond that found in a communion cracker a health and behavioral nightmare. I trust that eating that will not harm the child because of the nature of the Sacrament. I don’t honestly think any human digests wheat or any other grain as well as they think they do, so I keep it out of all of our diets. I very much appreciate when there are gluten-free options at the table for our family. This church has gone above and beyond to try to make our family comfortable in this and other ways.

Our family’s food culture is so different that we can’t impose our needs on the whole group. It’s funny to me. The way we eat is much simpler, from buying, to cooking, to clean-up. It’s basically a lot of meat and some fruit, with a few of what I think of as the gentler vegetables for variety. Plain fare like this should be less of a logistical problem than all of these complicated casseroles and desserts, but people just don’t want to eat that way. They want bread. They want the kinds of hyper-palatable messes I used to make in the kitchen. I can’t blame them for wanting to eat what they’ve always eaten. That stuff tastes like love, doesn’t it? But it’s not love. It’s not even food, half the time.

I can’t blame them. Nor can I join them in it on anything like a regular basis. To keep our food healthful, while still enjoying the fellowship of others, here’s what we’ve become accustomed to doing for any church or family function that includes a meal:

Eat before you go. How much you eat beforehand depends very much on the menu where you’re going. I can eat the main things at a cookout, but there’s never an acceptable dish at a covered-dish dinner. I don’t want to eat more than my expected share of the real food, either, so I still need to be not-too-hungry even when there are meat-only options. Real food does cost more. That’s part of why is it so hard to make inroads into the way people think about food. Most of the Christians I know, including myself, don’t have a lot of money to throw around. The best way around this discomfort is to be no hungrier when you go than you need to be to enjoy a little bit of the repast. I often make these protein shakes for the kids before we go so they don’t feel deprived with a lighter plate later.

Bring a dish to share. Even if it’s fully catered, nobody is going to mind if you plop down a dish or two of whatever you’re having.

Bring your own snack stuff. If I’m not able to make a dish for everyone to share, I will as discretely as possible pull my stash of meat sticks and cheese out of my purse to dole out to the kids when they find their plates a little light.

Fast and enjoy the company. You don’t have to eat, you know. Just grab a cup of coffee or water and sit down to chat. People will notice you’re not eating and ask if you want to get a plate. Practically nothing embarrasses me, so I’m taking other people’s word for it that this is uncomfortable. I just say “No thanks, I already ate.” or something like that. You don’t have to explain your crazy diet to everybody, and they’d probably rather not hear about it anyway.

Here’s what’s hard about all this, and it causes me to compromise occasionally: it makes people feel inadequate when they can’t feed you. They want to share, and you won’t let them. It’s alienating. I don’t ever want people to feel that way! So I do sometimes bend the rules and allow the kids to eat gluten-free breads and pastas where I wouldn’t dream of doing so in our home. They sometimes get to eat some candy I wouldn’t allow as a rule. As we get to know people better, they do get more comfortable with our weirdness, so the compromises aren’t habitual or permanent. Sometimes we just have to take the hit for the sake of fellowship.

We don’t eat this way to be separate or to keep ourselves above the cultural milieu, but because I truly believe it results in the very best health a person can achieve in this sick world. Ultimately, I’d like our family’s healthy way of eating to rub off on the community around us. I’d like to see everybody in my community as vigorously healthy as possible, so that they may serve the Lord even more effectively than they already do. I can’t help them with that while indulging in cake and spaghetti, so I do believe that any compromises should be strategic and short-term.

Thus far, people seem happy to allow for our quirks, but hardly anyone ever joins us in them. I’m not by nature a patient person, but I know it’s a long game we’re playing. You can’t change a culture before it’s ready to change. All you can really do is be a light to those can be made to see, while trying not to mind that the darkness doesn’t comprehend. This is as true of nutrition as it is of any other aspect of culture.

How about you? Do you have any tips for navigating a dangerous dietary landscape without making a fuss?

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