Maybe Feminism is Not for Everyone – But What Is?

I’ve been watching the twitter war go down. And by watching I mean I’ve been avoiding it as best I can. There’s always a war going on on twitter, I guess that’s nothing new. People get outraged about all sorts of things. But this one worries me.

Today’s outrage is feminism and how we do and don’t need it. The hashtag #womenagainstfeminism is getting a lot of backlash from the group of people I follow on twitter who wave the flag of Christian Feminism. One side sees it as unnecessary. The other see it as an important and powerful social justice movement. I’m not as concerned with the reasoning on either side as I am with the attitudes of attack we’ve taken against each other.

I see another version of the mommy wars happening. We could be banding together and saying. “You know what, we are strong women and we can make a difference no matter what banner we fly”. We’re taking cheap shots at each other’s banners when we should at least be looking at what the other is fighting. I have a feeling if we actually all stopped to look we’d see women with similar passions and insecurities fight for the “other side”. We might make different choices and different words, but the motivations are similar and we are doing the best we can with the information we have. And that’s all you can do.

The word feminism has a lot of baggage, both good and bad. Some people don’t view the baggage as worth it. Some people want freedom from being defined by anything seemingly institutionalized. So they call for freedom and take pictures of their self-confidence and go to battle. Free and ready to fight any sort of definition or rules placed on them.

Other people see the benefit in being able to band together and make a change. They value having a different set of rules to live their lives by (rule-followers like me appreciate knowing there is another way they don’t have to forge alone). Rules that give freedom from the rules of patriarchy and allow them to step into society as wholly functioning people, insteadNot defined by gender expectations. They see the title of feminism as something more all encompassing, more an attitude and a lifestyle than simply a social justice movement.

The way I see it. We might be able to make more of a difference if we gave up fighting about it. Especially in our christian circles. The internet is always in an uproar about something. Trends go in and out.

But maybe this time, as Christian feminists, or as Christian not feminists (or as feminist not christians or not christians not feminists, really) we can acknowledge that we think differently about some things, but instead of letting that divide us we can look to see what we agree on.

Maybe we can focus less on ourselves and how our opinions are being trodden on and instead listen to what the other side is saying underneath their battle cries.

Is attacking each other really doing any good?

If feminism is about treating people like people we should be up in arms about our own treatment of the other side.

If you don’t need feminism, you can allow others to embrace feminism without hating on it. Can we listen a little to the concerns of others? And maybe instead of bashing what we hate we can talk about what we love? Is that too cliche?

I’m here to suggest that maybe you don’t need it, but other people do. And also, maybe you do need it, but other people don’t. And both options are fine.

Not everyone has to embrace feminism for the world to be changed for the better. But we do need to get better at working together and see more than one side of the story.

Finding feminism has taught me the importance of treating other people’s opinons gracefully. It has given me words to be less dogmatic and more loving with how I talk about my faith and ideas. Because more important than me smacking people upside the head with what I believe is that I demonstrate the love of Christ. And just admitting the world needs change and we’re the ones to do it is more important than using the word feminist.

So whether you do or don’t need feminism, we need to keep fighting for justice in the world. For women and men. The stats need to change. We don’t need feminism itself to do it. We need each other. We need to not be fighting over such trivial things as a name with the people who can help us make change.

Some say feminism is the way to get there, some don’t.

So do or don’t claim feminism.

But do consider the rest of the world as you live and make choices.
—–
What are your thoughts?
—–
Would you like my page on facebook?
—-

A Day in the life: Summer.

This was our monday. :)

—–
Teething is a nasty thing when sleep is involved. She had a big lump on her bottom gums and one on the top last night. She is finally getting ready for teeth 2 and 3. But sleep. alas. She could not sleep on her own. So she and I camped out on the mattress in her room and did our best.

4:45 AM – I wake up next to a hot flopping baby.
5:00 – I decide to give her some medicine for her fever and sore gums and we go back to flop on the bed.
5:30 – give up flopping. move to bouncing on the exercise ball in hopes of her being able to sleep in her crib
6:00 – sleep success! And I finally get to go to my bed with my sleeping husband.
6:30 – Israel leaves to get some work done. I have him set a Ranger trap (Curious George playing, a bowl of dry cereal and an open banana in plain sight) in case Ranger wakes up before Ali and we’re still sleeping.
7:15 – Ali wakes up so I take her in bed with me.
8:15 – Ali won’t let me sleep any longer. We lounge. I make coffee.
8:30 – Ranger finally wakes up. He watches George and eats his banana and cereal.
9:00 – make and serve breakfast (Eggs and cereal). I try to squeeze in a few chapters of Bible reading since I’m trying to catch up to my schedule.
9:30 – Get babies diapered and they play. I fiddle with the blog post for the to make sure I have it right before it posts. Feed Ali.
10:30 – We go run. It’s hot and dry but I feel good thanks to a few days off.

20140715-155648-57408520.jpg
11:00 – back at the house I drink lots of liquid and get some lunges in while the munchkins sleep. Then it’s stretching, bible, and nurse Ali again.
11:40 – i gather things for us to take a shower and come back into the living room to find Ali perched precariously on the little tyke picnic table. O.o She is such a climber.
11:45 – Shower.
12:15 – make and serve lunch of grilled cheese and tuna. Then I read some of my Barefoot Running book while we eat.
12:45 – Israel calls to say he’s coming home for a business call and would appreciate non-screaming background noise (actually he said it really nicely. I think he used the word ‘quiet’). So I decide to take the babies to the library and then to chic-fil-a to play in the air conditioned playplace because I’m a weenie and it’s 102 outside.
1:00 – I nurse Ali, Israel gets home, we leave for the library, drive around looking for a parking spot.
1:10: when we get inside the library, I pick out some books, Ranger plays with some dinosaurs, and Ali rides in the Boba carrier on my back.
1:55: we head to the checkout and scan our books and it’s off to Chic-Fil-A
2:05: I tried to get Ranger to play before we ordered anything since we technically had lunch already, but he knows the chic-fil-a routine so we had to get something to eat first. So we got actual food since he was still hungry: chicken nuggets, fries and a chocolate milkshake. And then we played with the horde of other children whose parents had the same idea. Ali surprised me by being able to climb halfway up the slide in her bare feet. She has so much fun.
3:15 – home again, home again. Ranger was asleep in his carseat so I deposited him in his bed. Ali was asleep in her carseat so she just got transferred to her room. Talk to israel a few minutes in his office
3:30 – read, do some things online, blog, and then nurse Ali when she wakes and transfer her to her crib after she goes to slerp again.
4:15 -Ranger wakes up from his nap with a cough so we cuddle with a blankie on the couch.
4:30 -Ali wakes up, nurses. The end of naptime.
4:45 – read to ranger and blog a little.
5:15 – Ali needs more attention. I put her in the carrier, dole out graham crackers, start the rice cooker, get the mail, decide what to make for dinner, dole out more crackers, make coffee for me and israel, forget mine, and start stir-fry for dinner.
6:00 – dinner is ready.
6:15 – gather babies to eat.
6:40 – israel frees himself from work to eat.
7:00. Ranger and I try to do Puzzles, Ali interferes, so we change a diaper and switch to reading stories.
7:10 – Ali and Ranger tromp with daddy. It was an unusually busy day, but at least they got a few minutes with daddy.
7:30 – Israel went to bed since he wasn’t feeling well and has an early flight tomorrow. Kids play in their room. I write out the body of this post while refereeing and playing catch.
7:35 – banana time!
7:44 – Ali inserts herself between mom and ipad and starts jumping up and down. Need Attention. Play.
7:45 – feed cats, straighten their room, put in a few more lines of this post.
8:00 – ali needs attention. Bedtime maybe.
8:02 – brush ranger’s teeth since he confined himself in Ali’s walker. Put him to bed with water and his race car. Give Ali some advil in hopes of better sleep and because of a toasty forehead.
8:05 – wonder how 4 snaps can br so hard to snap as Ali crawls away after diaper change.
8:07 – find blankie.
8:08 – nurse. Facebook. Hopefully sleep.
8:20 – bounce and then pat and sing.
8:37 – no luck. back to nurse. Blog.
8:41 – hipster quiz on facebook. Results: down home. Weird.

20140715-155517-57317346.jpg
8:43 – Quiz again. Suburbanite. Sounds closer. Mess with blog drafts schedule.

20140715-155517-57317653.jpg
8:52 – Lay Ali down. Hopefully. Still fussing a bit, maybe she’ll settle. Ranger is coughing in his sleep.
8:57 – No more fussing. Ranger still coughing. Think about getting out humidifier…but it is in the closet next to Ali’s head. Hrmmm. Decide to wait.
9:00 – and this is where I’m going to assume the best and call it a day. Might write some more, read, watch a movie. Will eat chocolate in some form.

And that was monday.

Notes:
* usually I don’t get as much blogging done as I did today. But israel’s mom is coming to visit this week so I tried to get it in today. I was cramming.
* israel doesn’t often request quiet for a call. And usually we would just go play outside, but today was so hot and we were all presentable and fed at the right time, so I opted to go somewhere instead.
* ali is usually a lot easier to put to bed.
* I have not been super good about stretching/lunges. I am trying to get rid of my runner’s knee issues and get in the habit of stretching and strength exercises.


Do your summer days look much different from your average day during any other season?
—–
Like my page on facebook or follow me on twitter?

Our Cheap Summer Fun (Plus: A Citrus Lane Review)

One of my goals for the summer was to play with my babies a little bit more purposefully. A few of my fun things so far happen to be super cheap. And one isn’t so cheap, but it’s super fun.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

—Bubbles!

We are on our second container of bubbles for the summer and I think it will last. (Though perhaps I should stock up for the fall while it’s here?). I paid 5 dollars for a container that a bit less than 2 months (and Ranger was still in the dumping phase then so maybe this one will last longer!). I think it is worth it to get multiple fun bubble wands. It keeps it interesting for the big people. And when the little people are asking so sweetly “Mommy blow bubbles with me? Mmmhmm.” (With an adorable prompting positive nod and irresistible large blue eyes, I might add) it makes it easier to say yes.

— Sprinklers and a watergun.

Because water is fun. And it’s HOT.

Photo by Ranger

Photo by Ranger

One of the first times we had the sprinkler on in the backyard Ali crawled under and made an adorable attempt to crawl out as quickly as she could except that she just crawled in further…. :)

—- Chalk.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my ability to get past my chalk hatred (i have to master my feelings about sand…but ah well). And it is fun to get artsy on the driveway.

—-Cardboard Playhouse.

This was a spur of the moment project. We had a big box, the babies were sleeping and I was inspired. I grabbed some scissors and had some fun.

They both loved it while it lasted.

—Puzzles.

20140708-163003-59403744.jpg
I wouldn’t have thought of this myself, but puzzles are pretty fun to do together. Ranger got an Abc puzzle for christmas, and this 12 piece puzzle in our Citrus Lane box. He is figuring them out and it is fun to show him how they work.

Which brings us to Citrus Lane! Let’s just say I’m hooked. Which is convenient since I somewhat accidentally* got a longish subscription.

Here’s what our box looked like this time:


- My favorite items were by far the puzzle and the water bottle. I really thought the puzzle came at the perfect time for Ranger. It was really cute and I liked that it required me to help him.
- Ranger was so excited to get a water bottle like ascher’s! It made his day and he carried it around with him the rest of the day. I really liked that it came with two straw sets (though I think I may have lost mine…or thrown it away on accident :/ sadly).
- The granola bars were fun though similar to the fig bars we already get in a regular basis. If I see them at a store I’ll use my coupon :)
- I don’t think I’ll use my discount at that website…i am not in a place where I am confident enough in my size to order bras online unless I’ve tried them before.
- The wet bag is a great idea, but I’ll probably save it to pass on to someone else since we have several of those already.

So that was our june box! I put our subscription on pause this month so we won’t get a July box, but Ali will be up for her box in August just before her birthday. We’ll see if I hold out and wait tile then to give it to her though. :) It is pretty fun to get surprises in the mail. :)

—–

And this is where I would tell you to use my invite link if you want to sign up to give Citrus Lane a try…but that only gets you 50% off your first box. So instead I’m sending you to my sister’s blog where she is giving away 3 codes to get your first box free. :) so if you want to try it out, but haven’t, go talk to Amanda :)

—–
What is your favorite cheap summertime activity?
I can’t wait to take Ranger and Ali to the pool when they’re older :)
—–

(( *You can get Citrus Lane subscriptions in 1, 3, or 6 month increments. The price per box is cheaper the longer your subscription, but the price up front is larger and you can only cancel it in the increments you purchased the subscription. Just Fyi. Ya know. :) ))

—-
((I have no affiliation or compensation for writing about Citrus Lane. I just think it’s fun and want to share.))
—–
Like my facebook page or follow me on twitter?

Pastors, Soldiers, and Missionaries.

It’s hard to accurately write about the change that has taken place in my mind and heart over the last few years. That’s a lot of life to think about. But I’ll try to touch on pieces here and there, if only to point out a changed perception of myself or of God.
—–
Growing up, I always saw myself in the supporting role. I always wanted to be a pastor’s wife, a soldier’s wife, or a missionary’s wife. I liked the thought of supporting a passionate person (still do!). I wanted a part in an epic tale that made a difference.

I admire the sweetness with which I wanted to be a wife and mom, but I also wonder why I didn’t dream of anything else. Was it because I really didn’t think of it or was it because of the rules? (By default, I’m a rule follower..) Would I have been the little girl that wanted to be the pastor or soldier or missionary if I had thought they were acceptable occupations for a girl?

Now I’m doing what I’ve always dreamed of, everything else is falling into place and I love it, but I’ve started to wonder how much my hopes for the future were influenced by what I felt was appropriate or expected of me. Given more options, I probably still would have only wanted to be a mom when I was little, that is just part of who I am. But marriage isn’t the end of the story and often kids don’t fill all the gaps of who God is calling you to be. You have to search it out and be willing to follow His leading even if it’s outside of what you expected. And you have to let girls know they can do it. And boys for that matter.

I’m learning to challenge what I know about what girls/women are ‘allowed’ to do and to find words that speak a little more freedom for the girl who maybe could have wanted to be a pastor. And to eventually encourage my own daughter to be a world-changer in her own world and story. And that’s probably why I’m really on this journey.

I’m completely fine with figuring my own story out along the way -it’s what I wrote. I chose it and I love it – but I want to be sure others (who maybe aren’t happy with the stereotypical opportunities available to them) aren’t boxed in by cultural expectations or left voiceless when God is calling them “further up and further in” to His plan for their life. I want them to know they can do it and they should go. Because following Him is what really matters most.

I want to tell about a God who gives freedom.

It’s an experience.
—–
This abstract little piece in my history of thought seemed important to my story of moving towards feminism. Sort of an introduction to how limited my view of how God might possibly use me was, and how He is starting to make very clear that He is much much bigger than I think.
—–
What did you want to be when you were little?
—–
Follow me on facebook?

Simplify: Dishes.

For a while now one of the biggest problems I’ve had with keeping my house presentable is the kitchen. The dishes. They drive me crazy. One would think I could just do it gradually and be fine…but it always feels so overwhelming.
I started thinking about what was hard about keeping the kitchen clean. And how I could possibly solve the promlem.
I was tired of:
- having more than enough dishes to fill the dishwasher
- not even noticing when a huge pile of dishes were missing until they showed up in my formerly empty sink.
- spending an hour or more scrubbing pots and pans and loading the dishwasher. Sometimes I even washed by hand to get completely caught up.
- having to dig through mounds of dishes taking up all the counter-space before I could cook a meal.

Are you seeing the pattern? We just had too many dishes for our little family.

This is what my kitchen looked like in a “clean” state:

Granted, it was nice to not have to wash dishes often, but really not washing dishes often is a problem and the end result of no dishes in the cupboard is the same, but with a much larger pile of dishes to wash. I also kept thinking of this post by Tsh at The Art of Simple and have been dangerously interested in minimalism as a lifestyle. So I decided to go for it.

I didn’t do anything radical since I wanted to keep my husband on board with the idea (and not just frustrated by the lack of cereal bowls!). So we still have a lot of dishes available, but I put a little thought into what I left out and might take away more at a later point.

Here’s what my cupboards looked like after I cleaned them out:


Plus the dishwasher and counters were empty! I wish I had thought to take pictures of my silverware and utensil drawers. They underwent an impressive change as well.

So far this has felt so much more manageable.

What I like
- it is much easier to tell when I need to load the dishwasher (since apparently I go by the numbers available to use, not the numbers piled up in the sink. Actual need inspires me.)
- if the dishwasher is not quite full enough to run I’ll search the house for items that have wandered away. (Thus eliminating the surprise attack of a full sink). This is a much better problem than having way more than a load of dishes.
- there is much less chance of the stuff in the sink sitting so long it starts to smell. I’m sorry guys. That happened here. I should be ashamed.

—-
Some of the stuff I sorted out I am giving to my mom to add to her college student stash (for when the next kid needs them!). A lot of it I am keeping around. If we don’t use them for a long while I may pass them on to one of my siblings. I might put the plastic dishes in a box for camping. I have a box of glasses set aside so I can backfill as the current selection meet their ruin (it is inevitable after all). And I put my canning jars and rings out in the garage for when I need them next.

It is nice to simplify. Sometimes just having so much stuff can wear me out. It is an odd, and distinctly first-world, problem to have.

I’m thinking about my clothes now and wondering what else could be more simple…. :)

—–
What is a favorite recent change you have made in your life? Have you ever thought about minimalism? What about just having less stuff in general?

—–
Follow me on facebook?