The Value of a Thing is Not in Its Name

Marriage is an adjustment.

Our first year seemed pretty easy to me. Then we added some kids and work and life started to seemed a little more like life and less like a fairy tale. Adding to life feeling like well, just life, were my presuppositions about being a wife and how I was applying them. I had assumed the role of a silent partnership in an attempt to be the good wife (which came easily to me at time since I tended to be out of touch with my emotions anyways ( Read: How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage). I was submitting as I thought submitting should happen, but I was failing to share my heart and my head with the most important person in my life. Even though he, of course, sincerely wanted to know me. As me. (Doesn’t that just seem obvious? sometimes it’s harder to see love when you’re peering through layers of insecurities.) It’s too easy to shut down a little of yourself when you feel like you’re there for the support of your husband and not vice versa.

I knew something wasn’t working right, it just took a while to figure out what.

Over the last few years my thoughts on marriage and roles have evolved a little and matured a lot. I’ve gone from acting in a place of possible subservience to realizing that in order for us to have a healthy marriage and family, we have to do our marriage how it worked for us specifically.

Since I was raised in a fairly conservative Christian home, I was familiar with the idea that wives should submit to their husbands (complementarian view) (pretty explicitly stated in Ephesians 5:22), but the idea of mutual submission (egalitarian view) that I had discovered while reading blogs was appealing (Ephesians 5:21, the immediately preceding verse which is handily omitted in many wedding services and discussions on marriage). I realized that though I was familiar with the one way, maybe the other could possibly be right.

Eventually I found I had an unhealthy fixation on definitions and I decided to focus on how our marriage actually worked instead of wondering about the words surrounding. Because what you call your marriage isn’t important if it doesn’t work. It’s the actual moments in the day that matter and build the foundation. It’s not someone else’s words on marriage and how well you fit the mold that will make or break a marriage. It’s the ability of two individuals to acknowledge and embrace the unique personhood of the other and learn to live with that person well. So I began to focus on how we could both be healthy people in our own unique marriage together. Which brought me to the realization that I might have a log in my eye and I could only practically change myself.

Over time, I’ve learned that there isn’t a one size fits all for marriage and you can’t say what will work best for everyone, and the way I’d been taught to look at the Bible and marriage wasn’t the only way to look at it. And what I’d been reading into submission, a semi-serious lack of boundaries, (read Boundaries in Marriage !), wasn't a healthy way to live alone, let alone live in a marriage.

So even though from the outside our marriage may seem more complementarian with the wife at home and a lot of respect going from the wife to the husband. I have to choose to call it more egalitarian (while realizing definitions can't say it all, but also admitting words are important) so that I bring my whole self to the relationship. It reminds me I have just as much say in how our marriage works and just as much responsibility to make it work as my husband does. I am not absolved from being truthful just because I am flying the flag of submission. I am called to lift him up to help him be more of who he is and he does the same for me (quite effortlessly, I might add. Love that man), while we both bring our unique perspectives to whatever predicament we are in to solve the problem as the team God made us to be.

I have to use my voice and Israel has to use his and He will use both of us.

His plans for us both might knock our socks off if we let Him. Because that is just how He is. He made all things good and beautiful in its time.

The value of a thing is not in its name, its in what He makes it to be.

And we are all different.

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How does your marriage work? What do you think about prescribing marriage rules on everyone regardless of fit?
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Israel sends me pictures of sunsets because they have “my colors” in them. Love. :)

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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.
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What are your thoughts?
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A Day in the life: Summer.

This was our monday. :)

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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.

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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.

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8:43 – Quiz again. Suburbanite. Sounds closer. Mess with blog drafts schedule.

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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?
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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.

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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. :)

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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 :)

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

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((I have no affiliation or compensation for writing about Citrus Lane. I just think it’s fun and want to share.))
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