When Kids Answer the Phone

My grandmother emailed this to me, so you may have seen it before. I never had, but I can totally picture something like this happening at my house…

…except my kids wouldn’t be shocked at all that I like beer.

….and I would be totally shocked that they had the good sense to leave a note with the message.

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32Based on the amount of times this video has appeared in my newsfeed – and the “Bahahaha!! THIS IS SO FUNNY…because it’s TRUE!” comments that accompany it – it seems like this little parody has really struck a chord with women in their early thirties. I really have no idea why. Other than her love of cheese and her dental procrastination (neither of which is new to my thirties) I can’t relate to it at all. Does this mean I’m out of touch with the average woman my age? Maybe so. And if that is what it means, I have never been so grateful to be out of touch. Are most women out there really this bored and boring? So frustrated, yet so satisfied with their monotony? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a stick in the mud. I understand that is supposed to be funny. I just don’t think it is. In fact, I thought it was pretty darn depressing.

Despite tedious moments, my life is exciting and wonderful. A new adventure every day. Like the the lady in the video, I may not want more than one drink when I go out, but that’s because I have too much to live for the next day to be confined to the couch with a headache. I, too, love my sweatpants, but that’s because I’ve reached a point of personal liberation in which I don’t care if I’m stylish or not. I, too, am somewhat of a recluse, but that’s becasue nothing outside of my home can hope to compare to the value of what I have within. So I guess I’m just trying to say: I don’t get it. And I’m glad I don’t.

Your Body Is A Wonderland

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Image credit: http://theguidingstarproject.com/ “Don’t be afraid of your body. Take the time to listen to it and understand how it really works. There are thousands of wonderful resources out there to help you feel more comfortable with yourself and teach you about how amazing you really are.”

Although I always enjoyed the John Mayer song of the same name, this graphic gave me a new appreciation for the phrase. My body is indeed a wonderland. It is not in need of alteration of any kind, neither cosmetic, nor chemical. While this graphic is clearly aimed at the oppressive lie that women need to regularly ingest chemicals in order to live up to their real potential, the message is broader than that.

Feminists have a loud voice in the world. I am very grateful for many of their accomplishments. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, they got it all wrong. At some point feminists decided that in order to prove the value, worth, and dignity of women, we needed to renounce that which makes us women. I can understand how this started. As an effort to gain equality with men in the eyes of society, they sought to prove that women could be like men. They felt the need to prove themselves capable of that which they had been deemed incapable.

While this approach has achieved many victories for women, it is fundamentally flawed. It’s basic message is that’s a woman’s worth lies in the fact that she can be like a man. I find that unbelievably insulting! My worth results from my femininity, not in spite of it. Maybe that’s why feminists often seem so angry and bitter. They may not be able to put words to it, but they must sense that what they are fighting for is not accomplishing what they intend.

Enter the new feminist movement. New Feminism recognizes and affirms that women are different from men. One only need to open a biology book to recognize this truth. New Feminism allows us to be women without shame. We don’t have to hide or renounce who we are and how our bodies work to believe we are equal in dignity and value to the man sitting next to us at the conference room table. New Feminism acknowledges that a woman’s strength lies in the fact that she is a woman, not in her ability to conform herself to be like a man.

I long for this movement to take hold over and above the traditional feminist movement. When it does, great things will happen. Imagine the world when women are valued for who they really are. In this world: we won’t have to fight for adequate birthing conditions in hospitals. We won’t be shamed for nursing a baby in public. We won’t be forced to chose between our career and our health after the birth of a child. We won’t have our pumped milk x-rayed, dumped out, or endure public humiliation in order to nourish our children. We won’t be told by nearly every doctor in the country that the only way to control the gift of our fertility is by ingesting dangerous chemicals or undergoing surgery. We wouldn’t feel guilty about “wasting our education” by choosing to be stay at home moms, yet feel equally as guilty about choosing to work outside the home. When femininity is valued for the great gift it really is, we will stop finding our worth in the reflection we see in the mirror and we will stop treating other women as our enemies. We won’t judge our value based on the cleanliness of our homes  or how we measure up to the items we pin on pinterest.

I want feminism redefined. I want more than what women have accepted as progress. I want more for me and especially for my daughter. I want my daughter to know that her body, her feelings, and her aspirations are not a mistakes. She is fearfully and wonderfully made, and I want her to behave like it.

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A Lonely Path

On facebook today a woman lamented, “*sigh* Second time this week I’ve been told I should write less. Great idea, guys! Shall I send you my mortgage bill, or will you be paying the bank directly?” She’s a blogger and a mommy of a large family. I don’t know her personally, but I think she has something like 9 kids. Clearly, she’s a busy woman with or without writing. I read the 50ish comments in response, as her commenters are often quite witty and enjoyably sarcastic, thinking it would be a slew of “what the world would be like without regular doses of Simcha Fisher available on the internet” type responses. What I stumbled across instead was another woman who can apparently see into my soul. “I think one of the worst things about this attitude,” she responded, “is that it makes those of us who are a bit overwhelmed by it all hesitant to say anything or look for the support we need because people will just start making uninformed suggestions about what we need to drop from our schedule.” A little further down the thread Simcha replied, “right, which is always just a hair away from ‘hm, whydja have so many kids, if you can’t take care of them?'”

I don’t quite know how to explain the flood of emotions that resulted from that exchange. (Granted, I’m 29 weeks pregnant. It doesn’t take much to unleash a flood of emotions. But this genuinely moved me.)

These two strangers gave me a sense of validation that I didn’t even realize I was looking for. I felt so heard, so understood. These women know what it often feels like to be me.

But immediately following that reaction, it just made me sad. Why are people, women especially, always so busy judging and trying to one-up the other? Why are we so full of ourselves that we think we can tell another person what’s best for them, despite not knowing anything about their life or circumstances? Why can’t we just support and encourage one another? Why can’t we do what we can to help each other out, even if all that means is telling a well-timed joke or offering a few words of encouragement?

I can’t tell you how many times I’m told (without ever expressing how overwhelmed I find myself from time to time, or in any way soliciting advice or an opinion) that I should cut work or school or something else out of my life because it’s just not possible for me to do it all. If I get regular comments like that just by walking out of my house, why on earth would I ever attempt to open up and express how truly difficult some days (some weeks, for that matter) can really be? Why would I ever admit I need help when the vultures are already circling, just waiting to attack me with their unfounded criticism and baseless concerns?

It leaves me strangely isolated despite being constantly surrounded by people.

With my husband and through prayer, I have carefully discerned that homeschooling, graduate school, and working for the Church are all things I’m supposed to be doing right now. Yet, those are the very things that people frequently tell me I should cut out of my life. Admittedly, if anyone had ever told me I’d be attempting to navigate all of those tasks simultaneously, I would have told them them… Well…let’s just say it’s not something I ever would have signed up for. Nevertheless, I do believe that all of these components of my life are meant to be components of my life at this time.

But just because something is meant to be a component of my life, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always going to be easy.

And that’s what friends, family, and whatever else makes up your support system exist for, right? To sit on the porch and have a glass of wine after a tough day, listening with a sympathetic ear. Or to say, “hey, why don’t you let the kids come over and play for an hour or two so you can get caught up on the housework/school work/church work?” Or to tell you that you’re absolutely crazy for being upset that one child covered the other from head to toe in lip gloss and glitter, when what you really should have done is run for the camera. Or to say, “hey, let’s get all the kids together tonight for some cheap pizza and let them run around the yard like fools, while we sit far enough away to actually have an adult conversation.”

If only that’s how it really were.

Instead I get unsolicited commentary informing me how my lifestyle choices have produced these awful consequences (or will produce an array of awful consequences in the future) and I should just change paths.

I don’t want to change paths.

I love the path I’m on.

I just wish there were people around who wanted to walk this path with me, not necessarily by making the same choices I have, but by supporting me through the challenges this path may produce.

Birds, Babies & The Right to Life

bird in handOne of my favorite news sources is naturalnews.com. As the name implies, they provide natural, holistic commentary on science, nutrition, and cultural trends. Not surprisingly they’ve done a lot of coverage of the recent mysterious fish and bird deaths.

Truthfully, I don’t care about the bird deaths for the birds’ sake, but more for what implications the root cause may have on human life. Now before you label me a bird hater, please understand that my point is just that human life holds more value than a bird’s life. Not that I think one should go around massacring populations of birds, just that my larger concern is that what has been introduced into the environment is probably harmful to humans as well. Of course, in this day and age, where we routinely consume known carcinogens on a daily basis for the sake of convenience, that sounds like crazy talk. (Wrong soapbox, Mary, please redirect yourself.)

This particular bird death article caught my eye because it linked the cause to the USDA. Partly appalled but mostly unsurprised, I clicked the headline to see what they had found. Believe it or not, the findings are not what I’m here to write about. What I found even more disturbing than the planned massacre of the birds was the following concluding argument: “If the federal government thinks nothing of murdering 4 million living, breathing birds, then what else might they be capable of doing out of a total lack of respect for wildlife?” (emphasis original) WHAT??? PLEASE, PLEASE tell me I did not just read that! Especially not today.

Actually, the point is good and valid. What bothers me is it’s about BIRDS. It really bothers me that it’s socially acceptable to fight for the rights of birds but not people. Every time I see one of those heart wrenching ASPCA animal abuse commercials I quickly grow angry. Where are the commercials advocating for the children who are abused and neglected? Sure we get commercials every now and then about feeding families in third world countries, and I absolutely support that, but what about the abused and neglected children right here in our own cities and in our own neighborhoods? Who’s advocating for them?

Today is the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion throughout pregnancy. Since that time 52 million legal abortions have been performed. I emphasize legal because of the butchers like Dr. Gosnell in PA that destroy records when things don’t go well for them. I would guess he’s not the only one of his kind and the true number is much higher.

The outrage expressed by the commenters both on the Natural News site and on Facebook at the fact that the government would knowingly poison and kill a living creature was unparalleled. That’s what breaks my heart. Despite the talking points you may hear around the water cooler, it has been well documented by scientists in court testimony that human life does in fact begin at conception. But the courts focus on defining “personhood,” which is a philosophical not a scientific concept, in the abortion cases they hear. Take away the emotionally charged issue of an abortion and this point is clear. In cases where a pregnant woman has been murdered, the murder is charged with two counts of murder. It’s funny how an unborn person is only a person when the judge wants it to be.

More to the point, why is it so unthinkable to poison a bird, but a matter of choice to poison & burn (saline abortions) or, much more commonly, dismember (suction abortions, D&C and D&E abortions) a baby? Seriously?? I want to know. What possible reason is there that is would be acceptable to poison, burn, or dismember a baby? Because it’s inconvenient? Because birth control failed? Because mom doesn’t have enough money? Because dad ran out on his responsibility? Because your abortion “counselor” told you the baby wasn’t actually a baby and couldn’t feel what was happening? (Research on fetal surgery in utero has actually found that a fetus feels pain much more intensely than an adult.) Those are the reasons why 96% of abortions occur. Look it up. The Guttmacher Institute is the research arm of Planned Parenthood. Their data about the services they provide is eye-opening.

As usual, I just want women to be told the truth. We’re smart. We can make choices. I absolutely believe that. But part of making a choice is being well-informed. I think it’s shameful that abortion counselors don’t really do that. I know that’s nothing you haven’t heard me say many times before. And once again I’m on the wrong soap box…

My actual point, tangents aside, is this: if the federal government thinks nothing of murdering 52 million living babies, then what else might they be capable of doing out of a total lack of respect for human life? And that’s a very legitimate question considering the way we treat the disabled and the huge hits the elderly took with the recent healthcare changes.