Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘College’

Midwives and Crusty Coots

I’m glad  you came to my blog today so that I can tell you that you are crazy for having your kids vaccinated, and crazy for NOT having them vaccinated.  I’m totally firm on that.  Don’t even TRY to make me budge.

I keep thinking I’ve made my mind up about things, but then I keep changing my mind.  I only seem to change my mind when other people tell me to change it.  So, at least there’s science behind what I do.

I started thinking about how wishy washy I am when I was chatting with all the crusty ol’ coots I hang out with on the Wisconsin Wrestling forum.  I’m a regular reader and contributor to this forum.   It’s weird that I do that.  Trust me.  You probably don’t know just how weird, but it’s weird.

Hanging out on that forum reminds me of when I was fresh out of college, selling time on the radio.  I had to visit a LOT of “seasoned” businessmen in a rural area.  These guys were hunting, fishing, farming type of guys who often gathered for coffee in the morning, to jaw about oh, I dunno, whatever guys like that jaw about. Maybe guns and trucks and 4-wheelers…whoa.  Sorry.  I just fell asleep while I was writing that sentence. I got really bored.

I don’t have much in common with those kinds of guys.

I was in my early twenties then, and not from around those parts.  Sometimes, I’d walk into a store with a group of these guys, drinking coffee, yacking away; they would see me coming and the conversation would abruptly stop.  The group of buddies would stare at me while I’d make my spiel to the shop owner, trying to convince him to do business with me.  All those guys were completely comfortable with making me completely uncomfortable.

I really forgot about that part of my job until I started writing this post.  I’m glad I remembered, because I want to have this story on hand when my kids complain that they have to do something hard at work.  That was hard for me.  Truth be known, even though I am not shy, I do NOT like a live audience.  Really, I don’t.  Ask the people who know me best.  I’ll joke around all day when I’m in a comfortable group.  But, I don’t like real people looking at me with expectation.   I actually suck at official performances.  Makes my bones rattle.

Those rural business owners actually ended up not being so bad.  Turns out a lot of them were salt of the earth type guys, who helped keep me employed.  I think guys like that just think people should have to work for things.  They sorta like making people sweat.

So, about this wrestling forum.  The deal with that is somewhere in the last 25 years of watching wrestling, I’ve become a fan.  I like the forum, because they talk a lot of wrestling, and I can learn a lot from all those crusty guys.  This week they’re talking about a unique type of head gear.  One guy would say this head gear is the best.  He loves it.  Then, I’d think, yeah, me too.  I love it too.  Then, the next guy says the head gear is dangerous.  It does damage to the opponents face.  The head gear should be banned.  And, I’m like, yeah.  I think so too.  Let’s ban that head gear.

See what I mean?

Scott has always said that if people say things with enough confidence, everyone believes them, whether or not the person yammering on is speaking the truth.  I think Scott says that because he doesn’t now how to make false proclamations. And, maybe it bugs him that other people do. Scott is very, very (Did I mention very?) slow to state his opinion.  He won’t make a bold statement unless he’s completely and totally sure he has the facts.

I, on the other hand, get excited about things all the time, and can’t wait to share my opinions, based on quasi-truths.  It’s just one more thing I’m good at.

I told Scott he gives know-it-alls too much credit.  I said most people know that the folks who think they have all the answers are generally people who are full of crap.  How can a person know so much about everything?  They can’t.

Wow. That’s kind of mean.  Doesn’t mean know-it-alls aren’t nice people.  You can be nice AND full of crap, right?

That’s a lot of rambling with no particular point.  I’m sorry about that.  It’s been a quiet week.

Here’s one thing I DO know.  Take this statement to the bank: Netflix is awesome.  Definitely one of our family’s best purchases.  Zeke, Scott and I have invested about half our lives so far in various intriguing series.  We just finished “Lost”. That took some commitment.

Eddie has always accused Scott and me of not having a life.  Netflix isn’t helping.

We are currently searching for a new series to start.  I suggested, “Call the Midwife”, produced by BBC.  Scott saw just a few scenes, and he was completely appalled.  He couldn’t understand why anyone with a shred of dignity would watch this show.  It’s about women having babies a long time ago in London.

Every episode has multiple birthing scenes.  “Lost” had a few birthing scenes in it too.  Those scenes for sure were Scott and Zeke’s least favorite.

The first episode of “Call the Midwife” has a lady who is pregnant AND she has a venereal disease.  She takes off her underpants to be examined, and the nurse almost passes out from the stench.  There’s some talk of terrible discharge, and I do mean from her body, and not from the hospital.  You get the idea.

Hard to believe Scott doesn’t like that, right?  I knew you’d agree.

I guess I’m going to watch this one on the side, and  I’ll watch some other low-brow series with Scott and Zeke, if I must.

Call the Midwife … 'We don't go out on bikes.'

Maybe if the show would have put these midwives in race cars, or given them guns, the show would appeal to more people.  Shortsighted on the writers’ part, really.  I might send an email to the producer, and give them my suggestions.  I know a lot about all that stuff.

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It is NOT Cancer

I thought I was going to have a busy week at work.   Instead, I’m at the hospital.  I’m not here for me.  I’m here with my sister.  I’m here FOR my sister.

My sister, Heidi, and I are two years apart.  Exactly two years apart. Two years to the day.

Heidi and I are a lot alike.  We look alike; we  sound alike.  We can even trick our husbands on the phone.  Those guys  love it when we do that.

Heidi and I are alike, but we are also very  different.  Heidi is calm, humble, slow to speak, and a little shy.  She is gifted in music, and she loves hanging out in her garden.  Yeah.  We’re so different.

When we were little, our family would accuse Heidi and me of having a secret language.  In a large group, we could often be found whispering to each other.  We were probably being rude. I don’t even remember what we were saying .  I think there is a decent chance I was being a jackwagon, and Heidi was laughing. Heidi was always an appreciative audience.  She thought I was funny;  for some reason she liked listening to me talk.  We all know I have plenty to say.

Sometimes,  all that talking got me in to trouble with people.  Still does.   Heidi was quiet, but she was strong.   I think she would have made a great warrior, in a different time and age. When my talking got me in trouble, Heidi came to my defense.  I think we were a little bit like Romona and Beezus.  I never meant to get myself in trouble, but there I always was.

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When Heidi left for college, we wrote each other all the time.  That is so weird.  We wrote actual letters on actual paper.  We gave those letters to a messenger pigeon, and hoped for the best.  No, we aren’t exactly that old. We at least knew to put the messages in a bottle.

When it was my turn to go to college, I followed Heidi.   We were suite mates my Freshman year.  If it weren’t for falling in love with our husbands, I’m pretty sure Heidi and I would have stayed roommates throughout life.  We would have been like those elderly sisters who lived together in “Little House on the Prairie”.  I really get those ladies.

Heidi and I have talked to each other almost every day for our entire lives.

Heidi has been having some health issues for a while.  On the 4th of July she and her family hosted all of our relatives at her house.  I could tell she had her brave face on the entire day.  She didn’t feel good.  She had a fever.  We thought that she had a cold.

A month later, Heidi still wasn’t feeling good.  She still had a fever.  She also had severe abdominal pain.  She went to the emergency room one night.  The Doctor there told her she had a large tumor on her ovary, other cysts,  and lesions in other places you don’t want lesions.

The Doctor had some big long name for the tumor.  I don’t remember the whole word, I just know that “carcinoma” was part of it.  The E.R. Doctor said that she needed to see an oncologist right away.  Before she left the E.R., the Doctor asked her if he could pray with her.  That is a super good way to scare a patient.

Heidi couldn’t get in to see the oncologist for a week or so.  Meanwhile, everyone in the family was praying for the best, planning for the worst.  We’ve had the worst happen before.  We aren’t so naive any more.  We all know that one moment you can be laughing and eating dinner with your family, and the next  you’re on the floor, hyperventilating in a public place.  Bad stuff happens.

I learned everything I could about ovarian cancer.  It’s a sad thing to learn about.

I asked God how he thought I could live without Heidi.  I couldn’t picture it.  But, of course, God can ask you to do all sorts of things you never thought you could do.  We can’t do it.  Not on our own, anyway.

I was feeling really sorry for myself, and sorrier for Heidi.  I was sorriest of all for Heidi’s family.  I was making a secret plan in my heart.  I thought there was a chance it might help Heidi’s family a little to know that I could be strong.  Maybe if I was strong, some of my strength would spill over into their hearts, and help them be strong.  I decided that this thought would be the motivation I needed to keep my head above water.

Heidi’s oncologist took one look at her, and told her he did NOT think she had cancer.  I guess people with cancer look like they have cancer.  Heidi’s blood work indicated that she did have cancer, so did the tumor on her ovary.  Still, the doctor wasn’t buying it.  He said she looked too healthy.

The Doctor was right.  Heidi has Endometriosis. The Doctor said it was a severe case; he took all sorts of things out of her body.

Now I am in the hospital.  I’m watching my sister sleep. She is in a lot of pain.

Endometriosis is nothing to be happy about.  But, we are really happy about it.   I have thanked God for allowing Heidi and I more time together on Earth.  I trust Him.  I have been thanking Him for a lot of things lately.  Mostly, I am thanking Him for reminding me that my time on Earth is just a short stay.  I should make the best use of my stay.  I should be grateful, industrious, loving, forgiving and faithful.  I wish I didn’t need reminders.

I wish people didn’t get cancer.  I wish everyone had perfectly healthy bodies, and could live together forever without any problems.  Well, I guess we are going to do that, just not yet.  Not here.

Right now is the time to understand that happiness, joy, pain and suffering are all to be embraced.   I for sure think we are on Earth  to have fun;  I also think we’re here to be refined.  We’re here to learn and to grown.  Hard stuff makes me grow.

My sister Katy sent the rest of my sisters and Mom this beautiful passage while we were waiting for Heidi’s diagnosis.   I don’t know why I loved these words so much.  I do.  I have reread them many times. I don’t always get what God is trying to tell me.  I so get this.  It’s becoming my life’s motto:

 

A Time for Everything

1There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

9What do workers gain from their toil? 10I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yeta no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

old miki and heidi

Don’t Treat Your Daughter Like a Princess

I was watching one of those culturally profound reality shows the other day.  You know, the ones that enrich our understanding of today’s culture, and give us a more relevant perspective of the socioeconomic implications in today’s modern lifestyle.  Yeah.  That’s the only reason I watch those shows.  It’s more like research.  Because, I’m more like a scientist. And, more like a liar.

Anyway, there was one man on this show who was some kind of surgeon.  His wife was throwing a giant birthday bash for their little daughter.  I would guess the daughter was 7 or 8 years old.  All the little girls were dressed up as princesses.  So were their moms.  It’s true.  That happened.

If I had a nickel for every time my friends and I dressed up as princesses – just an excellent way to spend an evening.   One of the moms on the reality show even came to the party in a horse and carriage.   Definitely doing that at the next girls’ night out.  Too bad the moms were all screaming at each other by the end of the night.  I never saw that coming.

The Surgeon/Dad asked for the girls’ attention.  He wanted to make an important speech.  He said something to his young female audience about how his family wanted these girls to dress up like princesses on this special day so that the girls could remember that they deserved to be treated like princesses.  He told them they should ALWAYS remember that they DESERVED to be treated like princesses.  He said no matter how old they got,  they should expect to be treated Like. A. Princess.

Do you like that message?  I can see where a person might.  I didn’t.  I thought this Dad/Surgeon, and all the adults in that show could use some parenting help.  This Dad’s message made me think that adults like him are doing young girls wrong.

Have you hung out lately with any kids who feel entitled?  Yeah.  They’re not very fun.  Well, I guess they can be  fun, as long as they’re getting what they want, and everything is going their way.

Parenting 101:  How to make a bad person:   Tell them they deserve to be treated like royalty.

princess

I was talking to my sons about this show on our long drive to Colorado.  I could tell they didn’t totally understand why it bugged me so much.  So, I switched it up.  I said, “What if I told you boys that no matter what, you should be treated like a King.  You deserved to be treated like a King. You should find a spouse who will TREAT you like a King.”

Then they understood.  They laughed pretty hard.  The thought of what I had just described made them uncomfortable. I hope that if my boys marry some day, that they would expect their spouse to treat them a little less like a King; a little more like a friend.   I was relieved my sons could see the absurdity.

Why would I tell my children that they are superior to others?  Why would I tell them to dwell on their superiority?  Why would I tell them to find someone who will recognize their superiority, and treat them accordingly? Why would I set them up for failure like that?

My advice to my kids is to stop thinking about how people treat you.  Don’t focus on that.  Focus more on how you’re treating other people.  Treat others kindly, and with respect. You’ll see that people will usually return the favor.

Don’t even get me started on this word “deserve”.   I really hope my kids would say that the word “deserve” is rarely spoken in our home.  I feel like they would say that. I don’t like that word.  I can’t picture that word coming out of Scott’s mouth either, unless it was part of a joke.  Not even Royalty deserves to be treated like Royalty.

People who walk around thinking about what they “deserve” are people who spend less time being happy.  What do we really deserve anyway?   Do babies “deserve” to be born into poverty, and countries that are ravaged by war?  They don’t, but there they are.  We didn’t do anything to deserve our place and time in history either.  But, here we are.  Let’s always be grateful.  A grateful kid is a happy kid.

Did you hear that the famous singer Sting announced he won’t be passing his fortune on to his six kids?  You know why?  Because he loves his kids.  Sting wants his kids to find their own passion. He wants them to have to work hard to achieve their goals.  He wants all that, because he wants his children to have good and meaningful lives.  I bet he never once told his children that they are like royalty, and they deserved to be treated as such.  He’s too smart to say that.

So that’s my rant on that subject.  Sorry if I got a little carried away.  I’ll stop now.

Do you like Public Radio?  I do.  I was an intern for a Public Radio station in Iowa when I was in college.  I’ve been a fan ever since.  I have always had this inner nerd thing happening in my life. I like my inner nerd. She makes me think.  It’s my inner nerd that truly loves Public Radio.  But, sometimes those Public Radio announcers are too nerdy even for me.

This morning the announcer was covering a book list.  I like their book lists. I try to write down as many of the titles as I can.  This morning’s discussion was between the announcer and the person who conducted the book review.

The announcer was asking the reviewer about the book.  The reviewer said, “This book is so good.  It is based on realism (big pause.  Wait for the punch line.  Wait for it. Wait… for…it).  Elastic realism.”

Then the announcer laughs so hard, he can hardly get control of himself.  The reviewer giggles too.  You get it, right?  Elastic realism?  That’s so flippin’ hilarious, my stomach still hurts from laughing.

No.  That is not funny.  That’s so unfunny. I think those people should be punished for laughing so hard at something so unfunny.    And that’s why sometimes  public radio is too nerdy even for me.

 

public radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Signs You May be Too Nice:

When I was a teenager a lot of girls liked guys with swagger; guys who always had just the right thing to say at just the right time. I didn’t. I liked the boys who were nice.

One spring weekend before my freshman year of college I was at party with Scott. We were not dating. This party was at a typical, worked over apartment complex designed for poor college kids. We were outside at this party, and there were some little kids running around. These kids must have lived in an apartment somewhere else in this complex. They looked a little down on their luck.

It was evident that this party was not an appropriate place for these kids to play; whoever was in charge of supervising them was doing a poor job. Some of the college kids at the party were annoyed, and started being a little mean to those little kids.

Scott was not annoyed. Scott was so nice to those little kids. I remember watching him as he engaged them in conversation. He asked them about school and what they liked to do. Then the kids asked him to play, which, of course, he did. He ran around with them outside, playing tag and probably giving them the best fun they’d had in a while. Yeah. That is the weekend I decided I might be in love.

One of the biggest reasons I fell for Scott was because he was so nice. I’d like to think he felt the same way about me. We really like nice. But, do you know what can happen when you put nice with nice? You get too nice. Too nice might be better than too mean, but, still, you CAN be too nice.

From experience, I can tell you that there are signs to watch for whether you are being too nice. You can read about these signs below, unless you don’t want to, then, of course, you don’t have to. I wasn’t trying to sound bossy. I’m sorry If I did. You can read whatever you want. I’m not in charge of you. You don’t have to listen to me:

You lie. This is actually more my deal than Scott’s. If he has bad news for you, he’ll avoid saying anything. Not me. I’ll lie. If you just missed every single note in the solo you sang, and you ask me how you did, I will tell you that you sang beautifully. If you have a horrible perm and half your hair fell out, and you ask me how it looks, I will tell you that it looks great. I was thinking about doing the same thing with my hair. If you served me a dinner that tastes like poop casserole, and you ask if I liked it, I will tell you it was delicious. You must give me the recipe. If what you need is the ugly truth, you’d better ask someone else.

You believe lies. Some people don’t just lie to be nice. Some people make up big, strange lies about things that never happened. Or, they do bad things when no one is looking, and then they lie and say they didn’t. Nice people believe those lies. It can take nice people years and years to figure out that someone is lying.

Do you know what a sociopath is? One thing a sociopath does is they tell lies more than they tell the truth. They make up lies for no reason at all, and they believe their own lies. It is proven that sociopaths seek out people who are too nice. It will take a person who is too nice a really long time to figure out that some people just lie for fun.

Your dog is in charge. When I do my Saturday cleaning, I usually mop the kitchen floor and strip the bedding. Except if our dog is taking a nap. If our little dog is lounging comfortably on our bed, or sprawled on the kitchen rug, that’s too bad for me. I wait until he decides to go somewhere else. it seems kind of mean to make such a cute little dog move when all he wants is a nap, doesn’t it?

cavalier

You eat cold food, or bad food, or raw food. This one goes in Scott’s corner. If you are a server at a restaurant and you serve Scott a cold hamburger or hot lemonade, he won’t complain; he won’t ask you to take it back; he’ll leave you a big tip.

You buy a time share condo. Almost. We go to Branson, Missouri on spring break most years with my parents. Every year, my parents take one for the team. They subject themselves to a time share sales pitch to earn our family free tickets to this awesome amusement park. Scott and I didn’t think that was fair of us to make them do that every year. Last year we said we would go instead. My parents were adamantly against this idea, especially my Dad. He told us we didn’t know what we were getting into, and that, frankly, we were just too nice to make it out alive.

Well, he was almost right. Scott and I went into this thing looking like baby kittens to a hungry pack of wolves. We started out with this giant group of people. Almost all of them were released eventually, except us.

We own a small home, we have had a lot of doctor bills, and we have absolutely NO business even talking about buying a time share. But these guys really wanted us to buy one. So, it’s worth considering, right? Plus, they could make a nice commission, and that would be good for their families. They told us that if we really valued family time, a time-share was in our children’s best interest. See how they care about us?

The whole thing was ugly. Scott and I would take turns playing good cop, bad cop. But, in reality, what you had was good cop, good cop, and those guys knew it. We wasted most of the day there. We told them that we really appreciated all their time and hard work, but we never make quick decisions. When they finally realized they weren’t getting our money, they told us to leave. I’m so glad we didn’t buy a condominium just to be nice.

time share

You want everyone in the world to be happy. If they are not, you are sure that is on you. If someone seems quiet, or grouchy, you rack your brain trying to think about what you may have done to offend this person. True, you don’t know them. True, you’ve never spoken with them. But there most be something, or they wouldn’t be acting that way.

You feel sorry for the bad guy. Sure. You always feel sorry for the main character. You want to the main character to be saved, and the bad guy to get caught and be punished. Until he is. Then, you start feeling a little sorry for the bad guy. Because he’s being punished. Just like he deserves. It’s hard to live like this.

You put your life in danger to avoid the risk of being rude. In my career, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with people from other countries. I love it. One time I was working with this joyful, generous and intelligent little man from very far away. I drove him around one day and we took care of various tasks related to his citizenship here. The next time we met he said, “This time, I drive. I practice. You see, I very good.”

He was good. He was very good at driving in to oncoming traffic, ignoring stop signs, and driving dangerously beyond the speed limit. I tried instructing him, but the language barrier was a problem. Especially, since in my intense state of terror I was just blurting out nonsense, in a language he didn’t understand. I guess it wasn’t my time to go.

It was so scary that once we ran our errand, I got back in the passenger’s seat and let him drive me home. I thought if he didn’t think I felt safe, that might hurt his feelings.

You won’t end a conversation. This one goes to Scott. I am perfectly capable of saying, “Well, I’d better go, I have to get dinner started, the kids need my help with homework, or the house is on fire.”

Scott can’t do that. If he is outside and our elderly neighbors are bending his ear, he will let that house burn. While he is talking he will break in to a cold sweat thinking about all the things that he should be doing, and he will let the children play with knives. What Scott won’t do, is tell that nice neighbor that he’d better be on his way. That wouldn’t be very nice.

Little old lady (1)

You have the smartest come backs. In bed at night. When it’s too late. Remember those sociopaths we were talking about? When I worked for a different company one of my biggest clients was a sociopath. That’s fun. He was an awful human being, and I don’t mind saying it. Can you just let me get out some of the frustration now that I couldn’t release then? Thanks. Here it goes: He was cruel to the people who worked for him. He lied more than he told the truth. He was unfaithful to his family. He was completely and totally inappropriate to women. He was disgusting.

I would lie in bed at night thinking of the most clever, witty and even scathing ways to put him in his place. Then I’d see him, and not say anything at all.

This therapy session feels good. Let me tell you more. I will tell you that this guy grossly abused drugs, alcohol and food. I might have felt sorry for him, except he was just so mean. I will also tell you about the times I had to sit with him while he drew out our meetings much longer than necessary. Instead of getting to the point and taking care of the business I had with him, he’d sit on his cell phone, screaming at people on the other end while I watched. He liked an audience.

All the while he was screaming he would be jamming huge handfuls of Lucky Charms in to his mouth, so many Lucky Charms that crumbs would be all over his face, and many of them would land on his big, huge belly. It was a horror show.

Can’t you think of just a hundred clever things to say to this guy right now? Like, I should have said, “Treating people poorly will not help you in life. It will hurt you. You’re focusing on all the wrong things, and your letting your family down. Plus, you’re making very irresponsible nutritional choices, and it sure wouldn’t hurt to consider starting some kind of fitness program!”

He would have felt THAT right between the jelly rolls. Check…and mate, fine sir. You just got served.

Wow. That just got a little real. I’m sorry if that made you uncomfortable.

See how bad I am?

Being nice is awesome. I love it when people are nice. But, you really can be too nice. I see little flashes of too much niceness in my kids sometimes. I want them to recognize it early, so maybe they can know when a backbone is required. Once they do, I hope they teach their parents.

Hey, Strict Christians, Stop It.

strict teacher

I think you and I both know that I don’t really know what I’m doing here. We’ve established that, right? I like to write. I like to be silly. I like to write silly stories. I especially like to write about my family. I like Jesus. Sometimes I write about that too. Sometimes people read what I write. Sometimes they even like it (love you Mom and Dad). Some people don’t. That’s all I know. So, let’s get that straight, before you go off believing I think I’ve got answers. I don’t. I mostly have questions.

When I have time, I like to read other people’s blogs. I think it might help me figure out what I’m doing. I especially like to read blogs from people who share my faith in Christ.

I read this one Christian blog about bikinis. This author had a humble tone. He was kind of funny too. I bet if I met him, I’d really like him. He thought Christian women have no business wearing bikinis.

I do agree that Americans are way over the top with their supersized food and undersized clothing. We’re just a, “go big or go home” type of culture. That attitude probably doesn’t always serve us well. Moderation is pretty cool.

The last time I went on a tropical vacation, I think my swim suit would have received a Vatican stamp of approval. In fact, it was so modest, I felt sort of outlandish in that environment. So, it’s not like I disagree with this guy based on my personal preferences. Yet, here I am, disagreeing with him.

I don’t want people to tell me what to wear. I really don’t. I have never thought about telling other people what to wear, but I wouldn’t want to do that either.

When I was a freshman in college I went to a sweet little Christian school that was not meant for me. This was a really good school down South. Many humble, Christ-like people graduated from that school. Lives were changed there. They had some rules.

One day I went to the cafeteria for lunch. I was stopped at the entrance. I was told I couldn’t enter the cafeteria because I was wearing a knee length skort. Yep. You’re reading that correctly. I was once a sinner, and wore skorts. You might think that’s just a fashion sin. At that school they thought it was a sin sin.

I was so ill prepared for rules at that age. I remember it took me a decent amount of time just to absorb the information from the dress code enforcer. I stood there at the cafeteria entrance, waiting for him to smile. I thought he might tell me he was joking. I thought he might say he just wanted to see how I would react if he acted in a way that was unreasonable. He didn’t do any of that. He was serious. He was unreasonable.

I didn’t get it. It was such a nice school. Why were they being so weird? At 18-years-old, I had no personal experience with adults trying to micro manage my choices. I was not used to it. I did not like it.

On a spectrum of typical family life, I would compare my upbringing to the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie. We lived pretty innocently. So why don’t I remember having a bunch of rules? I don’t think we had a firm curfew. Nobody told us who we could be friends with, what to eat, drink, who to vote for, or what to wear. Everything my sisters and I knew about our parents confirmed their Christian beliefs. Why weren’t they strict? Isn’t that a hallmark of a Christian household? If it is, it shouldn’t be. Being strict doesn’t work.

That’s saying a lot, isn’t it? I’m usually more diplomatic. Let me rephrase. In my experience and time on this Earth, I have not seen evidence that being strict works. Better?

I can only know the stuff I know. What I know is that I have too many adult friends who went to strict, Christian schools when they were young, or had super strict parents. Now they reject Christianity. I have so many of these friends that I’ve come to a conclusion that there’s a connection between being strict and rebellion. Those adults I know are hurt and bitter. They want nothing to do with Christianity. That makes me sad, because it is my belief that Christianity isn’t what hurt them. Weird people who are strict did.

Did feeling judged for wearing a skort help develop me spiritually? Let me think back. I remember being embarrassed and my feelings were kind of hurt. Nope. It didn’t. I asked my self what good can come from all of that. I still do.

When I was a young mother, a really nice mom gave me a book. She said it was a great read, and would really help me learn how to discipline. I respected this young mom, and I suck at discipline; two good reasons to read the book.

I have never hated a book more in my life; I am talking about real hate. Usually, I work at keeping an open mind. I’m slow to develop strong opinions. I instantly had a strong opinion on this book. My opinion was that it belonged in our trash.

The author and his wife had a lot of children. The author’s philosophy involved breaking the child’s spirit. He compared children to horses. He spanked a lot, with a switch. He described what kind of switch to use. I’m sorry. That’s hard to even write. Did I mention what an awful book it was? Like reading a nightmare.

He said his oldest children were proof that his methods worked. They never questioned him, and they were always, instantly obedient. His methods proved to me that he’d actually scared his kids to death. Congratulations. He calls his methods discipline. I call them something else.

I felt sorry for the children in that book. And there’s nothing funny about adults hitting kids in to submission. But the methods discussed became a joke in our house. I found them so absurd.

When I described what I was reading to my children, their eyes became wide. I think they started behaving better just hearing about this guy. So, I guess he helped me after all. Too bad, I think he is so, so wrong. I’ll keep my naughtier kids with unbroken spirits, thanks anyway weird, strict guy.

My parents were not weird. They were calm and respectful. They gave us room to make mistakes and disagree with them. They heard us. Kids want to be heard. They gave us plenty of work to do, and we couldn’t afford to be spoiled. They never told us what the rules were for being a Christian. Their Christianity was personal. It was a relationship between God and them, and it happened in their hearts.

I’m trying to emulate that combination now that I’m responsible for my own kids. I can’t really know if it’s working, can I? It’s too soon. And you should know that just because I think out loud, in public, doesn’t mean I’m right.

I just know that I won’t be telling my kids that there are rules for being a Christian. I will tell them that being a Christian does not happen from the outside in. It happens from the inside out. It is a condition of your heart. It’s a personal relationship between you and God. Your personal relationship with God will help you make decisions about what you should say, do, eat, drink and wear. We don’t get to decide what God is telling other people about all of those things, and other people don’t get to decide what God is telling us.

I find talk about clothing and spankings tedious, really. I’m sorry for that. I would rather talk to my kids about being kind, faithful, humble, patient, self controlled, and joyful. I’d like to model that too. I want to tell them that they are going to have to determine for themselves whether they believe Jesus has the power to affect their lives. I want to tell them that’s what I believe, and that is what I have experienced. I want to tell them that divine relationship will be a solid foundation for building healthy human relationships and weathering life’s most violent storms.

I want to talk to my kids about all that, but mostly I want to show them. After that, my job is done. Then they get to decide what they want for their hearts on their own, and my job will be to love them no matter what.

I don’t want to try to control people. I’d be terrible at it. I do want to celebrate faith. My Faith is my light house.

A sweet friend sent me this song, listening always helps me celebrate! You might like it too.

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