Posted by: Rachel | March 20, 2014

Modesty Statement

Sometimes my husband causes me to sin. He isn’t very helpful around the house. He works too late, and he should stop doing this because it makes me upset and unloving, thus, sin. Actually if he could do all the housework and go to work and provide for us then I wouldn’t be so tempted to sin by thinking bad thoughts about him.

Likewise, God is really tempting me into doubting Him. He isn’t blessing my family with riches and an easy life as he promises in the Old Testament to those who obey Him. I think God should start making our life much better so that I could not sin so much. He really is quite the stumbling block to my worship life.

Now, really, that sounds ridiculous. And yet, we hear it all the time when women are told to dress modestly.

Example One

Example Two This post actually contains this line “When a woman wears pants, subconsciously, she wants the man to look upon her with lustful thoughts.” I imagine that this is a big shock to the many pants wearing women out there. I can assure you that when I wore pants it was not in hopes that men would lust after me. I wore them because they were comfortable and practical and warm in wintertime.

I usually cringe inwardly when I see another post like the two above being shared on Facebook. It just feels wrong and yet I couldn’t explain why. It wasn’t until I started thinking of other situations and applying the same logic that it became clear just how wrong and ridiculous that line of thinking is.

I think part of the problem is that there is a huge emphasis put on the thought process of lust within Christian circles. The popular wisdom says it’s not only wrong to physically commit adultery, but also to THINK about committing adultery. This puts enormous pressure on men to severely control their thought life. It is good to control our thoughts, because actions are started with thoughts. But to say that we can never ever have wrong thoughts is not helpful, or reasonable. I think there should be much more emphasis on not continuing wrong thoughts rather than condemning even the involuntary thoughts that spring to mind at times.

As an example: A girl is washing the family car with the water hose. She sees her sister/brother/mom/dad walk by and just like that she realizes that ‘hey, I could direct the hose at them.’ She doesn’t have any ill will toward this family member, it was just an involuntary thought. Humans have the ability to connect objects together and this is a good skill when it creates thoughts of applying water to a dirty car.

I’m really not fond of the whole modesty thing. I have nothing against modesty itself, or the idea of it. The problem I have is that it’s so subjective. One person’s version of modesty is another person’s idea of complete immorality. My brother thinks that if your butt and breasts are covered then you are decently dressed.  Some think that the entire arm must be covered, and others think elbows should be covered. Still others say sleeveless is fine as long as it’s not spaghetti straps. There are those who think that women should only wear dresses or skirts, and those who say pants are fine as long as they aren’t tight.

Some people would say I dress modestly and others would think I’m flamboyantly immodest. I remember seeing a Muslim woman at a Target store in Philly who was dressed head to toe in black. The only thing visible was her face. But not her neck or ears or hair. I felt a bit exposed next to her.

It should be noted that Adam and Eve were naked in the garden, and there is no mention of Adam being unable to control his lustful thoughts. It seems that only became a problem once people were dressed. Which also brings up another thought. I believe that when you commonly see women dressed ‘immorally’ you become used to it and it doesn’t cause thoughts of lust anymore than a ‘morally’ dressed woman does. But when you tell women that their knees must always be covered then the sight of bare knees becomes tantalizing. And so I question whether modesty standards actually have the effect of sexualizing a woman’s body.

If we accepted our bodies as normal healthy beings made to function in many ways and stopped putting an emphasis on it’s sexuality we would be all the wiser. Clothing should serve as comfortable and functional things to keep us warm and protect us from the elements, not trappings of legalism that cause guilt and shame.

So dress how you feel is modest, but please, please don’t make women responsible for men’s thought life. If thoughts enter your mind that you consider unclean, stop thinking those thoughts, but don’t condemn someone else. We need strong young men who take responsibility for their lives, and teaching them that women are the cause of lustful thoughts is a step in the wrong direction.

Advertisements
Posted by: Rachel | February 16, 2014

A Not-so-romantic Night

Last year I was inspired by friends on FB who had cute little Valentines Day meals for their family. They made pretty red desserts and decorated the table in Pinterest worthy displays. The thought had never occurred to me that Valentines could be a family thing. I thought it was a date night strictly for the grownups and kids get shipped to grandma for the evening. But we had a grumpy baby and plans later in the week for sweetheart banquet with church friends so I decided to do a family Valentines supper too. I don’t remember how it went. It must not have been terrible because we did it again this year.

The day started ok. Things were going well as I prepared the meal and the girls set the table with pretty linens and dinnerware. No food was burnt or tempers flared during this time. The only thing that gave an indication of things to come was the cold I had. I was starting to feel achy so I took some meds to keep me going.

I had to take a picture before the sippy cups were added.

I had to take a picture before the sippy cups were added.

The dam began to burst before we even ate our first bite. There is a four year old who resides here in this home and she has an obsession with saying grace before a meal. She likes to say Grace and she has a specific order in which she thanks the Lord for everyone. This order is not to be changed even when others say the prayer. There were groans from near everyone when she burst out crying as her daddy said the prayer. I tried to reassure her that she would get a turn too, and after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, finally we were done giving thanks.

All ready to eat.

All ready to eat.

Soon after this debacle Atticus decided to stand up in his chair and scratch his belly.He then proceeded to gnaw on a meaty porkchop as if he were a prehistoric caveman. The other male in the family must have felt challenged by this display of testosterone and they both gnawed on bones. Romance? Who needs romance when you can eat food with your bare hands? 🙂

Atticus and the pork chop

Atticus and the pork chop

Two peas in a pod

Two peas in a pod

The food was good but I wasn’t feeling well and even though I wanted to eat I felt so groggy and exhausted. After we were done eating I crashed into bed with no thought for dishes or cleanup.

A date night could still be miserable if I am not feeling well, but at least there would be no dishes to clean up afterwards. Nor would the giving of thanks be interrupted by screeching and screaming. These are things I must place firmly within my memory so that next year when I start to see those cute Pinteresty Valentines family meals I will know that at our house, Valentines day is when the children go to Grandma’s house.

Posted by: Rachel | January 4, 2014

Late Night Thoughts

Jahi McMath. The nation is being bombarded with the news of the battle between her family and the hospital. Her mother says the hospital is trying to kill her and the hospital says she’s already dead. It’s a heart wrenching thing, a brain injury, and so difficult to know when there is a glimmer of hope and when it’s over.

I’ve been devouring information about traumatic brain injuries ever since our friend was in a motorcycle accident in July 2010. I don’t believe that there has been a single event in my life that has shaken me like that one. I’ll never forget the night I got that call. It was the weekend of Fourth of July. Friday July 2nd, 2010. I think it might have between 10 and 11pm that I got the call from a friend saying that he had been in an accident and was flown to Reading Hospital. I remember that I didn’t go to sleep for several hours. I’ve never been one to cry out to God, but that night I had tears in my eyes as I prayed like I never did before. I get a lump in my throat just writing about it. He was so young, his wife was pregnant with their fourth child, and he was so passionate about what he believed in.

Because of this experience I know how emotional things can be during such times and I have sympathy for the McMath family. The doctors don’t want to get your hopes up and yet there are many others who tell you that all things are still possible. I don’t want to get into my opinions on whether Jahi has any chance for recovery (but I definitely have some opinions, of course.)

Tonight as I was waiting on Mr Atticus to get sleepy I researched the Jahi case a bit, and then I went on Facebook to a page set up to document our friend’s recovery. The memories came flooding back as I read old posts and I think of how I’ve grown since then. How it has made me less sure of what I would do in a situation like that. How I’ve become less opinionated and perhaps more compassionate (don’t laugh, every little bit helps even if I’ve still got a long way to go, hehe.)

And yet I think, how little have I grown. After all the things that my friend’s wife has endured while taking care of her husband, the constant hospitalizations, the never ending medications, and yet I complain about little insignificant things. How childish I act that the snowplows didn’t clear the road perfectly. I pout when plans get changed and I feel out of control. I am blessed beyond measure. The weather outside is frigid and I have a nice warm house, a cozy bed with a memory foam pillow for my head. My husband has a job and he is  good to me. My children are healthy and happy. My son gives me kisses that are so sweet. There is lots of food in the house to eat, and I have two vehicles in the garage that can take me to the grocery store in case I should run out of nourishment. I have water that is safe for drinking. My children are able to attend schools and see doctors, things that not every child can do.

I’m not sure how to end this, sometimes it seems there is no good way to end things. Life is complicated and messy, and so it also seems is death.

Posted by: Rachel | December 6, 2013

The Makings of a Great Cook

Some weeks back Jenny from Bailey and Me 2 posted a question asking what makes a great cook/baker.

One question she posed was whether food can ‘be made with love.’ I think she was phrasing the question as love for those who will eat the food, but I think that a great cook prepares meals for the love of FOOD.

Hidden Ingredients

A great cook enjoys good food, and when she tastes something good, she will savor it slowly, trying to discern what is making it better than other similar foods. As an example of a great cook I present my mother. She always liked boxed ginger snaps, one day she read the list of ingredients and discovered that red pepper was in the cookies. From that day forward she started putting red pepper in her molasses cookies, which are of course delicious. There are many little ingredients that can make flavors much more vivid. Other examples my mom has taught me are to add lemon extract to blueberry jam and almond extract to cherry dishes.

Another example of a ‘hidden ingredient’ that I discovered recently was mint extract in whoopie pie frosting. Actually my husband was the one that noticed it. We had bought some whoopie pies at Green Dragon and my husband mentioned that the frosting tasted minty. After I got over the shock of him noticing that, I suddenly understood why they were so good. Often the frosting in whoopie pies tends to be a bit cloyingly sweet. The mint was slight enough to not overpower and yet it made the frosting seem more refreshing.

I was looking at a chicken brine recipe recently and the author of the recipe mentioned that you really should not skip the cumin. It isn’t an ingredient usually associated with chicken but apparently it helps draw out other flavors. A good cook will learn what flavors and spices  complement each other. Spices are something that I’m not that great with. I use the basics but haven’t discovered how to really utilize all the spices to my advantage.

Great Attention to Detail

Another way that great cooks set themselves apart from mediocre ones is their attention to detail. Your cookie recipe may tell you to bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, but how do you know which to use? Two minutes can make or break a cookie. This is where a great cook will be in tune with her oven and her recipe. Now I’m not a fantastic cook but I do make a terrific chocolate chip cookie and the first time a sheet goes in the oven I bake them about a minute longer than I do the second time the sheet goes in. The first time the sheet is cold and the second time it isn’t.

Using the chocolate chip cookies as an example again, I have learned over the years exactly how the batter should look when it has enough of flour. It is a very thick batter and sometimes I would let out the last 1/2 cup of flour. Then I noticed that if I did that the cookies would have soft spots where they were too flat. Now I check to make sure my batter doesn’t have any ‘runny’ areas before I scoop it unto the cookie sheets. Learn which ingredients need to be exact and which can be splishy-splashy-not-exactly.

Know what your ingredients do and how they work. What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda? One of them, the baking soda, begins to rise once it is mixed with other ingredients. If you wait too long to bake the item it will fall flat again, therefore I don’t refrigerate my chocolate chip cookie dough. Baking powder is available as single acting or double acting. The single acting acts much like the baking soda and the rising begins after mixing. Double acting will rise after mixing and then again rises once it is heated.

Trial and error is often the best way to learn kitchen skills. When your meal is not how you want it to be take the time to analyze why not. I once made chocolate cupcakes with the same recipe that I’ve always used. This time instead of having moist delicious cupcakes they were dry and almost bitter. I questioned my mom about the coffee listed in the ingredients. She informed me that it needs to be hot, cold coffee will not give good results. Oops, never again will I save some time by using cold coffee rather than brewing a new pot.

Little details can go a long way. When you make a raisin recipe the results are much better if you first simmer your raisins with a small amount of water. It softens them and makes them juicier. If the recipe also asks for water, substitute the raisin water.

Vegetables are sometimes my downfall. I have a hard time getting them cooked correctly without having soggy mushes. My sister in law did help me with corn, though. Whenever I ate corn at someone else’s house it was delish. At my house it was yuck and tough and well, yuck. She told me that you don’t want to over-cook corn. It’s also best to let it thaw first. That requires that I actually think about meals ahead of time, so yeah, we don’t have delicious corn very often.

Know what affects the taste of your food. Will frozen chicken breasts taste the same as fresh? When does it matter? If I’m making the chicken to add to a casserole or soup I will use frozen, but I’ve found that fresh chicken breasts taste much better when making them by themselves or for Chicken Salad.

It’s important to remember that we all occasionally make a less than perfect meal. There are days when the most pressing matter is not spending hours in the kitchen making a gourmet feast. Don’t stress out over making a five star grilled cheese (although I do know a great recipe for one of those).

Presentation

I won’t write much about this, but when you are making a special meal do take some time to think about how it will look. Is your meal colorful? Do you have pretty green vegetables or a salad? A sprinkle of parsley can brighten up a  dull bowl of potatoes. What we see will affect how we taste something. That may sound unlikely, but have you ever tasted a food while thinking it was something else? Even if that food was something good, it wasn’t what you were expecting and therefore the taste didn’t feel right.

In your opinion what sets a good cook above the rest?

Posted by: Rachel | November 14, 2013

Spiritual Emptiness

This week our church is having revivals. Sadly, it is leaving me more depressed than rejuvenated. Lately whenever I ponder God I start thinking about church and church causes me to think about all the insane ideas that churched people have.

I feel like I can no longer separate God thoughts from religion thoughts. And religion is thouroughly confusing and frustrating. I hesitate to write this because I’m afraid I’m casting the proverbial scarlet letter around my neck. But it seems that it is so hard to find pure worship that is without agenda.

Some of this frustration started a few weeks ago after a Sunday school lesson on 2 Samuel 6. David was moving the Ark of the Lord and because of the success he ‘danced before the Lord.’ His wife Michal was unhappy to see her husband acting in what she thought to be a foolish manner. I felt that the lesson to be learned from this small part was not to be judgmental of other’s worship.

There are people within the Amish who feel that singing in four parts is prideful and brings attention to those singing rather than to God. Then there are conservative Mennonites who sing in four part harmony but they consider instruments to be unnecessary and prideful. Further along the spectrum are those who will use instruments in their worship services but refrain from rock and roll style worship because that isn’t considered true worship. It’s enough to make my head explode that each church thinks their way to be the correct way and that someone else’s way is incorrect and they are all reading THE SAME BIBLE.

I recently had a very spiritual experience. I felt so connected to God and his universe during this time. There were no preachers, no one mentioned God’s name, and honestly I don’t even know if the other people present were Christians. Yet I feel strongly that it was a shared experience. My husband and I were on an anniversary trip to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. One evening we climbed Clingman’s Dome. It is the 3rd highest peak east of the Mississippi river. From the observation tower you have a 360 degree view. We wanted to stay to watch the sunset and so we loitered about as the sun slowly descended.

The sun is slowing descending.

The sun is slowing descending.

As the sun lowered it became obvious that others were also waiting for the sunset. There was this expectation hanging over us as if we all knew that we were going to witness something beautiful. People were taking pictures and yet, it seemed that photos could not really capture the beauty of the panoramic view. And I thought how special it was that so many people were there waiting in the frigid evening air to witness something that was entirely God’s creation. There were no spectacular electronics or pyrotechnics. There wasn’t a gifted speaker or a brilliant actress that was keeping our attention. This was the earth and sun performing an endless dance.

Waiting on sunset

Waiting on sunset

A pink glow began to appear all around the horizon. The sun dipped behind a small sliver of clouds and there was a brilliant orange glow between the cloud and the mountains below.

The sun behind the cloud

The sun behind the cloud

And every minute the sun kept moving and the colors kept changing. Every moment was prettier than the last. An amateur photographer and I both noted how our fingers were freezing and yet we kept watching and taking photos, not wanting the moment to end.

DSC_0869

When the sun finally disappeared behind the mountain I was surprised that is wasn’t dark at all. The sky was white and there remained a pink glow above the horizon in every direction. The sky remained light as we made our way down the half mile trail to the parking lot. As we walked down I was euphoric. The air was very quiet, like during a snowstorm. And it felt to me like this was one of the great things in life, something not to be forgotten.

The sun's parting glance

The sun’s parting glance

So it is with a weary heart that I think about God and what people have done to Him. I think of all the churches and all the people who are sure that their scriptural interpretation is correct and that someone else is doing it wrong. And I cannot participate right now. I just can’t. My head aches with the thoughts that war inside my soul trying to make sense of people’s religions.

I believe there is a God. But sometimes I forget to worship him because I’m too busy trying to make sense of whose dogma is correct. I want to remember that there are some things indisputable and that a sunset is one of them. I hope that I can refrain from doubting others methods of worship and keep other people from hindering my spiritual life.

DSC_0876

Posted by: Rachel | October 21, 2013

Things that happen in this house

This morning there was a sock shortage in the Martin house. Rhiannon told me ‘just don’t make her (Alaina) wear black socks.’ When I asked her what is wrong with black socks she said she hates black socks. When we wondered why she hates black socks, she replied that well, she doesn’t hate black socks but how it looks when people wear black socks. Alaina piped up with her words of wisdom: ‘According to the comics wearing black makes you look skinnier, so maybe that’s why people wear black socks.’ I think that I may need to inform my children that while in this case the comics was correct, it is not necessarily the place to be getting factual information.

****

Lately Delilah has started drawing pictures. She showed me her latest creation and I said, Oh, you made pretty trees, and who’s that, is that you? And then I looked closer and wouldn’t you know it, the ‘trees’ were actually people. They were mom and dad, to be exact. Our legs were long skinny things that looked like a tree trunk and then we had giant round heads. Our eyes and nose looked like apples. We had no body but luckily we did have arms.

****

Delilah was playing with an electronic ABC game. As I was showing her where the C was I accidentally pressed the off button. I said ‘oops I’m sorry I turned it off.’  She gasped and said ‘You so mean.’

****

In other news, the little man of the house will be celebrating his first birthday this week.

Walking through the obstacle course, otherwise known as a hallway.

Walking through the obstacle course, otherwise known as a hallway.

He is a boy on the move. He likes going up and down the stairs, but I try to have a big sister watching him while he does that. Yesterday he was at the top of the stairs and somehow tripped. When I arrived at the scene he was on his stomach with his feet at the top of the stairs and his head down two steps. He was holding on somehow, someway. He has the strength of bears, it would seem.

My blue-eyed boy

My blue-eyed boy

He still hates his crib. Sometimes he’ll stay sleeping in it for 30 minutes but usually only five minutes. But if he’s in my bed then he can sleep for hours. When Earl comes home from work I often step outside on the porch with Atticus. He gets all excited when he sees the truck. Earl will open the window and Atticus eagerly reaches for him and then he goes with his daddy to park the truck. If Earl’s lunch or thermos is on the floor Atticus will pick them up and take them to where ever Earl is.

****

The Martin Household has now been alive and well for 10 years. Of course we had to make some jokes about not thinking we would ever make it this long 🙂 We went out to eat to celebrate and started talking about how much things have changed in the last ten years. Even in the last five. On our fifth anniversary we had two children, still drove the green Ford Focus, and lived in the trailer. Now we have four children, drive a minivan, and are making mortgage payments.

In ten more years Alaina will be 19, Rhiannon 17, Delilah 13, and Atticus 10. That is absolutely scary beyond words. We wondered about where we will live, what we will work, and who our friends will be in 10 years. Even scarier, what will we look like? At first I thought it might be fascinating to see that future life, but the more I thought about it I realized that I need to enjoy this time right now and here. I hate to even think it, but our parents are getting older and it is a real possibility that in ten years we may not still have all our parents. I have quite a few friends that have lost a parent and it terrifies me.

****

Maybe in ten years we will live in New York. We made our annual Grape Juice trek to the Finger Lakes last weekend. Earl’s brother always has some new business idea for Earl. One year he thought that he could start trimming cow’s hooves. He even said that the one Hoof Trimmer’s wife helps with the nasty task. Now you must know that I find cows to be ugly even on the face side of things, but if you would flip them on their sides and look at the hooves that would add a whole layer of unpleasant to my life. But there was a shortage of Hoof Trimmers and so that was the Brother’s grand idea. This year there seems to be a shortage of Dairy Barn Equipment Service Men Or Something Official Sounding Like That. Earl thought that fixing air compressors and stuff like that sounds much better than trimming hooves. I agreed very readily.

Also housing is incredibly cheap in that area of NY. A house in the town of Dundee is listed at $80k whereas a similar house in our neighborhood would probably go for $150k or more. I guess there needs to be someway to attract Hoof Trimmers to the area and cheap real estate might be the trick.

The Finger Lakes region is absolutely gorgeous this time of year.

Sunrise over the Seneca Lake

Sunrise over the Seneca Lake

Love love love the morning sun on the trees.

Love love love the morning sun on the trees.

More pretty trees

More pretty trees

Big blue sky peeking through the colorful leaves.

Big blue sky peeking through the colorful leaves.

Posted by: Rachel | June 2, 2013

A Lovely Day in Pictures

This is a story about my day. A lazy woman’s story, told with few words and many pictures.

I finally have a Gerber daisy again. Soon after I planted it this spring, Delilah went and picked all four flowers off.

Pretty pretty orange.

Pretty pretty orange.

I wasn’t sure about the orange color but it looks amazingly well with our brick house.

DSC_0738

Delilah and the dog

Delilah and the dog

We went to the park today; Earl’s brother was playing softball there.

DSC_0759

He’s still young enough to enjoy playing ball on a hot Sunday afternoon. We tell him that taking an afternoon nap is much more desirable, but at his age we didn’t take naps on Sunday afternoons either. Well, there may have those times when I stayed out too late…

Atticus and Alaina; youngest and oldest; blue eyes and brown eyes

Atticus and Alaina; youngest and oldest; blue eyes and brown eyes

Someone brought me flowers.

Someone brought me flowers.

I should appreciate the flowers a bit more. Usually my first thought is: What am I going to do with these? This time I decided to take a photo so I could forever remember the days when children picked buttercups for me.

Standing nice and tall.

Standing nice and tall.

The little man has the most beautiful blue eyes. They photograph so well. Yes, that is important. My brother called his outfit a prison jumpsuit. But we can’t all be styling like him. You know, camo hat and plaid shirt styling.

Mr. Brother

Mr. Brother

Yes, he showed up. He doesn’t live far from the park and goes for walks there to fix his knee. The girls were happy to see him. Ahem, my girls, his nieces, not girls as in potential marriage partners. Of course not that kind of girls.

Hanging out on the hillside

Hanging out on the hillside

DSC_0780

Girls follow him everywhere. hehe

Getting more water.

Getting more water.

Yes it is possible. Delilah is not always dive bombing everywhere.

Yes it is possible. Delilah is not always dive bombing everywhere.

Men in hats

Men in hats

We finished off the day at Mom’s house with soft pretzels and a rain shower. Now all the members of my little family are sleeping, and so I shall join them. Sometimes, on days like today, I can convince myself that life is indeed good, even when it rains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Rachel | April 26, 2013

The NRA Comes to Town

People, there are days when the newspaper brings such joy that sorrows cannot stay for long. This is such a day. Today this article was in the paper. Oh such a happy day in my life.

In these parts of the world there is a very popular gun/hunting/etc. event called the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.  In the beginning of the year they announced that at this year’s show there were to be no ‘assault’ weapons. It was a move made with the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre still fresh in all our minds. Now people could have thought ‘well, that was a decent thing to do, we will just buy those guns next year at the show, or go directly to the gun shops.’ But OH NO, peoples got all sorts of outraged. They were UP IN ARMS. They were MAD. How dare Reed Exhibitions, the host of the show, ban these weapons. Our rights to buy guns are being infringed upon!!! HELP!!! People flopped down on the floor and kicked and screamed and threw royal hissy fit tantrums befitting of a three year old. Exhibitors and celebrities pulled out of the event forcing Reed to cancel the show less than two weeks before it’s starting time.

And so no-one could buy any guns, at all, at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. Because there was no show. But people were happy because, bless their little hearts, they had proven that wasn’t no-one gonna take away their 2nd amendment rights.

And then a new horse came to town. The NRA, that great and hallowed defender of precious gun rights, decided that they were going to take on the responsibility of hosting the show, seeing as how Reed Exhibitions had been run out of town. And in all gun-loving hearts there was a sigh of relief. YES! Finally someone who understood that it was imperative that they be able to buy guns! Lots of guns! ASSAULT WEAPONS! YAY! The NRA would understand them, here in Pennsylvania where people hold on tightly to their guns and their Bibles.

And so I believe it came as a shock to most little gun-loving hearts when it was announced that the NRA would allow NO GUN SALES at the show. Oh, there would be lots of guns to look at, but no gun buying or selling. Shock and confusion reigned through out the land. But.. but.. it’s the NRA, what, I thought they loved us gun-toting real Americans.

So now I sit here on the edge of my seat. Waiting. Because, my friends, I cannot wait to see what will happen. Will the faithfully armed people of central Pennsylvania rise up against the NRA? Or will they sit quietly because after all, they love the NRA, and the NRA loves them. I am not ashamed to say that I literally jumped up and down in excitement because ladies and gents, the poop is about to hit the fan. There is great glee in my heart as I anticipate the following weeks.

I also wish to remind everyone that Reed Exhibitions only banned military-style semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. And then people protested and guess what?!!! They ended up putting in place a vendor who says NO GUN SALES AT ALL!!!! Oh, the irony, oh the irony. It’s as if a little child protests that their piece of cake wasn’t big enough, and so because they are ungrateful little brats, you take away all the cake.

‘Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think, a little too ironic.’ Yes, Alanis Morissette, you hit the nail on the head. Or should I say, you hit the target with a semi automatic weapon and a high capacity magazine.

Posted by: Rachel | March 20, 2013

The Joys and Sorrows of this Mother

Potty training is always a dreaded thing here at this house. Some people say girls are easier to train but it hasn’t been easy yet. I received some much needed motivation this week and now I’m making an effort to get the bomber plane* potty-trained.

So the bomber plane is wearing her big girl panties and spending lots of time on the potty. I started yesterday afternoon and so far there have been 3 releases of bodily fluids. All three times she was not sitting on the proper receptacle. The last time she had just gotten off the potty after sitting there for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Yes, such is my luck, and also why I said this is a dreaded time. After she has an accident I put her in the bathtub and hose her off with some water. The third time I was going to skip that but she said ‘Bath me, Mom.’ Perhaps I shall start using colder water.

This morning I took off her pamper and got out some proper underwear. She hollered in her bossy tone, ‘No no, pampers.’ I just calmly talked to her about the benefits of panties and how Jacob wears big boy underwear (I don’t actually know if he does) and how Momma does too. After she threw the underwear several times she finally changed her mind and happily put on the princess undies. Then she got a sippy cup of chocolate milk and played with her blocks for a while. Next she sat on the potty for about 20 minutes with no success. Currently the super soaker is sitting on my lap and I am a bit scared knowing that there are only three thin layers of fabric between her and I.

Now she’s drinking a cold coffee beverage (why, yes, I am a super mother) I think yesterday I didn’t give her enough of fluids and it took too long until she needed to go. Or with my luck more fluids will mean more gushes of liquid on the carpet.

*Israel’s military once had a bomber plane named Delilah. Those who know my daughter think that is an accurate description of her.

*******

Delilah: I da hero! (she has a blanket around her neck like a cape)
Rhiannon: plops down on the floor and says: Help help, save me, I drowning.
Delilah ‘saves’ her and then says: I da hero, I help RhiRhi.

*******

Me: Delilah, do you want to put your pajamas on?
Delilah: No, I hate jams.
She ‘hates’ everything right now. She hates potty. She hates lasagna. Earl asked me where she learned that word. I said from her older sisters. They sure didn’t know that word when they were three.

*******

Rhiannon is rinsing grapes in the sink. Some fall out of the bowl.
Delilah: oh dear.
Later after Delilah puts the grape bag back in the fridge she can’t remember where she put her container of grapes. She puts her hands up in the air and calls out: Graaapeeesss? Where are you?

*******

Me: Why do you girls argue?
Alaina: umm, I don’t know….. cause we’re human?

*******

Now that you’ve recovered from reading potty training details I will tell you about my latest go-to meal ideas. I’ve discovered that tortilla wraps can be frozen and it’s so easy to pull them out and make a quick meal. I used them before but since I started putting them in the freezer it’s much easier to have some on hand at anytime. I often use the plain ones but also like to get the Garden Spinach Herb Wraps. They have a bit more flavor and they make your food colorful. Colorful food is usually a good thing as long as you don’t go crazy.

Love these!

Love these!

My favorite Spinach Wrap recipe is actually an appetizer with three easy ingredients: Spinach wraps, cream cheese, and thinly sliced dry beef. Schmear (yep, that’s a word) the cream cheese on your wraps, then layer dry beef on top and roll them up and slice for cute pinwheels. You can put on as much cream cheese and dry beef or as little as you want. Slice em thick or thin.  It’s not a complicated science.

DSC_1609

Yummy Spinach Pinwheels

Yesterday evening we had Chicken Salad Wraps. I mixed the chicken salad myself, very simple, chicken breast cut up fine, and add mayo and pickle relish. Plop some shredded cheese on your wrap and add the chicken salad then fold it up like a little baby in a blanket, except with this baby you wrap up his head too.

Chicken Salad Wraps

Chicken Salad Wraps

I’ve done Chicken-Bacon-Ranch, Taco, and good old ham and cheese. Last week I put chicken, cheese, and ham on a wrap then heated it in the oven til it was nice and warm, then we added sour cream. That was delicious. Sometimes I’ll add lettuce and tomatoes if I’m not warming them up. Earl really likes wraps for his lunch so that’s another idea.

*******

Warning: Unapproved use of Baby Gear

Warning: Unapproved use of Baby Gear

This boy has got some crazy strength. He can turn himself around in his bouncer seat and in his swing. The swing is now a ‘buckle-up’ zone.

It’s difficult when you have an unhappy baby because I know I shouldn’t complain, there are people who would love to have a baby, even an unhappy one. And yet it is frustrating when he is only happy for five minutes unless he’s being held. Yesterday I held him during one of his naps because the thought of laying him down only to have him wake up in two minutes was depressing. He sleeps best when he is being held or laying right next to someone, preferably his mommy. He smiles and laughs but it’s not that infectious laugh like some babies where they start giggling and just don’t stop. Nope, he laughs a short little laugh and then he stops as if he doesn’t want to get all girly and giggly cause he’s too manly for that.

I wanted a boy and I wanted one with blue eyes. I guess next time I should be more specific and say I want a HAPPY blue eyed boy. Live and learn, eh?

*******

I’m sure you all want a potty update so here it is: In the last hour and fifteen minutes there have been TWO successful potty deposits! YAY! The bomber plane has hit it’s target!

Oh, and the Mr. Atticus slept for ten minutes without being held. Now he is crying again. There is joy and sorrow in life, my friends, joy and sorrow.

Posted by: Rachel | January 3, 2013

Amish or Not?

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock lately I gonna tell you the latest news: ‘Amish’ reality shows have been sweeping the nation. They have brought with them lots of controversy, one issue being the ‘Amishness’ of the characters. People are all sorts of outraged that these dudes and dudesses are daring to say they are Amish while involved in such supposed heathenish ventures.

So are they Amish? Sam Stoltzfus said they aren’t in a letter to the Lancaster New Era.

I tend to think that if you are regularly attending the Amish church and abide by the majority of their dictates, laws, ordinances, whatever, then you are Amish. If you haven’t been to Amish church services in a year and haven’t put on Amish clothes in the same amount of time, then no, you are not Amish.

But then what about the youth who are still attending church occasionally, maybe a member, maybe not, but they carry iPhones and text all their Amish friends with crazy text language. They wear jeans and Abercrombie tees on the weekend and are on Facebook and talk about the alcohol that will be consumed at the party this weekend. Are they still Amish? This is starting to get tricky. On one hand they still make an effort by wearing the traditional garb most of the time, but pics of themselves in bikinis on the beach? umm…. that’s not so ‘Amish.’

What about the Amish adults who are married with children and by all appearances lead a normal Amish life but vote and attend political rallys? They might gather at a non-Amish friend’s house to watch the Super Bowl or a movie. Are they Amish?

What about those who grew up Amish, decided the faith wasn’t for them, but want to appear on a crazy reality show as an Amish person?

At what point do we draw the line? And who is making the line? Does Sam Stoltzfus get to decide? Or the Amish Bishops? Or the ‘English’? Does the person get to personally decide for themselves?

My brothers and I grew up Amish but attended public high school. While we attended high school we did not dress Amish, nor did we attend the Amish church very much. (I had to attend sporadically until I was 16) Amish people did not consider us Amish. In their eyes we were now ‘Englishers.’ But if you were to talk to any of our classmates they said we were Amish. To them our main defining characteristic was being Amish. So who’s line do we use in that situation? The ‘English’ didn’t really see us as one of theirs and yet neither did the Amish. We had nowhere to belong. That’s being a bit dramatic, but it really was no picnic. (I’m quite happy to have those years behind me. Someone once said to me, “oh, you have the best of both worlds.” I always felt it was more like the worst of both worlds.)

If being ‘Amish’ was solely about the religion then we could say those that are not practicing it are no longer Amish. But Amishness is about so much more, it’s a culture, perhaps even an ethnicity. Dictionary.com defines culture as: the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group. I no longer practice religion in the Amish way but I still have or practice many of the behaviors that are characteristic of being Amish. For example, I can still speak the language.

Having grown up Amish I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that those on the show are definitely from the Amish culture. Their command of the PA Dutch language isn’t the best anymore (neither is mine) but some of the dialogue was so typical Amish that I really laughed out loud. For me the best line was Episode two, when Alvin says ‘you can hardly trust him the way it is’ in PA Dutch. I smile every time I think of it. It was so typically Amish in it’s dismissive view of a young ambitious boy getting too big for his britches.

There are a lot of things, both good and bad, to be said about the Amish reality shows. But to say that the actors are not Amish requires some qualifiers. You can say they no longer practice the faith, or that they are not members of the Amish church, but to dismiss them as not Amish is very broad and denies them their heritage. It’s a unique heritage and frankly it requires a bit of suffering at times. Leaving is hard, and it’s difficult sometimes to find a way to honor or hold on to the culture while creating a life outside of it. I’m not sure if those on the show are honoring their heritage but let’s not deny where they came from.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories