Choosing to see the happy

This was not my best week ever.

It started with a rough call on Sunday. To be honest – the call itself wasn’t really that bad. It was some of the other things that happened on scene that messed with my head. That caused a disruption in my plans for the week. In order to put my head on straight, I had to skip a day of school. Which caused me to spend nine hours across two days working on one assignment. That was a lot of hours in two days.

I also got confirmation of something that I already knew – but seeing it in writing kinda hurt.

And now…I have an ominous sore throat.

So it was not my favorite week.

BUT – I’m not looking at it that way.

Sometimes you have to choose to see the happy.

Like the fact that when work messes with my head, I can go to Disney World.

Or that I’ve run twice this week – once outside. That is REALLY happy.

Or that Aldi had grassfed ground beef this week.

Or that when I went to Chipotle for dinner after spending six hours on a school assignment, they were a little behind on some of their cooking so I got a free soda. My body didn’t need the soda, but my brain sure did.

Or that the final season of How I Met Your Mother finally made it to Netflix. I confess – I watched the entire thing this week. Also, I sobbed through the last three episodes. It was ugly. But still happy.

Or that I tried on a new pair of uniform pants and discovered that I haven’t gone up in size – the snap on the pants that I have now has worn out…which is why it pops open every time I bend.

Or that I discovered that I can order my favorite snack granola which I found at Aldi but have not seen in months. And that the order has already arrived.

So really, it wasn’t a bad week.

It just depends on what I choose to see.


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I miss Awesome Kelly

Leaving Awesome Kelly behind is one of my biggest regrets about moving to Florida. I really should have brought her with me. However, I’m quite sure her husband would have tracked me down and caused me bodily harm. So, she remains in Virginia and we carry on our relationship through texting.

Our conversations often look like this: (Awesome Kelly is on the left)

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However, this recent conversation took the cake. Seriously, I laughed all day. Again, Kelly is on the left.

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Awesome Kelly is roughly 15 years younger than I so sometimes I have to make sure she knows what I’m talking about…

 As you can see, Kelly is a very missable person.

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Filed under EMS, Florida Move

Dear Mom,

Since I so publicly aired our mutual failure at tackling advanced math, I’d like to just as publicly thank you for not being lax when it came to writing. No, you constantly stretched me when it came to writing.

I admit that I was not exceedingly thankful at the time.

I just could not summon the same excitement you had over the workbook that was all about diagramming the book of Joshua. Cleaning the chicken coop was more fun. Seriously, where did you find that thing??

Also, there was that one situation with the laptop and that fully annotated 15 page research paper…

How I managed to maintain a love for the color purple (your favorite color for correcting papers) throughout my school days is beyond me.

But today, I am grateful.

Actually, I’ve been grateful for the last 10 years – I’ve just never sad it publicly.

I can count the times I’ve needed advanced math on one hand. But writing? That is an important life skill. One that I use literally every day of my life.

And, based on what I’ve seen of my peers – I would not have received such excellent training had I been in the school system.

So, thank you. Thank you very, very much.

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This one’s for my Bro

My big brother turns 38 today, so I thought I’d write a post in his honor. No, I’m not going to get all weepy. I promise no stories of childhood antics.

I’ve mentioned a few times that it is only the gifts and talents of the medical industry that we expect to enjoy at little to no cost to ourselves. This is not true. There is another industry that is suffering under the same expectations.

The music industry.

Thanks to digital technology, it is now possible to obtain an entire library of music at absolutely no cost.

I’ve watched people trade hard drives full of music and movies. Hundreds if not thousands of dollars of media exchanged with a wink and a nod.

Um, that’s stealing.

And if you are exchanging the music or movie of an independent artist, that is food out of their mouths.

I’ve been buying most of my music from iTunes for the last few years, but I was worried about the way that translated into payment to the musicians. My brother helped me out with my concern.

He explained that artists that produce for a recording agency get paid a salary, thus where you purchase the music – iTunes or actual CD doesn’t mean much to them. Just purchase the music.

However, if the artist is independent and has produced the album with their own time and money – buy the album. The actual CD. That way they get all of the money. He explained that he gets paid decently by iTunes, but purchasing the CD translates into more cash in his pocket.

So – for the sake of my Bro (and his great wife and adorable children) and other independent artists, buy the whole album.

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I forgot

Five minutes before I started typing this I realized that I had forgotten.

In the busyness of life, the date had totally slipped my mind.

I recall it flashing through one day not too long ago. But the thought didn’t stick. It didn’t ruminate.

It has been nine years.


And I forgot.

Six children gone.

A family of eleven suddenly made five.

A 16 passenger van – no longer necessary.

A super-sized dinning room table – empty.

Diapers and wipes – no longer needed.

A home – quiet

Siblings without playmates and confidants.

Parents with aching arms.

They did not forget.

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Homeschooling is not the Problem

Yesterday I wrote a post that may make it appear that I hate homeschooling and blame the system for damaging millions of children.

I do not.

I love homeschooling. I am a proud homeschool graduate. One day I would love to be a homeschool mom.

And no, I do not blame homeschoooling for damaging millions of children. Just a few thousand. I jest. 

Homeschooling did not damage any children.

Sinful people damaged children.

Homeschooling was just the front that was used to avoid detection.

As long as there are humans, there will be evil.

So no, homeschooling has not damaged anyone.

People have done the damage.

And people need to be held responsible.

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Blowing the Whistle

A friend of mine recently had a phone conversation during which her mom confessed to struggling with how to deal with her coworkers. The gist of her words were “They are all your age. I don’t know how to motivate them to work because I beat you regularly to keep you motivated. We work in public and I can’t beat them like I did you.”

I will pause while you go vomit. 

This mother was not speaking of beating her children like a southern grandpa speaks of “beating” his kids. There was no twinkle in her eye as she exaggerated the occasional spanking into “regular beatings.” No, this woman was deadly serious and completely not apologetic as she verbalized that she beat her children.

My friend went on to explain that every time they left the house her mother would say “Remember, we are a happy family.” and “You are not being abused.”

She remembers siting in church and listening to sermons that encouraged the beatings that she received. Her father was a pastor for a while. For a time they traveled the nation preaching about how to have a godly family. They home schooled. They made ALL of their food from scratch. ALL of it.

From the outside the looked like a family straight out of Little House on the Prairie.

On the inside, the children were beaten regularly. They were coached on what to say if social services appeared at the door. It is highly likely that the move from a somewhat “normal” life in Virginia to isolation on a farm in Michigan was to get away from suspicious grandparents.

My friend and her five siblings deal with the effects of their abuse every day. In comes out in choices that most of society does not understand. It comes out in poor health. It comes out fear of other Believers and a complete inability to set foot inside a church.

And it comes out in a superhuman form of inner strength. 

As my friend and her siblings suffer, their mother has continued on with the “American dream.” College and a job in the field of her passion (American history, not sadistic torture), a large house, a new car. She continues the facade of being a “normal, healthy” church member. She was a complete martyr when her youngest daughter became pregnant before high school graduation – a deliberate attempt at emancipation and freedom from the abuse at home.

She will never be held accountable for her actions. Never.

The children are grown and gone. The physical evidence has long passed. No court would uphold any form of charges the children might bring.

There has been an outcry among home educators about the appearance of Homeschoolers Anonymous, Recovering GraceHomeschooling’s Invisible Children, and other apparently anti-homeschooling blogs and webpages. The contributors have been labeled “bitter,” discounted as an annoying minority, and some have been completely tossed to the side since they admit to walking away from the faith in which they were raised.

The truth is that these webpages are the only recourse that these adult children have. They are the only way to bring to light the injustices of their childhood. They are the only way to warn the world of what may be behind the smiling faces of families that appear “normal.”

Maybe one day someone will be able to link the struggles that my friend, her siblings, and so many others suffer with the abuses of their childhoods. Maybe one day these parents will stand before an earthly judge and be held accountable for the hurt and suffering they caused. Maybe.

Until that day, the victims will continue to blow the whistle – because that is all they can do. 

Before you start sending me hate mail, please wait until tomorrow’s post titled “Homeschooling is not the problem.”

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Filed under The "cult"