Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thai goodness

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Like a Cancer

My heart just aches for those patients who work so hard to get in remission, then out of nowhere the cancer comes roaring back.

Depression is just like that. 

I hate being married to a chronically depressed person who blames me for his depression.  It sucks BIG TIME.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Acrania: Not a Parasite

Hello, cyberspace!  I haven't ranted to you all in quite awhile.  Not that I am living rant free, but I am becoming a more peaceful, grounded person (thanks, yoga!) and I don't really have time for my blog what with trying to get my career off the ground and all.  So, there's that.

But what I heard yesterday really, REALLY irritates the hell out of me.  For many years I was a moderate pro-lifer.  I was also very, very ignorant about embryonic/fetal development, all the things that go wrong every day, and what abortion really involved.  Oh, I thought I was well-informed, but really I was just well-propagandized.  It wasn't until I started studying anatomy/physiology/embryology/fetal development that I ever bothered to seek out information from across the aisle in a meaningful way.

I say "in a meaningful way" because, being the well-educated person that I am, I had at various times in the past started to investigate the pro-choice position.  Every single time, however, I was turned back by the (at best ignorant, but probably) stupid, self-righteous, over-the-top rhetoric on the other side of the aisle.  Not that there is not a TON of (at best ignorant, but probably) stupid, self-righteous, over-the-top rhetoric on the anti-abortion side- there is.  But I thought that if I had to err on one side or the other, I would go pro-life until partial birth abortion wasn't a thing, or technology made early abortion widely available.

Surely, I thought, no person who is truly pro-life could be anti-birth control, morning after pill, or early abortion technology that could terminate a pregnancy long before brain development made fetal thought/feeling a possibility.  Sadly, I was very wrong.  :(

So, I became pro-choice, especially when the anti-abortion party wanted to both end access to contraception AND defund programs to help born children, like food stamps, Head Start and access to health care.  Abandoning infants once born is way, way, WAY WORSE than ending a pregnancy before an embryo/fetus has the possibility of conscious thought or feeling.  Both options are way worse than allowing a woman the ability to avoid conception entirely. Who ever could have guessed that the party that called itself pro-life would actually be the party of hunger/illness/ignorance/abandonment for every child NOT lucky enough to be born rich!?! I never would have guessed that was where the so-called "pro-life" party was heading.

Okay, enough foundation laid, on the the title of this post. Acrania/anencephaly is actually one of the more common birth defects. Most end in spontaneous abortion. Some hang on.  It is a development problem wherein no skull develops. Brain tissue floats around in amniotic fluid where it is broken down by the enzymes therein and eventually completely eradicated.  The only part of the brain that survives is the brain stem, located deep in the interior region of the head continuous with the neck.

The brain stem only controls the automatic nervous system: respiration motion, heart beat, maybe persistalsis,  but not sure on that last one.  All thought and sensation require a cerebrum and cerebellum, which do not exist in an anencephalic fetus and won't exist long in a fetus with acrania, because soon that fetus WILL BE anencephalic. No ifs, ands, or buts.  That's reality people, and the occurrence in gestation is estimated at 1 out of every 1000 births.  At birth (dead or alive, just those that make it to delivery) the incidence is closer to 1 out of every 4700 deliveries.

No thought has ever been possible in such a fetus.  No sensation has ever been possible in such a fetus. The longest any such delivered fetus has ever lived is ten hours.  Hospice care (palliative care) is the only treatment available, and that is for the grieving parents.  For the non-sentient fetus, there is no comfort.  On the other hand, there is no discomfort either.  It is  brain dead, with no hope of recovery because it is missing the huge majority of its brain.

I understand that.  No brain= no thought or sensation.  It's not a hard concept.   A person is considered brain dead when the only part of the brain that functions is the brain stem.

But a brain dead fetus is NOT a parasite! Don't insult the intelligence of the American people with this ridiculous rhetoric, pro-choicers.  It makes you look stupid and totally de-legitimizes your point.

A parasite is a separate living being (check) which feeds of a host (half a check here, I get your point) but that is a) not the offspring of its host and b) can move to a new host for a new food supply at will.  A mosquito, a leech and a tick are all parasites.  A baby is an different thing entirely.

A baby who is brain dead is still a human deserving of reverence and respect.  It's passing, which happens in the womb as its brain is destroyed by amniotic fluid, is a tragedy.  Should abortion be an option for a woman carrying a brain-dead baby? Absolutely!  Should abortion be an option for a woman carrying an embryo with no cranium (and no brain yet) who will never truly live (have a functioning brain that can feel, experience consciousness, move at will)?  Absolutely!

But this pro-choice tech with whom I spoke yesterday, she completely undermined my faith in her intelligence, the judgement of the people who hired her, and in the moral integrity of the pro-choice movement.  Shame on her! Shame on whoever taught her this insulting vocabulary.  THIS is the reason so many women of my generation could not identify ourselves as pro-choice.

When I commented to her, "The brain stem is the only part of the brain left, right?  It's still there because the heart is beating", this tech indignantly turned on me and emphatically stated, "No! It has no brain! The placenta is keeping the heart beating!  It's nothing but a PARASITE!"

Okay, first of all, fuck you for your self-righteous demeanor.  Don't assume you know anything about me and my opinions on abortion, simply because I am trying to clarify my understanding of the situation scientifically.  If I wanted to be treated that way, I'd still be in church.

But fuck you again for being involved in fetal/maternal medicine and telling me the placenta keeps the baby's heart beating.  Any one of my several textbooks will easily prove you wrong, but what about experience and reality?  If the placenta keeps the baby's heart beating, then no fetus would ever expire in the womb unless the placenta was a) detached from the uterus (placental abruption) or b) the placenta just stops working (which I have only heard of happening in post-term infants or in some heavy smokers close to term,  called a Grade III placenta).

The brain stem controls the automatic nervous system, and a person whose only functioning part of the brain is the brain stem, is called 'brain dead'.  This child is dead, only the heart is continuing to beat.  While in the womb,  mom's body takes care of all the necessary metabolic functions,  but it does not make the heart beat.  That heart will keep beating for who knows how long, maybe to term, often not, but even that will cease shortly after birth.   But, yes, if the heart is beating then the brain stem is functioning in utero.  That is a cold stone fact.  It doesn't count for much, but it is still a fact.  So don't lie to me. I'm not an idiot;  I know how to read.

And fuck you the third time for using that tired old cliche, that a malformed, brain-dead fetus is a "parasite".  No it's not.  It's an accident of nature, a tragedy, and a dead or never living embryo/fetus.  It is not a parasite, or else it would just move on to another host.   I can't imagine being a mother whose child suffered such tragedy and over-hearing some medical professional call my dead child a "parasite". So fuck you twice for that, bitch.

Maybe it's because I am a hospice volunteer, but that woman's self-righteous diatribe makes me furious. Or maybe that's why I am a hospice volunteer, because I understand death is as much a part of life as being conceived in the first place.  Dying people deserve honor, and their families deserve their dead loved ones be treated with dignity.

And calling someone's brain-dead child a parasite is not at all dignified (besides being a completely ridiculous analogy).

You want to know why the pro-life movement has gained so much steam, pro-choicers?  Because of lies like the one above.  A placenta does not keep a baby's heart beating, it supplies oxygenated blood to the baby's beating heart via the umbilical vein, but it does not make that baby's heart beat.  Acrania/anencephaly is a tragedy, a debilitating and fatal tragedy, but one that happens to someone's unborn child.  It's not a parasite.  Don't insult our intelligence and humanity with lies and derision.

Am I still pro-choice? 100%, but is in spite of, not because of, stupid arguments like the parasite argument.  So fuck you, pro-choice movement apologists. Because of your stupid, insulting rhetoric, it is harder for woman to gain access to birth control and/or abortions.  If you had been honest and compassionate, and appealed to the better nature of Americans, maybe the so-called "pro-life" movement wouldn't have gained so much traction.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

SAHM? Waste of my life.

Before my children were born, I determined they were going to know love, exuberant love, all of their days.  Oh my, like many unloved people, I wanted to make sure they got all the things I never did.  I played with them, made sure they were surrounded by creative toys and opportunities. I took lots of pictures and made scrapbooks so they would feel celebrated and important.  If you read here, you know I home schooled- and I did it all the way, with plenty of crafts, models, projects and field trips.  I tried to be both mother and father to my children, especially my son, since Dad was always traveling and emotionally unavaliable when he was home.

And if they were sick, I took very good care of them.  I took them to the doctor, gave them nebulizer treatments, bought them special food and drink to try to ease the process.  I was always especially nurturing when they didn't feel well.

I thought that by my sacrifices and service to  my children that they would learn two foundational truths: that they were loved and worth loving, and in turn that they would also be drawn to live a life of loving sacrifice.  These were my aims, the values I had full confidence I was teaching in word and example.

But nope.  That is not what took.

What took is that mom is a doormat.

Oh, and my son has bad self-esteem issues.  Because you see, he does not see my sacrifice and service as worth much.  I was not a person of great worth, humbling herself to serve him. That was my intent, to confer honor on him, to show him that he was of high worth by laying down my other options in life to serve him.  This was not the message he received.

He saw all that as just mom's job.  Same with my daughter.  They didn't respect me and appreciate my sacrifice.  It didn't cause them to believe they were valuable or worthy, because they did not see mom as having all that much value.  The person serving them was a worthless bitch whose job in life was to serve others.  So, they were no impressed by my service than they are the hotel maid's service.  That's her job to be a nameless, faceless servant, and in the same way it was my job to be their mother.

Not only that, but all those days I managed to stay cheerful, optimistic and gentle counted for nothing.  Nada.  Nope, the days that counted were the days I cracked, the days I couldn't take any more of the opposition, and I raised my voice in frustration.

Now readers,  I do realize that most of this is because of their father's opinion of me and his reactions to me.  They clearly followed his lead.  The damage that his abuse did to me is really, when it boils right down to it, unforgiveable.  He made of mockery of me, of my faith and all I held dear and tried to accomplish.  He never sought God at all, had no heart of love, didn't pray, didn't teach the children (or try to, because apparently I didn't either, though I tried day and night) compassion or love or kindness.  He taught them to be self-centered and judgemental.  He taught them to hate their mother.  He taught them to despise me and feel superior to me.  And his lessons, apparently, took.

The biggest values of my life, the daily exercise of a living faith, my children reject. It was very important to me that they not smoke, as my bio dad died of lung cancer.  They both smoke.  I'm the only one in the family who wants to go back to church, the only one (as far as I know) who prays regularly for the rest of this family. As far as I can tell I'm the only one who thinks and plans how to be a blessing to the other members of this family.

And here is my reward: to find out that when my kids were teens at home, and they knew I was in physical need (lack of sleep, wheezing, sick with bronchitis), they did not put their heads together to find ways to bless me or help me.  They got together to declare it a "high alert" day because I was probably going to be more easily frustrated than usual at the lack of cooperation and more prone to yelling in exasperation and frustration.

They decided together to avoid me and ignore me when I was in need, not to mention self-righteously judge me.  That's what all my compassionate care when they were sick taught them.  It taught them that I was not important.  

 The example of their father, who was barely even home, had far greater influence on how they felt about me (themselves, life) than all the days of my loving sacrifice as a SAHM/home educator.They learned to despise me  from their father, and when I was sick, or tired, or over-burdened then they abandoned me.  My state of weakness caused them to despise me more.

It was a waste of my life to love these people.  It did nothing for them as far as passing on the values I held most dear, and it certainly did nothing for me.  I did not build the "household of faith" that I strived to create.  My FOO despised me, and the family I created myself also despised me.

I can not adequately express how devastated I am by this realization.

Yesterday, I was having trouble with my asthma (haven't had that happen in two years).  I still made it a point to bless my son with something he wanted and needed me to acquire.  I sacrificed my time and health, took precious energy and hours of my life, in spite of my asthma, TO SERVE MY SON IN LOVE.

Did he appreciate it? NO,  he totally ignored my needs, focused on what he wanted, and was put out when I insisted that we take time to meet my physical needs.  I was kind to his boyfriend, and careful to wait until we were alone to tell him how I felt about his being rude to me.  I expected a quick apology and reassurance that he was distracted or he would never ignore me like that, or be put out about helping me when I was sick.

 His response was to start yelling at me!  Seriously. I did take up for myself and tell him to stop being an asshole, but guess what happened next?  Yes, true to his father's form, he found fault with me for calling him names.  I get used and abused, and then he tries to play the moral superiority card because I wasn't happy about it.  My frustration at his disrespect and lack of concern for my weakened physical state is considered the grave moral failing, not using people or ignoring the needs of the sick.

That scripture, Proverbs 31, where a husband and children praise the virtuous wife and mother?  That does not apply to abused women.  That only applies when a husband has honored and appreciated his wife in front of his kids, and in private conversations with them.  That does not apply to my life.

Oh my.  I can't believe I threw myself so whole-heartedly into serving my family.  I was a true believer, you guys.  I really believed, honestly and with all my heart believed, everything would work out well because of my loving service.  Love never fails.  I believed that.

Except where it is not valued.  Love from a person that is not valued does not confer worth to the person being loved.  They will despise it as worthless if they deem the person offering it as having low worth.  

Well, the bright side is that now I will have no problem selling this house.  This house is covered with photos of my children and my loving service to my children.  I want to just go and pack them all away now, and not wait until I pack to move out of here. They mock me.  They tell me that all the love, the service, the genuine concern, the thoughtfulness was all ONE WAY.  I am the biggest chump on the planet.

I came over time to painfully discover all the love was only ONE WAY in my marriage, and I thought that was worse thing I would ever experience.  Having my son show no compassion for my physical weakness yesterday, and no appreciation for the time and effort I took out of my day to serve him, that made me angry.  But calling my daughter, and finding out that for years, she and my son have made a concerted effort to avoid me when I needed compassion and help them most, that, THAT is knife in my heart.  

I should probably go back to therapy.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Frederick Douglas Told the Truth

Frederick Douglas told the truth.  This is the soil that the Southern Baptist Church was planted in, and the root from which it still springs today.  We are headed for destruction as  a nation, and not because of drugs or gay rights or abortion.  These are the gnats.

The sins of this nation are GREED, PRIDE, ARROGANCE, and LACK OF CONCERN FOR THE POOR.  The sins of this nation are the same today as they were in the 1850s, 1920s, 1950s, and the biggest source of all this sin IS the WHITE CHRISTIAN CULTURE.  Why, I know women and children who were personally absolutely betrayed by this culture, and will agree that patriarchy is off the chain, who still hate gay people and think that God is upset over abortion in spite of the fact that the Bible never rails about either particular issue.  However, WAR and EXILE came down on the Jewish people because of GREED, PRIDE, ARROGANCE, and OPPRESSION OF THE POOR AND NEEDY.

Yet no one is preaching against these things. In fact, they court people who live by these values, as they are the ones with all the money that can give the preachers also the live of ease they want.  I agree with Frederick Douglas:

"[B]etween the [slave-holding religion of] Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference — so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other."


Saturday, May 25, 2013

New Home School Parents, Heads Up!

I am so proud of all the home school graduates I have met!

Without exception, they are all strong-willed, courageous people who are finding their own authentic way in life.  I think that no matter the quality of one's educational experience, or the degree of emotional nurture vs. emotional neglect or abuse even, home schooling in itself transmits these qualities by its very nature.  To home school is to go against the flow of larger society, and children who are home schooled constantly hear that decision praised.  Even the religious home schools (maybe especially the religious home schools?) are continually hearing that going against what is easy and popular when conscience calls you to do so is a good thing, the right thing, the best thing.

So it is no surprise then, that these home school graduates have a strong sense of responsibility to improve the lot of those who come after them. Homeschoolers Anonymous is a web site dedicated to sharing the stories of home school graduates that will not be featured at home school conventions or plastered on the cover of Practical Homeschooling magazine.  (These stories need to be heard, too!) It was created by home school graduates, to help improve the lives of home schooled children who come after them.  Their goal is to improve things by the shining the light on areas that need improvement.  All of the stories shared there are authentic, written by home school graduates themselves.  These stories need to be told, and the home school community needs to listen and learn. 

New home school parents especially, be wise!

Take notice!  Don't just listen to the home school salespeople trying to get you to be just like them.  Do not be foolish, only listening to those whose children are still at home.  They have the option of still believing they are doing everything right and because of that, they can predict how life will turn out for their children.  Those whose children are already grown adults, that's who you should be seeking out for advice.

You are in a much better position than earlier home school parents, because you have the opportunity to inspect the fruits of the labors of home school parents who came before you.  Make the most of that opportunity!  As scripture counsels (Proverbs 18:17, Luke 14:28-33), get all sides of a story before you decide.  Really investigate what you are trying to accomplish.  Check out what has already been done by other people so you can figure out what you want to do differently and what you want to emulate.  

I realize this will be difficult, for many reasons. One is that when a family experiences "failure"- any result that is outside the advertised shiny, bright, happily subservient, doctrinally and sexually pure teenager- that family will disappear from most home school support groups.  Sometimes they are kicked out, but more often they drop out. These parents may feel ashamed that the product of their home school didn't turn out as advertised.  They may be asked to leave, especially if the results they are experiencing don't conform to the religious side of expectations.  A poorly educated but morally upright teen/young adult is not nearly so embarrassing to many home school support groups as a teen/young adult who is seen as morally compromised.  

On the other hand, they may leave the support group because of disillusionment.  When their marriage is falling apart, their teenager turns up pregnant, or is caught doing drugs, shoplifting, looking at porn, etc. then they may wake up to the fact that they have bought into and been promoting a lie and want no part in it anymore. Or they may be compelled to put their children in public school because of any number of reasons- a severely ill parent, financial constraints that require the home schooling parent to work- and so leave the home school support group.  All home school support groups require that a family be home schooling to belong, so any family that stops home schooling for any reason will not be at support group meetings sharing their stories.  You will have to search them out.

And the final reason that talking to home school graduates, and parents who have graduated all their students, to see where life takes them, is the passage of time.  You won't hear about gay home schooled Christian teens because they don't come out to their parents until years have passed since leaving home.  You won't hear about atheist home schooled graduate of Christian home schools because they don't leave the faith for years after leaving home.  In fact, you won't hear about any of the graduates who go off script after leaving home unless their dong so actually involves criminal activity that splashes across the headlines, like the Alexander story in Louisiana.  

[A home school boy dutifully marries the courtship bride his and her parents decided upon. His wife gets pregnant right away because they follow the script and don't use birth control.  Coudy goes to work, and interacts with people outside of the home school movement for the first time.  He falls in love with a co-worker, quite unexpectedly I am sure.  He has never experienced such strong attractions before, as he was assigned his wife and wasn't allowed to even date.  He and the co-worker begin a romance.  And somehow, truth always outs.  His young bride finds out about the affair.  Maybe he even told her himself, I don't know.  As she is packing to leave him, the weight of the shame that will fall on him from his community overwhelms him, and in a panic, he kills his young bride.  THAT is a direct result of the Christian home school fantasy and the expectations he felt to fulfill them as a star of the movement.  He was never allowed to just be Coudy, and figure out who he was at heart and what he wanted.  His life was dedicated to doing what his parents wanted, because somewhere along the line the Christian home school community became confident that what they wanted, God wanted.  It ended in heartache.]

All of the Christian home schooled youth want to please God.  Those whose parents and churches claim to speak for God the most adamantly are the ones whose children are at most risk of leaving the faith eventually.  You can not control their environments forever, and eventually they will start to run into the mysteries of life and find the pat answers they were taught are insufficient.  You will read many stories along this vein at Homeschoolers Anonymous but you won't hear them at your home school support group. They won't be brought up onto the platform at home school conventions (though some were paraded there back when they were still teens at home) to tell their story today.  They will not be featured in home school magazines. 

All of which is a real shame.  The inquiry for truth seems to have been abandoned by the home school movement's leadership. They believe they know all truth, and so they just dismiss and ignore all reality that exposes their "truth" as a lie.  Instead of being smart enough to listen to the adult children, children raised by all the standards and methods the movement promoted, leadership is just doubling down on the standards and methods that have failed.  They turn deaf ears to anything that doesn't support what they want to believe.  That isn't right. Home schooled children deserve better!  

Finally, the absolute worst stories out there, the ones we as home schoolers want to ignore and should not, are the stories of child abuse.  Sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse is happening in the home school community, and the home school community had best address it!  It's no use trying to explain it away with the True Scotsman defense. Our adult home schooled graduates are well versed in the dynamics of logic and debate.  No, it's happening.  It happened under our watch, under my watch.  So, what are good home school parents going to do about it?

HSLDA's response to these stories of neglect and abuse?  Silence. Denial of being in any way responsible for these children.  Not shock, not horror, not remorse.  Instead of leading the charge to put distance between nurturing home schooling families and abusive home schooling families, something that can only happen with transparency and accountability, HSLDA is trying to make it easier for abusive parents to home school. Witness this recent attempt to remove all transparency and accountability from the home school law in Iowa.  The current regulations are not burdensome and they are working well.  Why would HSLDA be working to remove all accountability and transparency from Iowa home school regulations?  

That's a question every home schooling parent, every home school support group leader, every home school support group member, should be asking themselves.  I know I never had anything to hide, and was in fact proud of the education and the home environment I was providing.  If you, home schooling parent, can't say the same, you shouldn't be home schooling.  You should make sure your children receive lots of love, good nutrition, emotional nurture and educational opportunity every day.  If you are doing that, and  I believe most home schooling parents are doing just that, then you should be open and transparent to the community in which you live about what goes on behind your closed door. 
 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. I Peter 2:12
The public needs to be able to see your good deeds.  Being transparent and accountable honors God.  Don't seek to hide in the darkness of obscurity, be eager to show the world the wonderful work that your home school in accomplishing!  Do it for the children, because Jesus calls us to love children  (all children, not just our own) and treat them with dignity and care.  Read carefully Matthew 18:1-9.  

It's time for the home schooling community to cut out and cast away families that abuse their children!  The only way to do it is to come out in the open and show the world what's happening in all our home schools.  The righteous will be rewarded, the wicked will be found out, and all of society will be better off for it.  

Lead the way, home schooled graduates! Lead the way, new home school parents!  Don't let the old guard lock you into making the same mistakes they (we) made.  Do it not only for your children, but for all children.  Heads up! You are the new face of home schooling.  Please let it be an open and honest face, publicly displayed, that has nothing to hide and much about which to proudly smile.