Monday

Silent No More

What happens when that's "just the way it is"?


What happens when a 13yr old girl has heard a constant stream of the men in her life talking about how if a woman is raped then it's her fault. She was asking for it. She was probably the one to blame.


What happens?


That 13yr old girl stays silent.


I know.


Because *I* was that 13yr old girl. And I have NEVER spoken publicly about this.


In 26 years. 


Because of fear.


Those closest to me, my kids, my husband...they know...but I have never gone public with what happened to me before now...or where the "man" who raped me (and 3 other girls who I know of) is today.


Because the rapes were never reported...4 of them...the "man" (a 16yr old kid at the time) who did this to us...is now a police officer. Who is married. With teen girls. 


And all of that terrifies me. 


There's an entire town we won't move to because of where this person works. Because I don't want to ever have to encounter this person. 


Rape culture. Sexual assault. It's what all guys do, right? Us girls should just have to deal, right?


No. Not on my watch. Not in my house. Not in my America. 


Not to my children.


They have been raised differently.

Saturday

Parents Banned from Nearly 40 Churches for VBS-Hopping




A Columbus couple has been banned from 37 area churches for what authorities can only describe as "VBS-hopping". CPS was alerted when the children began showing up at one VBS wearing the shirt for a neighboring church's VBS. There were also telltale signs such as Kool-Aid stains on the children's mouths that were a different color than the Kool-Aid being served at that church's VBS.

Still, no one could have suspected how deep things had gone. By last count, it is estimated that the children of Frank and Stephanie Flowers attended approximately 37 VBS programs this summer alone. "They were going in the morning, in the evening, and even to special weekend programs," said an unnamed source close to the investigation.

Columbus Police Department wouldn't comment on an on-going investigation, but members at several churches interviewed say this isn't the first time they recall having the children enrolled in their VBS program. It's believed that the Flowers have never in their lives paid for daycare during the summer months. 

Betsy Brooks, the VBS Coordinator at First Baptist Church of New Albany said,  "It makes me shudder to think that had it not been for one mistake in choice of wardrobe...just a t-shirt...we'd have never known."

Accused Mother, Stephanie Flowers said, with a shrug of her shoulders, "We really didn't think it was THAT big a deal. We've been church-hopping 'grown-up' services for 15 years now." She claims they were just trying to follow His word, "What Would Jesus Do? I think the Bible makes that clear! Jesus said, 'Let the little children come unto me'!"


Monday

You Asked, I Answered: Our Soy-Free Salad Dressing, Drew's All Natural

Several of you have asked how it's possible that I managed to find a soy-free salad dressing. You looked everywhere before resorting to doing without or always making your own.

I have nothing against making my own (and have done so many times), but there's nothing like being able to pick it up at the store once in awhile. There's a reason grocery stores and department stores became successful. People sometimes want a break from making everything on their own all the time. (Or a lot of the time sometimes.)

And that's okay.

So...the dressing. Yes, a soy-free salad dressing really does exist. I wish I could tell you that it exists in a land without using canola oil. Unfortunately, I can't go that far. What I can tell you is that the company that makes this dressing does at least use all GMO-free products (including their products that DO include soy) and doesn't use any artificial colors, flavors, or additives.

They offer several varieties including Caesar, ranch, Italian, thousand island...you get the idea. (All of the basics plus several varieties.) We regularly use the buttermilk ranch, Classic Italian, and Caesar. The Thousand Island and Creamy Italian occasionally make an appearance. Yes, I know. We're boring. We're okay with it.

This is our favorite dressing. It's not only soy-free, but also a vegetarian Caesar (for my 2 veggie kids). Yes, you read that right. It's a Caesar that's vegetarian. That's a VERY hard one to find.


You can purchase their products online directly from the Drew's site, from an online grocer like Vitacost, or from a local grocer. Find one in your area here. (The site doesn't list Natural Grocers as a place to find their products in Tulsa, but that's where I bought mine just last week.)

Just as a note, not all of their products are soy-free.  Specifically, the line that I posted above (in the circular bottle) are the ones that are soy-free. The ones in the traditional salad-dressing shaped bottles are NOT soy-free.

For those who have other allergies the particular dressing pictured above also meets the needs of those who have gluten-free and/or egg-free loved ones.

Let me know of any soy-free products that you enjoy!

Have a favorite soy-free mayo? I lost my old favorite when we left Trader Joes land so I'm on the hunt for a new one.

The Mom Who Wanted To Potty

Everyone knows what to expect. You try to potty and your little ones follow you.

The new mom might close the door only to find eager little hands peeking under the door or worse...banging excitedly. The bang might mean "I need a cookie NOW!!!!" Or it might mean "I've set the cat on fire and released a legion of army ants from the ant farm onto the recliner!!!" When it's child number one, you rush to the rescue quickly learning that the world will collapse if you ever even think of going to the restroom. You learn that if you do potty, you do so without privacy. By child number three, you're musing to yourself how much your husband will appreciate his new recliner-mates later as you finish your business before opening the door. 

Regardless, part of what helps you get through this "stage" is knowing that eventually it will end. You'll get your privacy back. There will come a time when you close that door and no one calls your name asking for something or wanting to having a philosophical discussion at ONLY that moment.

LIES!!!!  IT'S ALL LIES!!!! 

IT. NEVER. ENDS.

Ever.

Listen to me, people. It goes on FOREVER!!!!

And worse...your HUSBAND reverts back to his days as a child and starts doing this too. 

Mothers, you will never again pee in silence. Ever. You have lost those days. They're gone. Forever.

This has been today's encouraging word to young mothers. 

(And there's more where that came from, ya'll!) 

(See that Oklahoma creeping back in there? It's what happens when the Tulsa turned Vegas girl moves back to Tulsa.)


Tuesday

Following Daddy. It Happens.

They say that the man should be the head of the household. He should be the spiritual head. The ruler, the leader, the king, the (said in a big booming voice) MAN OF THE HOUSE. You know...the one who can dictate and rule all that happens in his house. And everyone in the house should unquestioningly follow him. We bow down at his feet and salivate waiting anxiously for his next command.

Okay. Stop laughing. I may have been a BIT over-dramatic there. No, really. You, my husband? Stop the laughing.

I think men are afraid to take that lead, though. They think it HAS to be this big, overly-dramatic thing.They think that we, as their wives, expect perfection...or that we expect something big and over-the-top to prove your manliness.

No. Just...no.

It is absolutely amazing to me what happens when the man of the house takes the lead on something. Everyone else follows suit. They don't do that with anything else or following after anyone else. Nope. Just dad. Just the husband. Just the man.

Why?

I don't know, really. It's not a conscious thing we do. We just...do. I have seen it time and time again in our family. Once Daddy takes the lead on something...it happens.

My husband has been a really GREAT example to us of late.  He didn't set out to be an example. He didn't set out to change the way our family did anything. He just started doing what was right. What was right for all of us, really...but he was simply doing what was right and best for him at the time. He took a step outside of the door and started exercising. Just one step. Just one day. And then another the next. And the next.

Then something happened. The kids wanted to go. They wanted to join Daddy in his exercise. They started talking about fitness and about being healthier. We all did, as a family. Then Mom joined in.

Now, several months later, as a result of his example...and his bold step forward ONE day, his family is better off health-wise as a result.

Men, you really can effect change in your family. It doesn't involve you saying anything. It doesn't involve you doing something fantastic or overly-dramatic. It can be as simple as you walking for 30 minutes every day. Your family is watching and they really do look up to you, respect you, and want to follow your lead. Desperately.

Thank you, honey for being the example that we can follow. Thank you for taking that first step. Thank you for being someone we can look up to, respect, and someone whose lead we want to follow.

I love you. I'm so blessed to have married you. I couldn't have asked for a better husband or father for my children.
 
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