Dr. Laura Ponderings – Holidays, Family, and Death

I don’t get to listen to Dr. Laura as much as I’d like, it’s easier to read things online in between breaks rather than listen to a podcast (plus some of her content isn’t child-appropriate).  Over the past 6 months or so though, I’ve had some opportunities to listen here and there, and I’m always amazed at how her advice is so simple, but can be elusive when it’s problems one can relate to.  It’s so hard for people to see reality at times, and I find that fascinating, especially when thinking about our own questions.

Perhaps it’s easier to solve other people’s problems when you can see the bigger  picture and they can’t, because they’re in the thick of it (or their emotions get in the way of logic and reality).  The Bible acknowledges this, telling us to get wise, godly counsel, and that with many advisers, plans succeed, etc.  We’re not supposed to figure everything out on our own 🙂 and that’s why podcasts like hers are great!

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Question 1 – Traveling with Kids for the Holidays

A father of 5 was scared of traveling to see all the relatives they usually do because it’s so hard on the kids (and parents) to travel.  It ends up being stressful and not fun for any of them and kind of ruins the holidays in a way.

Dr. Laura frankly told him it’s insane to try to travel long distances with that many kids (LOL why is this so hard for us parents of young kids to understand?  We always try to anyway), why not just stay home and create your own traditions and invite family members you want to see to your house instead?  She went on to add thoughts on how families of young children really shouldn’t be traveling anyway for the holidays, and should put the needs of their kids and immediate family first.  Holidays shouldn’t be that stressful (beyond the normal stress I guess), but filled with joy, peace, and happiness.

I know for us our kids seem to have a very hard time sleeping when we travel to see family, which in turn, causes us to be extremely sleep deprived (one time I got 2 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period)!  This makes the holidays even more stressful and difficult when you’re operating on very little sleep (and your kids are having behavior issues related to the lack of sleep).

The family also has to be worth it to travel with little ones.  Dr. Laura always tells parents that if their family is unwelcoming, it’s ridiculous to go; you’re teaching your kids to think that’s normal and ok.  Most counselors agree the kids will be much better off spending holidays around people who truly love and accept their parents and want to see them (not just the kids).

The father of 5 was relieved to say the least, to feel like he had an, “out,” to not have to pack up his brood and trek around to various family members’ houses.  I found that call adorable.

 

Question 2 – Feeling Relief When a Relative Finally Dies

A older woman called in and was worried about how she’d feel when her mother died (background story of abuse/emotional abuse and manipulation, which led to her cutting her mother out of her life entirely).  She was worried she’d eventually feel guilt – especially after her mother passes away.

Dr. Laura frankly told her that she’ll feel RELIEF when her abusive/controlling mother dies, not guilt.  Aside from this sounding so wrong, this is something I just cannot understand at all – my parents were so loving and wonderful growing up, the only rift we had was when I got married, and even that was fixed a couple short months after and they’ve been our biggest supporters and source of comfort for 12 years now!  I was *always* very close to my parents, and even now my mom is over sometimes several times a week to help out, and goes on outings with us weekly.  My parents also adore my husband, and really go above and beyond to show him love and acceptance (which is consistent with how they were my whole life).  Feeling relief at their passing is something I just could never comprehend.

But for people who grew up with emotionally or physically abusive parents, apparently feeling relief when they pass is a normal thing (unless amends have been made).  This may explain why people who grew up in an environment like that, typically want little to do with their parents when they’re adults (and as a result, they don’t see them often, or are estranged off and on).  Their parents are a psychological burden they carry with them silently – other family members, even siblings, don’t often understand this, but a spouse does.  A spouse sees it clearly, and understands intimately where it’s coming from for them – a place of deep pain and suffering that no one else really understands.  It just sounds so harsh to say they’ll feel, “relief,” but now I can see how realistic that is.  It’s a relief of the burden they’ve carried (their parents) since early childhood!  Of course it will be nice when they just don’t exist anymore.

 

Question 3 – Estrangement and Criteria for Reconciliation

This was a more recent call my husband and I listened to together, about a woman whose family wanted to get back in her life (she’d cut them out for 7 years), and had sent letters to her regarding this.  She felt guilty, and wanted to know if she was obligated in any way, to allow these aging parents back in her life.  She claimed those 7 years without them were bliss!

Dr. Laura asked her if they’d done any of these three things first: Did they show any remorse or apologize in any of their letters to her?  Did they take any responsibility at all for their part of the problem?  And did they try to fix any of the past problems at all, in any way that she could tell?  She answered no to all three.

Dr. Laura advised her it was *insane* to allow her parents back in her life without any of those three things happening first.

I think when a person does try to reconcile, without any of those 3 criteria being met first, it just doesn’t work out, and may be detrimental for people like her parents because they never have the chance or opportunity to repent.  If God just allowed us to be reconciled to Him without the repentance and forgiveness, we’d be taking advantage of Him all the time, and never have the opportunity to grow into better human beings.  Feeling remorse, feeling the pain or suffering of separation from God (estrangement), or going through the humility of making amends or apologizing, is good for us as humans because it brings us closer to God and who He wants us to be.  It’s the exact same with human relationships.

Reconciling without those 3 things happening may even embolden the family members to act worse, because they still feel no remorse for the past problems they helped to cause, and believe their adult child was the problem, and may now feel enraged at the previous estrangement.  Narcissistic parents often feel the estrangement was completely and utterly uncalled for, and therefore view the child or couple as needing to make amends to them for putting them through the estrangement!  Obviously, those kinds of emotions of deep resentment coming from parents like this causes a multitude of new problems for a couple to deal with, hence Dr. Laura’s advice in the first place.

Dr. Laura pointed out that if they haven’t changed, then the problems will just continue.  It is just very rare for people to truly change, unfortunately.

I loved this call and loved how she gave this woman freedom to do what she needs to, without any guilt, and gave her confidence to make choices that are best for her.  You just can’t fix everyone, and some things just can’t be fixed here on earth.  Accepting that, moving on with your life, and leaving things in God’s hands gives one so much peace.

Hope you readers have a great holiday season.  You can hear Dr. Laura’s, “best,” calls here , give her a call, or send her an email if you have a question about the holidays that are coming up!  I’ve always found her advice so wise and helpful!

Letter from Dr. Laura’s Listener on Envy

Dear Dr. Laura,

I think your topic about comparing yourself to others is great. I think we all do it, and it’s very difficult to avoid. It can certainly be destructive. Envy is not one of the deadly sins for no reason. Coveting other people’s spouses or possessions has certainly led to the downfall of many. I am constantly on the watch for that type of thing in my life. I don’t want to fall into that trap.

I do think there can be a positive side of this. If you know someone who has something great going for them, it’s natural to compare yourself. But if you’re coming up short, being envious and petty is not how to handle it. If you can figure out what they are doing which caused them to have such a great situation, you can earn that for yourself.

I get told all the time it’s unfair to judge the marriages of the people around me as compared to mine. To a certain extent that is true. But sometimes that statement annoys me. My husband and I are an unusually good match. I think it’s rare to find a partner who clicks as well as my husband and I do.

The thing is, I am as female as the next woman. There are days where I want to be snotty just because I feel like it. The difference is I choose not to do it (and when I do, I apologize and try to avoid it in the future). We don’t agree on everything, and we have habits that annoy each other. The difference between my marriage, and the marriage of many of my friends, is we CHOOSE NOT TO FIGHT. It’s a choice every single day that we are not going to make each other’s lives hell for the sake of saying we “won”. When you alienate your spouse, you didn’t win any damn thing, in fact, you lost more than your spouse did.

Instead of saying my husband and I are unnaturally in sync with each other, if more people asked “How do you guys get along so well?” – they would see how they too could get along. When I find someone with an attribute I admire, I do compare myself. When I come up short, as I often do, I try to figure out what they are doing that gave them the attribute. Then I do the WORK to earn the right to call that quality mine. None of the people we look up to got where they are without work. They all had to decide what they wanted to be and work hard to get there. The only good reason to ever compare ourselves to someone, is when we are willing to do the work to change ourselves for the better. Otherwise, it’s just a form of torture.

Kristy

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I love this letter, it’s what I’ve been saying for years about how actively pursuing an excellent marriage gives you a much greater likelihood of achieving an excellent marriage!  It’s always bothered me that friends or family would say we are just well-matched.  Yes, I guess it’s true, BUT I’m a lot like this letter writer in that I just don’t fight with him about ridiculous things (that other people complain publicly about with their spouses).

My husband and I have been married for over 12 years now, and even through the different trials of life, the years have been astonishingly easy together. We’ve had what I would describe as an unusually blissful marriage. Whenever I mention our past trials, I always feel like I need to qualify that statement with explanation that they weren’t major things inside our relationship that drove us apart from each other, or anything resembling ugly fighting between us. These were difficult and profound outside trials (things like being extremely poor in our early years,  getting married in college and working multiple jobs (managing a good marriage in the midst of graduating and working)…  having a premature baby (no one seems to understand how hard that is, until it happens to them personally), managing hostile family members, postpartum depression, etc.). Nothing dramatic between us, but rather things that we faced together.

What has always surprised me has been knowing other couples who went through similar trials, and ended up divorcing because of them.  What drove us together we’re the same things that drove them apart.

When reading this letter, it’s easy to look back on those hard times and see why we fared so well – we didn’t incessantly attack each other… which would have made our trials infinitely harder.

Our love for each other and willingness to make each other’s lives easier, has thankfully saved our marriage, and made us a much stronger couple in order to face the outside forces we have, and still retain marital happiness.  We have a playful happiness coupled with a deep joy that we truly are together in this world as a team.  And we make such a great team! ❤

If you’re reading this and coming from the other side (and wanting a better relationship), maybe try to look at your spouse as you would a best friend and lover – someone who was meant to be by your side through everything.  Perspective and gratitude solves a lot of problems, especially the immaturity of making mountains out of molehills 😉

 

Fall ~ Homeschool & Outdoor Beauty

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Last week was our first week of the 2019-2020 school year!!!!!!  I tried to wait until September so that maybe, just maybe, the crazy-intense nausea would relent, but it just. kept. on.  Still!  We had a wonderful week, I’m so excited about this year’s curriculum.

Last year was our first year doing this, so not being very confident, I picked a curriculum to use that had everything already planned and built into it for us.  It was nice and well-planned, but this year I wanted to go deeper into the different studies.  I’ll post the books I’ve put together from good recommendations from other homeschoolers at the end.

First… every morning we’ve been doing an outside exploration time from about 8am-9:15.  It gets their energy out so that by 9:30am, they’re ready to sit down and do some school work.

The first day of school, my husband was able to go because it was his off day, and we saw an entire herd of deer and little elderly woman feeding them from her hand!!!  It must have been a whole family, because there were several bucks altogether, and even the bucks were coming up to her.  She let our kids feed them, too, and it was just SUCH a cool experience!  Too bad I didn’t have my camera (LOL this is why I’m practically paranoid to leave the house without it)!

Here’s some where I did remember to take the camera –

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My mom always wanted us to love and seek out beauty in nature or art, etc. it’s something I know I owe to her for giving me during my childhood, the gift of experiencing beauty – learning how to seek out beauty.  I’m excited that one day every week, she’s able to come with us on these adventure-outings where we specifically go to someplace beautiful and kind of take the morning off from school activities (it’s just one morning where we spend that long outside, and it’s like a mini field trip)!

They end up doing so much active learning anyway, I expected it to all be play, but some of their, “play,” actually reminded me of science experiments! :O  They floated giant leaves down a stream over and over again just to see which way they’d go.  Then our oldest decided to alter the path by setting rocks in the way… seeing if it sped up the leaves or slowed them down in certain areas.  Just so nice to be able to do things like this, whereas if they were in school, we’d have to wait until weekends where it’d be super crowded (and to be honest, we probably just wouldn’t then).

My oldest found this mockingbird watching us from the arch of butterfly vines and took this beautiful picture!  I’m so proud of his photography interest and practice!

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I loved seeing all the kids play on this hill!  They rolled down it countless times and had so much wild fun!

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The grass was soft, no rocks, and perfect for rolling.  They call it, “Tumble Hill,” 😀

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The sky was like a painting that morning!  The clouds just looked so beautiful!

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Then we all played in the water (me and the Grandma, too!!!)… it’s still hot here, so the cool water was refreshing to play in.

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There’s nothing like morning light.  It even helps trigger the hormone serotonin to be released in your brain – the hormone that keeps depression and anxiety away!  Just so good for them to be out in the mornings soaking up that happiness sunlight ❤

It definitely makes me happier!

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They found a little waterfall in the rocks.

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After a few hours, we changed and relaxed before lunch.

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The picture below is of one of my favorite places that is still the same as when I was little.  It’s a man-made pond with dozens of waterlilies and a cute population of frogs in all their stages of development.  I used to catch tad-poles there in a cup!

I was always mesmerized with it’s beauty.  This picture reminded me of that, as all our children seemed captivated for a moment.

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Now on to the coursework….  For our 4 year old, it’s pretty straight forward learning letters, numbers, the basics of writing and reading, and simple math addition and subtraction.  I already had tons of books for that from when the oldest was his age, so I didn’t need to buy anything new!

But for our fourth grader, putting together a curriculum by myself was intense!  I pulled from sources we know, and some from online, and was happy in the end with what he’s doing.  We had the option to do a Christian co-op where I could have paid for other teachers to teach him the different subjects once a week a, “day academy,” and then do the rest on my own with him the rest of the week.  We decided it was overall too expensive ($1,500 for the year :O ), but I was able to pull from their curriculum as well, as to what was being used book-wise.  We may actually do the day academy next year, the teachers there, and families that go are that great.

For now though, I was able to find our entire curriculum for about $150 total!  Such a better price and to be honest, I find it fun to teach the different subjects to them!  Sure there are hard days when their attitudes are off, but 98% of the time, it’s really really fun and interesting.

For Language Arts

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I found these books MUCH better than the standard curriculum language books I was looking at.  They were recommended from this fascinating blogger, SaucysandPiper, from Days of Sunshine blog, here.  Her blog (and photography) is definitely worth checking out, please!!!

The Building Language is just introducing the concepts of Latin stems, and the way much of our language (and different languages) are built from those.  These books are just beautifully written, and incorporate the unique architecture, roads and aqueducts the Romans built!  Caesar’s English 1 is a more advanced (all of these books are done by the Royal Fireworks Press for Gifted and Talented children – they really are very good!) form of learning writing, essays, and more on using Latin stems.  The Music of the Hemispheres introduces children to poetry, both reading and composing their own works!  It’s been so much fun, and nothing like last year’s language curriculum!

Not pictured is the All About Spelling packet we’re using.  Recommended from several places, and just an all-around very helpful way to study the words broken down into steps.

For History –

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I decided to use this series called, The Story of the World.  It comes in four hefty volumes, each one designed for lessons for an entire year.  The day academy we were looking into was using it, and several other people I found online.  The author, Susan Wise Bauer, does a wonderful job of explaining history in such a fascinating, simple way – like the telling of a story, which for children, I think how it should be.  Hence, “the story of the world.”  He’s been loving the first chapter, learning about how historians believe life began in the fertile crescent, where the Bible plainly states between the Tigris and Euphrates.  We found a documentary online that followed the chapter almost topic by topic, which was fun.

Also pictured is the activity book, complete with pictures, maps to color, reviews for studying, review cards, and then the Test/Answer booklet for administering tests for each lesson (week).  I like that he’s going to be taking tests and will probably come up with some for his science curriculum, too.  Developing test-taking skills are always helpful.

Bible –

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We do Bible classes usually right before Language, and only do it intensely one day a week.  These books are both good, and have some overlap, but overall I can tell our son loves, “Cold-Case Christianity for Kids,” more than the study book.  I found this recommendation from The Wintery Knight’s website, and it has not disappointed!  Written by a former detective who discovered Jesus’ authenticity by treating him as a cold-case, he teaches kids how to do the same!  Just So. Cool.

Science –

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I’m using an online course and textbook for his science this year, but this is the paperback that goes with the text, full of worksheets, diagrams to fill-in, etc.  We like paper so much here that I’m finding myself wanting to print his textbook off just so he can have it to go back to in order to study easier.  So next year I’ll probably just find something already ready to go.  My degree was in Biology, and I loved science, so it’s one of the classes I feel most comfortable teaching.  Even last year we ventured off the curriculum a lot to do experiments, read books, and watch documentaries on the topics.  Science can either be extremely dry and boring, or edge of your seat exciting!

I also having our son do a Computer Class (basic typing, then moving on to actually writing a book or short story), and Spanish, which he’s loving!  Both of these courses are online and therefore I don’t have to do too much, as it pretty much teaches him for me.

For literature and books for writing essays, I came up with a collection that was more tailored to his likes than the other curriculum I saw out there.  The one we went with last year, that I was planning on possibly doing again (total would have been $500) had a lot of girlish books for some reason for this year that just didn’t sound interesting for him.

Instead we got Oliver Twist, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Huckleberry Finn, The Three Musketeers (not pictured because he was literally reading it at the time lol!), The Trumpet of the Swan (a classic 4th grade book), Stuart Little, and the only girlish book, Rachel’s Journal which is the diary of a pioneer girl (we did a study on the American pioneers last year, and he really liked it).

And James Herriot’s Treasury of Stories for Children – just a beautiful book about his sweet and sometimes hilarious experiences as a vet in Yorkshire.  I read his books growing up and so it’s wonderful to get to read them to our kids.

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The illustrations in his book are inspiring, and perfectly capture the culture of Yorkshire when retelling his stories.  Here are some examples –

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Our son also wanted to do a Viking study this year, so to honor that I found these books, plus a book not pictured that is the fictional story to the Fact Tracker (Magic Tree House) book.  The Norse Myths by D’Aulaire, suggested again by SaucysandPiper, has been his favorite overall so far, his dad is reading it with him, but from what I’ve seen, the illustrations are detailed and, “Awesome!” he says.

“I also like to read it on my own when Dad is asleep,” he says 😀 .  The Eyewitness Book on the Vikings is a factual one to balance out the myths.  And he loves the Magic Tree House books, so the fictional and fact tracker were perfect for this!

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For Math –

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I went with the Singapore Math this year, because the day academy co-op we thought about does all their math with this curriculum, and if we join them next year, I thought it’d be better to be on the same page already.  It’s supposed to be good and is a method used in Southeast Asia for developing the nation’s children’s mathematical abilities.  According to Wiki, the method became more popular when test scores were released and showed their method to be at the top pretty consistently.  We may switch to Saxon if it doesn’t prove as great, though, have lots of friends who use that one.

Some pictures of the Norse Myths book (much better in person though) –

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I’m super excited about this year!  Just so many fun things to learn and do!  Hope you readers have a good, “year,” too!

May you always be a learner, and discover adventure every day!

Wife Wants to Know – Why is Passionate Sex is so Important to Men?

I received an email from a wife who complained about how I’ve written here, and elsewhere she’s seen in comments, that just offering sex is not enough.

If the wife is at least not turning down her husband, then she’s technically meeting his needs, is what the wife argued.  I understood what she was talking about was what is commonly called, “duty sex.”  Duty sex can be good, if the wife actually gets into it and is passionate and gives her husband good, loving sex, but that wasn’t what she was talking about.  Just doing it should be good enough for a husband, because he’s still getting his need for sex met.

I’ve never – even when I was in my teens and a virgin until my husband, believed that men didn’t need passionate, crazy wonderful sex from their wives.  It’s what my mom taught me, even down to what women should wear regarding sexy/beautiful underwear and lingerie for their husbands.

I was plainly taught it’s selfish not to wear nice underwear for your husband to see, or to hide your naked body from him, etc.  Yes, you can teach virgin daughters all these things without them getting into trouble.  My mom did, and I’m planning on teaching my daughter all of the same things about sex, men, and relationships as well.

I went into marriage with clear expectations of what 99% of men would want and be very very happy with, and it made things (in my opinion) probably a million times easier because the more passionate sex a couple has in marriage, the closer they feel and are in every single way!

“But what about in times of pain or pregnancy?  Shouldn’t there be caveats as to a wife just, “faking,” it or doing it just so that her husband has his needs met?  Doesn’t SHE also have needs?!?! You only care about men’s needs it sounds like.”

I’ve gotten this before, usually in comments here or at other places.  Obviously if a wife is in physical pain due to just having had a child, or some other medical problem in her nether regions, then normal sex won’t work.  But there are other ways to be sensual/sexual with your husband – sex or pleasing each other, doesn’t have to be off the table completely.  And a good marriage (a good wife) will find ways to still have fun, be funny, or enjoy her husband (herself) in other ways.

I DO NOT believe it is good, or helpful, for a wife to just offer up passionless duty sex or, “star fish,” sex.

I think that kind of sex kills the soul of the man whose having sex with you… he’d rather be doing anything else than having sex with a woman who he clearly can tell isn’t into him.  You may feel good about yourself because you tell yourself you’re, “meeting his needs,” but a man’s sexual needs usually go much deeper than just the physical when it’s his wife.  He wants a real connection that can only happen when there’s passion and love there.

When a wife only offers duty sex, or makes her husband feel bad for wanting sex, she’s doing more harm than good – she isn’t doing him any favors.

We’ve been married over 12 years now, so this is a topic I understand and have had to work around myself; I’m not talking from inexperience here.  Right now the nausea during this pregnancy is and has been, SO INTENSE that if I don’t remember to take my medicine, I start violently vomiting by noon and it gets worse during the evening.  BUT even with the strong medicine they prescribed me for the nausea, the horrible feeling of nausea hasn’t gone away yet for over 6 weeks!  We still have lots of sex, we just try to plan it for when it’s possible, and my husband distracts me from the nausea with his charm 😀 ❤   I’ve found that I need the sex and the closeness it brings us afterward.  Amazingly, the nausea actually disappears when we’re having sex, so it’s like God’s granting us that time to connect as a couple, and we need it so much!  If I let the nausea get in the way and miss a couple of days of experiencing him, I feel sad, lonely and a little depressed.

In other words, even if you have a situation where it’s less than ideal, you can still either find ways to connect sexually, or just force yourself to connect anyway and try to enjoy it, because having sex/being sexual with your husband is also meeting YOUR needs as well.

Hopefully that helps clear up my position on duty sex or sacrificial sex.

No, it’s not enough to just, “do it,” you need to have your heart in it also.  It’s the same as what God wants of us, see below from God’s Holy Word, 

 

“I WANT YOU TO SHOW LOVE

NOT OFFER SACRIFICES.

I WANT YOU TO KNOW ME

MORE THAN I WANT BURNT OFFERINGS.”

HOSEA 6:6

Lego Movie 2 – Teaching Boys to be a Beta Emmet & Not a Rex-Dangervest

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So during our summer vacations we usually make time to go to the movies each week during the, “Kids’ Free Movie,” day.  This past week was the first free movie of the season, and my husband took all of us to go see the Lego 2 movie that was showing (they typically show already released movies since they’re free).  It was like an all-boy day, as we had our two sons and one of our oldest’s good friends (baby girl got to hangout with Grandma 😉 ). ❤  I love being able to take their friends to fun things, get tons of candy at the Dollar Store, and splurge on Icee’s when we get there!  As we were driving my husband and I listened to the cute things boys talk about to each other… it’s just so sweet to me, their boy stuff.

The Lego Movie 2 was mostly centered on a analogous plot of the difficulty in managing playing with a younger sister, while trying to prevent the ever-looming, catastrophic event of Armamageddon (Are Mama Gets In(volved)!.  The general plot is funny, the jokes, sarcasm, and real life/other movie references are always interesting, and almost every kid (and parent) can relate perfectly to the delicate balance of siblings playing together nicely, or else their mama really does have to get in.  When mama gets in, “Armamageddon,” all the lego worlds they’ve created are banished into the, “Bin of Stor-Age!”  A lot of it is simply hilarious, and the music is so kid-perfect there were kids dancing in the theater (ours, too).

It’s a popular movie, apparently grossing over $191 million worldwide.

Yet the Lego Movie 2 is also pretty painful to watch, especially when you think about what it’s trying to teach boys about their worth, what women want, and what women respond to.

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Emmet, the un-hero

The first Lego Movie already introduced us to the main male character, and supposed hero, Emmit Brickowski.  He’s the typical depiction of a beta male, who tries too hard to please everyone, builds his life around everyone else’s happiness, and truly believes his life is, “AWESOME,” even though his emotions and results of his actions prove to him everyday, that it isn’t.

He is the butt of every joke, no one believes in him, and even though he kind of gets the girl in the end, it’s clear she’s not really attracted to him much less truly in love with him.  He’s the reason why both movies are painful to watch, and yet, in the second movie, it’s taken too far.

In Lego Movie 2,

it’s clear the writers try to present his pitiful character as being the kind of man all boys should try to be,

the kind of man women truly want.

I’m not trying to review that first movie, it annoyed me enough back then, but at least I could see it showed some glimmer of truth in that men like this aren’t respected and aren’t something boys should try to model themselves after.

Why on earth would they want to, with how horrible Emmet is treated (in both movies)??  What boy wants to grow up being constantly disrespected by all the women in his life and not valuable to his friends (or boss, or anyone)?  In short, what male child would see this movie, and think it was a good, Life Plan, to end up miserable?  It was a good teaching tool to our oldest, a cartoon-life example to use to show him how women (and most other people) treat men who act like Emmet.  This second movie, however, with it’s outright teaching boys that this is what women want, was too much.  Coming from the point of view of a mom with two sons (who have friends we also care about), yes, it was painful to watch this movie, “teach,” these boys we brought that women want weak, immature, naive men for romantic partners.  That is, undeniably, the opposite of what women actually want.  So let’s be honest here, the Lego Movie 2 lies to children, and most devastatingly, to boys.

Red Pill Matrix References in Lego Movie 2

After the movie, my husband and I couldn’t help but compare notes to how many blue pill and red pill truisms we found and referred to.  At one point, the only red pill aware character (who is of course, also made to be the male villain who tries to “ruin everything) even makes a reference to Emmet wanting to, “go back to the Matrix.”  He was referencing the red pill lingo of when men prefer to go back to being, “blue pill,” where they don’t see that the entire society is trying to get them to build their lives around what women want, as opposed to what’s truly beneficial or good for men.  Blue pill is a reference to being plugged in to the Matrix, whereas Red Pill references having your eyes opening, unplugging, and understanding the real nature of the world.

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The red pill aware character who made this Matrix reference, is called Rex Dangervest, and is a knock-off of the real hero in Jurassic World, and voiced by the same actor, Christ Pratt.

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In Lego 2, Rex and his army of velociraptors are the bad guys, the guys trying to teach Emmet to stand up for himself, be tougher, be more… *gasp* masculine.

Let’s all take 5 minutes to remember right now how Emmet was treated when he wasn’t masculine.

Yea…

right…

his life was miserable.

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In reality, Chris Pratt’s character in Jurassic World, the same man villain-Rex is modeled after, was the tough, but kind and gentle, hero who saved everyone he possibly could, even going so far as to sacrifice himself for the benefit of others. He’s also the velociraptors’ “alpha male,” leader, and is therefore able to somewhat control these dangerous dinosaurs and their killer instincts.

 

The fact that the Lego 2 movie rewrites this classic, good, alpha-male hero, into a villain to represent, “toxic masculinity,” should tell you everything you need to know about the mindset of the creators.  

The message to boys is, “Don’t be like Rex, don’t be tough and capable.  Don’t show, ‘toxic masculinity.’  Be like Loser-Emmet instead!”  However, Chris Pratt’s character was the hero who the two boys in the movie admired, respected, and chose to be with over their female relative who couldn’t save them!  We can trust that Emmet’s beta-male character, all sweet and naive and emotional, would not have been able to save as many lives as Pratt’s character if Emmet was likewise transferred into Jurassic World.

But why did Lego 2 pick Chris Pratt’s male hero to make a mockery and villain of?  Aside from having ample opportunities to make hilarious references to the raptors and his communication style, I think it may go a bit deeper than that.  The main female character in Jurassic World was the typical strong, I-don’t-need-a-man, type who seemed successful at her job of running the dinosaur park.  But over the course of the movie, we watch our heroine leader make a series of devastatingly wrong leadership decisions that end in many people dying for her lack of perception of how dangerous the situation was all along.  Pratt’s heroic male character is the only one pragmatic enough to see the situation for what it was (much like Rex in Lego 2), and has to constantly fix her mistakes, usually too late to save the many men who die because of her decisions.  His and her characters have a strong sexual chemistry, of course, that is made even more obvious by how annoyed she is at his personality.  In the end, she realizes how much she needed him to save everyone and she succumbs to their romance for, as they joke, “survival.”  The subliminal message of the Jurassic World movie was,

“Toxic Masculinity may be annoying to women,

but boy it sure does save their asses (and their children)

when everything goes south!”

I loved this character, and our kids did, too.  He looks and acts very much like my own brother (who is a Chris Pratt doppelganger!!), so for our kids, it was like watching their Uncle on the screen… well, if their Uncle was a raptor trainer in a dinosaur world.  How cool is that?!?!

In Lego Movie 2, not only do we find Rex is a villain, the movie makes a plot twist by revealing he’s actually Emmet – the man he turns into after being hardened by women’s, and in general, people’s true nature.  After spending years under the dryer, forgotten completely, he refashioned himself into a man who could take care of himself and didn’t need saving from the female hero any longer.  He transformed into a real man who could not only save himself, but as Chris Pratt showed in his Jurassic World character, a man who could also save the masses in a crisis.

The movie, instead of admitting that yes, men are most beneficial to society when they are capable and masculine, takes it too far with Rex’s character, revealing him as the villain who tries to destroy love and everything good found in two worlds (the masculine represented by the brother’s lego world and the feminine represented by the sister’s “Systar System” of girlie legos) working together.  

Red pill Rex Wouldn’t Exist without a Hardening of Blue pill Emmet’s character

The honesty in this movie is interesting at times when contrasted to the overall goal of hiding the truth.  The writers admit to the audience that our tough and desirable Rex (knock off of Chris Pratt’s Jurassic World hero) would not even exist if Lucy hadn’t hurt Emmet (along with all his other friends) as bad as they initially did by leaving him under the dryer for years alone, and never coming back for him.  When Lucy does come back for him, he remains in his blue pill state and rejects everything good and masculine Rex was trying to teach him (that Lucy said she wanted).  As a result, Rex starts to vanish ala Back to the Future style, because now that Lucy came back for him, his alter-ego never gets to exist.  It’s almost as if Feminist Females like Lucy realize, “Oh no!  Look at the red pill response we’ve created!” and want to bring their betas back (and old article of Rollo’s).

And you know what? It’s true that most men would never become red pill aware (Rex-Dangerous) if they weren’t brutally forced to face the truth of female nature, either due to divorce or the series of heartbreaks we watch Emmet go through.  Most men are not naturally that self-aware due to the Matrix-like programming they go through in childhood and adolescence.  Some men are, but I think most just aren’t.

We have to painfully watch Emmet go through the slow realizations that Lucy not only doesn’t share his dream, she doesn’t even appreciate what he’s offering.  Lucy looks down on his, “naive,” dream of owning a cute little house together and starting a life as a couple.  Let’s not even mention that even when they weren’t in a war he wasn’t able to get her to settle down.  Is he naive for trying to start a life together in the midst of war?  At first glance, yes, but then we see Lucy’s pessimistic and destructive attitude is the entire reason the war started in the first place, and it all starts to become more clear.

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A Cringe-worthy Romance… Bleh!

The movie shows a clip from the past where Emmet’s ability to make peace with the Sister Aliens could have avoided the war in its entirety, if Lucy and the others only listened to him.  But as the movie keeps on teaching us, no one respects or listens to men like Emmet.  This isn’t unfortunately just female nature, it’s human nature in a nutshell.  His miserable life is unavoidable because of the way he behaves and allows himself to be treated.  He dreams of Lucy being in love with him, wanting to marry him and settle down, but the audience can painfully feel zero attraction or chemistry between them.  And yet Emmet still tries to bring her in on his dreams of building a picture-perfect life together, which realistically, would be anything but perfect!  It is the classic, “blue pill,” form of male-reasoning and living in denial that leads to so many men being unhappily married to women who treat them like Lucy does, and never understanding what’s wrong or what she really wants from him.

The physical struggle between Emmet and Rex was also interesting to watch and listen to, as they literally fought to the, “Lego death,” close to the end of the movie.  It seemed to represent the internal struggle most men have with admitting the truth to themselves (with their blue pill self fighting against it, because the truth is painful).  Emmet (blue pill male) doesn’t want to have to become Rex (red pill male), even though it would drastically make a lot of the problems in his life disappear (the main one being holding on to a woman like Lucy, who doesn’t appreciate or admire him, and doesn’t feel any chemistry for him).

Emmet can’t become Rex, the more masculine version of himself, though, because the writers made sure Rex had all the exaggerated villain-esque and anti-social characteristics of male, “toxicity.”  Instead of giving boys a good, balanced, masculine role model like Chris Pratt’s initial character in Jurassic World, they give us (as the supposed hero) plain old Emmet the way he always was… all positive or masculine changes discarded.  The result of only seeing these two extremes presented as viable options for Emmet to become, fell flat, and didn’t provide a positive ending for our tragic, “hero.”

In the end, Lucy does say she preferred him the way he was before, “naive, sweet, and innocent.”  She wasn’t happy when he grew up and became tougher like she said she wanted initially.  And it’s true, it didn’t make her happy to see he didn’t need her anymore to control and dictate his life.  Women like this routinely pick men they can control, because they don’t want to look up to, respect, or God-forbid submit to a male figure (for all kinds of possible psychological reasons behind it).  But without the chemistry and actual love between them, Lucy’s admission of love comes across as preferring Emmet to be “beta,” or blue pill because back then he was more controllable.  When he was the old Emmet, and not tough and grown up and capable, he followed Lucy’s lead, even though it would regularly lead to bad decisions like war occurring when it didn’t have to.  Her exaggerated hostility toward everyone and anything is actually a kind of good example of toxic femininity that I don’t think the Lego 2 creators bargained for us realizing.  Feminist movie, meet Irony. 😉

Lucy’s Create Their Own Unhappiness

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I had a friend who reminds me of Lucy, and who for years dated a man she would regularly complain about and stress herself out about, almost as though it was a new hobby she was taking up, which obviously, wasn’t healthy for her.  Her boyfriend wasn’t sexually attractive in her mind, she wanted him to lose weight (for his own health benefits so she said).  He was messy, and she expressed to me that she didn’t think she could live with him being that way after marriage.  He played with Legos, and she viewed it as him being, “immature.”  It just went on and on what an imperfect match they were.  Against all my advice to leave him alone, and find a man she already accepted and loved the way he was, she married him anyway, and we lost contact because I didn’t want to see how the drama would play out in marriage.

Women like Lucy are already unhappy.  For whatever underlying psychological reasons, they don’t want to come under the leadership of a masculine male, so they pick and hold on to men like Emmet, even though it tends to make them miserable.  And in truth, men like Emmet often don’t want to lead in the relationship, it’s much more comfortable for them to let the wife lead, or just be a passive, “partner.” 

Women crave a man who will lead her, and lead her well.  And in a balanced marriage, masculinity and femininity work together.  But like Lucy finds out, women like this are in a Catch 22 – wanting their men to, “man-up,” but then despising them when they do.  Psychologically, I believe women like this pick men like Emmet, for a reason – and that’s important to remember when they’re complaining about him.

Well, Lucy, you picked him!

All in all, at least we’re able to use the movie as another teaching tool or manifestation of the way our culture wants to view men.  Even handsome heroes that save children (in movies) aren’t immune to having their (good) virtues twisted to become, “toxic masculinity.”

We should be thanking God for those male virtues, not shaming boys into rejecting them.

End of the Year Homeschooling & Best Summer Science Experiments

 

Our school year officially ended right before Memorial Day weekend, culminating in a week-long celebration of just doing whatever we could think of to have fun and let our son know how proud we were of his accomplishments throughout the year!  And there was so much more he was able to learn at home than he would have learned in school! 😀  It was an overall success and I can’t believe how much fun it all was ❤ .  He was already doing well in school, making all A’s, but hating the structure and the boring busy work, along with the teachers’ negative attitudes.  I’m so glad he doesn’t have to depend on only 20 minutes of recess anymore to get his freedom of play!  And seeing him go on to become even more proficient at math, reading and writing was encouraging to me as his teacher.  He can now, hands down, write a compare and contrast 1-page paper, or a critical thinking paper where he analyzes the truth about a situation, and on top of that (!!) he’s learned how to do all the prep work himself by creating brainstorming pages and learning how to organize his thoughts!  My heart is just swollen with so much pride for him, and he’s only about to be 9.  I can see how homeschooled kids have the opportunity to benefit so much more than public school kids from one-on-one daily tutoring styled teaching.

You just can’t beat 1. Going at a child’s own pace, whether it be faster or slower so they really grasp a complicated topic, and 2. One on one attention with a teacher/tutor.  Consequently, you also can’t accomplish those two deeds with a classroom of 20+ children.  It has been eye-opening realizing that having our son in public school, was actually holding him back from his full potential being realized.

I also loved being able to dig down deeper into the historical facts about the places and people we learned about in the coursework.  Instead of a progressive and anti-Christian/anti-family/anti-male academic environment, he was able to learn so many Christian facts about the European people who construct our history.  And instead of being taught the liberal propaganda of the Native Americans being all good-natured, kind and oppressed people groups, we were able to dig into the realistic advantages and disadvantages of being conquered, and the effects of refusal to assimilate now on some of the residual tribes’ economy and way of life in contrast to other groups who excelled in comparison.  When researching all the early explorers and conquistadors, we were blown away with how Satanic the Aztecs were, and in reading letters and diary entries, were able to, “see,” from firsthand accounts just how diabolical they were in the eyes of Cortes’ frightened, deeply Catholic soldiers.  Walls built entirely of human skulls, the altars constantly burning from human sacrifice, hearts rotting as they were left in offering to the demonic gods they worshiped openly and joyfully.  The entire city smelled of rotten flesh and death, and Cortes’ normally brave men were terrified of all of it.  History books try to paint it as a paradise of sorts, being naturally beautiful due to the island set-up, but according to his men, it was like a paradise in hell.  Do public schools teach all this now?  I’d bet money they don’t!

I didn’t know Cortes was such a strong Catholic that he desperately wanted to place crosses around the city, and over the idols they worshiped.  He repeatedly tried to convince the Aztec chief they were worshiping demons, which they clearly were, and I don’t remember learning the many times he gave them the opportunity to forgo war and be peacefully overtaken.  His men even allowed the Aztecs to still carry on with their festivals, provided they would not engage in human sacrifice, (which didn’t work out, as they refused to forgo human sacrifice and preferred to revolt/have war).  In harsh contrast to the education I had on this man, he came across as humble, kind, deeply religious and overly gracious in his desire to persuade them to avoid war and violence.  It’s ridiculous how much progressive propaganda has taken over the school system with distorted facts parents have to correct at home.  How much better it is to just teach the truth from the get-go!   

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Our curriculum also encouraged us to do a Family Tree project that ended up becoming so complicated we’re extending it into the summer and next year!  Even just today while researching some more on the history of our relatives’ house and the town they settled in, I found out that a different ancestor on my dad’s side (a Texas Ranger Captain), personally collaborated with the town’s founder to scope out the territory that would eventually become my mom’s great-grandparents’ hometown.  How amazing for our son to find out these two families were already in a strange way, connected.

We also learned that their house was written about by the man who designed Central Park, American landscape artist, Frederick Law Olmsted.  The house was already unique (built by Napoleon’s guard and a place where Robert E. Lee once stayed), but to read Olmsted’s description of it in his book, A Journey Through Texas, where he described it in first person, was just amazing.  He calls the town and the people who settled there, in comparison with the rest of Texas, “as far from Texan as possible,” as they were Alsatian, which is a French-German population of people who came from Alsace, a french province that has been passed from France to Germany in ownership I believe five times.

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Here is his excerpt on my great-great Grandparents’ house:

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Perhaps the most remarkable thing is the hotel, by M. Tarde, a two-story house, with double galleries, and the best inn we saw in the state.  How delighted and astonished many a traveler must have been, on arriving from the plains at this first village, to find not only his dreams of white bread, sweetmeats and potatoes realized, but napkins, silver forks, and radishes, French servants, French neatness, French furniture, delicious French beds, and the Courrier des Etats Unis; and more, the lively and entertaining bourgeoise.

I think the best part of this first year in our homeschooling adventure is wealth of Christian knowledge we were able to interject into what he was learning at the time.  Even with our family tree project, he’s finding out how important the Christian faith was in building communities that had strong morals and structure.  Or in crafting strong families with strong roots who were able to be sustained in hard or impossible times.  Even scholastically, our son was able to practice and learn most of his writing techniques in the second half of the year, while using the timeless classic Pilgrim’s Progress!!!!  So much of what he wrote about are concepts that most adults these days don’t even understand about theology and the spiritual journey!  His faith and love for God deepened so much!!  What a success it all was!!! ❤  You can’t get a Christian education within the public school system, and I’m coming to believe that it is our job as parents to give our kids a Christian education.

So even though we did science experiments all throughout the year, he still wants to do more science over the summer.  Hence the video at the top 😀

 

Related Links

Christian Kids Need a Christian Education

Public Education: Trapped by the Progressive Agenda

New Perspective on Mother’s Day – Christian Families 100+ Years from Now

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: You Will Have Deep Roots to Withstand Persecution

 

 

 

Sofia Tolstoy’s Destruction of Her Marital Happiness (A First Look)

I noticed a few weeks ago I received more interest in a post I did last year, detailing how a wife could possibly ruin her husband’s love for her.  The post mentioned the marriage of Leo Tolstoi and Sofia, and how through decades, her attitude turned him into a man who could not even tolerate her presence when he was old.

I’ve only read accounts based on his own troubles with her – mostly the variety of ways she would seek to control him, berate him, endlessly try to kill herself or threaten suicide.  However, I recently came across her literal thoughts and words in her diaries, and have had some time to get an insight into how this woman thought and dealt with the life God gave her.

I have to say, reading some of her diary entries only confirm what an extremely psychologically messed up woman she was from day one.  I know that sounds so harsh, but it is remarkable how she viewed her life through a lens of martyrdom and suffering.  After reading several pages (and I will read more to be sure) of her personal and constant complaining, I’m amazed Leo Tolstoy was able to create any masterpieces of literature at all with a wife who intellectually numbed and destroyed his senses.  And the temperament of an artist’s wife (especially a writer) is crucial to his ability to work!

To her credit, she was a hard worker and helped him immensely in copying and writing out his vast manuscripts.  She did, very painfully and resentfully, dedicate her entire life to his work.  But it was at such a high cost he had to pay, with even her own son admitting she never was able to just be happy, to endure her constant complaining and resentful attitude.  That her husband didn’t fully appreciate it, even though she did so much for him, was because her attitude and resentfulness cancelled her, “selfless acts,” out.

In other words, what she viewed as, “selfless acts of dedicating her entire life to him,” which she spoke endlessly about in her diary, were in reality, feeding her neurotic sense of self-righteousness and playing the ever-constant victim.

Her husband could do nothing right in her eyes, except write, and every little thing he did by his own accord, she says she, “rebuked,” him for, and made herself sick (literally ill) constantly worrying about him when he’d go out to do even the most normal of male activities such as hunting.

Here are some first thoughts on the few things I’ve read.  I’m sure I’ll have more to work with later on, but her terrible example is something I’ll teach my own daughter what to avoid in becoming.

It could be said that Sofia, for all her self-righteous assuring us she was serving him selflessly, never allowed herself to be happy… because if she allowed herself that joy, she would have failed in being the perpetual victim she wanted to see herself as.

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Some first notes…

  1. She frequently speaks in her diaries in classic, “victim mentality,” reference.  It is always bad things happening to her, and many times Sofia seeking out opportunities to feel wounded and offended by her husband’s normal behavior.
  2. She denies him sex throughout their marriage, only having enough to produce children, but then resents him for not having sex while she was pregnant.  She describes wanting more of a “spiritual marriage,” which in those days, often meant to be abstinent in marriage.  She mentions frequently that he has too much passion for her, but that she only desires a, “pure,” and, “spiritual union.”  As an aside note to historical references, there were often marriages like this where the woman would truly want to remain a virgin, or mostly sexless, to create this spiritual union, leaving the husband to have to find whores to have sex with.  Those marriages were almost always very unhappy marriages, even in those days, men still needed sex from their wives.
  3. She frames everything he does as being done to “hurt,” her… and then she goes on and on, “rebuking,” him for his (in her mind) bad decisions.  This from her diary is a direct example where she wouldn’t even let him decide when to go hunting without her permission… and her attitude when he came back is what destroys a man’s love and affection (the chastising and, “rebuking,” she felt she had a right to do to him).
  4. Before their marriage, Tolstoy had a romantic notion that his new wife should know everything he ever did that was horrible and wrong.  Instead of hiding his sins, he wanted to, “bear all,” to her, confess everything, and know that she would still love him and accept him as he was – faults and past sins in total.  He felt very ashamed of everything he’d done before finding a, “pure,” and proper wife, and her reading this and still accepting him, in a large way, would help him heal from his past promiscuity.  I actually understand this very well, because my own husband did something very similar.  We both told each other everything (his past being much more sordid and sinful than mine sexually), and I understand from my husband’s heart how much he needed to know that I *knew* how bad he had been, and yet would *still* choose to love him and receive him.  Yes, I was sheltered and virginal like Sofia, but it still didn’t harm me to know his past sexual sins.  If anything, it made me even more sympathetic to him because I could feel the shame he felt for having failed in that area.  Men seem to understand that this kind of acceptance in marriage is a kind of redemption God uses to help ease the pain of past sins.  It does for women, too, if they first acknowledge how sinful they were and are humbled enough to know their husband is doing them a great act of love in accepting them even though they come to him soiled and impure.
  5. Unfortunately for Tolstoy, his wife was horrifically repulsed by his past, and used it for the rest of their marriage to throw in his face and punish him for.  She did not, at all, accept him as the man he was, and she ensured her own unhappiness by perpetually reminding herself in her diaries of how horrible his past was… how she could NEVER get over his former relationships.
  6. I do believe that even with this single, but monumental, rejection of him when he was so honest and open with her, that she may have ruined a lot of his love in those first years when she kept throwing it in his face.  I think when he realized she could not, and would not, ever make peace with his past or love him beyond his past (without holding it against him constantly), that he fell into a depressive state that caused him to bristle at even her voice or presence (which is talked about both in his and her diaries).  How different their marriage might have been if Sofia had been wise enough to realize the power she had when he was so romantically open with her about his past, in helping him heal and redeem his value before God and society.
  7. I’ve heard callers complain about things like this to Dr. Laura, where one spouse – it’s almost always the woman – can’t get over a husband’s past or long-gone sexual relationship, and her response is always that they are simply looking for (literally digging around in their spouse’s past) something to beat the other spouse with.  This is a classic way a wife with a real psychological disorder seeks to continually, “punish,” her husband over his past sins.
  8. Continually using his past, especially his past relationship where he fathered a son who still lived on their land, to berate him for, was abusive.  Sofia, again for all her endless self-proclamations of serving him selflessly and lovingly, was an abusive and toxic wife.  Again, I am amazed he was able to create the masterpieces he did with the ever-present berating, punishing and abusive things she’d say to him.  I should say here that I’m aware that our modern society views his treatment of her as, “abusive,” because she had to, in some authors’ words, endure his “slights and insults.”  I wonder if he felt he almost had to be that way, in order to survive the war-like atmosphere she made sure she created at times (it’s notable that not all of their life was lived this way… they had short periods of happiness, again making me wonder from a psychological-standpoint, if she wasn’t bi-polar).
  9. Consider families where the wife really did sleep around for years before a husband married her, even producing offspring with a man she never even married.  What if the husband acts like Sofia decided to do, and holds a huge grudge against his wife for those things done in her past, and never lets himself, “get over,” her past sexual experiences with other men, continually bringing them in to their current arguments and never allowing his wife to fully, “pay,” for the sins she’d committed?  We’d then be able to see it clearly as the husband’s own psychological disturbance, and not attribute any further fault to his wife.  With Leo Tolstoy, many people, including Nobel Laureates, side with Sofia in this being an excusable and logical offense she held against him for the length of their entire marriage, when obviously, it’s anything but excusable and logical.
  10. She, several times in her diary, expresses murderous intent toward his former lovers and the one son he had who still lived on their land!  She obsesses over his sexual past to the extent of wanting to commit murder several times.  Again, as much as I feel sorry for her, I am amazed at the extent of her insanity and what Tolstoy had to put up with for a lifetime of marriage.  A healthy woman would have accepted him as he was, but Sofia still used his son’s mother against him in arguments even into their old age!  I feel so sorry for him, and amazed he was still able to create the works he did.
  11. Side note – the more I read her words and the conclusions she comes to, the more I believe she probably had a severe psychological disorder.  Her family described her as not having an easy time being happy in general… even as a child, it is noted she was never able to really be happy.  I believe people are able to *choose* happiness, and I don’t excuse Sofia for literally ruining her life over the most mundane reasons to be unhappy.  Her entire diary seems to be one of constant finding fault, constant taking offense (oftentimes where it’s unclear if she even understands it was intended!).  She is a very sad and pathetic woman, what an eye-opening experience reading her mind’s workings.
  12. So back to this issue of holding a spouse’s past against them.  My own husband has a past sexual history before he met me, and it’s something I’ve never held against him because when he married me, he committed to me wholly, just like Tolstoy did to Sofia.  It would be incredibly foolish and perverted to continue to, “punish,” him for things he did in his past before he even knew me, or had taken vows to me.  Like Tolstoy, my husband wasn’t even a real Christian back then, so to hold his sins against him would be wrong.  Sofia’s immaturity and psychologically disturbed thinking gives me an even more sympathetic perspective to how Leo managed to live with her successfully all those years at all.  The fact that he was able to produce such magnificent and powerful novels, even while being relentlessly torn down by such a mentally disturbed woman, shows remarkable strength and resilience.  It’s sad that I although I do feel sorry for her, I also feel even more correct in my first assessment that she was one of the women who make sure they are chronically unhappy no matter what the circumstances may be.  She constantly pities herself, and hates her life.  She resents the life she could have had if she were a single woman.
  13. She absolutely hated him spending time with the peasants, teaching them and mentoring them. She hated having them around their house, taking care of them, and despised her husband for loving this service he desired to provide to the poor.  My own great great grandparents also had peasants and homeless people living around on their estate property (which was not large… so they literally had homeless people living in their backyard)!  Their adult children talked about this a lot in the document they left, which is the only reason why we know about it.  My great-great grandfather was a doctor, one of the only ones in that entire area, so it made sense these people would flock to this strong Christian family, who were both husband and wife, very loving and kind people who would physically and spiritually care for them for free.  They were probably like a beacon of hope to destitute people, and this is what Jesus said we should be like.  I know they viewed this service as a beautiful charity, and I’m amazed in contrast, at Sofia’s selfishness and greed and disdain toward the poor.  For all her admonitions and self-proclamations of thinking she was super religious and selfless, we see she was anything but!  But that is how self-righteous people operate.  They see themselves as put-upon, as an ever-perpetual victim, but in reality, their lives are much more complex with their causing their own problems.  She hated the poor, hated serving them, and hated her own husband for loving them and having them on their property.  I am so grateful my great-great grandmother did not feel this way, how awful it would have been for their marriage if she’d behaved like Sofia Tolstoy.
  14. Sofia would frequently use threats or actual attempts of suicide in order to manipulate him further in order to control her husband.  This is classic psychological disorder-type actions.  I believe she was probably bi-polar, or Cluster B-type, but it would take a very skilled psychologist to go through everything she did (and especially the disturbed way she thought) to untangle what she had.  But it’s clear she was not mentally healthy, and probably wasn’t from a young age.
  15. Tolstoy went on to become a fervent and very strange, type of Christian (note that he wasn’t when we was whoring around in his young years).  In his later years, he came to the strong convictions that it was morally wrong and horrible for young men to do what he had done, to sleep around so much before marriage, and praised and promoted abstinence before marriage for both sexes.  I do admit he took his views a little too far in his old age, but after decades of living with a wife who tortured him mentally and emotionally, I think his views that people shouldn’t get married at all (or have sex – he became asexual in ideology) probably are the reason for his extreme views.

I’m sure I’ll write more when I have time.  It’s interesting to read someone else’s diary… very eye-opening to see how someone else’s mind works.

I myself, am an avid diary-writer ever since I was 6 years old.  My husband has read all my diaries LOL, so reading about Sofia and Leo reading each other’s diaries, and such, leads me to compare and contrast the differences between their relationship and ours.  It’s so sad that she chooses to constantly write herself as the victim to her own life’s story… never taking ownership of her glaringly obvious faults, and everything always being other people’s fault… her always the perfect, selfless martyr who resentfully dedicates her life to others in a way that makes them feel they’re taking advantage of her.  It just doesn’t have to be that way.

We’ve been through many trials in our marriage of different kinds, but we’ve remained remarkably happy and are closer together in every way through having gone through those trials.  It’s strange how some of the very same things that caused so much hostility in the Tolstoy marriage, have only caused us to grow closer together and more strongly bonded.  I do believe a lot of that has to do with how I chose to respond to our trials in ways that encouraged my husband, and didn’t tear him down or berate him for, “failing.”

Major outside stresses that could have broken us, didn’t, and when I read the old diaries, they’re filled with this stuff (getting kicked out for wanting to marry him, living in poverty for a few years, having a baby before we were financially ready, doing too much at one time like school, work, and child-rearing, extreme in-law problems, losing jobs early on that made it more financially stressful, miscarriage, parental health decline, caring for dying grand-parents, etc.)… the diaries hit on all those events, but at the same time they’re also filled with so much joy, optimism, and hope and ways/ideas to be better in the future.  They read in stark contrast to the way Sofia wrote and thought about life.  It’s been a very important spiritual lesson to see the way she saw things, how she couldn’t get past them, and then how those, “hang-ups,” caused her to destroy her own happiness or future chance at happiness.

When I went to a counselor a few years ago because my husband wanted me to after my dad had his stroke, he was amazed how good our marriage was even with going through as many difficulties we’d already been through.  He had some kind of checklist for “major,” trials a couple may have experienced in marriage, and our marriage checked almost every one!  By all accounts, we should have been in a horrible marriage where I resented and hated him for, “failing,” me as a husband.  The counselor was very proud of how in love we still were, how strong our marriage was, and how even after everything we’d been through, we still had a joyful and cheerful outlook on life and the future.

It really makes me wonder how different Sofia’s marriage may have been, if she’d just been aware enough to understand how much she contributed to her own unhappiness?  Do people like this ever know how off they are in their reasoning, or are they truly mentally disturbed?

 

 

 

Quick Link reference for those who don’t have a copy of her diary:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/jun/02/sofia-tolstoy-diaries

Because He’s Not a Hero… From Anonymous Sgt. A. Merica

Every day, America sits on the brink.

We teeter between good and evil.

The Thin Blue Line isn’t a fictional concept.

It’s real – and it’s what separates society from anarchy.

It’s why you can go to work.  Why your children can go to school.  Why you can sleep in peace at night.

Protecting the people… are the Sheepdog.

They are our police.  They are your protectors.  They are the guardians of the castle and the people behind it.

But I am not your Sheepdog.

I do not guard the castle from direct attack.  I do not seek to defend those whom it protects.

No, I am the wolf.

I am the one you don’t want to know about.

While the Sheepdog protect… I destroy.

But I am YOUR wolf.

I hunt my prey – and my prey fears me.

Those I hunt are those who would do you harm.  Those who seek to destroy the castle and everyone behind it’s walls.

I am the one who stalks them.

As they prepare to come for you… I pounce.

I am not kind.  I am not merciful.

I take the fight out of them.

Then I take them out of the fight.

Their throat is my prize.

Their end is my glory.

I destroy evil… so it cannot destroy you.

I am not your Sheepdog.  I am your wolf.

And you will never know my name.


For more than 25 years, I’ve served our country.  I started in the military and moved my way up quickly.  That’s what happens when you are single and hellbent on destroying evil.  I had no interest in starting a family.

After just a few years in the military, I rose quickly and became part of a special operations group working in some of the most dangerous places in the world.

Here in America, we are spoiled.  We take our fluffy pillows and lattes for granted.  We close our eyes and sleep well because very good men are doing sometimes very bad things to very bad men to keep us safe.

But over the years, I watched the rules of engagement change.  When serving our country, and then serving here in law enforcement, I watched as the hands of my brothers, sisters and I were tied.

September 11th happened because of failures here in America – not just because of evil.  We lost countless lives because we drew a divide between our agencies.  Politics and feelings got in the way of stopping evil.  Red tape and a hierarchy of information ensured that destruction came to America.

It will come again.  Political correctness has run amok.  Evil has infiltrated our communities in the name of everyone being “offended”.  We are in trouble.

Luckily, there are still patriots like me who believe in destroying that evil.  We will do what it takes to hold the thin blue line, even when it means we have to operate in the shadows.

I had no interest in having a family, but somewhere along the line that changed.  I’m now a father of four.  My wife and my children don’t know what I do for work.  My friends have no idea.  I’m part of an elite group of that tracks down and eliminates that evil.

I do it for my children.  I do it for my God.  I do it for my country.  I do it for you.

I am the wolf.  And tonight, like every night, I will hunt.

***

 

Hearing from men like this is so interesting.  Reminded me of this scene… “Because he’s not a hero… ” they really are so much more than that.

 

Thank you Anonymous.

Thank you for protecting us.  How many would you (and all other police officers) die for, who don’t deserve your life sacrificed for theirs?

Books for Young Minds

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One of the gifts we thought to give our oldest (8) this year for Christmas, was the gift of some really good classic books.  We both have an intense love of books and reading, one of our favorite pastimes before we had children was to take turns reading to each other at night after the work day from our favorite books.

We want our children to hopefully share this love of books, and we think the best way to help them achieve that, is to read to them, and to read to them often.

Starting our homeschooling journey recently, I’d been trying to figure out what kinds of books to read that were fitting for him.  The coursework I’d chosen was great in all other categories, except the literature suggestions unfortunately.  I mean… this boy has been reading Harry Potter since age 5 in kindergarten.  He went through all the books of Narnia with my husband two years ago – so suggestions like Winnie the Pooh or Pippi Longstocking, although we read through them and laughed… they’re more in line with what I’m reading to our 4 year old.  I could tell he really needed more.

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The first one he was super excited to dive into was The Pilgrim’s Progress.  I told him about this book as it was one I remember reading when I was about his age at the Christian school I went to.  This book was so good, and so helpful in one’s Christian journey, that even 20-something years later, I still think about it and remember parts that reflect what I’m going through in my journey as a Christian.  Even now as we’ve started reading it together (he was so excited he couldn’t wait for the break to be over 😀 ), I’m given the chance to find new treasures and meanings in it that I of course missed at such a young age.  I told him this, too, that this would be a book he’d probably love to reread over the course of his life, just to understand the journey better as he gains more life experience.  I still think it’s good for children this young to read it.  I remember reading it and of course realizing I didn’t have those kinds of life experiences yet, but still understanding the wisdom it imparted and instruction on how to navigate different things like despair and discouragement, the hills of difficulty, etc.  And I can see that even though he’s only 8, he already comprehends those things, too.

Plus it is wonderful to read it with him, stop and then explain things about life and faith.  The characters in Pilgrim’s Progess are just so necessary for children to understand!  People who are “Obstinate,” or “Pliable,” or the “Wordly Wiseman,” or the man named, “Legality.”  Each one proposes an amazing discussion we then have about who these people are, why they are the way they are, and how they derail one’s life or miss what Christianity is about.

Rereading this book also prompted us to look into the life of the author, John Bunyan, who was such an admirable man in his own right.  Learning together about his own life journey, and that he wrote this book while in prison (!) was a huge lesson in and of itself for us to talk about.  We even read through Bunyan’s “Apology,” for his book, or rather struggled through it LOL…  Because of his use of old English and speaking in riddles, every line I had to stop and explain what he was talking about.  It provided new ideas our son has never thought about deeply enough, but also great humor as every sentence rhymed and sounded so strange!  Overall it was a great lesson in not only the history behind him being imprisoned for just preaching and living out his faith, but also his steadfastness in the face of persecution (writing a book he knew would probably not be accepted – hence the lonnng apology and defense of it).  It was also interesting to learn that some of Bunyan’s harshest critics and naysayers, were of course the fellow Christians themselves.  It’s always been that way, from the Prophets of old, to the Wesley’s, to Spurgeon, etc. and that itself is another great lesson.

*

The other books we got him are as in the first picture, Gulliver’s Travels, The Swiss Family Robinson, and Treasure Island.  He already knows of The Swiss Family Robinson, as it’s one of the my husband’s favorite stories, and it has A LOT of strong Christian lessons in it, more than what the popular movies would make it seem like.  We love it because it portrays the almost insurmountable trials of a very traditional Christian family, and shows them constantly looking to their faith and the Bible, and guidance from God to understand how to overcome their barrage of struggles.  Just a wonderful book for growing and influencing a young person’s faith, in our opinion.

And of course Gulliver’s Travels and Treasure Island are more just for pure boyish fun!  Not that girls can’t enjoy these books, too, although I admit I was never interested in reading these two.  Apparently, when men read these as boys they tend to stay with them long into adulthood, which to me is a mark of a very good book worth reading!

 

More books I can’t wait to read with him:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Oliver Twist

 

If any readers have suggestions for what else would be good for children his age, please let know!  I don’t think you can ever have too many good books 😀

Stephanie

Merry Christmas Readers!

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Phew!!!!  I’m typing this as I’m making 2 tarts at the moment.  One traditional chocolate (very simplistic, with just a few ingredients that create the most decadent, yet simple taste), and a white chocolate swirled with butterscotch sauce for my husband.

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I guess it’s a let’s write between stirring the chocolate kind of night.  I am tired. 🙂  December flew by for us, and to be honest, it was a little too fast and crazy for our normal style.  Lots of things we went to, formal Christmas stuff, family outings, a few birthday parties, two that celebrated our Christmas baby.  And lots and lots of baking.

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When we needed to go to a Christmas formal, I thought it’d be fun to set up the kids and my mom (who was going to watch them that night) with a table ready for decorating Christmas cookies if they wanted to.

So the night before the formal, while doing some home-primping girly things, I was also cutting out and baking sugar cookies.  It was so much fun to do this and set up all the sprinkles (we have quite a collection!) and frostings for them to do the next day.

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I have such fond memories of doing these kinds of things with my mom, and how wonderful that she gets to repeat it with my children.  And with the exact same cookie cutters she always used with us!

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We also set the kids up like this another time when we went out to do some Christmas shopping together.  If any readers have any other ideas for what kids can do when you’re out at parties or dances and such, I’d love to hear them.  Hopefully next year’s December will calm down some, and we intend to make more so, for good measure.

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Seeing reindeer was one of the highlights!  And camels, although we didn’t get a picture of the camels 😀

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Fascinated faces… lol

Lots of fun things…

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And mesmerizing sights…

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I think we all drank our weight in hot chocolate 😉

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Our mornings have often been spent cuddling together, and squished, as all our children just have to all sit on the same couch at the same time with me LOL 🙂 it’s just one of those things where you have to take a moment.  We may go to fancy things sometimes… but on the whole, this is our reality.  And we are very, very full.

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And don’t worry, if you feel overwhelmed or stressed out this season, always remember… you’re not alone 😉

Somewhere, there is a baby being forced to see Santa…

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Merry Christmas!!!!

Stephanie