A tad panicked…

Again, I felt pretty good today, good enough to participate when my husband decided to take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese (we refuse to go there on the weekends–parents forget that it is a public space and refuse to supervise their children, and I can’t remember exactly how many times I’ve had kids climb on to my Skee-Ball machine just as I’m about to roll a ball, or try to take my tickets, etc.) and now back here for round two today. But now I am getting concerned about how good I am feeling. I do not want the doctor to see me on November 30th, if I am still feeling the same that day, and assume all is well.

The first time I saw a neurologist I wasn’t feeling half as bad as I had been. That is the problem with getting into a neurologist. I want to be seen on my absolute worst day. If this was feasible, I’d probably be diagnosed by now. They would have been able to see that I was having problems balancing and that my muscles were visibly twitching beneath my jeans. Perhaps they’d been able to hear me slur some words or see me having difficulty getting words out. Maybe they could watch me struggle to do a simple mathematical calculation in my head. Everything I said the first time I saw a neurologist was of my own record. My balance was fine, my reflexes were okay, and my strength was average. I do not want that to happen again, as weird as it may sound.

But as always God will have the final say. It’s already fixed. He has already determined what is going on with me, and I will just have to wait until it’s humanly figured out. In the meantime I am thankful for these last few days of strength, mental clarity and happiness. It has been nice to kind of feel like my old self and get a few things done. If this is how life will be with this condition, I will just have to learn to maximize my good days.

Since I am feeling pretty clear and all three of my pumpkins are in bed, I do want to read a bit of Judges. I was in chapter nine. In this chapter, we are going to see Abimelech, Gideon’s son, causing some trouble.

Recall from the previous chapter that Gideon has seventy sons with many wives. Abimelech’s mother is one of Gideon’s concubines who lived in Shechem. Here in chapter nine Abimelech schemes his way into power. He goes to Shechem to visit his mother’s brothers–his uncles–and compels them to ask the leaders of the town would they rather be ruled by seventy men (his brothers) or one man–a man who happens to be their relative, at that. Abimelech’s uncles give the message to the people of Shechem on his behalf, and seeing possible benefits in having their relative rule over them, they side with Abimelech. They give him seventy silver coins from the temple of their pagan god Baal-berith (translated to mean “Lord of the covenant”, this was a pagan god that was equal to Baal-zebub, the god of the flies), which he promptly uses to hire a gang of thugs to follow him and apparently be complicit in his power conquest. Abimelech and his posse go to Ophrah, where his seventy half brothers reside, and kill each and every one of them–or at least they attempt to. His youngest brother Jotham manages to escape and hide.

With the brothers out of the way, the leaders of Shechem and what is apparently a neighboring city, Beth-millo, call together an assembly and make Abimelech their king.

Side bar: We see that word “Beth” a lot, don’t we? From what I understand it is a Hebrew word that means “house”. Beth-millo is translated to mean “house of earthwork”.

Back to the story. Jotham apparently has not gone too far, because he has heard of Abimelech’s coronation. In response, he climbs to the top of Mt. Gerizim (recall this mountain from Deuteronomy, when the Israelites, after crossing the Jordan River, were required to build an altar upon Mt Ebal and then set the blessing on Mt. Gerizim and the curse on Mt. Ebal) and shouts down a parable (which I didn’t understand right away, I admit):

“Listen to me, citizens of Shechem!
Listen to me if you want God to listen to you!
Once upon a time the trees decided to choose a king.
First they said to the olive tree,
‘Be our king!’
But the olive tree refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing the olive oil
that blesses both God and people,
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’
 
“Then they said to the fig tree,
‘You be our king!’
But the fig tree also refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing my sweet fruit
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’
 
“Then they said to the grapevine,
‘You be our king!’
But the grapevine also refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing the wine
that cheers both God and people,
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’
 
“Then all the trees finally turned to the thornbush and said,
‘Come, you be our king!’
And the thornbush replied to the trees,
‘If you truly want to make me your king,
come and take shelter in my shade.
If not, let fire come out from me
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’”
The trees are taken to represent the people of Israel, especially the leaders. The people decide to choose a king. They first approach the olive tree. Olive trees were of extreme importance because they produced fruit and, you guessed it, olives. Olive oil was used for cooking, medicinal and spiritual purposes. The olive tree may symbolize Gideon, who if you recall, refused to be Israel’s king, instead pointing to God as their leader. The fig tree is next. The fig tree also has an established purpose–producing fruit–and could possibly stand for Gideon’s sons, or some other righteous men among them. The grapevine also has a well-needed purpose, and is thought to possibly mean the priests, who also refuse to be king. Finally, we get to the thornbush, which is Abimelech. The thornbush is lower than trees in position/stature and has very little purpose. I personally have tangled with a thornbush before and I tell you, it was not a pleasant experience. But I digress. This parable is about power and purpose. Each of the trees knew their purpose and was happy to fulfill its purpose even in the absence of a title and authority over others. However, the thornbush covets undeserved power over those it cannot rule. Abimelech would have had no power had he not gotten rid of his brothers, who were content to govern their people, not lord over them.
Jotham admonishes the people to consider whether or not they have acted in good faith by electing Abimelech to be their king. He reminds them of what his father Gideon did for them. He also acknowledges that the major reason the people thought to make Abimelech king was due mainly to nepotism. Jotham is kind enough to tell the people that if they acted in good faith and honestly felt Abimelech would make a good king that he hoped they would find joy in him and vice versa, but if not, that fire would come out from Abimelech and destroy the leading citizens of the two cities, and that fire would come forth from the two cities and in turn destroy him. Knowing he is not safe and fearing his brother (for obvious reasons), Jotham escapes and goes on to live in Beer.
In a move that I’m sure is no surprise, Shechem rebels against Abimelech. If there is nothing I have learned in this almost thirty-five years of life, it is that sloppy starts result in sloppy finishes. I have never seen a neat and tidy ending to a situation that started out foul. With the way Abimelech ascended to the throne, by killing his own brothers, it comes as no shock that there would be some issues, amirite?
We have fast-forwarded three years. God has sent a spirit about the leading citizens of Shechem and the rebel against Abimelech. The Bible tells us exactly why God has allowed this to happen–this is punishment against Abimelech for what he did to his brothers. Hopefully he enjoyed his three years of rule. Hopefully it was worth it, because it is going to come to a screeching halt.
The citizens who supported Abimelech only three years ago after he killed his own brothers now have set an ambush for him on the hilltops and robs everyone who tries to pass, but someone warns him. Yet dissent grows more widespread. A new troublemaker by the name of Gaal, identified as son of Ebed (shrugs) moves to Shechem with his brothers and wastes no time stirring up controversy with the leaders about Abimelech. At the annual harvest festival which is being held in the temple with wine flowing freely, conversation against Abimelech intensifies. Apparently  Gaal is a major instigator here (vv 28-29).
“Who is Abimelech?” Gaal shouted. “He’s not a true son of Shechem, so why should we be his servants? He’s merely the son of Gideon, and this Zebul is merely his deputy. Serve the true sons of Hamor, the founder of Shechem. Why should we serve Abimelech? If I were in charge here, I would get rid of Abimelech. I would say to him, ‘Get some soldiers, and come out and fight!’”
One thing I’ve noticed in these Biblical stories is that there is always a spy or a gossip in attendance. Word of this conversation gets back to Zebul, the leader of the city, and he is angry. He sends messengers to Abimelech that this Gaal and his brothers are stirring up the masses and he needs to do something about it. He suggests that Abimelech and his army come out at night and hide in the fields and attack the people in the morning.
Abimelech follows this suggestion, splitting his men into four groups in different areas around Shechem. When Abimelech and his men come out of hiding, Gaal is standing at the city gates (possibly hungover? Idk. It’s an interesting thought). Gaal spots the men approaching, and ironically enough, our friend Zebul is right there to further set the trap. When Gaal exclaims “Look, there are people coming down from the hilltops!”, Zebul, knowing good and well who it was, says, probably nonchalantly, “It’s just the shadows that look like men” (v. 36).
As Abimelech and Co. approach Zebul can’t keep up the shadow charade. Gaal again says that he sees men coming, and finally Zebul turns on him: “Now where is that big mouth of yours? Wasn’t it you that said, ‘Who is Abimelech, and why should we be his servants?’ The men you mocked are right outside the city! Go out and fight them!” (v. 38).
And it’s ON: Gaal and the leading citizens of Shechem vs. Abimelech and Co. By the end of the first day of battle, it appears that Abimelech and Co. are ahead. The next day, it also appears that Abimelech will be victorious. The people of Shechem go into the fields and prepare for battle. Abimelech divides his men into three groups and sets up an ambush. When they see people beginning to come out of the city, Abimelech and his men jump up and attack them. They storm the city gates and effectively prevent the men from getting back into safety in Shechem, cutting them down in the fields. This battle ensued all day before Abimelech was finally able to capture the city. He killed the people and leveled the entire city. He then scattered salt on the ground, a practice that symbolically identifies a city as uninhabitable in the future.
The leading citizens of Shechem have been safely housed in their living quarters in the tower of Shechem. They have heard what is happening and run to the hide in the temple of Baal-berith. I wonder if they thought they would experience some protection there. Regardless, Abimelech has gotten word that the citizens are hiding in the temple, so he leads his forces to Mt. Zalmon where they chop wood. They pile the wood up against the temple and burn it down with the citizens still in there, killing approximately 1,000. It’s still looking like the odds are in Abimelech’s favor here.
He goes on to capture the city of Thebez. However, there is a strong tower in Thebez, with the entire population of the city hiding inside. The people have barricaded themselves inside and climbed up to the top. As Abimelech prepares to set fire to the tower, a woman on the roof drops a millstone from the top of the tower onto his head, crushing his skull. That must have been a strong woman, because from what I understand about millstones, those joints are heavy.
abimelech
Abimelech does not want the added humiliation of having been killed by a woman, so he asks his young armor bearer to kill him. The armor bearer obliges him by killing him with his own sword. Upon seeing that their commander in chief is dead, Abimelech’s army promptly disbands and returns home.
This was God meting out punishment to Abimelech and Shechem for their crimes. And it was not pretty.
After Abimelech’s death, a man named Tola of the tribe of Isaachar comes seemingly out of nowhere and serves as Israel’s next judge. In chapter ten we read that he judges Israel for 23 years. Succeeding Tola is Jair from Gilead, who judges Israel for 22 years. Not much is said about him either other than he is apparently a very fruitful man, having thirty sons who rode thirty donkeys and lived in thirty towns in Gilead which were referred to as Towns of Jair. After his death, the Israelites face an eighteen-year period of oppression at the hands of the Ammonites as a result of slipping back into their pagan god worshiping ways. The oppression begins with the Israelite tribes to the east of the Jordan and also crosses over to include the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim.
The formula is the same. You already know what is going to happen. The Israelites cry out to the Lord, he reminds them of their failure and suggests they go ask their pagan gods for help, they plead and plead until God is fully grieved by their misery. As God is softening, the Ammonite army is camped and prepared for battle against the Israelites, and they say among themselves that the next person to lead them in attacking the Ammonites will be the next leader of Gilead. In chapter eleven we see that our next warrior is Jephthah, a great warrior. His mother was a prostitute, his father Gilead.Gilead’s wife had several other sons who forced Jephthah off their father’s land, not willing to give him any share of it because of his prostitute mother. Jephthah fled from their persecution to the land of Tob and found a band of hoodlums to follow him.
Now Gilead is being persecuted and they need Jephthah’s help. Apparently the people know of Jephthah’s skill, because the elders send for him. Of course Jephthah is not willing to completely let go of the past and possibly sacrifice his life for the very people who had shunned him, would you? I’d be salty too. When he is asked for help, Jephthah replies in verse seven:
“Aren’t you the ones who hated me and drove me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now when you’re in trouble?”
The elders repeat their plea, and tells Jephthah that if he leads them in battle they will set him over all of Gilead. Here is Jephtah (v. 9):
“Let me get this straight. If I come with you and if the lord gives me victory over the Ammonites, will you really make me ruler over all the people?”
I’m curious as to what Jephthah’s motives were right here. Do you think he sincerely cared or do you think he was salivating at the possible idea of winning the battle and ruling over Gilead, which would give him the opportunity to exact revenge against his people? I mean, he was only human. I don’t blame him. (I picture him as kind of looking like James Dean, IDK why).
Once the elders promise that Jephthah will be ruler, he agrees and they formally make him ruler and commander of the army. Jephthah’s first act as commander is to send a message to the king of Ammon asking him why he is fighting against Israel. In short, the king of Ammon is fighting over a piece of land that he believes Israel stolen WAAAAY back when they came out of Egypt. He demands that the land be returned. Jephthah, who obviously knows his history disagrees and sends a message back to the king of Ammon explaining why he is incorrect: It was the Lord God who gave the Israelites the land in victory. The Israelites hadn’t stolen anything (the backstory here is when the Israelites had asked for permission from several kings to pass through their lands and were denied). Jephthah goes on to remind the king that his people have kept things given to them by their god Chernosh, so why should they be expected to return something their God gave them? Finally, Jephthah (who would have made a great lawyer–he covered all bases with this argument) asks in the three hundred years that the Israelites have been living in the land that is in dispute, why has the king never tried to get it back before? He tells the king that it is HE who has been wronged, since the king of Ammon attacked them without even having had tried to recover the land peaceably before then.
The king of Ammon disregards Jephthah’s argument. I’m sure you know a battle is a-brewin’.
The Spirit of the Lord comes upon Jephthah and he goes forth to form an army. Interesting that the Spirit wasn’t already upon him. Perhaps God was seeing what Jephthah would do before he poured the Spirit out upon him? Maybe now God is confident that Jephthah is going to do what he is supposed to? I don’t know. Either way it goes, Jephthah’s connection with God is growing as well. He makes a vow to the Lord that if he is victorious in battle against the Ammonites that he will give whatever comes out of his house first when he gets home to the Lord as a burnt offering. As we shall soon see, this is a terribly rash vow with dire consequences.
Jephthah defeats the Ammonites, and when he gets home the first thing to come out of his house is in fact his daughter. She is playing a tambourine and dancing with joy. Jephthah is devastated–she is his only child. He tears his clothes in anguish and informs her of the terrible promise he has made to the Lord. His daughter is obviously a young woman of outstanding character, because she doesn’t seem to be angry with her father, nor does she try to keep him from upholding his vow (vv. 36-37):
And she said, “Father, if you have made a vow to the lord, you must do to me what you have vowed, for the lord has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me do this one thing: Let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.”
Some people wonder if Jephthah took his daughter, laid her over some fire, and sacrificed her as a burnt offering. Come on now, you know God wouldn’t go for that. The most logical explanation of what became of Jephthah’s daughter is that she was relegated to a life of Godly servitude, kind of like a nun. This is why we should always be careful of what we promise to God, and our promises should be personal. We should never include the life or existence of any other person or thing in our promises. I know people joke around and say things such as “on my momma” or “I swear on such-and-such”, but things like that have to be taken seriously. Look at the calamity that befell Jephthah. His daughter may have had plans for her life. Maybe she wanted to marry and have children. Those plans were dashed and Jephthah had no other children to carry out his bloodline.
And now I am exhausted. Prayerfully I’ll be well tomorrow. I love Judges.

How can a Christian be a Democrat?

God is good!

For the past few days I have experienced a marked decrease in the symptoms of The Mystery Illness, enough to where I have been able to get out of the house and make something of myself. It has been an interesting weekend weather-wise… but that is Michigan for you. On Friday it was a perfect 74 degrees with clear skies, allowing me and my kids and niece to spend some time outdoors. We ate dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and stayed outside at Mom’s house for awhile, playing basketball. Yes, I played BASKETBALL! Nothing formal, seeing as though there wasn’t a court or hoops or anything, but it was fun to kid around with my husband and the little ones. And it was even better not to feel like garbage afterward.

I pushed myself again on Saturday and then kind of paid for it on Sunday. I was all too pleased to get back into the house of the Lord, and had an enjoyable time in Sunday school. I started feeling a bit crappy during Sunday school and had a full-on wind-down as I like to call it during services.  I probably should have left but my kids were singing and I wasn’t about to miss it. I kind of crashed a bit after service was over. But at least I made it through the entire thing.

bum-meme

It has also been interesting, and not in a positive way, to see the changes going on in America since the election. Actually, I do not think “changes” is the correct word. America has always been racist. It was built on racism. From the days when Europeans decided the Native Americans were so insignificant as to push them off their land, even to the point of wiping out entire tribes, and then decided Africans were so inferior that they could be caught like animals and forced into servitude, there has been racism. What has obviously been happening is that it was, at one point, less politically correct to be so out and about in terms of expressing one’s racism. After energizing the most divisive presidential campaign in history, racist Trump supporters have let those of us know exactly what they mean by the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Admit it. America was great for you when minorities knew their place and were happy to simply accept your privilege and keep our mouths shut. Now we’re demanding equal rights and some of you don’t like it. KEY WORD IS SOME.

That is not to say that Clinton supporters have wholly clean hands. No, there have been some who have been causing trouble. But what I have seen from those who are behind Trump is that they have identified with him because they are afraid that their privileged status is going to the wayside. In the year 2020 the racial makeup of America will change and White males will no longer be the numerical majority, although they still wield great economic and social power. Biased media has added to the dumbing down of America to where people can be presented with facts but would prefer to accept rhetoric. I have engaged with several individuals over the past few weeks and been positively baffled by their refusal to be educated beyond their stereotypes about minorities, all the while they are conversing with one who defies said stereotypes..

What enrages me the most is how so-called Christians are blowing bad breath on Jesus. You cannot tell me that (if you’re truly a Christian, and I question these people, but the Bible tells me I cannot judge and only GOD truly knows whether one has accepted his Son or not) you can read and DIGEST the words of the Bible and still be hateful. I fully expect other Christians to respectfully tell me when I am out of alignment with Christ, as we have the power to either attract people to or repel them from the faith. With that being said, when I see someone that fully claims Christianity act so disgustingly, I get personally offended and call them out on it. Hypocrisy is keeping people out of the kingdom of heaven.

In some instances, my beliefs mirror what would typically be on the Republican side. I do not approve of abortion, but I understand that there are circumstances where a woman would have to make an excruciating medical decision to have one. I feel that an abortion is abhorrent and I pray I never get into a situation where my life depended on the possibility of sacrificing my unborn baby. But who am I to say that I would go through with a pregnancy that might kill me or one where my baby is guaranteed not to survive? As I mentioned before, I am a rape survivor, and I faced the possibility of being pregnant with my assailant’s child. I would not have terminated that pregnancy, but that decision is my own. I guess I feel that as awful a procedure it is, we have to understand that there are reasons for it, and even if it is completely outlawed women will still have them. Women need to feel safe coming to their doctors for guidance. The rate of abortion has declined steadily since 1980. How do we keep it going down? Easy access to birth control, sex education in schools, and making sure families can support children. Republicans consistently block possible legislation ensuring these things. I am not interested in the hypocrisy of caring about the fetus but not the baby. Abortion measures for them are more about controlling women than a moral choice in my opinion.

Christians have to remember that each person will be held accountable for God for their life choices. In the meantime we need to be doing everything we can to get more people to turn to Christ. But we also have to remember, per our Bible teachings, that not everyone is going to accept the Gospel. That doesn’t give us the right to hate them. Christian means “Christ-like”. Our Christ did not have hate in Him. There is simply no place for it in the Christian life.

Yet I have seen so-called Christians post hateful and incorrect memes about how, now that Trump is president, lazy people will have to work for their benefits (I kindly informed them that the vast majority of people collecting benefits, save for the disabled, elderly and children, DO have jobs that simply do not pay them enough, and that their disdain should be for multi-million dollar corporations that pay their workers peanuts). So-called Christians are applauding instances of Muslim and Latina women being harassed and told, despite being legal Americans, they will be deported. I cannot keep track of all of the videos I have seen of White Americans slinging racial slurs and threats at a member of a minority group. Yet we are supposed to unite behind Trump as president? I think not.

It has nothing to do with the fact that he ran on a Republican platform. The Democrats lean too far to the left for me sometimes. I do not think either party is correct on all the issues. If they would actually work together on behalf of the people they have been elected to represent, we might actually make substantial progress. But in the meantime, I cannot support the Republican party as it stands, nor can I support a President who has been proven to discriminate against people that look like me, who thinks stop and frisk is an acceptable form of law enforcement, and who believes that it’s okay to grab women by their genitals. As a Black female sexual assault survivor, there is too much about Donald Trump that is abhorrent for me to get behind, especially seeing as unrepentant he appears to be. I would not have been so upset had John McCain or Mitt Romney won the presidency, because although I disagreed with some of their policies (and agreed with others, for the record), I did not think either of those guys were fundamentally flawed or dangerous. Trump is, and that is why people are upset. And his flaws are echoed within some of those who have supported him. Trump has become their megaphone.

People have been ridiculing Black people for continually supporting a Democratic party that allegedly has done nothing for us. Yep, Black people historically supported the Republican party, until they flipped the script and we left the party in droves. In most elections, we are forced to vote using the “lesser of two evils” ideology. You would be hard pressed to find a Black person who truly believes that politicians have our best interests in mind. A lot of us believe that the government is too corrupt to act totally on our behalf, so we will accept legislation with positive effects that will eventually get to us-programs that will stimulate the entire economy. Name one that the Republican party has supported. It has been shown that the economy generally does better under Democratic presidents. When all of America is doing well, we benefit from that.

Let me make it plain…

I cannot get behind the current Republican party because of their hypocrisy, although I am not totally comfortable with the far-left leaning Democratic party.

republican-hypocrisy

I cannot get behind Donald Trump because of his historical racism and misogyny and current divisiveness, including, but not limited to, appointing well-known racists to his cabinet.

jeff sessions and trump.png

And I am truly disappointed with so-called Christians who are okay with the concept of other humans going hungry as opposed to contributing $36 a year to supporting social programs (WWJD?); disobeying Biblical principles on how we care for our poor and vulnerable populations (why would anyone ever want to reduce Social Security benefits or Medicare or Medicaid???); and terrorizing individuals that belong to minority groups on Saturday and then going to praise Jesus on Sunday.

thats-not-how-this-works

Just put it on paper already.

I am a tad frustrated but also feel a bit vindicated.

My Mystery Illness journey has been in full effect since January 2015. It has resulted in me no longer working and pulling back from a lot of activities that I would otherwise enjoy. It has resulted in a ton of uncertainty that makes it difficult to plan an agenda for even the next day simply because I have no idea how I will feel. I have been dismissed by a neurologist and a primary care doctor who decided they knew my body better than me, but in the meantime I have done my research, will be seeing a different neurologist and am prepared to demand a brain MRI with contrast and a spinal tap.

I stumbled upon this video today and it freaked me out. I’ll try to post the URL because I had no idea until just now that now I am expected to pay to post videos.

Spasms and Stiffness: Life with MS Spasticity

For those of you who would rather not click, this is video of a man living with MS that documents one of the weirdest, most annoying and until now unexplainable symptoms I have been having–muscle twitches in my legs, arms and even eyes. It freaked me out because it was confirmation for me that I am looking in the right direction in terms of a diagnosis. What is going on in that video is exactly what happens to me. I even have my own footage (which I am unable to upload, for whatever reasons).

I am glad to know that I am on the right track, even when doctors have attempted to convince me otherwise.

I will hopefully be in a better condition to post within the next few days. Today was a terrible day in terms of how I felt. I struggled to get the rest my body wanted (regardless of how I feel my baby still needs to be breastfed and changed and my little girl needs lunch and attention) and have been dealing with a terrible sharp headache and a neck so stiff I can barely move it. My hands feel like they want to cramp up and my fingers hurt. I might have to invest in a talk to type application.

I solicit your prayers, especially as I come up on November 30th, when I go to see the neuro.

I am happy.

It is good to be home.

I solicit the prayers of all who are willing. I am losing more and more control of my life. I am not able to drive, nor should I go somewhere unattended lest I pass out or get confused, overwhelmed and then dizzy. I am not confident handling financial matters because even if I write things down I forget where the notes are or can’t remember the conversation. I hate to have to put more on my husband but I have no choice. I almost blanked on my own Social Security number and phone number today.

Quick! Judges Chapter 8 Before the Baby Wakes Up!

During our last excursion into Judges, doubtful Gideon received clear messages from God that he would be successful–and, of course, keeping in line with the fact that when God says something, it is what it is, the victory comes to pass. However, the celebration is short-lived. At the beginning of Judges Chapter Eight, we see that the tribe of Ephraim is upset that they didn’t get to play a bigger role in the battle.

Then the people of Ephraim asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us this way? Why didn’t you send for us when you first went out to fight the Midianites?” And they argued heatedly with Gideon” (v. 1).

I wonder would they have been so willing to share in a loss? Probably not, but that is unimportant right now.

I admire Gideon’s response here. It reminds me of the oft-condescending responses we sometimes have to give people who crave attention and recognition just to shut them up, although Gideon’s response was probably sincere.

But Gideon replied, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t even the leftover grapes of Ephraim’s harvest better than the entire crop of my little clan of Abiezer? 3God gave you victory over Oreb and Zeeb, the commanders of the Midianite army. What have I accomplished compared to that?” When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, their anger subsided” (v. 2).

Whether he meant it or not, Gideon is weighing the actions of Ephraim heavier than his own. Apparently this pat on the back was sufficient. I’m not sure if it happened later, but it doesn’t seem that Ephraim properly credited the Lord for this victory.

Regardless, a win is a win, and Gideon’s confidence and faith has increased. He now leads his company of 300 (realize that he started out with 300, meaning during this battle not a single Israelite was killed) in their continued pursuit of the enemy, despite their exhaustion. When they reach a town named Succoth, Gideon asks the leaders there to supply his men with food as they pursue Zebah and Zalmunna, the Midianite kings.

The leaders of Succoth refuse, imploring Gideon to catch the kings first. Obviously they are afraid of what will happen to them if the Midianite kings live and find out they provided aid to the enemy. Gideon takes their refusal as disrespect, and vows to come back and tear their flesh with the thorns and briars from the wilderness after he has caught the kings.

Next Gideon and his men go to Peniel and make the same request for food. Again they are denied. Gideon vows to come back and tear down their tower.

At this point, the fullness of the previous victory is reiterated. Although Zebah and Zalmunna are hiding out with 15,000 warriors in a city called Karkor, that was all that was left of the army. One hundred and twenty thousand warriors had already been killed–completely routed by only 300 of  God’s men. Gideon and Co. come up against them in a surprise onslaught and capture them. After this, Gideon makes his way back from battle by way of Heres Pass. Now, I am unsure of the geography here, or even what Heres Pass is, but my assumption is that it is some kind of Interstate, if you will, that goes through Succoth and Peniel. As he is doing so, Gideon captures a man from Succoth and has him write down the names of all of the town’s 77 elders (apparently these are the leaders that denied the army’s request for food).

At Succoth, Gideon shows the leaders that he has indeed captured the Midianite kings and reminds them of how they refused food unless the kings were captured. Then he does exactly as he said he would do, punishing them with thorns and briars, and tearing down the tower at Peniel. Whether or not God told him to do that, or whether it was an unsolicited act of vengeance, I dunno. Either way it goes, the story continues.

Gideon has a brief exchange with Zebah and Zalmunna. He asks them, “The men you killed at Tabor–what were they like?” (paraphrased a tad from verse 18).

The Midianite kings respond that the men were like him, with the appearance of a king’s son, to which Gideon informs them that the men they killed were his brothers, and had they not killed his brothers, he would not kill them. Gideon then orders his oldest son Jester to kill them, but Jester is a young boy and is too afraid to even draw his son.

Being killed by a child is obviously not an honorable death, and the Midianite kings request that Gideon kill them instead of the boy.Gideon obliges them and takes the royal ornaments from around their necks of their camels.

Next we come upon a passage of Scripture that shows a major stumble committed by Gideon, although it may have been inadvertent. He is now a war hero, and the Israelites try to convince him to rule over them and be succeeded by his son and grandsons. So it is almost like they were attempting to establish a monarchy there. Gideon refuses, informing the people that neither he nor his son will rule over the people–that is the Lord’s job. That was definitely an admirable response, but here is where the stumble occurs: Gideon asks for each of the Israelites to give him an earring from among the plunder. Apparently it was tradition or custom for the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings. They have been collected and now Gideon wants one from each… family? Tribe? Warrior? I am not sure. He ends up with 43 pounds worth of gold earrings in addition to the royal ornaments from the camel’s necks and the purple robes worn by the Midianite kings.

Gideon uses the gold to make a sacred ephod, a trophy of sorts, which he takes back to his hometown of Oprah. The Bible tells us that “But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family” (v. 27b).

Isn’t that something? As opposed to worshiping the God that allowed them to have the victory in the first place? Admittedly, these Israelites are far removed from the golden calf worshiping Israelites of old, but it is always amazing to me whenever I read the Old Testament that the Israelites just never seemed to get it.I also marvel at how the Israelites’ story is so relevant to our life today. We will quickly accept and marvel at the things made by man’s hands while taking  God’s role in the creation of everything for granted or diminishing it.

Midian never recovered from Gideon’s victory. He returned home, and we learn that he had seventy sons born to him by many wives. He also had a concubine in Shechem who bore him a son named Abimelech, who turns out to be a problem. Gideon dies, and can you guess what happens?

I’m sure you already know. The Israelites return right back to their Baal-worshiping ways.

My baby keeps waking up. Last night it was my middle child, Layla, who apparently wanted some attention, and understandably so. A lot of time revolves around Jayden and his schooling and then the baby, often times leaving Layla to her own devices. She is typically an independent little soul anyway… if Jayden is not at home, she usually entertains herself for the majority of the day until I make her lunch, read with her, practice her letters, etc.. But every now and then she wants Mommy and/or Daddy to pay her some unsolicited attention. It is easier for her to get Daddy to herself, since I am nursing Jayla, but now that Jayla is starting solid foods I am looking forward to the chance to take both my son and daughter out separately and spend some alone time with them. As well as with my husband.

It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and while I believe that to be true, too much absence cannot be healthy for a marriage. Which is why I believe no matter what the circumstances married couples have to eke out a few minutes of alone time somehow each day. Even if it is to send some sweet texts back and forth while one is at work, or leave each other little love notes on the steering wheel for one to see on his or her way to work, we have to focus on our love for each other each day. We affirm our kids regularly, why not our spouse? I find myself getting lonely and feeling isolated and unhappy when I don’t get regular alone time with my husband. Even if he has gotten on my last nerve the day before, I still desire oneness with him. I didn’t come into this whole marital thing expecting an easy-peasy fairy-tale type deal. No, I knew it was going to be work, and that we both had to be dedicated. I think the worst is behind us… we have gotten used to each other in terms of being angry with one another. But I find out new things about him even now, almost eleven years later. I love keeping things new and fresh.

So although I am looking forward to this weekend, which is a rare weekend where we have NO obligations, I am hoping that AFTER we hang out with the children we can just kick back and watch a movie alone. That’s all I  need.

I majorly digress. What can we get from chapter 8? The biggest lesson I’ve learned thus far is this: If God gives you a job to do, trust that He has equipped you, prepared you, and ordered your steps so that you will be successful. God is not going to lead you into a battle and abandon you. I understand Gideon… it was probably the last thing he ever expected in the world to become a hero. But when God calls someone to do His work, God is going to make sure that whatever resources that person needs are made available so that He might have the glory.

Even in the face of adversity, we have to trust God. Faced with a monumental task? Trust God. Give your cares over to Him, and trust Him. I know it’s not always easy, but you know what..? The more you do it, the better you get at it…. Faith has to be exercised to be strengthened. I’ll use my unknown condition as an example. Although I have understandable concerns about my future, particularly in terms of how I will best be able to serve my family, I am confident that God will make a way. How can I be so confident? Because I have cast my cares upon Him before, and in each instance He has proven to be more than capable.

Try Him!

Yes, we celebrated Halloween…

I know there is controversy among Christian parents as to whether or not kids should dress up for Halloween. Welp, I am throwing my own opinion out there.

With proper teaching I have found it to be harmless.

I have dressed up for Halloween every year since I was a very small child and never once did it interfere with my relationship with God. And I need to do more research on the background of the holiday, but early research in my twenties suggested that the origin of Halloween had nothing to do with witches or the occult. Instead it seems as though it came from a day set aside for honoring the dead. After all, doesn’t the word “hallow” mean “holy”, or to honor as holy?

Both of my older children are secure in their belief in Jesus. My son, being older, has a full understanding of who Jesus is and what He did to secure our salvation. My daughter, being only 4, knows the basics and we are pleased with what she knows thus far. I am confident they will continue on in the faith, and we will train our baby girl accordingly. So if for one day out of the year they want to wear a fun costume and get candy, so be it.

Admittedly, my husband and I cut down on the trick-or-treating. People just aren’t as honest as they used to be. The youth at our church hosted a Movie Night/Harvest Fest where the kids came dressed in their costumes, watched Monster House, ate chili dogs and popcorn, and left with a full bag of candy. That was the Friday before Halloween. On Halloween proper, we let the kids put on their costumes again, but only to go to select houses on our street. They spent most of the time in the house handing out candy and listening to festive Halloween music. It was a fun time.

14884649_1054817351294381_4949091350457338842_o

In the last few weeks I have been doing my best to put my best me forward. It is getting increasingly more difficult. I am trying my best to meet all of my obligations, but per the restrictions of this mystery illness, which is becoming more and more consuming, I am finding myself developing new symptoms almost daily. I was lucky enough to score an appointment with the very kind neurologist who I saw last year–an appointment that did not come easily.

This entire ordeal reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of the Golden Girls (which, for anyone who knows me, is my favorite show of all time). It actually was two episodes, Sick and Tired Parts I and II, when the usually very strong and resilient Dorothy Zbornak found herself plagued by a mystery illness. During her visit to a specialist in New York, she is dismissed as possibly being depressed due to her status as a single woman and because of her age. Obviously I am not that old, nor am I single, but I felt as though I was treated dismissively by the first neurologist I visited, one who didn’t acknowledge any symptoms other than my migraine headaches, and then asked if I was depressed. This after I poured my heart out to her, embarrassed and angry that I could not even properly fulfill my most important role–that of being a mother.

As I have mentioned, the symptoms dissipated during my pregnancy. Jayla is now four months old (going on five this month) and the initial symptoms have come back aggressively and brought some friends along. Each day I am plagued by myriad problems, such as headaches, either sharp or throbbing; a weird pressure or fullness in my ears; balance problems; dizziness and/or lightheadedness; sharp pains in my chest; constipation; itchy skin for no obvious reason; twitching muscles in my legs, arms and even eyes; hand cramps and pain; general pain throughout my entire body; ridiculous confusion and memory problems; issues with speech, including difficulty finding words or putting sentences together; difficulty following or even establishing instructions; numbness in my extremities and occasional tingling; an occasional feeling as though something is crawling on me; sensitivity to heat, visual disturbances that have decreased my confidence in my ability to drive, thus further diminishing my independence… I could go on. It is an extremely disruptive condition, whatever it is.

As such, I am finding that it is harder for me to function as I normally would, and THAT is, indeed, depressing. Over the past few weeks I have been looking longingly at pictures of me as a happy, healthy, well-proportioned, athletic youth, specifically pictures of me engaging in sports–basketball, softball, volleyball, track. I have pictures of myself on the playground or outside with my two oldest kids. THAT is who I am, or at least that is who I am supposed to be. Not this person who gets tired in the middle of cooking a meal and has to take a break. Where is my stamina? What happened to my endurance?

The physical aspects are troubling, but the cognitive problems are what would drive me to depression before anything else. I have spent a great deal of time and have the student loan debt to show for the fact that I love education. I am an inquisitive person. Always have been. I have always liked to read challenging material and push my brain matter to its neuronal limits. Now I have a hard time retrieving even simple words from my once vast cache of vocabulary. I cannot quickly add even two-digit numbers together. You know what my biggest fears are right now?

  1. I’ll be a total burden to my husband. I already feel like a partial burden, as I am not working, but I imagine myself bedridden, unable to take care of the house and our kids, and that to me might as well be a death sentence–I would feel completely useless.
  2. Looking stupid. It might seem simplistic to some, especially since I know that there are people out in the world who are fighting much worse conditions and diseases. I know that there are some people who are living out their last months or weeks of life. I sympathize and pray for them but I am honest. I picture myself in a public setting and finding myself unable to get a word out, or standing at a cash register and having difficulty counting out change while a line of impatient customers forms behind me. Now, I am already Black, so that increases my anxiety about being perceived as uneducated. I just don’t like it.

I have been praying, but it is not necessarily for God to remove this cup from me. If I have an incurable condition, so be it. I am no better than the millions of other people who have a chronic illness, and that just means it was in God’s plan for me and He will help me through it. I have been praying that there is a name for this, that it can be detected, and so I can do my research and find out how to best move forward with my life. There are so many questions I have. If I have a chronic illness, it would be best not to have any more children, yes or no? I mean, my body could probably support another pregnancy, but do I want to have more kids that I won’t have the energy or mobility to actively raise, per my motherhood standards? Would I be a candidate for disability benefits, or would I possibly be able to work at least part-time despite my symptoms, given they can be managed with lifestyle modifications, or something I am less enthused about, medication?

I need an answer.

Judges 6 & 7: Ready, Set…GO!

Well, well, well.

I had the luxury of resting the vast majority of the day, and I am still exhausted, weak and in pain.

I am tired of being tired, I tell you.

I’m going to get right into Judges before I go off on another tangent and end up with a one million word post though🙂

I have also realized that as much as I would like I am probably not going to have the time to do five chapters regularly on here. I’m still going to try, but more than likely there will be one or two.

We left off on Judges Chapter Five, with Deborah leading a victory song. After Deborah judges the nation, enter Gideon in Chapter Six.

Let me back up a tad. As you already know, the Israelites have established a national pattern on godly living under a judge, sin, oppression as a result of the sin, repentance, and deliverance via a God-appointed judge. Before we get to Gideon, they are in the sin phase, which results in them being turned over to the Midianites for seven years. The Midianite oppression was exceptionally cruel. The Israelites apparently were run off their land, because the Bible records them as having to hide out in mountains, caves and strongholds (v. 2). The Midianites also starved the Israelites. Each time the Israelites planted crops, their oppressors would destroy them, and they would take their sheep, cattle and donkeys. Basically the Midianites ruined the very livelihood of Israel.

When the people cry out to the Lord for help, he sends them an unnamed prophet who, per the formula, reminds the people of their wrongdoing–specifically, their sin of idol worship. After this encounter, THE angel of the Lord (I believe to be Jesus) comes to Gideon, son of Joash.

It is interesting to see what Gideon is doing when he receives his call. He is “threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites” (v. 11). Basically, he is taking part in a process to produce foodstuffs in private, lest the Midianites come and destroy or take it. How the mighty nation of Israel has fallen.

The angel informs Gideon that the Lord is with him, but Gideon is ignorantly hesitant. I say ignorant because of his following comment: If I may paraphrase, he asks, and I assume with some attitude, “if the Lord has been with us, then why has all this been allowed to happen? Whatever happened to all of those miracles our ancestors told us about?” (v. 13).

I can’t even blame Gideon for his ignorance. As previous Scriptures have told us, the generation that came before Gideon had NOT educated their children as to the goodness of the Lord. True education has to include the fact that disobedience brings about consequences. Yes, the Lord has always been capable of performing miracles and did so for the Israelites all throughout their history, but there is something Gideon was not understanding. Even now, people feel that God owes them something, that He is supposed to just bless and bless and protect and bless some more despite man’s evil ways. It doesn’t work like that. There has to be obedience.

As I often do, I think of the relationship between us and God as a parent-child relationship to the nth degree. As parents, we reward our children for their obedience. Even if it is not with material rewards, they might be rewarded with other privileges. But what we don’t do, or should never do, is to encourage disobedience by rewarding it, diminishing it, or turning a blind eye. If we know our child is doing something wrong, we don’t play into it, right? That would mean we are condoning it. For example, my son has a phone now. I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of him having one, to be honest. My husband and I have already informed him that he is not allowed to put a passcode on the phone and that we will be looking through it whenever we feel the need to in order to see what he is doing. He claims he wanted the phone so he could text his little friends, which he typically does from my phone. I had reviewed several of his conversations and they were about innocent little ten-year-old boy stuff… movies, school, etc. But let me find out he is sending or receiving inappropriate pictures, for example. The phone will go bye-bye. I’m not going to upgrade his phone to a model with a better camera, right?

We do these things for our kids because we know best. God does what he does because as creator and sustainer of this world, he knows best. He knows when to pull his hand, and he had to do so many times with stubborn Israel, as he has to do with stubborn Christians even today. Same song and dance, different times.

Interestingly enough, the next passage says this:

“Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (v. 14).

See that?

The Bible would not have referred to a mere angel as the Lord. This is, again, why I believe when the Bible refers to THE angel of the Lord, it is a reference to pre-incarnate Jesus.

Gideon is not finished questioning the angel. He belongs to the weakest clan in Manasseh, but I wonder, on what grounds are they considered weak? Is the weakness due to them being split (we often see references made to the “half-tribe of Manasseh”). Or is it because they failed to clear the Canaanites from their land? Regardless of the reasoning, Gideon doesn’t understand that the strength will to accomplish the goal of removing Israel from Midianite oppression will come from God. Gideon asks for a sign to prove that the angel is really of the Lord. He goes home and prepares an offering for the Lord, a goat and bread made without yeast:

“The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told.  Then the angel of the lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the lord disappeared” (vv.20-21).

This is proof to Gideon that this angel truly has been sent by God. He is afraid, because the understanding was if one saw the face of God they would die. The Lord calms Gideon’s fears, and Gideon builds an altar there. However, as we will soon see, this does not end Gideon’s doubt.

That evening, the Lord gives Gideon his first task. He is to take a seven-year-old bull from his father’s flock, prepare it as a sacrifice, and tear down the altar to Baal and Asherah pole that is Joash’s. Then Gideon is to build a proper altar to God and sacrifice the bull, using the wood from the Asherah pole to fuel the sacrificial fire.

The Bible says that Gideon did as he was told, but he took ten of his servants. I know this might be totally insignificant, and we shouldn’t insert words in the Bible where there aren’t any, but since Gideon has previously been doubtful of God I wonder if he was supposed to take these servants with him? God gave HIM the job. However, I imagine that tearing down an altar and pole might require a lot of work, so maybe him taking the ten servants wasn’t that big a deal. Regardless, we are told that while Gideon tore down the idol worship materials and built the new altar, he did so at night because he was scared of what might happen if others saw him.

What is done in the darkness always comes to the light. In the morning, people are infuriated when they see what has become of their altar and pole. They demand to know the identity of the offender. Gideon thought he was safe because he committed his Godly deed at night..? Wrong. Someone ALWAYS sees. Or perhaps a servant had told on him? Either way it goes, a careful search was done, and it was discovered that Gideon, son of Joash, was the guilty party. The men of the town go to Joash and demand that Gideon be handed over for execution.

Joash is not having it. He makes an interesting argument, informing the people that if their confidence is in Baal as a god, he should be able to avenge the wrongdoing on his own.

“…Why are you defending Baal? Will you argue his case? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If Baal truly is a god, let him defend himself and destroy the one who broke down his altar!” From then on Gideon was called Jerub-baal, which means “Let Baal defend himself,” because he broke down Baal’s altar” (vv. 31-32).

God has kept Gideon safe from execution in this instance, but Gideon is still doubtful. Several armies join together in alliance and prepare to battle Israel. While they are camped in the valley of Jezreel, the Spirit of God comes upon Gideon and “clothed him in power” (v. 34). Gideon uses a ram’s horn to signify impending battle and men from the clan of Abiezer (the clan he belongs to) arrive. Gideon also sends messengers to the rest of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, and they all respond, sending their warriors.

I can’t blame Gideon for getting nervous here, I truly can’t. This is brand new territory for him. Remember he fully believes his clan is the weakest. See the futility in labels? That’s why even today it makes no sense to throw a label on anyone, because we never know what God has in store for them. But I digress. Gideon is understandably nervous, and he asks God for another sign that what he is about to do is REALLY what he is supposed to be doing. He designs a test using a wool fleece:

Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water” (vv. 36-38).

Proof enough, right?

Nope.

Asking the Lord not to be angry with him, Gideon asks for yet another sign. I kind of wonder if he was hoping he wouldn’t get the sign, and thus be released from his responsibility. It’s highly possible that he was just full of doubt and did not yet understand that the power he had was coming directly from the originator of all power:

Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew” (vv. 39-40).

Welp, now that that’s over, time for battle, right?

It sure is! In chapter seven, Gideon, here referred to as Jerub-Baal, rises early in the morning and rallies his army. God has to put some final touches on the army. I’m sure it was a great surprise to Gideon when the Lord told him he had too many men. In typical God fashion, he has a very good reason as to why  Gideon needs to release some of his troops–because God is using Gideon and his army to his glory, and if thousands of men overtake the enemy, the victory would be attributed to the number and strength of Gideon’s army, not God. In order for God to properly show his strength, Gideon needed to shed some of his army. God has a way for Gideon to decide who is to go and who is to stay.

First, the men are given the option to leave. For those who are too timid to go, they can leave, and 22,000 of them do just that–can you imagine, TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND??? That leaves behind 10,000. God says that is still too large a number. In order to further dwindle the numbers, Gideon is told to lead the men to a nearby spring and separate the men into two groups–men that use their hands to cup the water and use their tongues to lap it up like dogs, and men who kneel and drink directly from the spring. Only 300 men cupped the water. They are the ones who will go with Gideon into battle. Gideon sends the rest of the men home.

That night, the Lord tells Gideon that it is time to shine. He tells Gideon that he will be victorious, but interestingly enough, allows Gideon an opportunity to get further confirmation. Again, I cannot say I blame Gideon for being hesitant. But recall that he had asked for several signs and received them. It is obvious that God knows Gideon’s heart (as he does all of us) and offers him a chance to either go right into battle or go with his servant Purah to the Midianite camp and overhear a conversation that is taking place among the Midianites. Gideon does just that, and the conversation strengthens his resolve. Basically, he finds out that A-HA!  It is just as God said it is:

“Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!” His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!” (vv. 13-14).
This confirmation from man gives Gideon more confidence than did the confirmation from the Lord. Either way it goes, Gideon is ready to move forward. He divides the men into three groups of ten, gives each group a clay jar with a torch in it and a ram’s horn, and tells them to follow his lead. It was just after midnight and the enemy camp has just changed guards (so basically the company in charge of keeping watch has retired for the night, and a new company is on watch). This is when Gideon and the 100 men with him approach the enemy camp. When they reach the edge, they blew their ram’s horns and broke their jars. The other two camps of men follow suit. Holding their blazing torches in their left hands and the ram’s horn in their right hands, the men shout: “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” And it’s on.
The sudden onslaught throws the Midianites into chaos and panic. They rush about the camp, confused, shouting and trying to escape. When the 300 Israelite men blow their ram’s horns, the Lord caused so much confusion as to where the Midianite men turned their swords on each other. Those who were not killed in the fracas flee to nearby areas.
Gideon sends for warriors from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher and Manasseh to help them continue their pursuit of the remaining Midianites. He also invites men from Ephraim to cut the escapees off at the Jordan River. The men of Ephraim do just that and successfully capture Oreb and Zeeb, the two  Midianite commanders, kill them and bring their heads to Gideon.

I need to rest now. I have to be ready early in the morning. For the past few weeks my baby has been congested and as such she has not been sleeping too well, which means that yours truly isn’t sleeping well either. Then there is my son, who would forget his head if it weren’t attached to his body. It is admittedly very frustrating sometimes trying to get him to be more responsible. I kind of wonder why I have to remind a ten-year-old to handle his own personal hygiene, as I remember when I was ten no one had to tell me to brush my teeth or wash the sleep crust from my eyes–but then again, we’re talking about a little boy here. So I don’t have to keep repeating myself one thousand times and so he can get into a little routine, I put a checklist on the back of the bathroom door as to what he needs to do before he leaves in the morning and another checklist on the back of the front door so he can make sure before he leaves the house he has everything he needs. The other morning I made the obviously huge mistake of not getting up, after my husband told me to go ahead and lay back down. LOL. Jayden forgot his clarinet, his belt, and put on the wrong shirt. I assume that means I don’t have the option of sleeping in anymore. Ah well. Kids.

He’s work but I love him to absolute death. It’s part of being a parent. He brings more joy than he does anything negative, and I’m looking forward to watching him grow up, even though the idea of him being a man depresses me just a tad–because he was such an enjoyable baby. My son loves his baby sister–my other daughter, I know he loves her but they have a love-hate thing going on, LOL… They argue and pick at each other quite a bit, and sometimes when my son gets with their cousin, who is a bit older than Layla, he will forget about his sister, and that irritates me, but he is a sweet sensitive tenderhearted guy who I know will make a good husband one day. I’m making sure of that. Speaking of which, here is another meme I found to be offensive. Please excuse the grammatical error, but the other one I had originally viewed had a curse word in it that I don’t want attached to my blog.

Image result for men cooking meme

WRONG.

I fully explained to Jayden that once he turned ten his life lessons would be kicked into overdrive. At this point, I have approximately eight years to get him ready to possibly live on his own. He needs to know how to do everything a “woman” is supposed to do. I don’t know what universe the author of this meme comes from, or why he believes a man should be waiting on a woman to cook, especially considering the fact that people are marrying later–so what is a man doing before he gets married, eating out every day? Hopefully not. And isn’t it nice for a husband to be able to cook just in case something happens to his wife, for instance, if she gets sick and cannot use her hands, like I can’t sometimes???

Sons and daughters need to know how to take care of a house, cook, manage their money, perform simple car maintenance. Basically, Adulting 101. I understand Biblical times where the man was the breadwinner and the wife stayed home. Nowadays a lot of families need two incomes just to make ends meet. I’m not saying that is a gold standard, either, because I feel terrible for families that are forced to put their babies in the hands of a stranger at a daycare because they have to work, when they’d rather have a parent stay at home. Something’s gotta give. Either way this meme is garbage. I like this one better.

Image result for men cooking meme