Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I love to travel and U.S. Cellular Keeps Me Connected

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post from U.S. Cellular.  All opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

I love to travel.  When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me my room had more maps hanging on the walls than the school did.  I'd sit and study maps for hours dreaming of places I'd never been, wondering what life would be like there, and eventually getting interested in penpals because I wanted to learn about other places.  I read every book about places our library had.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sexual Abuse, Victim Blaming, and Josh Duggar

When my husband showed me the news story about Josh Duggar, I was not surprised.   What I was surprised about is that the media finally picked up on it.  How I knew this years ago I'm not sure, but I did.  I remember references to Jim Bob talking about "sin in the camp".  Anyone who didn't see something like this coming had their head in the sand if for no other reason that one in four girls and one in six boys are abused sexually.  When you have nineteen children, statistics say there will be some in your family who will be sexually abused.

There are some things that are bothering me about this, and things I have heard very few people mention.   Where are the victims?

First off, let's ask who the victims are.  This is not normal behavior for a teenager.   I can't help but wonder if Josh learned this behavior from a predator himself.  If so, this is something that has not been mentioned.  Still, he is responsible for his behavior.

Where are Josh's victims?  I'll tell you where they are -- having one of the most painful things that has ever happened to them all over the place.  Can you imagine the looks his sisters are getting when they go to the grocery store?   When they go to church?  When they pick up diapers for their children?  No person of sexual abuse needs to have their story plastered all over the media.  It doesn't need to be covered up, but if everyone wouldn't have said 'sisters' their identity would have been protected and they could have processed their pain in private like most victims of sexual abuse.

Another concern I have is the purity culture in which the Duggars are in.  Sometimes this is victim blaming.  I was in college in the 1990s when the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye gained popularity.  This is when I saw the rise of purity culture among mainstream Christians, and learned about victim blaming.   There was a girl I was friends with who was sexually assaulted one night.  When she told a Christian worker about it, this girl was told that she needed to be held accountable with her actions around men.   I don't see that someone who is a victim of sexual abuse should be held accountable for what someone did to her.

I had another friend who was sexually abused before she was a teenager.  I remember her telling me that it was her fault and that no man would ever marry her because she was "used".

What is done to you is NOT your fault   If you are reading this, and this is the first time you have heard this, PLEASE believe me.  You may have physically enjoyed the way the abuse felt.  It is still not your fault.  It may have been the most heinous hour of your life.  It is still not your fault.  You may have been wearing a bikini or a burqua.  It is still not your fault. You may have been drunk.  I am not sure about other states, but if you are drunk in West Virginia, anything that is done to you is considered sexual abuse and it is not your fault.

Please know you are not used.   You are not damaged property, and there will be someone who loves you enough out there to understand what happened to you and will want to marry you.   Please know that forgiveness doesn't mean you have to put yourself in a situation to be hurt again.  There are people who have hurt me, but I don't dwell on it.   I may not speak to them, but that doesn't mean that I brood over the wrongs they did to me.  Forgiveness if for yourself only so you can move on, and if you can't forgive right away, it means you are processing your pain and that can also be a great thing.   Forgiveness is a process and happens as healing comes.  Don't let anyone push you, and don't let anyone define your journey for you.  Your experience is as unique as you are.

If you have never talked about your abuse, I encourage you to tell someone.  Here are some numbers that may be helpful:  Please be careful clicking links if you live with your abuser and your abuser might see your internet history.

RAINN (Rape and Incest National Network) 1-800-656-HOPE  (4673)  http://centers.rainn.org/

My local area:

Garrett County Maryland:
The Dove Center  301-334-9000  http://www.gcdovecenter.org/index.php

North Central West Virginia
Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center 304-292-5100  http://rdvic.org/

Monday, July 13, 2015

Why Back To School Sales Should Interest you -- Even if you don't have School Aged Children

I don't have children, school aged or otherwise, but I'm really looking forward to the school supply sales.  Why?  Well, for one reason I'm an office supply junkie.  The other reason is because I love bargains.  So why should you be interested in back to school sales?

1.   Christmas.   What do you need at Christmas time?   Tape.  Scissors.  More tape because you misplaced that last roll.  Pens.  These things don't expire, so the perfect time to buy them is at Back to School.   Also, sales on fun notebooks, pencils, etc. make good gifts to children.  I know when I was in school, it was near mid-year that I needed new notebooks.  My parents never bought extra, so they had to pay full price.  If you are making a gift of notebooks, don't use the cheap notebooks, but the ones that are fun.  Also, Crayola items are often on sale and these make great stocking stuffers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

An Interesting Observation on Marriage Advice

I've been married under two months.  I don't think that makes me an expert on marriage by any stretch of the imagination.  I do, however, want to talk about marriage advice that was given us and give a few suggestions if you are giving advice to newlyweds or those soon to be married.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Land of the Living

I woke this morning with an old Christian song going through my head, "It's time to get back to the land of the living".   While the song actually talks about is forgiveness, but I keep thinking about "The Land of the Living".

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review: 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage Review

FTC disclaimer:  I received an advanced reading copy of this book to facilitate my review.  This post does contain affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

I've been married for about five weeks.  Some people are probably wondering why I feel qualified to review a book on marriage.  A fact that has surprised several friends recently is I am no stranger to reading books on marriage.  I heard a speaker in high school say we should read up on subjects that interest us and that are important to us.  I've always wanted to get married, so I started reading books on marriage at that time.  After all, your marriage is your most important human relationship.  I know a number of people would say that is incorrect and your most important human relationship should be your child.  I disagree, because I feel like a child will thrive more if he knows both parents love each other.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Why I wish Family Christian's Reading Program Existed 30 years ago!

FTC disclaimer:   This is a sponsored post by Family Christian.  It contains affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

I always loved to read.  I always hated in first grade we had to circle all vowels and color all pictures on our worksheets every day before we could go to the reading nook and read.  There was this girl, who also shared my first name who was quicker at that, and she got to go to the reading corner more often.  I'd look on with envy as she was there with an open book when I had to color pictures.  To make matters even worse, she had a cooler last name than I did because it came before mine in the alphabet.  She got to read, and she was Jennifer "1".  Add in the fact that my last name was Short, there was no way I wanted to go by Jennifer 2 Short.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Judging -- When you don't know the whole story.

We go to a church in our closest city when we are able.  It's a little over two hours away and it gives us a lot of discussion time being in the car that long.  We often discuss what the homily or youth group was focused on.  Even though we are adults, we are welcome in the youth group as we have a good relationship not only with this church but many of the teens.

One of the many topics we discussed recently was how there are so many different ways of judging others.  There's the obvious "What you are doing is a sin" way of judging others, but sometimes we can be judging just because we don't know the whole story.

An example of this is some years back I had hundreds of McDonalds monopoly pieces that were winners for free food.  I had sent away for a lot of game pieces, and had way too many.  I gave a huge amount to a local church to give to those who might not be able to afford lunch otherwise.  If someone were to see a family each one with a meal that costs about $5 and you suspected they were on welfare, would your first thought be that they got it free or that they shouldn't be allowed to eat there because they should save their money.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Basics of Winning Sweepstakes and Contests

FTC disclaimer:  Most of my blog posts do contain affiliate links.

This is this blog's most popular post, and I've revised it slightly since it originally published in July 2010.

I love to enter sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways. I think it's no secret I get slightly annoyed when I mention something I've won and I get the comment, "You're so lucky" or "I've never met anyone as lucky as you."  While luck has a bit to do with it, I see sweepstakes as just a numbers game.  Contests rely on skill and therefore there is no luck involved.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post from U.S. Cellular.  All opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

Did you know that June is Internet Safety Month?  (Personally I think every month should be Internet Safety Month, but this is a good time to remind everyone about the cautions of social media in our lives.)

The Pew Research Center found that 74% of teens 12-17 access the Internet on a Smart Phone, tablet, or other mobile device, at least on occasion.  I remember when the big safety suggestion was having one computer in the house and having it in a public area.  That's not realistic these days to help safeguard your kids, so one of the most important things is not giving them a Smart Phone until they show enough maturity to use it properly.   But this is also a little difficult because there are so many things for children to access -- TV shows, magazines, music, videos, and even books.