Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Parenthood as an Option

I've been thinking a lot about something the Dancer said to me the other day. We've been talking about the role of marriage and having children in our current society. So many secular couples decide that they absolutely don't want children, or that they'll have them "when they're ready," whatever that means. Even if "when they're ready" gets pushed into their thirties, or even later. At which point they freak about being infertile, but that could be a whole separate post.

Anyway, I think that the Christian couple should definitely have children, if God blesses them with offspring. There are many couples who deal with the pain of infertility; there is a blog out there run by Lutherans for families who deal with this. But there are Christian couples out there who aren't having children at all, and I'm not certain that is the Christian way to do things. Of course, when I really thought about it, "being Christian equals having children," isn't something specifically mandated in the Bible, is it? God tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth. Is that just meant for filling the earth? But also, God also talks about how children are a blessing, a heritage, from the Lord. And He talks in the Bible about putting the lonely in families. Despite St. Paul's praise for the single life, it seems like most often the family is God's ideal for how people should live. A man and a woman, joined in holy matrimony, bringing up children in the way they should go.

What the Dancer said, though, was when we were talking about a friend of hers. This friend is one of four kids. Mom has abandoned the family, and Dad is not always a great father. Not bad enough for social services, definitely, but sometimes rather absent with affection and effort. I said perhaps the parents should not have had children at all. The Dancer quickly pointed out that I've previously said people should have children. I did say that. So, what then? I told her, then, that they should have grown up and accepted parental responsibilities. But that doesn't seem like something that is done very often today either. See Wendy Davis as an example. She is running for elected office mainly on her status as a "single mother," when for a lot of time she wasn't even the primary parent because it wasn't "a good time" for to be a mother! Wasn't a good time? The good time to be a mother, is when you have kids.

I keep going back to what the Dancer said to me. All I've ever wanted to do was be a wife and mother, as primary vocation. Should you have a calling to be a parent, or should you do it because it's what God wants? Certainly not everyone is called to marriage.

Being a parent isn't easy, but then neither is being a grown-up. People not only want to put off child-rearing; they want to put off marriage, as I've written about previously. Instead, it's all about you, all the time. Wendy Davis left her kids behind literally for her career and her ambitions. You shouldn't even get married until you have a great career, and you've traveled the world, and done a bunch of other stuff that somehow is necessary to do. And then you shouldn't have kids until you're ready. And then what? Are we going to end up like Japan? A very large percentage of young men and women show no interest in getting married, or even dating. They're too wrapped up in their careers. In other words, themselves.

I'm definitely not perfect at this, but part of being a family is living for something beside the self. Definitely within a marriage, even more so with kids. Spouses, after all, are generally able to care for themselves. Babies need everything done for them, and even as they grow, they still need things like laundry and cooking done for them for many years; money has to be spent for their clothes, toys, school needs. Driving them places seems never-ending. But I'm afraid, as fallen humans, that society won't stop in the pursuit of selfishness until it ends up like the Japanese. A healthy society is one that values marriage and family. Maybe that's because God designed it that way?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Latest Sewing Project

I've temporarily gone from sewing to cleaning up/re-organizing my sewing area. I got to a point where having so much clutter slowed me down too much; it was harder to try to work around the clutter than to just try to neaten things up. But I never put up a picture of a project I worked on back in November, a pair of dance shorts for the Dancer.

I've heard lots of good things about Jalie patterns for making dancewear, so I picked up Jalie 3247, Crop Tops and Shorts in 24 sizes. That link will take you to the pattern, being sold by msbonnieb on eBay. Jalie is a Canadian company, and they don't seem to have a lot of retailers in the U.S. It was easiest for me to go the eBay route.

Here is a picture of the pattern mostly laid out on my sewing table. I wish this would have come in more than one paper piece. As you can see, some of those larger pattern pieces are huge, and having to maneuver that large sheet of paper around got a little difficult.

And above you can see how the shorts turned out! She likes them, although they are a little low in the rise for her. But she wears a leotard under them, so it's not too bad, and I think she's gotten used to them. I have enough material left over from making the girls bathing suits, many years ago, that I can make several pairs of shorts for the Dancer, making the pattern a pretty good investment! I have the next pair of shorts, the other pattern view, almost done; I just need some red thread for the hemming and attaching the elastic. I hate going to JoAnn's anymore, and the smaller sewing stores don't always have convenient hours. I may just have to mail order. I'm a little unhappy with having to do that for such a small purchase, but those red shorts have been almost done for quite a while now!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Even More on Marriage

Someone else has taken on the important task of encouraging young women to put off that boring growing up stuff, and spend some more time in the kiddie pool. Her name is Ms. Vanessa Elizabeth, and she writes for the Huffington Post. Rather than give her screed more hits, I point you to a rebuttal of her rather juvenile prattling, this time written by Katrina Fernandez at patheos. I'm not sure how old Fernandez is, but as a matron of forty-five, I find Ms. Vanessa to be rather quaint, like a toddler. Also like a toddler, however, she has apparently never developed the ability to look past her own immediate wants.

Yes, Ms. Thang will get some laughs out of hanging out naked in front of a window and making strangers uncomfortable in a public place, just like a toddler might find it funny to fling poo. And making out with a stranger, or dating two people at once until it blows up in your face, that's all just fun and games. Until coming home from your job and watching a marathon session of Girls while eating an entire jar of Nutella just doesn't cut it anymore. The problem is, a large part of your age group, if they are smart, will have long ago moved on and grown up. They'll have learned important lessons about not only about a maintaining a lifelong marital relationship, but about friendship, and aging, and grief. If they've been blessed with children, they'll have learned even more about unconditional love and sacrifice. They'll all be in the summer of their lives, but some of them will have planted seeds that will provide fruit to last them into the fall and winter seasons of their lives. Vanessa and her ilk will just be struggling to get some plants started in rocky soil. Which path sounds wiser to you?

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Pony Powered

So in the world of My Little Pony, the city of Manehatten still has horse-drawn carriages. Well, technically horse-drawn taxicabs. So is it more or less exploitative of ponies to ride in horse-drawn carriages than it is of humans to do so?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Snowed In

The weather outside is frightful at Casa de Evil Genius. There's a couple feet of snow piled up outside the back door, but it's hard to tell how much of that is snow drift considering the wind is also blowing pretty hard. Fortunately, Mr. BTEG is on vacation from work, and the girls are still on school vacation. Mr. BTEG went out to buy groceries so the fridge is stocked, and we're ready to settle in and wait for the storm to finish. And as Small Dead Animals points out, thank God for fossil fuels as we sit here with warmth, light and computers.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Happy New Year to all my readers, and I do hope this year is happy. Politically, it's looking like it's going to be a real train wreck, but I hope as many of us as possible can find happiness in our families and friendly communities.

I do have things I'd like to accomplish this year, but I'm balancing that with the fact that life tends to get in the way quite a bit with me at the moment. If the Musician can get her driver's license this month, that will be a big help. I like having plans and goals to strive for; it keeps me motivated. But I'm going to keep them secret for now.

What's going on with you for 2014?