The Flu: A Sure Sign You Don't Love Jesus

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Before you start commenting just bear with me, as I understand how ludicrous the title is, but that's the point. Can you imagine walking up to a friend and telling them you have the flu only for them to respond: "Well, the flu is usually a sign that you are not right in your walk with God." I personally know that when you walk into Church with a cold most people comfort you and instead say something like: "Oh, I had that last week! I hear it's going around. I hope you feel better."  Yet mental illness, of any kind, is considered a reflection of the individual. 
The idea that mental illness is a purely spiritual affliction is one that dates back to Biblical times and is carried on into modern times. Mental illness and epilepsy were often seen as demonic possession or a punishment from God in the early Church and Middle Ages.[1] Thus, as God’s living representatives on earth, the Church saw fit to punish those afflicted by mental illness. Martin Luther argues that suicidal, “persons do not die by free choice or by law…they do not wish to kill themselves but are overcome by the power of the devil…Magistrates should treat them quite strictly.”[2] Those who gave into melancholy, or depression, by ending their life were severely punished after death to set an example to others. The deceased victim’s body was often drug through the street, dismembered, and refused a Christian burial. The suicide victims’ family was then refused their property and it was acquired by the Church or local magistrates. This made suicide a lucrative and powerful tool for the Church to use to enrich itself and condemn other sects of Christianity. Catholics, Calvinists, Lutherans, and Anglicans all used suicide as evidence of the false teaching of one another in the hopes of dissuading would be converts.[3]
            It was not until the Enlightenment that mental illness was viewed as a medical illness instead of a spiritual illness. The works that bridged the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment often straddled the world of religion and science. Clergyman Robert Burton gives the causes of melancholy, in 1621, as either supernatural or natural, both of which could be divided further. Spiritual causes included: from God, the devil, evil spirits, or by witches. While natural causes could be old age, heredity, imprisonment, poverty, a blow to the head, overheating, and even too much garlic and onions.[4] Burton is a good example of how little the Church has changed when discussing mental illness. On the one hand, they discuss the medical and scientific reasons, as if not wanting to appear backwards and medieval. On the other hand, they make sure that spiritual reasons are listed first and foremost so as not to be seen as betraying their faith.
            These historical examples demonstrate how far we’ve come in our medical understanding. The Church, and society, no longer punish and condemn epileptics, the autistic, or handicap, so why are the mentally ill still seen as “less than Christian,” or punished by God? We no longer strip women naked and look for moles and skin tags as a sign of where the devil has suckled. We know their causes and consider them natural, although sometimes bothersome, parts of life. Yet the Church often sees fit to say with certainty that mental illness is a spiritual affliction without researching the medical causes. How long will this generation have to wait for the Church to recognize mental illness as a legitimate illness? Because next time my mental illness is seen as reason enough to call into question my relationship with God you can be dang sure that person better not sneeze.




[1] Aristidis Diamantis, et al., “Epilepsy During the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment,” J Neurol 275, no. 5 (May 2010): 692-694, accessed August 25, 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-009-5433-7. See also Georges Minois, History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture, Trans. Lydia G. Cochrane, (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), for an excellent breakdown of early Church history and mental illness.  
[2] Martin Luther, Table Talk entries DLXXXIX, DCCXXXVIII, in The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther, tr. William Hazlitt, London: David Bogue, 1848, pp. 254, 303; entry 222 (April 7, 1532), in Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 54.  Ed. and trans. Theodore G. Tappert, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967, p. 29. https://ethicsofsuicide.lib.utah.edu/selections/martin-luther/.
[3] Minois, History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture, 68-69, 73, 113.
[4] Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, (Philadelphia: E. Claxton & Company, 1883): 81-84. https://archive.org/details/anatomyofmelanch00burt

We Lived on Less Than $8,000 a Year...

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We Lived on Less Than $8,000 a Year...


Is it possible to live on less than $8,000 dollars a year? No. No one would expect you to live on that type of wage let alone a family of three, but we did. We actually lived on that wage for over four years and here is what that looks like:

The year was 2012 and my husband worked at Burger King for $7.35 an hour. Now quick math would tell you that is $14,112 dollars a year, still below the poverty line, if he received 40 hours a week. However, Burger King at the time cut hours because after a certain amount of weekly hours they had to offer employees heath care. I can't tell you if it was the general managers decision or the companies decision but that meant nothing over about 32 hours. My husband couldn't even get that because we live in a college town and job openings just weren't there. I even had to double check W-2's because even I'm shocked by the number today, but he only made $7,506 that year. So here are some numbers for you:

Our 2012 Income: $7,506
                            - $5,400 (Rent $450 month utilities included)

Already we're down to $2,106 for food, health insurance, medical expenses, medicine, laundry (because we did not have a washer and dryer), gas, car insurance, and the list goes on. So let's talk bottom dollar estimates.

                               $2,106
                                 -$240 (laundry at $5 week).
                              -$2,400 ($50 week for food for 3 people).
                                 -$480 ($40 month for car insurance).
                              -$1,040 ($20 a week on gas - think of someone who drives 30 mins to work!)
                              -$4,320 (Health insurance at $120 a month per person which covers zilch).

Now we're at -$6,374 which would have been almost as much income as we had coming in and that is with the lowest estimates possible. So what did we do? We got help from the state. We went on food stamps and our daughter had state health insurance, we were not eligible so we went without health insurance for over 4 years. For several years I did our laundry in the tub because our water was included in the rent and then I hung them to dry in the shower.

I also went to college and so did my husband but it didn't help in the way you might think. We were eligible for federal loans which also includes a student refund to pay for your housing, books, etc. So my student refunds covered our rent while his covered things like car insurance, doctors visits etc. Had I not been going to school full time I would have been required to have a job which would have put us over the eligibility line for benefits, even with child care expenses and I would have only made around $4.35 an hour. So we were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

While my husband got his B.S. in Physics, no one was hiring for that degree and he continued to work at Burger King until a local plant began hiring a few years ago. Getting that degree vastly undercut the amount of hours he worked when he was allowed to work them. When he finally got the degree it didn't help. The argument that a person is in their position in life because they didn't work hard enough, lack an education, or are bad with money is an insult to those who struggle because the good jobs aren't available, they can't afford childcare, they couldn't afford the healthcare to buy the birth control to prevent the children, or the companies who hire them are allowed to keep them below 30 hours to prevent them from receiving benefits.

We didn't live a life of luxury on food stamps, and the majority of people do not. Yes, there are people who abuse the system but they are not the norm and should not dictate how the rest are treated. I pawned my engagement ring, a ring given to me by my mother, any valuable I could get a hold of to buy diapers, clothes, medicine, etc. When it was time for me to get my IUD I could not afford the $250 because I did not have health insurance and I was very lucky that my grandmother paid for it. No amount of hard work changed our circumstances, an we were very lucky that a job opened up and that my husband got it.  So its very disappointing when I hear people equate poverty with laziness and a mismanagement of money because that was me.
                             

Moms Should Be Better Friends

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Moms Should Be Better Friends

I can't bring myself to accept the notion that mother's make terrible friends or that its okay to be a bad friend because you are a mother. It seems to be a change that everyone expects, and adheres to, that once you have children you forgo having children. Yet the men continue to have social lives and why wouldn't they if they have a free and willing babysitter already at home? Most men don't ask permission to continue having friends my husband certainly didn't. After our daughter was born my husband continued to be on a bowling league, go and watch the basketball games, attend movies, hang out with friends, etc. I'm not going to lie, I really resented him for it. I felt stuck with our daughter and really wanted social experiences as well. I mainly got those occasions when our daughter was with my parents for a weekend but I learned to start taking her with me to meet up with friends. It could be very trying and stressful sometimes but I made the effort. 

I can happily say that nowadays my husband and I have a much better balance of responsibility and he takes our daughter out for movie and dinner dates on the weekend. During the week if I want to go out without her I have to hire a sitter but I happily welcome it. Ideally I prefer to have another mom over so we can visit and the kids can play but I've found that other mothers flake on me and I'm the one who always has to extend the invitation. People without children value me more as a friend and they show that through their words, actions, and communication. They are happy to see me, invite to things, and make time for me. 

When you have children and push your friends to the side you are telling them they are no longer of value to you. If I get pushed to the side until your children are school age then we weren't really friends. Ask me to help watch the kids, go to the park, help with the house, start an organizing project, or sit and gossip during nap time. Don't sideline me and expect me to come around when you decide I'm worth your time 3-5 years later. Having had kids myself I will not understand because my child is not the center of my universe. I desire and deserve friends and time to myself. I can have exactly what my husband enjoys which is an active social life. 

Some women will say they are too busy and all I have to say is that you prioritize what you value. If you want to raise children, have a family, but no social life then do that but don't expect your friends to come running back because now you have the time. It's not fair to them and frankly its not fair to you to deprive yourself. Take turns going out with your spouse or pick one night a month where you both go out and hire a sitter. There is always a way to make things happen when you really want something. Start a sitting circle with your mom friends so that you each can go out one night a week or once a month. One night you watch her kids and the other she watches yours so you don't have to pay anyone but both get to enjoy your other friends. It's always possible. So let's start being better friends ladies. 

Flower Fairy Dolls

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My latest craft obsession has been these cute little flower fairy dolls. They are only made from wire, embroidery floss, wooden heads, and faux flowers. I happened upon them last week and already this week I've made over 12 dolls and have learned I might have a knack for it. Although I do custom order for dolls to look like peoples children, my favorites have been my fantasy dolls based on fictional characters. I learned the basics from YouTube tutorials by Emily Lefler from the Untidy Artist but all fictional characters are my original creations. You can check out Emily's tutorials here: Untidy Artist YouTube Channel

Mermaid (my first doll)

Joy from Inside Out (doll for my daughter's friend)

 Brunette Fairy Doll w/ Blue Skirt

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride Emily and Groom

 Tinkerbell Inspired Doll

 Dark Complexion w/ Purple Dress

Princess Zelda from Twilight Princess

Maleficent (2014 version) 

Maleficent was one of my bigger hurdles because I had to figure out how to get the horns just right, attach them securely, and then wrap the entire head. I can't tell if i'm more proud of Zelda or Maleficent but I can't wait to decide what to do next. 

I currently have a fb page called Edmund Designs where you can follow all of my creation: 

I also have an Etsy page where you can purchase my creations or contact me for a personal order:

Power Green Smoothie Recipe

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This is a very simple recipe to make enough smoothies for 3-6 days, depending on how much you like to drink. I make mine in 48oz batches and store them in 16oz glass bottles, that I recycle after drinking kombucha.


Before I do anything, I wash all of my greens, even when they say triple washed.


Recipe

8oz spinach
6oz power greens (pictured below)/kale
2 green apples, cores removed
Juice of 1 lemon
Chlorella powder (1/2 tsp per smoothie but can increase)
Water (among depends on how thick you like your smoothie, I use 8oz)


I just add the ingredients in small bunches, blend, and then add more until it's all in. Pretty easy! I use a funnel to put my funnels in 16oz glass bottles, and then grab them when I'm ready for them. Sometimes I split one between me and my husband, sometimes I drink a whole one myself. 


Green smoothies are a great way to get your greens in! I don't like fruit smoothies, because blending fruit makes the sugar hit your liver faster.  This can make your liver produce more fat cells, but fiber slows this process. So it's important to eat your fruit whole, but I do like the added bite the green apple gives this smoothie.  So if you are having trouble losing weight, then don't blend your fruit and stay far away from fruit juice! 

Follow me on Instagram @ebcangel

Consent is Sexy

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When I was growing up consent wasn't something anyone was really talking about. Our mantra was "No Means No!" but that did little for those of us who inexplicably lost our voices at the worst time. This left those of us who had faced sexual assault or rape feeling like we were in the wrong for having said nothing. All we had to do was say no, right? 

Then "Only Yes Means Yes" came on the scene, long after I was married, and I thought: "Wow, I wish this had been around when I was younger!". Its amazing how powerful words can be! But then the strict consent movement came along, and like a lot of people, I wondered what would that look like? What would it have been like when I was dating? Were we talking long forms and a signature before every sexual encounter? Every kiss? People have been consenting sexual partners for millenniums without all of this right?

Well yes and no. For every consenting individual there are plenty that were simply silent, which is really the aim of the campaign. I was one of those individuals, and my first sexual assault occurred when I was 12. I was too scared to say no, and had I been asked I would have said no. When I'm asked, and I have been asked, I feel like the other person respects my decision. But another debate has emerged within the larger debate regarding whether consent is necessary: Is consent sexy, and should it be sold that way? In other words does saying that "consent is sexy" undermine the fact that it is necessary? 

I firmly believe that consent can be sold this way, because whether it is legal or not matter little to high school or college kids. Underage drinking is illegal but that rarely stops anyone! Legality is hardly the issue. Consent sounds corny and it needs a new PR campaign, badly! So I will tell you the story of the time a man asked for my permission, how I reacted, and whether it was really sexy or not.

I was 20 when I met him and I had just come to visit him and my friend in college, for a concert. We spent the whole day together, the majority of it in the apartment he shared with a friend. All we did was watch movies and cuddle and I thought surely he's going to kiss me. Then he gave me a back rub, the go to move of guys everywhere, and I swore he would make a move. He didn't. Then it was time for bed and we just laid there talking. Before we even hit the hay he asked me if it was ok to take his shirt off, he didn't want to make me uncomfortable. He decided to leave it on anyways. 

So there we were, just talking until early in the morning, and then he asked me: "Would it be ok if I kissed you?" No one had every asked me that! Every guy had just kind of lunged at me, and it was always awkward, bad aim, very quick as if they thought if they didn't do it quick enough I'd stop them. I was taken back by the request and so happy he had finally said something! Of course I happily said yes and it was the sweetest, most romantic thing that had every happened, up until that point! I mean a like an aggressive guy just as much as the next girl, but there's a time and a place. 

Then about a month later we were fooling around, one thing led to another, and BAM we were having sex, ha ha. I figured he understood that I was totally into it, I just didn't want to say: "lets have sex." I felt awkward about the whole thing. Then in the middle of it he just stops. Gets really weird and excuses himself. I took me a good day to figure out what was going on: he stopped because he wasn't sure its what I wanted. Keep in mind I was, and am, a Christian and had professed that I wanted to wait. (We're all human!) So in his mind I was doing something that I didn't believe in and had possibly been pressured in to. When I found out that was what had happened I was relieved and it was really sweet. Sure when we were in the middle of it, it was confusing, and we both should have been upfront from the very beginning. But the way he handled it, when he thought it wasn't what I wanted, was really cool. 

I am married to that man and have been for 6 1/2 years. We have an amazing sex life that is based on good communication. I'm very honest about what I want and like, and I speak up when I don't like something. As a sexual assault and rape victim its very important for me to speak up when I'm triggered, and my husband is a very understanding man. I've taught him how to be aggressive, ha ha, with a good use of safe words and boundaries, because he's still the man that worries about pushing my boundaries. After being pressured into so many things before I was ready, or that were contrary to my character, its very freeing to be with someone who does not want me to do anything I don't want to do. When a woman feels safe she's more likely to sexual express herself, and if she's having a good time you will too! So yes consent is sexy!

Tinker Crate Review and 50% off Coupon Code

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This was our first month of Tinker Crate and I was very excited to see how much my daughter would enjoy it. Tinker Crate is a monthly subscription box, geared toward children ages 9-14, that focuses on the sciences. My daughter is only 5 1/2 but I felt that many of the crafts offered through Kiwi Crate, their box for children ages 4-8, contained experiments I could easily recreate at home. Tinker Crate offers projects that would expensive if I had to buy all of the individual parts or kits. I do not expect my daughter to understand all of the concepts, but she has a higher interest in engineering projects than most kids her age.  The box is $19.95 a month with free shipping. There is a link down below for $10 off your first box. Now for the box.


Included is a booklet which explains the smaller concepts of your project. This box had projects to explain current, resistors, capacitor, and diodes. We went straight for the main project and I will have my husband go over this information with our daughter later. He has a background in Physics and is amazing at explaining scientific concepts to her. 


They also had a little background on Edison and Tesla. We will have to simplify some of the language but that shouldn't be a big issue. 


The instruction are easy to follow for parents. Children will need help or oversight if they are in the younger age bracket. I found that the light bulb wire bent when inserting them into the cardboard near the end of the project. So some children will need help in some areas of the project. 


In this project they continually had us checking the lights to make sure we had everything just right. It was really helpful to be reminded, otherwise we would have gotten through the project with a non-functioning light. My daughter was very excited when it lit up and started to put some of the simpler concepts together. She was more interested, however, as to how the motor worked, so we will be finding another project or watching a video to better understand motors. 


This flash light has two led bulbs and came with replacements when they burn out, which will be helpful later on. 


The only issue we had with constructions was attaching the motor. As you can see on the right side, its attached by flimsy brackets which can make using the hand crank difficult as it wobbles back and forth. I will attempt to find some small flat screws to attach the motor so it does not move. Its too difficult for my daughter to turn the handle while pulling away from the box, which is a result of the lose brackets. 


Overall I am very pleased and will continue this subscription for the time being. I'm still tempted to try Kiwi Crate so we may try that for a month or two as well.