Burgers and minimum wage.

“They forgot your burger, that’s why they need to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour!” This was said by my husband in a hunger-induced rage after discovering my pretzel bacon cheeseburger was missing from our order last weekend. Frankly, I agree with him. The three reasons I don’t support an across the board minimum wage increase are 1) the cost of everything else will also increase, 2) jobs will be lost, and 3) minimum wage is low for a reason.

It’s really just common sense that when a company needs to pay employees more, whatever they are selling will also increase in price. Really, everything will just balance out in the end for those making minimum. They’ll make a little more, prices of what they are buying go up a little more…it’s almost like the raise never happened. However, for the rest of those in the work force making more than minimum wage but aren’t rolling in the dough, this will be tough. My husband makes more than minimum wage, he makes slightly more than $15 an hour. If suddenly instead of him making over double minimum wage, he is making only a few dollars more, yet everything we have to buy also increases in price, this poses a problem for our family. It’s a problem that will be faced by millions of workers who have climbed up the ladder over the years, then suddenly find themselves yet again on one of the bottom rungs.

Some people who make minimum wage will lose their jobs.  Of course the big CEOs could cut their paychecks to a reasonable size and balance it out so they wouldn’t have to cut anyone, in fantasy land that would be a great solution. In reality, the love of money is the root of all evil. Most of those at the top will just fire the nameless burger flippers and fry fryers. Extended hours and increased responsibilities will accompany increased pay. Though I guess that’s what comes with increased pay, normally, more work.

With my last thought, I’m not at all saying those who work minimum wage jobs do not work hard or that some do not deserve a wage increase. That said, minimum wage jobs are minimum wage for a reason. They are the base. They are a starting point to either work yourself up or to quit after a certain amount of time to pursue other things. They are jobs that most anyone can do, they are jobs that reflect smaller pay. My husband has worked hard to be earning his current wage. He hasn’t always earned above what the minimum wage increase would be, he has worked hard and learned a lot. He worked for his parents in middle and high school. Upon high school graduation, he went into the same field with the knowledge gained from his family’s shop. Over almost 20 years since, working and learning, his income has increased. That’s how employment works.

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Cesarean Birth, to doula or not to doula?

Doulas are most frequently associated with all-natural, birthing-tub, moaning-and-groaning-and-screaming home births. Do they even have a place in the super sterile, hyper-medical cesarean operation room? I believe doulas are useful for all births, even C-sections. Here’s why:

1) To help you prepare for birth. This is a doula’s job regardless of what kind of birth you want. They help you plan, consider options, mentally prepare, etc. The options are fewer with C-sections (laying on a table numb from the chest down), but some are still there. If your C-section is an unwanted surprise (like mine), they can also help you through the emotional side of needed major abdominal surgery you can’t opt out of doing.

2) Another person. The more support, the better. If baby has to go to NICU or your husband just plain passes out (haha!), there is another supporter there for you. You won’t be left all alone staring at the ceiling. My anesthesiologist was very helpful while I was being prepped for surgery, he talked to me and helped me as I threw up, but as kind as he was, there is nothing like having someone you know and love next to you.

3) Nursing. Some moms and babies can nurse right way with no problems. That’s great! I think more often than not though, babies and mamas have no idea what they are doing. If you want to breastfeed, having a doula there is extremely helpful. Nurses try, they really do, but they all have different methods, different advice, and are all in a hurry to do something else (which is understandable, they are busy people!) It made all the difference for me to have someone I trusted, and could feel totally immodest in front of, calmly and patiently helping Tzeitel and I figure it out.

4) They are there as needed, or as not needed. Most doulas truly care about helping mamas and their new babies. You can beckon them as needed in and out of the hospital. You can ask them questions, vent to them, tell them your struggles/successes. Or, if all is going well, they won’t bug you.

5) Post-birth support. After being discharged from the hospital, your doula is still there for you. She can visit you at home and can additionally help with nursing and/or adjusting to home with a new baby.

Birthing is hard work, C-sections are no exceptions. Even though you don’t physically birth your baby, and sometimes you don’t even labor, they are equally hard (if not harder) in their own way. Doula’s can help make your cesarean birth a more successful and a happier one.

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Why being a stay-at-home-wife is enough.

I read a lot of material on stay-at-home-moms, and rightly so, it is a difficult job with little appreciation. We SAHMs need all the encouragement we can get. However, I’ve seen little to no articles, blogs, etc on life for a wife before or after children. Our lives are centered around our children: getting them, raising them, shooing them off into the big world. Then what? What happens to the SAHM once all her children are grown & gone and she is left with an “empty nest”. She still has someone, someone who should have been a huge focus all along: her husband. She is still a wife, being her husband’s wife is still as much her calling as they celebrate their twentieth anniversary as it is when they celebrate their first. It’s true husbands don’t need quite as much attention or effort as babies, elementary children, teens, or young adults do, but they still need it. Whether or not a particular wife chooses to become a stay-at-home-wife after being a stay-at-home-mom is irrelevant, the fact remains that if she chooses to…it is enough.

Being a wife is a high calling, it was the original purpose for women being created in the first place. It wasn’t to bear children (though that’s arguably a very important role woman has), it wasn’t to help other women, it wasn’t to break the glass ceiling. Eve was created because Adam had nobody, he needed a help meet. Genesis 2: 18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. We see here that woman completed man, Eve was created because Adam lacked something. The term wife is also here, she was automatically his wife. Women were created, primarily, to be wives and helpers to their husbands. Being a wife is the original calling of and for women. Everything else is secondary. 1 Corinthians 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

All the examples in Scripture of good, godly women include her helping her husband in some form. The first quality mentioned about the Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31 is about her husband: 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. In Titus 2 aged women are called to teach the young women how to love and obey their own husbands, among other things women should be. It almost seems a given in Scripture that wives should always be wives to their husbands, no matter their age or season in life.

Our husbands matter. Helping our husbands should always be a focus, whether it’s our main focus or a co-focus with raising our children. Wives may feel they can use their free time to pursue full-time volunteer, work, or study. Those are all fine, but if you choose to become a stay at home wife, you are enough. If you are a stay at home wife before you have children, you are enough. If you don’t have children and are ever a stay at home wife, you are enough. Don’t let this world convince you otherwise.

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The healing power of a baby

To be honest, I was worried about having a second child. Even though my pregnancy and birth with my precious boy went perfectly, I had post-partum depression for over a year. I was worried the same thing would happen with my daughter. Only this time it would affect both my children. I thank God I didn’t have any PPD with my girl, I didn’t even really have any “baby blues” (aside from normal hormonal junk).

Having Tzeitel was so healing for me. It showed me I can do this. I can be a good mother, I am capable of loving a skinny little newborn baby who is so dependent on you as the mama. Nursing her was also very healing for me. Sometimes it would bring me to tears. It was almost like my heart had open wounds on them, and when I held Tzeitel unimpaired they started to close up.

Now that I see how wonderful newborns and mothering a newborn can be, I want to do it a million times!  It really is so fun! Every smile and laugh warms my heart. Watching her sleep is precious. Her little rolls of baby fat are adorable, knowing that I made those rolls of baby fat with my milk is empowering.

It’s not without its own struggles and challenges, every baby has those. Nursing, napping, schedule changes, but as my second born nears her first birthday, it hit me how healing Tzeitel has been for me. Mothering her makes me more confident and eases the pain I felt with my boy.

This baby healed my heart…1/18/2013

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First birthday….1/18/2014

 

 

 

“The Island” and Abortion

“The Island” is a 2006 movie set in the near future about clones created as back up bodies for the super-rich. It’s actually a pretty good movie, I enjoyed watching it. These clones are born as adults from synthetic wombs, complete with umbilical cords, where they develop. During the course of the movie, two clones escape and discover their purpose in life- they were created to be killed. The doctors and scientists realized something is wrong with the newer set of clones, who begin questioning things around them, and orders them all to be terminated.

The adult clones are rounded up and gassed. The “baby” clones are simply cut off from their places of residence: their wombs. A knife was used to cut the womb open, fluid gushed out, and the adult-clone-baby was left to simply die. Sound familiar? There was even a close up of a beating heart at one point. Based on the music, these scenes were meant to stir the audience’s emotion and pull our heart strings. It’s possible this was a pro-life message in the Hollywood film staring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannson, though somehow I doubt it. There is, however, an obvious correlation between the two, killing the unborn human clones and killing the unborn human babies. As well as the links between the Jewish Holocaust and gassing the unwanted clones. In fact, the clones were considered less than human, which is why they were so disposable. Even though they had a beating heart (and other organs that were merely there to harvest), brain waves, body features, personalities, thoughts, emotions.

This was a big dilemma in the movie, unfortunately, it’s not much of a dilemma in the world that actually matters. The lives of the clones were fervently fought for, by both clone and non-clone alike, and eventually won. The end scene is all the clones streaming out of the compound with happy, relief-type music playing. The baby clones didn’t make it, and sadly, many baby humans don’t either.

This made me wonder why. Why was that scene meant to be sad? Was it because these helpless developing babies, that would someday become full-functioning adults, with no idea what was going on mercilessly killed? Oh, wait, I meant, helpless developing baby-clones, that would someday become full-functioning adult-clones, with no idea what was going on mercilessly killed? I don’t see much of a difference, do you? Why is one meant to evoke sympathetic emotion while the other deemed a woman’s right? Does it boil down to “out of sight, out of mind”? The plastic wombs in the film were clear, the wombs in a woman have flesh over them. Are we so deceived that if we don’t see something with our own two eyes it doesn’t matter? Both beings had beating hearts, the director made a point of showing one before that particular baby-clone was terminated.

A pro-life message in the pro-choice Hollywood world, hypocritical indeed.

Two main clones with baby clones in background.

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The harm in not explaining yourself to children.

I understand there is a time for children to mind their parents, no questions asked. When a “No.” “Why?” “Because I said so.” routine needs to unfold. However, for the majority of times our children question us out of sheer curiosity, it is my humble opinion that we should explain it to them.

Last year we visited a local fire station on Memorial Day, they had a fire truck and an ambulance out for the children to go inside and look at. Our almost 3 year old was exploring the back of the ambulance when this couple and their what looked like a four year old joined us. She started touching things her father didn’t want to her touch. When she asked him “why not?” (in what seemed like a genuine she’s-young-doesn’t-know-any-better fashion) he kept responding with “I don’t want you to, that’s why not”. He never gave her a reason. At that age, even a simple explanation would do. Something like “it’s fragile”, “it’s important”, “you don’t want to break it”, “it helps save people’s lives”.  Really anything is better than “just because”.

I believe expounding for your children is beneficial for two reason:

1) It helps the child understand the world around them. Children are very new to this earth, they are not born knowing things. Telling them why you do/do not want them to do a certain thing will help them learn and hopefully remember next time. The most obvious example that comes to my mind is telling your child not to touch something hot. Doesn’t mean they won’t touch it anyway, but then they at least see mommy or daddy really does know what they’re talking about! They said something would happen and it happened when I didn’t listen to their advice! Who would have thought?

It also opens the door to explain something further. I don’t mean to pick on the little girl’s dad, but he could have described what the things he didn’t want her to touch were and did. If he didn’t know, he could explain what an ambulance is for and why that makes it important to keep everything how it is. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t learn anything besides “just because I said so”.

2) It will help not frustrate them. Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As adults, we have more understanding and can usually put two and two together, or are wise enough to not ask “why” from our boss, police men, etc. Children don’t know a lot of things due to their age and immaturity. They haven’t had years of trial and error to gain wisdom like adults have. Constantly being shot down when wanting to learn would be very frustrating. In this case, a four year old is probably just curious about things she’s never seen before.

Questioning is not always a form of defiance to our authority. It can be, we as parents need to learn the difference between a genuine “why” and a you-are-so-stupid “why”. One deserves clarity, the other deserves extra chores.

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The Problem of Pi

Warning: While this is not meant to be a movie review, there may contain spoilers. If you don’t want to know what happens at the end of “Life of Pi”, don’t read! 🙂 Thank you.

I knew little about this movie going into it. The main plot is a boy stuck on a rowboat with a full-grown Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. You can imagine how difficult that would be, it’s exciting to watch how he creatively survives. The boy, Pi, grew up in India as a Hindu. In Hindu fashion, any and all gods/goddesses can be worshiped. He dabbles in Catholicism and Islam. His father owns a zoo and decides to move to Canada (via water) when Pi is a teenager. There is a mysterious accident that causes the ship to go down. Pi leaps into a lifeboat, a zebra from his father’s zoo also drops in. While in the raging water a hyena joins him, Richard Parker also struggles to climb in. Once the waters calm, they are joined by an orangutan. The hyena, being a carnivore, kills both the zebra and orangutan. To Pi’s surprise, Parker jumps out from under a sheet in the life boat and kills the hyena. Using it and the other animals as food. Thus the story continues. He must learn to catch and eat fish, being a former vegetarian doesn’t seem to matter now. He must get fresh drinking water. He must somehow cohabitate with a hungry set of three inch incisors. As I said, it’s interesting and thought provoking. I thought about what I would do, I concluded I would probably just die. He lands on an island shaped as a Hindu god. By day it is a beautiful place to live, by night the island eats you alive if you are on its land. So, the tiger and Pi return to the lifeboat, finally making it to the shores of Mexico. Parker heads for the jungle, Pi to the hospital. Investigators do not believe Pi’s outlandish tale of tigers, man-eating islands, etc. So Pi tells a different tale, three humans accompanied him on the lifeboat (one human for each animal) and the tiger represented himself. At the very end, Hindu-Catholic-Muslim Pi says whichever story we like better we should believe. Then “And so it goes with God”.

And so is the problem. As exciting as this movie is, that part ruined it for me. The “whatever floats your boat” mentality is deceiving millions, maybe billions, of people. There cannot be many paths to God. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Religions that deny Christ as God, Savior, Messiah, Lord and therefore do not go through Him to the Father cannot be right paths. Choosing whichever religion you’d like is a silly idea. Most would choose the easiest religion. The “do whatever you want” religion. No focus on holiness, obeying God, reading His Word, going against what you want in order to please Him, denying self, sacrificing time and money. That stuff is hard work, those are the kinds of things the God of Abraham and Isaac call us to do. No, in our flesh we would choose things like “I love Jesus, but ____” fill in the blank. “I love Jesus, but don’t want to go to church on Sundays.” “I love Jesus, but don’t want to tithe my money.” “I love Jesus, but also like to get drunk sometimes.” Or it could go in the opposite direction like the Pharisees “I [claim to] love Jesus, but I also love to bask in the fact that I’m better than everyone else.” Many religions outright deny Christ as God, which makes His sacrifice just another martyrdom. It wouldn’t have mattered if He was just another guy. A good guy, maybe even a godly guy. But if Jesus Christ was not God, His perfect, blood sacrifice meant nothing. Jews sacrificed animals over and over again for their sins, because animals are just animals.

Being a good person or doing more good deeds than bad deeds will not help anyone. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; We are only as good as someone worse than us. I’m better than someone who has killed someone, but I’m worse than someone who has never stolen anything. According to God’s law, we are all guilty. If you don’t think so, take the test. The 10 Commandments were given as a guide…Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Have you ever coveted? Have you ever hated someone so much you’d wish they’d die (same as murder)? Have you ever lusted after someone (same as adultery)? Have you ever dishonored your father and mother? Those are just some of the ten, how are you measuring up? Personally, I didn’t do so well. I’ve broken all of the ones I listed. On judgment day, when God takes out His law, will He declare you innocent or guilty? I’d be give a sentence of “guilty”, I have broken several of His laws. There has to be a punishment (or wage–Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.) for breaking the law. It’s true with our legal system and it’s true with His legal system. However, we have a propitiation (a big word for satisfactory payment) 1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Jesus is the satisfactory payment for our sins. Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. What other religion can offer that kind of security? A works based religions is based on wishy-washy us. Are we good enough? Did we do enough? I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see. There is no guessing with Christ…Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The short section of the film with the man-eating island was a little trippy, but I took it to mean if someone stays with one religion, it will destroy them. A weird notion, but maybe not to those who choose to follow everything and everyone figuring one of them is right. Pi is a fictional character in a fictional movie, but the reality is, in choosing all different paths, he went down the wide road. Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. It’s called wide for a reason.

The movie (which is also a book) overall was suspenseful and stimulating. It could really have gone without the not-so-subtle religious messages.

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