"Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Modesty, Feminism, Sex-Crazed People, and the Lord. (Yes, seriously)

There, I said it. A highly-connoted word to grab your attention.
This post is sort of under the umbrella of this particular f-word. I suppose you could hashtag#feminism if you felt particularly youthful and snappy.
I love, love, love that I belong to a part of American history that has benefited from the efforts of women with gumption who fought for women's rights, who gathered their voluminous skirts up and demanded national recognition as equal partners in the life of our country through the ability to vote and hold public office. This was 93 years ago, people. 1920.
Which of us would say that, well, how nice and cheery of the ole ladies, but I don't really care if I'm treated as an equal in my country. In fact, being discriminated against for my gender doesn't bother me and doesn't agitate my other declarations of freedom in my nation?
Um, none of us.
But let me point out that attaining equal rights for women to vote and hold office, to be admitted to universities or any school, to be offered a job in any field, to walk on whatever side of the road we find lovely, to wear pants or shorts if our hearts desired it, to author texts that move nations, to suit up in military armor... All these things do not make us men-haters, do they? Does being a feminist -- someone who enjoys her rights equally alongside of her male counterparts, because she knows that nothing about being a woman makes her less than any man -- necessitate her to a position of superiority over men?
First of all, let us make sure that feminism hasn't pushed us into a new, critical, wounded discrimination against men. There's past deeds done, and there's present battles being fought, but raising ourselves as superior above our men is the same evil we fought off decades ago.
(Now, if you want to see where I'm going with this blog, please read these two blogs and come up with a nice statement of comparison: http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/03/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/ and http://www.imperfecthomemaking.com/2013/07/what-our-daughters-and-sons-need-to.html. one positively influenced this post, while the other encouraged me to speak up right away in a not-so-positive way)
And SECONDLY, and if you read nothing, READ THIS PART, being a free woman in this nation celebrates our liberation from oppressive, rape-culture, female-blaming societies. So listen here CONSERVATIVE women, evangelical women, moms, wives, good Christian girls, girls who aren't Christians but know good morals when they see them and can tell the difference between a swimsuit and a piece of string:

Telling women to be modest and "cover up" because if you don't, men will see and stumble into sin, and bad things may happen to you in their minds or in real life, this is a return to an unliberated nation, a place that does not value women equally, realize their awesome potential and their incredible differences from men, or allow them to be free in speech, voting, dress, etc.
Telling women to be modest because that's what good girls do or that's what the Bible says (legalistic) or because men can't handle it and will sin (blaming) does not protect women, or encourage us, or even honor us. It dehumanizes us into threats, sex objects, items to be dressed accordingly.
Well-intentioned women groomed me in my 6 years of teen Sunday Schools, retreats, and Wednesday nights (whatever these were called) into a walking, breathing crisis. I could, at any moment, cause a brother to sin. I needed to dress accordingly and embrace modest dress to avert this crisis.
(for those of you wondering, my parents are off the hook. they encouraged modesty, but never laid guilt or cause on me for another's actions)
Wait, you say, wait a second. Aren't we suppose to do things for the good of others? Doesn't Paul boldly declare that he will NEVER eat meat offered to idols (something meaningless to him --hey, meat's meat!--, but confusing and possibly spiritually threatening to others) if it might cause one of his friends to stumble and take the spiritual backslide? Um, yes, he does say this. And it's glorious.
But how do we women apply this to our modesty? I'll never wear a bathing suit again if seeing some of my appendages causes my brother to fall. I'll never wear pants again. I'll never wear shorts again. I'll never wear short-sleeved shirts again. I'll never wear my hair down again. Wait, I'll never expose my hair again. I'll never expose my skin again. Wait, I'll never let them see my beautiful face again, if it causes them to fall. I won't even leave the house.
What do we have? Oppression, rape-culture, objectification.
(rape culture, by the way, is at its most basic point a culture's mindset that the victim of rape encouraged or brought on her attack because of her, shall we say, alluring qualities. it is her fault she was raped; she was asking for it.)
Study I Corinthians 8 for a few minutes and you will find multiple things at work. But there is a lovely verse about bearing your own responsibility: "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak." Good, good. It is a good thing to watch out for each other. Note, please, that the "weak" he's referring to are contextualized as new believers in a pantheon-worshipping society who are faced with uncertainty about what to do with food that pagan priests offered to pagan idols -- is it defiled?
But let's give Paul the generalizing factor that we allow Scripture to have, and stretch this passage to mean that women ought to mind what they wear for the good of their weak, easily sinning brothers. Indeed, let us uplift each other, but let's not make this the reason for modesty, please! I know what scripture says, but scripture is living and breathing; it's not interested in handing out tickets for Scantily-Cladness In the Presence of a Man (or Woman). We can dress modestly with others' well-being in mind once our heart has been shaped to do so for GREATER reasons than this!
Indeed, Paul, just because something is allowed doesn't mean it's good. We shouldn't strut our stuff because it's the year 2013 and we can anything we want: see through shirts? barely-there shorts? leggings as pants? We can even wear high-waisted mom-jeans, aqua-colored jackets with shoulder pads tossed over a tucked-in tank top if we want to (the horror!)!
We do have the freedom. But 1980s fashion aside, we should watch what we wear. Not for the benefit of our sex-crazed men (I'm coming back to this, just a second), but because we are made in His image, we are beautiful, we are lovely, and we ought to honor the Lord with our hearts.
If our hearts say we do not need the Lord to satisfy, but rather need the satisfaction of the admiration of our physical bodies, or the attention of men, or the eye-popping effect of our near-nakedness to make us "whole," to give us worth, to achieve cultural beauty -- we are broken. It is a heart issue, modesty. First, foremost, always.
That's the whole point of this blog. You can stop reading now if you want.
But I said I'd return to sex-crazed men, so here I am. Men, you are not victims of women's indecency. You are not dependent on women to keep your thoughts clean. You are not reliant on the decisions of others for your own actions!!!! Be free, men, of this, your own victim mentality, instilled in you by the well-intended but wrong mentors of your hormone-saturated youth. Men, young and old, need to be taught and reminded that they are also made in the image of the Creator God, and they each have a heart that longs for satisfaction in the Lord. Women are not free from sexual sin because of gender; men are not entrapped in sexual sin because of gender.
But each of us ought to seek to honor the very real, very living God with our thoughts, our bodies, our actions. "Return to me!" God says. "Love me!" He says. "Need ME!" He says. He made us for this very purpose, to find pleasure in and to delight in Him.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Cosette has been driving me nuts recently.
She's at a special adult-baby time of life. She's big enough to use the potty, put on her shoes, and not use a bib. She's small enough to end up in our bed some nights, to need hugs when she gets in trouble, to need help picking up her toys, to cry when she looks at her band-aid on her knee.
But mainly she's just sassy. Getting the last word in. Contradicting. Ignoring. Doing the deliberate opposite. Oh yes, hello almost-3-year-old.
There are times I want to cry. or yell. or give her the kindle and tell her to knock herself out with Netflix while I hide in my room.
"Leave him be," "Don't pick him up please," "Let's not climb on the counter," "What's in your mouth?" It goes on and on. What's the point?
There are times I look at her face looking at mine just waiting for my response, and I wonder what happened to me. Where'd I go? Am I just her mommy? Is that all I am? I spend my days correcting her behavior, cleaning up her messes, teaching her how to love her brother, her family, God. Putting up with whining, crying, yelling, accidents. Desperately wanting "me time." I'm admitting there are times I miss me. I'm lost in the mommy role and can't find myself. I almost despair from losing myself.
Yesterday I went in her room to hang up her laundry. She wasn't in her room, and it felt empty. There were signs of life, Noah's ark animals I've stepped on the last three days and clothes and blankets from her bed she didn't sleep in last night strewn everywhere. But without her in there it felt empty. I hung up her pink hoodie, something she had just given life and shape to when we were playing outside. I stood there in her messy, empty room and desperately loved her. Everything about her. Coudn't bear for a moment even the imagination of life without her.
I have been deeply moved by the loss of Thomas in December. Our friends put their precious 4th child to bed one night and had to say goodbye to him the next morning. Unexpected, undeserved, unknown. They are so brave, facing life without part of them. Without even knowing him so well, I miss him so desperately for them. Well, Thomas, you have helped me love my babies more, little guy.
 Here's the link to Thomas' dad's blog.
There are a lot of times today when I look at Cosette's little face and realize she is mine and I want her so desperately, want her around, want her in my life, want to be her mother for all of life. Just want her. She is a wanted, loved child. She's made my heart 3 times too large. I am me, and that is, I am her mommy. I'm just more. What more could I give her, than to desperately desire her in my life?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

a liquidy post

ok, hard day. typing one-handed because little guy has to be held all day...unusual. he kept waking up in his bed screaming, like terrified screaming. won't nap.
big sister has been really sweet with Parker, but i have had to save him from multiple blankets on the face. right now she's looking cute with her new haircut and yoga pants...her 4th pair of pants for the day.
yes, 4th. potty training. i don't know what we're doing, but there have been LOTS of wet pants in the last 2 days. and 1 pair of, well, you know. i have wanted to laugh hysterically, cry, get angry, quit, force my conscience into her mind...hmm, yeah. it's been hard.
patience, allison. that's what the Lord's been whispering.
pee puddle on the floor 2 inches from the potty because that spot looked better than the potty? ok. taking an hour to cut up one onion because of the crying one and the peeing one? ok. planning for my 2nd day back to work, trying not to cry about the whirlwind that will suck my family into it again with our old pace of life back? ok. waiting, waiting on good news from loved ones who have been without for so long? ok. wait.
have patience!
peace while waiting; now you can't force yourself into that. there's nothing human about real peace. it transcends all circumstances, all people, and abides in the one who desires the Lord. He knows i need Him, so i'm pressing on toward him.
in other news...
we celebrated and recognized God's unfathomable grace that goes before we even know Him. we chose infant baptism for both our children as a sign of God's saving work in our lives. we had Parker baptized by my dad this past sunday. we do not believe that our act of baptizing Parker saves him, but that the Lord has saved him. when Parker is able to understand that, we know he will be responsible for asking for that salvation and confessing his faith. we can't wait for that day!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Parker Keith

He's here!
Parker Keith Davenport
8 lbs, 12 oz
20 1/2 inches
2:07 am, Thursday, March 7
The basics:
Contractions started about 10:30 Tuesday night
10 min apart for an hour, then 3-5 min apart for another hour
Called the midwife to give her a heads up a little after midnight
Right after the call, they started coming every 1 min and with a fury
We left for the birth center at 1:00am and arrived at 1:30
Parker was born at 2:07am!
Thankful for my mom, who was home with Cosette
Thankful for the New Birth Company (here and here) for a wonderful birth experience!
Thankful for Keith who helped me through

Thursday, February 14, 2013

37 Weeks Pregnant

It's that magical time of pregnancy - full term! That pretty much means...hmmm. Now baby should be healthy whenever he would like to appear, but it doesn't really have much to do with when he'll appear (I wish, but then again, when he'll show up may be life's last big surprise left in the 21st century. I'll take it.)
Well, there's no way around it : I'm large.
Cose has taken to pointing at my belly and saying, "Parker in there. Mommy big." Yep.
A while ago I bought her this cute little charm on Etsy...
I can.not.wait. to give it to her! I imagine it being a precious little moment where we're all snuggled up as a family and no one is crying or whining or, hmm, in a ton of pain. Ha. That's what imaginations are for.
So, here's the prego update thing:
How far along: 37 weeks – full term!
Baby's size: 6 lbs / 19” & I’ve gained 30 lbs.
Sleep: Sometimes still good! Of course there’s always at least 1 late-night trip to the ladies’ room.
Maternity Clothes: Hm, I know I’m close because most of them are just uncomfortable now and I just want to wear 1 giant tanktop and yoga pants J
Food cravings: Just.Food. Rice, fruit, pasta, cheeseburgers...it's all good
Food aversions: None really. 
Symptoms I have: Low pressure and off & on false labor! Things are getting close! Also, are increased irritability and exhaust good symptoms? Haha.
Doctor’s Appointment: Next Wed is my 38-week appt. This week’s appt was Tuesday and Keith got to come along. We checked out the room where Little Guy should be born in a few weeks!
Movement: Definitely not as active as before; I have to wake him up a bunch to check on him. He gets the hiccups a lot! Also he seems to rotate back and forth between what side his back is on, according to where the midwife seems to find the heartbeat each week.
Gender: Boy!
What I’m looking forward to: Holding this little guy and dressing him and letting Cosette meet her little brother!
What I miss: Clothes not bothering me, not squishing into the steering wheel, having energy!
Thought to add: Not carrying my cello to lessons any more, can feel my feet swell in my awesome new *Sperrys!!!* as I teach each night, am so.close to being ready to hand my studio over for 6-8 weeks...just a few more notes to make, AND cannot wait to deliver here at the New Birth Company for many reasons:
1. I won't be contributing to the ridiculous and exorbiant medical fee expectations that we experienced with Cosette's routine and healthy birth at a hosptial with an OBGYN. $20,000 for 2 days at a hospital and 1 routine, easy birth? Hm, no.
2. I'll be encouraged and expected to participate in bringing this baby into the world. I want to belong to all the centuries of women before us who owned their work in childbearing. I don't hold it against anyone who doesn't feel this way, because it's such a personal "conviction" and something I want to do.
3. I can do this labor and delivery how my body tells me to, rather than lying flat on my back in a hosptial gown.
4. Keith & I get to work together and hopefully make permanent memories that bind us tighter as a couple and a family.
5. There are a ton of benefits of laboring with a midwife in a low-intervention setting, not the least of which is my lowered chance of a C-section!

Last weekend a sweet friend hosted a baby shower for us. We felt so blessed by being the company of our friends and receiving amazing presents from them!!
And I'll leave you all with a look at my little Valentine today...
what a cute little goob!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wednesday Lights, iii

So I know it's Thursday, but Wednesdays totally wear me out and today I got to benefit from this happy little lady.
Being 35 weeks pregnant and doing the monthly grocery shopping along with a toddler is pretty, um, trying tiring. But I can't get over how sweet Cose was today. She was fabulous at the grocery store and at Target. We shared a *decaf* mocha (me, obvs, more than her, right) and just sat and chatted before we checked out at Target. It was lovely!
I got so upset when I realized my phone had died and we couldn't stop by and visit some ladies from church on our way home because I didn't know directions. She said, "Oh it's okay mommy, tomorrow." Right!
We paid our rent. Depressing.
We got home and took over an hour to put everything away, empty out the fridge of questionable items, change laundry, empty the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, chop up stuff for the crockpot, and make lunch. Exhausting.
But man having Cosette as my work buddy today was just so uplifting. She told me about how we are going to visit the ladies tomorrow, how our family is coming to visit this weekend, and how she loves mommy.
Thank you Jesus for my sweet baby!
So silly!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Some New Stuff We've Tried

We finally jumped on the cloth diapering bandwagon. Must say it's been fine, but a little *shocking* after using disposables for almost 2 1/2 years. Starting the whole fiasco on a toddler who may or may not be interested in potty training is probably not the easiest way to begin, but I'm so glad we did. Anyone else get that obnoxious lump in their gut when they toss disposable after disposable in the garbage? Ah, I finally don't have it!
After 2 months since the switch, thoughts...
We bought these in a few patterns:
They're Bumkins one size covers. So cute. Also, so slippery. They are made of a slicker material that works like a shoehorn for pants. Easy on, easy off with the pants. Not so great for trying to keep little bottoms covered. And obvs, when the pants come down, the diaper slips down too. Ah! I like these okay, but you have to be diligent about keeping the pants up. We do tend to have more leaks with these too than our others.
Also got a bunch of these:
These are Flip one size covers. LOVE these. No slippage with these. No probs really at all. They are pretty darn thick too so soggy prefolds don't leak through as quickly. Yep, love these.
Cloth are so worth it. You aren't tossing literally a TON of diapers into a landfill per child, they're better on their little bottoms, and they're cheaper!! But you have to decide that...
a) having your risk for touching pee and poop go up dramatically is OKAY
b) being slightly inconvenienced by "stuffing" each diaper before putting it on (cover+prefold+liner if wanted) is OKAY and unstuffing after is OKAY
c) changing more often is OKAY. You aren't tossing money every time you change if you use cloth, so it's just an adjustment from the hours you can stretch a disposable (prob not the best for a bottom anyways, but definitely convenient). Definitely will be changing more like every 1-3 hours.
d) doing an extra load of laundry 2-3x per week is OKAY, plus a little extra attention in the wash 1-2x a month to "strip" the excess soap and, um, "smell," is OKAY
Okay by me, so cloth diapers will be here to stay I imagine. I am still befuddled by what to do with dirty wipes while I'm changing, since they don't go in the wetbag and can't be flushed. Not on the cloth wipe bandwagon yet, but I suppose I can be persuaded. And the ammonia smell was definitely bothering me up till yesterday, until I just ran them all through about 4 rinses and got the excess soap that attracts the ammonia out. Overnight, still just using a disposable to avoid wet PJs and sheets every morning...And I am hoping to try some Bumgenius dipes since they rule the market, and we also have some pocket diapers (the absorbant insert goes actually inside the cover instead of just lay on the top of it) we'll try with Little Guy. Okay, so that's all on diapers...On to laundry soap...
These are the ingredients you need to make your own laundry soap. Box of Borax, box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, bars of soap (Fels-Naptha). You literally measure out the first two ingredients to the right amounts, grate up the soap (looks like cheese :)) & run through a food processor to turn to powder, and then mix all 3 items together. Boom, laundry detergent. This isn't my picture, and I guess it's showing how you can then boil the powder with water to get the even more economical liquid form, something I never tried. Anyways, this recipe is brilliantly cheap & easy. Only draw back is that the ingredients aren't at every Walmart and Target and You Name It store. Since we've moved I haven't been able to find them yet. This rocks, but you have to be okay with:
a) actually sitting down to grate and grind the soap bars. Just do a ton at once, and in an hour you'll have enough for 2 months.
b) not having a perfumey scent waft up at you as you fold laundry. there's like, no scent to the clothes at all.
c) saving a RIDICULOUS amount of money!
Okay, that's all for laundry soap, now on to the Cosette portion of the broadcast...

Cose got her FIRST EVER HAIRCUT this weekend!!
Before. Super fine, straight hair (where'd that come from???? my mother!) that was finally growing, but just in the back! Notice that Ashley gave her her own comb to use during the cut...so cute!

Daddy & Mommy got a little weepy here. What? It's a parent's perogative.

Almost done! Longer in front, short stack in the back. She was GREAT!

Here it is today!
And yes, that is baby Jesus in her hand. He's been requested often and today I just couldn't say no.

Love my little girl so much! Even when she disobeys me, gets the stool out in the kitchen, steals the Corn Flakes, and shuts herself in her room with them, and then can't figure out how to get back out, as is currently happening...

One more pic from last week, when we went to visit our best buds!
Cose and Vantus :)