Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Regarding the videos.

Not sure what's up with YouTube but the videos are playing ok for us here. The setting was "Private" so I changed it and am also adding the URLs here to click and watch on the YouTube site itself if you want. Not sure it's worth it but hey, feel free.

Click here for the beach slide show

Click here for the short beach video clip

Click here for the GE Reds Day slideshow

Ok. That's all... until I play with more photos.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Another Video. Because I can.

Yep, someone figured out iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand and YouTube all within the same ten minutes. Enjoy this filler post until something better comes along.

Beach Video Clip.

Very short video clip from the beach last Monday. Enjoy. And turn up the volume because Sean's giggling is way cute.

Ocean City, 2007

Some random photos from our trip to Ocean City, Maryland this past week. It was Liam, Sean, Rusty's mom and I (that's Rusty's mom in the tie-dye.) The waves were huge and the current was pretty strong so the boys stayed close to shore and jumped in the waves rather than "swimming."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The sex talk.

"Let's talk about sex, bay-bee. Let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let's talk abooooout sex." - Salt N' Peppa


Today, I'm writing from Maryland. From my mother-in-law's living room, actually. The boys and I drove out Thursday. Since I was going to be doing all eight or nine hours of driving while the boys watched movies in the back (using earphones) I decided to upload the church podcasts of the services we'd missed over the last three or four months. As we headed toward Columbus up I-7, I powered up the iPod. The first podcast episode on the list - a talk on sex.

It starts with Tom (the pastor) apparently walking up front while Justin Timberlake's Bringing Sexy Back plays. Then he starts the talk by saying "Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, SEX!" just to get it out there. He divided the talk into one part geared toward parents with older kids, one toward single people, and one toward married people. The married person part was easy to take. But the one aimed at single people was hard for me to hear. Even though it's been ten years since I was a non-married person, there are things from the talk that made it hard for me to keep from turning the podcast off altogether.

As anyone who's ever been in a youth group can tell you, virginity is a church teenager's prized possession. Which I actually agree with. But for someone raised to believe that then to have it pretty much stomped all over, it's hard to recover. So, wait... what am I saying? Did I just basically come out and say I had no choice in the matter? Well, actually, I did just say that.

When I was a senior in high school I had been dating a guy for about six months. Seemed to be a nice guy, my family liked him and he was cute. Then one night in our family room, with my parents sleeping upstairs, a normal kissing session turned into something else even after I said, "No, don't" quite a few times. I remember walking up to my bedroom later in pain and confused about what had just happened. I didn't wake my parents to tell them because I wasn't exactly sure what I was telling them.

When you hear about these kinds of things they seem so huge and life changing (and they are) but when they're actually occurring, that minute right before is exactly like that minute right after in that the clock is still ticking, the TV show is still moving along, and no one on earth has been jolted from their sleep in the knowledge that something horrible has happened. Life just goes on. And it's a really stark contrast to how you're feeling on the inside.

The next day I had to work (at Kings Island, where the boyfriend worked also) and I remember I didn't see my mom and dad that morning for whatever reason. I went in to work a few minutes early to confront the boyfriend because I was very seriously pissed off. And when I found him and said something (while fighting back the urge to smack him and cry at the same time) he just looked at me and said, "It takes two to tango." That was it. And I? Was horrified.

Maybe he was right. Maybe I didn't say, "No" loud enough or forcefully enough? Maybe I just felt bad afterwards? So instead of telling my parents I tried to hide it from everyone I knew. And please, understand that this was never a "they won't believe me" kind of thing. I thought, at that point, that there was nothing to "believe" and I had just given away my most prized possession and was going to hell (or a least an unhappy, messed up marriage sometime in my future.) As bad as that was? It gets worse.

I stayed with the boyfriend. For almost a year. But I knew I didn't like this guy anymore (shocker.) I was just afraid to break-up and end up finding another boyfriend at some point and not know what to tell them if the topic came up. Which of course, it always did. Sex always comes up with college guys. Sometimes it gets talked about in a good way. I know there are decent college guys who can talk about in the context of "it's ok, we'll wait." But I didn't find them.

I found two more who assumed that since I was no longer a virgin that it didn't matter at that point. And I stupidly agreed. It was completely my decision but part of that decision was based on the fact that I was in uncharted territory. I knew virginity was important. But youth group people never talked about what to do if that was altered. What little bit of self-esteem I had was totally gone because I honestly believed that my worth as a Christian was in the toilet because I'd broken one of the cardinal rules.

So, why did I just type all that? Why go into it again? Well, for one reason because last time I "got into it" I just left it half-dealt with. A few months before Rusty and I got married, I started having a hard time with a family situation. I started going to therapy before the wedding. And this incident with the boyfriend came up. The therapist asked why I couldn't say the word "rape." Was it because I believed it was easier to say it was partly my fault? Because then it just becomes a "bad decision" on my part and I could pretend I had some control over what happened.

Looking back since I finally came to God and fell in a big heap, I know the therapist was right. By not facing it for what it was back then I traded in my self-worth and was miserable for the next four years or so. And I realized I made my parents and family and some of my friends miserable while I was at it.

So now I think you might  be wondering how it's possible that I'm not totally f-ed up regarding being married and sex after all that. Honestly? I don't entirely know though I have some ideas. First of all, what happened was hard emotionally for me. But not as bad as the guilt I felt when I started to believe it was my fault. When it was "my fault" it made it feel as though I'd made a choice against God and that was unthinkable to me. I didn't have the greatest image of God when I was a teenager and really thought it was all about the rules and doing stuff right. And forgiveness was just something you said and not the grace and redemption that I understand now.

The God and "doing something wrong" thing was an issue for me, and my misunderstanding of it all drove me farther and farther from my faith. Coming to Christ and being able to finally say, "Ok, this wasn't my fault" have done wonders for me being able to get on with my life.

Do I wish I'd have done something to this boyfriend to hold him accountable? Of course I do. Do I want some sort of justice now? No. I feel like I've been able to get to a good place and would rather never have to deal with this person ever again. I'm really truly happy with the life I have now and where I am in relation to my faith and relationship with God.

And I hope I can finally sit through a sex talk and not feel a twinge of uneasiness or panic.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Happy Girl.

Yeah, ok, so I've been so very inconsistant with the writing this summer. Seriously, if you think this blog is neglected you should see the condition of my house.

I wish I could say it's been something very important that's kept me from taking the time to update. I mean, it is something important but the reality of that is it's just life at the moment. Summer and Kings Island and swimming and watching our boys enjoy themselves and relaxing and going to see movies and being happy. Every time I see my sister and her nephew I am overwhelmed with the knowledge that even though the world seems to be losing it's collective mind there are still people willing to deviate from their carefully planned lives to spend their time and money loving someone who needs to be loved. Watching this unfold is also making me happy. I know the little things like being at the pool with the boys? Makes me happier than is probably reasonable. But overall we've not had a normal summer in four years. We've spent our summers moving halfway cross country, taking care of a niece in trouble, renovating a house and moving back halfway across country again. It's nice to be able to enjoy the summer break.

That's not to say that I don't understand that there are still people we love and care about dealing with stress - and sometimes I end up in tears as I pray for my family and friends and what they go through, or wondering if anything we've done the last four years really matters. But I feel like I can finally be more objective and see that there's always some aspect of "good" and "right" in what's gone on no matter how stressful it seemed at the time.

We're leaving for Maryland on the 19th and I'm so excited to see Deedie and Ashley and Wood and hopefully Betsy (Hi, Betsy!) and Erik and so many others I miss every day we're not there. The friends we left behind are honestly some of the most important people in my life and I often find myself wondering why God blessed me with these people. What did I do to deserve to be friends with Deedie "She who is fabulous" Stuart? I just got lucky and I'm totally fine with that.
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