Getting Personal #79: Reflections, On My Birthday

Birthday Quote 2017

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I wrote a Getting Personal post on my birthday last year, and I received a lot of positive feedback. I thought I would continue this tradition every year. For me, it brings the past year into focus, and it makes me feel good.

Since this time last year, I’ve lived in my own house with Al for over a year. I’m so happy that we’ve reached this point. We have independence. We’re navigating our way through “adulting” the best that we can. I’m happy that we both have stable jobs that give us good benefits, as well as modest incomes. We’re paying our bills and saving money, but we’re also able to have a little bit of spending money, too. Our house is certainly big enough for the two of us, but we also have room to entertain and (eventually) grow our family. We’ve already had adventures in dog-sitting, and we’re thinking about getting a cat, or two.

It’s amazing to look around, in almost any room, and realize that it looked completely different when we bought the house. We still have several projects on our list – Matching blinds for the rest of the windows, finishing renovating two dressers for two bedrooms, blackout curtains for our bedroom, painting an accent wall in the living room, and finishing my office – but we’re enjoying working on them together. And that’s the whole point, right?

It’s also hard to believe that I will likely, finally, earn my Associates of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies as 2017 comes to a close. Wow. It’s been a long five years, with a few semester breaks here and there – Like not taking any classes for the two semesters before my wedding, for instance. (Best. Decision. Ever.)

I’m officially registered for Legal Writing this fall. I’m headed to campus again on Thursday nights from late August through mid-December. I’m excited to take this class – This is one of the main classes that I have looked forward to since starting the program. Better late than never, but here we are. Keep your fingers crossed that this is truly my last class before graduation!

I’m also glad that I had the opportunity this spring to prepare for the boards (exam) to become a Certified Professional Coder (CPC). Many thanks to Shana for keeping me in the loop. It’s funny how things work out – I was hoping to take Legal Writing in the spring, but an English prerequisite was in my way, and I couldn’t register. During the Super Bowl in February, Shana told me TCC Workforce Solutions was offering the CPC exam prep class again (She took it in the fall of 2016). I was able to sign up in the nick of time, with the class starting two weeks after she told me.

I was incredibly nervous, but also excited. This was new territory for me. I’d had some exposure to ICD-10, CPT codes, and HCPCS codes through the nature of my job and my work, but not a lot. Casey, my former manager, encouraged me for years to get certified, and I finally took the plunge.

Medical coding is HARD. There’s three different sets of codes, and each code is for something different. It also depends on your interpretation of the doctor’s notes, which isn’t always easy.

Test day was Saturday, April 8th. It was almost six hours long! Luckily, I was able to answer all 150 questions before time expired, plus check my answers. I didn’t feel like I completely failed, but I wasn’t super confident that I passed.

About a week later, I discovered that I had passed the exam by accident. AAPC sends emails about meetings, and one of those emails started with, “Dear Laura Beth, CPC-A.” I almost fell out of my chair at work. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, so I logged on to AAPC to see my score. I ended up passing with a 76 percent score (I needed at least a 70). I tore out of my cube and ran down the hall to tell Casey. I was jumping up and down!

I found out later that I was the ONLY ONE in my class to pass the boards. I was floored. There were 15 people in my class. It was amazing!

So, now I’m certified. I have to earn a set number of continuing education units (CEUs) by a certain time next year, but going to AAPC chapter meetings every month, plus doing webinars, add up. I was pinned by the Peninsula Professional Coders last month during a special ceremony, and there were several others who are newly certified. It feels nice to have such a supportive community. Being certified also opens the door to new job opportunities. I’m very happy at Riverside, but it’s nice to have different options when thinking about the future.

There have been some challenges this year, but nothing insurmountable. Casey left Riverside for another opportunity in mid-April, which was devastating to me.

We suffered with a broken AC unit at our house for about two weeks, at the peak of the hot weather. We know now that we need to replace our HVAC before next summer. We decided to forgo a wedding anniversary vacation this fall, but we’re planning to go to New York City in the summer of 2018!

I have a lot to look forward to as I start the last year of my 20s:

  • Former work colleagues becoming true friends.
  • Enjoying my slight obsession with LuLaRoe.
  • Being part of the Pray for Me Campaign at New Creation UMC.
  • Celebrating seven years together with Al on September 4th.
  • Heading to the mountains for a weekend in early September, celebrating Savy’s bachelorette and making new friends.
  • Helping Nick and Savy celebrate their kick-ass wedding at the Vardaro Farm in October!
  • Celebrating two years of marriage with Al on November 14th!
  • Being with family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Helping Tony and Rachael celebrate their wedding in December.
  • Finishing my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt by reaching at least 50,000 words, and then editing begins!
  • Reading many more books.
  • Continuing blogging, and meeting many more amazing bloggers!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Commentary #53: “12 Things You Only Understand If You Grew Up Going To Church Camp”

Pinterest 2

Image Credit: Pinterest

My friend Cara shared this article a few days ago on Facebook. Just reading the title sent me back into nostalgia. Almost every summer, from fourth grade through college, and a few as an adult, I was at some sort of church camp!

Here’s the link to the original post:

I wish I had more photos to share!

Since a lot of my church camp experiences happened before I entered the world of Facebook, a lot of them are in traditional photo albums at my parents’ house, etc.

However, I did manage to find a few!

CCC 2012 (2)

CCC 2012, Albemarle, North Carolina – This was our finished wheelchair ramp!

CCC 2012

CCC 2012, Albemarle, North Carolina – We worked hard, but we also made time for fun, like ice cream!

Bandannas – Need I say more?

  • I’m not wearing bandannas in these photos, but for years, I did! They were fashion accessories – The girls traded them back and forth! We also went to the Dollar Tree before the trip to find new colors!

You probably dressed up in some interesting outfits.

  • Maybe? I remember the staff at Carolina Cross Connection (CCC) many a summer decked out in costumes, overalls, tights, tutus, and more!

Camp games were the best games!

  • Absolutely! I learned to play nine square at the camp in Florida with Daniel, Aime, and Loren (and quickly realized how competitive it was!)
  • At CCC, the icebreaker games were hilarious! Every summer was different, and it was great watching the adults!

Everyone had a camp crush they will always remember!

  • Oh, yes – No names mentioned here, but this was a definite.
  • I do know several people who met their true loves at CCC. Matt and Alex got married at a CCC camp!

You made friends that will last a lifetime.

  • Yes – I still have letters, cards, and photos from camp friends!
  • A lot of us have kept in touch through Facebook now.

You master taking 5 minute or less showers!

  • This is so true – Although the cooler water felt amazing after long days in the sun!
  • It was really hard to juggle everything carefully – Shower caddies would have been an amazing investment back then!
  • Most camps do this, but I highly recommend wearing Old Navy-style flip-flops or some type of sandal that can get wet in the shower! Camp showers are NOTHING  like your bathroom at home.

You were a master at coming up with skits and chants for your team!

  • I certainly tried. I enjoyed the group effort!
  • I definitely didn’t have much of a voice when I came home.

Every worship song seems to be 10 times better at camp!

  • This is probably the most true statement of them all!
  • CCC camps usually have some sort of “hill” or “mountain” on the property, and those experiences were always amazing!
  • I’ll always remember the girls on CCC staff standing on chairs to hold the handwritten song lyrics, with a lot of us holding flashlights!

You had a crush on someone in the band.

  • For me, this wasn’t necessarily summer camp, but mainly the Blackstone retreats!
  • I still have a few of my shirts signed by all the band members!

You always packed way more than you needed.

  • I was one of those people who followed the list of items to the letter!
  • It was so much fun packing for the trip, but such a drag packing to go home! Nothing seemed to fit properly.
  • Sometimes, I borrowed the big black garbage bags for my dirty laundry – Yuck!

You can try to tell someone about camp but no one else will understand.

  • Exactly! I wore my camp shirts to school a lot, and I enjoyed telling my friends when they asked.

You start your countdown for camp next year the day you leave.

  • This was especially true in high school, since I went to CCC nearly every summer!
  • I also did this in 2011 and 2013, because I knew I was going to be taking a whole week off work to go to CCC in 2012 and 2014! I felt very adult then, haha.

Did you go to church camp?

What were some of your favorite memories?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #27: Reflections, On My Birthday

Birthday - quotesgram

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There’s no significant holiday in August, so my birthday has always felt like one.

My parents have a beautiful frame that holds two of my footprints and my birth announcement. Around the age of 10, I remember reading it, trying to understand it, and then carefully taking the frame it to my mom, asking her what it meant.

There’s a reason why there are two footprints in that frame.

The first one, very tiny, has the following caption:

  • 1 lb., 15 oz.

The second one, a little bigger, has the following caption:

  • 5 lbs., 10 oz.

I came into this world 15 weeks too soon.

I was given a 50/50 chance of survival.

I am a survivor.

My birth announcement indicates that I came home from Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City on my actual due date – November 18th.

Through pictures and stories, I learned I was on oxygen for the first full year of my life. I was hospitalized twice within that first year for the common cold.

My favorite baby picture is the one where my dad’s wedding ring fit through my whole hand, hanging off my tiny wrist like a bracelet.

I first flew on an airplane when I was six months old, oxygen and all.

My parents put me in every kind of therapy program imaginable – Speech, occupational, physical. You name it, I was probably in it.

As I grew older, I simply marveled at, and was humbled by, my beginnings.

I was placed in a class called “Developmental First” at my elementary school, in between kindergarten and first grade. It technically held me back for a year, but it was a wonderful class that helped me immensely. There were about 10 other kids in the class with me, who all needed an extra boost, so to speak. My mom and my teacher, Mrs. Mansell, are still close friends to this day.

I was in occupational therapy until third grade, working on my motor skills.

I was in speech therapy until fourth grade. I still remember the day that I was pulled out of Mrs. Hartis’s class and told that I had “graduated” from speech.

Towards the end of elementary school, I discovered my passion for writing. The “Young Authors” program / contest was held every year, and each student created their own story, writing and illustrating it. Once finished, it was bound with spiral-looking plastic and sent off to be reviewed. My little book, titled “Electro Girl,” was chosen for recognition, and my parents and I were invited to an awards ceremony. That ceremony is also where I also met my best friend, Melissa.

Since then, I haven’t been illustrating any more books, but I’ve been trying to write them. I’ve kept a blue binder, covered in stickers, that’s full of stories that I wrote from age 10, all the way through the end of high school. I want to dig it out at some point and look through it again.

Reflecting on my time so far on this Earth, I feel immensely humbled and blessed. There were so many people who bent over backwards for me – My parents, my family, our friends, the doctors and nurses, teachers, and so many others. There were thousands of prayers, kind words, and constant encouragement – Then, and now.

Before I leave you on this gorgeous Sunday morning, I want to share my favorite Bible verse with you.

Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29-11 - lilyandval

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Jeremiah 29-11 - embeddedfaith

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I think I was in sixth grade when I was first introduced to this passage. I clearly remember the first time I read this passage in my own Bible – I immediately grabbed a pen and underlined it.

For those who know me, I almost NEVER make marks / highlights / notes in any books, at all, unless it’s super important or significant.

It’s stuck with me ever since.

On tough days, I know that I can look at this verse, and I feel peace.

God has a plan.

He always does.

Thanks for reading.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #21: Back In The Swing Of Things


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This quote was the most fitting for this post. A lot has happened in the last month! There’s a couple things I have to keep under wraps for a little while longer (No, I can assure you that I’m not pregnant – I know that’s what some of you were probably thinking!), but here’s a few that I can share:

  • I started reading the second book for the 2016 reading challenge and I love it!
  • Al and I are celebrating six months of marriage today!
  • I start my summer class on the 23rd, and it’s the first on-campus class for me in five years. I’m excited to be in a law library for two nights a week!
  • I got an A in Family Law!
  • Tidewater Comicon is next weekend! Woohoo!

I’m excited to be back to writing. Look for future posts about LanternAsia, books, movies, and more!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #18: “Elevation Church Is Kind Of Unsettling – And Kind Of Beautiful”


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“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

~Hebrews 10: 24-25 (ESV)

Freckled Italian has done it again!

Megan included this link in her blog post on Friday, March 25, as part of her recurring “Friday Favorites” series.

I took a sick day last Friday after having a massive panic attack (More about that later, in another blog post), so I was skimming through Facebook late in the afternoon and found Megan’s post. Her comments fascinated me, as well as the comments from her readers. I skimmed through the story, and let it marinate for a couple days.

Here’s the link: Elevation Church is kind of unsettling – and kind of beautiful

After the initial skim, I sat down and read through Katie’s account, and I found it fascinating. She went to Elevation Church’s Blakeney venue in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Megan lives. The photo at the beginning of this post is what you would see from your seat there on a Sunday morning.


Katie’s main observation:

“… I thought I’d try out the Blakeney venue because it’s a broadcast location, which means it functions like an indoor concert hall that’s loaded with media equipment plus a giant camera swiveling on a long arm to broadcast the sermon to other locations, and the Internet …”

So much technology!

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been to several Christian rock concerts in my time … but I can’t imagine experiencing that level every single Sunday.

I grew up in a traditional United Methodist Church – It’s been like a second home since I was four-years-old, and also where I married Al nearly five months ago.

However, over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to worship in multiple churches of different denominations – Catholic, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Baptist, Presbyterian, and a non-denominational church too.

In the last few years, I’ve seen the rise of more contemporary churches – Holding services in movie theaters, theater venues, and other modern spaces.

There’s a local one, called The Rising, that holds its services in The NorVa. I did some reading on it, and watched a few videos. I love the pastor’s enthusiasm and his messages about modern struggles and relating those to the Bible and Jesus’s time. I’m all for getting people interested in the church with different approaches – Rock music, modern messages, etc.

I think that’s great.

But, that’s not for me.

I agree with Sara – One of Megan’s regular readers / commentators.

She said:

“… I love how diverse they are and how enthusiastic everyone is, but it all feels like show and less like worship. I want my worship experience to feel honest, and it’s hard to feel that way when every Sunday is a production …”

She hit the nail on the head for me.

I don’t feel that way with Aldersgate, but I can see how that perception can be formed.

I’m on the team that runs the computers and projectors for the 8:30 and 11:00 services, and I’ve gotten a great perspective from sitting in the booth and watching everything unfold.

Our 8:30 service is contemporary – The praise band has guitars, electric drums, bass, and keyboard. It’s more relaxed – Come as you are.

Our 11:00 service is traditional – Our long-time organist plays, we sing the hymns. Most people dress in their Sunday best.

I feel comfortable, and it makes sense when you’ve attended the same church for over 20 years.

I thought Megan’s take was interesting:

“I tend to get obsessed with churches that end up with cult followings and this one is no different. I’ve been listening to podcast episodes and reading everything I can about Elevation ever since we moved here in 2014, so I was excited to see this piece on my Twitter feed. (Also I love the way Katie worded her beliefs: ‘be kind, love more, try to see the divine in others.’)”

I wasn’t sure about the “cult followings” comment at first, but after reading Katie’s account, it makes sense. She almost didn’t get into the venue that Sunday because of capacity. In seeing Aldersgate’s membership numbers go up and down over the years, I can understand how Elevation Church is attractive to many different people.

Again, I think that’s awesome that they’re booming and seeing overflow crowds, but that’s not for me. I’ve found that I prefer smaller gatherings, and Aldersgate fills that need for me, for now.

I loved Katie’s account, and I’m glad I read it and took the time to write this post.

“Be kind, love more, try to see the divine in others.”

Sounds perfect to me.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #15: “The Best Explanation of Marriage”


1 Corinthians

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I wanted to share this graphic with you first. This passage has always been one of my favorites, and it was read at our wedding in November.

But, that’s not the main message I want to share in this post.

Take a look at this:

Image Credit: CatholicLink Español on Twitter

Image Credit: CatholicLink Español on Twitter

My friend Katie shared this infographic on Facebook recently.

What’s interesting, though, is when Katie originally shared this, the graphic had everything you see, except for the CatholicLink logo/symbol on the bottom. It makes sense, since it is a Bible verse, but still, it was an interesting observation to note.

As many of you know, I am a Christian. I was raised in the United Methodist Church. I have read the whole Bible. In the words of a Jeremy Camp song, I walk by faith.

This graphic struck me, hence why I wanted to write about it.

I wanted to break down this infographic and really dive deep.

“A man” – Maturity

I’m interpreting this as a man has matured from a boy when he decides to get married. That makes sense to me. The age of consent to get married varies by state though. Some states allow parties to marry when they’re 15 or 16!

“Leaves” – Transition

Transition is a big part of marriage, but it’s a big part of life, too. For me, I have transitioned several times. I left home for the first time in 2007, to attend college. I transitioned again in 2011, when I came back home after college graduation. In 2013, I left home again to move into my first apartment. In 2014, I moved back home, again, to save money, in anticipation of eventually buying a house. And then, in 2015, I transitioned into marriage with Al. Sometime in 2016, we will transition again – together – into our own home!

I used to believe that a person, whether man or woman, should experience at least some of these transitions before getting married.

That wasn’t the case with Al – He’s only moved once in his entire life, and he never went away to college. The biggest transition, that I think he went through, was a few years ago, when he didn’t have a job for six months. But, we’re married now (Tomorrow is our 3-month anniversary), and it’s amazing!

He’s shown me so many things through his experiences, like going to community college. It’s cheaper, and you get a great education, too!

“Father and mother” – Model of a complete family

This part, I disagree with. I get that this comes from the Bible – One of the oldest books, ever.

But, in today’s world, a “complete family” is not just a mom and dad anymore.

It can be two dads. It can be two moms. It can be grandparents, or other relatives. It can be either a mom or a dad. It can be a mom and stepdad, and vice-versa.

“Attached” – A new family

I’m not sure if “a new family” is the right/best way to interpret the word “attached.” With marriage, the idea is that you’re creating a new family, yes. And that the parties involved are creating a new chapter, together.

But the word “attached” is a bit strong, to me. I still have a strong attachment to my parents, I believe I always will. That’s mainly because I am an only child. It’s important to keep close ties with your family, unless you have solid reasons/beliefs to not to.

“His wife” – Complement

This interpretation confused me, at first, until I realized that I was thinking of the wrong word. My first thought was “compliment.”

Complement – Refers to something that completes or goes well with something.

I agree with “goes well with something.”

I don’t agree with “completes.”

The reason I say that is Al doesn’t “complete” me. I am my own person. I am Laura Beth. I wasn’t incomplete before I met Al. I was recovering from an extensive abusive relationship, and Al helped make me whole again, but he himself didn’t do that for me. He helped me heal, over time. He listened. He comforted me. He understood the journey I was on.

He wasn’t my missing piece. He’s a beautiful, wonderful addition to my life. I’m so happy that we fell in love, dated, got engaged, and are now married. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him!

“They become” – A process of learning, friendship and trust

I like this one. To make a marriage, relationship, or friendship work, you have to put in the effort to learn about each other, be friendly, and trust each other.

For Al and I, we started out as friends. I didn’t know him from Adam, so to speak. Before we exchanged phone numbers and became Facebook friends, I had said hi to him maybe twice in their house between 2009 and 2010.

When I watched Inglorious Basterds with Al and Nick the night before I went back to Longwood in August 2010, I sat between them on the couch in their backyard garage. I remember thinking to myself, “I will be content if we are friends forever.”

I trusted Al from the very beginning. I felt like I could tell him anything, and I still feel that way now, all these years later. That’s one thing that will never change.

“One flesh” – Deep intimacy between two people

I get that intimacy and sex is a big part of marriage. And that’s wonderful. I don’t and won’t judge you.

But, it isn’t everything. And I’m glad this graphic shows that. It’s a significant part, but you have to have trust, friendship, and more.

Justin, a regular reader and friend, offered his two cents about this to me in a Facebook message:

“As someone not of religion, I can tell you this Laura Beth: Marriage is a grand adventure. It’s like finding a companion in an RPG, the healer to your fighter, the Sword user to your Bow and Arrow. It’s meeting someone who will fill that empty spot in your passenger seat where groceries once was. It’s finding someone who you want to annoy, or be annoyed by, for life. Someone who you love spending time with, but also can appreciate the time you spend apart, for absence does make the heart grow fonder. It’s finding someone who you may get really angry at but you’ll still hold the umbrella under them on a rainy day, and most of all it’s finding someone who you can say is THE ONE …”

I love his analogies. It’s hard for me to say anything better than this.

I’m so glad Al and I found each other. I was reflecting on the journey I’ve been on in the car yesterday. I feel so fortunate. I am blessed. My faith has guided me through my life, even when it has wavered.

It is true – Everything happens for a reason.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #8: “Quiverfull of Shit: A Guide to the Duggar’s Scary Brand of Christianity”

Disclaimer: This post contains strong language.

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

As many of you know, I follow my friend Megan’s blog, Freckled Italian, religiously. No pun intended.

I enjoy her posts immensely, and quite often, I’m inspired to write my own posts by reading hers.

Example – I was inspired by her Friday, June 26th post.

She wrote:

To Read:

Like Megan, I also don’t understand how the Duggars are so popular still!

When the Duggars first emerged on the scene, I was initially fascinated and intrigued, like many others. My parents don’t have cable TV, so I have not been a regular consumer of their show on TLC, now titled “19 Kids and Counting.” But I’m amazed that MILLIONS of people watch the show! However, with their many interviews, I have learned more than my fair share about them.

My interest peaked again when their 19th child was born prematurely. I was a preemie myself, so I felt a connection there.

But now, with the latest revelations of their oldest son’s alleged molestation, including two of his own sisters, I have absolutely zero interest in their lives anymore. I shake my head at the headlines. I’m angry. However, I wasn’t really surprised though. Molestation is often kept secret, by victims in particular, for years and years. It’s fucking terrible. I understand secrecy to an extent, but it is a terrible crime. It’s a stigma that needs to be changed. Not speaking up can cause these predators to continue their path of destroying innocence for years on end.

Personally, I was starting to get turned off by the family a few years ago, when two of the daughters entered courtship, married, almost immediately became pregnant, and declared that they wanted to have as many children as God willed them.

The courtship part was interesting to learn about, but it’s heavily supervised by the parents, and there are no individual dates. Every facet of communication is under the watch of the parents. Each single text is copied to the parents! Wow. Many children in courtship also save their first kiss for their wedding day.

… Nope, that’s not my thing!

Although I am a Christian, I don’t believe in their views of so-called Christianity. For me, I believe the couple is in complete control of adding children to their family – God is not in control in this instance. After all, the couple is having the sex to conceive, or saving the money for the adoption, or saving the money for fertility treatments, or making the decision to not have any children at all.

So, this article really intrigued me. As soon as I started reading, however, I started to feel my stomach turn. I felt so uncomfortable. I remember asking myself, just a few sentences in, “Wow, they really believe all of this?”

There are your Christians (a.k.a., me). Then there are your evangelical Christians. But the Duggars – The Duggars have gone a step further than that, which I never imagined:

“… they’re followers of a particularly scary fundamentalist sect known as the Quiverfull movement, which adheres to a deeply patriarchal and highly authoritarian set of beliefs about gender and culture.”

Wait … What?

I had no idea.

I read further, feeling my gut twist a little tighter with every word.

Birth control is evil?

Building a “pint-size fundamentalist Christian army”?

Whoa, baby. No pun intended.

That’s a little crazy.

And there’s more.

If you or your spouse happens to be infertile, and you’re part of the Quiverfull movement, well, apparently you’re shit out of luck. Apparently, God doesn’t believe in fertility treatments. So, even if you desperately want children – or God is telling you that you want X number of children, so sorry.

Also, this article doesn’t breathe a word about adoption, or foster care, or anything like that. Interesting.

“Women must obey the orders of men, in all cases”

Um, no. Hell no. Fuck no! Where are we, the 20th century, or earlier?!

I get it, in a way. Women have been submissive to their husbands – In past years. I’m sure there are some women, Candace Cameron Bure being a famous example, who prefer/enjoy being submissive.

For me, however, I believe that my future marriage is a partnership between Al and I. I try to treat Al as equally as possible, knowing that Al tries to do the same for me. When it comes to raising our future children, I would ideally like to stay home with them, if I’m able to. But, if not, I feel confident that I will be happy as a working mom as well. I will be happy as a wife to Al, and a mother to our future children, period.

“Premarital sex is sinful, and women are temptresses – who must also be sexually available to their husbands”

According to the article, this Quiverfull culture/movement, women (and men) have a lot of fucking restrictions.

I realize that there are a few denominations of Christianity that frown upon dancing, banning it even. However, with Quiverfull, women aren’t allowed to show their shoulders (Apparently that has caused their brothers in Christ to “stumble”), and then they can’t dance, AND they can’t front-hug their siblings.

What the fuck?

This makes me feel like I’m back in high school, remembering the strict dress code for school days, and then remembering the rules in place for prom and other dances. Wow!

In terms of sex, the only type allowed is “heterosexual, vaginal sex between a biological male and a biological female … and it can occur only in the bonds of holy matrimony with the intent of procreation.”

I get that, in a way. Growing up as a Christian in the United Methodist Church, I learned that sex before marriage was very much frowned upon, and if we did so, we were sinners and needed to ask God for forgiveness.

However, now, as an adult, I don’t necessarily believe that to be so bad. Sex is natural, between two people that love each other and want to express that to each other. In my opinion, as long as you’re not fucking around with multiple partners, willy-nilly, irresponsibly (i.e., without protection, you’re using your body for prostitution, etc.), I think it’s okay. As long as you love the person that you are in a committed relationship with, and you two are safe about it, I think premarital sex is okay.

“Parents control their children’s lives”

I agree with this, to an extent. As a parent, you are responsible for EVERYTHING your child does, from the day they are born until the day they turn 18. For 18 years, YOU are on the hook for your child. There are so many stories I hear from people I know, and in the media, about how the parents need to be schooled in basic parenting, or not have kids at all.

All right – Moving on …

What I don’t agree with is certain suffocating limitations in Quiverfull.

Again, no dancing. This also means no music that could cause you to dance – Meaning you’re limited to hymns and classical music. I like hymns and classical music, but if those were my only options, I think I’d prefer silence at some point. Dancing has so many benefits too – It’s exercise, it’s expression, it helps relieve stress, and so on.

Reading is restricted to “approved Christian books.” This saddens me, greatly. I love to read. I’ve learned so much about myself, about the world around me, and about my love of writing because of books. I can’t imagine not being able to go to the library as a child, to explore the wonder of getting any book I wanted, over and over. I do read some Christian books and literature, but I relish in having a choice to do so.

I do agree with controlling Internet access. That’s important, especially in today’s world of sextortion, online predators, and more. For me, my kids will not have a smartphone until the earn the money to get one, and then Mom and Dad will have strict limits on everything until their 18th birthday. My job, until they’re 18, is to protect them. I want to teach them about the bad things in this world, and then help protect my kids from it as much as possible. My kids may hate me for years on end, but my job is to be their parent, not their friend. I cannot emphasize that enough!

I don’t agree with not having a television. This is something that will be limited in my house when it comes to my kids, but it will be there. I want them to get away from the electronic devices and, you know, go outside and play. It’s how I grew up. I got kicked out of the TV room and off the computer, and sent outside. My kids will be no different.

“Families must be self-sufficient – no schools and no government assistance, no matter how many kids”

This fascinated me. Remember my recent post on welfare?

For the most part, I look at parents who choose to homeschool their children, and I think it’s amazing. I personally don’t think I could do that, ever. The best part is that we have a choice to do that. While I have a lot of beef about our education system in the U.S., I believe I got a great education in the Chesapeake public school system, and having the opportunity to be in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in my high school was a great challenge.

However, Quiverfulls are basically mandated to live debt-free and without government assistance. Sorry – I have no idea how that’s even possible! There are so many in this country who are drowning in debt – Particularly student loan debt (It’s the fastest-growing kind, far exceeding mortgages, car loans, and credit card debt). It’s absolutely fucking terrible, it’s absurd. Many of these people will die with this debt. And that’s a damn shame!

The end of the article was also interesting, titled “The Human Toll of Quiverfull.”

This quote struck me: “It’s easy to laugh at the retrograde and irrational ideas of the Quiverfull adherents, but as Josh Duggar, Bill Gothard, and Doug Phillips have shown, the movement’s anti-feminism and authoritarianism can very easily elide, excuse, and hide abusive behavior.”

Yes, these ideas are definitely irrational. They’re hard to comprehend. After reading this article a full four times, I still have trouble wrapping my head around it all.

However, there is no excuse for abusive behavior. Zero, zilch, nada!! As a survivor of emotional, mental, and physical abuse, it makes me bristle to hear of women and men being abused, and then getting sucked back in because of broken promises. It makes me sick. But, at the same time, I’m grateful that I finally saw the light and realized I wasn’t happy, that I had lost myself, and took the steps to finally break up with John Ivey on Saturday, July 17, 2010.

I’m recently started to see a counselor to address my struggles with anxiety, recent panic attacks, and other issues that I’ve had and developed, partly because of what I endured in my four-year relationship with John. I want to overcome these issues, as much as I can, before I start a new chapter with Al when we marry on November 14th.

I want to become a better Laura Beth – A better woman, a better Christian, a better daughter, a better fiance and future wife to Al, and a better friend. I’m doing this for myself. And I feel so good!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂