Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas blog friends!
I am slowly but surely getting back to everyday life. The leg is healing well and I hope to be starting limited physical therapy around the new year. I still have a cast on but they want me to start moving the toes and hip as much as I can.

Today was sedate but enjoyable. Harris and his family went to be with his grandparents and I felt like staying behind. Getting in and out of cars gets exhausting and road trips get a little sore. So here I am watching movies and reading.

School starts after the New Year and it looks like I'll be hobbling around campus for the second time in a year. FROWN The good news is that I don't have to drop the RA position. Really, the accident happened at a good time if you think of this in terms of school and work. I had the time to recover a little.

Harris' family has been wonderful. We had a lovely Christmas Eve and his mom gave me a pretty quilt. I had been telling her about this quilt my mom made me that I had to leave behind and she created a new one for me. It's nice to feel that motherly love again and - even if it makes me miss my own mom- I love having Harris' mom as a surrogate. I spent time making pommanders ( I think that's how it is spelled) with his mom and aunt. We had some nice chats and the house smelled like cloves for several days.

Thank you all for the Christmas wishes and get well wishes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Accident, Thank You, Blogging

I'd like to thank everyone who sent well wishes through facebook, this blog, NLQ, Harris, FJ, and other places. It was nice to listen to Harris read your e-mails and comments while I was in the hospital and recovering.

Today, I'm feeling better. I'm a little out of it because of the pain medication but in the bigger scheme of things, I'm happy to be alive. The details of the accident are fuzzy but bits of things come back at strange times. Harris covered it mostly. A few friends had gathered for a movie night. One of the girls needed a ride to her parents' house about forty minutes out of town so four of us decided to go - to give the driver company on the way home. We dropped our friend off and started back to town. Crossing over the interstate, on a bridge, another driver (was was getting off the interstate) didn't see us coming over the bridge and made a left across our lane. We hit her broadside. I was in the front seat and the biggest memory I have is something punching me in the face. It happened so fast. The next thing I remember is the pain of my leg and warmth running down my face. I'm not sure what cut my face. I don't think it was glass since the glass kind of beaded up into tiny pieces and didn't seem sharp. I think it may have been plastic from the door frame? The other people in the car were hurt also. Our good friend "Margie" has a broken femur and wrist (she was the driver). We two were kind of pinned in the front seat until the Fire Department got us out. The girl in the back was sore and bruised up but she's going to be fine. The person in the car we hit was pretty banged up and I haven't heard about their injuries.

I almost didn't want Harris to say anything on the blog and I considered not saying anything myself. I know this year has been an injury fest. I don't know what to say to those who will post here doubting this. I'm not asking for anything but prayers for Maggie.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Long e-mail list of questions

Thanksgiving was fantastic. As I sit here in the post-turkey glow, I'm reviewing my e-mail and see this "interview" in my inbox. It's strange because the e-mailer is no one I'm familiar with and it seems like someone reading this blog for a while might know most of the answers. However, since it came in under the subject heading of "Here are my questions", I guess I'll answer as many as I can.
Notquivering asked -
1. How old are you and how long have you been living away from your family?

I'm 26. I've been away from my family for about 8 years or so.
2. What were the circumstances of your departure?
As I've shared here in my story, I left because my father was telling me I had to marry a man who I did not want to marry. I also felt that I couldn't be the person I was required to be under the ATI/QF prescription for life.
3. Are you married? Did your parents approve of your marriage?
I am not married. My parents would not approve of my marriage to Harris if we did marry because he is not fundamentalist Christian.
4. Do you have any significant, unresolved conflicts with your parents? Are you on speaking terms?
We are no longer on speaking terms because my father doesn't want to discuss - he wants to talk AT ME, not with me. He is preventing any sort of discussion with my motehr as well. To say we have unresolved conflicts would be an understatement.
5. Do you have any children? If so, what are their ages?
I do not have children.
6. What kind of church did you attend growing up? Was your church part of a denomination? If so, which one?
I attended a home church. It probably most resembles Baptist teachings.
7. Would you say that your father was accountable to the authority of the local church?
My father WAS the authority. Unless you count self-accountability, then I would say not really. He was accountable, in some ways, to Bill Gothard and ATI, but that was more of a peer accountability and they seemed self-serving in purpose.
8. Was your family involved in the community life of your church?
These are strange questions for anyone who's followed my blog to ask. Are you sure these questions are directed to me out of genuine curiosity? I don't think our "church" fits your idea of "church". Can you give me an idea of why you asked this?
9. Would you say your mother or your father was the stronger leader in your home?
It depends on what you mean by leader. My father was the dictator. My mother "led" us children in how to be obedient and submissive.
10. How many children were in your family? What number are you in age order?
I am the oldest daughter. I am the fourth born of eleven, counting my littlest sister who will be one very soon.
11. Were you and your siblings required to help with chores? How do you feel this helped or harmed your work ethic?
Yes. Chores were required. I believe this helped me form a good work ethic and helped me appreciate the value of a dollar more but I have a problem with the age and manner of chores I was expected to do.
12. Would you say that either of your parents was abusive? If so, how?
My father was abusive; spiritually, mentally, and physically. My mother was, in my opinion, abused. Spare the rod spoil the child is a biblical principal that my parents enforced.
13. In what ways did your parents show you affection?
My father didn't. My mother was very affectionate when she was allowed to be.
14. When you were upset, how did you share your feelings with your parents?
Being upset simply wasn't tolerated. If I was upset, I was expected to put forth a strong, content countenance and pray to find a more obedient, accepting spirit.
15. In what ways (if any) do you disagree theologically with your parents? When did this begin?
This is a question I'm not prepared to answer. I'm unsure.
16. In what ways (if any) did you disagree with the lifestyle your parents lived? When did this begin?
From pretty early on, I can remember thinking that there was a general disparity between the way my dad treated my mom and my sisters and the way that we were told we should be treated. My parents lifestyle choices (lots of children, Christian beliefs, and patriarchy) would be fine if there was a partnership and those decisions were mutually agreed upon. If people sincerely enjoy that lifestyle and find peace, then that's their choice. I don't believe it's the only path for everyone and I think it's an easily abused system.
17. Did you have a mentor or friend who helped you find a new place to live?
I had two people who stepped up to help me with the basics.
18. What type of church do you now attend? How is it different from the church you attended with your family?
Is that really any of your business? I am following my own path, spiritually, for the moment.
19. Are you under any sort of official church discipline?
I don't believe so.
20. In your mind, what would it take to reconcile with your parents?
For my parents to accept that I am an individual with different, but not lesser, values. For my parents to love me unconditionally and to see the beauty in all of us as individuals. For my dad to apologize for trying to force me into a marriage I wasn't ready for. It would also take some forgiveness on my part.
21. What are you willing to do to reconcile with your parents?
That's something my therapist and I are discussing and I don't feel like sharing at present. I need to be willing to forgive.
22. Did your family have close friendships outside of the family?
23. Did you parents/church teach you that salvation is in faith in Christ alone?
Yes and no.
24. Did your family laugh and enjoy being together?
On occasion.
25. Have you ever read Quivering Daughters? If so, what did you think of it?
THIS tells me you're not the reader of my blog that you claim to be. What do I think of QD? I think every journey is different. I think QD is a great place for people to see the less shiny-happy sides of the way ATI/QF/Patriarchy is presented by shows like 19 Kids and Counting. I think it's not my position to judge the stories of the individuals on that site, but to take them for what they are - a PERSON'S attempt to make sense of their life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Erin said...
What was Thanksgiving like in your family growing up? What traditions will you be making/using in your Thanksgiving this year?

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a decent holiday. :) My dad and my brothers would usually go hunting at some point in the fall and try to get us a turkey or elk (or both). We also always had turkey in the freezer as it was sort of the go-to-freezer meat of Quiverfull families (and still is to this day). You can buy them extremely cheap right after major holidays and we did. In any case, we girls would spend the two days leading up to Thanksgiving rolling out pie dough, getting roll dough ready, and generally destroying the kitchen with our preparations. Even though it was a lot of work, it was some of the best times I've spent with my mom and sisters. Even the little girls were put to work opening cans of ingredients or measuring stuff for us to cook. My mom made a great stuffing that I miss even now. I'm going to try to recreate it this year for Harris' family. After we ate, we cleaned up while the men gathered to listen to a sermon on tape. Then they'd go out and play on the quads or do whatever it is guys do outside. Other than the big dinner, it was a normal day, but it was the one day my dad would say, just to us, that he was thankful for us. Normally, we were his public blessing and what felt like his private burden. But on Thanksgiving he managed to sound sincere in private.

Thanksgiving, more than Christmas, was a happy holiday in my house because it wasn't a political thing. Christmas always became a quest for my father to show the world how much holier we were by not losing site of the "Christ" in Christmas. That whole deal trumped our excitement and happiness. I'll write more about that after Thanksgiving because to be frank, I don't want to be bummed out right before what could be a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Last year, I felt alone and melancholy. This year, I'm really excited about going to see Harris' family and being part of ANY family again.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

E-mail Questions

Kerry Ann asked - Do you think the people still in ATI know who you are?

I think some of them definitely do! I've received e-mails and, at one point, got a psuedo-attorney telling me that I was violating copyright by posting Gothard's 49 Character Traits. I have heard through others that this blog, along with NLQ and FreeJinger, are "non-faith promoting" and have been blocked with this software that a few QF/ATI families use. My identity may elude most ATI families because I really doubt my parents or the people who DO know who I am are thrilled with the prospect of giving me any attention whatsoever. I'm more like that ugly sweater you shove in the back of the closet and hope no one inquires about.

Kerry Ann also asked - Do you think you're just with Harris because he's the first guy to show an interest?
I'm not sure how to take this question. He's not the first guy "to show interest". He *is* the first man I've felt entirely comfortable with and maybe that's what you mean? I used to wonder if that was wrong- me entering a long term relationship with the first guy I felt I could trust entirely and was able to be myself with - but then I realized that most people do that. We just happen to have lasted longer than most "first real boyfriends" maybe do. :)

Michael asked - What is your major? Well, I'm shooting for library sciences. I'll have to go to a different school to finish out the master's portion. What's your GPA like because you should look at scholarships to help ease your burden. After replacing an incomplete from last quarter (when I broke my leg), I now have a 3.8 or thereabouts. That may change next quarter when I have two science labs. *sigh* I actually am working on loans for completing my education. It's time. I've been skittish about loans because of the lessons I was taught (which are based in sound financial teachings, in my opinion) but now I am realizing that in today's world, it's almost impossible to get by without them in some form.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where have you been?

Yes. There was a post here that is not here now. I meant to put it in comments and so I corrected that.

Cindy asked -Where have you been, Ruth?
I've been studying for finals and writing papers and jumping through hoops for financial aid and praying for my brother and spending time with Harris and working and - yeah. I learned the lesson a while ago about putting concerning things on my blog but concerning things have been all that are on my mind lately. I apologize for the blog silence.

In the "sex" post, Shoshanah came around and started quite a debate. She sent me a very long e-mail explaining more of her position and I asked for her permission to post it here. I couldn't tell if it was supposed to remain private or not by the information given. She responded today saying that I could post it so long as I posted it in context. To do that, I should probably post it in it's entirety.
I will try to address mostly Ruth's comments about my own. My last two comments were not directed at Ruth, but rather at other people. So of course, I do not think Ruth hates me or the things I have said.
Ruth, since I am a Christian who believes God's Word, anything I say will hopefully reflect that. Because I believe God's Word to be 100% true, I believe that anytime His laws are broken we harm ourselves and need to be restored back to Him. I am a sinner and no better than a murderer or a thief because I have broken God's laws. The good news is that I have been restored to Him because of what He has done for me. He freely forgives me and FORGETS what I have done, even when I do not. He loves us and finds beauty in me and you, even when we can't see it ourselves.
I have no authority over you and am puzzled as to why you would think I had such an idea. Nor do I want authority over you. You are an adult and have the freedom to make your own decisions. I will try to answer your questions.
You said: "How can you teach your daughters about purity in relationships and then stay out of it?" I taught them about purity when they were young. The two oldest are adults (19 and 21) now and already know what we believe about purity. Unless they seek our guidance, it's too late to try to influence them. They are adults who need to sink or swim. If they need a little lift from me, they can always ask. I have no desire to pry into their relationships (that would certainly set a bad precedence as a mother-in-law someday, now wouldn't it?) I trust their good judgement. I only know what I know because they have voluntarily shared things with me about their boyfriends. I know that they hug and hold hands and that's it. I have a great relationship with the two oldest, especially the younger one who has been dating her boyfriend since she was 16. She met him at a Christian high school where she was asked to help produce the play she had written. He spends a lot of time with our family and seems to enjoy us because his parents do not spend much time with him. My oldest daughter's boyfriend is a student here from Brazil. We like him very much and have met his parents. If they marry someday, I think they will move to Brazil when both are finished with college. The younger kids love the boyfriends. I do not know if it will be this good with all of my children. Some of our adopted children have emotional problems from the abuse and neglect they suffered before we adopted them. They are doing very well now and I hope will continue to be close to us. I make mistakes but can only do my best with God's help in the short time we have to raise them. By the way, we teach the same beliefs about purity to our sons. Their responsibility is the same.
We are not Gothard, or Doug Phillips followers and never have been. We want to follow Christ alone. We do know and admire the faith of other Christians and at times ask advice or read their books. I like some of the things Doug Philips says, but I threw away the series of Elsie Dinsmore books I had bought from Vision Forum for two reasons: They were unrealistic, especially in how artificial Elsie was, and slavery was not addressed as an evil. We have adopted black children, among others and I was ashamed of how the book portrayed a white, Christian girl.
Ruth said, "I don't respect myself any less for having a serious relationship without the promise of marriage." There is nothing wrong with having a serious relationship without the promise of marriage. It is even desirable. Relationships need to end when a couple finds they do not belong together, even though their intentions were serious to begin with. The usual dating experiences are far less than satisfying, I know because I've done this. You find someone. You may or may not be physically intimate. One may be more serious about it than the other. Then you break up and start all over again. Sometimes it has to happen this way, but it all depends on whether you are working towards marriage or just playing around with someone. It's artificial, not like marriage. Most people just play around for years, making up and breaking up. The physical aspect is important, but so is the spiritual/emotional aspect. To continually begin and end relationships with the opposite sex does not prepare a person for marriage, it keeps people from growing up and taking responsibility in a committed relationship. There is more heartbreak when a person has had sex with someone, along with the emotional closeness they have felt when the other one doesn't want to see them anymore. Why put yourself through it? If you date someone, and learn to have a mutual love and respect, why wouldn't sex work out in the marriage? My daughters do not seem afraid to talk about being married and having sex. They have happy, healthy relationships now and a happy sex life should reasonably follow.
God's plan for waiting until marriage for sex is a good one for many reasons, both emotional and physical. Venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, etc. I knew girls long ago in college who would brag in minute detail about their latest sexual conquests. They often had venereal diseases or got pregnant. One girl I knew, who was a medical student, got pregnant near finals time. Her abortion at the university clinic did not go well. She ended up with a bad infection from retained "products of conception". (and a badly broken heart, by the way as he abandoned her) Was it worth it? Birth control does sometimes fail. Hers did. I also worked on an inner city gynecology floor as a new nurse. I sure got my eyes opened. Pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal pregnancy and VD were very common. Some of my patients were as young as 14. Premature babies are the norm for young teenage mothers. I also worked in a neonatal ICU and had to teach young teens how to take care of their very sick babies. Having sex before marriage degrades what is supposed to be shared only by people who have made a very important commitment to one another. It makes sex less special. It also contributes to infidelity after marriage. I know some of you won't agree with me about that one, but I know it's true. After all, what's the big deal? However, if you have had sex before marriage, it's never too late to confess it to God and ask Him to forgive you. HE will help you move on with your life and seek healthier relationships.
Ruth: "Your comment pisses me off"...referring to me being sad about you throwing out everything having to do with Christian faith. You are 100% right to be mad and I am sorry. I had no right to make such broad assumptions. Is it safe to say that you have been put in a position of questioning all that you were taught? I think your parents refer to themselves as Christians and presented the Gospel to you, took you to church. It seems that they were very abusive, especially your father. Without going into detail right now, I was abused as well. Definitely physically and somewhat emotionally, as a child. I can understand a lot of what you are dealing with. I have feared that you would eventually reject Christ, Who is a far better father to us than even good earthly ones. I had no right to assume that you had rejected everything having to do with Christian faith.
I was also taught purity, but in a very Catholic home. While I did not actually have sex before marriage, I tried everything but intercourse with the man I was engaged to. After 5 years, he changed his mind about marrying me (he has never married) and I was left with a broken engagement and heart. It was still wrong. I have asked forgiveness and been healed from that sin. My husband had no experience sexually at all. He didn't care much about my past. All is well and we have had a great sex life from the beginning.
Ruth said "This world you seem to feel would pull me away from Christ has done more to show me love than my parents did..." You and I are not talking about the same "world". There is nothing wrong with getting an education, especially if it will equip you to be useful and glorify God. Woman can succeed in many professions. I loved being a nurse. Medical people serve others, as well as scientists, restaurant owners and other business people. All of these professions take getting an education to be successful. We want our daughters to be as knowledgeable about the world and God's creation as possible. For some of our children that means college, and for others it doesn't. By the way, a person's education should not end with high school or college. A person should try to be as knowledgeable as he or she can be for the rest of their lives, always reading, always trying to learn more. Our two oldest daughters are at the university here where we live. A person can live in the world, but not be of the world. That means, they try to live the life that God calls them to and to be a good example to others. They try not to become like those around them, who may think nothing of lying, cheating, stealing, getting drunk or whatever is sinful. That is hard to do. I know, I lived in a college dormitory for four years. Sometimes, Christians are not as friendly or loving as other people, that's true, but it is not how God wants it to be. They will answer to God, we can only be responsible for ourselves. The world rejected Christ and still rejects His teachings. It is hard to be a Christian, especially today if person wants to be serious about being a follower of Christ. We are changed by knowing God, or at least, trying to know Him.
Ruth, there is NOTHING you can do to make God love you more, and there is NOTHING you can do to make God love you less. He loves you with a huge, everlasting love. He would not love you less if you had unmarried sex. He would not love you less if you murdered 100 people. You would be separated from Him by your sin and would need to confess them before God and ask Him to help you. Sin hurts us, and God knows that. It isn't simply that it makes Him angry, He is slow to anger. He also says, "Come to Me, all her are heavy laden, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light." As I said above, when we confess our sins to Him with true repentance, he forgives and forgets them. He wants the best for you. always.
Ruth said, "If a child daydreams about the boy next door, I don't think they are going to Hell." Children do sometimes dream about the opposite sex. It is natural, even good. What do you mean?
As far as giving a piece of your heart away when you are dating or being physical with the opposite sex, that is a poor analogy. You do have emotional attachments that are sometimes not easily broken. If you have sex before marriage, that emotional attachment will be stronger in most people. Let's face it, it is common to bring extra "baggage" into our next relationship. I've been there, done that. Why put yourself through it? Why not be more careful about whom you date? Why not wait until marriage for sex? I have to admit, the comment about needing to try out for size before getting married made me laugh. How ridiculous. And now, if someone lives with the person they are dating, they are "my partner"? It sounds like a business relationship. Talk about taking all of the beauty out of love. Some questions that you should ask yourself when dating: Are they becoming serious about you at some point in the relationship? (not someday or 2 years from now, for example) Do they love and respect you or are they just having some fun with you for awhile until someone else comes along? This goes both ways. Men's hearts get broken, too. I think dynamite is less dangerous than dating games.
I probably haven't answered all of the points. I am pretty busy and have a sick toddler. If I have missed anything please let me know. I hope what I have written is helpful, even if you disagree with me. I would have liked to address some of the commenters, but am hoping this letter makes things more clear. If you would like to address what I have written you are welcome to.

God bless you, Shoshannah

Since she took the time to write it, I thought it deserved a post. She couldn't put it in comments because of the length. I've been repsonding as time allows. I'll put my responses up if anyone is interested.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Post

Harris and I dressed up as Jesse and Woody, from Toy Story, for a Halloween party tonight. It's the first time I've ever been to one. :) I danced to FloRida and, shocking!, had my first drink. I'm going straigh to hell, I'm sure.


(Tap...tap...tap...on the desk.)
The "blogshpere" is an interesting world. Don't misunderstand: I like it - that doesn't change the fact that it's an interesting place with strange, unwritten taboos and rules and whatnot.

I said I wasn't going to talk about my sex life. I meant it. Then, I read the comments on my last post and I started thinking - me not talking about sex is exactly one of my hang-ups that I need to just get over. I keep it "private" because I'm afraid of it. So let me address the question(s) and innuendos from a certain commenter.

Shoshannah said...
I am a conservative Christian who is old fashioned. My husband is very respectful and loving towards me. He is the leader in our home, but would never make a decision without my input. He very much cares about what I think and is a very loving father.

Hi, Shoshannah. I am "Ruth". I'm going to assume that everything you say about your husband is true and I want to congratulate you on finding such a wonderful husband. A lot of people are never as lucky as you. With all due respect, however, conserative Christianity is different than QF/ATI/fundamental patriarchy and the power structure created within. You probably do have a very loving, considerate husband and a blessed marriage. Regardless, none of that gives you any sort of authority over me, nor does it give you the right to assume certain things about me.

We are teaching our daughters about purity in relationships (and no, we do believe in arranging marriages or being too involved with themselves and their boyfriends).
I would love for you to comment some more about this. How do you do this? How can you teach your daughters about purity in relationships and then claim that you're staying out of it? I'm not doubting that it can be done - I'm just curious how this works.
We want our daughters to respect themselves and their bodies and not freely give their bodies and hearts to men who are not serious enough to be married first.
Here's where I have questions and a small problem with the wording of this. You say "we want our daughters to respect themselves" and that's fantastic. I grew up hearing this speech day-in-and-day-out. The thing is: I don't respect myself any less for having a serious relationship without thhe promise of a marriage at the end and I'm sure many women feel the same. You're, maybe without realizing it, teaching your child that her self-worth and self-respect lies, in at least some large part, between her legs. And, that by some logic, if she allows a boy to breach that barrier or even kiss her seriously (I'm assuming because you speak of purity in the relationship, not just saving herself for marriage), she's somewhat "less" or she's letting you, her community, and God "down". Why is that such a noble thing? Are you aware of the other messages your unintentionally, probably sending her? Are you aware that quite a number of girls in these situations end up terrified of sex or end up breaking their purity bonds anyway? Are you aware of the guilt that follows them for the rest of their lives if they can't live up to the expectation of perfect purity? I'm not advocating that you say nothing and let your daughters have pre-marital sex in the family room or anything, but just how seriously do you take this and how do you define sexual purity?
It makes me sad that you seem to be throwing out everything having to do with Christian faith.
This, to be quite frank, pisses me off! I never swear in this blog, so maybe this will show you the depth to which your statement angers me. You drop this bomb in comments and then you wonder why you received such a poor reaction from the readers of this blog. Do you really think this sort of accusation is even fair, let alone Christian? If you truly think this, then isn't it your duty to approach me privately and make inquiries? I have an e-mail that's very easily found on this blog.

You may not realize it, but your wording is very condescending. You say "It makes me sad...". Why? Why are you sad? You don't know which values I've kept and which I've rejected. What have I said, specifically, that makes you the authority on what I've thrown out?
"Your parents made some very serious mistakes, especially your abusive father, but not absolutely everything they taught you was wrong.
I've never, EVER said that everything I was taught was wrong. However, you don't konw what it is that I was taught. So for you to stand here and say that I should respect and uphold the broader message, without knowing first hand what that broader message was, is foolish. What if my parents had told me that any Christian mother who spends time on the internet is putting Satan's interests before her own daughters' interest? What if I told you that my parents taught me that no true Christian would send their child to a public school? My point is this: I've been very fair in saying that my parents did teach me some useful and valuable lessons. I appreciate those lessons and wouldn't say otherwise. You, though, unless you lay it all out there, can't say that you know me well enough to know that I'm throwing it all away.
Please don't let the world pull you completely from Christ and His offer of salvation to those who will follow His humble example.
Love in Christ

This "world" that you seem to feel would pull me away from Christ has done more to show me love than my parents did. This "world" is giving me an education and independence. This "world" is showing me that there's more than one path to happiness and God than could be found in the cookie-cutter, garden variety hatred that I learned at my father's knee.

To answer the unanswered question that I imagined was personal - I am, technically, a virgin. Like I've said, I have hang-ups. But, I see no spiritual degredation that comes from holding Harris' hand during a movie or kissing him. If I chose to go to his home unaccompanied, I don't think that makes me a slut. We're having responsible fun and we're getting to know each other in a way that will make "going all the way" even more pleasurable. If I chose to have sex with him before marriage, I don't believe that would make God love me even less or make my future husband value me less. If it does, then that's not the right husband for me. I think Harris will be my husband - I'm almost sure of it. Anything can happen, so I won't guarantee it, but the fact that he's kissed other girls doesn't make him any less attractive and wonderful to me. I don't feel like his heart is broken up into pieces or that he's giving me less of his heart. That's ridiculous, honestly. We're both adults.

Being chaste and having virtues is a fantastic choice for children, and for adults if that's what they choose to do, but physical intimacy isn't evil. I do realize that relationships take focus and time away from other, maybe, more important things (especially for a child). I don't think it's wise for children to focus more on the boy next door than their education, for example. But, if they daydream about kissing the boy next door during biology, I don't think they're going to hell. If they hold his hands in the bleachers and snuggle under a blanket during the football game, I don't think they're giving away pieces of anything that belongs to their future husband. I think a girl's heart is hers. As her parent, while she's a child, you have a right to keep her safe and teach her what you will. It's your choice. Just be careful.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ask and you shall receive.

My friend Cynthia said - Hope school is going well. I'd love an RA and a Harris update. I'll put something in the tip jar shortly just to piss off readers like feltspirit. I proudly support smart women getting an education.

The RA job is going well. I am working out the kinks as I go along. My residents seem to be learning the difference between a personal emergency and an "OMG! Involve the RA emergency.", so that's fantastic. :) It was a good job for me to take for a few purely selfish reasons. #1: It has forced me to be very social -something I didn't do last year because I was so afraid of my own personality. Now I have to be visible. I've made friends I probably wouldn't have made without the RA position. #2: It's showing me that I can be nurturing without becoming a doormat. I'm learning to set limits ~ a skill set I didn't have.

Harris and I are enjoying each other and enjoying our relationship. We are having an issue with my purity hang-ups but we work through them as they arise and Harris is being very patient and understanding. I want to keep that stuff private and I hope you all understand. Other than that, we're moving along. I imagine I could spend the rest of my life with him and be very happy. He's a good man. We love doing things together but we also enjoy allowing the other time to be with friends and pursue the things we maybe don't enjoy doing together. One example: Harris loves the outdoors and he likes to hike, but he's not into exploring a new trail in the same way I am. So, I've gone back to hiking solo on occasion. While I'm hiking, he's out with friends on the lake (something I could take or leave). Fishing doesn't excite me.

I'm going to his family's house for Thanksgiving.

Many people asked - Will you continue to post your story at NLQ?
That's really Vyckie's decision. I would hope she would continue to post it. But, I don't have control over when the stories make it up over there. I don't think any of the contributors do. Usually, Vyckie receives the stories via e-mail or copies/pastes them from the writer's blog. I haven't spoken with Vyckie (my fault) in several days so I'm not sure if there's something I don't know about or if this is still fall out from the Angel/Vyckie problem. Why are so many people asking this question?

Jennifer L asked - Why don't you ever post pictures? I could believe your story better if there was some evidence to support what you're saying.

I understand your skepticism. Pictures, in my opinion, wouldn't prove anything. I won't put up pictures of my childhood because it would out me and my family. My siblings didn't ask me to write this blog and I won't sacrifice their privacy to gain someone's approval. Unfortunately, my parents never took individual pictures of us as a regular practice. When we had pictures taken, it was a group shot. Also, I didn't leave home with a photo album. Any pictures that do exist of me in the QF-way are in my parent's home. I'm not likely going to call and ask them to mail me a few. Current pictures are another story. I have considered spicing up the posts with pics of my current life - not necessarily my face. Then I realized how quickly that would lead to people figuring out where I am and then who I am and that could lead to the disclosure of facts I've been wanting to keep secure. You just never know. The final reason I don't post pictures is because, beyond my story, I still wonder why so many people care about my life. :) LOL I don't say that to be mean or imply that I don't appreciate the concerns...I'm just a boring person who struggles with self-esteem. Do you really want to see pictures of my breakfast or of my dorm room?

Ambivalent Ego said - Hey Ruth, I was wondering how your brother was doing? The one who has kinda posted here before, answered some questions?He has been on my mind lately. I hope all is well with him. :-)
Your question is freaking me out a little because he's not doing so well. Do you know us?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In HIS perfect LOVE. asked - As a daughter of patriarchy I feel that you are misrepresenting what patriarchy is supposed to be. Why can't you do a post about what the real goals of patriarchy are? That is my first questions and my second question is can you really say you are a good person with all the commandments you break daily? Third question is how can you say you are an adult when you live off solicitations gained from a computer and do not work for yourself? It seems like God's plan for your life would have been better for you after all. In His perfect Love. A Titus2 Woman.

What are the real goals of patriarchy? You tell me. From my upbringing, patriarchy meant the man is the absolute head of the house and females were inferior. The "real goal", as far as I could see, was for men to be controlling, superior, ultimate decision makers using God's authority as a convenient means to their first position end. You're probably saying, "Ruth, what about all of their duties as patriarchs?" What duties? To provide for their family? Does providing end at getting a job because from what I've seen of patriarchy, it ends with the paycheck. You don't have to be a Christian fundamentalist to get a job and 'provide'. Is it to "protect"? I know many men who don't need patriarchy to protect their spouses and children from abuses. I know many patriarchists who USE PATRIARCHY to perpetuate abuse. I know many patriarchal fathers who use the "protect" duty to shelter and over-protect their children to the point that it's no longer quaint or honorable. Is the "real duty" to keep the family holy and on-point spiritually? If that's the duty, then aren't women being undersold as mothers?

(Disclaimer: I'm sure there are patriarchal families who enter into the system wanting to do the right thing and I know there are fathers who truly do only want what is safest and best for their families. I allow for the possibility that maybe there are families out there who've found the balance. I can only speak for what I saw growing up.)

Your second question was about how many commandments I break. Let's first ask which decalogue we should use? Exodus or Deuteronomy? Let's use the one you use.
1. You shall have no other gods before me. - Not broken. Bill Gothard is not a God. Patriarchy is not a God. ATI/IBLP is not a God.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol. - Not broken. Can you say the same? Have you honestly not made idols out of the Pearls and the Gothards of the patriarchal world? When you shell out hundreds of dollars a year to these men who can "show you the way", are you not questioning God's ability to show you the way? Are you putting your faith in God to make you whole or are you hedging your bets by paying your way to being a better Christian?
3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain. - Not broken.
4. Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. - Not broken. I spend a great deal of each day thinking of spiritual things and living honorably. Why limit it to Sunday.
5. Honor your father and mother. - This is the one you were waiting for, isn't it? I think this all depends on how you define "honor". I think this one is "not broken". I *have* spoke about my father and mother in less than perfect light. I have still honored their privacy. I still honor the fact that they are my parents. Honoring someone doesn't mean looking past their faults or never speaking the truth.
6. Thou shalt not murder. - Not broken.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. - Not broken.
8. Thou shalt not steal. - Not broken.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness. - Not broken.
10. Thou shalt not covet that which belongs to your neighbor. - Maybe broken. What can I say? I'm honest. I see quite a few things I'd like around town.

Here's the question I have for you. So what? Who cares if I broke a commandment!? Shouldn't that be between me and my God? How are you doing with this list and what does it have to do with my leaving patriarchy behind? Are you doing so much better than me IN patriarchy?

How can I say I am an adult? How can you say you are? You're likely above the age of majority and still living at home, living off your parents income. You're admiittedly living under patriarchy which means you have to be 18 to be reading my blog and surfing the net on your own - daddy and mommy wouldn't have let you feel out "the world" without first knowing you would respond as you have. Do you have a job? Do you go to school? Are you providing for yourself? Will you ever? Or, will you live off of daddy until a suitable husband is found to provide for you? How is the "transfer of authority" going to magically make you an adult? I am working. I do get "tips" for my story. I go without because I choose to go without rather than accept a life of servitude, while "having my needs met", with a husband. When I do marry- I fully intend to keep working. How is your "plan" any more "adult" than my own?

Speaking of God's plan - I think I am living it. Are you suggesting that God couldn't keep me in line with His own plan?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

49 Character Qualities of Ruth - The Decision

As we stood outside the courtroom, it was clear where the lines were drawn. The divide in the room was less physical, as the space was small, but it was a mental and emotional chasm as large as the Grand Canyon. My attorney had told me to be prepared for an emotional outburst from my mother. My attorney warned me that my father might become overly warm and try to entice me to "drop this whole charade". About my father, she was correct. As soon as we crossed the threshold from hallway to courtroom, my father turned on the charm and charisma. He held the door for me and as I passed, the jerk actually smiled. We took seats in the small gallery and by virtue of it's lack of chairs, my father stood behind me. When my attorney went to the counsellor's table behind the gate, my dad put his hand on my shoulder and patted it reassuringly. The judge, hearing another case, looked up just as my father did this and I thought, surely, my case was sunk. Here was this girl trying to run away from such a loving, concerned father, right? No judge would see through his gesture to the controlling message the gesture betrayed. No judge would see his smile for the manipulation it was, right? I had been trained by years of brainwashing to believe that the world would always see my father as a righteous man.

My attorney returned to the gallery area and softly confronted my father. Asking him to take his hands off me and step away. He acted hurt, but obeyed. My mother sat staring straight ahead this entire time. She didn't look at me. My heart ached for her and my resolve started to dip. I knew that by continuing this, I was putting her in harms way. I knew she couldn't look at me because of his orders.

The court officer called my case. For the huge change it was about to have on my life, for what was at stake, it was a short exchange. The judge said he'd read my plea and needed some clarification, but he was concerned about putting me on the stand. My father's attorney kept saying that there was no case because there was no abuse and that I was, simply, an "ungrateful runaway" and "a teenaged girl who dramatized a good situation". Ultimately, the judge asked if it was possible for me to speak with a court appointed mediator that day and we recessed while the attorneys and court officers worked to see if that was possible. It was. An hour later, after the Klein's and my brother's friends gave me pep talks and a snack outside, a frazzled woman arrived at court. We went back into the court room and the judge ordered me to go to chambers and speak with this lady alone- no council present.

She was very kind. Years later, I saw a kids television show called the Magic School Bus and Miss Frizzle reminded me of this mediator. She asked me why I had ran from home that night and made me replay the decision outloud. She asked about Adam and about my religion and the way I had been raised. She asked about my fear of my father and why I didn't want to go home. Then she asked what my plans were. I couldn't answer her. I didn't know what my plan was. Honestly, beyond getting out of that relationship with Adam and getting away from a forced marriage, I didn't have one. I told her I didn't know what I was doing. She told me that that wasn't good enough and I realized she was right. She said she was going to give me a moment and ask me again what my plan was. I didn't know what to say. My mind raced and I thought this was the end- I would be sent home. She asked me what my plan was - I blurted out "I want to go to real school and I want to find out what my plan is without being told what my plan is." She smiled and said, "good girl." With that, we went back to the courtroom. The judge asked her to meet with my parents next. A while later, we went into the room with her together. It was just her, my parents, and I. No lawyers. This was the first time I'd sat across a table from my parents, without the Kleins or a cop, since I left and it was scary. My father was still playing nice but I could tell he was angry under the surface smile. The mediator asked if we could work it out...if there was any way I would go home. I couldn't speak. I felt like my dad would reach across the table the moment I said anything. She asked again. I shook my head no. My mother started crying. I reached for her and my dad slapped my hand down against the table. "You have caused your mother enough harm, Ruth. Won't you be a good girl and come home. Spare her this hurt." I almost bought it. I can't say what it was that made me realize I needed to leave, but something happened that told me it was okay to leave. I had to leave. I told my mom I had to go and I knew she would understand why. The mediator was glaring at my father. In his effort to appear protective of my mother, he had just slapped my hands away from her in front of a court appointed mediator! He had just validated the things I had said- he was controlling and manipulative and, if even on a small level, abusive. She asked my father to keep his hands to himself and quickly asked him what he was willing to do to get me home. My father said, I'm sure thinking that it would make him look like some great authority figure, that I would have to do "what God requires of a child- to obey and respect her parents." The mediator asked him if any harm would come to me by returning home and he said, "Not at my hands.", smugly.

We returned to the courtroom. I was terrified. While, in hindsight now, I can see that my father wasn't winning at this point,- at the time- I didn't see it. I was sure he would send me home. The Klein's, unbeknownst to me at this point, had friends who were foster parents in the system and they know sat in the courtroom. The mediator was put on the stand and she gave her opinion. She stated that she believed I was mature enough to make the decision to leave and that I couldn't go home. She relayed the words my father had said - "not at my hands" and said she worried about the semantics of the answer. My dad's attorney was pouncing on her, left and right, with objections to statements and interjecting comments - to the point where the judge got annoyed. He shut the attorney down and said he needed to hear from the mediator without interuption.

To make a very long story short, the case was adjourned until the next day. The next day, only my father came to court with his attorney and my father shocked everyone by saying he would drop his argument. He would let me go. The judge said he couldn't let my father abdicate his parental rights so easily but that we could figure something out. The rest of the day was spent figuring it out. I was a minor, but only for a few more months. Emancipating me would take longer than it would for me to turn 18. Putting me in foster care would mean, if I understood it correctly, having my father and mother deemed unfit. My parents wouldn't have gone for that. In the end, guardianship of me was award to the Turners (friends of the Klein's) until my eighteenth birthday, with my parents still retaining legal rights to me as a child. It was a "mutual agreement", in the end.

I like to think that my father finally realized I needed to be set free. The reality is that I know that wasn't it. I don't know why he dropped the case and let me go. In the end, I don't think it matters. I was set free and I was terrified, but I had hope. The next step was "the plan". What was my plan? MY plan for MY life.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October Questions

Mandy Sue asked...Do you still go to church? Do you wear pants now? I guess I want to know is how far from your upbringing are you now? Did you realize that your parents were wrong so you just stepped away or did you go crazy and do things you never thought you would do like drink alcohol?
I'm not sure how long Mandy Sue has been reading, so I'm going to answer this again. In the future, though, I need to figure out some way to catalogue posts into groups so people can go back and see what has already been answered in these Q&A type posts. :) Anyone who can suggest how to do that would be a welcome commenter (although, anyone is always welcome).

Do I still go to church? We never really *went* to church in the first place - church was almost always in our home or in the home of someone we considered to be part of our "home church". In the Bible, it says that wherever a likeminded group gathers to worship, then God is present and that is "church". Alot of the ATI crowd keeps to that belief. I guess you could say - then- that I worship in the same way I always have - in my home, privately. I tried going to different churches after leaving my old life behind and, whether it was because I wanted to see it or because it really was there, I saw old vestiges of patriarchy and arbitrary rules in every church I went to. Nothing fit and to this day nothing really fits with the thoughts about God that I have. As a result, I choose to stay on my own until I figure out what it is that I'm looking for. I have too many questions about organized religion, and even - at some moments- God himself, to assign myself a check-box of faith.

Do I wear pants? Yes. I love pants. :) I am learning to love shorts. I had a progression of comfort, which I'm sure would be true for anyone trying a new style. I still wear dresses when they're appropriate or comfortable, but I loves me some hiking capris and sweats. Where I still struggle is with my modesty issues. I have an unnatural, I'm told, fear of looking sexual. Showing skin is something I'm growing into. I still have to work on being comfortable in my own skin, but I'm getting better. Bathing suits are much easier to wear now.

I didn't really "go crazy" because I was still a minor when I left. Then, when I turned 18, I had too much on my plate to "go crazy". I also had no money, which leaves little for "going crazy" and binge partying. :) I have drank. I don't much like it.

ms0tee said...
How are you and Harris doing? What is he majoring in?

We are great. I prefer not to talk about his specifics here. I will only say that his major is something that will mean more school, if he chooses not to follow into the family business. He's getting very close to being finished with school if he decides not to go into a graduate program.

Sardonica said...
With the elections coming up, I'm curious how your family dealt with them growing up. Was it something like your family was told to vote for a specific person, or did they leave that to personal choice?

My parents treated elections very much like you see Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar treat elections. We campaigned hard for people who "shared ""our"" values". We were exposed to the process from birth and were expected to participate. The discconnect occured when, as young women, I realized that I was really supposed to let my husband be my "head" and that meant listening to his counsel on who to vote for and what to vote for. My mom would sit at the table with my dad and they'd go through each issue and they'd pretend to "debate". Really, it was a show for us children because, as I got older, I noticed that my mom's sample ballot would have already been checked and noted in my dad's handwriting, with his pen. Basically, there were always core issues that would determine who my family was to support - abortion, religion, and "family values".

@Sheena - I think I may have answered your question, above. :)

Lauren H asked...I'm curious about what was taught to you about history - particularly cultures and time periods dominated by non-Christian traditions and beliefs. Could you give us some insight?
We were taught a very Christian-centered, white-washed version of all history. We didn't have much instruction at all, beyond basic definitions of groups, into other cultures. I knew there were Muslims, but I don't think I was told much about them until 9/11/2001 and then it was a highly negative portrayal. I had been schooled in the major differences and similarities of Judaism - but it was a surface level discussion. I knew Hindu's existed but had never met one. That sort of thing.

@Z is for Ramble - I haven't "thrown out" my parents beliefs, I've just filed them appropriately. LOL

Maria - My question is - Do you have any contact with your extended family i.e. aunts, uncles, grandparents etc.? Are any of them ATI also? And if not, are any of them supportive of you at the moment?

My extended family, outside of brothers and sisters, is extremely small. I choose not to go into the specifics of my dad's family because it would be easy to identify us. I have very extended family but they're distant and the basics are that if they talk to me, my father won't talk to them.

Thank you to those who threw a little someting at the tip jar. I *did* use it for something frivolous, as instructed. I went to see a movie and bought a jumbo popcorn and coke. :) The leftovers I spent on some farmer's market fruit and a jar of Nutella. It always seemed a little pricey, but I loved it. *big hugs and thank yous!*

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ambivalent Egoist

The Ambivalent Egoist asked, in a previous post, if I would continue to "support" NLQ. What she is referring to, for those who didn't know, is the latest FJ/NLQ forum wars and the family issues between Angel and Vyckie (moderator at NLQ). I wrote an entire post on FJ addressing the issue and my position on it. However, I would like to summarize something here, because there seems to be some confusion amongst people who have been e-mailing me privately. Misconception number one - I owe all of my blog traffic to Vyckie and therefore have some sort of obligation to her. This is not true. I owe *some* of my blog traffic to Vyckie. Mostly, however, my blog has traffic has increased by word of mouth and a few other means. I don't promote my blog, really. If anything, and this is no slight on Vyckie or NLQ, NLQ takes traffic from my blog because my stories are reposted there - no one has to come here to read them. I'm fine with this. I don't really care about the numbers. The thought that I "owe" Vyckie suggests that she's done something for me that wouldn't have happened without NLQ or Vyckie herself. This gets tricky. In some respects, NLQ has meant a lot to me because it's a gathering place for people who have lived in this system and decided not to continue. It's been great having Vyckie to turn to when I had questions about why my mom might have made the choices she did. However, and I have said this to Vyckie, given the accusation that she suggested Princess Jo start a "doubters thread" about me on QF - I have also had my feelings hurt. Because, whether she did or didn't do that, it makes me feel manipulated. Either a woman I trusted enough to disclose my identity to, after the fact, started the stressor that resulted in me giving up information I wasn't totally comfortable giving - OR- I am now being put in the position I was in most of my life ("Who can I trust?", "Am I trusting the RIGHT person?", "Is there anyone trustworthy out there?") by someone (Princess Jo) who has walked this road, too, and knows what an issue trust is. Neither of those is good.

I will never understand why grown women, with similar backgrounds and heartaches, put each other in such positions.

Misconception number 2: I have had a falling out with NLQ.
Not true. NLQ is an organization of women. Can you have a falling out with a support group? I haven't even had a "falling out" with Vyckie. Which brings me to the next misconception...

Misconception number 3: I have to chose a side in the Angel/Vyckie debate because chosing Vyckie means choosing to side with the Empire (darth daddy, star wars referrence intended).
I don't have to choose. None of us is perfect in family relationships. This problem that Vyckie and Angel are having is, really, none of our business. That either party put this stuff on the net and therefore opened themselves up to our opinions is up for debate. Vyckie claims Angel okayed every post made. Angel claims that's not true and she's hurt by her mom's lack of concern for her privacy (allegedly - I haven't spoken to Angel). The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. For that reason - I'll say - STOP E-MAILING ME ABOUT ANGEL AND/OR VYCKIE as it relates to this argument. I have nothing to do with it and, frankly, think it's ridiculous that people expect me to choose a side. I'm not choosing. It's none of my business beyond the point that it effects me. Unless you're Angel or Vyckie - it's not really your business. After this, I won't speak of it.

Other accusations are that I'm being played by Vyckie or have been played by Vyckie - to boost her site hits. I don't care about the site hits and the rest would be something between Vyckie and I. Thank you for the concern. "You're so f-ing niave, Ruth! You and the other quiverers chose your lifestyle and now you bitch about how pathetic your lives are. Grow up, whiners!" I didn't choose anything except leaving as soon as I could. As for the others on NLQ who "chose" QF for themselves and their families - I wonder if you'd be so harsh on mothers who chose the Catholic faith for their families and then learned that their chidlren were molested? Is it the mother's fault? Do you go to those communities and call them pathetic? I understand the anger towards the adults who choose this lifestyle - I struggle with it often. Still, the truth is that every situation is/was different and a person's motives are often complicated.

This site is my site. My story. Read if you want. Believe if you want. I'm not the end-all-be-all voice of QF/ATI/patriarchy. What is it they say on other websites and forums? YMMV? Have a nice day.

*Note - This post shouldn't be perceived as an attack on Ambiv. Egoist. I welcome all questions, criticisms, and support. I just want the e-mails about this situation to stop. Thank you.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Life is good

I'm sorry for the lack of updates or story installments. I'm really enjoying my RA position and I think I'm doing a good job. :) I like the interaction and responsibility.

I've been really pleased with school this quarter. It's been a lot of hard work, of course, but I'm enjoying my classes. Maybe it's because they're getting more specific and less survey-ish?

I promise to post more on Monday (I'll have a day off, sort of).

If anyone has questions, still, that I haven't answered, then you can post them here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hectic week

This week was hectic. This RA position is great but it does require more work than I anticipated. It's not "hard" work. It's just more distracting than I originally thought it would be. An example - I'm in my room, working on my own paper and a resident comes in to complain that she can't work on her paper because her neighbor is too loud. I go to mediate the problem. It's remedied and I go back to my room to work on my paper. *knock knock knock* It's another resident who can't get a plug in a bathroom to work. I call maintenance and go put a note on the outlet. Back to the paper - *knock knock* - "Ruth? Can you come out here and see if Jane Doe is in her room because her parents have been calling and she's not answering and she's been feeling sick." Turns out Jane Doe is fine and just had her phone off. I'm halfway through the paper and, yes, I realize I should be writing my paper instead of writing here.

In other news, my dad is back to his old tricks. I went to my mailbox and found a bill from him. It was from his "attorney" (I say it in quotations because his attorney isn't really an attorney, but a paralegal from an online university). My dad billed me for posting my blog about my running away because it is tarnishing his reputation. I can't help but laugh at him a little. How badly would his reputation be tarnished if I outed him? So I say this to my father - your bill is a joke and I would like you to leave me alone. I won't take the bait by calling you or responding to your threat (because that's all it really is) personally. School legal counsel says your "bill" is uncollectable.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

49 Character Qualities of Ruth - 22 (I think)

I was taken back to the station. Officer Barney* and Officer Crouch* (*obviously pseudonyms) spoke to me very little on the way to the station, but the questions they did ask were sympathetic. They wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing - as a minor (technically), I was a runaway. It didn't matter that I was several weeks shy of 18, I was a minor. They made sure I understood that there was a very good chance I would be sent home with my parents anyway. I understood. I had just come to far to turn back now.

We got to the station and they led me into a room. I'd only been in there a few minutes when Officer Barney came in with the attorney the Kline's had found for me. Attorney Dana* said she'd called protective services and pulled some strings but that, unless I could prove the engagement and that it was against my will, I would likely have to go home to my parents. I'd have to emancipate myself if I couldn't prove their was abuse and that process was likely to take longer than my turning 18. Proving the engagement was pretty easy. I had a ring. When I got to the Kline's, I'd taken it off my finger and tossed it into my bag. Since my possessions were taken from me when we entered the station, the ring was retrieved and catalogued as "evidence". Then there was my journal. The journal I kept could be used as evidence. The problem was that I had left it behind. The only way to get it would be through my parents and you can imagine how asking for it might not work out. We decided to call my brother and see if he could get to our house and get it under the auspices of getting me some "modest clothing". It worked. We got my journal.

Skipping ahead a few hours, when my brother arrived at the station with the journal, my attorney decided to have my brother call Adam. Adam knew I'd ran and as soon as my brother started speaking, he launched into a verbal tirade and demanded to speak to me. He made the mistake of yelling, loud enough for us all to hear, that I was "his property" and that if I didn't start "behaving as a righteous wife should" I would be "sorry". He also added that it was my "duty to submit to him in all ways a wife should". At this, the attitude in the room changed. As soon as my brother hung up, the cops started looking for reasons to keep me from going home. The answer had been staring us in the face the whole time - Adam was not a minor. Adam was an adult who had just referred to a minor as "property", with the expectation of submission and the suggestion of abuse. My lawyer asked for an immediate sitting with the presiding judge. It was granted (small municipalities do have their advantages). It was scheduled for the next day and, after being apprised of the situation by their own attorney, through my attorney, they (my parents) agreed to let me go home with my brother and to not contacting me until after the hearing.

I didn't sleep much that night. I couldn't help but fear for everyone who had helped me get as far as I'd got. I also feared that everyone who had helped me would see that I wasn't worth it and that I should just go home. It's hard to be rational at times like those and my upbringing didn't raise me to feel worthy of help. I knew that, in the morning, I would see my parents,...see my mom and maybe my siblings and I wasn't sure if I could handle that. I had this idea in my head that I was still in this alone.

The next day, I was stunned when I approached the courtroom and saw a crowd of people. In attendance were the Klines, the two cops who had first reponded to the Kline's, Officers Barney and Crouch, a social worker, and two friends of my brother's who knew Adam. My parents were there as well, with their attorney.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Question from blog comments - How well were you prepared (by your homeschool education) for entry into college? Did you require any additional preparation/remediation before you enrolled in college/university?

I think I may have answered this in another post but now seems like as good a time as any to give it another shot.

I was most decidedly unprepared in several subjects. In Math, I was actually pretty well situated for entry into an Algebra 2 class because my mom had been a math teacher. She made sure we studied math beyond our designated home school curriculum. I like to think it was her way of preparing us for a better chance at life.

In reading, I scored very well but didn't have the depth that most children have. I *could* read, I just wasn't allowed much variety. I was also never asked to dissect anything literary. That was a skill I had to learn - I think most children learn that pretty early on. When I "graduated" homeschool, my book reports were about a page long and they were really just summaries of a story with no personal insight and no explanation of cultural signifigance.

My grammar was pretty horrendous and I'm still working on that.

History was very difficult for me because of the sanitized and re-written version I'd been raised on. I had to take several survey courses at an adult school/commuinity college to catch up to an acceptable EIGHTH grade level.

Science was largely ignored, except for what passed as a science education in our Wisdom Books. That meant starting from the basics when I left. I had to learn the proper scientific methodology and language.

It took me, literally, years of "adult" education to be able to apply to a university.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

More questions

Grace asked - Do you ever want to return to your parents? Many women who have escaped abusive religious groups often do.

I think it's too late now. Returning to my parents in the role of a dependent, subservient, submissive child couldn't happen. I've changed too much and I don't believe what they believe any longer. I'd like to think that they understand that my return to that lifestyle would be impossible for me. Would I love to return to my parents home and have a relationship? Yes. Yes, I would like that very much and I pray for it to happen. There are definitely things I miss about my family. Though there was much that was bad about my life, there were good things and I miss those things. I miss watching my sisters grow and I miss being present for the big family functions. We're all growing up and, with the exception of Blessing and I, all had very close relationships. Walking out of the room my sisters and I shared was the most difficult walk of my life and to say I have zero regret or guilt over leaving them would be a lie, also.

CT asked - In your opinion (or from stories you've heard) do you think other QF families would have been willing to arrange a different marriage? Or do you believe it's normal for the children to be told they just haven't been praying right if something feels wrong to them?

I don't quite understand the first part of your question. I think you're asking if, for example, in my situation, if most QF families would have said, "Ok. You don't like Adam, let's move on to Bob!"? Like everything, I can't really answer that for every other QF family because they're all different. In ATI, there's a certain stigma attached to girls who turn down "suitable" arrangements - especially after the "courtship" has gone on so long as mine did. There's the thought that the girl can't be tamed, so to speak, if she doesn't obey her parents or follow God's, alleged, plan for her. The men/boys in ATI tend to get more leeway in choice and attraction. I saw this in play with my brothers and the lessons they were given (or shared with me later). For example, boys are told to keep their heart and eyes open for God's direction, just as girls are, but they're allowed to voice their attractions more openly than girls are. If a boy sees a girl he finds attractive, he can approach her or her family and pursue her or talk to his parents about her. If a girl sees a young man she's attracted to, she's really not supposed to indulge any thoughts of dating him or pursuing him because, as it goes, if God means for her to be with that boy, it will be revealed through prayer, her parents, or him pursuing her. Does that make sense?

It's pretty common, if not normal, for children to be told that they're not approaching a situation with a pure heart or a right spirit if they differ with their parents. But I'm not sure that's a soley QF/ATI problem. Most parents influence their children or try to get them to see things from their point of view and through the glasses of their family's values. The difference between a "common" family and an ATI family is the recourse. I would imagine that, in a "commmon" family, the child has the resources and the ability to do what they will with their lives without the fear of losing EVERYTHING to go against their parents. In alot of the families I knew (but not ALL), the cost of going against your parents was total and complete isolation and lack of support. You're not prepared to be an independent entity, to a large extent.

I hate to get on a soapbox but I fear that's where this is headed. My family encouraged females to be totally dependent on someone else. All of us kids were homeschooled and isolated within a strict community of like minded people and there's a lot of group-think pressure to conform. There's also a great deal of pressure to rat out others under the veil of "being your brother's keeper". There's just so much going against an ATI kid who wants to get out. Most kids just conform to avoid the scary prospect of doing anything else.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yon's question

Yon Gin asked - I was arranged marriage. Was not bad in long time, was scary in you begin. Why you run if you raise that way to be arranged?

I'm honored that someone from another culture is reading this blog. Yon Gin has asked questions before and she is legit (not a troll). Yon, I respect that arranged marriage has worked in other circumstances and was the predominant tradition for several eras. I know that some people are happy with their arranged marriage - I'm happy for them that it worked out.

The way *I* was raised, despite what many people think, was not to prepare for an arranged marriage. That's the duality of the ATI and patriarchy movement. When you're small and even when you're not-so-small, they tell you that JESUS has already chosen your partner. They tell you that the 'one god has for you' is waiting and praying for you and you should pray for him. They don't tell you who that person is. There's a lot of talk about saving yourelf for that person and how your parents will help you know who he is but they don't outright tell you, when you're young, that your parents will pick this person for you. They don't tell you that the talk about YOU praying about a match won't mean a hill of beans because the decision will have already been made for you. It's not the arranged marriage part that bothered me as much as the forced marriage part. I wasn't ready for ANY marriage (I'm still not) let alone marriage to someone I hated. He wasn't the sort of man I was told to wait for or give myself to but because he was a benefit to my father, I was expected to capitulate. When my parents and my faith group were talking to me about being a jewel in my husband's crown, they never told me I would have to ignore the instincts and ignore what I felt God was telling me. It's so hard for me to explain this to anyone who hasn't been there. I hope I'm explaining it right. It isn't like I had feelings for anyone else or wanted someone different and that's why I rebelled. That's not it either. I just knew it wasn't Adam who "God had for me" and I guess I didn't trust my parents enough (when it comes right down to it) to be carrying out God's will. (pause)

After I wrote that last paragraph I had to take a break because it's the first time I've put that out there so plainly. I didn't trust my parents. Even though it went against everything I'd been taught about parental authority and honoring that authority - I didn't. I wanted to with all my heart but I couldn't - I imagine it's in the same way that you can love your best friend but still turn them in for beating their child or wife. You know in your heart what is wrong and what my parents were attemptimg to do was wrong. Even my mother.

Back to the question - I was raised to trust God and give my parents authority over my life. When Adam was put before me, I just realized doing both wasn't possible. God, in my head, was telling me no.

How would you all answer Yon's question?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More questions brought up a point that needs clarification. She ( was concerned and voiced her feelings about my posting about Harris' "proposal". She thought it was in bad taste for me to post because I said, in her words, "no". I can see where she was coming from, and had I said, "No" or "I'll think about it." I would agree that it would be in poor taste to share that with the world - it would be embarassing for the man who asked. So please allow me to clarify what happened and maybe that will make it better. Harris didn't present me with a ring, really, or get down on one knee or make some production out of it. He and I were driving back from the reunion and he asked how I felt about marriage, given my past. I said that I think I'll get married someday and he said, "Would you marry me if I asked you right now?" I asked if he was serious and he said, "I think I am." I said that I loved him and I could see myself with him forever, but not "right now". The rest of what was said is kind of private (as far as specifics and emotions we shared) but the gist was what I wrote about in my last post - that we do see ourselves together but an official "proposal/engagement" needs to wait a bit and a marriage shouldn't happen until school is finished. I hope that clarifies the situation.

Fran -Why did you post the financial question and not my question? My question was how are you planning to support yourself when your blog income dries up and no one cares about you story? Why aren't you spending your swagbucks? Why don't you give money to No Longer Quivering?
Fran, I didn't ignore your question. When I do posts like these, I do them in increments. I start a post, then click over to another page or start a conversation or do something else and then come back to finish it. The last question on my last post wasn't supposed to be the end of the post but I ran out of time and decided to go ahead and post what I had. Why did I post the answer to that question? I don't know. It's been asked a lot over the last several weeks and it was just the next question on my list. Yours was, logically, the next question and here's the answer.

This blog generates very little "income". In fact, I wouldn't even classify it as "income". With the exception of one or two larger "tips", this blog might make $40 on a good month. That includes tips and the $1 I may earn from Amazon associates. Some months, there's nothing at all. It ALL HELPS and I appreciate every single dollar that someone tips. It's still not the income generator some people imagine it is and that makes me chuckle a little. I wish it was enough to be my "income". If I could blog and make enough to live that would be fantastic but I understand that only happens for a few bloggers. The swagbucks are being saved until I can buy my own laptop because that's what I told people they would go for.

Why don't I give money to No Longer Quivering? That's a good question. I should and if I had "extra" income I would. But thank you for reminding me that I should make them a priority for charity. If anyone would like to donate to them, please do so. For those who still want to donate here, then from now on I can pledge a percentage to NLQ and have Vyckie verify my donation if it makes you feel better. Personally, I would rather you donate straight to her if you want to see money go to NLQ because why go through a middle man?

Lane asked - Do you want children? How many?
Right now I do not want children of my own but that may change as I get older. I don't see myself having more than two.

In the same area, Kevin asked - "Do you know if your siblings want as many children as your parents or the Duggars?"
I can't answer for all of them. I know one sibling is fully committed to QF and would have as many as they could. Another says they will let God decide but they've not been quick on the draw. It could be that they're having problems or that they've decided to wait or something. Two others want no children (as far as I know). The rest I have no idea. Except for the first one I mentioned, I don't see any of us having as many as my parents had. For one, my mom (and Mrs. Duggar and Mrs. Bates) seem to be extremely fertile. I don't think that sort of family size happens naturally in many cases. Also, I don't know that they'd say it publicly, but I suspect that many QF, second generation children grew up with the poverty and lack of resources that comes with being a QF kid and they may not be very excited about having their children grow up in the same environment.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Break from my story - Questions

I'm taking a break from my story to answer some reader e-mail and questions. Some of these are old (from older posts) and some are new.

Email question - Ruth, I'm dying to know how the family reunion with Harris was and how your relationship is going? Can you give us the Harris update?

The reunion was fantastic. It was at Disneyland and I had a ball experiencing this for the first time. My favorite rides were Pirates of the Carribean and Soaring Over Californina. Harris' extended family were interesting people with all sorts of backgrounds. I can honestly say that I've never seen such a blended family (races, religions, and cultures. I think I asked too many questions of his African American, jewish relatives just because that was something my small world never imagined. They were equally interested in how I grew up and why I left. Harris' immediate family was wonderfully comforting and welcoming. We had a night where it was just Harris' parents and siblings (and their families). We sat around the table and had a great time.

My relationship with Harris is progressing. He asked me to marry him. I said I wasn't ready and he said he figured that would be my answer. We've decided to keep going on as we are for a year and see where that leaves us. If we're still in the right place, then I will consent to an engagement. I love him. I'm sure of it. My fear is that rushing into anything rarely works and walking right into a marriage would be what I ran from before.

How's your financial situation?
It is guarded as always. Thanks for the concern.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

49 Character Qualities of Ruth- The First Night

It's hard to explain what those first few minutes were like, as I made my way across the field to the neighbors. I had a million emotions - fear, anger, sadness, grief, excitement, and uncertainty, just to name a few. At any moment, I expected the sliding door to open and the back yard lights to go on. I expected one of the boys, or - worse- my father, to hop on the ATV we kept in the yard. Looking back every step, though - all I saw was a quiet house. No one had noticed my leaving, even though I was sharing a room at this point. In hindsight, I've always wondered if my sisters had slept through my feverish gathering (maybe they thought I was gathering clothes for a late night load of laundry?) or if they knew I was leaving and knew I was unhappy? Either way, they didn't stop me or raise any alarm.

My neighbors were shocked to see me standing on their porch. Mr. and Mrs. Kline* (pseudonym) had had their doubts about my family for years. They'd called protective services one day after watching my dad dole out a punishment to my brother. Protective services did nothing - deeming the incident to be within the scope of parental discipline, but the Kline's intervention made a deep impression on me. I knew someone was watching our family. The Klines also made attempts to talk to my mother and us girls whenever they could. My father would speak about how nosey they were and how they were "the wolves". Mrs. Kline worked and my father would use their childlessness as an example of how worldliness "deprived a woman of her Godly appointment". As I came to discover, Mrs. Kline was infertile.

I stood on their doorstep and explained, or tried to, that I had been engaged and I didn't want to be and I was hoping they could help me get to my brother. Mrs. Klein told me later that she would've adopted me that night but Mr. Klein was rightfully worried about taking in a minor. He said we should call the police or call my parents. I opted to call the police because I knew calling my parents would only result in them calling the police to make me come home.

The police came and listened to my story. I will never forget their kindness. One of the officers was female - a rarity for our town at that time- and I think it was God's gift to me that she arrived to take my statement. Both she and her partner were disgusted by the possibility that things were the way I said it was (being forced to accept Adam's proposal) but they kept it professional and said they were going to go talk to my father. I told them I didn't want to go back home and stammered that I feared being sent away again. The Klein's confirmed that I had disappeared for a few months not too long ago and the cops took that into consideration. They went to my father's house to get his side of the story.

My father was irate and demanded that I be returned to him or he would "retrieve me" himself. He demanded that it was all a misunderstanding (his favorite excuse) and that if he could just talk to me, it would be fixed. When the officers repeated my fear of being sent away, my father told them that was silly because the previous detention had been my choice! He produced a letter I'd been encouraged to write my parents telling them how grateful I was for being sent away. The female officer had the wisdom to see this for what it was. She started asking about our family. She wanted to talk to my mother (who was standing in the room, not saying a word) in private. My father allegedly told my mother that was not wise and my mother wouldn't answer in more than one word answers. The female officer suggested that maybe we all needed the night to calm down. For whatever reason, my father agreed and I stayed at the Klein's.

The next morning, my mother arrived bright and early to retrieve me. Mrs. Klein asked if I wanted to leave and as much as I wanted to go to my mother, I knew I would be punished for my stunt. I told her I didn't want to leave but I knew I couldn't stay and she said Mr. Klein was handling that. What I didn't know at that moment was that Mr. Klein had already gone to retain an attorney on my behalf.

To make a long story short, within two hours, the cops arrived to take me home (a different set of officers this time) because I was a "run away". Mrs. Klein explained the situation and the officers told me I had a choice - go home or go to their offices and file a report against Adam and my father. I chose the latter. It was my first time in a police car and I was terrified. Mrs. Klein followed us in her car. As we passed by the front of my house, I saw my mom and sisters watching through the windows. It was humiliating and I can only imagine what my father was saying in the background.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Character Qualities of Ruth

So, there I was, pre-engaged. Betroathed. I refused to say "engaged" because that would suggest I was a party to the act. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When I should've been praying to ask God to make my heart right with these decisions being made for me, I was asking God to get me out and show me a way to avoid it all. My goal was to graduate high school. When I told my mother that, she made sure my home school curriculum was first priority - just to get it out of the way and give me less of an excuse. When I told my mom I didn't like the boy 'that way' - she thought she'd help me by having me spend time with his family. When that didn't work - I was sent away. I was sent to work in the offices of the movement. During that time, all ties were cut for me. I was only allowed to get one letter a week from my "betroathed" and one phone call from my parents. Both of these were pre-read and listened to. I was kept, doing church related tasks, busy for three months.

When I had been beated down (emotionally and spiritually), I was allowed to go home. The very next day, my dad invited Adam to come help with a project we were doing. He was brining another brother as a chaparone. I knew the question was coming and the question was going to be the catalyst to change in my life.

I was right.

Adam came into our home and went straight to the backyard to discuss something with my father. I tried to look small and invisible. After dinner, Adam publicly asked my father if two of my siblings would accompany us on a walk. We walked down the street until we got to a fence gate. At the gate, Aaron dropped on one knee and read me a scripture passage. He pulled a small box from his coat and presented me with a diamond ring.

The world started swimming. I have never felt more claustrophobic in my life. My sister stepped up to hold my shaking hand as he put the ring on - because I hadn't verbally agreed to anything. Somehow or another, we ended up back in the house and a party was being amped up. Dad was taking photos and mom was caling friends to tell them to save a date for a wedding. All this and I haven't said yes. I went to the bathroom and tried to hide, but Adam used our lockless doors against us and he forced my sister in through the door to tell me to return to the party. Inside I was screaming that I hadn't agreed to be his wife and yet there were dates being tossed around.

People were planning a wedding around me. The wedding was a go and the bride was a no. I was in a daze but through the daze I knew that it was time for me to leave. After the hubbub died down, and people were leaving, Adam took me outside by the hand for a "talk". During the talk, I tried barganing. I told him I might marry him if he would be okay with my staying in school and going for an advanced education. He was visibly uncomfortable. He said that he thought I was in line with the teachings of our fathers and God's commandment for us. I told him I might be, I wasn't sure, and that I needed time to seek out an answer. I also told him that IF we got married, I would NEED to have something that was just mine in our life (a job, a hobby, or the ability to further my education). I thought, maybe for a moment, that he was thinking about what I'd said becuase he got quiet. I wrongfully thought that meant he was considering some of what I said. Well, maybe he was, but not in the way I thought. He grabbed my arm forcibly and said, "YOU is no longer YOU. YOUR WORLD IS ME NOW." He quoted scripture at me and jammed my hands into my chest. He told me to get right with the Lord and see him for the prize he was. He had a house for us. He had a job. He was next in line for a political fortune (supposedly) and I "could have it all" just by marrying him and "Learning to love him." I just cried - what else could I do? As I was trying to walk away, he spun me around by jerking my arm and pinned me to the fence. I won't repeat what he said, but he grabbed my rear-end and said, "Yummmm...Ruth. Don't lose any weight between now and the wedding."

I went to my mother and told her what had went down outside. She insisted I must've misunderstood and went to get my dad. My dad was ambivalent. He insisted that I had misunderstood and then suggested that every woman enjoys it when a man pays you a sexual compliment.

That night - after everyone had gone to bed-- I started grabbing clothes. I had no idea where I was going or what it even meant to get out of the family but something told me I had to go. I prayed to God to give me a sign to go. An hour later, I noticed a light go on at the neighbor's house across the field. I wasn't thinking very far ahead - I had just asked God to give me a place to run - a sign to go - anything. The light. I ran across the field with only what I could carry.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I promise that my next post will be a continuation of the 49 Character Qualities of Ruth. I know many of you are waiting for it.

For right now I just wanted to tell everyone I'm fine, just really busy. RA's got to go back to the dorms for training and set up a little early and I've been making up some training I didn't do in the spring. The girl who was supposed to be the RA isn't coming back to school at all and I'm the replacement. I'll be on a co-ed area with mostly incoming freshman under my charge. The irony is that I'll have 19 to watch over. LOL 19 Kids and Counting...?

I leave with Harris for his family reunion tonight. I'm excited. I've spoke with his mom and dad before. When they came through to visit him once. I'm looking forward to meeting his sibs and his cousins. His mom was sweet and called me because I told Harris that I was nervous about being there. How do I dress? What would be appropriate (thanks readers for that heads-up!)? She told me exactly what we'd be doing and siad she was really happy I was coming along. She's such a great lady. It makes me miss my mom. Harris' mom told me that Harris had filled her in about my family and she would do what she could to help me negotiate his nosier family members. In the end, I'm looking forward to this! We'll be doing some neat activities and going to Disneyland- MY FIRST TIME!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Addressing the issues

An anonymous commenter has been very critical of some of my recent decisions. In many ways, I can see his/her points. Am I niave? You bet. Do I have a great deal of life experience? That depends on what sort of life experience you're thinking of. But the thing that makes me a little angry is when someone suggests that I haven't taken care of myself, and that I wouldn't be a good RA, because I've taken advice from blog readers.

Here's what I would say to that. I have been a mother to children since I was old enough to know what the word meant. While I *know* I don't have the social maturity or professional skills to solve my resident's problems, I am good at admitting when I'm over my head and asking for help from others. I wouldn't even be allowed to do much in an emergency situation, besides contact the appropriate resources. We're only allowed, as RAs, to intervene in so much as we secure a situation and call the resident life director or emergency services. I also know what it means to be alone and homesick. That, from what I understand, is a huge part of the first quarter RA duty - to make my residents feel at home and deal with life skills that you deal with when you leave (laundry, time management, etc.,.).

I am growing. I'm not perfect. But I know that I can handle a lot more than some people and what I can't handle I'm quick to admit I can't handle. Isn't that better than pretending to have all the answers? While people suggested I take an RA position, no one got the job for me or held my hand while I did it. I've spent the last six years of my life living with very little outside assistance, well below the poverty level, trying to overcome my past. How I handle things may not be the same as how you would handle something and I know I'm not where most 26 year olds are professionally or emotionally. Like you said, some of that isn't my fault given that my upbringing was not meant to prepare me for independence or adulthood. But here I am doing what I'm doing - getting my education and securing a small livelihood for myself.

I don't mind that you commented and criticized. I do mind the assumptions and accusations. I've made mistakes and I'm growing from them but I don't have the security net most people have and I'm doing the best I can with the tools I have.
Thanks for reading and writing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Countown to school

There have been so many things going on since I was "fired". Starting with living in this hotel. It's strange living somewhere that is made to be temporary.

I've filled out six or seven applications for part time work the next year and I'm trying to get a head start on next summer's work. I still thinkn I want to nanny but I'm definitely going to use a propper agency. The thing that looks most promising is the campus bookstore placement. It's minimum wage an hour plus a discount on store items. It's very close to my dorm and the schedule is one where you can leave in the middle of shifts to take class as long you come right back when class is finished and put in your assigned hours for the day. It's pretty flexible. As long as two people are in the store at all times, they don't worry about it. This could be the answer to my prayers.

I GOT AN RA GIG!!!!!!! I was a last minute replacement for another girl who decided she wasn't going to live on campus after all. Her spot came open and I was eligible for it. I have to quickly take a series of video classes and go through a handbook that I'll get tested on in a week. They do this all differently if you're picked in the first round. I have to squash all of the information in in a short time. I have to take a training course on "listening" and "protecting the people in our care by helping them recognize bad situations and help them form reasonable exit strategies". I couldn't help but smile at the irony.

More fun! The RA rooms are equipped with wifi so that we can do daily tally sheets and communicate with the director of student life. We have a daily webchat (5 minutes). The laptop is owned by the school but it sounds like they "reward you" with your laptop at the end of your service. Cool.

Harris and I are considering something very big. For those that pray, please pray for god to give us wisdom to make this decision. It's not moving in together or having a's, in the context of my upbringing, bigger. I don't want to say what it is now but I'll let you know soon. Just pray for God to show me how normal 26 year olds would deal with the situation. :)

As I wrote that I realized I can't keep the secret. Harris wants to take me to meet his family at a reunion and introduce me as his "very serious girlfriend" (his words). He wants to see how I fit with their family and he wants to see how his family will react to my past.