Saturday, July 31, 2010


I just got back to a computer for the first time since Monday. I'm sorry I didn't check in sooner but the week went crazy late, late Monday night. It's a long story but I want to set a few other things straight first.

An anonymous poster replied here and said I was stupid for ever agreeing to this employment in the first place. I don't argue, now, that I was stupid for agreeing to work for basically nothing. There's no excuse for being so naive, I guess. I can just say that at the time I agreed to nanny for this family, I thought this was the only thing I could do with the constraints I had. I looked hard for work. I filled out about 45 applications and most of the places wouldn't even give me an interview because, at the time I applied, I had a cast on my leg, no car, and no place lined up to live for the summer. I had even applied at a nanny agency and they didn't return my follow-up calls because of the cast. Jack and Jill's job came about through schools sources and therefore I thought they were more legit than it ended up being (employment wise). I don't think arguing about what I should've done is very productive at this point - I was about to be homeless for three months and I was injured - I took shelter over money. And for most of the summer the arrangement was great. I got to see a dad who really loves his children and that was great for me. I had a taste of what it's like to live above the poverty level and in a home where a everyone was an individual.

On Monday, after I posted my last post, there was a knock on my door. Jill was standing there with an envelope. She set the envelope on my dresser and said that they wouldn't need my services in the morning and that I had three days to pack up and leave. Because I didn't take the boys out on Monday afternoon, I had missed one of the boys' lessons and, in Jill's mind, didn't fulfil my obligations. She turned and walked out of the room. A few minutes later, when I was on the phone with Harris trying to figure out what was going on and what I was going to do, there was another knock on the door and before I could answer it, Jack came in and grabbed the envelope and said I wasn't going anywhere and to try to have a good sleep because the boys would need me in the morning. Harris overheard this and said he was coming over, so I went downstairs to wait for him.

Downstairs was in chaos. Jack and Jill were fighting - bad. It was ugly. I started to sneak out the front door when Jill saw me and told me I should be packing but that was quickly followed by Jack telling me she was crazy. I just went outside to wait for Harris. Harris arrived and asked what I wanted to do. He had brought a friend of ours, another dorm mate who was back.

I saw one of the boys' lights go on upstairs and told Harris I should go back in and check on him. Harris and the friend didn't want me going into the fight alone so they stepped into the foyer. Jill went nuts. I tried going up the stairs to check on *Fred and she blocked me. She kept thrusting that envelope in my face. I feel bad about what I did, leaving the boys and the house, but I really don't like confrontation and I needed to get out, so I left. The guy Harris brought along has family locally and they let me stay the night in their guest room. The next morning, Jack called and said that he and the boys were leaving and he wanted to see me before the left. I still had all my stuff in their house so I said I'd meet him if I could bring the lady I was staying with along.

Tuesday, I met Jack and he handed me a key for a hotel room and some money for food and sundries. He said he was really sorry for how things had worked out and that he wasn't concerned about the $400. He also told me to call the doctor friend we had seen who had arranged for me to get the evaluation I needed for no cost through friends of his. The good news is that my ankle and knee were just badly sprained and maybe the miniscus of my knee has a small tear. The tear may have been there all along though so it's not a big deal unless it starts locking or popping. It's not doing either now.

On Tuesday night, I went back to the house and packed up my stuff. Luckily, I didn't have much that was mine with me.

I miss the boys. I'm glad I got to say goodbye to them and that they're okay. They're going on a vacation with their dad to see their paternal grandparents.

I don't know what's going on with Jill. I'm worried about her because up until the last week I really didn't have a reason to suspect she was like she is. Hindsight is 20/20 and there were small things that I now see but nothing that would've made me guess it would end this way.

What happens from here is that I go back to school and think about what I've learned. The room is paid up through the day before the dorms open up. I'm okay. Just processing.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today has been surreal. This morning, even though I spent the weekend with ice on my knee and elevating my leg, Jill knocked on my door and said, "Ruth, we're leaving. The boys are waiting for you." They left without any conversation about what was going to happen today. It bothers me a little because last night, after reading all of the comments here, I asked to speak to them privately after the boys went to bed and told them that I was caught off guard by the events of Friday. I told them that I didn't know where we stood and that I had felt undervalued by the whole shopping list question and the expectation of paying back the $400 (when I had clearly stated that I couldn't afford it at the time it happened). Jack seemed like he understood and he even said that they knew how hard I'd been working for them. Jill just said that I had a job to do and if I couldn't do it they'd have to re-think the arrangement. I did mention the issue of the injury happening on the job and I pointed out that I was on "overtime" at the time it happened. I gave them a time sheet that I've kept all along to show that I've put in a lot of "Overtime". But then Jill said something about they had intended to give me a large bonus at the end of the summer and now she felt strange about it because I mentioned feeling undervalued. It was, to me, a strange thing to say at the time because it was like she was saying "well now that you have objected to someting we won't be doing that". Why say it otherwise? I kept saying that I felt bad about the situation but that we could learn from it and Jill said, "You have a good thing going here, Ruth." I'm so confused over this. I've got two more weeks before I can go back to the dorms. I guess I can just try to hang until then and hope they don't fire me.

The kids and I had a good day despite everything. We did crafts and I let them go in the pool - Harris came over to lifeguard now that he's back in town. (Jack said it was okay.) Jack came home early and told me to go rest up so that's what I'm doing.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Letter for Jack and Jill (feedback needed)

Here's what I'm working on.

Dear Jack and Jill,
Three months ago, I was graciously welcomed into your home and began to love you as a second family. Things were fantastic for weeks and I had nothing to complain about. I assume that you felt the same way due to actions on your part and sentiments you have shared. Your boys are wonderful boys - you've done a great job raising them- and I hope to be a part of their lives from here on out.

On Friday, at 7:21pm, I was at the soccer field with *Max and *Jax*. After several innings of practice, Jake* arrived to "relieve me", as he normally does, but on this occasion, he was in the middle of a business deal and I didn't want to interrupt to tell him that i was heading home and he should get the kids' water from under the shade of the big Elm. While I was waiting to catch his attention, a fly ball came over the fence and *Jack's partners' little girl ran into a field to grab it. As you know, there is a road less than 10 feet from the edge of that "field", so I took off after her. In doing so, I tripped into a kit fox hole.

I was immediately in pain and was having a hard time walking, but - as Jack was still talking- I collected the children and spoke to their coach about the next game before driving home. At home, I met up with the both of you and in your opinion, I needed care. Your friend "Doctor" said he'd see me gratis. At his home, it was decided that there was an injury that needed further study and lots of rest until then. He recommended going to the Urgent Clinic for xrays. Jack took me there, too. Upfront, we were both told that the xrays would be $400. I told Jack I couldn't get that money at the momet and if i could it would wreck me financially. He said, "Don't worry about it. We love you." and handed the woman his credit card. The xray indicated a problem but the problem would need a CAT scan to evaluate properly. Until then, I was told to take it easy. I still have the doctor's orders.

This has put us in an awkward position. You've been great employers and your boys are amazing. Perhaps because I find you so amazing, I'm having a hard time discussing this with you and how I feel it should be handled. I've done some digging and based on our work agreement/contract, the injury happened on "work time" (even if it was outside our set hours) and since you may or may not be paying into State Disability, maybe we should look into that to cover the xray cost. I'm also concerned because I know you give me room and board in a remarkable fashion but because of not giving me a salary of my own, I can't fund any need or want without going through you. To then have Jack ask me to take things off my grocery list was shocking. I've never abused your kindness or our relationship professionally. I feel that without such clear lines drawn before, we're now in a pickle.

Until I find a way to fund a CT, I need to respect the doctor's orders and keep off my leg as much as possible. I believe that I can still nanny your children effectively and actively, with certain requirements and adjustments made. I will take it on myself to create a curriculum of indoor activities or yard activities that i can supervise without being on my legs. Would you be willing to work with me on making these adjustments for the time being?

I've lost sleep over this problem. However I don't think it's a problem we can't overcome in the best interest of the children and ourselves.
Thank you

What else does it need?

Better luck next time

Up front disclosure - I am not dropping out of school. I will figure this out. Not asking for anything, just venting.

Yesterday when I was out with the boys, I stepped in a kit fox hole and felt a pop in my knee. It was the same leg I broke earlier this year so I babied it the rest of the day. I let the boys finish their games and then we headed back to the house for dinner. By the time we got back to the house, my knee was very swollen and the healed area of the recent break was throbbing. My employers noticed and asked what was wrong. I explained what had happened and how it was hurting and they wanted to take me to the ER immediately. Problem is, I don't have health insurance when school's out. During the school year, students have access to the clinic and have some coverage that can be used at the County hospital (they have a pre-determined contract for servicing uni students for cut rates). I explained this to Jack and Jill* (employers pseudonyms). Jack said he'd call a friend of his (a doctor) and see if he could get a gratis exam. His friend "Doctor" agreed and we went to his house. Doctor thought I had either rebroke the bone or injured the knee (by now it was locking up) and said I needed an xray. They called around and the cheapest xray was to be had at a walk-in clinic. Jack and I drove to the clinic. They wanted $400 for the exam and an xray. I told Jack I didn't have that kind of money and he said it was "okay". I went in, got my xray, and the doctor at the clinic said I really needed a CT scan, but that I shouldn't walk on the knee for a few days or until I'd been cleared by an orthopedist or the CT. He put me back on crutches.

Needless to say, there's tension now with my employers. I'm in pain and on crutches. Luckily, it's the weekend and I'm not officially "on duty". Jill* asked me if I could "do my job" tomorrow and I was honest with her - I'm just not sure if I can. If these boys were boys who liked to be indoors or hanging around the house, then I could do this from the couch. I told her that I was pretty sure we couldn't do our originally planned trip to the lake to fish. She was not happy at all. She said that my living there was with the understanding that I would work. I can understand her position - I wouldn't want to pay for a nanny who couldn't nanny, but she's not paying me cash, so what does this mean? Is she going to kick me out? Then, Jack came into the room and said that we would have to "discuss that $400". I told him I can pay him back part of it but it almost decimate my savings for school account (I think there's $500 in there now). He seemed like he understood that that was a scary idea for me and then he took the shopping list from the fridge and asked me what things on there (of mine) were non-necessities. NOTHING! I'm so upset because I really should've taken the advice some of you gave me to get a more detailed contract and to not undervalue what I've been doing for them. I was just so desperate to get a room for the summer that I neglected to consider how a situation like this would work out. Any advice now?

ETA: Up until now our arrangement has been working and I didn't expect them to have the reaction they are having. Am I being naive about this? Would you feel this way if your nanny were injured? What would you expect? Maybe I need another perspective?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Did I have the words?

Deb asked...Though this has been touched on before, I want to say that I'm very disturbed that you didn't have a way to get taken seriously if you were to say "I feel uncomfortable with this man and with courtship at this time of my life. I would like to wait until I'm older and to find a man with whom I feel more personally compatible. This feeling is only getting stronger as I get to know Adam better."
Given your JOY training, did you have the words to express a sentiment like that? Would this have been treated as disrespect to your parents and/or God?

At first, I didn't. I spent most of that year of uncomfortable phone calls and forced meetings willing myself silent because I didn't want it to be even remotely possible that this was happening. I had been told most of my life that my parents would give me "guidance" and "help me discern" who the right boy was - so when it was actually happening, I kept thinking (and I know this sounds crazy) that God hadn't revealed him to me as a suitor, so my parents couldn't possibly think him to be a suitor. I was stupid and naive. I figured that by being silent, my feelings would be known.

After the "announcement", I was silent through the dinner and then I spent two days arguing with my parents. Although what you all might think of as "arguing" isn't likely what happened. I shut down that night and all of these thoughts started racing through my head. As soon as Adam's family left, I started questioning what had just happened and asking what it all meant. I told my dad that I hadn't heard from the Lord on this matter. I told him that Adam couldn't be the one God had for me because I had received no insight or message and I hadn't even prayed for Adam specifically in any fashion. Dad reminded me that I'd been instructed to pray for my future husband since I could pray and I argued that this wasn't the guy I pictured in my prayers. Dad said, and I will never forget these words, 'then perhaps you were praying with Satan in your heart and not God and your father's will on your heart?"

I went to the next group meeting in such a foul mood that it was suggested I be sent away. I won't say where but I'm sure most of you can guess. Luckily, my older brother intervened and said I just needed more time. He found the words I didn't have. I ended up promising to pray about Adam but I knew I wouldn't marry him. What I didn't know was how I was going to avoid it. The clock was ticking until my eighteenth birthday. I knew he'd propose six months before that.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You are 16, going on 17

I spent close to, or maybe a little over a year, trying to dodge Adam's calls. We weren't officially "courting", so I didn't see why I had to speak with him any more than I was allowed to speak to other male "friends of the family" that called. Unfortunately, my father had decided that we should get to know each other better and that was the end of that discussion.

Adam was a very pushy guy. Many of his questions seemed inappropriate, even if they would've been asked in a normal dating situation. He would ask the standards:
How many children do you want? Will you pledge to allowing the Lord to open and close your womb?
How do you feel about debt? Would you be willing to sacrifice and go without in order to start OUR lives out with no debt?
Would you allow me my patriarchal authority or would you insist on an equal partnership (said like it was bad thing)?
He would also ask the strange questions:
How often do you think about physical intimacy (sex)?
When do you think about it? Am I part of your fantasy?
If we were alone, would we need a chaperone?
How often should a married couple have relations? Would you allow your husband the freedom to try new things?

Later, as I was speaking to the brother who didn't consumate his marriage for six months, I got to watch the horrified face of this brother as I relayed these questions from Adam. He said that Adam was definitely not following the ATI/IBLP, courtly love script. I didn't figure he was.

In any case, I never "fell" for Adam. He wasn't right for me. He was right for my dad, however! Adam's family wasn't a founding family but they owned a lot of land and were of interest to certain people in Gothard circles because they had what most QF families don't have - a boatload of money. Getting Adam married into an "established" ATI family could help insure that his family would stay in and all of that land/money would stay in ATI circles. At least, that's my opinion, I don't have solid proof. Why else would my dad push so heavily for it though? I didn't even know Adam in the way that most women know the man they'll marry.

When I was sixteen, going on seventeen, Adam's family came for another visit and it was on this visit that Adam asked to court me, with the understanding that we would become engaged in less than a year and married as soon as I was eighteen. His request was one of the most humiliating events in my life. We had just sat down around two long tables for dinner in a squished livingroom. Adam came around to the girl's table and took my hand. I stood up and there, in front of every member of my family, he proposed the courtship (almost exactly as I stated it above) and presented me with a piece of jewelry. I was caught of guard and didn't know what to say so I started crying. People in the room saw what they wanted to see and mistook my tears for tears of joy. I guess they missed my attempt to untangle my hand from Adam's and run for the door (it was too crowded or I would have). As they applauded and wished us luck, I'm not even sure I answered his request/demand. Before I knew it, I was being led to the table he was sitting at and my place setting was being moved by his brother. And with that I was officially pre-engaged to the boy I didn't know and didn't like.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Some fun - create your ATI/IBLP singles ad.

I need some humor and Cynthia and others had a great idea. Make up your own "want ad", for a male or female, in the IBLP dating scene. :)

For example -
"Wanted- righteous young lady who feareth in the Lord to raise a quiver full of soldiers for God's Army. Must be fluent in Goddard-ese and carry a minimum of six years of DRT education. Purity is a must. Submit five letters of recommendation to"

Friday, July 9, 2010

49 Character Qualities of Ruth - Relationship (2)

Day two of the Carson's visit was on a Sunday and we had a worship service in our homechurch. My father led the service which, coincidently, seemed centered around the covenants of marriage and purity. This was a frequent theme in our church but it still made me feel 'on the spot'. After service, we went to the park for a picnic. Historically, these picnics were semi-segregated by sex. The boys would gather around one area and do activities or chat with the men. The girls and women would set out the food and then congregate for "fellowship". On this day, however, my dad suggested that I take drinks over to the boys and see if they needed anything.

Adam was, in hindsight, waiting for me to approach him. I asked the group if they needed anything and I was bombarded by requests. So much so that I couldn't possibly carry everything back on my own. Adam volunteered to help me. The 100 yards or so back to the covered picnic area was the longest walk I'd ever had alone with a boy that wasn't a family member. Adam took full advantage of the time and continued his interrogation from the day before. I answered in one word answers and didn't contribute much to the discussion. Shortly thereafter, my dad grabbed me by the arm and drug me behind the van to ask why I was being so short with Adam - apparently, Adam had told his father, who told my father, that I wasn't being friendly enough. I told my dad that I was uncomfortable discussing personal things with Adam as I barely knew him and I had never been with a boy alone. My dad reacted in a way I thought, and still think, was strange! Instead of understanding the position I was in and congratulating me for maintaining the boundaries he'd instilled in me, he was enraged! He told me that I *would* answer all of Adam's quetsions and I would do it JOYfully. I *would* be the "epitome of grace and womanhood" and I would "remember my place" as the eldest, "example" daughter. With that, I was pushed back to the fray. Adam was right there waiting.

The Carson's visit ended with Adam asking if he could call me. When I told him he'd have to talk to my dad, hoping that would dissuade him, he said he already had and had been told he could. It made me feel like my permission was just a quaint formality, but unnecessary. I didn't say I would respond but said I'd have to pray about maintaining communication. We weren't supposed to communicate with boys unless God told us he was 'the one', after all.

A week later, the phone rang and it was Adam. I begged not to take the call and my mom made an excuse for me. This happened several times while my dad was away on business. As soon as he returned, Adam called again and I tried to beg out of it - this time, I was told that I was taking the call. Thus began a year of phone calls I dreaded and my father regulated.

Friday, July 2, 2010

49 Character Qualities of Ruth - Relationship

Note: A few weeks after my last "life story" installment, I got e-mails from someone at IBLP and a rep from Gothard asking me to stop using the character traits as lead-ins to my story. Since I don't know how I would stand legally, I'll honor the request and not re-post the traits. I will, however, keep telling my story and if one of the character lessons is directly related to the story, I feel justified in posting it as background.

The Beggining of the Relationship That Ended It All
As I've said before, my family did a lot of fellowship with other IBLP/ATI/QF families. Our house was a convenient rest stop for families travelling to and from sessions, conventions, and other gatherings. While our house wasn't terribly large, it did have a large yard and land enough to park trailers/buses/motorhomes or a fleet of vans (the general vehicle of choice for QF families).

One afternoon, as we were cleaning in preparation for yet another gathering, my dad asked to speak to me. He handed me a rake and asked me to help him level a spot under a tree for the Carson's* trailer. (NOTE* - I've obviously changed names here.) He explained that the Carson's were good friends of his (even though I'd only met them a handful of times and couldn't recall any special relationship). My dad veered off into the unexpected when he started asking me questions about my future. Dad asked if I had been praying for my future husband or if I had thought about "seriously preparing (myself) for marriage?" I don't remember what my external response to him was but I do remember thinking that I was uncomfortable with the way this conversation was going. After we'd cleared the spot, dad and I got in the cart to go back to the shed and he laid his hand on mine. He said that he'd been praying about my future husband and had received some guidance from the Lord. The Lord had guided him to the Carson family.

The Carson family had five boys. The oldest was eight years older than me (but still living at home). The youngest was two years my junior. The third boy, Jacob*, was a year older than me and I assumed that my dad was referring to this boy. Rounding out their family was Adam*. Adam was three years older than me (17, at this point). Because we weren't allowed to socialize with the boys in other families (other than brief interactions with no physical contact or real deep conversation), I didn't know the Carson boys very well. When they visited before, or when we saw them at conferences, I kept my distance and kept busy. I had no interest in any of the boys because they seemed odd to me. Jacob was, from my estimation, approachable and the most cordial of the boys. But the others were rowdy and loud and talked badly about others in a way that I found off-putting. Hearing my father say that I was now supposed to "get to know them" made me anxious. I had no experience with dating, it being forbidden, and was certainly not thinking of courting anyone at fourteen.

When the Carson's arrived, my dad greeted them warmly and, as happened with all "fellowshipping opportunities", gathered us all for a prayer. The prayer was standard procedure until my dad said, "...and Lord, please use this weekend to do your hearts and minds to new possibilities, for your Glory." As he said this, he looked at me. The prayer circle broke and for the first time in my life, I was told to go with my brothers and entertain the Carson boys while we toured the property. I protested and said that I was needed by my mother. My father grabbed my arm harshly and told me to do as I was told.

During the walk with the boys, I tried not to be noticed. I hung back. I only answered direct questions and was counting the moments until I could retreat into the relative comfort of my room. After we'd left site of the house, Adam slowed down until I had caught up with the group and he tried to make small talk. He asked me very personal questions about my faith and if I believed in the principles that certain people in our circle promoted. I'm sure I touted the party line and told him what I imagined he wanted to hear. This interrogation lasted until we got back to the house and I went to find my mother.

My mother was in the kitchen with Mrs. Carson. As soon as I entered the room, the tone changed and my mother began telling all present how skilled and capable I was in managing our home. "In fact...", said my mother, "...Ruth, why don't you take over dinner while Mrs. Carson and I watch the girls play! You don't mind, do you?" What could I say? Open contradiction was unheard of and I'd prepared dinner for many many times. I did as I was told. When we gathered at the table for the meal, my parents made multiple references to how good my cooking was and how efficient I'd been in presenting the meal. It was strange praise. Even stranger when Mr. Carson took each praise in like a bidder at an auction, smiling and nodding to his sons.