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.


  1. My daughter is doing all of her under grad stuff at a local community college and she's got a biology lab this semester. She says that the lab s much more fun than the class. She has taken oceanography and astronomy but they don't count. Even her meteorology classes aren't counted as a "real lab science". We ended up having to get student loans for her because even with my monthly disability and her dad's income, we couldn't make it with her fees and books.

    Library science is awesome. San Jose State has a wonderful program, one of my friends from high school got her MLS there and is the librarian at Berkeley High School. Good luck!

  2. Ruth, as a college professor, if you have trouble with the sciences, I advise (if possible) only taking one at a time.After all, you don't want to overwhelm yourself!

    Good luck, and keep up the great GPA!

  3. Library sciences? May I suggest a quick bit of reading to encourage that?

    "Librarians are the secret masters of the universe. They control information. Never piss one off." ~Spider Robinson

    In re: Harris - don't underestimate the importance of his being "the first man I've felt entirely comfortable with". That's very, very different from being "the first guy to show an interest". And in my experience, it's also a very unusual quality - even if the specific measurements are highly personal.

    I grew up hearing about how important communication is in a relationship. And don't get me wrong; it is. But what got lost underneath that message is that basic compatibility is far, far more important. I'd say that that's what cost me my first marriage, but a more honest assessment is this: that's what's kept me from realizing that my first marriage should never have happened in the first place. So if you're comfortable with Harris - if you feel like you're coming from the same places on the things that really matter - then it doesn't matter if he's the first guy to show interest, or the hundredth.

    The flip side of that is something that I wish I could have told my younger self before my first marriage: trust your doubts.

    But to be honest, I think you actually have more experience with that than I do.

  4. I have to admit, I raised an eyebrow about your relationship with Harris, since it was (from what you've written which is all I have to go by) the only "real" relationship you've had outside the Wonderful World of Gothard. However, you and Harris are approaching it with far more maturity and patience than old divorced me ever did, so what the heck do I know? Zilch, frankly...

    And don't sweat taking out some loans. You've made it this far without them, which means your post-collegiate debt burden isn't going to be as large as if you'd financed the whole kit and kaboodle. As long as you're careful about the terms you accept (avoid balloon payments and adjustable rates like the PLAGUE), you'll be fine.

  5. I've been married going on 10 years, to the first man I had a "real" relationship with. We met when I was 17 and now we have two children. *shrug*

  6. Ohh, it looks like we're on similar career paths! I'm finishing out an undergrad program in English education and plan to go to grad school for a library science masters. There will be two more awesome librarians in a few more years! :) Do you know what sort of library you'd like to work in (public, school, academic)?

    Loans are a part of living in the US during the 21st century. Families that can live without loans are few and far between (and typically wealthy to begin with or well below the poverty line). As long as you're working with a reputable bank and using that loan for a good reason, you should be fine.

    Is there any way you can split up the lab classes over two semesters, or are you relying on your school's schedule or your own graduation schedule? I've found that it's a lot easier to take more challenging classes one at a time rather than trying to get them over with (I stretched my math/science requirement out so I had one per semester) and more classes that come easily. This semester has nearly done me in -- I have two very work-intensive education classes, and they're both evening classes (and I am very much a morning person). Think of what you can reasonably handle, and while challenging yourself is good overdoing it could lead to burning out.

  7. First of all, I've had more than a few boyfriends, and feeling really comfortable with someone and truly trusting someone is a rare thing. You just got lucky that you found him! Second, yes, loans suck- I've got tons, and it worries me! But sometimes, this is just how you have to do it. Those student loacks level the playing field, and keep higher education from being solely for the wealthy elite. SO, relax. This is all right. You are doing well in school, you have a great boyfriend, and you're past is (mostly, at least) behind you.

  8. Once you take out loans, make sure you budget tightly. Take a look at Dave Ramsey's stuff- it's probably pretty close to what you were taught by your parents financially speaking (ie, staying out of debt), but he also has loads of information on handling the debt you have. As a student myself, I use his envelope system and budget every dime I get from financial aid/loans as well as from several part time jobs I'm working. Figure out how much you need to meet your needs, and ONLY accept that much. You do NOT have to take the full amount of loans offered to you.

    As far as being with the "first guy who showed an interest".. that "guy" and I broke up, we dated other people, and many years later we reconnected and ended up getting married. The first doesn't always have to be temporary or wrong for you. It appears from what you've shared about yourself and your relationship that the two of you are progressing responsibly and with clear heads, so it's really none of anyone's business how many guys "showed an interest" before Harris came along.

  9. Hi, Ruth, this is my first comment. Can I just say I admire you greatly and I'm finding your story moving.

    I did want to comment on the loan situation, like many above. The idea of debt free living is lovely, but as others have pointed out, impossible unless you're rich to start with, or prepared to live at a frankly disturbing level of poverty. I prefer the concept of DEBT MINIMISATION - only borrowing when you need to, and then only borrowing what you can afford.

    Take me - when I was 27, I borrowed to buy my own house. I carefully worked out what I was prepared to pay, and borrowed to that amount, even though the banks were prepared to lend me twice what I was after. I'm 35 now, and at the rate I'm going, I'll have it paid off before I'm 40. And no, I haven't been living frugally in that time.

    Compare this to a friend, who borrowed about $5,000 when he was 21 to buy a home stereo system. He wound up being unable to register and insure his car for 3 months, because it was either pay for the car insurance/registration, or default on his stereo repayments. He learned about debt minimisation the hard way.

  10. Yes I agree with Sara. Check out Dave Ramsey. My husband and I love his stuff. It will be similar to what Jim Sammons taught(I think that was the ATI guy that taught financial stuff). Dave Ramsey though is so much more clued into the norm. I love seeing him on GMA and his radio station is fun and entertaining to listen to.

  11. If I married the first guy who showed interest, who knows where I'd be? We were 11-12. And I have to say two things about him: he was my first kiss, under a lamplight before we had to go in for the night (it was summer and if we stuck around the area, usually had a 10pm curfew). Anyway, I remember his shyness as he bent his head, the long lashes that covered the bluest eyes I'd ever seen and my self-consciousness due to the braces. I remember his fingers on my cheek, his gentleness and my response. We may have lasted a few weeks, but that kiss was one of the sweetest memories in my life. To be honest, I can't remember why we broke up, and I'm sure I was crestfallen for a while, but I don't feel my husband lost out for not getting that kiss. In fact, I think he highly benefited from it; I know now that I was pretty much renowned as a great kisser by the time I got to high school, even though I didn't date much, and not seriously until I was 16.

    I posted why I didn't date in a prior post and interestingly, it wasn't becasue I was a slut, but because my parents forced me on this guy I knew had a reputation, which my parents didn't believe. Well, after they heard from my best friend and her parents one night when I was 15, they took me more seriously.

    Heck, I held out until I was 17, beginning my senior year in high school and in the early 80's that was considered a prude! :D

    One can't help one's physical appearance, but I realized early that I had to take control of it myself and I do not regret any decision I've made (and like Sinatra, I've made a few). It's a cliche, but I'd rather to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. Experience taught me what no parent or book could.

    Some of us marry later, but I just like to say that we are picky and had to separate the wheat from the chaff. I think we can all agree Ruth got her stalk of wheat and I couldn't be more happy, considering her past.

    Ruth, regarding library science, make sure to have a specialty! The UC's, as you know, are cutting librarians without an end in sight. I have a friend going back to grad school to focus on art history so she can catalogue museums or auction houses. This may be a way to direct your studies (I attend a UC school but at my age, with an education minor (my school has a great grad program, but only an undergrad minor(, can't do grad school, but there are opportunities for me due to my field work.

    You have my email; feel free to contact me if you have questions about what I've seen at "ground zero" (the regents are coming in on Tuesday to discuss MORE cuts).

    edit to add: my "word" was "verse." What more could an English major ask for?

  12. I second the caution on student loans. Make sure you get one that the school provides, and that is differed for 6 months (sometimes more) after you graduate.

    Also make sure it is a subsidized loan. Which means the government pays the interest while you are in school.

    Also, try to go after grants before you go after the loans. You might qualify for need and merit based grants.

    I got a Stafford loan toward the end of college. I like that it was fixed at 4.5% interest, because when I graduated, the interest my other loans where at was much higher (I think around 8%).

    I got lucky, I got a good job right out of school and was able to pay of my 10k in loans within a year (or forced my mom....She paid some of them too, but only because I turned about 4k over to her to help save the house). Due to a computer glitch, I had an extra 3 months in deferment, so I paid a whooping $2 in interest on my loans (which was acquired in a 24 period).

    And now for some free, unsolicited advice.

    I do not generally believe in loans. They take forever to pay off. There are two times, I think it is OK to go into debt: school, and a house.

    I did get a car with a loan....and I'm not happy about it. I wanted to buy my car outright, but I was tired of getting crappy cars, so I got an almost new Prius (had 5,000 miles on it). I'll be paying it off for the next 4 years, and trust me. It's very stressful.

    I wish you the best, and congrats on the GPA! With a GPA like that, I bet you're on the Dean's List, and on your way to graduating with honors :).

  13. BTW, posting Gothard's material on your blog isn't copy right infringement as long as you properly refernce his material and don't claim any thing that's his as your own. Like quoting another book or article for a college paper. I also beleive you are protected by satire laws. Maybe it's smarter not to piss these people off, but that's your perogative. Besides, it seems like half the material you posted in relation to gothard material were Bible quotes, which he holds absolutely NO right to. Just saying.

  14. Question for all the non-Christians out there? Are there no financial gurus outside of religion? I'm seriously asking.

    A few years ago, it was Larry Burkett's "ministry", i.e. author who wrote how-to books about avoiding debt/saving, etc. and marketed home budgeting tools and debt consolidation services. Now I keep hearing about this Dave Ramsey guy.

    Doesn't the non-religious segment of society want advice on saving/budgeting/getting out ob debt? Is anyone secular meeting this need?

    Sorry Ruth if this is not the place to ask this. If anyone has an answer, you can email me at the address to(underscore)shadowspring(at)yahoo(dot)com.

    Thanks, and I now return you to Ruth's blog. *scrape and bow*

  15. I'm a Christian, but I've always found great wisdom in Suze Orman's financial advice and I know she's not promoting any religious angle on her advice.

    Thanks for answering all these questions Ruth. It seems like you're making great choices and that you have a good head on your shoulders. Good luck with all your future plans and keep the installments of your escape from Gothardism/ATI/your family drama coming.


  16. Dave Ramsey is not hyper religious. He's not ashamed of his faith and he doesn't hide it, maybe that's bothersome? Anyhoo...he is very different in personality and practice from Larry Burkett, and airs on many secular stations, which is another difference.

    Ruth, I married my "first and only". 8 years and counting now. He wasn't the first one to show interest, but the first and only one I was interested in having a relationship with. It is hard navigating relationships when *everybody* has an opinion. ATI/Gothard stuff has their legalistic rules, but I've found that people on the complete opposite end of the spectrum can be just as rigid in their opinions of what is an acceptable way to have relationships. You shouldn't *have* to marry the first man you're comfortable with, but on the other hand, you shouldn't *have* to have 5 intense, long-term relationships before finally picking a marriage partner. If it's healthy and right, then you're good. And only you and Harris know if it's healthy and right.

  17. Science labs don't have to be terrible. I did astronomy and geology for my lab sections, and they were pretty accessible. I have more of a background in the sciences than most people in the arts (Both my parents studied sciences, so I grew up steeped in them), but I found the lectures to be enough information to understand the labs. Mileage varies, and I agree spreading them out is a good idea (if you can do it), but it's not so daunting as it might look. The science courses for arts majors are usually pretty good; they're not "dumbed down," they're just focused on making the subject comprehensible to people who haven't studied it as much.

    As for the relationship stuff, once again I find myself relating perfectly despite my opposite background. I'm still with the first guy I dated seriously, and while he wasn't the first guy I dated at all, I've gone through all the same questions. Everyone's got to put his oar in, which is basically true of every life decision. I know I'm here because I want to be and because it's working, and that's all that really matters. People can be as rude as they want, but I know my own mind so I don't really care. Sounds like that's where you're going too, and that's good. You can't please all the people all the time, so you might as well do your best and take care of yourself.

  18. CappuccinoLife,

    I ain't bothered. =)


    Thanks! She's the one on TV sometimes, right? Appreciate the tip. n_n

  19. Suze Orman would be my suggestion too. She is everywhere and has some pretty good stuff.

    Ruth, if you need loans, my suggestion would be Direct Loans or loans through the government directly. That way, if things get rough in the future, you have a chance to defer for a period of time and no harm to your credit score.

    Not all debt is bad. The trick is to know how much is too much.

  20. I was a science major : ), chemistry. Just keep up with your work and you should do fine. I want to encourage you to look into library sciences and the career forecast for that field. I don't think it's a good forecast, I was recently researching it as I'd love being a librarian (there's no program near me anyway and I am married/have kids.) I'd just hate for you to be unable to find a job. From what I've heard, lots of new jobs are part-time. I'm in school now myself studying speech pathology.

  21. Ruth, if you haven't done so already, apply for FAFSA loans. It's a federal program for low to middle income students. As a self-supporting student not making a lot of money, you are sure to qualify, and as others have said, you don't have to accept the final offer.

    The only problem is it takes a while to plow through the application the first time you apply; after that, it saves your information and you just have to change addresses and fill in your income for the year (which means you have to have your taxes done before you do your application). The only PITA, at least for me, is that I have to cram in taxes and the FAFSA app on the Saturday of the President's Day weekend.

    Also make sure to take the student deduction on your taxes. I use Turbo Tax and it tells you what you can and cannot deduct.

    Good luck!

  22. Ruth--I'm a librarian if you need a mentor!

  23. One more comment. On a recent "19 Kids and Counting" one of the Duggar girls re-did their huge bulletin board of pictures. The pictures are from families they know. Sad, but I actually wondered if you family (and even you in an old photo) were on there!! Too much time spent thinking about this--lol......Also, on the ATI family thing--I have long wondered if your parents admitted you were gone or if they just "excused" your absence with "she's helping Aunt Martha, poor old dear" or something else.

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

  25. When I went back to school as a single parent I got both merit based and need based scholarships. You are totally in the running for either. Also, there are all sorts of oddball scholarships that go unclaimed because they have peculiar qualifications and the people who do qualify don't know about them. I saw a big list once and there were things like "never had an alcoholic beverage" and that sort of thing, plus members of certain lineages and so on.

    The need-based scholarship I got for UCSC, based on my financial aid profile and an essay I wrote for it, paid what the loans I was qualified to ask for would have given me--18,000.00 in total.

    Don't give up hoping and looking for scholarship money! :)

  26. Hi Ruth. I am having the same issues right now with college money. I only go to a community college right now and applied three times for financial aid. The first time I got it but the second time the financial aid office at school lost my application and i never got the money in time for the semester. By the way, how did you add a tip jar onto your blog and how does it work? I have been wanting to do the same on my blog.

  27. I'm brand new here, so I don't know all your background, but my friend suggested I read here.

    First, I'm SO happy you found Harris. I'm recently out of a cult (5 years isn't recent, but it feels like yesterday) and I'm dating someone who makes me really happy, with whom I feel 100% comfortable. After being in an oppressive place, I think it's imperative to have a partner who's comfortable with you and vice versa.

    I'm interested in reading more. Thanks for being so open.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.