Saturday, January 30, 2010


I'm doing better than I anticipated I would be. Thank you for all the e-mails warning me about what foods I'd want and what foods to avoid. I am so grateful for knowing that the popsicles might be too acidic! Because of that e-mail, I only got one from the dining hall and you were right - it was - and since I knew it might be, I had a cup of warm water on hand (another suggestion) to flush with. So far it seems that Jell-O and broth are sitting well. I'm going to try ice cream tonight (they said to wait a day so the milky-film wouldn't make me try clearing my throat). The cook in the dining hall has been fantastic about getting me stuff I can eat and sending it back with my dorm mates even though my meal plan only allows one meal a day. You never know where you'll find angels.

I started watching a new series (new for me) - Gilmore Girls. It's funny but I'm having that "I don't get half the cultural references" experience again. I like the show. I'm starting with season 1 (a girl in our dorm has it and lent it to me). What other shows are lighthearted and not too difficult to follow? Our library has most shows on DVD.

I'm really thinking of saving up whatever money I get from the tip jar for a laptop because I'm getting spoiled by using everyone elses. I think it would let me blog more, too. What do you think? THANK YOU!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Part 4

You can read this on NLQ, here.


Disclaimer: With my father, I have to be careful of the details I give. His place in the movement is easily identifiable with a few key data points. I hope my readers can understand that even though I hate what was done to me, I hate what could be done to people I love even more. In which case, identifying my dad isn’t something I want to do. It’s also unnecessary for my purpose. Now that that’s out of the way -

After Joseph (boy 3) was born, my father was called into a particular ministry that demanded he travel most of the year. My mom said that this was the hardest, darkest period of her life. With three boys under four and my dad gone most of the time, she was the manager of the house and discplinarian.

The boys were a handful. One day, a downstairs neighbor called up and asked my mother if her washing machine was off balance because the neighbor kept hearing a very loud thumping noise. Mom said she didn’t have any laundry in the machine, but would check out the noise. As it turned out, Eli and Samuel were standing in the laundry room “fixing” the washer with hammers. One day, I asked my mom how she couldn’t hear them before the neighbor did and she told me that she’d been so exhausted that she must’ve “zoned out”. Now I wonder if she was just too tired to check it out or care.

She did have reason for her exhaustion, though. Apart from the three boys, she was pregnant with me. After the boy-girl discussion before Joseph, mom never again voiced her desire for a girl (and with subsequent pregnancies, refused to speculate about the sex or find out the sex by ultrasound). I’m told that she was delighted when I was born. She finally had reason to use those bows and ruffles that she’d meticulously sewn years earlier. Use them she did. From birth, there’s not one picture of me in gender neutral clothing. Long before the faux-pigtails sported by Jordyn Duggar, I rotated through the world’s largest assortment of scrunchy-bow-headbands. I was bald until I was two and those headbands, plus the frilly dresses, were the only way to publicly distinguish me from my brothers.

My birth brought my grandparents back for another visit. They hadn’t seen my mother in person since Eli’s birth. They were shocked by what they found. Their once stunning, energetic daughter looked tired and run-down. She had always been shy, but her shyness had been replaced by something darker. She had become completely submissive to the will of my father and it scared my grandparents. My mother tried reassuring them that she was happy, but they didn’t believe her. Once again, my grandfather made the mistake of confronting my dad about my mother’s appearance and demeanor. He, my grandfather, pleaded with my dad to allow them to hire help for my mother. His pleas were rejected.

One of the key components of ATI or Quiverful families is the idea that husbands can, and will, provide for all of their family’s needs. Accepting my grandfather’s offer of help would’ve, in my dad’s eyes, suggested tha the was unable to fulfil his responsibilties as a man. In reality, my mom needed help!

This is where I have a fundamental issue with patriarchy. Men make the decisions about these issues with no consequences. Having help wouldn’t have changed the fact that my father did nothing to help my mother. To the contrary, it may have freed him up even more (if that’s possible). My father never changed a diaper. He never ran a load of laundry or a sink full of dishes. He never mopped a feverish brow. Yet, HE got to decide that accepting help for my mother was wrong. What he did do was finally move my mother out of the apartment and into a bigger home – which she then had to be responsible for, as well as her four children.


That was quick but not painless. I went in at 6am and I'm already home. E-mailers have asked me how school insurance covered this. I think I mispoke. The campus doctor called in a favor and got the anesthetist to work gratis as well as the surgeon. My school's student insurance had an add on policy that covered emergencies and I'm glad I paid extra for that in the beginning. That covered a percent of the surgery center costs. I opted not to spend an over-night but check in this afternoon with the campus doctor instead and stay a few hours in the clinic to make sure my pain is controlled. My co-pay for the surgery center was $300. That's not bad at all when I think about how much it was worth to get my throat fixed. My head's a little buzzy. I'm going to sleep. HUGS TO YOU ALL.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


It's just tonsils. :) I get really bad tonsilitis a few times a year and my school's insurance finally decided to pay for it. Wooohooo. Thanks for all the concern.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The List

No good, very bad day list. I sometimes borrow a friends car to make errands that will take more pedaling than my legs can manage. When I was out driving my friends car, something broke (something that was expected with upcoming maintenance). It cemented how much of a prisonish environment I live in. While trying to beocme indendependent, I'm reminded of all the ways we have to BE DEPENDENT TO live.

I also found out that I'll be in the hospital for minor surgery next Friday. Could be a day, could be two. Then as if that weren't enough to cause me to panic, my dad called and lectured me about accepting money form the tip jar.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

49 Character Qualities of Ruth - Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 2 in the series The 49 Character Qualities of Ruth
Discernment vs. Judgment – The God-given ability to understand why things happen (I Samuel 16:7)

by RazingRuth

Two babies in ten months. Samuel came three weeks early. That was my mother’s introduction to parenting. I’m sure she must’ve been over-whelmed. With my father starting to travel on occasion, I’m sure she was lonely. But she had her church friends and they were quick to prop her up when she needed it. They assured her that feeling lonely was normal, but that she should commit herself to prayer and supporting God’s will. Still, when Samuel was six months old, mom admits that she cried when her doctor called to tell her she was expecting again. This next baby would be the third in as many calender years. How would she tell her mother, my grandmother, that she was pregnant again so soon?

The call was made by my father. My grandfather picked up the extension line at my grandmother’s command. What transpired between my father and my grandparents would begin a decade of bad blood. My grandparents did not approve of their daughter being a brood mare. They’d raised her to be more than that. Three babies, so quickly, was ‘asking for trouble’. Little did they know that this was just the beginning.

They pleaded with my father to “see reason” and maybe “take care of the situation” and give my mother a rest. My grandfather suggested a vasectomy. My father made him aware that that was an unacceptable option. My grandmother asked if they could hire a nanny for my mother. My father said he would pray about it. It turns out a nanny wasn’t part of God’s plan and mom was starting to think she might be able to handle three – especially if the third was a girl.

Mom wanted that girl and she made her wishes known. She prayed for it. She began sewing a layette for a little girl. Pretty pick bows and ruffles, with white eyelet flounces. As the due date came nearer, she made the mistake of telling a friend how desperately she wanted a little girl. That friend chastized her for such a “selfish desire”. This “friend” told my mother that she should give it to God and appreciate any blessing he gave her. When she told my father about this friend’s reaction, she was shocked to find out that my father agreed. This was the first “big fight” of their marriage and it became an ATI mission story. My mother couldn’t believe that her husband thought she was selfish. She couldn’t believe that God would be offended by her desire to have a girl. My father accused her of being petty and not trusting in the Lord.

The story goes that my mother said that she the sex of the child would be the answer. If God gave her a son, she’d know that she’d been ’selfish’. If she had a girl, it would be a sign that God had heard her prayers and honored her. In the story, the husband counsels his wife and carefully admonishes her for not trusting the Lord by giving him a challenge to answer. In reality, my father told my mother that a boy would be proof of his “rightness” and her sign to submit to his judgement. When my brother, the third boy, was born, he looked at my mother and said, “See. God knew what was best for you.”

49 Character Qualities of Ruth- Part 2

You can find the entry on NLQ.

Deference vs. Rudeness – Limiting my freedom in order not offend the tastes of those whom God has called me to serve (Romans 14:21) – Bill Gothard
by RazingRuth

Within five months of ‘Elijah’s birth, my mom figured out she was expecting again. It dawned on my mother, on Elijah’s fifth month birthday, that she hadn’t had a period- she chalked it up to nursing -when, in actuality, she was already eight weeks along.

She was ecstatic, as was my father. In their bliss, they called my mother’s parents to share the news. It was met with moderated joy. My mom’s mom asked, quite innocently, if it was such a good idea for mom to be pregnant again so quickly. When she was assured that it was healthy, by my father, my grandmother suggested that the timing might be a good thing because it might be better for mom’s teaching career (less chaos by not going back only to be interupted by another birth – this way, she’d ‘get the baby making out of the way).

What mom hadn’t told her parents was that she wasn’t sure she’d go back to teaching. Oh, maybe someday, when her children were older and if they needed the money, but for now… no. The baby she held in her arms was the most beautiful and the baby in her uterus, so quickly realized, was an obvious sign that God was pleased with their decision to leave the timing and quantity of children to His discretion. Dad was making a decent living. They had begun saving money for a house and were working on living with less.

Mom had even gave most of her “worldly” wardrobe to a charity after hearing a Sunday School discussion about how a Godly woman should dress- modestly and chastely. Dad and mom prayed about her clothing and both felt sure that God wanted mom to rid herself of pants, short sleeves, and low necklines. Being a new mom and pregnant again, that seemed sensible to mom. She began sewing her own maternity clothes.

As the months progressed, mom says she began to sense a disconnect between she and her mother. When my mom called to share her joy in making these Savior-pleasing choices, she sense that her own mother wasn’t as receptive as some of her new friends. My mother shared those thoughts with the wives of my father’s friends and colleagues. They told her that this was normal. That people without faith or ‘purpose’ often didn’t understand the unmitagated joy that could come from serving the Lord. Mom called her mother less-and-less.

When my brother “Samuel” was born, they didn’t come to visit.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Help offers

I appreciate the many offers of help. I don't respond to them because I'm not fluent enough about internet ettiquette to know if it's in poor taste to accept help from my online friends. I've also seen the ladies on Sybermom or FreeJinger suggest that help is usually the sign of a bad blog so I don't want to join those ranks.

The problem is, although I would love help and appreciate it, your offers mean so much to me that that's help enough for my soul. Second problem - I wouldn't know how to accept the help through a computer.

Please don't think I've been ignoring the e-mails and comments about gift cards. They touched my heart. I am blessed just to know you.


This was a funny question from e-mail.

Ruth, what movies were you allowed to watch, if you were allowed to watch movies, when you lived at home?

We didn't watch movies often. We didn't have a VCR or DVD player at home. Occasionally, when we were at someone elses house or at some other gathering, we'd watch "approved" movies. Usually these were Christian cartoons or documentaries. The movies I'll list are the mainstream things I got to watch.
1. Sound of Music - This is a QF favorite because it's got a large family who deals with trials and doesn't go with the current political flow. Even though it's based on a Catholic family, the appeal for the ATI crowd involves Maria. Maria is seen as a virtuous woman (a virgin) who gave her life to God, but then listened to God's call to motherhood (mothering the VonTrapp children). She also does the honorable thing in, when she realizes she is falling in love with the captain, she leaves the house to protect her innocence and virtue. I remember that the Captain already courting the Baroness was a big deal. What was never focused on was "You Are 16" and the oldest daughter's unapproved boyfriend---Which was always my favorite part. *grin*

2. Veggie Tales - Even at fourteen or fifteen, these were "age appropriate". I can't believe that now, but that's what they thought was aa.

3. Anne of Green Gables, but only the first one. I didn't know there were others until I left my house and watched the whole series on PBS.

4. Heidi - Prodigal son tale.

5. The King and I - I think we were supposed to focus on the fact that Anna Leonowen's kept her chastity and faith in the face of polygamy, harems, unchaste clothings and non-Christian beliefs. It didn't hurt that the king had hundreds of kids and "they all got along so beautifully".

6. Little Women - When you watch movies with your ATI/QF cronies, there's always a parent or other authority figure with you to direct your attention to cetrain points. Most of this is to keep your focused on the moral lessons as opposed to the screen or what's going on in the story that might not be as wholesome. Little Women was one of those movies where our guide wouldn't shut up. "Beth serves that poor Lutheran family and dies in service to God, isn't she a great role model?"
"See how Meg and Jo remain chaste and pure with their male friends?" - I watched it later and thought Jo was pretty flirty with Laurie, but Meg reprimanded her so maybe that cancels it out?
"Isn't it wonderful how the mother homeschools?" - Only after Amy gets beaten for eating limes but maybe that's a scare tactic against public schools?
"Beth is blessed for her servant's heart and look how she doesn't complain about things!" - She died.
"Look how Jo accepts what God has planned for her!"
"Look how Amy gives up art and travel for the home!"

7. Pollyanna

That was my extent of cinematic adventures (thank you, Dane Cook, for that term) from childhood.

Monday, January 18, 2010

For Jaime

Jamie said...
I find your story interesting, but I really do wish you would stop making statements about your life and making them appear to be the norm or something that everyone that is QF or ATI. I grew up in it, as did many friends, and my sister was an avid Nancy Drew reader. I think she had near every book (me, I hated it). I don't think you or others mean to do it, but it is a pet peeve of mine.

This was in regards to my short post about being called Nancy Drew and not knowing who that was.

Jaime, I think you need to re-read what I wrote. I'll place it here again with empahsis.
I have to admit that I didn't know who that was. Every once in a while, I realize just how sheltered my QF/ATI childhood made me. (sad)

I thought I was clear in that post, as I am in the blog in general, that I am speaking about my experience unless specifically stated otherwise. I'm glad that your experiences were wonderful and that your sister was allowed to read Nancy Drew. That's great! In my family, and many others within ATI, that wasn't allowed. We were allowed to read only materials listed as "faith promoting", "patriarchy supporting", or "gender appropriate" materials. I'm sorry it's your pet peeve and I'll attempt to be more clear with my words in future posts. However, I also feel that this is my blog. It's my reflections of my journey and life. If you'd like to start a blog talking about your journey and your life, then I encourage you to do so. Different perspectives are always welcome and needed.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nancy Drew

On FreeJinger, someone called me a Nancy Drew.

I have to admit that I didn't know who that was. Every once in a while, I realize just how sheltered my QF/ATI childhood made me. (sad)

Friday, January 15, 2010

49 Character Qualities of Ruth

Here is the link to my first 'article' on NLQ.

If you're not ATI, you may not understand the quotation before each article I plan to do. I'll try to explain. Bill Gothard promotes an educational series in which he defines forty-nine "operational qualities" of character. These are the "character traits" you hear the Duggars go on about. Each week, as an ATIer, you are supposed to audit yourself against these character traits. "Are you orderly or disorganized?", in concordance with biblical principle and scripture. For my "tale", I plan to incorporate one of these principles into each part.

Attempting to write about my life is difficult. It took some weeks for me to organize my thoughts and prepare myself to write. To achieve the greatest efficiency, I decided to start from the beginning.

"Orderliness v Disorganization” – Preparing myself and my surroundings so I will achieve the greatest efficiency (I Corinthians 14:40) - (Source:

I’ve heard that my mom was stunnning. Raised with southern grace and charm by a debutante mother and large animal vet father, she had everything a young girl in the seventies needed to marry well and have a career. She wanted that career. She graduated from a private high school two years early because of her profound intelligence. My grandmother always reminded us that my mother had begun reading Thoureau at the age that most of us were thumbing through Little House on the Prairie. After high school, my mother attended university and finished her undergraduate program in three years – an unheard of thing in the seventies. She began teaching mathematics at a local junior high school, where she was beloved by her students.

With all of that going for her, you would never have guessed that she had deep insecurities. She did. She was terribly shy with men. As a result of her shyness, my mom rarely dated, though she was sought after by many men (if you believe my grandfather).

She met my father in a hospital. I’ve always wondered if such an auspicious beginning shouldn’t have given her pause. A female friend of my mother’s had gone into labor with her second child. My mom drove her to the hospital and stayed with her until her husband arrived. When the proud daddy-to-be arrived, my father was with him, having driven him to the hospital. As my mother and father waited with the proud papa in the waiting room, they became attracted to one another and ended up arranging to meet for lunch the next afternoon.

At lunch the next day, my father told my mother of his religious conversion from Methodist to “evangelical”. He had been saved. Mom, not having grown up in a religious household, was fascinated by this man who spoke so lovingly of a personal relationship with Jesus. He also began telling her of a man he’d met who had started a ministry for youth, teaching them to resolve conflicts and adolescent issues. As a middle school teacher, she found the goals of the mission admirable. She decided to accept his proposal for a second date.

A second date became a third. Dating became courting. Courtship led to marriage with six months. My mother said she never questioned allowing my father to be the spiritual leader of their marriage. I have asked her how much she knew about my father’s role in the ministry and when she knew it but she’s always said that it wasn’t important – she loved my father.

When my eldest brother was born, the head of the organization came to my parents and asked them to consider “an idea”. “How much do you trust in the Lord?”, he asked. “Have you given every aspect of your life to Him?” After providing them with scriptural references and some food for thought, he departed. Family lore has it that, after two days of prayer and fasting, my parents committed to having as many children as the Lord would bless them with and that they would allow the Lord to open and close my mother’s womb. They never looked back.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My own version of "Less Than $1000"

I don't have children, so my recipes are small. But this is my most recent favorite. I make it on a hot plate in my room so I would think anyone could make it on a stove with no problems. It's perfect on a cold day. It's also a scaled down (way scaled down) version from my childhood, so it's technically QF and belongs on this blog. (smile)

Ruth's Soup
2 cans of beef broth
1/4 cup barley
1/4 cup lentils
1-2 chopped carrots
1-2 stalks of chopped celery
1/2 onion
If you have garlic, toss that in to suit your taste.
1 potato, chopped

I season the pot with a little oil and cook down the onion and garlic. Add your broth and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and barley, cook for fifteen minutes or so. Add potato and cook for five minutes. Add the veggies and cook until tender. I don't know if it comes in under $2, but it's tasty and filling.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NLQ and Questions

Very soon, I hope, you'll see part 1 of my story on NLQ. Hopefully, I'll also be able to post the articles here.

School has started so I'm a little busier than I was over the holidays. If I don't respond to you immediately, that's why.

Why did you wait until you were older to start going to a university? Aren't you a little old?
I'm older than most, as a Freshman. I'll write an article about the situation soon but the shortest answer is that I had to wait until I was old enough to not use my father's income on my FAFSA. Then, I had to go back and do some make-up work to prepare myself for a university curriculum. I graduated from a "school of the dining room table" and even though my skills weren't too far behind (mom was a teacher before marrying dad), I needed catching up in science and other subjects that we weren't taught. It's been a long road.

Your innervoice is like a teenager but you claim to be in your twenties. Grow up and stop whining about your life.
This isn't really a question but I want to address it. You're right. I probably sound like a teenager in some ways and in some ways I act like it. It must be hard for people to understand the way I was raised. In many ways, I am very mature. I was mothering other children when I was very young. In other ways, worldly/cultural ways, I'm experiencing things for the first time. Your first college experience is your first college experience no matter how old you are. Living on little income is a right of passage for most people (or so I have heard). If I said it was a barrel of monkies, I'd be lying, but I do like my life right now. If I seem to be whining, I apologize.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Less than 1000

I had the rare opportunity to spend time surfing the internet over the last two weeks. Normally- like today- my time is limited by school and other responsibilities. I had heard about Emily and her blog. I was interested in what she had to say since she claims to be Quiverful. My secondary interest was the fact that she claims to raise her family on less than $1000 a month. Since I have very little income (translation: none) and live in a small space (120 sqaure feet shared with another person), her blog sounded like a good place to pick up pointers. This should be noted because I didn't go to her blog with the intention of critiquing her. I also thought I'd be able to sympathize with her because her husband is a student.

What I found made me concerned. Her blog was little more than a cache of recycled bits from various sources, recipes, and cringe-worthy, self-important diatribes on her lifestyle. I'll admit a bias that may not have given me an objective perspective on her life. I see in her what I see in many QF moms who have talked themselves into a life of poverty and constant child bearing. I see, in her over-optimistic, naive attitude, something reminiscient of my mom. For that reason, I don't blame Emily for some of her choices. She's bought into the promises of Proverbs 31. She truly believes that God will provide for her if she obeys her husband and gives him a quiver full of Godly arrows. However, the more I read, the more I felt like I was being led down a primrose path. She wears poverty like a badge of honor. Emily posts about her poverty being a choice and extolls the virtues of living with less. Making lemons out of lemonade is a good character trait, but what if you weren't given lemons to begin with? What if you had grapefruit or a cornocopia of fruit and turned it down so that you could make that lemonade, while acting like lemons were all you had? Is the trait still noble?

Poverty isn't a joke. It's not an aspiration. Simplicity, frugality, debt-free,...those are all admirable goals. Poverty, especially self-enforced poverty, is stupid. Rampant materialism isn't great, either. I only feel that being poor for bragging rights is a slap in the face to those who are poor due to circumstances beyond their control. It gets worse when you add choiceless children into the equation. Emily has three boys. Like a lot of fledgling QFers, she's got three under four years. This is where my concern started.

As I read her blog, I started to think about those boys and what they'd say about their childhood. On the positive side, they have a mother who is home with them and cares for them. I think Emily loves her boys and love can't be bought. It can be misguided. Emily's post about baking soda containing genetically altered cornstarch was well-meaning but totally confusing. Her recipes go beyond the tatertot casserole, taco surprise variants you find in most QF families. It's nutritionaly bereft of value and calories. You can read the comments to see what I mean.

I'm posting the link to her blog because there are a lot of people who see the Duggar philosophy as harmless. Emily and her husband Dan are proof that it can be taken to a devestating extreme. It's madness.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The wolves and the world

Question from email: I have a question for you that maybe you can answer. You said the Duggars aren't thought of too highly in ATI circles because of their fame. Why is that? Wouldn't they be seen as going out to spread their faith as Matthew commands?

I don't think I said they weren't "thought of too highly". I think I've suggested that there are some families within ATI circles who see the Duggars in a less positive light than they once did. ATI-ers do believe that Matthew commands Christians to go forth and spread the gospel among non-believers. Where the current ATI crowd finds fault with the Duggars (so I've been told) is the involvement of the children. Most QF families, especially the ones that isolate their children, read Matthew as commanding mature, adult Christians (who are secure in their faith) to go out and spread God's words and commands. Knowing Matthew, they will go out of their way to point out passages in Deuteronomy and Ephesians which - they claim- is God's command for parents to isolate their children from worldly things because anything worldly is against God. To coin a common phrase- "if I had a dollar..." for every time I was told "be not even a little bit an enemy with God" based on James 4:4 as a reason not to have friends outside of our movement, "...I'd be a rich woman". The Duggars have "made friends" with the worldly. They've invited them into their homes and circle. Worse, in the minds of the ATI/QF, they've allowed their children to spend time with all these people who aren't just like themselves in commitment to keeping the "word". It's like this...when you see the Duggars on the Today Show and think "there they are again", the ATI/QF crowd thinks of how foolish it is for the Duggars to put their children in the same room with all those non-ATI/QF people. The average QF/ATI family would never take their children to New York, let alone Time Square. It's too much outside influence for the children.

Make no mistake. I'm happy that the Duggars, for whatever reason, are stepping outside the ATI/QF norm and getting out in the world. I think it's the best possible thing for those kids, but it's considered very dangerous by those still "in" the movement. I suspect that the Duggars' recent hesitance to say they're QF stems from some of this "worldly" influence. In true QF circles, having their children hang with camera men and cousin Amy would be considered treacherous and for all the other faults I can find with Jim Bob and Michelle, they truly do seem to accept these people and trust their kids enough to allow contact.