Wednesday, December 21, 2011


From my experience with blogging, when you blog, you don't expect that it will become this place that you really go to for advice. Maybe it's because I lack a family support structure, but I look to some of you for your wisdom like I would look to my own family. It was that way with the wedding post. For a few months now, I have been feeling like my engagement to Harris was more about me wanting a family than being "in love" with Harris. I think I'm damaged beyond fixing because getting to know Harris was wonderful and growing to love him was wonderful but I really became attached to him when I met his family. So why am I so unable to give up any control to that family that I came to love?

Harris and I are no longer engaged. It's over.

I don't believe it was his fault. I think it's mine. His family wanted a big wedding and Harris wanted it to. I couldn't do it. It's my failure. When we all sat down to talk about the wedding, his parents said that they understood my fears about big weddings- and what it really came to is that I have had to be such a private person for so long that I couldn't get comfortable with so many eyes on me and so many people wondering why Harris was marrying me- me with no family and me with no real background. His family is so well-off and so educated and I just didn't feel worthy or like I fit. When Harris started talking about how involved his family was and would be in our lives, I saw it as something to fear rather than a blessing that it probably would be. It's control. I was going to lose control.

I've met some of his extended family and it exposed how inept at family I really am. I don't understand families. It's me. I don't know how to be part of that bigger thing because the only family I grew up with was so commanding and exacting.

I have done 'the work' in therapy. We, as a couple, were doing 'the work'. I was happy until it came to that aspect of family. I asked Harris if we could just continue as we'd been - not married, but moving ahead in a committed relationship. He said no. He was afraid of me "never coming around to the idea of being part of something bigger" and "always wanting us to be separate". He's right. I had this idiotic idea that we could be a couple and have his family be this thing that we'd see when we wanted and invite in just as much as we wanted. That's not how marriage works, I guess.

In our pre-marital counselling, one thing that also came up is that I don't think I want children right away. I love kids. But I'm terrified of holding that responsibility in my hands. I talk a good game about how my childhood was robbed and handled wrong and yes, I could change diapers or cook meals and "provide" for the physical needs of my child, but I'm emotionally damaged and you can't mother if you yourself are so damaged, right?

I don't know what I will do from here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Oh heavens!

Apparently, my mother and her friends attended Jubilee Duggar's memorial. My brother sent me a forward of the e-mail my mother sent him about the event. My feelings and comments follow.

God is good! Praise Him in his absolute perfect wisdom and compassion. ************ and I attended the beautiful memorial for little Jubilee Shalom Duggar. Hundreds of people were there to life them up in prayer. If you know and walk with our Lord you know HE has her in his Kingdom and he only chooses those that have spirits too pure for this earth. Jubilee is at perfect peace in HIS arms while she waits for that time in which her mother and father will greet her in heaven. I'm sure J.L. is holding his granddaughter on his knee right now and they are smiling down at the Duggar family and their kin. What we witnessed today was a family living the WORD of GOD. They could've been like many of today's families in their heartbroken grief, wailing and gnashing at the world and being angry at God for HIS decision. Oh yes they could have been. We know that this is not how a true believer reacts to a situation even as hard as this. We praise God during bad times and we will elevate HIM in the bad and that is what the Duggars did today. Proud were they of this little life that God blessed them to have that they related the memories of finding they had been chosen to carry this angel-baby. Michelle and Jim Bob spoke of her impact on their faith after Josie's struggle. Jubilee gave them a renewed hope and purpose to continue his commandment to accept children willingly and at HIS timing. They are to be applauded for this unpopular steadfastness to LIFE! In honor of the Duggars and their new angel, let us all remember them during fellowship and spread their message of faith. Let us praise them in our daily lives as we praise HIM. If we spread this beautiful family's message to one person and they spread that grace to another person, we can pray a circle of protection around them to scare off any negative, unGODLY persons who are attacking them on vicious websites and the devil's media. Please add the following passages to your prayer tonight. Psalms 127:3, Titus 2:11In humble prayerful fellowship-XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Where to start with this?

Mom, I understand you didn't intend for me to read this or post this. I apologize if what I'm about to say hurts/disappoints you.

Mom,I have found no biblical support for a 200+ person funeral for a miscarried infant. When you miscarried, did Bros. Gothard or any of your ATI/VF people arrange such a "celebration of life" for you? What about the miscarriage of your daughter in law? Did you send out a note asking for prayerful support? I remember hearing that they asked you and Dad to come mourn the loss with them and dad said he was too busy. Is it because the Duggars are on television? What would make you treat them better than your own family? I have more compassion for Josie Duggar. Why hasn't the ATI crowd rallied around a cause to make sure she receives the earthly needs that she undoubtedly has after her premature birth?

You won't come to my wedding, but you'll go to the funeral of a 16 week fetus?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wedding Question

Harris and I are starting to plan our wedding. I never, ever imagined it would be as complicated to plan something that's supposed to be "a simple, small wedding"!

I need advice.

Background: As you might guess, my parents won't be there and I don't have a large extended family I'm close to. It's likely that the only blood family of mine that attends will be two or three (HOPEFULLY, HINT!) of my siblings. In any case, I asked my brother to walk me down the aisle (not "give me away" - just accompany me). This makes me very happy and I'm fine with keeping it intimate. Harris' family is huge! His parents are willing to pay the added expenses of adding people to the guest list and I guess I should be grateful for that and let it go. But, I really don't want this to become a spectacle. His parents and I normally get along really well but they're not understanding how awkward I would feel having 200 people on the groom's side and 10 on the bride's side.
Question: Does anyone have any ideas as to how to keep this small AND satisfy Harris' family?

Should I get over it? Am I being stubborn over something that just isn't going to matter in ten years?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Duggar Miscarriage

Ruth! Did you hear about the Duggar miscarriage of #20? Do you think they'll try again or get the message? Do you think they will show the funeral?

Yes. I heard about the miscarriage.
I'm torn about giving my opinion or sharing my thoughts on this because, at the very least, a family who wanted another child is suffering a loss and that loss is tragic to them. Who am I to judge them at a time like this? I'm no one. However, I'm also feeling like I'm not really judging them as much as I am explaining their rationale for people who've never experienced a family like them before. Right or wrong - I have an insight and I've been asked to share that insight.

They WILL try again. Like I said in my last post, it didn't matter how this pregnancy ended; happy, sad, tragic, joyous- in their mind, whatever happens would be a blessing from God. I have no doubt that at this very moment, in the Duggar home, the family is consoling themselves with the thought that their 20th (21st, if you count Michelle's first miscarriage) child is with Jesus. Not only is he/she with Jesus, but HE/SHE WAS CHOSEN to go early - they would consider this AN HONOR! I've heard some ask if they would see a difference between this loss and their first loss and the answer is a resounding "YES!". The first loss was not God's will, but the consequence of their decision to use that Evil Birth Control (EBC). This loss can't be blamed on that. You might wonder if they're self-aware enough, as ridiculous as the premise is, of seeing their pride and hubris as a sin worthy of punishment from God? I have to say that I don't know where they fall on that spectrum. My heart tells me that they will ask themselves this question because of the perpetual guilt trip and fault finding spirit that Gothard instills in these families. My head tells me that, although the Duggars wear the Gothard/ATI/QF badges on their sleeves, they're also Reality Show stars with the narcissicism and egos that seem to go along with being on TLC. They've likely started to believe that they are a virtuous, moral family REWARDED by God with this show. As such, they will fall to seeing this loss as a blessing. The real question isn't how they will perceive this loss, I supppose, but what they do with that?

The potential exists for them to view this loss as a warning from God to quit the show. That's a slim potential, but it exists nonetheless. They may also see this as God's challenge to them to keep up their mission despite another set-back. After all, Josie came out "okay", right? They may use this as a "teachable moment"- "see how we didn't let this loss stand in the way of our belief that we should accept all children from God?!?!?" If they truly view their show as a mission, then we will see every step in the process of their grief and acceptance because they view themselves as a light!

Unless TLC tells them otherwise (and what are the chances of that happening), we will see the ultrasound. We will see the kids being told (at the very least, we'll see the reactions of the girls who went with Jim Bob and Michelle) and we will see the door to the Tinker Toy House be closed for a few days before they regroup and film the funeral. We'll be shown the funeral. I would call on TLC to have a conscience and not exploit this for ratings. However, I have a feeling Jim Bob will insist it all be shown for the same reasons that they gave us a birdseye view on his dad's death and his youngest daughter's excrutiating struggle in the NICU- because it shows the Duggar family as the heroic, Christian soldiers that they want to be. Remember, this is the same man who said, as his wife and premature infant were DYING- "This is fixing to change our lives...we thank God for the good things and we need to praise him for the bad things too" (or some such thing). In my opinion, he's disassociated from actually caring for his family long ago- now it's all about showing YOU just how MUCH HE'S LEAVING THIS UP TO GOD.

As such, his wife's physical and mental health are secondary. The health of the flower he's planted in her uterus is secondary. The physical and mental well-being of his children (who are also dealing with this loss) is secondary. What matters to this family, and generally to all QF/ATI/Gothard families, is the evidence of their devotion to the principle.

On a more personal note, I was actually angry when I read his request for privacy. Not because they don't deserve privacy. THEY ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY DO DESERVE to grieve this loss with the dignity and privacy that most families would grieve it. The anger within me comes from knowing that this will only be "private" until it's needed for ratings or for the family's mission purposes. I also suspect, and am angry, because it will only be private in the same way that they didn't give us daily updates on Josie's progress, but kept it "private" until they gave updates to the Today Show or People or 19 Kids and Counting producers.

This show needs to end.

This people article, quoting Michelle, is the answer to the first question - "will they try again?" Despite the fact that, as I understand it, the progesterone dip would follow the miscarriage, and not necessarily mean that that's what caused the miscarriage, this is the excuse and "out" Michelle is looking for to try again. She'll follow the Bates' example and use progesterone next time. If she does, I have a feeling this show will be done- you can't say that you're leaving it up to God's will if you're taking meds to prevent God's will.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What's up with those Duggars and other questions?

E-mails have been coming in left-and-right over the last few days. I suppose, if this was a website earning some sort of profit, I should thank the Duggars...because every time they add a child to the mix, this blog gets more hits than a baseball at a Little League game. It also restarts an inbox rebellion from different folks wondering about my take on the Duggars. I guess people want an insight from someone who was once in the same sort of dog-and-pony show. So, here we go.

Why do you think the older Duggar girls aren't being courted?
I don't know that they aren't. If they were, we wouldn't know until Jim Bob was certain that the Godly Young Man was ready to "adequately provide" for his daughters. That's the problem, really. There's an unspoken and unwritten "law" in Gothard/ATI/SAHD families that if the father truly loves his daughters, he will wait for a match for her that can provide on the same level. For most fundy, ATI families, this really isn't much of a problem since, as a rule, they're almost all broke and pauperish. The Duggars have vaulted themselves into a different level of "adequate provision". How many undereducated, blue-collar (or less), barely shaving, Godly Young Man (GYM) is going to have the resources to match what those Duggar girls are accustomed to? Not many, if any! Jim Bob, maybe knowingly (but probably by accident) has created a problem for himself. If he's going to marry off a daughter, the pickings are slim! It used to be, in QF/ATI circles, that a girl was looking spinsterish if she hit 22 and didn't have a plan. But these more prominent and sucessful ATI/QF families are finding that they need those girls at home and they need the income that they often provide through at-home-business (or ratings). So they do what any fledgling religion does when the current standards no longer work so well - they change the rules and expectations. The Duggar Girls are now being shown as the model of SAH Daughterhood. These girls that are so willing to give their hearts to God and their choices to their father that they redefine purity into a marathon. Okay so that was a long answer to an easy question. The answer is that Jim Bob has created a problem for himself that's not easily solved.

Additionally, the Duggars have started to, from what I'm told, see themselves as a seperate ministry from ATI. They see themselves as a light on a hill and other fundy families are questioning how "involved" to get with one limelight when the "head limelight" (insert Bill Gothard or other fundamental leader here) is still watching. Anna Keller's family was really on the out-skirts of the ATI movement. They weren't ATI royalty, but look at all the attention that came their way all of the sudden. Alot of ATI families would rather avoid the spotlight because the lifestyle doesn't lend itself to the most flattering of portraits.

Do you think the older Duggar girls aren't pushing marriage because, like you, they may not want to leave the younger ones behind?
Possibly. We wouldn't know unless one of them left. I guess we could all hope that's the case. I will say that abuse on the scale of my youth is pretty hard to hide from the light of a reality crew camera. People saw Kate Gosselin's questionable behavior and cried foul. People are seeing Michelle Duggar's wacky responses to illess and injury and calling foul. I would imagine that if the older Duggars were concerned about the physical safety of their younger siblings, that we would've seen some signs of abuse on television by now. On the other hand, maybe they stay because they know how little care the smaller kids would receive from Michelle? The JOY principle can become pretty ingrained.

If Michelle dies, what do you think would happen?
I hope Michelle and her baby are safe and healthy. There's no way I would wish the loss of a mother on anyone.
Hypothetically speaking, the family would run just as smoothly. I don't think Jim Bob would run out and find a replacement wife (although other ATI dads have). I think Jim Bob is limited by the same fame that limits his daughters' marriage prospects. I do think, and would expect, that one of the daughters would become defacto mom in Michelle's place, in much the way they are now. But they wouldn't marry and would sacrifice themselves for the good of the family. I guess you could relate it to becoming a nun for the Catholic faith. One of the girls would become a Duggar Nun.

They really don't know who the Beatles are?
They really don't know who the Beatles are! People think I'm stretching the truth when I tell them how little I knew of pop culture past and present. ATI is worse than being Amish. The Amish at least circulate within society to a certain degree. Growing up ATI is like growing up on an island without television or radio. I know my dad took at of the radios out of our family cars so we wouldn't be influenced or tempted to listen to ANY music outside of what he allowed. The TV in the house isn't hooked up to cable and it's usually not even plugged in until there's some sort of ATI promo material to watch. The strangest part of that sort of childhood was that, when I did get out, I would hear a song on the radio and realize I already knew the melody. The machine had simply taken pop music melodies and inserted "inspiring" lyrics. But, no. They don't know about the Beatles or Michael Jackson or even Johnny Cash. Unless you're Jesus (or now the Duggars) there's no "celebrity status" in that world. I mean, come on, what other faith would Dolly Parton know who you were but you wouldn't know who she was?

How do you feel about #20?
I think it's potentially the most dangerous, most possibly tragic decision the Duggars have ever made. And I think they have already shown that bad outcomes don't phase them because they see the trial as a blessing from God. It's like martyrdom! The worst would only happen, in their head, because God would know they could handle it- so bring on the worst. And, if all goes well, then "Hey! Aren't we blessed? God loves us!" There's no possible loss in their twisted way of thinking. I am, truthfully, unaffected by #20. It's not my family. At the same time, as a human being who was raised with that same twisted way of thinking, I'm rendered speechless by the hypocrisy. It is hypocritical to say you value life so much when your precious miracle baby will no be relegated to "sister mommies" and when you can't appreciate the actual moments of life because there's so much around you. Ever notice how musuems that collect fine art rarely put 20 Van Goghs in one room? Or, how a wealthy art lover rarely hangs 20 Monet pieces in the living room? It's because the true art lover likely understands that individual beauty can get overwhelmed by more beauty to the point where it's just another painting.

Too many poppies in a field can make it so that you only see the field of orange and not the individual flower. If you don't take time to nurture each flower in your garden, the flowers die.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Old Questions

Two posts in one day!
Today has been blissfully slow and unscheduled so I finally have a chance to answer a back-log of e-mails and questions from really old blog posts. Many of the e-mails and comments strike similar chords: for those, I will not put the name of who asked because there were multiple people. For others, I have put down initials or names (based on requests for privacy, usually).

Here we go...
How was your summer?
Busy, busy, busy! After last summers' financial fiasco, I decided that the best way to avoid a lot of my financial stress was to give up one of the scholarships I had accepted (that limited the time I was allowed to work) and just work multiple jobs while I could. The scholarship amount had been reduced to the point of it being absurd to limit myself. With the exception of the visit to the family, I worked almost every day at two places. I nannied for a family that just needed part time nannying on the weekdays, from 5am to noon. Then, I worked for a company that was taking down a chain bookstore and boxing up the inventory. That was usually a 5pm to midnight job. In between, I slept and did counselling with Harris or hung out. I was going to take a class but that was pushing the limit of possibility. Let's see. I also had physical therapy thrown in the mix.

Ron asked: How are you recovering from your accident?
Well, I think! I had a physical therapist who was willing to see me only twice a month (because of insurance and financial limits) and then provide me with really detailed, daily programs to follow. I did get a small settlement (after all the medical bills were paid out). It wasn't enough to let me out of working but it was enough to cover all the medical expenses and partially pay for the Arkansas trip.

How's Harris?
Great! He's really focused on the future and planning that (as much as you can plan).

T.J. of South Africa asked: Are you still in a holding phase about religion?Which church are you getting married in?
I guess so. I put those things on the back burner while I focused on my immediate needs for survival. My therapist had asked me one day why I felt like I had to put myself in a category for religion and I told her it was just something I felt like I was supposed to do. She asked "why?" and really pushed me to examine why I felt that need and, pathetically, I realized that it was a very external reason: I felt like I needed to check that box to define myself for others. Like I said- pathetic! So I've decided that - at least for now- that's not something I truly need to define and I'm okay with just seeing how it develops. I've been to church with friends and I haven't found a fit. I really think that organized religion might not be for me. But we'll see.
We aren't getting married in a church. There will be a minister performing our ceremony but it will be outdoors. That much we do know. Harris and I want to keep it small and focus on the things and people we love.

S. Sawtelle and Kate asked about gifting: I want to thank you for the offer and the love you're showing. For now, however, I want to pass on gifts from internet friends/readers. It's not that I don't appreciate what has been given to me or what you're wanting to do. It's just that that got complicated and made some people doubt the legitimacy of my blog and it's message. Just having a paypal link was seen as a request for handouts. So I can only imagine what having a bridal registry or wish list would make people say. Please let me think about it for a while. Okay? I do thank you for the sentiment.

Maritza said: "Do you think you're really ready to be married? (clip) you struggled financially...(clip) were just getting independent when you got engaged so fast. Why don't you date around?"
I love Harris and we've worked really hard to make sure this is what we both want. Our therapist was saying that no one is ever completely and perfectly ready for marriage but that you *can* prepare yourself with honesty and in depth, constant self-evaluation. I realize that this is a serious commitment I'm making to another human being and that I've had a rough past. I realize this will be difficult at times and that it will be work. I am willing to work at it. There again- I have never felt as deep a love for any person as I do for him and I am confident that he feels the same way. We have, during this premarital counselling run into issues that we disagree on but they're not deal breakers and we're not shutting out conversations. One of those issues is when to start a family. I want to wait a few years and Harris would love to start as soon as that ring goes on my finger. HA! Rather than not deal with it at all, we're talking about it and using the tools we've been given to really listen to the other person's point of view. I think we're much more prepared than most. And I can definitely say that we're far better off than some of the marriages that would've been considered "prepared" under the standards in which I grew up. I also think that using the term "rushing" is maybe misused regarding our relationship. We didn't scurry off to Vegas! LOL Tempting but we didn't.

Hannah K. asked: Did you hear that an ATI dad has used your blog as a cautionary tale during a conference speech? No!! Please write me back and share the details. I'd love to see if I can find it on youtube.

Jordan asked: Is there any way you would speak at my church? No. Although I feel closer to being comfortable sharing my identity, I'm not there, yet. I like the freedom this anonymity has given me to share my true feelings. As soon as I share who I am, it will be "game on" for an entire religious group and there's no turning back. My dad might be expected to show more discipline with my sisters, to prevent them from going "my way", and I won't do that to them. It's bad enough as is. But, there are several ex-ATI/QF women who would take you up on that offer. Just look around Freejinger or No Longer Quivering or those other sites. Good luck.

Wedding Bells and Summer

I'm sorry I haven't posted regularly (or at all). Harris and I had some post engagement jitters and decided to seek out pre-marital counselling. We decided to do it intensely and, the reality is, that *I* needed to work out a whole lot of things before I could feel 100% sure of marriage. As it turns out, that intense examination of our lives was the best thing for our relationship and we're full-steam ahead for a wedding sometime in 2012.

So I'm sorry for not keeping up here or answering e-mails. I was putting a focus on my relationship and didn't want anything getting in the way of that. Blogging takes some level of commitment. :)

I know some of you knew about the visit with my parents. I said I would blog about it, so here goes.

Harris' parents were really concerned about my relationship with my family. They brough up the valid point that, even with the history, my parents had some degree of a right to expect to meet the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. But they also agreed with my point that this was a toxic relationship (with my family) and any meeting would have to be on my terms and with enough support to facilitate a good outcome. Harris' mom decided she would go along with us.

My brother told my dad and mom we'd be back in town and asked if we might all get together. We met for lunch at a public place. It was very tense. I got to see my newest little sister (Blessing) for the first time, really. It was a special moment. She's adorable! Mom was happy to see me and hear about my life. As expected, though, my father was not. He only said two or three words during the entire lunch and those words weren't very kind. He had more to say (or, maybe, "inquisite" is a better word) to Harris.

The next day, the three of us (Harris, H's mom, and I) went to my brother's house and my father came storming in. He wasn't happy that Harris never asked his "permission" for my hand. He wasn't happy that I left home the way I did. He wasn't happy that I had, to his eyes, "foresaken the values I was raised to". He just wasn't happy. My therapist had prepared me for his reaction and to a large extent, I didn't care. After he ranted for twenty minutes or so, I asked if he would ever be able to accept me as I was? He said, "No." and I said that we were done then. He has the right to decide not to accept who I am and the choices I make. However that's his loss. I told him I accepted who he was and even though I strongly disagreed with his lifestyle and tenets of faith - I accept that that's his choice and not my choice. He told me I'd burn in hell and stormed out. THAT, my Gothard readers, is the "family first", "unbreakable bond" that you're heading towards! Choose wisely. Don't pick Gothard over your child. Would a benevolent and kind Christ make you choose an ideology over your child?

Mom and I had a good conversation the following and last day of my visit with the family. She said dad "allowed it"- which made me cringe. I want to keep that conversation private only because my dad would likely turn some of it against her and I don't want that. My mom was, as she said, "given authority" to form her own opinion about Harris and join us for lunch. She said she thought we were well matched...for what that's worth. I love my mom, dearly, but I can't keep waiting for her to ACT like the mother I want her to be. They've decided they can't attend my wedding but will chaperone any of the at-home siblings that wish to attend so long as we're married before a certain faith of minister. Since that's probably not the path we're taking, I guess they won't be at my wedding.

I wish it were different.
I'm still in school. I'm working quite a bit and struggling to be independent before getting married and becoming independent together (?). But, it's worth it! I'm sharing a place with four roommates (none of whom are Harris) and it's interesting for this former Gothardite Girl. :) Have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ruth, Where are you?

I'm sorry this blog hasn't had much activity for the last two months. After the proposal and finals, I had to start that process of deciding what I was doing for the summer and I made the decision to return to Arkansas for a visit with my brother. That led to family drama (of course). Harris was with me for the first week and certain family members got to/wanted to meet him.

Now I'm back where I belong and I can say that with much contentment. Going back and seeing that life that I left was hard but really necessary. I will blog more about it as I process it.

While I was away from the blog, there were some commenters who felt that I didn't care (as they said in e-mail comments) about a commenter who asked me for advice on leaving an abusive environment. I want to make one thing very clear. I am not an abuse professional and while I hope one day to help people like me, I am still going through this process and I'm figuring it out as I go. I'm not qualified to give advice. What I can do is support another woman's choice and say that I wish her the best. If you are leaving an abusive, oppressive environment, then PLEASE contact someone who can give you better resources: Call 911 or find a safe place. Get out. I would love to be able to help but I honestly don't know what you need or how to help you. I told my story to help people see that there was a chance to escape patriarchy and forced marriage but if I don't know you personally, I can't do much more than offer you hope and a hand of friendship. Which brings me to the other point that should be made - I don't check this blog often enough for anyone to depend on me. I feel horrible about not responding to someone who needed help but I can't go back and change that and I can't promise I will do better next time because I can't promise I'll always be online or checking in.

Thank you and I'm sorry I dropped the ball.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Willingly and completely

I guess the cat is out of the bag. :)
As some of you knew, my birthday was last week. I thought it was going to be a quiet day without much fuss (just as I like it). But- Harris had other plans. We started the day by driving up to his parents place for a family dinner. His mom managed to get enough pictures together to do a cute little scrapbook. This was my gift. As I was looking through it, I have to be honest, I was kind of thinking that she was a little premature because there would be a picture of me at 2 years old and then a picture of Harris (on the next page) at 2 years old. Then a picture of me at 13 and a picture of Harris at 13. And, so on and so on - until it became a record of things he and I had done together. A lot of blank pages were left in the scrapbook and I thought it was a sweet idea that she had left room for us to keep putting things in the book. After cake, Harris asked me to take a walk with him. Still pretty normal for when we visit his parents, although as I'm still in PT, I was a little worried about walking on uneven ground at night. I needn't have worried for when we went outside, his dad had hitched up this old hay wagon to one of the horses and he took us for a nighttime ride. I think I started to realize something was up when I saw that they'd lined the path with luminarias. We got to this small rise on the back of their property, that overlooks the river, and there's a bench where multiple generations of his family have come to pop the question. It was beautiful - little lanterns where everywhere and there was a bouquet of flowers on the bench (not that they were really needed because there were poppies and lupine everywhere, growing wild). I actually started to panic and I still don't understand why because I knew as soon as I saw this that I was going to say yes - but I had major butterflies in my stomach. Harris helped me out of the wagon and his dad pulled a ways-a-way to give us privacy. The conversation we had is private but the basics included that he promised to love me forever and asked if I would promise the same in return. I said "Yes!"

My ring is beautiful. It's his grandmother's engagement ring so it's very simple and I love it. Just one small diamond in a gold setting.

I can't tell you how different this feels from my first engagement. There's no way to compare the two. I wish my father and every other patriarchal, Gothard father could see how special and wonderful this was and how willing I was to say yes. I truly don't believe my father could've picked someone as right for me as Harris and I think it was the time we spent getting to know each other privately that makes this feel so right. It was the small arguments and how we learned to handle them and the shopping together and, yes, sleeping in the same bed on occasion that makes me so ready to promise myself to him. I can't wait to build a home and a life with this man.

Now to the questions I've received in e-mail and on facebook and other places-
Have you set a date?
Tentatively, yes. April or May of 2012. We haven't made any plans yet because the engagement just happened! :)

Have you told your parents?
Yes. I felt like I should and I needed to. I made the call home and my mom answered (THANK GOD!). She was really happy for me but that happiness was cut short by my father (as I expected). He wanted to make it clear to me that this wasn't a God sanctioned union and Harris hadn't asked his permission so blah, blah, blah. Harris won't be asking his permission. The funny thing was - I called using one of Harris' cousins' cell phones and they've been getting hang-up calls three times a day ever since. :/

Are you going to involve your family in the wedding?
I don't know, yet. If I thought that my dad could handle it, I might. I just don't think he can. I would love to have my siblings there but that gets complicated because for the younger ones it means having my dad there, too. I don't know right now. I would hope they could be there. We'll see.

Are you quitting school?
No! ?

Are you pregnant?
No! Again - ?

Thank you for the well wishes!

Monday, April 4, 2011


I wasn't planning to blog today -
Then, I received an e-mail that just had to be made public (he asked for it). I make it public if for no other reason than to show you just how the patriarchal mind thinks. The e-mail came to the e-mail address linked with this blog (easy to find) and I think you'll quickly decode who it was written by. This is a copy/paste. The only thing that has been changed are the names of my family and the person who wrote it (because that might lead to identifying me and cause harm for his wife and children).

Dear *Ruth,

I knew you would end up no good...washed up...blameing every body but your selve for your troubles in life...generaly being bitter about your life. I knew it then and I know it for sure now.
You lied about our courtship...only fair that you give me a voice to tell my story and if you do not I will sue you for slandering me.
Your daddy begged my father to present you to me. GODS honest truth. HE BEGGED... BEGGED becaused you are worthless and were worthless as a wife. It does not surprize me that you are unmarried still. You were ugly physically...refusing GODS promise for womanhood shows in your face now and then. I prayed and God told me that my father was right that I had to ask you for your hand because GOD promised it would show us who you really were. GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL...HE ALWAYS WILL KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN. A rightous woman would honor her fathers choices for her...I confidantly knew you would reject me just cause your father wanted it for us so I had no worry in proposing marriage to you
TELL YOUR ADORRING READING PUBLIC THAT YOU MASTURBATED. You were unpure before GOD. Me and you kissing was nothing compared to what GOD had on your heart. You seemed to liked my kiss...saying blogging you didn't is like a WHORE saying she doesn't like sex. All for show...all for show.
Your daddy wanted you gone from that house for your influance on those kids in umbrella of rightous protection. Under the LORD OUR GOD you flaunted all the rewards of TRUE COURTLY deserved being kicked out. Pray... Tell your adorring readers that I offered you a home...a ring...a place in a faithful union called by GOD. I make $70,000 a are a poor single WHORE. Education isn't smartness. A boyfriend isn't a is against GOD. Harris can't give you salvation only GOD CAN DO THAT. You said that I physically abused you...liar. Liar. LIES. I never pushed you...your word againso mine...and who will people believe a liar or a happily married man with a good living and no need to blog about the stupid problems I have. The day your dad called me to say you were leaving his protection I just had a relief brought by GOD...I was so glad I could get on with finding his real partner for me...which I did after one more just like you who sinned against me.
I have four children...what do you GODLY BEAUTIFUL wife is expecting number five and we leave it to HIS WILL. You are a sorry excuse compared to my wife....she knows college meant nothing compared to TRUE WOMANHOOD. Being a TRUE WOMAN is accepting the roll GOD MADE YOU TO PERFORM. Don't you see that every peice of your life is falls apart on trial...I hope you do because I don't love you but I care for you in GODS way.
Be truthful Ruth.

I know I'm recovering from my childhood when I can read this and laugh. With Harris by my side, I can see the desperation inherant in this diatribe. Here we see a man who has re-written history to portray himself as the hero. Such a Gothard trait! Where would we women be without the steadying hand of a man? :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sorry -

I'm doing well. Still recovering from the accident a few months ago. I took a break from blogging to concentrate on school and getting healthy. I took the paypal link down because some were talking about my not thanking them and I realized that they were absolutely right. I hadn't been keeping up with the thank yous like I once had and that meant I wasn't keeping up with the sort of person I want to be. Harris and I are well, as a couple. We're seeing where the road takes us.

Love to you all. I will try to blog more as school gets less crazy and I get my summer plans firmed up.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


The good news is: my brother managed to send me a few pictures from when I was little (Harris' mom wanted them for a project). The bad news is: they triggered a few memories that I would've rather forgotten.

Picture number one was of me sitting on the porch with my siblings. We're all dressed in our "best" and holding picket signs. My little sister is holding that famous "pro-life" sign showing the aborted fetus. At the time, I thought that that's what an aborted fetus looked like. Later, much much later, I heard that that picture was really an eighteen week fetus that had been miscarried. I know abortion is a touchy subject and the point of this blog isn't pro-life/pro-choice - what I'm really angered about is that at such a young age, my siblings and I were made to be show pieces for the "pro-life travelling show". We would get together with other families in the area and stand on corners holding up our signs. We only knew abortion from the twisted and really black-and-white lectures we were given. On FJ, someone said that she resented people who were like us (like I used to be) because it took the decision to talk about abortion with her children in her own time away from her and she's absolutely right. Not only is she right about her child, but she's right about the children participating in the protest. ATI/QF wants to talk about protecting children from the world and keeping their hearts innocent - and then they go and shove a three year old in front of traffic and shove a sign showing a botched abortion in their hand! For the record - I was told that abortions were the result of ONLY pre-marital, teen sex, OR affairs. Because, as it was explained to me, what women in her God designed relationship would even consider turning down that blessing? I was told that the women who had abortions WOULD get some sort of cancer (breast cancer, I think) or an STD. Still- mainly- we didn't even discuss it as much as we were shoved out there to protest something we couldn't possibly understand at such a young age.

Picture number two is me holding a baby (I think I know which one but it could be one of our guests' babies). I'm smiling - but I'm looking off to the left of camera and I'm holding the baby like it has a smelly diaper or it has a contagious disease. Yep, that was my childhood and my job- the baby holder. :/

Picture number three is my older brother's "graduation" from homeschool. It's probably one of the last pictures my family ever took of me in the house. What makes me choke up isn't the picture - it's the house and the people in it. I miss my siblings so much. I miss certain things about that house. But, the pow-pow stick (labeled "Discipline" with paint) gives me chills. That came along when I was a little older, so I didn't get it as much - but some of my sisters did. And there it is in the picture of my brother's graduation - lurking in the background. WTF?

That's it though. Those are the pictures my brother could get for me - an abortion rally, holding a stinky baby, and at a homeschool graduation with the threat of discipline hanging around. Yes. My life in pictures.

Then, I look around my room here and see the pictures I have tacked around. Harris and I at his parents this Christmas. Me and a hiking pal on top of a peak. Me with a friend swimming in a mountain creek. The boys from my nanny gig and I with paintball paint on us and another of us from a Chuck E Cheese photo booth. These are the pictures I should have from my childhood.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Again with the drama.

I have written and re-written this post. At the end of all the re-writing, I've decided to go back to my original draft because -well - I guess there are things that need to be said and need to be aired.
This e-mail came in two days ago.
"Ruth" I don't know if you know but Vyckie has outed you and not in a good way. Your name is "XXXX XXXXXX". You grew up in XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX,XX. Your father is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. You need to know she is not a friendly. Vyckie is two-faced.
My first instinct was to e-mail Vyckie. After all, that's what I've done before when someone tried to stir up drama. I support the goal of NLQ and since Vyckie is the founder, I supported her. What stopped me this time was the fact that the name the e-mail contained is the name Vyckie, and only Vyckie, had been told and knew. The town mentioned was the town I grew up in.
So, as I see it now, there are two options. Either Vyckie has betrayed my confidence or someone from my family has found another ally to continue picking at the scab. Both options make me feel ill. Before I could make a decision about what to do and who to confront, I received another e-mail.
"Ruth, did you know Vyckie is telling people you received money at Christmas from the Tina Anderson Foundation? I donated to them specifically for you. Why didn't you make a post thanking them? You owe them publicity for their generosity."
This puzzled me further. FOR THE RECORD: I RECEIVED NOTHING FROM THIS FOUNDATION. Here is what I know. Before Christmas, during the time of my accident, an e-mail came in from Vyckie. I didn't see it right away because of the accident and other circumstances. The e-mail said:
Ruth, I hope you are feeling much better and recovering well from the accident. I received the following note from Jocelyn Zichterman:

"You seem to know Razin Ruth personally and it seems that on her blog she is trying to stay anonymous. So we are in a little predicament. We want to surprise her (Tina Anderson Foundation) with a money gift for Christmas. But in order to do that, since we are a non-profit, we have to document to the government who we gave the money to and why. I also need her address, to send this gift on to her.

Do you think you could have some preliminary conversation with her asap, and let her know that we would keep her identity 100% confidential---never to reveal it---but that we just need it for our private records. We'd LOVE to send her a little something and get it to her before Christmas. I plan to run out Monday morning to get the gift cards. If she has any specific needs too...just let me know. Hopefully you can fish for details without giving too much away:):)"

So now I'm wondering if you could be this person for us? Or do you know of anyone else who knows her?

Thanks so much! Just hoping to relieve some of her pressure over Christmas. Joc.:):)

You can respond to Jocelyn directly at: jocelyn*******

I didn't respond until AFTER Christmas. I wrote to Jocelyn and Vyckie and I never heard back from either of them. Also, to be clear, I said I was wary of giving away my identifying information, regardless. I found it odd that neither Jocelyn, nor Vyckie, responded to my response.

Now I get this e-mail saying people donated through this foundation because they thought they were helping me and I feel strangely. The foundation looks legit but I never received a return e-mail or a penny. If you donated, please contact me because I feel horrible that my name is being used in this manner. Hopefully, this is all one big misunderstanding and there's a logical explanation.

What I do know is that my family wouldn't have known about the e-mail from Vyckie regarding the Tina Anderson Foundation. I welcome someone who can give me a logical explanation of what is going on.

This feels like crap.
What is going on?
I don't know that either or both or neither of these people is doing anything wrong but something doesn't feel right. This is my plea to everyone involved to discuss this publicly so that there's no more "using" going on. If the emailer is using Vyckie or TAF to try to instigate drama, then they're awful and I'll feel awful for putting all of this out here but I don't see a way around it right now. Part of me starting this blog was to put the use or abuse of others in the light of day - either way, I'm being used and I hate it. Why continue the blog or the story if it's to be used?
I'm sorry to ramble and rant but I'm sick of it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life with the Turners

I left the courts that day with the Kleins and Turners. The Turners were given a temporary guardianship of me. To clarify, because it seems like some people in comments might be thinking otherwise, I was not technically or legally emancipated, nor was I made a true ward of the court. The decision for me to go to the Turners was a compromise.

The terms were pretty simple. I would live with the Turners, but my parnets would have the ability to contact me 24/7 and make any major medical or educational decisions. In some ways, my parents didn't do themselves any favors by homeschooling me because homeschooling allowed me to "graduate" young. Had they waited to have me graduate, it's possible that I would've had to attend "class" with my mom for part of the day. As it was, I only spoke with them on the phone or had the occasional meal with a family member, with the Turners or Kleins present at all times. After a few weeks, my parents stopped calling. The communication stopped and I heard that they had started telling people that I left their umbrella of protection for the world.
More later.

Friday, January 14, 2011

49 Character Qualities of Ruth

Ruth, when will you continue the story?
I've given it a great amount of thought and I'm not sure that there's much story left to tell. Once I left my parents house - my life was complicated to the extreme and became a day-to-day struggle (which it still is). I'm not sure anyone's interested in the events that took place after those court hearings. What I can do is answer more questions as you all ask them. So, here's the opening - what would you like to know?