Monday, March 29, 2010

The Countdown to Texas, Nine to Five and Feminism

I feel like I did not have a weekend. Charlotte being sick just derailed any kind of relaxation or productivity we were going to have, which honestly, wasn't much to begin with. It felt like old times when she was first born: time had no meaning, I stayed in my pajamas until 2:30, we ate when we were hungry and slept when we were sleepy. Every once in a while, Charlotte would scream bloody murder and thrash around; in such a manner was this weekend passed at our house.

We leave for Texas on Saturday, and there is some level of excitement around the trip. Not only will we come back more positive and sure of God's plucking us from Virginia, but a semi-vacation with interviews every day will be a nice change of pace. We will be visiting Houston and San Antonio, so if you have any input as to sights we should see, please let me know. We have more free time in Houston than San Antonio right now.

Lastly, I watched the movie Nine to Five with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton yesterday; it was on PBS of all channels, completely uninterreupted. Allison, my mentee, and I are currently reading the book Radical Womenhood by Carolyn McCulley together. Quite a pageturner for theology on biblical womenhood. The whole book is about having feminine faith in a feminist world - about the foundation of feminism that our lives are all built on and why that type of thinking is misguided, unbiblical and flat-out frustrating. The problem is that we have been raised in a world where certain thoughts and ideas pervade us without us even realizing it. Small example: jewelry commercials. Jewelry commercials infuriate Adam because they always treat the men (their consumer, presumably) like idiots and moms/wives as the smart, together, know-it-alls. Now, I don't profess that some men are not idiots and some women are not smart and together, but the point is that MEN ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. Sin is the problem, and feminism is sin responding to chauvinistic sin. Men are not and should not just be pigeonholed as weak and stupid idiots, goofs and lazy couch potatoes. But that is how we depict them, and they grow into that mold. Anyway, I am not trying to get on a feminism soapbox, and I would love to chat with you more about it, but back to the movie.

This movie was made and released in 1980. I could tell watching it that it had to have been the late 70s or early 80s from the hair, clothes and decor, not to mention the "machines" that were used in the office. From what I knew about the movie going in, I expected a sweet tale of sisterly camaraderie in the tough corporate world. That's really, surprisingly, not what this movie is. The plot is loose at best, centering around the jerk boss and how each of the main three characters would kill him if they could. There's even a pot-induced fantasy montage for each woman, most notably showing Dolly Parton lassoing the boss as he tries to run away. It's almost too silly to be a drama, but the language is too crass to be a family movie. Here is what I noticed in terms of feminism/femininity:
  1. All of the women wore skirts/dresses. That, to me, is interesting, since feminist women usually dress more like men than in a feminine way. Not that I think women have to wear dresses all of the time, but feminine dress surprised me in a seemingly feminist movie.
  2. The villian was a man. And he was a chauvinist, which is fine because that happens in life. And he had a Burt Reynolds mustache. And the women, of course, got the better of him throughout the movie. He also called the women "girl" throughout, which was supremely irritating.
  3. There were no other predominant men in the movie. Lily Tomlin's husband was nonexistent, even with her 4 kids, Jane Fonda had just divorced a cheater, and even though Dolly Parton was married, we didn't really see her husband at all. Men, in this movie, were the problem, and women were the answer. We were supposed to feel empowered since Jane Fonda grew to be independent and the women bonded over the munchies and hooking their boss up to a garage door mechanism with leather straps.

I'm not saying that men are perfect. I'm not even saying that they are above women, superior in every or any way. What I am saying is this: God made us different but equal. We are not the same, but that is okay, even though feminism tells you that it's not. Being different does not mean stronger or weaker, even though we like to interpret it as that.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Here she is: our little chicken pox queen. And trust me, this is the happiest she's been all day. Adam and I are taking turns leaving the house today, and generally, our household is doing nothing for the next five million days or however long it takes our child to not be an infectious carrier monkey. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

And the verdict is....

...Charlotte has chicken pox. Guess who's not going anywhere this weekend? US! I'll post some pictures later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Three-Day Weekend

The Renard family had a three-day weekend this past weekend, and it was wonderful. We went to Wendy's for Friday lunch, to the park at the top of Mill Mountain on Saturday while our house was being shown and Charlotte, Brit and I made the Kohl's Lynchburg commute Saturday morning. The weather was wonderful, spirits were high and Charlotte, of course, was adorable.

Charlotte was perfectly happy to stuff her face with chicken nuggets and French fries (but let's be honest, she's usually content to stuff her face with whatever we put in front of her). Adam even taught her a trick that she thought was funny. She likes to try to feed us right now, as well as play with our faces, so she really enjoyed this trick with Daddy.

I didn't bring the camera to the park, but ultimately, it didn't matter since the park is not as great as Adam and I remembered it. There weren't even swings, just one big fake rock and a slide. So we just walked around, holding one of Charlotte's hands as she wobbled her way up and down the hill to the star. Simon thought everyone was there to throw things at him, and it was a very nice afternoon.

This picture is on the way home from Wendy's. Awww.

Here's Charlotte playing with my new scarf. All right, maybe I helped her a little bit with this shot, but we did have a very nice time playing with the scarf together.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pasta Night always turns into Bath Night

We had pasta again last night after a couple weeks of shameless eating out. We dressed Charlotte in a dark shirt (since the Illini aren't in March Madness) and kept adding noodles when she was finished with what was on her tray.

Today, Adam, Charlotte and I all have the day off, so we are going to have an adventure. We don't know what we'll do yet, but the weather is beautiful and I will bring the camera with me to capture whatever we end up doing.

This bottom picture is my favorite because you can see all of the nastiness on her hands. Haha.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sunshine Day

When I came home from school today, I was greeted by Adam and Charlotte playing in the front yard waiting for me. It was a beautiful afternoon, and a very sweet surprise to see them both. Adam even took some pictures. Charlotte loved being outside in the mid-60s and sun, but did NOT like the way the grass felt. Adam actually laid her down on the grass, and she would move in every possible way to get her skin off of the grass. It was hilarious. You'll also notice, Liz, Brittney and Kristen, the "I Love My Auntie" onesie. That's for you three ladies.

Before I came home, Adam took a couple pictures of Charlotte as she watched an airplane go by. Apparently, she was very quick to find the plane in the sky and watched it fly across the horizon. However, she did not, Mom, ask when the plane was going to land at its destination. Smart kids are so annoying :).

Other than that, nothing much to report. Our house is on the market and the cleanest, most immaculate and beautiful it has ever been. March is halfway over, Charlotte still isn't walking and our Lord is still glorious. "I have a shelter in the storm, when troubles pour upon me. Though Satan charges me with guilt, Your grace will not refuse me." Hallelujah.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Charlotte pictures

I promised pictures a week ago, and here they are. Today was a busy day; Jerry and Dennis came over to help us work on the house. We put a new front door on (and by we, I mean that we stood around and watched Jerry do it) and put down new mulch (see previous comment, just about Dennis instead). I'll take pictures tomorrow in the daylight. Charlotte was a general crank-monster today; we think she was cutting more molars, so here are some pictures that I have from the last couple weeks.

For some reason, Charlotte loves Simon's bone. I think even more than he does sometimes. She gets a hold of it, and is just tickled by carrying it around with her.

This is one of my favorite looks: "What? Am I not supposed to be doing something?"
And, a bath shot. I really will stop taking bathtime pictures, but she is just so happy and cute when she's taking a bath. Whoever would have thought she would like baths after screaming her face off in water the first six months of her life?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blessed, not Stressed

This is not entirely true. I am blessed, immensely, but I am, at this current time in the month, year and my life, very stressed. This morning, instead of lamenting all of the feelings I'm having of inadequacy, pressure and exhaustion, I'm going to reflect on the ways I have been blessed by the Almighty God. Surely that is a more profitable use of my time and yours. Soli Deo Gloria.
  1. Salvation. Glorious, unmerited, gracious salvation. The Lord has rescued me from His wrath and the bondage of my sin and redeemed me to be an heir with Christ in the new heaven and new earth. He has opened my eyes to his love and care for me, sanctified me, redeemed me and done a work in my home. He has convicted me, changed my mindset about various things and molded me into the woman, wife and mother He wants me to be. The best part is that He is not finished with me, but my sin's debt was finished on the cross. Eternity and death are not to be feared but anticipated, and that is a magnificent blessing.
  2. My wonderful family. My husband who grows in grace every day, who is weathering this storm with me and strengthening and supporting me as we do. My daughter who is truly a joy, whose new favorite thing is to hug whatever body part of mine is available. Yesterday, she hugged my leg while I was cutting up chicken for dinner. Without these blessings, things would indeed seem so much worse than they actually are.
  3. My job. Admittedly, this is a tough one for me to regard as a blessing since it is the source of so much of my current stress. I don't understand teachers who don't get stressed, as there are so many responsiblities heaped upon us everyday. However, I am trained to do the job I am doing, I enjoy it (for the most part) and I am making money to keep our family afloat. The training I have, the marketability I have, the charisma I have with students, what I have learned in five years of teaching and the position that I have are all truly a blessing, even though right now, I don't feel especially grateful for them.
  4. My best friend. Before now, I have not ever really had a best friend. Someone besides my husband who thinks of me, remembers me, is concerned for me and loves me. Someone who will do anything I need even if I don't ask. What a true blessing is my dear sister in Christ.
  5. A church where the truth is preached without apology and with conviction.
  6. The basics: a house, two cars, parents and in-laws who love and care about us and Charlotte, a dog who runs away occasionally but comes back.

Yeah...I feel a lot better now. Every once in a while, we all need to step back and get a little bit of perspective. I hope this has inspired you to do the same, whether you're feeling blessed today or stressed.