Tag Archives: Virtue

EG: The Redwall Books

In honor of the anniversary of the author Brian Jacques passing, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite childhood series: Redwall. It’s funny how I so recently decided to pack up my books for the future, only to suddenly want to unpack them and read them all over again. These are very solid books for older children, full of good triumphing over evil after a long and hard struggle. They contain role models for both genders, though boys will probably find the books more interesting over all. They are fun, relatively easy reads whose similarity in plot will only bother the most cynical (and least comprehensive) of readers.

It’s difficult to address a series as a whole, especially when I haven’t read most of them in entirely too long. I’ll give you an idea of what they are like by talking about my favorite, which I’m currently enjoying in dramatized audiobook format. The Taggerung.

You have the basics of every Redwall book here, evil vermin, the peaceful abbey, certain problems that need solving and threats that need guarding against. However, if one can ignore the basic plot, you will find a very poignant message. The message being that we are more than the people who raised us and it is ultimately our choice who we will become. The book is about leaving behind poisonous upbringings and breaking cycles of abuse. It is about overcoming challenges to become a better person. It is about leaving behind what others (who don’t have our best interests in mind) want us to be and becoming what we are supposed to be. I’d give you a more detailed synopsis, but I honestly don’t want to give anything away.

If the Redwall series teaches anything at all, it is to be courageous in the face of the cruelest of hardships. It may also teach strength and nobility of character, appreciation for simplicity in life, and the importance of community and friendship. It may also make your kids want to learn to cook (and perhaps even eat their vegetables), since the descriptions of the food are always a joy.

The books can be read in any order, but if you want, here is a list of the books in chronological order (as opposed to publishing order).

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#NoNothingNovember

I saw this over at Stingray’s and since it dovetailed nicely with what I’ve been thinking about anyway, I decided I will be participating. I can’t say I intend to actually enter the contest, since I don’t focus too heavily on manosphere stuff or write for men as my target audience. I’m mostly just doing this because I was thinking only yesterday that I needed some more structure in my life, so I thought about it awhile and came up with three goals.

1. Get up at a decent hour and go to bed at a decent hour.

I have about a million different ways I could add structure to my life, but for me building habits is a one-step-at-a-time deal. So I decided to start with something simple. Making sure I get up a decent hour will make it much easier to use my time more efficiently and make it easier to get up on the rare occasions that I work during the week. I discussed this with NSR (he’s in charge of the alarm clock) and we decided 7:30 am would be a good time for me to get up. I’ll probably be aiming for a bedtime between 9:30 and 10 pm.

2. Finish things on the same day I start them.

I couldn’t come up with a better way to phrase this goal, given that it covers several categories of housework. What I mean is that pots and mixing bowls get washed on the same day they’re used; laundry doesn’t languish in the basket or worse yet, the dryer; dishes don’t sit on the counter long after they’re dry, etc. I’ve never been in charge of all the steps of any housekeeping task before, but I need to learn to get it all done so that the house won’t be a total disaster when kids come along.

3. Do something creative every day.

I haven’t been paying much attention to my artwork or my writing lately and that isn’t good for me. I need to keep my creative juices flowing. So everyday I will do at least one of these: knit, sew, draw, paint, write (poetry or fiction), decorate house (with stuff we already have or free things I can acquire, no shopping), garden, or learn a new creative skill/craft. I’m also going to count squaredancing, Altar Society meetings, and “service opportunities” like helping at the church Halloween party tomorrow as creative things. I’m also allowed to read if I’m doing research for something creative.

I may add more things if I manage to master one of these too quickly, but for now I’m going to leave it at that.


EG: The Time and Place for Hierarchy

This is a quick thought inspired by an episode of The Twilight Zone. I won’t spoil the episode, because it is quite excellent, I will simply say that a man complains that his superior officer has brought the “chain of command and the book” into a place where it didn’t belong, a crisis situation.

This made me stop to think. The hierarchy within any given group is not meant to be abandoned at the first sign of trouble. Times of trouble are when that hierarchy is needed most. Why did you bother figuring out who was the best leader if that weren’t the case? Times of trouble are when leaders must lead the most unapologetically and followers must follow most obediently. That is not the time for hesitation or refusing to obey. Being able to have faith in your leader is a great comfort in times of trouble. For the leaders themselves, being given the faith of their followers and being allowed to concentrate on the task of bringing everyone through in one piece is the most basic help they can be given by their followers.

I had a very small example of this recently. I was getting worked up over something minor, as I occasionally do. NSR was trying to help me through it and I was initially being difficult. Then as he instructed me to do something and a very unsubmissive thought began to enter my head, I shouted myself down inside my head, thinking “SHUT UP and TRUST HIM!”. I did so and calmed down almost instantly, despite the fact that the matter didn’t get resolved at that point. Respecting the hierarchy and having faith in the man I chose to marry helped me deal with the situation.

Someone else around here had and excellent post up about this recently but I can’t for the life of me remember who. When I remember I’ll update with a link.

Wives, you must take a minute to look at your husband and commit to trusting him. It will help you more than you expect. To the women who are seeking husbands, set aside your checklists for a moment and evaluate whether or not you can trust this man when the going gets rough. If not, break it off early and save the both of you a great deal of heartache.


MS: Setting a Pattern of Joy

Yesterday, Margery wrote a post about two videos about Fighting Bitterness, which you should check out because they are really great.

It got me thinking about how everyone says that the early stages of marriage are really awesome because you’re still high on all of the emotions and hormones (which, so far seems to be 100% true), and how you should make a point of making good memories to fall back on when times get tough.

I think married couples should be encouraged to make more than just good memories, but good habits as well. I mean, when we get a new car or a new pet, or move into a new place we make a point to go through certain motions everyday to be sure everything is done properly until we make them into a habit. It’s easier to do it at that stage because it is new and exciting, it doesn’t yet feel like an obligation. Much like you don’t wait to start looking behind your car when you back until after you run over something, you shouldn’t wait until times get tough to learn to forgive and appreciate your spouse. Make a point to associate tasks with good memories, so you’re more inclined to do them. This is also the best time for candid discussions about things that legitimately do bother you, so they don’t keep building until you blow over it. If you do suddenly explode, your spouse will be confused and hurt, and you will be angrier than will seem logical to anyone other than you. Ask your spouse about things you do that bother them and make an effort to work on them now, when you naturally tackle their every request with enthusiasm because you love them so. Also make a point to weed out friends who don’t respect your spouse now, rather than later. They will poison you if you don’t. They can’t hate your spouse and love you, the two of you are one flesh now, if they hate your spouse, they hate you too.

Reinforce these habits whenever you can, so it is easier to fall back on them even when times are bleak.

At the Catholic Engaged Encounter we attended, the priest told us a story about a couple who had been married a long time and got into a big fight. The wife left the husband a note saying something along the lines of, “I hate you and I’m going for a walk. Don’t forget to pack yourself a lunch, I love you” then signed with her name. She wrote “I love you” despite being incredibly angry with him. Another couple he knew had been married fifty years and people always assumed the marriage had been all roses. They surprised people with stories of hardship and heartache. When they were asked if they thought of divorce they would respond, “Murder, yes, but divorce, never!”

You’re in this for the long haul, be sure to pack the right attitude and habits.

As a bonus, here is a video sure to make you smile. It’s not simply funny or cute, but legitimately joyful. You’ll especially like it if you’re a fan of Singing in the Rain.

I promise it isn’t an AMV set to a terrible pop song.


MS: I Have Better Things to Do than Complain

I make it a point to try to not complain a lot. I try to handle things myself and when I can’t I ask for help. If something someone else is doing is irritating me, I wait at least 24 hours before breaching the topic with whoever is responsible. If I still care in 24 hours it might actually be worth talking to them about and I’ll be calm enough to talk about it rationally. If it isn’t still irritating me in 24 hours, thank goodness I didn’t shriek at the person over something petty and dumb. If it’s that time of the month I wait until it’s over.

Why do I do that? Because I have better things to do than complain and I don’t care to be a thorn in someone’s side. Because no one likes a complainer.

Sure, I could find things to complain about and sometimes I do (mostly feminists), but there’s no fun to be had or value to be gained by complaining. Usually. If there is a cow tooth in your hamburger by all means complain. But endlessly complaining does nothing good to your character or personal outlook. It generally means you are constantly and/or easily offended, which is the exact type of person no one wants to be around.

If you find yourself constantly complaining, take a moment and ask yourself some questions:

Are these things actually important?

Is my complaining helping anything?

Do I need to change some things in my life so I have better things to do than complain?

The answer to the first two is probably “No”. As for the last one, that depends on you. Maybe your life is legitimately abysmal and you need to take some time to change things. Maybe it’s great and you just don’t realize it. Regardless, here are some things you can do to improve your outlook:

If you tend to complain because you get offended, ask yourself these questions:

Why am I offended?

Does that thing really apply to me/people I love?

Then, avoid complaining and do something about it if it is legitimately offensive. Maybe calmly correct the person who is speaking or write out why that irritates you. Then, this is the important step: Leave it behind you. You can’t get bogged down over a comment or a joke. If you’re going to get outraged over something, let it be something legitimately awful and then take action to help stop it or at least help those being harmed. An example of the difference: Girls being called “bossy” is not anything to be offended or outraged by, on the other hand young girls and boys being sold as sex slaves is.

Another thing you can do, it’s so simple and you were probably taught this as a kid:

Count your blessings. Look for things to be happy about. It’s really not that hard to do.

And finally, look for a way to make things fun. NSR is something of an expert at this. Just today he turned a trip to Walgreens into a regular day out to enjoy the beautiful weather. I’m getting pretty good at it too, since I have to figure out ways to enjoy cleaning house and washing dishes. Instead of griping that I’m stuck here washing dishes I can rejoice in the fact that I have my own home to run or that I have so much time to think and create. I could gripe that I need to care for NSR by doing X, or I can realize that if I didn’t have to do X it would mean that I didn’t have NSR who makes my life so much better.

Something else I do to avoid complaining is this:

I don’t do anything I can’t accept the consequences of or live a lifestyle that requires people to cater to my personal desires. Basically, I realize actions have consequences and the world doesn’t revolve around me. I don’t get drunk because I know I’ll get a hangover. I’m not going to move into the city and then demand that a stable be built for my horse. If you think that people should cater to your every little desire, you better be ready to pay them to do so, because they aren’t going to do it just because you feel they ought to. We can’t cater to everyone and we never will.

You could complain about that, but I think you have better things to do.


EG: Ladies, Stop Demanding Compensation

My Engagement Ring

My Engagement Ring

That picture is of my engagement ring. It’s way too big and it came out of one of those hand-crank toy vending machines at a local pizzeria.  And you know what? I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for a ring encrusted with diamonds, because the man I love more than anyone else gave it to me.

Recently I ran across an ad from a jewelry company that said something along the lines of “If you get her the right ring, she’ll say yes!” I didn’t keep the ad and I don’t want to advertise for the company in any fashion. I thought to myself that if a man has to buy a woman a fancy ring to convince her to say yes, he should probably dump her, not marry her. Heck, if he has to get her a ring at all when he asks, he might want to reconsider. Another fun fact about my ring, he gave it to me around six months after we got engaged.

Honestly, the selfishness of some women and the fact that society encourages them to be selfish really flabbergasts me. They want fancy proposals, fancy rings, and “push presents”. While NSR and I joke once in awhile that I married him for his Amazon Prime account, his Dark Knight Trilogy blurays or whatever, we don’t actually mean it. He didn’t propose to me in a fancy way. I was sitting on his lap in the computer room of my mother’s house. He didn’t get me a fancy ring (though my wedding ring is gorgeous). He won’t be getting me any push presents, because there’s no reason for him to and I’ll be so gaga over the baby I won’t care anyway. Being married to him and eventually having his kids is not some sort of duty I have to be convinced to do or compensated for. It’s something I want to do.

It’s like I tweeted during ROK’s #backtothekitchen week.

backtothekitchentweet

If you aren’t willing to do a basic task for your man, if you aren’t willing to marry him if he doesn’t give you a fancy ring, if you aren’t willing to have his kids unless he gives you a fancy present, why are you with him? Examine your heart and remember that if you’re married to him, you can’t leave him. You have to get your heart in the right place and stop demanding compensation. A good way to start adjusting your attitude towards him is to look for his good qualities and what he does well.


EG: The Dangers of a Long Engagement

I had been thinking about writing this post for awhile, but for various reasons I hadn’t gotten around to sitting down and writing it. Then Donal posted something similar on his blog talking about the Christian Marriage Script and how it doesn’t do anyone any favors. While many on the manosphere will agree that postponing marriage as long as most do is unwise and leads to sexual immorality, I haven’t seen anyone except Haley touch on long engagements. Since I’m a bit closer to the subject I wanted to go ahead and explore the possible risks more fully.

Let’s say we have a couple who have managed to get through the dating or courtship process without having sex. They get engaged and go to their church saying they want to get married. Their church congratulates them and promptly tells them they have to wait six months to a year to get married. They also have to complete some premarital counseling along the way, but that doesn’t requires six months to complete, let alone a year. They are given no reason for this time frame except scheduling. Still, they want to have a godly marriage performed in the church, so they agree.

Now they are in a strange situation. They are dedicated to one another and are continuing to establish the way their relationship will work. They are attracted to each other very, very strongly. They know they want to spend their lives together and maybe they even know that they want a biblical marriage, complete with headship and submission. However, because they aren’t married, they can’t live together, can’t have sex, maybe even have to avoid kino and excessive alone time. Both men and women have their innate needs for intimacy and sex, and depending on how long these two have waited before pursuing marriage, they may have been going without for longer than humans were meant to.

There are many ways that this couple could go from here, many of them are unhealthy for their future as a married couple. Here are some examples:

Scenario 1: Their frustration grows and grows until one of them can’t take it anymore and cheats. Whether or not their partner finds out, the relationship is essentially destroyed. If the woman is the one to cheat, which she is just as likely to,  if she was a virgin before she cheated, she’s now bonded to the other man. Additionally there is the possibility of cuckoldry. Regardless of who cheated, there is the possibility of dragging disease into the mix.

Scenario 2: One pesters or pressures the other into giving in. If the man pressured the woman, at best there is a loss of trust, since he obviously placed some emphasis on chastity in the past. At worst he opens himself up to a false rape accusation, because a woman in this situation is going to feel guilty even sooner than a less virtuous woman.  If the woman pressured the man, it plants the idea in her mind that sex is a way to successfully manipulate him. She will also lose respect for him since he just failed a massive shit test. He talked about chastity in the past, but when the chips were down he couldn’t resist.

Scenario 3: The woman’s interest fizzles because the man can no longer escalate past a certain point. This is fine if they decide not to get married, but is destructive if they carry on and get married anyway.

Scenario 4: They successfully stay chaste until marriage, after they get married they start having sex. The lower drive spouse suddenly feels very pressured to perform. They feel like all their spouse wants from them is sex and starts to long for the days of their engagement when they had a great relationship without sex. This leads the lower drive spouse to resent the higher drive spouse and they become frigid and deny sex. The downward spiral begins unless they can successfully communicate and the higher drive spouse can create enough desire in the other.

Scenario 5: They successfully remain chaste, but both are so high drive that they are both overhyped about sex. Their first few experiences fail to live up to their expectations and their relationship suddenly goes haywire.

Scenario 6: The couple becomes overly obsessed with chastity and forgets that sex is holy within marriage. They enter a sexless marriage because they believe that it is holy to do so.

Scenario 7: Sexual denial becomes ingrained in the relationship, this carries over into the marriage. While the marriage isn’t sexless, both spouses are so used to quashing their sexual urges that they act on them infrequently, leading to dissatisfaction.

These are not the only possibilities of course, but they are all very likely scenarios. So what is to be done about this? As a Christian I do not advocate or condone premarital sex, but at the same time I am painfully aware of how difficult it is to remain chaste while in a relationship. All that most of us are taught about self-control is: don’t have sex. The only practical strategy given is removing yourself from the situation. When you’re engaged you can’t remove yourself from the situation. Sexual desire is a key ingredient to a successful marriage, so you don’t want to avoid temptation by getting engaged to someone you don’t burn for.  So, again the question of what is to be done? Shorten the time between engagement and marriage? Return to strictly chaperoned courtship? Teach people more about controlling their sexual desire in a way that doesn’t encourage disgust of it?

Honestly I am very curious about what people have to say on this, because I want to avoid the above scenarios.