Friday, October 4, 2013

What is Wrong With Being a Woman?

One of the 1st posts on this blog, bringing it back around for the newer followers...I think you'll like it! ;-)

What is Wrong with Being a Woman?

This is the fundamental question at the heart of New Feminism.  What IS wrong with being a woman?  We are in a culture where feminists scream out for equality of the sexes on the one hand and yet demean and disregard that which is female on the other.  (If you haven’t read my previous post http://www.newfeminismrising.com/2012/03/irony-of-world-which-considers.html, please read that first.)


The feminists of the 1960s achieved many great things.  Even the very tenacity and courage they must have had to stand up to the establishment and demand rights for women is remarkably admirable.  Yet, it is the shift to what they extracted from Marxist philosophy (that our bodies are not a part of our nature) that created such a fracture among women.

The tragedy is that in their pursuit of equality, they unwittingly perpetuated the very prejudice they wished to overturn.  Because they believed gender did not matter and was, in fact, a sign of our oppression, they quickly found ways to brush aside the gender specific qualities.  Their goal was commendable: they sought a fair society where women and men shared an equal role in the raising of children.  They desired a society where women were respected and given just as much opportunity as men.  But instead of demanding that men respect feminine traits, they tossed gender aside and said, ‘See!  We’re strong too!  We can do anything you can do!  See?!  We are exactly like you!’

Today, it is often the woman who chooses to be a mother or chooses to embrace her womanhood that is mocked by men and women in our society.  A young girl who does not engage in sexual activity is a ‘prude’, a ‘goodie two shoes’, or a ‘tease’.  When a woman stands up for her feminine traits and demands respect of herself and her body, she is belittled.  How did this happen?  Wasn’t the point of feminism to elevate woman?  This is where knowing philosophy comes into play.  Some feminists see our femaleness as the result of oppression and therefore disregard it as a subservient position.  They see anyone who embraces that subservient position as obviously out of touch with what true equality means and is clinging to a lower level in society because they have been brainwashed and suppressed by their religion.  Obviously….right.

Here’s a better idea:  it’s time to finally elevate woman.  In all her emotions, in all her passion, in all her love, in all her intuitive insights, in all her beauty, and her ability to bear life, she is greatly to be extolled!  Why should we have to conform to the man’s way of thinking, acting and being in society to be equal?  A woman ought to be given dignity and merit for her femaleness, not just her ability to act like a man.  She has a way of thinking that relationally connects all her concerns.  Some have compared the difference to food: men think like waffles; women think like spaghetti.  Men compartmentalize everything and even have an empty compartment where their minds can go to just blank out.  But just as one cannot only pull one noodle from a plate of spaghetti, a woman’s thoughts are totally interconnected at all times.  (This is not a personality reflection but the relational love of women.)  This relational interaction with others (and the world around her) pulls upon her emotions.  Her heart goes out to so many that sometimes it is hard to hold back the tears.  God has gifted woman with unimaginable strength coming not from muscle, but from her love.



Women and men were created so uniquely different, yet equal.  Do you love one child more than another because they are different?  No, of course we don’t!  We love each of them equally yet in their own way and love them because of their differences.  Women are a creation formed from the heart of God.  He has gifted women with His very own rich capacity of love.  For millennia, force has been equivalent to power, but we are in a time where words can overcome.  This is what New Feminism is all about.  It is about looking at the dignity of woman in all her glorious femininity and elevating her because she is woman

There is much more to come on this in future posts, but knowing philosophy or not, most women relate to "being woman" as the most authentic reflection of their human experience.  Most women are proud of their femininity and recognize the contrast between women and men.  It’s time our society does too.  Women are magnificent beings, enriched with such strength!  And God has even empowered women with the divine ability to bring new life into the world.  Whether women become physical mothers in their lifetime or not, the capacity to bear life reflects the very nature of women.  They have the ability to create and enrich life daily through their profound love of those around them.  Our female bodies, our blood, our very selves are the life force of the human race.  We hold the future of the whole of humanity in our wombs and it’s time we get the true respect we deserve...

Wait a second, now, who is waging a “war on women” again?     hmmmmm …


your friendly new feminist,
Theresa

 Get the book! Woman How Great Thou Art!  Order on amazon today!  (If it does say out of stock, order anyway, they are getting more in soon! They operate on a supply demand; so the more people who order, the more they will keep in stock! THANK YOU! many blessings to you!)






Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)


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Monday, September 23, 2013

BEFORE the Happily Ever After...

Friends, this is a great story by a guest contributor and amazing new feminism woman, Kendra.  I'll just let her do the talking on this one!  


BEFORE the HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER...

          "Fairy Tales. A good happily-ever-after story. We all love them. The tales of daring sword fights, magic spells, princes in disguise, and true love are the tales of my childhood and the stories I still love to this day. I love them because they promise the happily-ever-after. They promise that no matter what - even if you’re a poor orphan, tormented by your evil step-mother and step-sisters - you can go to the ball, and you can end up dancing the rest of your life with Prince Charming. Life, viewed through a fairy-tale lens, looks pretty swell.
         


          However, if we’re looking at my life through this fairytale lens, it seems my story is stuck somewhere in the middle. I’m 25 and still waiting on my prince to show up.  I’m like Rapunzel locked up in a tower. I’m like Aurora fast asleep in the castle. I’m like Ariel longing to be part of that world. I’m like Belle wanting adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell. Every morning just the same . . .ahem, sorry. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I love Disney songs! Where was I?  Oh, right . . .waiting.

          Some people seem to think that this middle part is just that – waiting for Prince Charming. And waiting can be really hard. It’s hard when you log onto facebook or twitter or instagram or even  look around at church and it seems like every other girl has her prince and this fairy-tale perfect life and you don’t. So we dream. We dream about the future and how perfect our life will be when our prince shows up. Just look at Pinterest - it’s all there - our perfect plan for someday - pinning wedding ideas, baby picture poses, dream houses, the perfect this, the best of that, the list goes on and on. We all want the happily-ever-after. But as we’re sitting here like Snow White, singing “Someday My Prince will Come,” we’re in trouble.



If we’re so completely fixated on someday, we’re missing out.
If we’re so quick to focus on the last chapter, the happily-ever-after, we’re missing out on the beauty now, here, in this chapter. After all, what would fairy tales be if there were no dragons to slay, no towers to climb, no challenges that make the prize at the end so sweet?

Here’s my suggestion. Leave the fairy tales on their pages and look at your life through a different lens –the lens of the Lord, who promises that He has a plan for our life. The Lord whose timing is perfect – the Lord who is writing your own happily-ever-after (and I’m trusting he’s doing a better job than Walt Disney ever could)!
Instead of seeing my life as stuck in a holding pattern while I await my prince, I choose to see my life as completely free. I’m a young, single woman living in this great big world, and I’m free to love as God calls me.
          I’m free because I have time - not to sit idle at my computer, searching through thousands of pins to add to my ‘future life’ board – but to DO all sorts of things for my betterment and in service to God’s people.
 I’m free because when I got asked to serve with Totus Tuus this summer for a month instead of the week I had in mind, I was able to say yes.
I’m free because I can volunteer – to teach religious education, sing in the church choir, help at the local food shelf, head out on mission trips.
I’m free to take a weekend off and spend it spontaneously with great friends.
 I’m free to turn a weekend summer trip into a whole week – driving around, trying new things, having new experiences, meeting new people, living.

I’m not stuck at all.

          I’m not stuck because I choose to view my life differently. And it is a choice. It’s easy to look at my life and see only the trials, only the dragons that I have to face right now, alone. And, yes, sometimes I wish my Prince Charming would ride a little faster on that white horse of his. But, to all the ladies who are in this chapter of their lives, too – let me say this: we’re so much more than just damsels in distress. We’re free to love, to give, to serve the world around us.
          God has a spectacular plan for all our lives. I know each day that He’s with me, preparing me, pouring graces in abundance upon me that I need. Graces that help me slay the dragon, defeat the evil queen, and get ready for the ultimate happily-ever-after with Him in heaven. And while I’m waiting for Him to turn the page, I know that this chapter, this time in my life, is what makes the ending that much happier."

God, how can I thank You enough?!


Thank you, Kendra!  Thank you for reminding us all to not wait for something else to happen, but live in the present moment - rejoicing in the gifts God has given us today!



your friendly new feminist,
Theresa

 Get the book! Woman How Great Thou Art!  Order on amazon today!  (If it does say out of stock, order anyway, they are getting more in soon! They operate on a supply demand; so the more people who order, the more they will keep in stock! THANK YOU! many blessings to you!)






Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)


Please SHARE this blog!

Follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism
Find me on Facebook! Theresa.s.martin

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

There is Always Hope



There is Always Hope!

Today we are joined by a wonderful woman. I am sharing these stories because these are the faces of New Feminism: women, in real life, dealing with real problems, who show amazing courage, tenacity and strength.This story is about body image, weight loss, health, and your intrinsic value. Jen is the woman who introduced me to the book Eat to Live. She is inspiring, kind, faith-filled and a great friend. So many women struggle with these issues, and I asked Jen to share her story to, above all, give you hope...



"Most women I know struggle with their appearance in some form or another, from weight to skin, from hair color to feet sizes.  But I wish we could all see ourselves through God’s eyes, and know how incredibly beautiful we are, in fact!   He finds us all to be His STUNNING creations, no matter how heavy or thin, how smooth or rough our complexions, with gray hair or not, and with feet big and small!


I share my journey now with you, not to dwell on my imperfections but to give hope to any of you who may be feeling hopeless.


I have struggled my whole life with my weight.  From an early age, I was a chubby kid who got teased and was very self-conscious about the way I looked.  I had been on diets from the age of 11 on.  The more I dieted, the more I went up and down, in fairly drastic ways, with my weight, with the set point getting higher and higher as the years went by.  It started at some point to feel hopeless and I began to just think of myself as always being fat, from being limited in my activities, and resigned to always looking heavy and unhealthy.  All the while, I had a close personal relationship with the Lord, and was a faithful Catholic and Christian.  I just couldn’t pull it together in this area.


At the age of 42, I had to have a hysterectomy, which I was unhappy about because I had hopes of more children, though the chances were slim. It was one of those moment in my life where I did some serious self-evaluation and was not happy with where I was, especially with my weight and its effect on my health.   At that point, I was more than 150 pounds overweight, on thyroid and hypertension medications, as well as medication for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.   I made a decision to dig in and do whatever it takes to lose weight and be more healthy.  I turned it over to the Lord, again, prayed, lined up my support network of family and friends to encourage me, took a lot of deep breaths, and began.  What follows from that point is an ongoing journey of discovery, about myself and about nutrition.


I started out doing what I knew had worked somewhat before, which was low carb, high protein dieting. What I did differently this time was to make myself exercise, consistently and intensely.  For me, that was a big step, because I swallowed my pride, joined a gym, and had a trainer work with me to get going with a program.  It was humiliating b/c I was often the biggest, most out of shape person there.  I hurt EVERYWHERE for weeks, and every time I went to the gym, would feel completely beat, to the core, physically exhausted.  Lots of ice packs, and heat packs!  I began to think of it, with the encouragement of my husband, like a part-time job, and was spending 4 hours/day at the gym, often doing 2 water aerobics classes combined with my workout regimen on the gym floor.  Well, slowly, my shape began to change, and I was losing weight.  Not rapidly.  30-40 pounds came off before anyone even noticed, which was hard.  But then, people started noticing regularly, and that became a big encouragement to me.


Jen
While this was going on, I began to do lots of reading about nutrition, and at some point along the way, I read a book, The China Study, which seriously challenged all my ideas about what was healthy and what was not.  This led to other books such as Eat To Live, and most recently, WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition.   I completely changed the way that I ate, going from a very animal product based high protein low carb diet, to a completely whole foods, plant based way of eating.  This has been tweaked, continually, as I continue, even to this day, to read about nutrition.  Over the course of 5 years, I lost 150 pounds, and am still striving to lose another 30 lbs.  I haven’t had meat or any animal products in 3 years. I started a Facebook page called Jen’s Journey to Health, where I began to have a following, and where I have been able to encourage others who are struggling in this area.  The focus for me is not on weight loss so much anymore, as it is HEALTH.   I still struggle with self-control over portions, and am again battling consistent exercise, as my schedule has changed the last 2 years, and I no longer have access to a gym.  But, I feel like I now have the knowledge, the tools and the ability to conquer this battle.


Through it all, I have had the support of so many people who have loved me, at ANY size that I have been.  And, I know that the Lord has certainly done so.  I have always known that my value lies in that, NOT my weight, or my looks, but in the very fact that the Lord loves me, for WHO I am.  He loves me no matter how imperfect I may be, either physically or emotionally or spiritually. At the same time, because He loves me so dearly, He knows how much happier I am being less overweight, with the ability to be more active.  I feel like He led me here, as a gift to me.  Thank you, Lord!"  



Thank you, Jen! Thank you especially for opening up and sharing your story with all of us! You are such a great witness that God can work in our lives but we do have to be committed and put up our own effort too. Yet, He makes our efforts so much more fruitful! There is always hope!

(If you would like to check it out, here is the link to Jen's Facebook page: Jen's Journey to Health)


your friendly new feminist,
Theresa

 Get the book! Woman How Great Thou Art!  Order on amazon today!  (If it does say out of stock, order anyway, they are getting more in soon! They operate on a supply demand; so the more people who order, the more they will keep in stock! THANK YOU! many blessings to you!)






Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)


Please SHARE this blog!

Follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism
Find me on Facebook! Theresa.s.martin

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Longing to Belong

Longing to Belong
A little shout out to all about the standards that really matter

This post is from a new contributing guest blogger. It's a quick blast of fresh encouragement for all of us who struggle against the temptation to try to meet the world's standards, but especially for mothers. What standard do you hold yourself up to? Where do you really belong? All the way from Switzerland, a friend...





"I am a more than little nervous about writing this. I am not a natural writer, talker yes, I can go on for hours, but getting it all to make sense on paper is a whole different ball game. I beg patience, dear reader.

One of the biggest challenges I face as an Expat (I am British, living in Switzerland and have previously lived in Italy) is that of “belonging.” The 5 years in Italy were amazing and in every way life changing (another conversation for another day), but Italy was not “home.” Moving back to the UK after 5 years away was absolutely necessary and a wonderful and settling experience, but England no longer felt like home. We have now been in Switzerland for 7 years, our children were born here and the eldest now attends school here. We are regular attendees of the English speaking Catholic Church in Zürich (why we don’t go to the local Mass is also another conversation for another day), know the ladies at the supermarket and the bus drivers. Yet still, this does not feel like home.

What I realized, though, is that once we accept that we are made in the Image and Likeness of God, we understand then that we are made for Heaven. And yet instead of heaven we find ourselves pootling about on Earth, thinking “nope, this still just doesn't feel like home.”

So I am now going to tell you a story about my eldest son, James, who is 5.

When I was 8 weeks pregnant with New Baby, I went to the doctor for an ultrasound (a discussion of the benefits of the excellent health-care system here in Switzerland is also another conversation for another day), the doctor (who is in every way wonderful) could not find the baby. Blood tests to establish HcG levels were inconclusive and so, rather than coming home with a picture of the new baby, I came home with the news that God may already have called the baby home. James was furious. He told God that “this is my baby, not yours” (he had prayed very hard for another sibling) and he prayed every day that the baby should not go to heaven yet, but come and spend some time with him first. I returned to the doctor for another ultrasound a week later and there was a happy, healthy, perfectly formed baby, who was born some 7 months later. Regardless of how the ultrasound turned out, I know that I have a child who loves, trusts and talks to God. Because of how the ultrasound turned out, I know God listens to him.

A month later it was James’ birthday. They have a little party at kindergarten and one of the activities is that each child in the class gets to “wish” him something for his birthday. It was very sweet to watch each child wishing him lots of friends, lots of presents, good health. My wish for him is heaven. My heart nearly burst as I watch him sat at the front of his class with his teacher! O Lord, that you would entrust such a beautiful soul to our care! I pray for the humility to raise all of our children according to His will. Maybe this is why our first two babies (and one subsequent one) did go straight to heaven: God was not saying “No!” or “not right now!”, but “I have someone even better for you.”

our friend from Switzerland
So in the end, dear reader, I leave you with this: the house is not always spotlessly clean, we do grab the very occasional McDonalds, the kids do have screaming fits, the clothes are not always ironed and I rarely manage to blow-dry my hair. If this is the standard by which we must be judged as successful or have-too.many-kids-and-failing-to-cope parents then so be it. But I am certain that is not going to be the standard by which Christ judges us on the Last Day. Have courage, keep praying and above all, live for the Kingdom of Heaven - it is where we belong."




Take a breath! Know that it is going to be okay. You do not have to be perfect; you do not have to fit their standards - Someone greater has already defined you!  Take advice from our friend, don't seek to belong to a group on earth so badly that you force yourself into their idea of you. Instead, be reminded of our heavenly home and know that God loves you very much!


your friendly new feminist,
Theresa

 Get the book! Woman How Great Thou Art!  Order on amazon today!  (If it does say out of stock, order anyway, they are getting more in soon! They operate on a supply demand; so the more people who order, the more they will keep in stock! THANK YOU! many blessings to you!)






Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)


Please SHARE this blog!

Follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism
Find me on Facebook! Theresa.s.martin

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Silent Stigma of Postpartum Depression - those who don't get it, don't get it...

The Silent Stigma of Postpartum Depression - those who don't get it, don't get it...


Happy Thursday new feminism friends! 

As we share posts from women around the globe, here is a new one I know you will want to read. This one was sent to me by someone who wishes to remain anonymous. Many women battle some form of depression. Please do not judge; please read this with an open heart. Most women have feelings of desperation from time to time, but full fledge depression is serious and real. 


Perhaps some of you are dealing with this yourself and might find comfort in these words. Perhaps it can help those of us without firsthand experience understand with more compassion...


One in eight to one in five women struggle with postpartum depression.

   "Recently, my doctor reduced my Zoloft since I am pregnant and now I have started experiencing depression symptoms again.  Since I know what it is, I can deal (and talk to my doctor about my dosage again!), but I can also share about it. 

   When I was first struggling with depression, a very nosy friend asked another friend what it was like when she wasn’t on her anti-depression medication.  Thankfully, that friend answered candidly, allowing me to realize what was going on inside me.  I was then able to talk to my doctor.  I would have never asked that question myself in my state, so I am sharing this for anyone else who might need to read it.

   So, what’s it like when my doctor reduces my medication or I am not on it at all?  Have you ever wanted to be injured just enough to have to go to the hospital for a couple of days?  Not enough to have serious complications, but maybe a seriously broken arm or something where everyone would have to take care of you and everything around you?  That was the example of my friend that made me go – I know exactly what she means!  Lately, I have been hoping for a natural disaster.  Nothing that would cause serious danger, just shut down everything for a couple of days, so I could go to a hotel, be waited on and know that they kids didn’t have school that they were missing, work was cancelled, nothing was happening back home without me.  That’s what it is like – all the time!

   I am easily overwhelmed.  You may not know it because I can put on a smile and do my job and play the part that I am suppose to play in life, but if you ask my husband, I complain all the time.  When I was first diagnosed, I had to deal with so many people saying, “not you!  You can’t be depressed!”  Lesson learned: listen to your heart, not to others. 

   I get through each day.  If my husband asks me how I am doing, surviving is the keyword.  If anyone else asks, my answer just has to do with my pregnancy symptoms – am I feeling nausea right now or not?  I look at my schedule and think – maybe if I just cut out something.  But, like most people, there is nothing I can cut out.  And the reality is that the first time I experienced this, I had a newborn, a 2 year old and we were living with my in-laws who did everything for us, and I had the same feelings!  Nothing really makes me happy and that makes me sad.  I look at my kids and cry.  I don’t know what I want to eat – ever – and nothing really satisfies my hunger.  I am hungry, so I eat, but then I worry and stress that I am gaining too much weight and get anxious over it.  I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning and I have trouble falling asleep at night.  My wonderful husband waits on me and helps me so much, but I still just feel overwhelmed.

   Being with others is nice and distracting, but then I am totally worn out afterwards.  Now, some of this has to do with being somewhat of an introvert, but I remember this feeling the first time around.  I would purposefully avoid social situations unless I had to be there.  As soon as I was taking Zoloft it was like a night and day difference!  (Another sign I need my dosage increased or a different medication if my doctor doesn’t like Zoloft during pregnancy.)

If you are having feelings of constantly being overwhelmed, helplessness, wanting to injure yourself or child,  unceasing sadness, inability to cope, please get help!  Speak up.  Your doctor can help you.  There are other natural remedies to try as well if you do not want medication, though sometimes it is necessary.

   And the lies that you have heard that sit in your head:  Well, it’s just because you homeschool and have a job… maybe you shouldn’t be having another baby… it’s just a choice – just choose to be happy…  The lies make it hard to talk to anyone about it out of fear.  (Like I said, since I’ve been through this before, I can tell what is going on with the reasonable side of my brain!)

   Oh, and my poor children!  I try so hard everyday to not yell at them!  They are such angels and all they hear from me is – do this, do that,  do your school, clean your room, etc.  Of course, then I just spiral into feelings of guilt that I am not giving them the individualized attention that they need – especially the toddlers… but the guilt is a big part of the depression – and so it is important to remember that!  I second-guess everything I am doing – wondering if it is the right thing.  So, when anyone else second-guesses me, I flip because I am already doing that to myself and I can’t handle anymore criticism.

   When anyone asks me to do something else, I flip because in my mind, I am already overcommitted and overextended and cannot do anything else – even come in the other room for a minute!  It’s really ridiculous when you think about it reasonably.  But this is my reality.  Thankfully, I know what it is and what to do about it (talk to my doctor!).  But I am sharing it in case it is your reality, too.  I know that so many cases of depression are left untreated and they don’t need to be!  It is a misfiring in the brain that can easily be fixed with drugs – thank God!

There is HOPE!
   I always like to think about Susanna Wesley.  Hopefully, she’ll respond and pray for me even though she’s not Catholic! ;)  She had 18 or 19 children and suffered from depression.  She lost a number of them (yeah, that wouldn’t help the depression!), her husband was a great guy and a preacher who loved the Lord, but they dealt with bankruptcy and all sorts of other hardships.  Yet, somehow she got through and turned out some seriously structured kids (the founders of Methodism!) – even when she spent months in bed after each baby due to depression.  So, there is hope!  Even amidst depression – even when untreated!  But when treated, think of how much we can help the Lord in his work in our lives!"


We as women are so wonderful at relationships, let us not be too quick to judge others with this problem.  Let us instead be an ear for listening, a heart for loving and a hand for helping. 


your friendly new feminist,
Theresa

 Get the book! Woman How Great Thou Art!  Order on amazon today!  (If it does say out of stock, order anyway, they are getting more in soon! They operate on a supply demand; so the more people who order, the more they will keep in stock! THANK YOU! many blessings to you!)


Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)


Like what you read? Please SHARE this blog!

Follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism
Find me on Facebook! Theresa.s.martin