Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Life is so messy. This summer it seems as more bad things have happened than good. Their are good things-so many. It is just that the bad are over shadowing the good things.

Tim and I had an great weekend in St. Louis. It was so wonderful. We saw the daughter of dear friend's of mine receive her baptism, which was deeply moving. We were able to spend time with my dad.

We got married this summer. That alone should be enough. But it seems the first two months of marriage are not without disagreements and hurt feelings and sad surprises. Of course, it brings laughter and joy and fun-but even I know it wouldn't be real without the pain.

Both Husband and I have felt pain from family members-some pain more intentional than others. I am sure we have caused pain as well.

Sometimes, especially on days like today-when you wake up to bad phone calls in the earliest hours of the morning, it seems like it will be this way forever. Bad things do not quickly disappear. Instances that involve people, feelings, emotions, addictions, and the such-they tend to linger.

Somedays it just lingers and other days it is added on to. Today it was added too.

I am guilty of adding to others. I am guilty of not understanding how my actions effect people-people I would never guess would be effected. I know I am selfish, but sometimes I can't help but wonder if others know how selfish they were being.

Now I know I am being vague, but that is because I do not have permission or the desire to write someone else's life. All I can do is write what I am learning from their lives.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I lost someone very dear to me. This is easily one of the most painful losses from death I've ever felt. I've lost a great uncle and great grandparents to death. I've cried more over losing some pets than some of the distant family members. I still miss my dog who passed away when I was in college. My paternal grandfather died from cancer when I was seventeen. When I found out I kept it together mostly, but as soon as I was alone I curled up into my bed and sobbed. I still miss him and this loss is still the closest to my heart.

A few weeks ago I lost a dear friend to suicide. He was my boss at my first 'real' job. A job I loved, and a job that may very well be the best job I will ever have. I loved what I did, who I worked with, and I loved going to work. It was not just a job, but often this is where I saw my friends. These were the people I was closest to for quite a few years of my life. I worked at this job for seven years. I started the week I turned sixteen. I quit a handful of weeks after graduating college. That small business was not just a job to me, but a place I had grown fiercely loyal too. 

To this day, whenever I am at one of my many jobs I still have to fight to not answer the phone with the old business name. 

He wrote me a goodbye in a way though. I didn't know it at the time. I just didn't. How could I have? 

I knew someday he would die, I know someday I will. Suicide hurts in a very stark way. It hurts, because the pain he was feeling must be worse than the pain I am feeling or his family now feels. It hurts because of the darkness he was in. 

It hurts, because he could still be here today. He could maybe laugh again and share his stories again. I loved his stories. He had great talent for story telling. I never grew tired of hearing his stories, granted I love people's stories. 

At his memorial service I could not have kept back tears if I had tried. The musicians and pastor were all friends of him as well. They struggled with their tears as well. I was blessed to have dear friends surround me, friends that we both shared and who could empathize with the pain.

The one gift I have through this though is knowing he is healed. I fully feel that and believe that. I fully know he is in peace. 

The Untitled Hymn was played at the service. I cried for I knew he loved that song. We had discussed that hymn many times before. It was during this song that I knew it was perfect for him in life and remained perfect for him in death.

I take faith in knowing that truly nothing can separate us from the love of God. And that is the joy, the peace, and the hope that will carry me through this loss. 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Growing Up

Before I Grew Up
I thought growing up was difficult.

I thought becoming completely independent was hard.

I thought getting through life so far was hard.

But this past week I have decided that helping, watching, and guiding others grow up is much more difficult than it ever was for me to grow up.

Some things are still hard. Learning to be an awesome wife is hard. Learning to help best friends through tragedies is hard. Watching people you love get older is hard. When people and animals you love die, that is hard.

This week my best friend had to tell her children that she and their daddy would not be married much longer. It ripped my heart out when she told me how it hurt them.

This week a dear friend of mine ended his life. I was and still am devastated.

My husband and I are in the process of trying to sell his car. It will no longer start so we are becoming a one car family. This is new and thus difficult.

But I had an experience that revealed a new lesson to me. My friend who passed was a church member at my home church. I was a youth group leader there and worked in the nursery with youth volunteers. Some of these kids and I developed close friendships. This kind of thing happens when you get all get puked on, spilled on, hit by and cried on by babies and toddlers.

I knew I would be headed back home for a memorial service and told this kid, who was a kid when I met him. He is now heading off to college to become a world changer and is legally an adult. He asked me how this person we both knew died. I thought about not telling him or only telling him partial truths. I decided though on telling him the truth. That our friend took his life. A man we both talked to every Sunday and laughed with and cared for.

He is an adult though. He can know the truth, plus in the small town we are from, I am sure he will hear the truth. But I had this experience of not knowing the right thing to do. Nothing I could have said would have been right, necessarily, but things I could have said would most certainly have been wrong.

I realized that maybe growing up is harder when it is not you growing up. Maybe growing up is most difficult when it is people you love who are going through things you wish they did not have too experience. But unfortunately our world can be cruel and quite wicked.

I thought growing up was hard, but I am now pretty certain that watching, guiding, and helping others grow up can be just as difficult. And perhaps a part of all of us still growing up too.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Girls and Men

I'm the F-Word.

I'm a feminist.

This scares men. This scares women. At first it scared me. I heard name calling, like feminazi, and I heard just generally nastiness-from both women and men.

I used to say silly things like, "I'm not a feminist, but I believe in equality for everyone." Now I'm like, WHAT? What does that even mean!? I have no clue what that means. That is like my dog saying, "I'm not a dachshund, but I am a dog." See how ridiculous that is?

Because I am a feminist and would like to be more of an activist I tend to get excited about things that show inequality and stereotypes. For example, I grabbed this screen shot off of the K-Mart website when I was gift shopping:

The sections for girls dress clothes is called "Pretty Little Girls". That is fine and appropriate. Little girls have every right to be pretty. And this section is for kids under twenty four months so they are most definitely little girls. What gets me though is the boys dress sections is called "Handsome Little Man". Once again, little boys have every right to be handsome. In fact, I encourage everyone to dress up if you want. But what gets me is that boys are called men. If you are wearing clothes for twenty four months and younger you are not an adult. You are a most surely a child.

I am aware that this is a popular saying in the baby world. I know quite a few people who call their son their little man. I just don't get it. I have yet to hear people call their daughter their little women, unless you are the four March sisters (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott). 

What these titles of man and girl represents is power. Traditionally a man has more power than a woman. This is if they are of equivalent age and race. An adult has more power than a child. American culture (and many other cultures) gives men more power than any other group (unless race comes into play, and then differences begin to emerge). Calling a boy child a man is giving that child more power than the girl child who is still being referred to as a girl. 

Calling a section Handsome Little Man many not seem like a big deal. But these things do matter. Advertising is never done without great thought. These companies are trying to sell something, and they pay lots of money to make sure they sell their product. They do what works. It is our responsibility to see and question these things. Why does this work and what are the implications? 

Small changes, such as referring to boys as boys and not as men, has the potential to change thought processes. Small steps can change the world for girls and women. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Breaking an Addiction: Wal*Mart

I grew up on Wal*Mart. Great Value products were a staple in my life, I bought clothes from Wal*Mart, food from Wal*Mart, books and soap and everything. To be fair I was poor and grew up in areas where Wal*Mart was really the only store to shop and certainly the most convenient.

When I was a teenager Wal*Mart became the mall for my friends and I. We could spend a couple hours wandering around the store, talking and shopping. However, a better job, new town, and the internet began to change my habits.

A bit before the above mentioned events I read the book Nickle and Dimed by Barbra Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich worked at Wal*Mart and wrote of her story. They could not unionize and were on a strict schedule. It is well known now that employees do not make enough money working at Wal*Mart. Wal*Mart costs Americans money in government assistance to Wal*Mart employees. These practices have been reported on in other places as well. Their morals are low and practices are troubling. In a way, Wal*Mart is modern day slavery.

Part of living in a capitalistic country is voting with your dollars. I eventually began to realize that by me spending my money at Wal*Mart I was saying what they were doing was fine by me-when it is not.

Breaking my addiction with Wal*Mart was not easy. Nor did it happen all at once. My friends and I continued to like to just go and see what Wal*Mart had to offer. They have interesting things, things I could use-things I could justify.

BUT, eventually my conviction won out. Before the wedding Tim and I decided that our wedding would be Wal*Mart free. Nothing we used in our wedding was from Wal*Mart. We did it-we had a Wal*Mart free wedding.

It was during the months of planning that slowly, but surely we stopped going to Wal*Mart. I am no longer tempted to even just browse what Wal*Mart has to offer.

I am able to do this a few ways, we live in a city that is big enough to have other retailers, such as, Target, Walgreens, and Hy-Vee. I also have access to Amazon. Between these places their is nothing I have yet to find that I can only get at Wal*Mart. Now, maybe I am spending more to do this. But not much by any means. Tim and I pay attention to sales and take advantage of loyalty cards that include discounts or points.

We know we will not always live in a city that is fortunate enough to have so many options, but with the Internet and planning we are hoping to stay away from Wal*Mart. I am also well aware that the corporations I mentioned have their own issues. Above all I believe the best way to consume is to shop locally and support farmer's markets and small businesses.

It takes budgeting and sometimes doing with less and even without. But I am not putting my money into a corporate machine that practices what I do not believe.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"Safe to Eat" Cookie Dough

Lately I have been really craving raw chocolate chip cookie dough. I didn't want to eat the raw eggs though. I never do, but most times the desire for cookie dough wins over the fear of e. coli or salmonella. I am more than willing to risk my health for cookie dough.

Today was different. Different because I did not want to get the get the Kitchen Aid out of the cabinet, nor did I want to make a whole batch of cookie dough. I didn't want to bake the cookies, and I definitely did not want to eat all of that cookie dough. My problem was quickly solved though thanks to an old pinterest sighting though. The Internet has countless recipes for eggless cookie dough made simply for eating. This is the recipe I used:

-3/4 cup of brown sugar
-1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
-1/4 cup of milk
-1 cup of flour
-1/4 teaspoon of salt
-Chocolate chips to your hearts content
Beat the butter and the sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and milk. Add remaining ingredients.

The recipe says to use an electric mixer, but I used a wooden spoon. It worked lovely.

At first taste I was impressed. It tastes fine-different but good. Tim is not yet home to try it, but I am sure he will like it. He loves sweets, and I had mentioned wanting cookie dough earlier in the week to which he was quite hopeful.

All in all If I was to make this again I would cut the recipe in half. It made more than I want to eat myself, or that I want Tim and I to eat together. The measurements are not super easy to half, but I am a big believer that recipes are just guidelines-not rules.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Married Life

I was so busy with school and work and life things that I did not have time to think much what life would be like once we were officially married. The thing is-it is not that different, at least not yet. I mean, other than living together and such. But I knew that was coming.

I did develop a fear of loosing my space-my sanctuary before the wedding. I could not imagine another person in my house. Adjusting to the new cat was difficult enough. But the big problem with the cat was that she peed on everything all the time. Now that she has stopped doing that we get along much better. So far my husband has yet to pee on my things. It turns out I have some shockingly low standards-if you don't pee on my things I can apparently adjust to living with you pretty well.

My space is different now though. Laundry needs done more often, I have to share the sink in the bathroom sometimes, the dishwasher isn't loaded in the most space saving way, and their are opinions that are not mine. But, while I don't love all of those things, I do not hate any of those things. In fact, most of the changes that have occurred in my house are great. Someone else helps take care of the cat and the dog, someone else helps with the dishes, makes the bed, does the laundry, makes ice, cleans, and is just making sure things get done.

Yesterday we did what we consider our first big married project. We cleaned the garage and the inside of the car. Together we hauled everything out of the garage, swept the floor and hosed it down, we also hosed down all of the stuff we had in the garage-even that garbage cans. It was a big project that we accomplished together. We felt very married. And I love clean things so that made it even better.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Becoming The Hyphenated Hippie

I was probably always a hippie. I've loved trees, animals, peace, health care for all, ending hunger, and all of those hippie type things.

Up until a week ago though I was an unhyphenated hippie. Last Saturday, June first, I got married. I have known for years I would never drop my last name so the hyphen was thrown in and The Hyphenated Hippie was born.

Our wedding was probably not beautiful. It was probably not one anyone would be jealous of nor would many people even want to go to. Their was no dancing, their was no alcohol, their were no center pieces, aisle runners, unity candles, flower girls, giving away of the bride, guest book, tuxes, or ballroom princess gowns.

But their was people who loved us, and we loved. Their was cake. Their was plenty of smiles. Their was my best friend and his best friend. Their were hugs and kisses and tears and joy. Their was so much more than a wedding-their was a beginning of a marriage.

I plan on using this blog to share our lives and our adventures. Our failures and successes. We will eventually share in the joy of the children we hope to have and how we are choosing to live our lives as twenty first century hippies.

So welcome to our journey.