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  • Sharon Tootill 1:32 pm on May 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , assault, , complementarian, egalitarian, , homemaking, , , patriarchy, ,   

    Fractured 

    I would be a long way away from this episode if I was going to blog the episodes chronologically in order. But I feel as though this is an important part of who I am and what I’ve been going through, and how I got to where I am. So I will dispense with order and chronology and just go ahead and skip to the end.

    My lovely new friend, Christian Janeway and I have had to clarify on twitter that we are not the same person, just two ex-fundies who had a similar idea.

    It’s true.

    But Christian Janeway went on to say that whereas she chose her Janeway character and blog to catalogue her exit from complementarian theology around marriage, and I had embraced mine and later decided to become egalitarian.

    That’s not quite the case, and I’ll attempt to explain why. Firstly, the dichotomy between completarian and egalitarian marriage is not quite as polarised in the UK as it is in the US. Certainly, conservative churches would lean towards complementarianism where more liberal churches would lean towards egalitarianism, it is not such a big issue over here as it is over there.

    My Chakotay is not a religious man, and as far as he would be concerned, we have an egalitarian marriage. I happen to have stayed at home and adopted a more traditional role but not because he asked me to or because he forced me to (far from it). It was more a case of falling into it when children came along, but also additionally – because I had put myself under such very conservative teaching again as a young wife and mother – I forced myself into this role. I actually gave up my degree to follow him in his job. He would never have asked it of me, but I unselfishly submitted! (And I’m sure he never knew anything about it, just assumed it was what I wanted).

    Even the homeschooling, when it came along was not for any conservative or religious reasons – my eldest child seemed to have mental and emotional issues (which we thought at the outset might be ADHD and have turned out to be Asperger’s), which made learning at home seem to be the best option. But of course that was the route back into fundamentalism for me.

    Fifteen-twenty years later, I can see that forcing myself into a role for which I did not have adequate emotional resources or any outside support has done damage both to me and possibly to my children on many levels, including mental and emotional and academic. But whether going to school would have helped is debatable – my eldest child’s worst trauma actually happened at school when he went in aged 16 to complete his exam year, and I know that a lot of his Aspie friends who did go to school are now in the same position as he is – out of work and isolated.

    Looking at my facebook memories around this time, I see that 7 years ago I was planning to leave Chakotay for various reasons, which perhaps I will look at another day, but one of the biggest reasons was his Vulcan inability to communicate and show affection. All these years later, I realise that I probably chose him precisely because he was undemonstrative and not somebody who either felt intensely or would be threatening to me. He does have a temper actually which has exploded on occasion, but really he is very much the gentle man. I may talk about my ex another time, as that was quite a different relationship.

    I mention the episode ‘Fractured’ because, not long after our difficulties, I got pregnant with twins (which I was overjoyed about), but later miscarried them at 14 weeks in October 2010, and straight afterwards I was verbally attacked by a couple I knew who had just had a baby. Needless to say, being kicked so cruelly when I was at my lowest ebb was traumatic and impactful to my self-confidence etc. Chakotay’s response was to move us hundreds of miles away out of the city to the most remote place he could find. (Our New Earth)

    My response, odd though it may be, was to write but I did it by multiplying my accounts on Twitter and Facebook and WordPress. I ended up with 4 separate facebook accounts, 10 Twitter accounts and 15 sites on WordPress. Yep. Each account had a different name and a different theme. I felt as though it was indicative of my state of mind, as though I myself had fractured into a million pieces.

    As some of you will know, I was assaulted by a group of young men in a pub last weekend. It was not a very serious assault, thankfully. Having spoken to the police, it transpires that there was no CCTV and so I shudder to think what could have happened.

    But it does reinforce for me the idea that once you have a trauma – especially if it is a childhood trauma – it becomes compounded and almost invites new trauma. I have, over the years, attracted a string of abusive friends (and abusive churches), and I have often joked that I must have a target invisibly tattooed on my forehead that tells potentional abusers “Look, I’m vulnerable! Give me a good old kicking!”

    I was actually privileged on Sunday to preach and lead my first service at my current church (which happens to be a Salvation Army). I preached on the goodness and faithfulness of God. I feel as though I have so, so much to say, but this was the topic that impressed itself on my heart.

    Is it a coincidence that I was sexually assaulted the very next day? I don’t know. I don’t really know what to think about spiritual warfare, the devil, hell and spiritual things like that generally. The Pentecostal in me is yelling! Are you kidding?! Of course there’s no co-incidence! This was a spiritual attack, to remind me in no uncertain terms that I’m ‘just’ a woman, and probably shouldn’t be preaching. And that message is coming straight from the pit of hell!

    The Anglican in me however, a rather more rational, composed creature, can see that it really is probably more a case of having that deep seated vulnerability and unconsciously communicating it (body language? hormones/ pheromones?) as I go through life. The abusers are probably no more consciously aware of it than I am. I just need to learn, somehow, how to protect myself and communicate confidence.

    Is it healthy to continue in this fractured state or is there some way to re-integrate and become a whole person again? I don’t know. (I am probably going to delete at least 2 of the facebook accounts, if that helps!) Who do I want to be? Can I be homemaker and writer and preacher?

    Chakotay has told me on many occasions that I have freedom, I just don’t take advantage of it. My prison is of my own making. Part of me, certainly, really wants to be a ‘homemaker’ – The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie still look like the ideal life to me. But I’m not very good at it, and actually I think that my trauma comes into play there too. I’m just a little bit dysfunctional.

    I’m part of a group on Facebook called ‘Radical Homemakers‘ – a group of (mostly UK) women who have purposely chosen the domesticated life for various reasons, but who are also committed feminists, determined to smash the Patriarchy from home. I do wonder how I got to 40 without realising or understanding what Patriarchy is or how damaging it can be. But I suspect that it probably has something to do with the nature of the debate in the UK. Whether we realise it or not, the churches here are deeply influenced by American theology, but when it is communicated over here, it tends to be more subtle. We don’t even notice it.

    What is the way forward? In the episode, they have to inject the bio-neural gel packs with a chroniton-infused serum to take every part of the ship back to the point of the original trauma.

    In real life? I think that means going back and facing all those demons, bringing them out into the light to see what they’re made of, and finally defeating them. Obviously it’s a little bit more complex than that, but I think that is the gist of it. I suspect that, if childhood sexual abuse had been involved – which thankfully it wasn’t, it would be a different matter and I don’t know enough about that to know how that can be overcome. But for me, untangling my background of spiritual and church abuse and dysfunctional family is the only way I can be made whole. Will it make me a better homemaker? I don’t know.

    I’d like to thank you now, for putting your doubts aside and helping me to put mine aside as well. Good luck to each of you.

    LLAP

    Kathryn

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  • Sharon Tootill 6:03 pm on October 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: domesticity, homemaking, , ,   

    All mod cons! 

    1940s USA Hoover Magazine Advert

    1940s USA Hoover Magazine Advert

    We’ve been in the new house now just over a week, and I absolutely love it! We’re moving all our furniture and stuff over gradually (we were renting the other place, and budgeted for an extra month, so we wouldn’t have to move all in one day (how do people do that?)!)

    The dishwasher is now in the house, but I’m still waiting for it to be plumbed in, so I have been washing up the old fashioned way for 7 people for 9 days! I have only had a dishwasher for 2 years out of 22 of being married, but having tried it, I loved it and don’t want to go back to hand washing! How spoiled I am!

    I keep wondering how previous generations of wives and mothers coped with washing and cleaning and cooking without all the modern conveniences we have? My grandmother had a twin tub (separate compartments for washing and spinning) but before that, she did everything by hand. Getting married and having children was pretty much a commitment to a life of drudgery!

    But the Amish, who are known for living a simple life with none of the gadgets we take for granted, believe that making life too easy is bad for the soul, an invitation to waste time with things that aren’t important or, worse, things that are sinful! (like television, perhaps, or facebook? lol) 🙂 Maybe they’re right, but I’m not ready to throw away my gadgets! I may be a homemaker, but I wanted to be a Starship Captain, remember?! I’m quite keen to get replicators installed! (It would give me time to study temporal mechanics!) 😉

    In all the rush to simplify, de-clutter, downsize and go back to basics, what is most important? Why are we doing this? For me, the answer is twofold – I want to be with my children at home (and work for myself!), and I want to learn and preserve traditional crafts. But is it necessary to tie myself to a life of drudgery in order to do that? I don’t think so. Gadgets and machines are just tools. We can make use of them to make life more manageable. The trick,  I think though, is not to allow ourselves to become so dependent on them that we can’t live without them.

    wwjd

     

     
  • Sharon Tootill 10:58 pm on August 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , homemaking,   

    Homemaking Revolution 

    I stumbled across this blog post this evening and loved the sound of it and actually, as you know, my background is very ‘traditional’ but my heart pulls me in two seemingly opposing directions (career woman Starship captain/ homemaker, wife and mother), so I love the idea of successfully combining traditional homemaking with a healthy  and robust feminism.

    I have bookmarked this blog to read through properly later.

    Homemaking revolution – https://adventuresinthegoodlife.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/homemaking-revolution/

     
  • Sharon Tootill 8:29 pm on August 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1950s, , homemaking, , traditional, womanhood   

    Becoming the Ultimate Housewife: 1950s Housewife 

    Shavua tov ladies! 🙂 This is just a little bit of fun really, but I wonder – how much of this do you aspire to? 

    How much of this is cultural, dated and irrelevant now, and how much the Biblical ideal/ pattern for wives?

    http://www.ultimatehousewife.com/2013/02/1950s-housewife.html?m=1

     
    • Child of God 3:42 pm on August 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This is very different from my life. I am certain my husband would have been much happier last night if he came home from work to that type of household rather than a sick puppy who made a mess all over the house and a toddler who loves to scream. I do normally work outside of the home, so if we could each provide that type of atmosphere for the other when we got home I know we’d be much more relaxed and more pleasant to be around.😊

      Like

  • Sharon Tootill 3:12 pm on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , homemaking,   

    Crafts and Topics for 2016 

    I have been thinking about what to do with this blog over the next year, and I think that, in addition to specifically Messianic/ Jewish topics, I will try to post on subjects covered in the TODKAH home economics curriculum, in no particular order:

    todkah

    • sewing
    • knitting
    • crochet
    • embroidery
    • gardening
    • cooking
    • baking
    • flower arranging
    • basketry
    • budgeting
    • child development
    • child training
    • home management
    • making a house a home
    • quilting
    • cross stitch
    • hospitality
    • caring

    (caring for the elderly, sick and injured, comforting the mourning)

    • rug braiding
    • women’s health
    • pregnancy
    • infant care and breastfeeding
    • child bearing
    • candlemaking
    • soapmaking
    • raising small animals
    • home business

    If you’re looking for a home economics curriculum, it really is unequalled – it is a 7 year programme for home educated teens (not to mention useful for their mothers!), and as you can see it covers far more than what is usually covered in school. (Certainly today, but even 30 or 40 years ago.)

    I know that the uber-traditional title of the curriculum puts more moderate Christians off using the curriculum, but I think that is a pity. It’s not necessary to agree with Mrs Ann Ward’s very conservative views to make use of her expertise and knowledge in the areas of crafts and home management.

    If you are interested in exploring the curriculum, take a look at the website, and join the yahoo group and/ or the facebook group/ page to discuss any of the crafts or topics covered.

     
  • Sharon Tootill 12:00 pm on December 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , frugal, homemaking,   

    A Girl Called Jack: 100 Delicious Budget Recipes 

    A Girl Called Jack: 100 Delicious Budget Recipes

    This budget recipe book was recommended to me a year or two ago when we had a rough patch before we sold our house, and I will have to look at it again as we are struggling to budget in our reduced circumstances.

    It’s a good collection of cost-cutting ideas and clever, simple recipes, although obviously cooking from scratch where economically viable. (Sometimes it works out more expensive, since there is economy of scale with packaged foods.)

    Please note though that it isn’t a Christian book (although oddly, she uses a Bible quote at the beginning). I don’t remember anything particularly offensive, but I followed Jack on twitter for a while and found her to be quite foul-mouthed and unpleasant 😦 I didn’t follow her for very long though, so hopefully I just caught her in a bad mood and got the wrong impression. She was, though, very political and very ‘liberal’ (in quotes because ‘liberals’ tend not to be very keen on liberty unless it suits their purposes, but that’s a discussion for another post!).

    As always though, take the ‘meat’ and leave the ‘bones’.

    I would love to hear any tips you might have for frugal homemaking and cooking, as well as any other book recommendations.

     
  • Sharon Tootill 3:45 pm on April 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , homemaking, , , , , Pascha, ,   

    Pesach Cleaning 

    I learn something new every Pesach – about myself, about housework, about the nature of sin and cleanliness, and this year has been no different.

    I am sure I have mentioned before that I felt that one of the lessons of Passover is that, no matter how hard we try, we can’t get rid of all the dirt (sin, for which yeast, leaven, chametz is a metaphor) on our own, because it is never finished, the dirt just keeps on coming.

    This year, we are in the middle of moving house, so clearing and cleaning two houses. The new house is exactly that – a brand new build where nobody has lived before. I thought that this side of things would be easy, but I have been amazed at how quickly the dust and dirt has mounted up. We may not have much in the way of actual chametz here, but we certainly have dust and dirt!

    At the old house, the revelations have been even more startling. Moving things that never usually get moved, like the cooker, has made me realise how the dirt collects in places we’re not looking, not paying attention to, and how once a year ‘spring cleaning’ may not be enough – much more thorough, regular cleaning is going to have to be a feature of life at our new place.

    And the spiritual application, of course, is that we need to be making regular self-evaluations, regular repentance, and regular washing (by the Water of the Word).

    I am reminded of the classic story of the rabbi who told his students, “Make Teshuvah (repent) one day before you die.” His students would respond with the question, “But how do you know when it is one day before you will die?” The answer of course is that you don’t know, so you must make Teshuvah every day!

     
  • Sharon Tootill 12:24 am on July 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: crunchy, homemaking, Proverbs 31, quiverfull, Titus 2   

    Rediscovering Home 

    I have been thinking a lot lately about how very deeply blessed and privileged I have been to be able to stay at home to be a full time wife and mother and homeschool my children. I know many women who would have loved to have that opportunity, but were denied it. I thank God for my sweet, kind, generous husband who recognised how beneficial it can be for a family to have the wife and mother at home, and that it was worth giving up a second income for.

    And yet I have found ‘homemaking’ frustratingly and discouragingly hard, and as much as I desired to be ‘domesticated’, it has been a struggle because I have both a lack of practical knowledge and a lack of natural talent in this area.

    I have realised that I have allowed my heart to slowly drift away from my home and family, and as a result I have looked elsewhere for satisfaction, fulfilment, status, recognition and ministry.

    But I can also pinpoint the time when my heart began to grow cold – it was when I lost my fifth baby in a row, and I realised that I would most likely never fulfil my dream of having a large family (which was integral to my overall vision).

    I started my married life with a vision of very old-fashioned, traditional, back-to-basics homesteading, based on a mixture of Little House on the Prairie and the Waltons (and if I’m honest that’s still my vision and ideal – I love the videos from Homestead Blessings, for example), and my vision was encouraged by reading Mary Pride’s provocative books ‘The Way Home’ and ‘All The Way Home’, amongst others, which advocated many of the things I was aspiring to.

    But my reality has been very far away from that dream – I’m living a frustratingly fast, modern life which, although we escaped the city, does include regular trips to town for activities (which I’m beginning to question the value of), and sadly doesn’t include having access to any land at all.

    I still haven’t learned how to cook properly or knit or crochet or quilt! So the result has been overwhelming discouragement. Perhaps it was all just a silly dream?

    And yet, I feel as though somehow I have abandoned my first love. I seem to have looked for God and ministry in all the wrong places, and finally He is drawing me back, and turning my heart back to my home, back to my husband, back to my children.

    I spent years as a young wife and mother desperately searching and hoping and praying for a Titus 2 mentor, but there were none, not a single one. Nobody in the church, or in the Messianic congregation, were living out anything like the traditional Titus 2 role at home. So mothers like Mrs Ingalls and Mrs Walton were my role models.

    Now I am in my 40s I realise that, whether I like it or not, whether good or bad, I am setting an example for young wives and mothers. That is an awesome responsibility, and I don’t want to let another generation struggle the way I did.

    So as much as part of me has been longing to escape ‘failure’ – the failure of my dream life to match reality, I realise I need to make teshuva, to turn around and go back the way I have come, and find the peaceful, gentle path I was searching for all along.

    My own particular vision of Godly womanhood may not be at all what young women are looking for or would aspire to at all. In a way, it’s irrelevant because that’s not the life I’m actually living.

    But this is the way it is described in Titus 2:3-5:

    “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

    I’m really just feeling compelled to meditate again on this passage and what it means, and I hope that, despite all my flaws and failings, my life and my lifestyle, such as it is, will be achieving those things and giving young women something realistic and truly Godly to aspire to. And may the word of God not be blasphemed.

    Shabbat Shalom!

     
  • Sharon Tootill 1:52 pm on April 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: homemaking, , ,   

    Cleaning Deadlines 

    We have a property inspection tomorrow morning. It’s one of the many down sides to renting. But as much as I’m dreading it, there is nothing like an externally imposed deadline for motivating you to get things done.

    So although there is still work to do today, the house is looking tidier and cleaner and more organised than it has done since we moved in.

    What I’ve realised about housework (and here comes the metaphor) is that, like sin, and the leaven that represents sin at Passover, it’s a relentless battle.

    You can’t rest back and assume it’s conquered. Maybe there is a sense in which it is conquered once and for all in the heavenlies (and I think that my own personal heaven will be a self-cleaning & self-tidying house!), but in the gritty, earthly here and now, you have to wash daily, battle it constantly and never give up.

    Shabbat and Passover & the Feast of Unleavened Bread represent little windows into a heavenly future time when we’ve come into the fulness of the Kingdom.

    May your Kingdom come, Yeshua!

     
  • Sharon Tootill 6:20 pm on June 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: homemaking, studies   

    Homemaking Degree 

    I was surfing today looking for homemaking blogs, and I stumbled across a blog which mentioned that a US college had instituted a degree in homemaking., so I just had to investigate!  It’s offered at The College at Southwestern which seems to be a fairly liberal Christian Seminary (I may be wrong about the liberal part though!)

    Division of Homemaking

    HMK 2101 Orientation to Homemaking
    This introductory course provides an overview of the field of homemaking, its place in history, and biblical perspective. To be taken the student’s first semester.
    One hour

    HMK 3103 Biblical Model for the Home and Family
    Focus on the Biblical role of women related to the home, family, church, ministry, and relationships.
    Three hours

    HMK 3113 Nutrition
    Focuses on the fundamentals of nutrition, nutrition through the life cycle, brief overview of food preparation, and meal management.
    Three hours

    HMK 3203 Value of a Child
    A study of the spiritual, physical, emotional and cognitive development of a child.
    Three hours

    HMK 3204 Meal Preparation with Lab
    A study and practice of the basic principles of the selection and preparation of food. Nutrition is a pre-requisite.
    Four hours

    HMK 4101 Senior Seminar
    Focuses on putting fundamental elements of homemaking into practice. This course is to be taken as a pre-requisite to the Homemaking practicum and should be taken the first semester of the student’s final year.
    One hour

    HMK 4103 Basics of Design
    Introduces the student to design and includes colors, space, interior design, and a brief overview of clothing construction.
    Three hours

    HMK 4201 Homemaking Practicum
    Focuses on putting fundamental elements of homemaking into practice while placing the students in real life situations. This course serves as the capstone course of the program and should be taken the student’s final semester.

    HMK 4204 Clothing Construction with Lab
    A study of patterns, fabric, equipment, and sewing. Basics of Design is a prerequisite.
    Four hours

    I think it’s really good that it’s offered, and encouraging that homemaking is being presented as a worthy career, but I do wonder whether this degree will actually prepare women for the calling of motherhood, homemaking and being a wife.  I’d really like to see the reading list and textbooks and compare it with, for example, the TOD-KAH curriculum (Training our Daughters to be Keepers at Home) which is very thorough and comprehensive and written from a conservative perspective.

     
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