The Life Not My Own

Friday, May 25, 2012

Check out Newlywed's Bliss

Be sure to check out Newlywed's Bliss today...I'm sharing my quick and easy spaghetti dinner with from-scratch sauce!

Preparing for Baby: A Peek in the Nursery

Up until recently, the room that will be our sweet baby boy’s nursery looked more like a storage room.  It had been a guest room before we found out that Baby B was coming, so it still had a queen sized guest bed in it.  In addition to all the baby things we started piling in there, it was beginning to look…messy.

So, last night, Andy moved the guest bed into our third bedroom, and put together the crib and glider (oh, yes, thanks to Andy’s parents, we now have a wonderful glider!).

Here’s the guest bed in the other bedroom.  We still have a lot of work to do in there, and that color definitely doesn’t work…but it will work for now!


And here’s Andy putting together the crib.  (It’s the Somerset collection from Target in espresso.)




There it is!  We don’t have a fitted sheet for it yet…but we did have a mattress pad, so I put that on. :)


Next it was on to the glider…(which was also a Target find)…



And the completed work!  It’s a little hard, but not any harder than a wooden rocker would be.  Plus, it fits us very nicely (we’re tall and were having a hard time finding a taller glider/rocker).


Then, this morning I finished cleaning everything up and organizing it.  Bear in mind that most of this won’t be in here eventually.  The pack ‘n play, and probably the swing, will be in the living room.  The rock ‘n play sleeper will be in our room, and the glider may get moved to either our room or the living room.  We’ll see!





The pack ‘n play has become the temporary holding place for all of Baby B’s clothes…we hope to get a changing table/dresser combo soon! 


The start of our children’s book collection…there’s more there than it appears.


I also moved our “wall of diapers” into the closet.  I am so thankful for this huge closet to store stuff in!  The walker (which conveniently folds up) was one I got from a friend who had barely used it.  I figured we won’t be needing it for awhile anyway!


Think I have enough space?  (Diaper stack is around the corner…hehe).


Our sweet little man’s crib…with a few select stuffed animals and a sleep sack. :)


And the blanket that Mommy (me!) made for him…


Basically the biggest things we have left to do is finish the trim around the window, fix and “plug” all the plugs, and add any extra touches.  We are planning on doing a theme…but it’s going to be a surprise for now.  We want to do something unique, and although the “jungle” theme is really cute…a lot of our friends are already using it. :(  So anyway, we have something up our sleeve…you’ll just have to wait and see!  I will say that most everything is green (hence, the wall), chocolate brown, and cream colored. 

So what do you think?  Suggestions?  All the baby stuff is still relatively new to us, so we’d appreciate your input!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Problem with Marriages

In honor of our second anniversary this week, I thought I'd share with you something that's been on my heart a lot lately regarding marriage.  I am incredibly thankful to have a wonderful marriage with Andy.  However, it is by no means perfect.  We still struggle at times, fight over the smallest piddly thing, and have to work through things.  Also, what I'm about to say may be offensive to some.  If it is, please know I don't mean to offend anyone.  These are just my honest thoughts...take it or leave it at that.  So, that's my disclaimer.

That being said, I think it's very alarming and disheartening that divorce is on the rise, especially in the church.  I've seen couples in conservative churches attend church together, get divorced, and then continue to attend the same church...and nobody says anything.  I don't know the details or the background or who knows what or what others have said privately.  All I know is that it makes me very uncomfortable that divorce is just accepted.  

Andy and I were both raised with the mindset that divorce is not an option.  Our parents have come from broken homes, and divorce is rampant.  Our parents all started out with somewhat rocky marriages with issues that they had to work through, and yet they stuck it out and stayed together.  Today both marriages are happy, healthy, and incredibly strong.  I'm so thankful to have these influences in our own marriage.  When Andy and I got married, it was with the understanding that it was for a lifetime.  There was no disclaimer, no pre-nup, no "way out".  We were entering into this together and we were going to stick it out matter what.

So why are so many Christian marriages crumbling and falling apart?  Aren't these people entering into marriage with the same commitment and resolve?  Anymore, I'm not so sure.

As a woman, I want to speak for the ladies here.  I think that a huge issue in our marriages is that we feel we have the "right" to certain treatment, love, and respect.  Think about it: how many times have you heard women complain about their husband's in some way?  "My husband is at work all the time".  "He doesn't care about my feelings."  "I never get romanced anymore."  "My husband never helps at home...he just sits on the couch and watches football."  Aren't these all common to hear?

Or, it could be more grievous, such as emotional and verbal abuse, an addiction (to alcohol, pornography, etc.), or adultery.  (Let me step in here right now and say, I am by no means condoning staying with a man who is physically abusive.  If you are in such a relationship, you need to get out and seek help NOW!!!)  The point is, all of these "issues" with our husbands really point back to us and our desires, needs, and "rights".

In a healthy marriage, the wife is loved, cherished, and respected...highly.  However, if we don't receive this, does that somehow give us the grounds to leave our husbands and seek a divorce?  How is that in any way Biblical?  Sure, Moses allowed for a divorce on the grounds of adultery.  Yet, Jesus "stirred the pot" up, so-to-speak, in Matthew 19:4-9:

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” 

Yes, divorce on the grounds of adultery is allowable...but is it the best way?  (And, notice, adultery was the only grounds...not disrespect, not being treated right, etc.)

As Christians, we are called to lay down our lives, take up the cross, and follow Jesus.  Our "rights" become forfeit for the sake of the gospel.  We are called to bring the good news to everyone, at the risk of persecution, loss of possessions, and even death.  Where are our "rights" then?  

Paul instructed those married to an unbeliever to stay with them, unless their spouse wanted to leave.  Do you think that came with the disclaimer of "unless you are mistreated or don't receive the respect and love you deserve"?  No way!!!  Peter told wives to submit their their husbands, even if they weren't following the Word.  Why?  Because, in staying in a marriage, forfeiting her "rights", and submitting to a perhaps tyrannical husband, a woman is exhibiting what it means to be like Christ.  She is glorifying God and furthering the gospel by letting Christ live in her and through her.

Let me end with a story that has impacted me in this area perhaps more than anything else.  We had some family friends who were struggling in their marriage.  The wife was a God-honoring and following woman and the husband was not.  He finally revealed that he had had multiple affairs on her.  They were separated for awhile, and then something miraculous happened: God got a hold of the husband's heart.  He went to his wife and asked her forgiveness, saying he wanted to make things right.

Now, by all accounts, the wife had every right to seek a divorce, even biblically.  Furthermore, why should she believe him now when he'd lied so many times before?  Taking him back would be just setting herself up for further heartbreak...needless heartbreak.  I honestly think most Christian women in the church would have counseled her to divorce him and move on.  But here's the thing: she didn't do that.  She took him back, they sought counseling, and now their marriage is stronger than it's ever been.    

Isn't that an amazing picture of what it means to lay down our own lives for the sake of Christ?  I know it is for me.

I can't begin to fathom what it would be like to have your husband cheat on you.  I can't even speak for every marital situation, as to whether the wife should stick it out or move on.  What I can tell you is that we give up to easily.  We focus so much on ourselves and our needs...emphasizing how our spouse is not meeting them.  In reality, our spouse can never be the one to meet all of our needs...only God can.  Until we realize this, our marriages will continue to crash and burn.

It's time to start rising up and fight for our marriages.  Satan knows that if he can kill our marriages, then he can kill our influence and our work for Christ.  Do you want to continue worrying about your spouse's actions or treatment of you...or do you want to lay your "rights" aside and fight Satan's schemes by fighting for your marriage?

I for one, am choosing to fight.  

Love is a shelter in a raging storm,
Love is peace in the middle of a war,
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to bar the door,
No, love is not a fight...but it's something worth fighting for

~"Love is Not a Fight" by Warren Barfield


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How We Celebrate Two Years

For our first anniversary, Andy and I jetted down to Florida and went on a cruise.  It was amazing and fun, and we’d love to do another one.  This year, however, time, house issues, money, and, oh yeah, a baby on the way, kept us from a big anniversary trip.  Instead, we were able to steal away for a short weekend in Branson.

Andy booked us in the Wildnerness cabins at Silver Dollar City, and we loved it.  Our cabin was so cute!








The first night we grilled hot dogs and enjoyed the lovely weather outside.

The next morning Andy went off this tower on a zipline:


It was crazy, but looked really fun.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me do it in my condition. ;)  We’ll just have to come back, I guess!

I did go to the top of the tower, though.  It overlooks the Roark Valley and the setting for The Shepherd of the Hills, one of my most favorite books ever.  Here you can see the bald that figures so prominently in the story.  Oh yeah, and the lines that Andy “zipped” down.   



We were also able to meet up with Andy’s brother and his wife.  Have I told you they’re expecting too?  Yep, there’s going to be little cousins just two months apart…and they’re having a boy too!  I’m a bit worried about what kind of trouble these two baby boy Bakers are going to get into!

And on that note…I’m 29 weeks!  Here’s a picture of my bloated belly, oh, I mean baby bump:


I’m so thankful for two wonderful years with my best friend!



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2 Years

Some days, it seems like it couldn’t have possibly been two years ago.  On others, it seems like we’ve been his way forever. 


We’ve had our ups and downs.  We’ve dealt with a drafty rent house, bought a home together, and remodeled that home.  We’ve fought mice problems…and people problems.  We’ve served together, worked together, and grown together.  And now, we become parents together. 


All I can say is, it’s been the best two years of my life.  Every morning I get to wake up snuggled close to him is a gift.  Every day spent serving God together is bliss.  Every night that I drift off in his arms is pure heaven. 

He may not be perfect, but he’s my perfect match.  He’s the only man I’d follow to the ends of the earth and back. 
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And he’s the one I want holding my hand 50 years from now.

I love you Andy Baker, and I always will.  I’m so glad it was you…

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Stay-At-Home-Mom: Finances, Pt. 2

Last week I shared with you some ways that couples who don’t have children yet could prepare financially for the wife to be a stay-at-home mom someday.  Click here to read it.

Now we come to the hard part: making staying-at-home work when it just hasn’t seemed feasible before.  Honestly, I believe that living on one income is always possible, no matter how low that income might be.  There’s always something you could cut out or a second job to be had.  Are these solutions always the best for every family?  Probably not.  I believe that every family has to find the best solution for their family.  That said, I believe that God’s “best” solution is often very different from our own “best” solution.  So, here goes:

Transitioning into SAHM-dom

-Develop a Plan.  Going from two-incomes to one doesn’t happen over night.  It takes time, patience, and a lot of sacrifice.  Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t just quit your job tomorrow!  It simply may take awhile.  So, take a hard look at your finances and start developing a game plan.

-Downsizing.  Undoubtedly, cutting the income drastically is going to take some major downsizing.  I can guarantee you, there are all things we could lower or do without.  For you, this may mean not eating out as much, spending as much on clothes, or going on as many vacations.  It could be as simple as selling your car and buying a cheaper one (or doing without!).  Or, it could take a lot of sacrifice, like selling your home to buy or rent a smaller one. 

In today’s materialistic society, this can be really difficult.  Nobody wants to appear poor or hurting for money, nor do they want to be uncomfortable inviting people over to their house (because their houses are so much bigger, nicer, etc.).  Downsizing doesn’t mean that you have to live in a shambles, however.  Even the smallest spaces can be nicely decorated, clean, and inviting.  Why be embarrassed to have your friends over when your house looks like that?  When they see how happy you are (despite what you’re doing without), they might just start rethinking their own spending habits.

Let me tell you, cutting out things is by no means easy.  Your kids may hate you for it at first (hey, you may even hate yourself).  In the end, though, it’s so worth it.  Would you rather be the working mommy struggling to juggle work and your kids (plus all the stuff that comes with it), or would you rather be living a simpler life with much less stress?  You take your pick.

-Knowing how much you actually “need”.  Really and truly, I don’t know very many people in America that are actually genuinely poor.  I mean, how many families do you know that live in cardboard boxes and walk miles and miles every day just to haul water (which is dirty, btw)?  The truth is, we as Americans need a reality check about “wants” vs. “needs”.     

I was with a group of friends lately who were discussing the different hairdressers in town.  Most of them were complaining about how expensive the different salons were.  What I realized very quickly, however, was that they weren’t just talking about cutting and styling…they were talking about cutting, styling, highlights, and lowlights.  No wonder the prices were so “high”! 

Ladies, we don’t “need” expensive hair treatments, manicured nails, or frequent visits to the tanning salon.  We don’t “need” to keep up with the latest fashions, or buy new clothes every month.  Think about all the things we spend money on: satellite t.v., high speed internet, nice cars, vacations to the beach, movies every weekend, video games…do we actually need any of them? The answer is a resounding “no”. 

The world makes it seem impossible to live on one-income.  In reality, it’s not our incomes that we need to adjust but our expectations.  

-Learning thriftiness.  Beyond downsizing and doing without, to become a stay-at-home mom, you’re probably going to have to learn some additional thriftiness.  Learn to make things from scratch or start couponing.  Even if it seems like something little, keep at it.  Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned.

-Doing your best.  What if, no matter what, you can’t seem to live on one-income reasonably?  All you can do is your best.  Consider cutting down on hours at work, or even outside activities that also steal your time away from home (ie, Bible studies, book groups, etc.).  Maybe look for part-time work instead of full-time.  Try searching for a job where you can work from home.  Just do the best you can for your family!  


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms?

When I received The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, by Cindy Woodsmall, in the mail, I was excited to get to read a shorter story that seemed like it would be an easy read.  I like good, meaty books, but every once-in-a-while, something lighthearted is exactly what I need.  Unfortunately, The Scent of Cherry Blossoms was not what I was looking for.

Cindy Woodsmall’s latest book is about an Old Order Mennonite girl, Annie Martin, who falls for a Old Order Amish boy named Aden Zook.  Unfortunately, their different backgrounds prevent them from from being together.  I’m sure that you can guess the ending, just as easily as I did.

The predictability, however, was not the biggest turnoff of this book for me.  Frankly, I found the story line a bit boring and slow, and the writing was not particularly good.  There was nothing that really drew me in. 

Furthermore, although the messages about God and redemption were great, there was part of me that felt averse to the love story.  Throughout the book, Annie and Aden continually go behind their parents and grandparents’ backs to see each other, justifying their actions in believing that God meant for them to be together.  In the end, there are no consequences for this blatant disregard for their parents’ concerns…concerns that were very justifiable.

In the end, I couldn’t wait to finish the book and start a different one.  The Scent of Cherry Blossoms simply falls flat.  If you like to read fiction stories set in Amish Country, then you might like this one…there certainly are some interesting parts about culture.   However, you’d be much better spending your time on one of Beverly Lewis’ books, which are both historically accurate and very well written.  That’s where the truth lies: Woodsmall’s latest book could have been good, but it didn’t hold a candle to other Amish fiction stories I’ve read.  My advice?  Pass on The Scent of Cherry Blossoms.

These views are entirely my own.  I received this book for free to review.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Stay-at-Home Mom: Finances

I didn’t write a SAHM post last week, mostly because I was contemplating whether to keep doing it or not.  Sometimes my fear of making someone mad or hurt holds me back from saying what’s in my heart.  The truth is, it shouldn’t. 

Today I had an interesting conversation with someone that got me thinking about this next post.  Finances is a big one when it comes to stay-at-home moms because it’s what holds a lot of women back.  The conversation I had today was with a mom who longs more than anything to be at home with her kids.  She told me about how she’s poured her heart’s desire out to God over-and-over, but at this point they just can’t make it work. 

It broke my heart to hear that.  I couldn’t imagine being in that position and, in a way, it made me feel terribly guilty.  I felt guilty because I couldn’t tell her that I was in the same predicament.  Once this little man is born, I’ll get to be home with him 24/7. 

Again, I want to emphasize that my purpose in this series is not to condemn or wound.  Who am I to point my finger at a woman, like the one I talked to, who’s doing what she must to make her family work?  The truth is, however, that not everyone is in the same position as this woman.

I feel that I have a very unique perspective living where I do, in a small, rural town.  The first thing I noticed upon moving here was that there was such a huge division of classes.  There were the rich and there were the poor, and there wasn’t much in between.

Good or bad, everybody in town knows our church as the “rich” church.  In truth, it makes sense.  A large majority of the wealthiest people, the business owners and high-paying job holders, go to our church.  Yet, 90% of the moms in our church still work outside of the home.  The real truth is, it’s not finances that keep most of these women in their jobs.  It’s culture, the way they were raised, a high standard of living, not liking being at home, loving their jobs, and more.  Still, many of them would probably place the “blame” on finances.  I don’t mean to say this as condemning of anyone at our church.  We are so, SO blessed to be a part of such a wonderful body of believers!  God is really working there.  Yet, I sometimes wonder what these moms are missing out on.  Honestly, I blame the culture.  First, for placing the pushing the idea that women can’t be fully happy or make a difference in this world if they don’t hold an outside job.  Second, for giving us such a high standard of living that, for many women, their not working just doesn’t seem feasible.  Sadly, this isn’t limited to just women inside our church or even our community.

So how do you go from finances being your excuse to making things work?  Let me start from the beginning:

Planning Ahead

If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, the sooner you start planning for it, the better.  For all the single girls out there, that means now.  You need to be planning, working, and saving towards that goal if that’s what you desire.  Trust me, it isn’t easy to achieve.  The more work you put in now, though, the better your chances will be later. (As a side note, be looking for a guy who would support you…both financially and emotionally.)

For those couples that are heading towards marriage: SAVE!  Again, this issue is all about money, and the larger your savings the better.  Make all your decisions with your ultimate goal in mind, even if you think kids are far down the road. 

To those married couples just starting out, this is a critical time for you.  Here are some tips:

-Set goals.  Whether you plan on having kids right away or in a couple of years, you need to start setting financial goals (and, honestly, these goals should affect your timing of when to try to have a baby).  Your main financial goal should be living comfortably off one income.  Set smaller goals to help you achieve this!

-Lower your expectations.  A lot of newly married couples make the mistake of thinking their standard of living should be just like their parents.  This simply isn’t realistic.  Remember, your parents spent years getting to where they are!  Additionally, the world portrays a certain standard of living as a “necessity”.  If you want to be a SAHM, you may not be able to buy new clothes all the time, or get your hair highlighted in a salon.  Chiropractors and manicures could be out too and :gasp: you may not even be able to have cable t.v.!  Start lowering your expectations of how you should live right now, and you’ll be better off in the long run.

-Live off your husband’s income, if at all possible.  I know this isn’t always feasible for everyone, especially if your husband is in school or working towards a certain career.  However, getting as close to that as possible will really help you in the long run.  Not only will you learn to scrimp and save, and sometimes do without, but you’ll be able to sock away your income for later (or as much of it as you can).

-Save for a baby.  In case you didn’t already know this, babies cost money…a lot of it.  Start saving now for the time when your little one comes into this world, even if it’s a just a little each month.  Your pocket book will thank you.

-Avoid debt.  In talking to other young moms or moms-to-be, I’ve discovered that debt plays a huge role in their ability to or not to be a stay-at-home mom.  While you probably can’t avoid all debt, the less you have the better.  Think twice before taking out that student loan or buying that nice car.  Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  Remember, those things become bills later…bills that eat away at your income.

Looking back, I’ve realized that a huge part of Andy’s and my ability to live off his income only is good planning.  Honestly, we have our parents to thank for that.  They not only taught us the value of a SAHM, but they also taught us how to budget and save and plan ahead. 

What if you didn’t plan ahead, or didn’t think that you’d want to be a stay-at-home mom?  Thankfully, there’s hope for you!  Stay tuned for next time when I share about how to become a SAHM if you’re not financially prepared for it.

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Entering the Last Leg!

Today, Baby Baker is 28 weeks.  Hooray for the last trimester!  In honor of this, I thought I'd gift you all with a picture of my ever-growing belly...

For reference, here's 23 weeks...same shirt.

And 21 weeks...same shirt again.

And 19 weeks...not the same shirt. :)

And here's 11 weeks.  No, that pooch was not there before Baby B (sometimes it's hard to remember how skinny I was!).

So, anyway, now that you've had more pictures of my stomach than you ever wanted, here's an update on how me and Baby B are doing!

My little man seems to be growing by the minute.  Oh, and moving by the minute.  He is quite literally always going!  Andy has taken to asking me, "What is that?  What is he doing?!"  whenever his mini-me  does some strange move against his raking something (foot?  hand?  behind?)  across my belly.

I'm amazed how strong the kid is.  I mean, he weighs all of, what, 3 lbs...maybe?  Yet, he can push against my belly like nobody's business.  He especially likes to whack me in the ribs during church.  The little rascal!

He's been doing good, though, other than that.  My next doctor's appointment is Monday, so I'll let you know how much he's grown then!

As for me, I think the third trimester came early.  The second trimester was great and I felt AWESOME!  People kept asking me how I was feeling, and I told them the truth...good.  

Then, a week or two ago, I noticed I started getting a lot more tired.  We were gone at a trade show for two weeks, and when I came back doing laundry seemed like climbing a mountain.  Squatting down to pull clothes out of the dryer got me out of breath (not to mention it's a lot harder carrying a watermelon on your stomach).  Sheesh!

Since then, I've just had to take things a tad slower.  Sometimes it's hard to realize that, when you're 28 weeks pregnant, you can't run up the stairs at work two-by-two anymore.  And you can't work from getting up until going to bed without resting in between.  And, sometimes, you can't make that fancy meal because you're just too stinkin' tired!

I've tried to still be consistent about working out, mostly because I feel so much better when I do.  Also, I'm pretty determined to do everything I can to deliver our baby naturally...and I know that being in shape helps a ton.  My back has been bothering me a bit lately too, so working out (especially back-strengthening exercises) has really helped a lot.  My iron was low again at the last appointment, so I've really amped up my nutrition as of late too.

Finally, I have this rather annoying problem.  I'm getting more-and-more uncomfortable at night and I really want to sleep on my back.  Only, I know I'm not supposed to.  Seriously, though, it feels so much better!  Hmmm...I guess that's something I'll have to ask the doctor on Monday.

So, anyway, that's life for pregnant me.  I'm adjusting to the "new normal", as my mom would say.  But you know what?  I really am loving it.  My husband and I are so excited about this little guy, and can't wait until he gets here.  Until then, we're finishing up some things on the house and enjoying watching him grow!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Puppy Kisses

I didn't get around to counting up my one thousand gifts yesterday.  I haven't gotten around to it a lot lately, sad to say.  Our life has just been so busy!  I keep thinking it will slow down, but it doesn't.

And then, if busyness wasn't enough, there's all the ruts and bumps that keep seeming to crop up on this road called life.  Things don't turn out as expected.  Unexpected bills keep cropping up.  A fellow Christian lets you down, and the wound cuts deep.  Sometimes it can even be as simple as your A/C going out in 90 degree weather...when you're 27 weeks pregnant and already sweating like a race horse.

It's so easy to get easy to let these things get me down.  But then I'm reminded of those little gifts...those things I've been "too busy" to count.

Like the sweet faces who are so happy to see me when I get home.  And who love to give me matter what.

Or getting to ride down to the creek with my man in our awesome CJ 7 Jeep.

Or getting new pictures of the most beautiful little girls in the world.

Or watching the first hummingbird of the year light on my feeder.

Or watching my seeds sprout and grow.

Or getting to hold a sweet baby at church.

Or savoring a bright pink sunset ending a sunny day.

Oh, and there's this little guy...

...who kicks harder and stronger every day.  Whom I already love with a love so fierce I can hardly breathe sometimes.  Whom I would do anything for.

Despite all the bumps in the road, my life truly is blessed.  All I have to do is learn to look up from the road and see the beauty before my very eyes.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

To “Anonymous”

The other day I received a comment from an anonymous person on a post I wrote back in February, which you can read here (be sure to read the comment as well).  It was rather mean and vindictive, and my first reaction was just to delete it.  I’ve decided to address it instead because, quite simply, the more I thought about it, the more the comment made me sick.  If I’m brave enough to put my views out there into the blogosphere, then I should be able to defend them when they are attacked.   

To “Anonymous”:

I don’t know who you are, or whether I know you personally or not.  Apparently you didn’t have the guts to write a comment like that publicly.  I’m going to take the higher ground and address your comment…publicly.

I don’t know where you got the idea that I support rapists’ rights.  In the post you commented on, I only mentioned rape twice, and very briefly.  I think that rape is a terrible, despicable thing that no woman should ever have to go through.  Unfortunately, there are some very evil people in this world who should be locked up forever.  Sadly, many times our government doesn’t realize this until its too late, after many women have already become their victims.

I fully agree that no woman is deserving of such an unspeakable crime, nor should she have to bear any further “punishment” for something that was not her fault.  That being said, I know without a doubt that, should I ever be in the situation of finding myself pregnant due to rape, I would keep the baby and either put it up for adoption or raise it myself.  I would never, ever choose an abortion.
The crux of the matter goes beyond merely thinking that “two wrongs don’t make a right”.  Instead, it is found in the fact that a life, no matter the circumstances of its conception, is still a life.  A baby is still a baby.

You referred to a woman carrying a baby conceived through rape as a woman forced to “contaminate their family gene pool with the genetically damaged spawn of the criminal”.  Frankly, this made me sick to my stomach.  Why on earth is a baby conceived through rape “genetically damaged” or “contaminating” to a gene pool?  Yes, the father is a monster who should be locked up for the rest of his life, but how does that make the baby a monster as well? 

If we are solely the product of our genetics, then what hope does that give any of us?  Where does nurture come in (versus just nature)?  I certainly am not my parents, and would resent anyone who tried to state what the course of my life will be based on their lives.  Furthermore, why bother to parent, discipline, or teach, if our children are destined to be exactly what their DNA is coded to be?
Yes, genetics plays a role.  It determines what we’ll look like, what our talents will be, and if we’ll find school easy or hard.  It certainly gives us a tendency towards certain things (eg., a quick temper, shyness, poor public speaking skills), but how we are raised and the choices we make in our life play a much bigger role.
I have two sisters that were adopted and who, quite frankly, could tell you story-after-story about the kind of scum-bags their biological parents were…and I’m talking despicable stuff.  Does that make them somehow inferior to those who had “good” parents?  Does that mean that they themselves are “despicable”?  Perhaps, because their parents were such awful people, they should be “done away” with too, just like the “genetically damaged spawn” you speak of.  I highly doubt you would think this, though.  Why?  Because they are people who are living and breathing, who have the right to their life.  Yet, so does the tiny baby in my womb.       

If it is not genetics that makes a baby conceived in rape “genetically damaged”, then I can only conclude that you are speaking of the way in which they were conceived.  If our conception is what defines us, then we’re all in big trouble.  Most of us probably don’t even know the circumstances of our conception…do we need to go ask our parents in order to verify our validity as a life, as one who is not “genetically damaged”?  If our lives, and our rights, are defined by our conception, then does that make the child conceived out of a one night stand any less worthy than the child conceived out of an act of love in solid, committed marriage? 

What about the babies conceived in rape who are kept?  Once they are born, are they any less worthy of love and respect than any other baby?  Do they not have them same right to life and the “pursuit of happiness”, or must they live their entire lives being told that they are “genetically damaged spawn” that their mother should have “ripped out” of herself…that they are merely the “damage” from rape? 

Rape isn’t fair.  It’s not fair to have to experience a violent sexual assault, nor is it fair to become pregnant through no choice of your own, and through such a terrible act notwithstanding.  Yet, it also isn’t fair to the baby to “rid yourself” of its tiny life.  It isn’t fair to let a baby, who relies on you alone for nurture and protection, to die unwanted, unloved, and uncared for…as the “genetically damaged spawn” of a rapist. 

A woman who makes the brave choice to save the life within her, despite the circumstances of its conception, does not walk an easy road.  She will bear pain and suffering that she shouldn’t have to.  She will have to make the choice to give the baby up for adoption or raise it herself.  She will, no doubt, experience criticism and pressure from those around her…perhaps even those she loves most.  Yes, the baby within her will be a constant reminder of the horrible act committed against her.  Yet, she will do so with the knowledge that she is doing what she must to safe the tiny and, yes, precious, life within her…giving it the chance that only she can give.  Nobody said it would be easy, but we are women and we are endowed with a strength that no man could ever possess.

“Anonymous”, I don’t know who you are or what your background is.  I don’t know what kind of pain you’ve experienced in your life, or if you’ve ever gotten to experience the miracle of carrying a child within your womb.  What I can tell you is that the tiny life that you may call an “embryo” or a “fetus” is a life.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes!  I’ve seen a baby the size of a lima bean kick and flail around…and I’ve heard his little heart clearly beating. 

I am no supporter of rapists rights.  As for rapists trying to claim paternity of a child, I believe that no rapist should be given any parental rights, and that he should instead be locked up for the rest of his life.  Yet, neither do I believe that that child is merely “genetically damaged spawn”.  Saving the life conceived out of such an evil act as rape is not letting the rapist “win”.  Instead, it is rising above what he has done and saving the helpless, innocent life within you.  (And, yes, I said innocent…a baby should not be punished for the crimes of his parents).  Making the bold choice to keep a baby conceived out of rape is taking what the rapist, and Satan, meant for evil, and turning it into miraculous good.

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