My Date with the President.

I talk a big game. Let’s be honest- any person that knows me knows that I can definitely run my mouth (sometimes into a hole) and though I am up for an adventure, my actions might not always proceed what I type. Enter the actual steps to Tinder.

Step 1: Swipe right for a mildly attractive (not hot because you can’t have someone hotter than you), bearded, normal guy with a job that isn’t working at the Krusty Krab (I gave up Sponge bob when I was 12).

Step 2: MATCH UP (do your happy dance because someone shallowly thought you were just as attractive)

Step 3: Wait for said lumberjack to make some cute witty line to start up conversation...

Step 4: Seal the deal with a casual planned meet up (not so good at this part).

So as the first 3 were pretty easy on my part, I can’t say that I had yet to actually make step 4 happen with someone I was actually interested in. Come on, can’t they be attractive, witty, and smart at the same time with the same amount of compassion and tolerance for social issues that are plaguing our world today? So enter Mr. President (Name changed for privacy purposes and for my own humor) and my first ever Tinder date.

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Obviously, I was pretty calm and collected right before the scariest moment of my life. With the help of my best friend, and the thought that Netflix might actually run out of shows for me to watch, I stepped out of the car. Instead of the extremely handsome bearded man I saw a cute nerd with a babyface and OK stir fry. I laughed and realized that this wasn’t as bad as I really thought it would be. It was nice.

I can’t tell you it was the greatest date of my life but it really taught me some valuable lessons that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else. Not everyone looks like their Tinder profile and that’s okay. I mean, let’s be honest, who looks like their Facebook profile? Always have a best friend who backs you up and creates a safe word with you in case said date turns into a creepy serial killer. Thank you Kristen Danielle White for calling when I didn’t text you a few minutes in… My mom was grateful too. To go along with this, do not say the actual words “If you are a serial killer and you do kill me can it be a cool way so I get put on one of those crazy shows on TLC?”

The biggest lesson was the realization was that Tinder dates aren’t actual dates. They are more like pre-dates you go on to keep the line open. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and that voice in your gut that says” yeah no” listen to it. So, as I got into my car insanely giggling about the fact that I did something totally unlike me, it made me realize that it wasn’t as intimidating and I made this encounter to be. And as I write this and realize that I will probably never go on a date with Mr. President again, It was perfect transition that I needed to get back out there. To realize that Netflix has it’s time and place and sometimes that’s not every night of the week and most weekends. And sometimes A little adventure is in the next town over with your very own president. ūüôā

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Left or Right? Who’s counting….

.I am 26. I work at a rural middle school where you are either married or superwoman- sadly I am niether of these. 7:20 on a good day I arrive, and 4 on a not so good day I roll out. Seeing as my scheduled Netflix and chill, (the old fashioned way as you may probably be able to figure out from this post) dinner, grade, take Grizz for a walk, and 30 minutes of some type of reading and I am out. That runs about 9-9:20. I know, adventurous. For someone who has never kept a schedule in her life, I seem to be set and yet here I am, stuck. So, what do you do when your breaking point and more importantly, you run out of Netflix shows?

Hello Social Media Dating. AKA (Tinder)

(These are my profile pics-Classy, I know)

Part of me mildly blushes as I type this because who wants to tell Social Media that they are not the cool, hipster, spontaneous that¬† they try so hard to be on Insta. I also rack my brain to think if I even told my mom what a Tinder was because that is going to be totally awkward. Coming home I naively believed my life would go back to normal before I left, that my best friends wouldn’t be half way across the world or that I would find new ones. Sadly, my friend has one eye and at 7:30 he hits the sack because he wakes me up to go pee at 5:30. (Check first picture). Not that my life isn’t great. I work with some crazy ghetto thug middle schoolers who make me check Urban Dictionary almost everyday to keep up with their lingo, and I have the best view in the whole world with a great family and church but sometimes you just need more. That more is combined with all the older 20 somethings who feel the exact same way but got scared off from the commitment of marriage in Plenty of Fish. (This is not ring by spring, but Margarita Mondays definitely).

2 weeks in and I am immediately regretting my decisions.

1. The weird questions and conversations that I have had with people have made me feel like the cross between a psycho therapist and the wrong number people call on accident.

2. I have walked into the most crass pickup lines that not even my kids could come up with.. (that says something)

3. Catfish is real.

4. People take this Cat person vs. Dog person a little too literal. Like, we don’t have to be one or the other…

5. I say I want Margarita Mondays but let’s be honest. Monday’s are hard. Can’t we just do an indie movie from Netflix and some takeout?

¬†¬†¬†¬† It’s been awhile, I haven’t wrote in a while and maybe like last time I won’t write for another 6 months. but, maybe I won’t. Maybe I will keep telling the stories of my life, the reality of being 20 something and not the fantasy. Welcome to my not so perfect story.

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(P.S. Thank you Adam Lawson for the thumbs up and positivity.)

Julia Robert’s and Robin Williams are liars. (RIP Rob)

“Yo, Miz Land, you got a Boo thang?”

“Yea, Miz Land, I be digging that Maze Runner.”

“Miss Land, I love my some Blue Oyster Cult, you think you got some of that?”

“Miz Land, you mixed wid anything, cuz you got the hoodrat hair.”

Welcome to 8th grade. Welcome to 8th grade Intensive Reading. Welcome to Hell. That accurately describes my life the past three weeks. It has been a roller coaster of excitement, nervousness, and an insanely amount of grace. Each one of those quotes are actual phrases I have gotten from some pretty amazing kids (I said some).¬†It has been tough, I am not going to lie. There have been so many days that I have drove home crying with Publix cookies in the passenger seat and an ungodly amount of journals to grade for the next day. Let’s be honest- Freedom Writers, Dead Poet’s Society, Mona Lisa Smile prepared me for hardworking students, undying faithfulness, and the hope to change the world. What I have so far- students with an addiction to my reward method (starburst wrappers), barely written journals, and kids who have given up.

See, I have the kids who didn’t meet standards with their reading in the past. Some of them are borderline reading level, but most aren’t close. ¬†This isn’t their first rodeo and many of them have been in multiple reading classes where they have learned the same stuff over and over and over again. So- they are a little deflated giving up their elective classes to sit in a class where they get preached at to READ READ READ. Hence where I come in.

Let’s be real, ¬†I took this job because I had 57 dollars in my bank account and nothing banging on my door. To make it where the Bear and I didn’t starve or have to make a makeshift raft down the Santa Fe and go all Huck Finn, I decided to take the job I promised myself I would never think of, and teach. Now you might say “Sam! You worked at EF, you loved it there! You were an English Major at SEU, come on! These point you towards teaching!” But but you are wrong. I believed ¬†I would write the next twenty-something breakout novel, be a fun housemom who watched Vampire Diaries and Hart of Dixie with her kids, and be the cheerleader for the next kids all too like Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile (Watch the movie, you’ll get my references). Instead, here I am- teaching kids who hate to read to mildly appreciate it and as much as I can’t breathe sometimes, I’m not hating it.

I can’t tell you I am doing a good job, but I can tell you that those little pip squeaks have wormed their way into my heart already (Maybe not 6th period). Some days I feel like I am just doing crowd control and praying for that last bell to ring, and some days, I have them where I can’t believe the day is over. ¬†So yea, this job wasn’t what I was expecting but life hardly ever is, and I may only be a crowd control at this point ,but I was hired to be their cheerleader, their encourager, their hope. And Lord Willing, I am going to be that.

We Belong To the Night…

Tonight I loaded up in a car renamed “The Humpback Whale”, way past my already bed time, and drove 30 minutes to see a movie filled with Fat Amy, Acca-jokes, the best mash ups in history, and a beautiful man. At the time, I thought I was going to just be spontaneous and have one last hurrah but it’s funny how things speak to you. Pitch Perfect was filled with the laughter, friendship, and the message that friendship doesn’t end when your book does. It is the ending of a chapter and what a beautiful one has it been.

Dear My Partner in Crime,

Thank you for never complaining on having to do study hall, or being the bad cop, or dealing with my crazy schedule. You have taught me so much about Ghana music, Shonda Rhimes, and what it means to be a true partner. We have lead countless Sunday Night Meetings, too many roommate fights to count, and the Haq situation… I’ll let that sit there for just a second. Oh sweet girl, I love you. I love you for continuing to show me what it means to be a graceful woman of the faith. You have been my backbone on our hall and it has been one of the most humbling and most beautiful friendship.

Dear Anne,

Leslie Knope here. I come to you for every hurt. Whether it be the fact that this weird thing is happening to my foot and is this normal? Or the deep hurts. You have bandaided me with wonderful beer, good food, and a listening ear. Who would have thought that working for you and filing for God Awful Edith (forgive me) would mean us becoming work besties. You are the epitome of what a true friend is. Thank you for that. You have held me together. Please also thank PJ for always being Grizz’s stepfather and never complaining when I just show up. I don’t want to think about you guys not being a hop and a skip away from me. Can’t you just move to Florida? I promise you’ll like it! Please can we text every day and pretend ¬†that Bergie and Grizz are still BFF’s? K, thanks.

Yo Ma Whats up (that’s you Dee),

Which is what I think of every time someone says your name.You are the only person I want to go out to eat with and spend the better part talking about our day with. Thank you for making me love Indian, for finding out about this new brunch thing way too late, and for never judging me when I just want to go to Taco Bell. Ain’t no shame in our game. Thank you for Simon and Garfunkel- or is that Garfunkel and Oats, Broad City, and a healthy dose of good ciders. I think this means Cali is calling my name.. Also… We have no pictures????

Dear Lauren Raia,

I remember being so nervous to meet you. I was in awe of how gracious you were. Thank you for seeing something in a insecure, terrified girl and showing her what it is like to lead people effectively. You did that. Thank you for always having dog treats and loving Grizz. You have been a mentor that has shown me how to write effective emails With your MA degree), how to deal with student conflicts with the beautiful mix of efficiency, compassion, discipline, and respect. It has been an honor being under you.

These are the ladies who have shaped me this year. There have been countless more- Emily, sweet girl. How come we are just now becoming BFFS????? My Boss who it took 9 months and some change to let me see her room but it was worth it, Susanne who scares me but there is no one who commands respect and awe, Kaye who is flawless with her outfits and her ability to be an amazing delagator, Heather you have made me laugh so much this past year. Mary my beautiful hippie who challenges me every day to be spontaneous, and finally my beautiful lunch table. Thank you Guidance counselors. You make lunch so much more fun and memorable. It is my favorite hour of the day. ‚̧

Fancy Robes, Mid 20’s, and 3AM musings…

I work at an international boarding school. One where I fight to get a good walk in with my dog some days, and others I spend in my fancy floral robe, drinking wine, and¬†re-watching¬†the first season of Grey‚Äôs Anatomy. Currently, I am¬†doing the later with a good deal emphasis ¬†on the cupcake wine. It is days like this that I stop and assume that this can‚Äôt be what I expected 25 to be. Which is kind of ironic, because I thought the same thing about 24 and even then there were those God-awful 20 something articles that were full of preparation of what my middle twenties would feel like. Each year takes me deeper into the intricacies of becoming older: a full-time job, owning an actual living breathing thing that¬†isn’t¬†a fish, ¬†and relying on more than one outfit that¬†isn’t¬†from Target¬†or¬†Forever 21. (JK, I still frequent Target clearance every chance I get.) My college vision of 25 never led me here. I remember in the not so distant past believing that if I¬†wasn’t¬†married and pregnant yet, I would get artificially¬†inseminated. God forbid, I ever think that again. There are so many things that adulthood brings with them, whether it be rationality that this girl does not want to raise anything else by herself ( the 75 lb bear is enough), OKCupid is not the path you are ready to walk down, or the sense that community is detrimental to the ever present growing that never really stops.

I miss the writing community. I miss the community I surrounded myself with from home, I miss home. I think it took a long time for me to come to this conclusion. Home was a stable group of friends outside of work,  my family as my support system, a constant buddy for Netflix-AKA my brother, and a blog that described the hopes of getting out of my small town.  For so long, I thought that admitting this was admitting defeat. I was supposed to have this amazing life up here and be consumed with What Instagram and Buzzfeed led us to believe about the city that never sleeps.  I once read a book called MWF Seeking a BFF and if that doesn’t describe my life at this point, I don’t know what does. Before I moved here I was writing once or twice a week and had blogger friends (Here’s lookin at you Jenn and Kelly) and I was reading and writing on the reg.

So this is me attempting a change. Maybe it is my delayed New Years resolution. Maybe it is me trying to grapple with the thing on the tip of my tongue that is making me so restless here. It will most likely be my rants of boarding school life, random excursions in search of something outside of EF (My OkCupid account atrocities), or maybe even moments of creativity. All I know is that it takes the homesick out and makes me zero in on what is really important. It makes me find my voice again, the real one.

A Different Kind of Fairytale

There once was a girl.¬†¬†She believed in spontaneity, late nights, and was anxious to get out of the rut she felt she¬†was in.¬†So, on a whim she took a chance and In two weeks she convinced herself and her family that the only place for her was¬†as far north as¬†she could go- New York City. She packed her car full of Florida clothes, her one eyed pup, and the¬†faith of her 20’s and left for what she imagined to be the dream. On the way there she imagined Manhattan, the Skyline, Broadway plays, and her life as one of the four SATC Girls. Maybe her own Carrie Bradshaw. IMG_0999

She arrived to not Times square but to a small town not entirely like the one she left behind, and to¬†the daunting task of Mom and not Carrie Bradshaw. She turned in her freedom for a leash and a clipboard of names.75 to be exact. Names she couldn’t pronounce and¬†Girls she had never met. House Master became her title and Cinnabon creamer became her vice.¬†Her responsibilities shifted to remembering birthdays, learning impossible names, buying countless supplies of dog food, morning pushes, and check in. Her nights ran to mornings and she learned that when paired right leggings became a girls best friend. She learned how to call a taxi, and maneuver the drag race traffic, and how to effectively play the good cop bad cop. ¬†Hospital runs became the norm and there was always a hot cup of lemon tea with extra sugar that happened to find its way into her hands from her favorite nurse. That was only the first month.

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Burn out was inevitable, homesickness untreatable, and Christmas was a million miles away. She had nothing but her dog for comfort and that was proving more a mistake than blessing with the hole in the wall and 6am potty times.IMG_1060

Her life was nothing like she had imagined. A few more weeks went by, and burnout seemed to be farther from the horizon. Girls showed up at her door for Cookie Butter and Hart of Dixie. Turns out no matter what nationality, Southern boys will always be attractive. Names became faces, and those faces wormed themselves into her life. Relationships were formed and turns out, her mama was right. She did inherit that teacher look.

One night after a particularly long day and a bag full of Taco Bell, it dawned on her as she pulled a 15 hour work day just to see one of her babies perform. With blisters on her feet, 5 day old unshaved legs, and no clean underwear- there was no where else she would rather be. Watching one of her kids do something she loved and being able to be apart of it. That was the day she felt she grew up. She realized she would take a spoon full of cookie butter over cocktails, and 2am breakup seshs over the life she thought she wanted. And that is a story all on its own.

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The List goes on and on… Thank you’s Pt. 1

There has never been a time where I felt so out of control of my life. It is Tuesday, the first actual day of not being at work, and ask me what I am doing. What I should be doing is packing… I, realistically, am on my couch with Pitch Perfect in the background and my computer in my lap. I seemingly haven’t learned. Have I even attempted to pack.. That is a negative, But I can’t say that I would take back anything. I am so blessed to have family and friends like all of you. From the well Wishes, to the good times, and thoughtful gifts- my heart is completely full. I came back to this place at a time in my life where I thought this was the last place I ever wanted to be. I felt like there could be nothing here for me… and a year and a half later, I am wondering how I will ever leave in a few short days. I made a life here, and the best part, I made it as a woman, not the 18 year old girl who left here originally. So here are my thank you’s, my condolences, and whatever else you may call it.
To the library who took me under their wing… a 23 year old newbie who didn’t have the greatest track record with book returns ;). Hopefully, you made the right choice. From the coffee vents to the Christmas once a month, I have enjoyed it more than you could ever know. Cindy, Get my room ready, and Mrs. J know that I am so relieved that you have to update the computers now!!To the family outside of Lafayette Library, Taylor, Gilchrist, the Head, You ladies and gentlemen have become my friends, my advice givers, and my own personal cheer team. Terri, you’re the youngest again! Eli, Thanks for the grace every time I made a sarcastic comment or called 100 times a day to get help! Aunt Cheryl, Thank you for being my aunt when I needed you to and a boss when it was called for. I can’t imagine not having your office to run to every now and again… Wayne, thanks for knowing it coming… even when I didn’t.
To my church who taught me that Baptists don’t just eat. Thank you for accepting me and bringing me into your own. The bitter girl who was at a crossroads in her life. Thank you Codie and Bryan who were my constant home away from home- My Pinterest friend (along with Angelica) and Harry Potter nerd. Mrs. Judy and the Robinsons, thank you for the game nights, food after church, and being my repairer to my poor glasses. You will forever be the best beach bums! Mrs. Lynn, thank you for not being afraid to talk to me, those one on ones have meant so much to me… To the Smith’s and Mrs. Gina, you have been my family. To Mrs. Jaime, Thank you for believing in me. For going along with my 2 man book club and actually reading the book. Your hugs I looked forward to the most on Sundays. To my Sunday School ladies, you are my sisters. I will miss rolling in with my chocolate milk in hand and Mrs. Rhonda sharing her book. Mrs Kerri and Mr. Martin, I will see you this summer. Mexico Here we come!!!
To my Land Family, I am going to miss our ladies nights. I fully expect to see you guys in New York at least once. I am so grateful to call you guys family. Aunt Louise, thank you for giving me a job when I was broke, I loved seeing your vision and helping with your boutique. Aunt Irene, for always being in the garden with us rain or shine… Uncle Mitchell, for always liking my cooking even when my dad didn’t. My not Land Family, I love you Granny, so much. You are my role model, forever. Papa, if any man can match you, I should snatch him up. Joey, thanks for fixing my car the 800 times and coming to get me everywhere. Wade and Melissa, I love you and I am so sorry I didn’t see you before I left! Aunt Laura, THank you for realizing it was time for me to go. I will be back, I will miss you too much!¬†You know that. Thank¬†you for always being my aunt and teaching me that friendships are stronger than blood.
To the Community of Mayo, Mr. Jack, thank you for taking a chance on me. I loved the pictures, and cannot wait for the retakes! Thank you for taking a nervous, terrified girl, and making her feel like a million bucks. To the bank ladies and Nicole, Thanks for giving me my first debit card!! It was a long time coming!! Tiny steps into adulthood! To all the patrons who stopped me in the stores to check and see if their books were due, thank you for making me feel important.
I know there are countless others but this is the start. These next few days will be a whirlwind but I wanted this to go out before I left. I love you guys, and can’t wait to start my adventure!!!1471890_827321590625518_2030540106516797494_n

Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Once, when I was on the brink of being a senior in High School, (I am thinking it was my senior year) I made Lori Land take me to a movie that she was not excited to see. Let’s be real, most movies I wanted to see she was less than enthusiastic,¬† but being the amazing mother she is, she dutifully went to Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. I remember coming out of the movie theater with this renewed sense of inspiration and drive to rise to the undeniable potential that was within me . Obviously, it didn’t take much: a kid’s movie and a cherry coke, but this scene has stuck with me throughout these past two weeks.

Mr. Edward Magorium: [to Molly, about dying] When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He’s written “He dies.” That’s all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is “He dies.” It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with “He dies.” And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, but not because of the words “He dies.” but because of the life we saw prior to the words.

[pause, walks over to Molly]

Mr. Edward Magorium: I’ve lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I’m only asking that you turn the page, continue reading… and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest “He died.”

Molly Mahoney: [starting to sob] I love you.

Mr. Edward Magorium: I love you, too.

[picks Molly up, sighs heavily]

Mr. Edward Magorium: Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.

           Last week, my community grieved the loss of a girl. A girl  that made such an impact  in so many peoples lives- a sister, a friend, a teammate, a classmate.  A woman with her whole life ahead of her. She left behind so much, but one of the things that resounded in the comments, posts, and well wishes was the way she made people feel. She brought light and love into peoples lives and the evidence is all over Facebook. Her life was the testament to how we should live. Lovingly, and to not look at her death but her life that was lived before it.

            Last night, my entire Facebook community mourned the death of Genie, Patch Adams, Peter Pan. Their entire childhood revisited throughout the night and the memories that this man played such a hand in. His talent brought so many people happiness and yet his life was so full of despair. And  at the same time,  an entire wave of people have called for justice as the senior was unjustly executed. His life on the cusp of transition.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Throughout these moments I can’t help but think of Dustin Hoffman( Mr. Magorium)- with his odd lisp, his colorful dance moves and eccentric behavior, and how much he made an impact on Molly. His life would never be over as long as his legacy lived on.¬† So for all who have died young, they live on in the quiet moments of remembrance and life. Through the lives of families and friends, through good times and bad times…Robin Williams will be there 10 years from now when I have kids and they watch the movie that made me believe t hat I would never grow up. He will be remembered by bringing a voice to suicide prevention and the real epidemic of depression… And for Michael Brown, he will forever be the call for justice. For there to be equality for all. And for the ones left, our job is to keep them here.¬† To never stop being the voice for them. To embrace them in the moments of our lives and to remember that We should live our life as an occasion… Rise to it.

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When you got big plans, you move to New York.

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There are moments in your life where you have to sink or swim. When Opportunities get thrown into your lap and you have to make the decision if the prospect of the great unknown is more enticing than staying in the comfortability of the life you have created so far. Obviously, I have just quoted, pretty much, every cliche inspirational song imaginable. Happens. But in the midst of Hillsong, Journey, and all the rest- they have a point. There comes a time in your life where you shouldn’t stop believing and you’re thrust into life altering decisions. dramatic much? Eh I am in favor of excited!

For me, that means packing up my one eyed grizzly bear, my suitcases, and my sweet mom (cause there is no way she is going to let me move in by myself) and move to New York. I have never lived outside of Florida, I have never lived more than 4 good hours to home, and I have never lived anywhere where it might even have a chance of snowing. I can’t even imagine how this will go but I can say it will be an adventure. I cannot even begin to say how incredibly blessed I am, and how fortunate I am to be having this opportunity! I will be a houseparent for EF Academy in Tarrytown NY and I will be working in their Library. I mean… come on- amazing doesn’t even begin to cut it!

So in the next few weeks, Let’s chat, Let’s have lunch, Come by the Library and see me before I leave. So many of you have been so encouraging to me throughout my move back to Mayo for the past year and a half and I have loved it,¬† I can’t imagine what life will be like without the life of this small town. Without you guys. Mayo is my home, and y‚Äôall are my family. To the people outside of Mayo, guess what! You have some place to come visit. Let’s be real, I love company. It’s like a party. Also, if you have friends up there…¬† I might like them to be my friends. I am sure I might get kind of lonely up there ( I have not succumbed to desperation yet) So hit me up! I promise that if you are a fellow reader of my blog and I haven’t written in years, that is changing. I have jumped back into the saddle and be prepared to hear about my trip to Mexico. It has been a long time coming. Thank you so much for the prayers that I am sure will be sent up, and the thoughts and well wishes, I am going to miss you guys. So I leave you with a fun quote to describe the insanity which has become my life…

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Faith and Feminism: The “F” Word

The Stay at Home Feminist

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Feminism.

Speak this word in a crowd of conservatives and you will instantly feel the tension rise.  You will see faces suddenly distort, and grown men shift uncomfortably in their chairs. I’ve never understood how a word I found to be so liberating and inspiring could cause such anger and discomfort among others.

If you read my recent post, ‚ÄúMy Husband, My Companion,‚ÄĚ you noticed that I identify myself as a Christian feminist.¬† For years I was told these two labels are a contradiction, and that if I tried to identify with these two labels, I would find my faith and my activism at odds with one another.

In my first couple of years as a Christian, I encountered some individuals who claimed women were subordinate to their male counterparts; implying that the differences in our sexual organs sets forth a hierarchal framework that I am to adhere…

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