Saturday, June 22, 2013


We have been house hunting and, because of our inclination to DIY everything and our budget, we were looking at a lot of homes from the 1900s-1950s, homes that would need a lot of demolition and renovation. I knew that older homes just might have issues with asbestos, and I knew that was something I didnʼt want to mess around with. So I did what I do best - research. To be honest, I only took the time to research because I was worried about the kids. I didnʼt want them to deal with asbestos or lead poisoning as preschoolers. In this case, as usual, I wished I hadnʼt learned a single thing. 

Apparently asbestos was common until the 80s. And was used in everything from insulation to ceiling tiles to floor tiles to oven lining to oven mitts. It was used to wrap pipes and mixed into cement. It was a cheap building material and was widely applied. Apparently the tiny, invisible asbestos fibres enter your lungs and hook themselves into the lining of your lungs, never to leave again, but instead to wreak havoc on your health. 

The thing with asbestos is that as long as it stays in a solid state it is relatively harmless. For example, if you have asbestos wrapping your pipes, then as long as the insulating material is intact, youʼre most likely fine. Once it becomes damaged or ripped or the fibres are exposed to the air, you are at risk. Your best bet, in that case, is to encapsulate or seal the asbestos, to leave it as undamaged as possible, because any demolition is likely to cause more issues than it will resolve and be very, very expensive. (*side note* always use a professional abatement crew to deal with asbestos!) 

When I was in high school and leaning toward attending the bible college that was my future home, the reasons for attending were often recited to me. The most common reason was to “grow and become solid in your faith in doctrine, so you will not be shaken by the world” and it was said so confidently, as if all you really need is to seal up your faith with the right lessons and doctrine, to be “in the word” so much that you were f ireproofed from the world, the flesh and the devil. I had been fireproofed against all of that since I was born - with all the right doctrine, all the right restrictions, all the right everything that conservative christian parents were taught in that era. My parents, in fact, went further than most, working hard to keep their children safe and saved, and to live according to godʼs word. 

My entire formative years were spent building a home for my faith. My parents laid the foundation and my church and homeschool group and conventions and youth retreats and friends and books and bible college and, finally, the Husbandʼs stint at seminary, were all part of that home that was being built. Extensive work went into making sure it was fireproof and 100% safe and secure. 

It wasnʼt until I had my own children that I began to examine this house of faith with a critical eye. Suddenly there were portions that looked unsafe, or could possibly harm or damage this beautiful human that Husband and I had made. 

There were a few, just a few, things that I wanted to re-examine, and possibly demolish. So I tore off a few pieces of drywall, exposed some insulation underneath. I took up a few floor tiles, punched a few holes in the ceiling tile. I cut into some pipes to see what, exactly, there was once the outside veneers were torn away. What I released into the air poisoned me. 

That poison did not give me mesothelioma. It did not cause me to die before my age. But in a very real emotional way, I found myself dying. The very home that had been built and fireproofed and painted and sealed and decorated - the very home that had been built to the specifications of those wise men and women in my life - it was poisoning me. All it took was a few holes. I was given a home without substance. When I broke through the veneer - what I had been handed and told “this, and only this, is true” - I found the inside was hollow. In some places there was nothing, in others there was painful, poisonous materials. 

At that point, I had a choice. I could seal up the holes I had made, I could ignore what I had found and take the easy road. It was easier to ignore the problems, inconsistencies and hurts. I could have made my home beautiful again, lived in it for my entire life and then passed it down to my children.

 But. I couldnʼt. I canʼt. 

So demolition began in earnest. 

Those who had a hand in building the home - and even those who hadnʼt, but whose homes resembled mine - couldnʼt imagine why I would want to gut my beautiful home! It made no sense to those whose homes were still whole, whose “asbestos” (if they had any) was still well buried and not causing visible harm. Instead of happy interest and curiosity over my remodel, I was met with gossip, disdain and, strangest of all, pity. My shock at the pity was a measurement of how far I had come since I began the remodel, since the days when I didnʼt know there could be more behind my walls - let alone something poisonous. 

This remodel was a thing of JOY. It was hard, hard work, but it was work that was going toward making something beautiful that was whole and solid all the way through. This remodel is still ongoing. I doubt it will ever be finished. That can be exhausting, and sometimes depressing. And once in a while I wish I could just mentally and emotionally walk into a finished “home” and find a whole and coherent view of life and faith there waiting for me. 

But I would never trade comfort for a beautiful home built with poisonous materials

Thursday, June 13, 2013

just. annoyed.

Somehow this ridiculous blog made it onto a news site.

I don't think something this crazy really needs criticism. It's one of those writings where those who are predisposed to believe it will drink it down and spread it around fb as this GREAT new thing they are reading!!!!11!!! and those who aren't already in that mindset... won't.

It's not like what I'm writing is going to be some great revelation or change something.

I'm just hella ANNOYED.

Because guys. GUYS.

He starts the piece with "Two years ago, the cutest girl in Indiana was taken off the market! "


Let's all take marriage advice from the guy who has been married two years.

That's not even the bad part. "The cutest girl" and "taken off the market!"

Eeeeew. Let's just start a marriage advice post by objectifying your wife and making it sound like you acquired her in a particularly lucrative deal.


I know that sometimes those things are just "sayings" but they scream disrespect. My Man has been around those sayings plenty and never once, not in conversation OR a (hopefully) thought out written piece has he EVER said something like that about me.

Combine that with the rest of the piece and here's what you get:

(allow me to translate the christian-ese for you)

"OMG! Being married is harder than I thought - even though I married the HOTTEST girl! Somehow that isn't quite enough! And since I'm a Christian, we don't actually RESPECT each other - not without Jesus FORCING us to. BUT NO WORRIES! Because we have COMMITMENT. That my wife is committed to me is all I need to know about her! And her hotness when I bought her - I mean married her! Because that's way more important than whether we even are compatible or like each other because, ya know, Jesus conquers ALL. Even sucky marriages. Because society can't give us solutions for any marriage problems! Oh, and trust me. I've been married for two years."

That last line he actually says. ("Trust me. I know. Because I've been married, two years now, to a girl who has relentlessly committed to this task with me.")

And then the false dichotomy he creates, making it sound like the secular world ("by society's standards") is the one that tells people they need/deserve/can find a super spouse. HA. Because Christians TOTES don't do that!



Guys. GUYS. I just can NOT STAND IT.

Okay, I get the gist of what he is saying. No one is perfect. No marriage is perfect. And some people have their sights set a little too high and that's gonna come back to bite them in the butt. Probably for this guy and his wife this really IS a huge step in the right direction. And I know that when we married at the absurd age of 20 that we didn't have a full grasp of the realities of daily life with another person.

But there are a million other blogs that say that with much more intelligence, clarity and kindness to others who have a different experience. Someone who doesn't talk about his spouse like they are a piece of meat. Whose two freakin years of marriage haven't given them the impression they have the answer for everyone. Someone who is smart enough not to say that there are two kinds of people: "...wrong people who pretend to be right, and wrong people who are becoming right, through Jesus."

I have two friends who are a-religious and both married 40-some years. They speak in terms of soulmates, true loves and such things that this young man claims do not exist. And when I ask what their secret is they laugh and you know that, no matter the hard times, loving this person has been easy and right and beautiful and they tell me "I married my best friend, we respect each other" and one added "we never swear at each other!" This is just a tiny sampling of just people I know whose lives refute his certainty.

If believing that his marriage will always be hard work and that lowering his ideals is the only way to be happy, then good for him.

Some people don't have to live in that mental place, and are happy for 40+ years.

I can't even BEGIN to explain how much better, how much easier it was and how much more confident I became that I more than married the RIGHT one - I married a true friend, lover and soulmate - AFTER I let go of just the ideas and ideals this blogger promotes for everyone ("whether you buy the biblical view of marriage or not") and just approached our marriage as ours and cared for it as I would something beautiful, transcendent and oh so VERY "right." But that's me. That's US.

So go ahead, write what you know.

But when you're tempted to make it sound like you've found THE solution, and demand people trust you because you've been married two years?