Saturday, July 8, 2017

School Supplies and Shoes for Short Creek

Please note the previous post for information about who administrates this effort and links to what the Operation Short Creek is all about. (http://undermuchgrace.blogspot.com/2017/07/who-is-responsible-for-short-creek.html)

I wrote this to make it easy to cut and paste into facebook, so I did not embed the links.





THE SHOE BIZ

Many children and teens in Short Creek have pathetically worn out shoes to which these pictures can attest. While you're out getting school supply bargains at these stores with a basic “how to” list on what to pick up, maybe you can find some shoes for the children in need.

I know virtually nothing about where and how to get shoe deals for kids and don't have any from whom to pilfer. So please help me out!

Seeking tennis shoes or flat sandals
Children's size 12 & up
Adult sizes 3 – 8
Used shoes are very much welcomed!!!

1.) If you're an Amazon Prime Member, you can already get in on some good deals now.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/goldbox/ref=nav_cs_gb
2.) If you're not a prime member, sign up for a trial membership for one month and then cancel it before you're charged for it -- just to get in on the good bargains and wild discounts on July 10th. If you're a student, you can get a free trial for six months.
http://amzn.to/2tQyr3e
3.) If you use Ebates, you can also get 3% back on select purchases that you make by using their portal to link to Amazon. The list changes frequently. (Shoes just dropped off the list!) Learn more about Ebates here: http://bit.ly/2tUmFof
4.) You can also apply for an Amazon credit card, get a free gift card for a up to $70, and rack up 5% cash back on your purchases. (You get approval in under five minutes when you apply online and can use the credit line right away.)
5.) Deals for boys:  http://amzn.to/2sUzcDI

6.) Deals for girls:  http://amzn.to/2txMfx3

7,) And Amazon will deliver directly to the post office. Many retailers will only ship to a street address.

Please consider sending both old children's shoes, new ones, or go on a wild trip to a local thrift store and load up on gently worn shoes for kids of all ages.

Operation Short Creek
P.O. Box 840848
Hildale, Utah 84784

Learn more about the needs here:
http://bit.ly/2toSoNo

Thank you for your generous, kind support which has been of great comfort to those whose lives have been so drastically changed by the trauma of eviction. A decent pair of shoes would be a constant reminder that there are still good people in this world who care about those in need.





RAIDING RETAILERS FOR
BACK TO SCHOOL BARGAINS


STAPLES OFFICE SUPPLY – Back to School Sales
  1. The best deals are in the store this week vs online. (Staples does not ship to P.O. Boxes, so you would have to box in store purchased items yourself for shipping to Operation Short Creek, P.O. Box 840848, Hildale, Utah 84784.)
  2. If you sign up for Staples phone text alerts, they'll give you a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase.
  3. Gift vouchers can be purchased and a pdf could be sent to Operation Short Creek.
  4. The best deals on discounted gift cards that I found:
    --GIFTCARDGRANNY.COM 4% discount (https://www.giftcardgranny.com/buy-gift-cards/staples/)
  5. If you use Ebates.com, you can get 1% cash back on your order from Raise.com.

STAPLES BEST DEALS through Saturday 8/8

IN STORE ONLY
- Crayola Crayons 24 count box 50¢ (limit 30)
- Staples wire bound 100 sheet notebook 25¢ (limit 30)
- Composition books 50¢ (limit 30)
- Staples 2 pocket folder 0.25¢ (limit 30)
- Staples #2 12 pk pencils $1.00
- Crayola 12pk colored pencils 0.97¢ (limit 30)
- Crayola 10pk big markers 0.97¢ (limit 30)
- Crayola 10 pk thin markers 0.97¢ (limit 30)
- Glad Tall Kitchen trash bags 200ct was $24, now $9.00 clearance
- Dawn Dish Detergent 56oz was $9, now $2.00 clearance
- Glad drawstring bags w/febreeze 80ct was $16, now $6 clearance
IN STORE ONLY EXTRA SAVINGS WITH COUPONS (From June newspaper inserts if you can find them)
*Clorox Disinfecting pop-up premoistened Wipes 3 pack was $14, now $3-6, depending on the individual store. Clorox.com also has a printable coupon online .
*Bic Round Stick Ballpoint pens 60ct $4.00
*Bic Xtra comfort pens 12 pack $1.50
*Bic Xtra-Fun 8pk colored pencils $2.00
*Elmers's Pourable Glue 4oz $1.00
*Wet Nap Wipes 132 count pop up pouch $2
*Purell also on sale at some locations





TARGET STORES USING THE CARTWHEEL APP

1.) Target has dropped all of their prices on back to school items in stores, and you can clean up and box them up to send to the Children at Short Creek.

2.) The Krazy Coupon Ladies http://bit.ly/2uAr8Ko have ideas a plenty about how to go about selecting their haul while there's still a good selection available.

3.) If you have a SMARTPHONE or TABLETand don't already use the CARTWEEL APP for in store bargains at Target for deep discounts on stuff you already use, learn more about it here in this video on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK_xKZrNTok). You can plan ahead by activating deals (like 30% particular items), but I find that I'm always buying stuff that I didn't plan to get from clearance counters and deciding not to buy things on my list.


4.) You can also use COUPON along with the same items that you buy using Cartwheel. A checkout clerk asked me why I didn't use it on a slow morning a couple of years ago, let me download it while I stood in line and saved a ton of money on stuff she'd already run up. It's even more fun when you have a coupon for an item that's already on sale that you use all the time and they give you a free gift card with promotions. (Laundry detergents and paper products often fall right into that category nicely for me.) Those Krazy Coupon Ladies also do a weekly roundup on great deals (http://bit.ly/2tSio55), and Cartwheel itself can send you push notifications on your cell phone to remind you that a deal is just about to expire.

5.) And as always, if you use your Target Mastercard, you get an automatic 5% off purchases.






HOLLAR.COM

1.) Hollar is sort of like Big Lots overstock online for small items and is also one of the best places to buy “As Seen On TV” items. Sometimes they have enough stock to offer items in bulk, but most of the time, their individual prices on most things can even beat Walmart.

2.) They have great deals on school supplies and personal care items, and I've found nice deals on backpacks for kids (so long as they don't have a fantasy character on them). There seems to be a lot of emoji printed items available right now.  Read more here for ideas about what to buy.
 (http://undermuchgrace.blogspot.com/2017/05/hollaring-for-help-on-mothers-day.html)

3.) The company DOES ship to P.O. Boxes, so there's no problem shopping online to have a qualifying order shipped for free to Operation Short Creek, P.O. Box 840848, Hildale, Utah 84784.

4.) Unlike many other online retailers that require a high sales total, Hollar ships orders over $25 for free.

5.) Hollar frequently offers special promotions offering credit on subsequent orders, and they always offer a $2 credit if you complete your order in a timely fashion. To maximize this benefit, you might wish to register and shop, and then come back later to complete your purchase to get the maximum benefit.

6.) If you've never ordered before, Hollar often gives you automatically get free shipping your first order.

7.) You get $2 off when you sign up for their emails with information about special promotions, price drops on things you tend to buy, and they let you know if you have accumulated store credit that is due to expire.

8.) Currently, if you place an order via the tablet/smartphone app, you can save $3 with this coupon: WHATSNEW3

9.)  Breaking News from HOLLAR!





Operation Short Creek

P.O. Box 840848
Hildale, Utah 84784



Learn more about the needs here:

Who is Responsible for Short Creek Outreach?

Note that I formatted this to be Facebook friendly so that people can copy and paste and preserve the links.

In several previous posts, I've described why I feel so moved to help with the Fundamentalist Mormons who have been evicted from their homes in Short Creek.  (http://bit.ly/2uCBRUS) 

Today I'd like to clarify the details about who is administrating the project. Right now, I hope to help motivate people to take advantage of Back to School Clearance deals and shoes that the children and young people desperately need. More details about items that would be helpful for care packages for children can be read here (http://bit.ly/2tXO093), and the greater, more comprehensive needs at LifeInTheCrick.com (http://lifeinthecrick.com/flds-needs-form/) and on the Short Creek Outreach page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Short-Creek-Outreach-299468327155599/).

When you're out shopping, think about what might be nice to have and easy for children to use on a camping trip when picking up back to school bargains. Take a look at the care package suggestions to get an idea of what would be helpful. As always, remember that the folks choose not to use fantasy themed items like Disney or Marvel superheros, but more pleasant, generic items are fine.




For the simple ease of cutting and pasting, here's the address:

Operation Short Creek
P.O. Box 840848
Hildale, Utah 84784

How do we know that things get to where they're supposed to go?
When Suzanne mentioned the needs on No Longer Quivering at Patheos a number of weeks ago, people asked reasonable questions about who was distributing items and who would be allocating funds. I was really honored by the kind and productive feedback from those who commented. Moms in the Quiverfull Movement face many of the same kinds of challenges if they seek to leave their husbands, and their communities often seek to “intervene” to control what happens to them which isn't always in the best interest of the mother or her children.


Our Pioneers on the Ground


Christine Marie Katas and her husband are basically coordinating most everything on the ground in Hildale, UT (the twin city on the Utah side that forms Short Creek. In one of his videos on facebook, the professional photographer Tolga Katas basically said that his lovely wife set up what he called a refugee camp for those who can't find housing. The couple relocated to Hildale, UT to be closer to help the community.

Christine Marie is a quite dynamic person who has a long list of notable accomplishments and interests who started out as a school teacher, authoring books on education. She is now involved in many innovate media ventures while she works to complete her PhD in Media Psychology. You can find her profile on Linked In here (https://www.linkedin.com/in/christinemarie/) and on just one of her websites here (http://christinemarie.brandyourself.com). I finally had the opportunity to meet her in person last July and have corresponded and spoken with her since then regarding this relief effort to help in Short Creek.

If you hunt around online, you can find different versions of her religious saga, and as a result of some media exploitation, she became involved in media psychology. She now seeks to help people present their own personal accounts with dignity by wisely using media to own their histories and how they communicate that to others.

Items that are received are organized into care packages by Christine Marie and women, young and old, from the Short Creek Community. There are some videos here and there that show this band of do-gooders distributing bags of much needed items. She also uses needs forms that can be found at the above link at the LifeInTheCrick.com website to keep track of the needs of individual families. I've seen some pictures of rooms full of care boxes, and I asked for some photos of some of the things that I bought over Mother's Day weekend through unbelievable online deals discussed in previous blog posts.


Remote Assistants

On Facebook at the Operation Short Creek site (
https://www.facebook.com/Short-Creek-Outreach-299468327155599/), you will find Tamara who lives in the Great Lakes Area or the Prairie or someplace like that. Her religious background is much like mine, though she made her exodus from her sect with children in tow. Like so many who leave what some call Christian or Bible based sects, as I wrote in the previous post, we know what it's like to suffer some of these things personally or have witnessed those close to us go through a similar situation. And we want to do what we can to help change things for the better. Sometimes on the bad days, the smallest considerations can make a world of difference.

Also assisting and helping Christine Marie and Tamara is Sgt Linda Kellie Brown (US Army, Retired) with fundraising at the You Caring fund that she established. (https://www.youcaring.com/fldsfamilies-840966) A bit earlier she also established a Go Fund Me account, too. (https://www.gofundme.com/operationshortcreek) Linda is also a Protestant Christian who, like me, just can't stand the idea of so many children and their mothers who suddenly have no homes. She also lives on the other side of the US from Utah, but she's worked to help from afar. All three of these women have helped me understand so much more about the broader landscape and the obstacles that these displaced persons face on so many levels.

(I seem to be tagging along, trying to find resources, interested journalists, and legal help. I assess needs, give out information, and make referrals like I always do. I'd rather ask people for help than not make any effort at all.)


Honorable Mention

(She's not affiliated with any of this, but I'm very proud of her and wanted to plug her recent feature in the Washington Post.)

I'm very grateful to Attorney Sarah Hunt who is quite familiar with the types of situations faced by women and children in need. Sarah's saga can be read in various places like the Homeschool Apostates article that Kathryn Joyce wrote a few years ago. (http://prospect.org/article/homeschool-apostates) And Sarah's new NGO, The Center for Home Education Policy, seeks to assist those who are homeschooled or have exited tightly controlled religious settings make transitions into mainstream life. It's also a bit like the Home School Legal Defense Association, but instead of focusing on preserving the rights of parents, the needs of children are first and foremost. Read more in the Washington Post article about the effort. (http://wapo.st/2tsZdhf) Visit the Center for Home Education Policy here: https://homeschoolgrads.org


I think at this point, all I've done is commiserate with Sarah about the situation as she's helped me with information, some brainstorming, some networking. She's astoundingly busy, so I am grateful for her time and kind ear.





The next post: A plan of attack to get school supply bargains.


Someone else who has kids needs to help me figure out how to get shoes. 

All I keep thinking about is an old episode of Johnny Carson from the 1980s when Imelda Marcos lost all of her shoes or had them taken. Johnny went out into the audience with a big cardboard box and asked people to donate their shoes to her.



Short Creek, The Now, The Not Yet (and me)

Check out the Crazy Coupon Lady site.


(Warning: It's one of those Christian posts.)

I'm still procrastinating about writing up my official Mother's Day post, so in the meanwhile, I'll help to contribute tangibly by planting some ideas. As noted in previous posts, without condemning or condoning anyone, too many children are still in need of pragmatic help after more than 1000 people were evicted from their homes.

Amazon Prime?  Target? A Salvation Army Raid?


It is my opinion also that there are many sides to the debate, and the children in the families who are currently faithful to Fundamentalist Mormon beliefs have little to no voice in the political and religious debates. So before I make my pitch to give to the needy, I'd like to tell you why I'm braking tradition to talk about where to get good deals on shoes and school supplies.



A Gentle Gentile Response?

As a gentile who embraces Jesus but not Joseph Smith (as I am understood by these families), I think of the parable of the Good Samaritan. I think that most Christians think of all Samaritans as good people who take care of strangers, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The Samaritans absolutely despised and hated the Jews, and the Jews in Israel were prohibited from interacting with them. (They had absolutely no motive to interact with them, either.) People forget just how much they hated one another and why.


Where did the Samaritans Come From?

Some 900 years before Jesus told this parable to his very Jewish followers, Israel divided into a Northern and a Southern Kingdom. Basically, King David had many critics, and between his disturbed son Absalom, other tribes who were mad that the kingship passed from Saul's Tribe to David's, and high taxes that no one wanted to pay, they eventually managed to break free.  A good number of ten tribes separated and formed the Northern Kingdom taking up the larger share of people in what is now considered (by some to be) modern Palestine. They lasted there independently for about 200 years during which they warred against their brothers in the South.  They named Jereboam their first king, and since he was of the tribe of Ephraim, the Bible sometimes names the Kingdom of the North interchangeably with Israel or Ephraim.

Those Jews who were faithful to King David's line became the Southern Kingdom – the Kingdom of Judah (David's tribe and the tribe from which the Messiah, Jesus, was prophesied to be born.  Jerusalem (in the Southern Kingdom) had been designated as “Zion,” the chosen place and Mountain where God dwells – where Solomon built his Temple which stored the Ark of the Covenant.  

In addition to their own mass sibling rivalries turned into political wars, each of the Kingdoms were conquered by different nations.  The Northern Kingdom fared a bit better and eventually ended up dominated by the Assyrians who also hated those in Judah.  That didn't help the lack of love that the Northern Kingdom had for their brothers in the South, either -- Everyone north of Bethel basically hated Judah.  And the Kingdom of Judah ended up dispersed across the region between Egypt who came after them twice, and then many were taken very far away to Babylon.


The Sell-Out Sacrilegious Samaritans

So how were the Jews in the Northern Kingdom supposed to observe the Day of Atonement and the Passover before they Assyrians invaded?  They were creative.  Under Assyrian reign and over time, the Jews in the Northern Kingdom amended the writings of Moses to produce their own Samarian Pentateuch. They intermarried with their enemies. Isolated in the lands that we know today as the West Bank, “Samaritanism” (essentially a sect of Judaism) chose to declare and appropriate Mount Girazim as their new Mount Zion so that they could adhere to their new, modified version of Mosaic Law.

There was much more drama, but eventually Persia ended up dominating the whole region, even though it didn't actually rule countries there as their own nation.  Things basically calmed down (out of futility?) and the Athenians and Rome started to emerge as a stronger power.

Cindy's really bad map of Persia and the Divided Kingdoms
By the time that 445 BC rolls around, the Kingdom of Judah barely existed anymore.  Nehemiah (of the Southern Kingdom of Judah) was the cup-bearer for the King of Persia. He told the king that there was barely anything left of his native people and land, and the king gave him resources to begin rebuilding Jerusalem. Judah's exiles in Babylon were returned to Jerusalem to assist in the effort. Nehemiah then worked to repopulate the city, and with the prophet Ezra's help, reestablished faithful observance of Mosaic Law in Jerusalem's rebuilt Temple.

The Assyrians still hated the Persians and the Babylonians, and when Jerusalem was given back to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, though most of the exiles from Judah returned, a far lesser number of those other tribes came back home to the original Zion.  And after years of observing their Samaritanism, many did not wish to abandon their own Zion on Mount Girazim. 


The Samaritans could not have had more cause to hate the Southern Kingdom as they rebuilt Jerusalem and the second Temple. Those Jews who joined sides with the Assyrians who had fought them for ages sold out to convenience by altering the Holy Word of God.  The idea that Jewish ethnicity and their nation-state was still directly tied to their religious identity as those who were set apart for God alone, so those who failed to returned to the land that Abraham gave to them sold their birthrights. For the re-established Israel the Samaritans had not just wed their own enemies in war x2 but God's enemies in terms of those who were holy and set apart for and by God through the Law. In many ways, this was an unthinkable and reprehensible act to the Jews who remained faithful to the Kingdom of Judah.  Their Samaritan half-brothers corrupted their holy faith, and even more hate abounded.  For every reason imaginable, Samaritans were not to interact with Jews who had no desire to interact with them.


Jesus and Samaritans

It is by no mistake that the woman at the well whom Jesus meets is there in the heat of the day, so late in the afternoon. She's not only the wife of five husbands, but the lateness of the hour tells of how despised she was as a Samaritan. In one of Hannah Hunard's books, she speaks about how so much of life in Israel surrounds the procurement and rationing of water and how difficult it was to go to the wells in afternoon, linking this to the significance of this narrative.


The Samaritan woman could not go in the morning because the Jewish women there would have turned her away. In John, Chapter Four, the woman mentions to Jesus that her people worshipped at Girazim instead of Jerusalem. Jesus tells her that soon, it will not matter, for those who belong to God will soon have no need for a physical place to worship God (in the right way -- under the confines of the Law.).  All men who seek Him would soon be able to worship Him simply – in spirit and in truth.

But the worship of God in Jerusalem had also adapted, and the Pharisees and Saducees emerged in the South.  But notably in this example, Jesus blatantly violates the mores and religious traditions of His own day -- of the Samaritans and the Jews alike.  He shows loving kindness to a Samaritan, a serial adulteress who is scorned by other women, but just as a holy man, He has even more reason to keep Himself pure by refusing to speak to her.

At the risk of making an already too long post even longer, I take for granted that most people who read this will have some knowledge of the parable of the Good Samaritan.  But note, that in this context of history, he is a man who is supposed to hate Jews. In the Book of Luke, the Samaritans reject Jesus.  

Instead, Jesus shows a new path and a new way to live in His Kingdom of Heaven which is governed by the Law of Love. The enemy sees an individual man in pain --  who just so happens to be from the most hated of his nation's own and people's own enemies.  Instead of abandoning his worst enemy or putting him out of his misery, the Samaritan treats his arch enemy as a brother – as he would expect someone who loved him to treat him in his hour of great need. Jesus broke every rule that a faithful Jew and Samaritan observed in that day, which was beyond scandalous, yet we think of Samaritans as good people who help everyone. And we forget the twist on the story, for Jesus tells a story that makes a hero of those whom the Jews dehumanized after years of hatred and war.

Jesus shows us the solution to the problem of scapegoating and demoralizing others.  We should love them.  And he put his followers to shame with his Samaritan hero.


The Gentiles and the People of Short Creek

Today, the war still wages between the Nation of Israel and the people of the West Bank. Each has their idea of Zion. As I noted in the photographs in the Salt Lake City Tribune, I saw “Zion” written many places, above doorways and on objects left abandoned under force of law. I immediately thought of the religious and political battles that we face in the Middle East as brother wars against brother. There are so many parallels between those in Short Creek and those who see the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Temple Mound in Jerusalem as their promised Zion – as well as the different factions of people who also seek a better City, a place to worship God where their lives are set apart to worship as they see fit. And many see things so much differently.

I may be wrong, but to put myself in the worn thin shoes of a faithful follower of the Fundamentalist Mormon sect, I think that the best analogy that I can make is that they are Israel and their homes and community in Short Creek was their Zion. I keep thinking of that part of the Twelve Step Program that says bids people to turn their lives over to God as that person understands God. (I know that this phrase is strongly criticized by some Christians, but I figure that you've got to start somewhere. For people who are theists, I think that it works well if they keep their lives and focus in perspective.)

We all begin somewhere, and I know that in my own life, my understanding of God changes

and deepens, and I hope that it becomes more broad in truth and more narrow in the errors in my understanding. I am much like the woman at the well, having been to and fro, but faithful to the truth that I walked in at the time (for the most part). I walked in the light that I had. And as Jesus said, though not always through the wisest routes, I've sought after Him with all of my heart. I've done so by following prophets. I've fasted for weeks on end. I've done works of service. I've lived in periods of piety. I can't tell you how many times as an often sick child that I put my hand on my TV screen when Earnest Angley said to pray and put my hand on the screen “as a point of contact” for a miracle. I did as a young adult, too, every time that he was on TV and said to do it. But that's how I understood God, and I followed the faith that my mother gave to me. I know what it is to do so in earnest. God knows my heart and just how much I love him and why I did what I did.


The Challenge

And I may have the semantics and analogies wrong, but from the perspective of these Mormons, I imagine that they feel much akin to the people of Judah who returned to Jerusalem to help Nehemiah and to heed the admonishments of the Prophet Ezra. I suppose that the Mainstream Mormons who want everyone to forget all about the legacy of the past and beliefs and all of the practices followed by Joseph Smith are much like the Samaritans who followed Judaism to those who have been run out of Short Creek. And I am a foreigner with no ties to those who dwell in Zion from that vantage. I'm a woman of unclean lips half of the time, and I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips, and many people like me have so many hard things to say about our differences in religion and politics.

But I step back from this, and I know that as this old Amy Grant song says, I am very much the now and the not yet. I'm no longer what I was, but I am not all that I will be. And I don't see that many differences between me, those true believing moms and children in Short Creek. By the kindness of many who have shown love to me when I did not deserve it, how could I treat those in need any differently than I have been. But for grace, there go I. Why was I born by a French and British mother into a then mediocre generally Protestant and nearly agnostic home in Pennsylvania and not by a mother named Jessop or Barlow in their Zion?

I suggest that all of us are no longer what we were before, but not all that we will be. And I believe as I know that so many of my Mormon would-be sisters and mothers in Short Creek what to do what is right and good before God – “as they understand him.” We walk in the light that we have. And while we do, I think Jesus made His strongest statements when He told his followers to love when it was hardest to do so, for that was the Law of His Kingdom. (A
t least as I understand it.)



So that's why the next couple of posts will be about helping those who are subject to what many describe as bounded choice – walking earnestly in the light that you have with all of the resources that you can muster, in the middle of the now and not yet. I don't condemn. I don't condone. I'm doing my best to love in a practical, tangible way, just as I have been. These who claim the heritage and name of the Children of Zion need good Samaritans -- their own brothers and sisters. 

If no modern day Samaritans will step up, I think that there are plenty of gentiles like me who can relate relate to what it is like to be like the man who was found along the roadside, broken and wounded with no ability or resources available to meet their own needs.  I think that those who help with the large and the small things like a pair of shoes or a pillow or a box of crayons like the Samaritan who cleansed the wounds of his would-be enemy and took him in as his own until he was able to care for himself.  These small things are the oil and wine of healing of many wounds.

In my idealism, it is my hope that in the end of all things, we all might come to be a part of what Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman.  The Apostle Paul wrote that the Spirit brings us together into the knowledge of the truth -- and we grow to understand God better and better.  May well all come to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.  If we don't do it hand in hand with my would-be sisters in Short Creek, I am happy to worship God by loving them by helping them.  And I can pray that those -- their families who war against them -- will also grow in their understanding of who God and in their knowledge of the truth -- whatever that turns out to be.

And I humbly apologize if this post seems sacrilegious, offensive, or heretical to anyone. This is my heart from my vantage having been through what seems like a host of lives and beliefs while at the same time really changing little of my love for God which as always been at the core of my understanding. I am not condemning. I am not condoning. To the best of my understanding, I'm following the Spirit and the Law of Love – as best as I understand things today. But I am not all that I will be.  And "I" need some shoes for my sisters.

(I also left out about 100 Bible and historical references. Those who are Biblically literate to whom I'm primarily addressing in this post will recognize them.  And we now have Google.)




The Now and the Not Yet
by Pam Mark Hall (performed by Amy Grant)

No longer what we were before,
But not all that we will be.
Tomorrow, when we lock the door,
On all our compromising,
When He appears,
He'll draw us near,
And we'll be changed by His glory,
Wrapped up in His glory....

We will be like Him,
For we shall see Him,
As He is.

No longer what we saw before,
But not all that we will see.
Tomorrow, when we lock the door,
On all our disbelieving,
When He appears (holy, holy),
Our view will clear,
And we'll be changed by His glory,
Wrapped up in His glory....

But I'm caught in between
The now and the not yet;
Sometimes it seems like
Forever and ever,
That I've been reaching to be
All that I am,
But I'm only a few steps nearer,
Yet I'm nearer....

No longer what we were before,
But not all that we will be.
Tomorrow, when we lock the door,
On all our disbelieving,
And He appears (holy, holy),
He'll draw us near,
And we'll be changed by His glory,
Wrapped up in His glory....

When He appears (holy, holy),
He'll draw us near,
And we'll be changed by His glory,
Wrapped up in His glory....


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Support the Children Without Condemning or Condoning

As specified by those who are helping those among the estimated total of1000 evictees who have been displaced from their residences over the past six weeks, those who could afford to move who could find other housing solutions have already done so.

For those who remain (the majority of whom are children), a handful of people in the area and others across the country who are not part of the sect have joined to assist them with basic survival needs and small, practical gifts to comfort and encourage them.

Operation Short Creek Outreach believes in lending a helping hand in the face of crisis. Mothers with large families, life long members of a controversial sect are experiencing forced evictions and being rendered homeless with out jobs, funds or understanding of the mainstream world. The men have left the community for various reasons leaving the mothers and children to fend for themselves. 
We are neither condoning or criticizing those in need. Some of us are former members of strict sects and understand the unique issues these mothers are facing. It is our purpose to simply provide humanitarian aid.  (from YouCaring Statement)

The effort has set up a facebook page to try to keep people informed. I joined the page to render my own support to help.


Contribute Comfort and Care Gifts Directly:
  • Send a Care Package: Grab your kids and gather up new and used items for a child to brighten their day and to help keep them occupied during such a stressful time. Second hand items are welcomed.

    FedExOffice currently offers a $5 off a $15 shipping fee via a printable coupon through mid June 2017. It may help to drop expense of mailing items to the Short Creek volunteers. Explore the coupons and discounts currently available HERE.
  • Order Needed Items Directly from Retailers: If you find a good deal on care package items through a retailer, you may be able to allow them to package and ship a package for you. For example, Hollar.com offers very reasonable prices on basic art supplies, and orders over $25 ship for free. (I blogged about how I assisted in this way in a series of posts.)

Contribute Financially:

Many people want to help and would find it easier to just donate funds directly which will be used specifically for humanitarian aid for the hundreds of people in need. Link HERE to the YouCaring crowd source fundraising project, “OperationShort Creek”.

  • The page is overseen by Sgt. Kellie Brown (US Army Retired). She will be assisting to ensure all donations are used as intended. Direct questions to volunteercordination@gmail.com. Thank you for your kindness.”

(There was also a previous fund started before the effort was named "Operation Short Creek, and it is still active on Go Fund Me HERE.  It was set up and is administered by the same individual.)

Volunteering:

If you believe that you can help the community in some other fashion by donating time or if you have access to housing alternatives also direct your questions to volunteercordination@gmail.com




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hollaring for Help on Mother's Day

A Collection of Posts About My Most Precious Mother's Day Ever

Well, HOLLAR is just about all that I have left for ideas for retail therapy if you don't have items to send in a care package for a child or you'd like to save on shipping. There are some fantastic deals available, and their bulk items have sold out since I ordered over the weekend.

According to their FAQ page, “Hollar is your destination for the coolest gifts and goods starting at just $1. With a gazillion categories to shop, there’s always something new to score each and every day. We’re all about making shopping insanely fun—and keeping wallets extra happy. ☺”

Mother's Day Joy with Walgreens and Ebates


A Collection of Posts About My Most Precious Mother's Day Ever

I'd made the most out of my Ebates rebates and the JC Penney items that I could reasonably afford, and I recalled that I had procured many points with Walgreens. I get many of my prescriptions there, and with bad allergies and a bunch of other chronic problems, I make use of savvy shopping offers online. I generally by store brand unless some instant rebate or special bonus point offers on name brand items that I use works out to be about the same. Sometimes those name brand items end up paying for themselves, especially if they bump my purchase up into the free shipping zone. Walgreens' Balance Rewards program also helps me plan ahead for consumables that I use, too.

How Discover Card, Amazon and EBATES Helped the Homeless on Mother's Day

A Collection of Posts About My Most Precious Mother's Day Ever

Continuing my quest to get the best deals on items needed by kids and their moms who found themselves homeless on Mother's Day weekend, I was disappointed that I couldn't find better deals on blankets at JC Penney. As I noted in the previous post, I felt very strongly about getting pillows and blankets. Then didn't have deals that were as good as the pillows and other items.

Big Lots also had a special 15% Cash Back award through Ebates for Mother's Day, but I just couldn't find anything good there, either. They're gearing up for summer, and I'm looking for what are more like back to school bargains. Where else could I look? I looked at Dollar Tree as well and was not that impressed.

Making the Most of Mother's Day Gifts (JC Penney)


A Collection of Posts About My Most Precious Mother's Day Ever

Well, after I'd devoted some time to the possibility for non-profit fundraising, I moved on to do what I could with what I had to give to help get kids blankets, pillows, and toiletries with something to carry them in. Also needed were craft items to keep kids busy while they were going through such a stressful time. I have a car payment and rent an apartment, and like everyone else, I've got limited funds. But not everything seems so bleak. It was the Saturday before Mother's Day, and I realized that I had more going for me than I thought.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Respecting Vulnerability on Mother's Day

Art by David Hayward
Read the previous post HERE.

One of the most painful things that I've seen in the Quiverfull Movement and in Shepherding has been the way each group dispenses resource to help those in need. To be given aid, you have to be a source of gain and you have to have followed all of the right rules to merit receiving anything.
I found a similar pattern when doing foreign missionary work with a large denomination. While I have no problem with explaining to people why we were doing what we were doing (to show a tangible element of God's love for them), when I was assigned to “keep statistics” near the end of one trip, I developed a whole different perspective. We kept records for local churches to follow up with people, but I was also counting the heads of numbers of people who allegedly “got saved” when they prayed with volunteers. I knew that many people were politely compliant to reciprocate us for the care we offered to them. They weren't converting to Evangelical Protestantism, and I think that everyone knew that.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

An Unexpected Mother's Day Experience: Understanding Need

Much has transpired for me over the past week. I'd known for a couple of weeks that a group of religious families were being evicted from their homes. They were primarily comprised of many children and their mothers who have nowhere to go. Women in the Quiverfull Patriarchy Movement are often faced with the same problems. What transpired became a very healing experience for me on a couple of levels.

I'll unfold the experience over the next days through several posts.


Roughing It” with a Big Family

About a decade ago, my best friends with their seven children found themselves debt free, with excellent credit, and with a good chunk of money in the bank – but their living situation changed. They looked into renting homes and apartments, but basically no one wanted to rent to them. Mom was a stay at home, good GOOD mom, and dad was gainfully employed. The kids were all good. (I have on occasion borrowed a few of the here and there to help me and to do some interesting homeschooling ventures with them.) I love them all dearly.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

More on Mother's Day

Well, so much for the best plans...

I've had the best and most meaningful Mother's Day EVER, and it's blended into a whole week of busy work that has spanned a whole week.  Not quite rested well enough to write about it and have so much to say.

Wish me productive sleep and help to get caught up on domestic stuff while busy helping moms and kids through a rough crisis that continues.


TTYL!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How to I Respond to the Mother's Day Merging of Nationalism and Christian Cheese?


I have no idea how I ended up on this list or what happened, but I received this invitation to donate to this Mother's Day fund drive. I'm on enough mailing lists that I know are bought and sold among Christian ministries, so I'm not a bit surprised. 

Mother's Day Outside of the Cruel Quiver



Thursday, April 27, 2017

How “Marriage Minutes” Helped Me Let Go of the Hunger Artist


https://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Minutes-Gerald-Ford-ebook/dp/B00G2IWZN4/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493341655&sr=1-10&keywords=Marriage+Minutes
Allegedly a book review of Gerald Ford's Marriage Minutes
,
it ended up becoming a celebration of my egalitarian marriage
and the unexpected the effect that the book has had on my life.

The first time that I ever heard anyone use the term “egalitarian” in a conversation was my husband, just after we'd first started to date. I seemed to prefer the patriarchal approach, even though I grew up in a church that ordained women. My church had more female elders than male ones, but as a daughter of sock hop era parents, I was quite comfortable with patriarchy. 

As a child, I also watched some of those women elders inappropriately reject and strongly criticize pastors in conversations to which I never should have been privy. When the spiritually abusive church that my husband and I would one day join preached that women were meant to be reigned in and ruled over, I was willing to play along. I thought of the errors in judgement made by two women – events that were filtered through my poor understanding as a child. Patriarchy provided a very simple answer to a terribly complex situation.