Making and using mint jelly.

One of my daughters asked to have her own little garden plot this year, and one of the things she grew in it was peppermint:

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I asked her to harvest some mint for me today so I could make some Mint Jelly, and she obligingly brought me a basketful:

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I pulled off the leaves, washed them in a colander, chopped up 1 1/2 cups of them and put them in a pot with 2 1/4 cups water:

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I brought the leaves and water to a boil, then removed the pot from the heat and let the leaves steep for ten minutes, after which I poured it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. I then poured 1 3/4 cup of the strained mint juice into a pan, added 3 1/2 cups sugar, 2 drops of green food coloring (optional) and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and brought the mixture to a hard boil, stirring constantly.

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I added one pouch (3 ounces) of liquid fruit pectin and returned the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly and allowing it to boil hard for one minute.

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After one minute, I turned off the heat and skimmed off the foam on the surface.

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I poured the liquid into four half-pint canning jars and put on the lids and rings.

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I then processed the jars in a water bath canner for five minutes.

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The bright green color is so pretty, but I normally don’t add food coloring.  If you don’t add the coloring, the jelly will be a nice golden honey color.  However, I added the coloring this time because I want to use this jelly to fill thumbprint cookies at Christmas.  I’ll also make thumbprints filled with raspberry jam, and the green and red filled cookies will look festive together on plates for the holidays.

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I got this recipe from the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation.  Frankly, though I’m not a big fan of the federal government, if we must have one then I think researching food preservation techniques and teaching food safety and home canning to people is a very good use of government funds. They have access to food safety laboratories to conduct research that we home canners can use to safely preserve homegrown food for our families.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1-¾ cups mint juice (1½ cups firmly packed fresh mint and 2¼ cups water)
  • 3-½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 pouch liquid pectin (3 oz.)

Yield: About 3 or 4 half-pint jars

Procedure:

  1. Sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Wash mint, crush leaves and stems or finely chop. Place in saucepan, add water and bring quickly to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes. (A few drops of green food coloring can be added if desired.) Strain to remove mint. Discard mint.
  3. Measure 1-¾ cups mint juice into a large saucepot. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Place on high heat, stir constantly and bring to a full boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and heat again to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat; quickly skim off foam.
  4. Pour hot jelly immediately into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.
  5. Process in a Boiling Water Canner for five minutes.

So, what can you do with mint jelly?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Use it as a glaze for rack of lamb or leg of lamb (this is especially nice for Easter)
  • Stir a teaspoonful into a cup of hot tea to sweeten it and add a minty flavor
  • put a smear of cream cheese on a water cracker and top with a dollop of mint jelly (I’ve never done this, but I’ve heard tell that they do down south)
  • spread Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread) on a graham cracker and add a thin layer of mint jelly
  • fill jam thumbprint cookies

If you have any other suggestions for using mint jelly, I’d love to hear about it!

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Upcycling a broken chair into a log chair.

My frugal nature loves the concept of “upcycling,” in which you not only reuse something that was destined for the trash but also improve it and turn it into something rather nice for next to no money.  My husband found that the broken base of this chair was not reparable, so he made a log chair for the garden out of it.

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We had to take down a large dead tree along the driveway, so he used a piece of the trunk for the base of the log chair:

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He applied clear acrylic sealant to waterproof the log:

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And then used heavy bolts to attach the chair seat to the log base:

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Instead of adding the broken chair to the land fill or burning it in the firepit, he turned it into something that is both useful and has a charming, rustic cottage look:

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Domination is not destruction.

The earth was given to Man to dominate:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”Genesis 1:26-28)

A quote from this interview with Kelly Ware, a permaculture practitioner and Christian, caught my attention:

“We were put on earth as stewards, to take care of the garden, and our domination thing, that we’re able to, you know, dominate is that we make the choices for things.  We say this plant goes, this plant stays, this earth works needs to happen.  So I really think that in terms of empowering ourselves to do earth works, because you’re changing a lot of things, but we’ve been given that right, to dominate and through that job that we were designed to do, which is steward creation.

According to Merriam Webster, domination means:

  1. supremacy or preeminence over another
  2. exercise of mastery or ruling power
  3. exercise of preponderant, governing, or controlling influence

Notice one thing that the word dominate does not mean: destroy.

Many conservatives seem to believe that domination and destruction are synonymous.  Ann Coulter writes:

The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man’s dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use.  God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet — it’s yours. That’s our job: drilling, mining and stripping.

Is this truly what God says in the Bible?  Let us check:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

It is Man’s job to dominate and subdue the earth not by raping and destroying it but rather by working and keeping it.  The reason for working and keeping the earth isn’t because the earth is an object worthy of spiritual adoration, as environmentalists and some permaculture practitioners believe, but rather because God gave it to us for sustenance and human flourishing:

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis 1:29)

Environmentalists, who are nearly all liberals, frequently fantasize about the elimination of humans from the earth due to the mistaken belief that the earth would be “better off” without us.  They see Man’s domination of the earth as inherently sinful (I use the word sinful to describe their religious-like beliefs because liberalism is their religion and is as authoritarian in its moral prescriptions as any other religion or political orientation).

Some secular permaculturists share the opinion that Man’s domination of the earth is Bad, bad, bad! but others do not, as this quote demonstrates:

Societies and their inhabitant are the reason that ecosystems (such as the Amazon Rainforest) are abundant in bio-diversity and life. In Permaculture it is constantly reinforced that human disturbance leads to environmental degradation; however, new evidence strongly concludes that without human disturbance, eco-systems would not be as thriving if humans were out of the picture.

In addition to the earth, Woman was also given to be under Man’s dominion:

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Women, kindly read that verse again.  For whom were we created?  For him.  And to whom were we given?

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:22)

Woman was given to Man to be under his dominion, not so that he can destroy her but so that he can cultivate a helper for his work of having dominion over the earth. This is where feminists, like environmentalists, get it wrong. They correctly perceive that some men are using their God-given dominion to destroy rather than cultivate their women, and they decide that Man’s domination itself is the problem, when in fact sin (destruction) is the problem.

We moderns see the word domination used in the man/woman context almost solely in the sense of sexually perverse role plays, but this is not what Christians should understand it to mean, not even when the context is the marital act.  Rather, the godly husband takes dominion over his wife and cultivates her to better fulfill her role as his helper in his domination (cultivation) of the earth.

Pastor Doug Wilson explained this well in something he wrote a few years ago:

A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.  This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

People lost their minds when he wrote this, with Christian feminist Rachel Held Evans writing:

It’s not about sex. It’s not about church leadership. It’s not about roles. It’s not about the Bible.

It’s about power.

It’s about whether or not patriarchy—man’s rule over woman—really represents God’s ideal for the world. 

And I believe, with every bone in my body, that patriarchy is a result of sin. I believe that followers of Jesus are to be champions of equality, and that it is our calling…

But a man conquering a woman does not implicitly mean he destroys her.  A man who conquers his wife in the sense that Pastor Wilson means is cultivating a family.  His dominion leads to flourishing rather than destruction.

Although it is pagan in spiritual orientation, I love the blog Bealtine Cottage, a site written by a woman in Ireland who bought a derelict cottage on some old agricultural land that was badly damaged by conventional farming practices and transformed it using permaculture gardening techniques into a gorgeous food forest.  Her stories and photos are fascinating.  However, the authoress Ms.O’Neill has misunderstood what domination of the earth and Woman by Man means.  She writes:

“As this era of masculine dominance comes to an end and a feminine understanding of life’s wholeness is included, we are beginning to experience a different world in which physical, mental, and spiritual well-being are interdependent.”

A limited and patriarchal interpretation of the Creator, has given us a male figure, with the female as subservient.

Dominance of Nature and continuous war has ensued…

It is clear from the Bible that God gave the earth and Woman to Man not to destroy but rather to cultivate, as we saw in Genesis 2:15.  It isn’t that male domination destroys the earth or women; it is that after the fall, men sometimes use their God-given right to dominate the earth for destructive purposes, rather than using their domination of the earth and their women to cultivate a flourishing garden and thriving families.  The solution isn’t to reject the order of creation that God intended, that of loving domination by Man, but rather for men to teach one another (something women absolutely cannot do) to use their God-given right of dominion to cultivate rather than destroy and then insist that it be so.

Part of the chaff of modernity is the belief that humans having dominion (domination) over the earth and Man having dominion (domination) over Woman is inherently destructive.  This is not true.  Only sinful behavior is destructive.  Godly dominion does not destroy; rather, it cultivates so that all which is under dominion flourishes.

Environmentally-friendly pond maintenance.

(Note to any regular readers: This post may not be of much interest to you unless you have a pond.  I’m posting it as a personal journal for keeping track of what I’m learning about pond care, and I’m making it public for the benefit of those folks who type things like “algae in my pond” into Google and end up here looking for information.  

In this post I will mention specific companies and products by name; I received no compensation either in the form of money or free products from anyone.  I have no affiliation with any company and only mention these products because they are the ones I am using; all product reviews expressed are my own, true opinions.)

We have a large earthen pond on the property that we bought last year.  The pond is figure-eight shaped, about a third of an acre and six feet deep, and has diffusers in both “eights”:

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It is stocked with  Hybrid Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Black Crappie, and Yellow Perch.  It is also home to a large number of crayfish and frogs, plus a couple of turtles.

When we moved here in September of 2014, we had literally zero experience with or knowledge about caring for a stocked earthen pond.  One of the best sources of information we’ve found is Stoney Creek Fisheries in Grant, Michigan, which is also a major pond equipment supplier.  Grant is easily a three hour drive from where we live, so we don’t go there often, but they are very nice about taking phone calls and providing information.

When spring came, three things happened with our pond that concerned us: a lot of emergent weeds came up, the water turned cloudy with noticeable green algae build-up around the edges and mats of floating algae in the middle, and a strange smell almost like ammonia began to emanate from the pond on warm days.  The water got so cloudy that we could hardly see the fish when they rose to the surface to be fed, as in this video:

The first thing we did is dye the pond with one gallon of Aquashade by dumping a half-gallon over each diffuser (pro tip: um, wear gloves if you don’t want your hands stained blue for the rest of the week – ask me how I learned this one 🙂 ).  Pond dye is not a dangerous chemical; it is on the order of food coloring, and you can still eat the fish that come from a dyed pond.  The purpose of dying the pond is to control algae and plant growth; the dyes are made up of blue and yellow colorants that absorb specific wavelengths of sunlight and prevent algae and plants from being able to engage in photosynthesis.  Next time we dye the pond, in about a month, we will use only 1/2 a gallon.

The second thing we did was investigate what to do about the weeds.  Manual removal with a rake is the best way if you don’t want to use chemicals, but this pond had been let go somewhat by the previous owner and manual removal was proving impossible (trust me, I spent many hours in the sun with a pond rake, pulling out weeds and muck until my shoulders ached).  We realized that, despite our strong preference for organic maintenance, we were going to have to use a fish-safe herbicide to get some of the emergent plants under control.

After doing a lot of research, the product we chose was called Shore-Klear, which as far as I can understand is just a formulation of Round Up (glyphosate).  According to the State, water in ponds treated with Shore-Klear is safe for swimming, safe for animals to drink, and does not harm the fish.  To be extra cautious, my husband only treated half the pond, waited 48 hours, and then treated the other half of the pond so that wildlife and fish could move away from the treated areas. About a week later, some of the weeds are turning brown and dying and some are not.  Possible reasons the product isn’t working great are user error (did we apply enough and in the right way) and a heavy weed infestation requiring multiple treatments to eliminate.  We will spray again in another week and see how it does.

The next issue was the algae.  The pond dye will help prevent algae growth but is not sufficient to eradicate a full algal bloom such as we had.  The product we were sold by a local pond supplies business was Hydrothol 191.  After researching this product carefully, we returned it to the store.  We felt that this product, though not as dangerous to the environment as copper-based algaecides, still had too much risk for harming the fish, frogs, and other wildlife in our pond.  Our bedroom window overlooks the pond and the frogs sing us to sleep every night; harming them would be unacceptable.

I spent hours online researching other products and finally selected GreenClean Pro (sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate). The USDA’s National Organic Standards Board lists this chemical as acceptable for use in the farming of organically-produced food crops.  It does not harm fish, amphibians, or plants (unless you spill the undiluted dry product on the plants, in which case it can cause burns on them).  If you look at the chemical name, you will realize that this is simply dried, undiluted hydrogen peroxide, the same as what you buy in the brown bottle at the store (only that is much-diluted).

My husband wore protective gear while applying it in order to avoid burns, but the minute it hits the water, it dilutes and thus does not harm wildlife.  In order to not inadvertently burn frogs or turtles with undiluted product, my husband treated the pond in thirds and started out by running a rake around the area he was going to treat to encourage wildlife and fish to disperse.

Here is some algae prior to application:

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Here is that same algae shortly (like an hour) after application:image

The product foams just like hydrogen peroxide does when you use it at home.  We used a skimmer net to remove large dead clumps of algae.  What we couldn’t get will settle to the bottom.  Notice the difference in water clarity two days after using GreenClean Pro – you can see lots of adorable catfish clear as can be:

We are very satisfied with this product; if environmentally-friendly pond maintenance is important to you, we highly recommend GreenClean Pro algaecide based on the results we’ve seen so far.

The next step will be dealing with the muck on the bottom of the pond, which is composed of organic material such as leaves, dead plants, dead algae, fish poo, and so on.  The muck can build up very thick and smells yucky.  A beneficial bacteria solution is used to digest the muck and improve water clarity; this gets rid of the ammonia smell we were noticing, which is generated by decaying material in the pond.  We are using Pond Vive and Sludge Remover Pellets for this purpose, which we will apply later today.  We decided to wait several days after applying the algaecide just in case it could possibly harm the beneficial bacteria.  The gentleman from Stoney Creek told me that the bacteria in Pond Vive can digest 5-10 inches of muck per season!  But we’ll see if the product actually lives up to that claim or not; I’ll report back in September on the state of our muck. 🙂

So, if you’ve clicked on any of the links above, you may have glanced at the price for these products.  Horrifying, no?  Would you like to know the grand total for what we spent on pond chemicals and solutions for this season?

$ 1,100.

Like I said, horrifying.  The pond came with the property, and it is a really neat feature.  We love the frogs, we love feeding the fish and will probably eventually even eat some of the fish.  The kids kayak on the pond nearly every day, and it supports a lot of biodiversity on our property.  And the price to put in a pond like this runs easily $10,000, so we wouldn’t consider filling it in. But I’m not sure we would have chosen to put one in ourselves, given the cost of maintaining them.  Of course, if your pond isn’t near your house, you might not have to maintain it quite as much, since any pond odors won’t bother you, but ours is maybe 50 yards from our house.

If you have any experience with ponds or any questions for me about ours, let me know in the comments.  I hope this informational is helpful!

Immodesty in athletic dress is the result of an unrestricted capitalist economy.

Capitalism that is unhitched from Christian morality turns the human body into a commodity to be marketed, bought and sold.  This is one reason why our culture has rapidly pornified.  This is also why your high school daughter is running at track practice in nothing but a pair of underwear-sized compression shorts and a sports bra and no one bats an eye.

When you combine the unrestricted capitalistic commodification of the human body with women’s natural desire to be looked at by men (which is not a sinful desire when properly restricted), we can see why women’s dress in athletics has devolved from this:

Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson, the first African American female tennis champion, at the 1956 French Open, which she won.

to this:

Venus Williams French open dress

Venus Williams at her opening match at the 2014 French Open.

The immediate cry is that it is impossible to “move freely” in more substantial attire.  This is, of course, complete crap.

Exhibit A – If men can play volleyball in these shorts…

Men's VB team

…why can’t women?

US-womens-volleyball-team

The Women’s U.S. Olympic Volleyball team demonstrates why there are so many internet memes about volleyball shorts.

Of course, if you really want to destroy the They just dress like that because it’s easier to move! argument, you have to use the women’s beach volleyball team outfits versus the men’s:

womens beach vb

Perhaps they attribute their gold medal to the enhanced ease of moving their buttocks in those bikini bottoms.

 

Men's beach volleyball

Oddly, the men don’t seem to be having any trouble moving.

Why do female athletes dress like this?  They do so because they’ve been pushed to over time by the television marketing executives who broadcast the sporting events – because let’s be honest, women’s sports are kind of boring compared to men’s sports if you’re just looking at pure athleticism, hence the invention of volleyball shorts to get men interested in watching women’s sports.

I don’t think the marketing execs literally sat down one day and decreed women athletes were henceforth to dress like sluts. Saying It was the TV executives who did it! is just a shorthand way of saying that it was a progression: one female athlete dressed a little more risque, more men watched any future events she participated in, thus more advertising dollars rolled in, so the television stations covered more of that sport to cater to the advertisers, which led to more money for the athletes, whose advertising sponsors then required them to wear skimpier uniforms in order to gain more viewers…this is what I mean when I say women were pushed into dressing immodestly by marketing executives.

And though they probably didn’t come up with the idea of such skimpy attire all on their own, it likely isn’t that hard to “push” a lot of women into it, as most women have a natural desire to be looked at by men.  To understand how this natural desire is harnessed by marketing executives, consider that one of the first things the U.S. Women’s Volleyball team did when they got back from the Olympics was pose nude as a group for ESPN’s “The Body Issue” (sorry, I don’t want to post the nude image here even though technically everything “naughty” is covered).

There is no word from ESPN on when we can expect a similar photo from the Men’s Volleyball team.

It’s not that male athletes are more moral than women when it comes to how they dress.  It’s just that photos of the Detroit Lions draped nude over one another and sporting nothing but a few strategically placed footballs isn’t going to sell a whole lot of beer.

In fact, I googled “ESPN the Body Issue men” (for research purposes only, I assure you), and I found NO group nude shots of men. The men get the Women’s Volleyball team and the Women’s Water Polo team, and what do the gals get? That’s right, Prince Fielder.  Gee, thanks ESPN (I jest of course – I don’t actually want to see nude groups of male athletes).

Why, this definitely wasn’t about marketing women’s sports to men as softcore porn at all!  Ha.

But here is the much more serious fall out: Olympians and professional athletes set the standards for what younger athletes wear, and it becomes first acceptable and then required for them to dress immodestly.  If a girl wants to play on her high school volleyball team, she will be required to wear those immodest shorts because they are part of the uniform.

This gives a parent two choices: allow her to play in the immodest shorts or pull her off the team.  And since the attire for most girls’ sports is getting skimpier and skimpier, there aren’t a lot of other sport options that are much better at this point (girls’ basketball is still pretty modest).

My own rationalization has been this: I tried and tried when they were younger to bring this issue up to coaches and fellow parents only to get strange looks from them, so I gave up and gave in.  My husband and I were discussing this recently, and he talked about averting his eyes, depending on where he’s sitting at volleyball tournaments, just before the serve when all those fifteen-year-old girls crouch forward in their volleyball shorts.

I got my own taste of that recently when I went to pick up my high school daughter from track practice on an unusually warm day; not only were groups of girls running in compression shorts and sports bras (my daughter kept her shirt on, thankfully), but the young men were shirtless in running shorts. I decided it was appropriate for me to look away from the half-naked young men running past me back up to the school.

To mention this to others is to get a defensive reaction – What’s the matter with you, are you such a pervert that you find sixteen-year-old boys in nothing but running shorts too sexual to look at without feeling that it’s kind of wrong to look?  Anyone who questions the modesty of under-aged athletes in such skimpy attire is immediately shamed into silence by insinuations about their character.

But I do think it’s wrong.  I don’t think we should allow our children to be marketed this way and I don’t think we should train our daughters to attention whore for the male gaze like this.  The problem is that we are being trained to slowly accept more and more immodest athletic attire; we are first anesthetized to it by seeing it on television on professional athletes and then eventually it trickles its way down to high school and junior high athletes, where first it’s a few kids wearing it and eventually it just becomes part of the standard uniform. At what point do we as Christian parents draw a line in the sand and say, “No farther”? It’s not an easy and straightforward decision, but we should at least be aware of the underlying dynamics and understand that this is the end result of capitalism unfettered from morality.

(For an interesting discussion – some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t – on modesty and dress, start with Cane Caldo’s recent post Of Pants and Passions and continue through his series of posts on the issue, including a discussion about athletic wear).

The destructiveness of Beyoncé-n-Taylor feminism.

Feminism is not pro family-formation.

Yes, there are feminists who are married and have children, but the ideals feminists espouse (example: career-as-identity) discourage marriage and child-bearing. For a woman who doesn’t want marriage or children, it is no problem to end up unmarried and childless, but that isn’t how most women want to end up. The existence of many blogs and news stories about women in their forties who refused to settle down in their twenties because they were too busy with their careers and casual lovers but then couldn’t find anyone decent to marry in their thirties and are now bemoaning that fact while finding out belatedly that family really is what it’s all about shows us how detrimental feminism is to family-formation.

In 1976, when modern feminism was really getting into full swing, the childless rate for women ages 40-44 was about 10%; in 2006, after thirty years of feminism, the rate had exploded to 20% (it is important to note that this does not differentiate between voluntary and involuntary childlessness).  But interestingly, over the past several years (coincidentally the same time frame when there began to be a vocal push-back by women against feminism), the childless rate has begun to drop for women in the final years of their fertility and now is just over 16%. (source: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p20-575.pdf)

I was speaking with a teenager recently and she took me to task, saying that the kinds of extreme feminism I’ve written about in the past isn’t how most feminists are nowadays. She assured me that feminism is only about believing that men and women are equal (she didn’t specify what “equal” means) and anyway didn’t I know that even Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are feminists?

I found this interesting; Lena Dunham is to my mind an excellent example of modern feminism and she is constantly embroiled in scandals such as making possibly false rape allegations (that were purposefully vague and led to a man who had nothing to do with it being attacked) and writing an anecdote that made it seem like she had molested her baby sister. Science Fiction author Vox Day refers to her as the Dunham Horror.  On top of that, she is the sort of modern-looking feminist – green-haired, crass, and tattooed – that is so unappealing to the sort of single man who might be interested in marriage and children:

She doesn’t exactly send out an “I’d make a great future mother of your children” vibe, does she?

 

And yet Lena Dunham is who Taylor Swift credits with turning her into a feminist:

“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”

Feminism does not actually just mean “you believe women and men should have equal opportunities,” as anyone who has read Feministing knows (Feministing is considered the go-to source for modern young feminists). Taylor may not know much about what feminism is, but one thing she does seem to know is that she is not planning on sacrificing any of her independence by getting married:

“I’ve learnt that just because someone is cute and wants to date you, that’s not a reason to sacrifice your independence and allow everyone to say what they want about you. I’m not doing that any more […]

It’d take someone really special for me to undergo the circumstances I have to go through to experience a date. I don’t know how I would ever have another person in my world trying to have a relationship with me, or a family. The best answer I can come up with now is, ‘go at it alone.’

It’s one thing for Taylor Swift to embrace feminism; in addition to being rich, beautiful, and talented, she has said she plans to “go at it alone” and she’s obviously happy with that (or says she is, anyway). But Young Woman, do you want to “go at it alone”? Do you like the idea of being unmarried and childless for life only without the, you know, incredibly glamorous lifestyle of a pop star?  Because embracing feminism will have real life consequences for you that Taylor Swift will never have to experience.

And it’s easy for someone like Beyoncé  – who uses her sexuality to sell her records, married fairly young and has a child – to parrot feminist talking points:

“I guess I am a modern-day feminist.  I do believe in equality. Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman, and I love being a woman.  I do believe in equality and that we have a way to go, and it’s something that’s pushed aside and something that we have been conditioned to accept.”

Beyoncé, who’s married to rapper Jay-Z, 43, has been criticized for naming her upcoming world tour “The Mrs. Carter Show.” Her husband’s real name is Shawn Carter. “I feel like Mrs. Carter is who I am, but more bold and more fearless than I’ve ever been,” she said.

The “Single Ladies” and “Independent Women” singer says becoming a wife and mother to daughter Blue Ivy has contributed to the type of woman she is, despite those song titles.

“It comes from knowing my purpose and really meeting myself once I saw my child,” she said. “I was like ‘OK, this is what you were born to do.’ The purpose of my body became completely different.”

But for both Beyoncé and Taylor, feminism looks more like a public relations strategy than any sort of true political or philosophical conviction, and their public embracing of the feminist label is incredibly destructive because they influence a lot of young women who don’t have their options in life and who are at risk of missing out on having a family if they adopt a feminist outlook.

Young women: you are not Beyoncé, you are not Taylor Swift, and you don’t need feminism in order to accomplish any of your goals.  You are most likely average-pretty and, not to rain on your parade, while you very well may be smart, talented, and kind, you probably aren’t going to end up a superstar.  It’s okay to dream, but it’s important to also have a realistic life plan in mind. By the time you are in high school, you should be starting to consider seriously what your most important goals in life are. Here are some sample goals:

  1. Love and serve God in whatever way He calls me to do while always living in obedience to the Bible.
  2. Marry
  3. Have children.
  4. Work in ____________ job field.
  5. Get post-secondary education or training.
  6. Other goal(s):________________

You should be considering what your top 5-10 goals in life are, seeking wisdom from both God and the adults in your life, and ranking them from most to least important. You may want to get a degree from Harvard and also have three children, but if you could only pick one of those two goals, which one would you pick? Which one will give you the most happiness over the span of your life? I can’t answer that question for you, but you do need to think about what you want in this one brief lifetime before you enter God’s eternity and focus on achieving the goals that are most important to you. That doesn’t mean that goals further down the list can’t also be worked toward, but it does mean you need to focus the bulk of your time and attention on preparing yourself for your most important goals, especially if family-formation is one of them.

More liberal incoherence: open carrying and men in the women’s locker room edition.

Liberal moonbats are generally incoherent in what they say are appropriate responses to any given situation.

In this first story, a woman named Yvette Cormier complained to Planet Fitness’s corporate headquarters about a man dressed as a woman who refers to himself as a “transwoman” using the women’s locker room at a Planet Fitness in Midland, Michigan. When PF’s corporate headquarters told her this was allowed, Miss Cormier waged a gossip campaign against the man dressed as a woman, complaining to other women when he was present.

In the comments on the MLive story, liberals galore criticize this woman’s response. Fine, no problem. Though I don’t agree with men dressed as women being allowed to use the women’s locker room, neither do I think Miss Cormier should have responded the way she did, by being catty and gossipy and publicly humiliating the man, something he was doing pretty well all by himself. The correct response would have been to write a letter to Planet Fitness’s corporate headquarters explaining why she was cancelling her membership. There are workout facilities that don’t have locker rooms and thus this issue doesn’t come up; Miss Cormier can take her business dollars there, which is what I would have done.

But the very next story on MLive is of a young man who open-carried his pistol to a high school music concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Mr. Wade has a Concealed Carry License, but in pistol-free zones you cannot carry concealed in Michigan; you must open carry there, so he did.

Notice the liberal moonbat response of one Mr. DiBlassio, an adult musician involved with the performance:

In between sets, DiBlassio approached the row Wade was sitting in and attempted to photograph him. Following the concert, he stood at the back of the theater and asked for everyone’s attention before pointing out that Wade had been openly carrying his pistol during the event.

“I told everyone I thought they should be aware that while they were at the concert watching their kids that there was someone with a firearm and ammunition and maybe we want to think about that,” DiBlassio said.

He went on to tell people to look into contacting school board members and state representatives if they also felt uncomfortable.

“I posed the question to them saying ‘don’t we want something like a gun-free campus’ for our schools,” DiBlassio said. “And I said I personally wasn’t comfortable with this.”

As he finished speaking, DiBlassio said told everyone in the audience where Wade had been sitting and that he was wearing a white shirt.

Talk about a campaign of harassment.  Remember, Mr. Wade was following the law to the letter. Personally I think he was purposefully making this into an issue and could have avoided the big fuss, but nevertheless he was within his legal rights, just as Planet Fitness was within theirs to cancel Miss Cormier’s membership. But notice the difference this time; not only did DiBlassio photograph Mr. Wade, he then attempted to incite a mob against him by standing up publicly at the conclusion of the concert and calling attention to Mr. Wade while delivering an anti-gun lecture, which is quite a bit more intimidating than Miss Cormier’s gym gossip. At the end of DiBlassio’s diatribe, one liberal woman even physically attacked Mr. Wade’s family:

Wade said he was able to leave the auditorium without any major incidents. However, he said his father was attacked in the lobby by a woman at the show. He said the family has video of the alleged incident and is considering pressing charges for assault and battery.

Nice.

The commentary from liberals under this story is very supportive of Mr. DiBlassio’s actions even though they were similar (though much more extreme) in nature to Miss Cormier’s; yet liberals approve of the one and excoriate the other. They all call for Miss Cormier to go elsewhere if she doesn’t like Planet Fitness’s policies of allowing men in the women’s locker room, yet they don’t call for DiBlassio to go elsewhere if he doesn’t like Mr. Wade legally carrying his weapon in a place and manner where he is permitted to do so.

There is no logical coherence to the liberal response; it’s just pure emotionalism all the way.