holiday stovetop potpourri by carly

• 2 cups apple cider (or apple juice or 2 packs of instant cider + 16 oz. of water)
• cup of fresh cranberries
• 2-3 cinnamon sticks
• 1 tsp. of nutmeg
• 1 tsp. of cloves (whole or ground)
• 1 small orange, sliced
• fresh pine twigs

combine all in small pot on stove, bring to a boil over medium heat. let simmer on low all day long and enjoy.

I Am Not a Fucking Teacup by Bethany.

I’m not a fucking teacup.

I’m not fragile like a set of fancy dishes.

My worth isn’t measured by how I look. 

My value isn’t wrapped up in sex.

My pussy isn’t a flower; it doesn’t make me fragile… and I wont allow my worth to be calculated by it.

My value doesn’t decrease increase,or change in any way,  

by the number of people I choose to sleep with.

But, that’s what I was told.

I sat in a room full of other impressionable young teenage girls, as we were handed expensive delicate teacups, and told that we were just like that: beautiful, expensive, easily broken

And impossible to put back together.

Fuck that.

Fuck the idea what I was only whole if I chose to remain “pure”.

Fuck the people who said that a man’s penis somehow had the power to destroy my value as a human being. 

How dare they try to take away my power and my choices with fear and lies.

I now know that: Virginity is a construct. 

Men and they opinion if my body have nothing to do with my worth.

Who I sleep with is my choice and mine alone, and will not change my value.

But, sometimes I think about how much pain I could have been saved

How much anxiety.

How much fear.

If, at 15 years old. My strength and worth hadnt been diminished to the weight and size of a $15,  8 oz piece of shit tea cup. 

How dare anyone compare women, filled with power strength and intelligence, to a item that can be easily broken bought or sold. 

Take your insulting sexist unbiblical metaphors that poison our lives They can burn in hell.

I Was Once Broken by Alice

Being tossed between waves of desperation and normalcy, I reached for it. Feeling no other hand there to help guide me out of the darkness, I reached for it. Unsettling realty set it and unable to solely cope, I reached for it. Teetering between feeling it all and hoping to be numb, I reached for it. It gave me mild comfort but then great shame. It made me fun but then ill. This superhuman I could be, accomplishing more and more with no great fall.

I craved it, wished it was 5 o’clock every where. A drink or three made all my responsibilities seem easy. It made me feel like I wasn’t a complete failure to my family. Like I wasn’t completely ruining another life. My odds of inheriting alcoholic genes are high and yet I didn’t notice what was happening. I was too busy managing a baby who never slept, a toddler who always fought, a husband that felt always gone, plus a job, a house, it all. I never noticed when it took over, when the weekends seemed too short, when I needed it to get an hour or two of solid shut-eye.

One whole year, it slowly but fiercely crept into my weekend ritual. No one from a far seemed to notice but it bore a crack in our foundation that widened over time. It caused fights, real anger, more shame, constant attempts to fix what was broken. But I was what was broken. I didn’t know how to pause taking care of everyone around me to take care of myself.

So when did the craving stop? When did the light come back on? I honestly can’t give you a date but I do remember all the sudden feeling repulsed at the site of a bottle. I do know it was around the time  that the baby slept. And when I wasn’t so on my own. When I spoke my truth of constantly feeling like I was drowning in mile long to-do lists. When I said all of this was too much to ask of anyone. What I found was support not blame. Help not absence. Those are things I did not find starring into another empty bottle.

It’s been years since I found my freedom from it. Never do I plan to venture down that dark path as it came at a price that I’m unwilling to pay again. Both my family and myself mean entirely too much to ever risk again.

Untitled by Salina

This is a poem I wrote for my son, Nathaniel, while I was pregnant

I wish for you to grow up brave,
to strive for what you desire,
and to give God praise.

I wish for you to love, care, and give grace.
To know how to forgive, trust, and change a flat tire.
For you to grow up brave.

Love your life, the life He gave.
Play, read, travel, and do all life requires.
I wish for you to give God praise.

Be a doctor, a teacher, or win a race.
Build a house, a car, or a bonfire.
I wish for you to grow up brave.

I wish for you to be honest, respect others, and behave,
to push ahead, and be a fighter.
And to give God praise.

Enjoy and experience life. Live it ablaze.
Be a son, friend, and provider.
I wish for you to grow up brave,
and give God praise.