A Response on Hunting

The recent shooting of Cecil the lion by some dentist has caused quite a stir on the internet. However, because of the negative comments about hunting I have seen in response to this, I feel the need to respond.

First, I want to say I am an animal lover. If you know me, you know that. I absolutely adore animals, and I am not the type of person to harm them. In fact, if an animal bites me, my first thought will probably be something along the lines of “what did I do to upset it?” instead of running to someone else. I’m usually the one who, when I read something about an animal biting a child (or anyone for that matter), I think that person must have done something to provoke said animal.

However, if you know me, you also know I hunt. Yes, you read that correctly. I own a hunting rifle, and I actually have two sets of antlers on the wall in our apartment that I am quite proud of: one from when I was 13, and the other when I was about 15. When I turned 12 and was given my rifle as a present from my dad, I went to Pennsylvania for a week to hunt with him. When I came home, I found a lot of rude notes in my middle school locker, all with something along the lines of “murderer” written on them. In hindsight, this was probably bullying. But I shoved them in my binder and stood up for myself: I defended what I did, and I was proud of it.

Hunting for me has always been the greatest way my dad and I bond. I have always enjoyed it. Yes, it’s fun. Not because I kill a deer, but because I get to watch them in their habitat and admire them and spend time with my dad. It’s quiet in the woods before the sun rises, and it is really incredible what sort of beauty you can see from a tree stand, even in the snow.

I cried the first time I killed a deer. My dad smiled at me, hugged me, and comforted me. And you know what he taught me? That we respect our kill. We say a prayer over it, thanking God for the opportunity and for the meat. Because we don’t waste the animal.

So, no, we should not ban hunting.

That being said, I do not support the killing of animals such as giraffes, lions, cheetahs, etc. You know why? Because I do not see how you can possibly put that animal to use for anything but a trophy statement. And I don’t believe in that.

I am a fan of hunting, but I am not a fan of killing. To me, there is a difference.

My Man and His Motorcycle

There’s just something sexy about a guy on a motorcycle. There, I said it. But not just any guy. My guy, my husband. (After 3 years, I still like saying that: my husband.)

I married a man who, as long as I have known him, stands by the insistence that he needs a motorcycle. Not just wants one, but absolutely needs one. And when he is riding, it isn’t hard to see why.

Even from my place on the back of the bike, with my arms wrapped securely around him, I can tell he is in his element. If ever he had a thing, motorcycles are his thing. He loves to take his turns and speed down hills, and I have learned to enjoy those things too when I ride on the back. When he shifts, and I feel the sudden jolt…I can’t help but smile. It’s fun.

He got me a motorcycle jacket, a real motorcycle jacket, for our anniversary. So, of course, today we went on a ride.

He took us to Mormon Lake, and I was struck with how beautiful the scenery was—pine trees, mountains, a vast green canvas of wetlands…

Mormon Lake

It also wasn’t even that hot, which I was thankful for especially since I had on the jacket, jeans, and boots. I hardly paid attention to where he was going; I just looked around me at the trees and the lake and enjoyed the breeze.

And my husband was in his element the whole time. All smiles.

Maybe that’s why I find him on his motorcycle so attractive—because I know that is his thing. I know that is when he is happiest, and it shows every time. Maybe it’s because, even though I am bare to the wind and road, I feel safe when I am on the bike with him because I know I can trust him. Maybe it’s that trust, that willingness to let my controlling nature go, that I find so appealing.

Today was beautiful in many ways. But mostly because I got to spend it, carefree, with my motorcycle-obsessed man.

Quietly Celebrating Three Years

The dress is beautiful—pure white, small beading at the top, buttons (to hide the zipper) going down the back. As I am assisted into the gown, I look down at myself, and I can feel the tears begin to well in my eyes. My mother hands me a tissue. I feel beautiful, like a princess.

I pin the flower to my dad’s tuxedo. My friends, he, and myself pile into the car to take me to the beginning of my future.

I link my right arm through my dad’s left, and he grips my hand tightly. He makes a joke. I chuckle. I’m focused. He stands with me, still gripping my hand, teary-eyed: “Her mother and I.”

“Love is patient, love is kind…Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13. “You may now kiss the bride.”

And suddenly, too quickly, the ceremony ends, and I am holding hands with the man who is now my husband. 

Three years ago today I exchanged vows with my husband. We smiled at each other through the chilly air and the wind in Point Arena, California. We poured our unity sand. We promised love, respect, patience, and to not go it alone. For better or for worse.

The past year has seen us at our worst, but it has also seen us at our best. It has tested our patience, and it may have even tested our vows. But love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8.

It’s tattooed on my back, between my shoulder blades. It does not only represent the love we have for each other, but the love Christ has for us. It’s a reminder: no matter what, He is with us.

And I have needed that reminder a lot.

Even through the hard times, I would not want to go through this life or experience this journey with anyone besides the man I married. I thank him for his patience with me, especially when I know it’s difficult to be patient with me, and for his unfailing love for me. I respect him for all he does, and I know he does it for us. Even if we do not always agree on the best course of action, I know that our family, our future, and our stability are on his mind.

Today we celebrate our anniversary. He works during the day, but I am cooking our anniversary dinner. It is the first time we have not gone out to celebrate, but I am actually really excited to create dinner on my own and to have a quiet celebration at home.

I am blessed to have been able to start my married life with him so soon. I am always awed by the wonderful man of God he is. I am blessed for the life we get to live together.

Happy anniversary, darling.

The Changing of Last Names

Lately I feel I have come across a lot of articles about women’s struggles with changing their last name when they get married. Most of what I have seen have been women who didn’t want to change it and are justifying why they didn’t want to, and women who did and are explaining why they regret doing so. I have not seen anyone defending why they did change their name. I don’t understand why no one is defending the other side, or why we (I feel) are making it a “feminist issue.”

I changed my last name.

I am almost 24, female (duh), and would classify myself as a feminist. Not a bra-burning, man-hating feminist, but I believe in equality for men and women. I believe that women have come a long way in history. But I also believe that not everything is a feminist agenda.

I was young when I got married. My husband proposed just days before my 20th birthday (which my mother, after a long chat, quickly got over), and we were married just two months before my 21st birthday. You do the math; we have been married almost three years (actually, it will be 3 years on Tuesday!). Here’s the thing: I never questioned whether I should change my last name.

Actually, throughout the entire planning process, I was looking forward to going down to the DMV, to social security, and showing off my brand new marriage license that had my new last name on it. And I was actually upset that this name change could not be reflected in time for our honeymoon for which we needed passports (because, when I got my passport, we had not yet married, so it had my maiden name on it).

Yes, I am a little traditional in some senses. Some in my field have insinuated I am not feminist because I don’t mind the “Mr.” coming first in “Mr. and Mrs.” on a letter, because I changed my last name. They have attempted to explain my own feelings to me: that I accept this notion simply because I am familiar with a patriarchal society and therefore I go along with giving up my identity for a man. That is not the case with me.

My husband did not make me change my last name, though he did express his desire that I do and that he might feel hurt if I did not. Why would I want to hurt my husband so early in our marriage and with something he would be constantly reminded of? I did not have a long, historic relationship with my last name; I was not really attached to it.

I am also Christian, which played a role in my feelings about marriage and changing my name. I felt it would be disrespectful of me to not change my last name. I was committing myself to him for the rest of my life, so I felt I should commit all of me—including my last name. After all, what is so special about a name? It does not make you who you are—you choose who you are.

It is difficult to explain why I chose to change my name because it just felt right to me. I chose to be part of another family. For me, changing my last name is a way to create my own legacy, alongside my husband. Not a day goes by that I regret changing my last name. In fact, there’s a sense of pride when my students call me “Mrs.” Especially since my husband is in the military now, it makes things a lot easier.

So, women: If you’re married did you change your last name? Why or why not? If you’re not married, do you think you will change your last name?

And men: How do you feel about your wife (or future wife) changing her last name (or not)?

Is a last name really that big of a deal? Should it really be a “conversation” that we have, over whether women should change their name or not? Does a personal choice, related to feelings and beliefs, really need to be a feminist issue?