On Beach Towels, Burnout, and Kindred Spirits

by | Jul 17, 2023 | Sheila Snippets | 30 comments

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Summer is upon us, and I have three big things to tell you about today!

(And I realize that for all my Australian, South African, and New Zealand friends it’s winter? So glad you’re here too! Did you know that even though I’m Canadian, Australia is just as represented on this blog, even with 1/3 the population? It’s actually kind of interesting.)

First, make a “splash” and a statement with these beach towels!

We’ve got some new LIMITED EDITION merch in our store, just for the summer.

We’ve turned three of our popular designs into beach towels, so that you and your daughter can make statements when you’re out at the beach!

We’ve got our “Be a Biblical Woman” merch.

Here’s our amazing design listing all the things that women did in the Bible–like Set Boundaries like Vashti, or Win Battles like Jael.

Biblical Womanhood Beach Towel

Next, we’ve got out beach towels based on all the “She Should Knows” headings in our book She Deserves Better. 

She should know…

  • She is not a walking temptation to be used by Satan. 
  • Compliance does not equal consent.
  • Disagreement is not rebellion. 

And so many more! (I’ve got a list of the 32 things your daughter deserves to know).

We have this beach towel in two designs: One with bubbles, and one where it’s a list of all the sayings.

They’ll make a statement at youth group parties! Or just at the beach with your family (although it does say words like “virginity”, etc., so be warned).

Biblical Womanhood Beach Towel

And here it is as a list!

Biblical Womanhood Beach Towel

I’m loving Emily and Amelia Nagoski’s book Burnout!

One of the fun things about writing the post last week about your favourite self-help books was that I heard of some I hadn’t read yet. So I picked up Burnout, and wow, it’s good. I’m only about halfway through, but their explanation of the problem of stress makes so much sense.

Biblical Womanhood Beach Towel

Basically, stress is felt in your body. It is a physiological thing, not a mental thing. So when you experience stressors (outside things that make your heart increase, makes your stress hormones increase), your body needs to resolve that stress.

The problem is that most of us don’t have ways to do this. So we try to relax instead. But that doesn’t signal to your body “it’s safe to stop being stressed, the danger is gone.” That just tells your body, “I’m ignoring the danger,” which isn’t actually that great.

So they actually tell you how to complete the stress cycle–even if the stressors are still there. That’s just a small part of the book, but it was a major lightbulb moment for me! I’ve been too focused on how to reduce stressors, rather than how to handle stress.

Super interesting!

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But along those lines, I decided earlier this year that I would do something I’ve never done before: I’m actually going to take a month off from the blog and podcast.

Usually when I go on vacation I still check in a lot, or I still schedule a full roster of posts to go up when I’m gone.

That means that before leaving for vacation I’m busier than ever, and I do want to slow down a bit.

So I’ve decided that this summer I’ll be posting twice a week: Once on Thursdays, where I highlight one of my favourite Bare Marriage podcasts from the last year, and several others that I’ve been a guest on, and once on Tuesdays. 

Let me tell you about the Tuesday posts I have coming up:

I want to introduce you to some kindred spirits. 

I have met some amazing people on Twitter. Twitter, of course, is right now falling apart, and I’m hoping that Threads will pick up the slack (I’m there too if you want to follow me!) 

But on Twitter I have met some amazing women who are saying some really insightful things. On Tuesdays I’m going to be introducing you to some of these women, running excerpts from their posts so you can get to know them.

One of my dreams is to work myself out of a job. I want, when I retire (whenever that may be), that no one will notice because so many others have been raised up in this space. 

So I’m thrilled to introduce you to some of these amazing women. Stay tuned tomorrow, when we start!

Have a wonderful summer (or winter!) everyone. 

I’m starting off with a week long camping trip with my extended family. My cousin from British Columbia is coming in with her kids, and my aunt from Oregon is flying in, and together with Rebecca and Connor and the kids and another cousin who lives locally we’re all going camping. I’m super excited!

Then I’ve got a week at home before we fly out for an Alaskan cruise we booked super cheap at the last minute. My mom and my younger daughter Katie are coming on that one too. 

I’ll still be checking in on social media, because sometimes I have thoughts I just have to share.

But we’ll be back the week of August 14 for a new season of posts and podcasts!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Em

    I hope you enjoy your break! Those trips sound like a lot of fun!

  2. Phil

    Have fun.

  3. Jo R

    Enjoy and RECHARGE! ❤️

  4. Cynthia

    Enjoy your vacation! A good friend of mine is also going on an Alaskan cruise this summer.

    One of the things that I really appreciate about you is that you promote other voices, instead of trying to sound like the sole authority and source of truth. You’ve done that with Rebecca and Joanna, bringing in amazing insights and skills from a younger generation, you promote good books and research, and you are highlighting other voices that should be heard.

  5. Boone

    Keep an eye on the fires while camping. It only takes a shift of the wind to create a monster.

  6. Laura


    Enjoy your much needed vacation with family! Thank you for all you do and also for introducing us to new voices and the work they do to help dismantle toxic Christian teachings. I hope you get to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights while you are on your Alaskan cruise.

    • Tim

      Have a great break!

      This is a marginally on topic, but since you mentioned Vashti I’m interested in how you think about that story. As far as I know everyone who appears in the first chapter of Esther is a pagan and to me it’s ambiguous who (if anyone) the writer thinks is in the right. Obviously there are some people who’d say the point of that part of the story is that Vashti wasn’t submissive enough. I don’t subscribe to that general worldview at all but also not sure if there’s a decent counterargument to it based on Esther alone. Interested in your thoughts.

      • Tim

        That wasn’t meant to be directed at Laura.

        (Though if you’re also having a break I do hope it’s a great one!)

      • Nessie

        My thoughts aren’t the ones you were seeking, but I find it interesting so…

        I see the book of Esther as a flip side of Job in that God spoke in longer sections at the end of Job. In Esther, He was remarkably not verbally present. Those two represent seasons in my life where I felt I heard God often, and where I felt He was giving me the cold shoulder. I think there is much to learn in both seasons.

        I feel like God gave us brains to think and analyze with, so He gave us a book in which to draw our own conclusions, a practice session for “flying solo.” I’ve heard the “Vashti failed to submit” thing, too, although I think instead it served to 1. give situational background/context set-up, and 2. show that Xerxes was capable of getting rid of a wife which validates Esther’s fears of approaching him. Nowhere does the writer explicitly say that Vashti was wrong in her refusal or even try to paint the scene as an unsubmissive wife’s poor actions. Instead, a bit of time was taken to describe the drinking and scenario she was asked to enter into.

        Honestly, all the patriarchal push for women to not tempt men, etc. … how can they skip this? A roomful of men, drunken for days, the king demanding the queen enter wearing her crown (some say in just that, but even if simply in her queenly finery, she’d have been tempting) and how are we expected to believe those men could have controlled themselves when men today can’t simply for seeing a belly button? Patriarchs gloss over that it was likely wisdom and discernment that led Vashti to pass on that. IMO, it’s a book that encourages thinking.

        • Boone

          I just wanted to say thank you for your kind words the other day.

          • Nessie

            You’re very welcome.

        • Tim

          For what it’s worth, the Bible project video in Esther makes the point that the king in Esther is a pretty useless character generally.


          • Tim

            E.g. when he makes the request for Vashti to come he’s “…feeling the effects of the wine…” (1:10).

            And when she doesn’t come it says “…Then the king became extremely angry, and his rage consumed him.” (1:12) It could just be the translation, but it seems unlikely the author would describe the king’s reaction in those words if it was being portrayed as a reasonable response.

      • Cynthia

        To me; it sets the scene and the context. The king was extremely powerful, but also surrounded by people obsessed with power and hierarchy who would react in extreme ways to any hint of something less than total obedience. Being married to the king was no protection, and a queen was vulnerable to not just the king but also his advisors.

        It was in this setting that the evil advisor Haman was able to convince the king to go along with a plan for genocide over a perceived lack of willingness to bow, despite that same Jew having actually saved the king’s life.

        All this allows us to understand that it wasn’t a given that Esther, as Queen, would have the power to stop the genocide. She knew that she was vulnerable and she was scared. She had to find the courage to speak up and advocate for what was right, despite the power dynamics that put her life at risk for doing so.

        • Tim

          Thanks Cynthia. That makes a lot of sense.

  7. Angharad

    We will miss you, but have a wonderful break!

  8. Lisa Johns

    Love, love, love Burnout! Awesome book, referenced in several of the papers I wrote this semester!
    Have a wonderful summer!

    • Oxana

      I was reading reviews of Burnout to decide whether to read it or not and came across the concept of Human Giver Syndrome. It sounds exactly like evangelical teaching regarding women. I hope you will talk about this more in the future. I am definitely planning on reading the book.

      I think it will help me as I continue to deconstruct the patriarchal lies I believed from church teaching (thanks, John Piper, TGC et al.) And they teach it despite Jesus clearly rejecting all of those human power structures. God’s prediction in Gen 3:16 that men will try to master women is so true that even secular academics recognize it.

      I am so grateful for men, such as the ones that post here, that clearly see the teachings of Jesus and reject the lie that their privilege is a birthright.

      • Lisa Johns

        You need to read Dr. Laura Robinson’s substack titled “Misogyny, the SBC, and Beth Moore.” The perfect description of Human Giver Syndrome! Dr. Robinson places it more squarely in societal expectations than the Nagoskis do (though they are no slouches in calling the societal spade a spade!) I think you’ll enjoy the article!

  9. Nathan

    Comment about Esther and Vashti

    Let’s say that Vashti DID dance for the roomful of drunken men (and wearing ONLY her crown). The same people who are criticizing her for not submitting enough would instead be criticizing her for being too much of a vile temptress.

    • Tim

      Do you have a link to the video they’re discussing? Not 100% convinced this isn’t satire…

      • Kay

        Yes. I’m not sure either – but the idea of Marxism being involved in Sheila’s position has come up.

        I’m curious how far that line of thinking goes and whether it looks anything like this…

        If someone can unpack that I’d love to read it. Laura Robinson would be my “unpacker” of choice.

        Having been around people who see a Marxist behind every rock, I don’t immediately discredit it. But I don’t have enough information to go one way or the other.

      • Lisa Johns

        Pretty sure it’s satire. I can’t see Jordan Peterson crying over something that ridiculous!

    • Cynthia

      I saw this going around Twitter earlier and it seems to have been flagged as fake.

      • Kay

        Yeah, the specifics seem a off – but is the authors point totally fake – as in total make believe for the fun of it; or satire – as in an exaggeration to make a point, based off something in reality?

        That’s my confusion.

        I have seen people linking egalitarian ideas with Marxism. How far does that thinking go?

        I mean we come here to read a blog written by a team who think sex should be mutually enjoyable – and that team somehow ended up being shunned by a large portion of the evangelical industrial complex. A faith that should inspire people to consider one another’s needs ahead of your own, has power positions that freak out if that means that guys should take some lessons to ensure that their wives should be able to orgasm more frequently (or at all).

        What exactly makes up the root?

        Reading the article (what I could access) in light of the dynamics one sees here, it was brilliant satire.

        But I’d love to see it done as a scholarly undertaking, if satire it was.

    • exwifeofasexaddict

      I think it’s satire. “said Peterson, holding back tears” was my first clue. I have never seen Jordan Peterson emotional.

      • Tim

        The fact that we’re all here having a genuine and lively debate about whether JP might actually have denied the existence of female orgasms says something in itself. But I’m not sure how much it’s a reflection on him and how much it’s a reflection on us.

  10. Kelly G

    Enjoy your well deserved vacation! Hope to see some pics on Insta!

  11. Nathan

    It’s odd that some people would link equality in marriage with marxism. Official communist ideology holds true equality across race and gender, but from what I know, in nearly every hard core communist country (with the possible exception of China), the top levels of business, politics and the military were OVERWHELMINGLY male-dominated, and at the lower levels, women were mostly expected to be stay at home wives and mothers, and maybe get a factory job. Women could often be low level supervisors, but the real decision makers were nearly always men.


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