Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Preaching on the Gay Gene

Apparently one of our small town religious groups has awakened enough to recognize that just maybe it can acknowledge that science is suggesting there is a gene for homosexuality.

Glory be.

HOWEVER, apparently like the alcoholism gene, one can choose whether or not to act on that genetic urge. At least that’s what Sponge Bob Square Pants is reported to have said from the pulpit to his captive audience. And of course, if someone does choose to act on that urge, well…..we all know how “God” feels about that. <insert dripping sarcasm here>

The way I see it, that’s akin to saying to someone, “Wow. You got the gene, eh? So God screwed up when making you, and as a result you don’t get to experience happiness and sexual satisfaction on the level that ‘normal’ people do. Better be careful. If you do decide to choose happiness, God’s gonna get you in the end. Don’t worry though, we’ll still love you because we rock like that. We’re so Christian and all. We’ll love you, the sinner, but we’ll still hate your sin and do everything in our power to prevent your ever having rights equal to ours.” <insert even more dripping sarcasm here>

As for the comparison between homosexuality and alcoholism, acting on one destroys a person’s life. The other, if handled properly and given appropriate support can result in a well-adjusted human being in a normal, committed relationship who contributes to the betterment of society in a multitude of ways.

Charlie Sheen or some of my gay friends?

No comparison. None. Not even on the same planet with this one.

I officially dub that one of the most ignorant comparisons ever to come out of a preacher’s mouth. In all fairness, I’d be willing to bet he is a victim of religious abuse growing up. I’d also be willing to bet he’s never taken time to get to know someone who is GLBT. There is a video on YouTube that suggests no one chooses their sexual orientation. They just recognize it and evolve into it, sometimes with love and support of others, and sometimes enduring brutal persecution and torture.

I might also point out that the same book that is used as justification for persecuting GLBT’s also says women should keep their heads covered, slaves should be loyal to their masters, and it’s okay to annihilate entire nations of people who don’t believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It even says that we all can have the power to perform miracles, and that children who disobey their parents should be killed. Oh yeah….and there’s that little bit about stoning people who commit adultery and that remarriage after divorce is adultery.

Raise your hand if you know someone who has divorced and remarried.

I know I won’t be throwing any stones. I love them and want them to be happy.

Anyone out there for making a law that says no one can marry another after a divorce?

What’s the difference between that law and one that bans gay marriage, or only recognizes the commitment of two people if they are a heterosexual couple?  There is no difference. It’s the same thing.

So help me to understand the logic that says since the Bible condemns homosexuality, we as a 21st century free society must do the same. However, even though the Bible condemns other things, we can conveniently sweep those under the carpet and look the other way.

Either it all applies today, or none of it applies today.

One simply cannot pick and choose what is for today and what isn’t to use as a means of persecuting those who experience life differently from our narrow view of what should be.

That is where my religious convictions died. The day I realized that I had allowed myself to be conditioned to accept inconsistency because someone said I should was the day I walked away.

It’s never been the same since.

I caught a glimpse of a bigger picture. It’s a beautiful picture. I think it’s the one that artists like Jesus and Buddha worked on.

Maybe I’ll have a few opportunities to add some brush strokes to it.

An Adventurous Introvert

Personality tests are a lot of fun for me. Most of the time when I take them, I am mixed up and confused enough that no single dominant trait just screams to the world, “HEY, THIS DESCRIBES ANGIE PERFECTLY!!!!”

Today was different.

Maybe I’m getting really comfortable in my new skin.

Today I took the mini version of Enneagram test. Hitting the submit button revealed that I am a strong Type 7 with moderate doses of Types 1, 2, and 4.

So I clicked to read the description of Type 7.

And I died laughing.

Rarely if ever have I seen a more perfect description of me. Every quirk, whim, emotion, and attitude was right there on the screen before my eyes.

Apparently, I am an Adventurer.

The Adventurer (the Seven)

Adventurers are energetic, lively, and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world.

How to Get Along with Me
(this is important–and right on target, so pay attention!)

  • Give me companionship, affection, and freedom. Freedom is the biggie.
  • Engage with me in stimulating conversation and laughter.
  • Appreciate my grand visions and listen to my stories. Yes, I know my left-brained, details-heavy version is a bit monotonous, but hang with me on it.
  • Don’t try to change my style. Accept me the way I am. You’ll only frustrate yourself if you expect anything else.
  • Be responsible for youself. I dislike clingy or needy people. Including my own children….just sayin’. You ARE over the age of four. I think you can fix your own breakfast at this point. And lunch. And possibly dinner, too.
  • Don’t tell me what to do. Really. Don’t. Unless you want me to do the opposite, then you can try it and see what happens.

What I Like About Being a Seven

  • being optimistic and not letting life’s troubles get me down
  • being spontaneous and free-spirited (Some might go so far as to say “irresponsible”. It’s okay. The spontaneous part is a bit of a stretch.)
  • being outspoken and outrageous. It’s part of the fun. Another way of saying this is I really enjoy yanking the chains of those who think they’ve got things figured out. Really. Have you read my stuff?
  • being generous and trying to make the world a better place
  • having the guts to take risks and to try exciting adventures (Can you say, “I quit!”?)
  • having such varied interests and abilities (There is so much to learn and so much to do? How’s a girl ever gonna pick something?)

What’s Hard About Being a Seven

  • not having enough time to do all the things I want (or money)
  • not completing things I start (uh….ouch…but true)
  • not being able to profit from the benefits that come from specializing; not making a commitment to a career (Let’s see how many different things I can find to do in my lifetime!)
  • having a tendency to be ungrounded; getting lost in plans or fantasies
  • feeling confined when I’m in a one-to-one relationship (This doesn’t apply to my marriage of 21 years, but that’s mostly because I got someone who respects my free spirit. If he were possessive, he’d probably already be dead.)

Sevens as Children Often

  • are action oriented and adventuresome (My guess is riding baby calves and milking cats falls into this category. Hey, what can I say? It was 13 miles from civilization. A kids got to find some sort of entertainment when cable doesn’t exist.)
  • drum up excitement (Ask a few old band directors about this one. Puns intended, but only those who knew me will understand.)
  • prefer being with other children to being alone (But only if they are nice to me.)
  • finesse their way around adults (Might have played a few to my advantage.)
  • dream of the freedom they’ll have when they grow up (As I hear the sound of Simba singing, “Oh I just can’t WAIT to be KING!” playing in my head.)

Sevens as Parents

  • are often enthusiastic and generous (or not)
  • want their children to be exposed to many adventures in life (and spend their retirement trying to pay for it)
  • may be too busy with their own activities to be attentive (uhm….possibly)

I posted this valuable info on Facebook and a friend asked me what my MBTI is. That’s the one that measures  introvert/extrovert, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. I presented as an ISFJ, 67, 38, 12, 1. That means I am significantly introverted, in case you are confused.

You can stop saying “Nuh-uh” now.

I know. It’s shocking. The world simply isn’t prepared for the news that Angie Cox is an introvert. Well, folks, it’s true. It’s been true most of my life.

Case in point: Tuesday night was the stock show sale. Not exactly a crowd in which I have lots of buddies. There are great people out there, but their path in life has typically taken a very different route than mine. Hubby had gone to a basketball game with daughter #2. I was on my own with the munchkins who actually have a social life and promptly abandoned me to avoid total embarrassment.

Where was Angie?

After forcing myself to visit with my nice neighbor from 3 houses down with whom I haven’t spoken in a very very very long time (don’t worry….it’s strictly due to my introversive nature, nothing is wrong with this relationship), I meandered about for awhile, watched a bit of the proceedings standing by myself, held up the wall for a few minutes, tried to be my big brother’s shadow for a bit, then found my way into the sheep/goat barn where there was a radiant heater beaming it’s glorious goodness down on whomever would stand and absorb. There I stood until almost time to come home. A few people came by and visited for a few minutes, but I did not seek out anyone to “hang with”. I was perfectly content leaning against the wall all alone with that luscious heat beaming down on my cold body watching the comings and goings of the the night.

And was I ever so glad to get home.

Facebook and blogging are an introvert’s best friends, by the way.

Apparently I am also a sensor/feeler. I knew this. Although I have been in denial for a very long time.

I am like the thermostat for a room full of people. I can detect if even one person is uncomfortable, confused, or otherwise “off-kilter”.

And I am miserable for them until the situation is corrected.

Sometimes I even take it upon myself to ask the question I know is contributing to the look of confusion on their face, even if I already know the answer.

I rock like that.

This information means it is highly unlikely I will ever be a boss.

I could never fire anyone.

I’d be too worried about how they would be feeling.

So when I’m old and gray and wrinkled (well, I’m already working on that last part), and you find me alone next to a wall warming myself by a heater, please consider engaging me in stimulating conversation and laughter as you’ve been instructed above.

Maybe it will help keep my brain in semi-working condition.

For or Against and Feedback Followup

Election Day is here. Many have already cast their vote. I have not. Yesterday’s writing outlined the issues that are important to me, and likely many others, yet it acknowledged an attitude of apathy that I have developed due to frustration with career politicians, manipulation of said politicians by corporations and special interests, and the feeling that the political system has become a contest to see who can be hated the least instead of supported the most.

I added a link to my blogpost as my Facebook status yesterday along with a cocky, smart aleck comment about potentially not voting and what’s the point. Interestingly enough NO ONE had anything to say about the issues I mentioned, but I apparently struck a nerve with some by suggesting it might be pointless to vote.

It seems suggesting that one might choose not to vote ranks right up there with suggesting there isn’t really a fiery place called Hell.

The comments I received ranged from determination to vote against Rick Perry and his ridiculous monthly rent house payment being paid by the taxpayers of Texas to a plea to vote because our troops are fighting to protect our voting rights to how fortunate we are that we do have the right to disagree with elected officials or even choose not to vote.

The comment that I found most compelling, however, came from a long-time friend and former co-worker whom my oldest daughter had the privilege of having for a teacher. She said:

The reason I have voted (early) is to show that my small voice and meager pocketbook can still affect change. I am more concerned about the long term effect if our daughter sees that we are too eager or impatient to give up on our democracy. Though I am certain that tomorrow’s election results will be a sober reminder that “money” and “fear” will often win over the eligible voters who do exercise their right, I feel it is important to snub my nose in the face of corporate interests who are hoping that I will stay home and not vote. They are actually counting on the negativity and disgust factor to keep me away. I take pride in being one of their worst nightmares…a voter who tries to be as informed as possible, reasonable and one of “those” people who put signs in their yard.

I have to admit, she did an excellent job of answering my question, “What’s the point?”

The Facebook discussion raised another significant question for me.

Is it ethical to vote for a candidate simply to send a message that one is voting against another candidate? In other words, should the entire student body throw its support behind Cheerleader B simply because we don’t want Cheerleader A to win? If Cheerleader B is a good cheerleader and is likeable, then we will likely be voting FOR Cheerleader B anyway. But what if Cheerleader B is nothing more special than someone who is NOT Cheerleader A. Is it still ethical to vote for Cheerleader B solely to send a message to Cheerleader A that the student body doesn’t want her representing them? ….solely because we have a moral obligation to exercise our right to vote?

Law of Attraction gurus tend towards the philosophy that being against something or someone tends to give energy to the very thing/person we oppose. They suggest a healthier approach is to find something/someone we can champion and put our energy towards positive support.

With that in mind, I took to the internet this morning looking for reasons to support one of the candidates for governor of Texas. Already harboring a few negative opinions of my own regarding current Governor Goodhair, and armed with the comment of a close friend who indicated Bill White is a great guy, I began searching for reasons to support Bill White other than simply being against Rick Perry.

“Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find.”

I googled “why should I vote for Bill White” and was led right to his campaign page.

I compared his issues to the issues I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post.

I found several areas where I felt we might share some common ground, one of the most significant for me being his inclusive attitude toward marginalized people in Texas including GLBT groups. There was a video featuring Indo-Americans which was very positive. I was impressed that something had been produced which contained virtually no digs, slams, or complaints against the competition, but rather was totally focused on the positive characteristics of Bill White. It portrayed him as a man who is both accessible to the people and compassionate.

On the issue of border control, he used the right language to get my attention. He focused on the need to protect the US from threats to our safety while not “…disrupting lawful daily commerce and travel.” There was no mention of the need to stop illegal immigration that I found. That’s not the real issue. Safety is the issue. Deal with the problem. Penalize only those who need to be penalized.

On the issue of health care, there is evidence that he has at least attempted to improve access to affordable insurance and suggestions that he will continue to pursue efforts on that issue.

In an ironic twist of typical party-line positions, Bill White indicates he supports the rights of land owners and sees the use of eminent domain as a last resort. His focus on re-directing and re-organizing TxDOT is appealing to me as a taxpayer.

His position on energy includes strategies to not only move to more sustainable energy sources, but also improve energy efficiency in order to reduce consumption. That is significant in my book. He also mentions protecting the environment and natural resources. I’m not convinced about this in that he mentions reducing emissions, yet nothing addresses the environmental impact of massive wind farms.

As for education, I have long felt that career and technical education was being short-changed. I am glad to see a specific statement regarding support for career and technical education. It gives our kids an option for leading financially successful lives without incurring the massive debt that tends to accompany a traditional college education.

So why am I just now pursuing this information?

Mostly because I avoid television and the negative crap that accompanies any political discussion to be found on TV. The only thing I do see is the occasional negative ad that makes its way onto whatever satellite channel I am watching as I drift off to sleep or in the midst of the local news.

I am glad to know there is a viable choice that can give Texans a reason to believe in something better than what has been instead of simply a referendum against status quo. I am also grateful for friends who choose to respond to my frustrations not with defensiveness, but with real reasons to keep believing that the system works.

Funeral Etiquette Fail

I’m writing funeral thank you’s this morning.

For the record, that’s one of my least favorite chores in any part of life. Funeral thank-you’s aren’t special. I’m pretty much inept at any type of written thank you. I mean, I can write a thank you that will knock your socks off, but odds are it will be so long after the actual good deed event occurred that you won’t even remember what you did to deserve a thank you.

Thank you writing ranks right up there with exercise, cleaning out my closets, and scrubbing my toilet and tub. I know it NEEDS to be done, but it probably won’t happen until the guilt of knowing I SHOULD do it overwhelms the laziness.

And as I write these thank you’s to the nice people who brought food to us in the days following the passing of my hawt man’s  86 year old dad, I can’t help but wonder if there is some sort of funeral thank you etiquette that I am stomping into the dirt.

Of course, this whole process has been an exercise in seeing how many traditionalist boats we can rock, so maybe I’m just an ongoing extension of that.

My oldest brother-in-law actually had some fun with the traditionalists.

I like my oldest b-i-l’s willingness to challenge expectation and tradition, so I’m sorta enjoying the ride. However, my paranoia meter is still pegging the max on occasion.

I think I have a few sista-in-laws right there with me.

Here’s a run down of a few of the traditions we may have smashed in the past few weeks:

1. Open casket. Nope. Not here. I find it funny how obsessed people are with evaluating the handiwork of the undertaker. Hawt Guy’s parents had made it very clear they didn’t want to be gawked at, and the boys did a very nice job of making sure that didn’t happen, much to the chagrin of a few of our older friends.

2. Flowers. My poor sis-in-law who used to own a flower shop kinda freaked when she realized there were pretty much NO flowers. None. Nadda. And yet, it totally worked for this situation. The boys took loads of family photos to the funeral home so everyone who came in could remember the living moments of happiness, energy, and handsome vitality rather than the immediate moment of the many ways age and ill health had taken its toll on the physical body. Those photos rendered the need for flowers completely irrelevant. No mums, roses, or carnations could possibly outdo the beauty of a young couple in love and their amazing family through the years.

Although I have to say, I was hoping to snag a free plant or two for my wellness center.

Fortunately someone loves me and gave me some overflow from their place.

POST BLOG PUBLISHING UPDATE: I completely missed the wreath sent by a guy that loves this family like his own. Fortunately, my hawt honey was paying attention. Thanks, Friend! You are the coolest.

3. Church. Nope. Not this go around. No rosary service. No aisles or pews. No suits and ties (at least none required). Just a few words of remembrance and encouragement out in the beautiful pasture that is Rose Hill Cemetery. Ten minutes from welcome to final amen. That’s exactly what Charlie would have wanted. Exactly.

4. And then there are the thank yous. I have a list of people who brought food to us at some point during the process. Some of them are friends of Hawt Guy and me (my? mine? us? I?) who barely know the rest of the family. A few fed us because they love our children and wanted to make sure the little hummingbirds had plenty of sugar to survive the days of being ignored by their parentals. Some are extended family both on Hawt Guy’s side and my side. Still others are from his dad’s associations and I don’t even know them.

It dawned on me about half way through the thank you list that maybe I should sign the cards with more than just Eric, Angie, & Girls. After all, there are a few other families on whose behalf I am thanking people. I promise we didn’t hog all the food just for our bunch.

Then I happened to notice the little blank space at the bottom of the front of the card and wondered if I was supposed to be writing in the name of our departed loved one.

You know….in case they don’t remember who just died and why they made that cake.

5. Sadness and grief. I think we probably failed miserably at this one. The Kleenex Corporation stock probably dropped for a few days from lack of consumption. I know the guys will have their moments of missing Charlie and remembering the way things used to be, however, this seemed more like a celebration of a life completed: Almost a bit of relief that his struggle is  over, the worry is over, and now we move on. He wasn’t ripped from us. He released us and we released him from his physical container. We get the memories. He gets his freedom. Not much sadness to scrape up when viewed like that.

And for the record, I have learned a lot in the past couple of weeks. It’s all good information, yet not exactly an area in which I want to become an expert. At least we  have some idea what to expect the next time we experience the process.

Maybe we’ll have figured out a few more rules of funeral etiquette we can break when that time comes. ;-)

My Crazy Funeral Hangups

Our family is working its way through our first funeral process in nine years. It’s the first one ever for me and my husband to be directly involved in as far as decision making.

And I say ME and my husband loosely.

I’m not making any decisions, just an occasional comment or observation for his consideration.

It’s not something at which we are professionals (thank goodness), and it’s not something that comes naturally, especially when MEN are in charge of creating a ceremony designed to both honor the departed according to their wishes for simplicity and allow those remaining to simultaneously release, celebrate, and grieve. THESE men are very practical guys. Not much for ceremony. Their motto has been, “Keep it simple and short.” I actually love that about them, yet the sensor/feeler in me keeps flipping the paranoia switch over to the “what’s everyone else gonna think?” setting.

It’s a fine line….trying to be supportive, mind my own business, and keep my paranoid intuition in check. Not exactly a role I was born to play. If I survive without pissing someone off, I will certainly be deserving of an Oscar nomination.

Red Carpet, here I come.

I am finding, however, that there are certain things that drive me a wee bit crazy. It’s not like that’s a very long trip for me, so please understand, I am not griping or complaining about the kind and well-intentioned actions and messages of others, just noticing my reaction to them and wondering out loud why they annoy me.

First, there are the messages of condolences. It’s sort of like saying happy birthday. There are only so many ways to let someone know how badly it must suck to go through the process of releasing a loved one from this life.

Hmm…I may have to use that next time someone I care about is grieving. “I am so sorry. It really sucks for you to have to go through this.”

I really think most people prefer to give condolences without getting too involved or too emotional. You know….express the concern, yet keep it professional…..CSI style.

“I am sorry for your loss.”

I have watched way too much of that show, because as much as I love the people who have used some version of that line, it sorta makes me crazy. Again, my problem, not theirs, so nobody needs to be offended or apologize. It’s not your job to adjust the thermostat to keep me happy.

I am grateful for your love regardless of how you choose to express it.

Really. I am.

I guess the whole “Sorry for your loss” just sounds too murder-investigation-y for me. Sorta like, “Sucks for you. Glad it’s not me. Keeping a professional distance is the name of the game. Oh, and I need to ask you a few questions. Where were you on the night of the murder?”

Yes, I need psychological help. Is there a doctor in the house?

On the other hand, there have been some beautifully composed messages of condolences. Some of my favorites so far have been these:

“My intention is for comfort and joy.”

“I am so sorry and will pray for peace that surpasses all understanding for your family! Ya’ll are in my prayers.”

“My love and prayers go out to Charles’s family. He was a wonderful man who will truly be missed by all who ever had the pleasure of meeting him. Love you all.

“You are all in my prayers. He was such a sweet man and had a wonderful family too.”

“Wonderful man, wonderful family. God bless you all!”

And even the simple messages that said things like, “Love you,” “Hugs and Prayers,” “Thinking of you all,” and “Thinking of you guys” are so appreciated, whether accompanied with dose of CSI or not. ;-)

I think it’s the personalization that warms my heart. I am grateful for all who take the time to send a message of comfort. I am abundantly grateful for those who add a personal touch or something just a bit different.

It’s beyond cool.

The other thing on my list of minor annoyances is flip-flopping and mind-changing, especially when I sometimes get to be the messenger of what’s NOT going to happen only to be told later that plans have changed and now people are down to 24 hours for planning and prep to be nice to us.

Especially when those people crunched for planning and prep time are the same people who asked five days ago if we wanted them to do something.

And especially when they are people I really care about.

It’s a bit awkward and frustrating to say the least.

I am grateful they are not nearly as shallow and petty as I am.

I am also grateful to be part of a family who loves each other enough to overlook the minor annoyances as just a part of the insanity and stress of the process.

No hurt feelings. No grudges.

Just an abundance of love.

Flexibility is definitely the name of the funeral game.

Annoyed or not, I am truly blessed.

Hair-Trigger Paranoia Switch

Yesterday was highly productive. I accomplished nothing other than taking a nice long trip down the road to paranoia. In other words, I wasted my whole day worrying about something that wasn’t even a problem, and in the process, probably created a few that didn’t previously exist.

So how can I say it was highly productive?

Because I now have about two weeks worth of writing material for explaining to the world why I lost my already fragile sanity, its effects and related trauma, and how things could have been different.

The right-brained version of the story is as follows:

My middle girls came home saying the coaches told them no parent could talk to the coaches about anything unless the girls had talked to the coaches about it first. I freaked, thinking an email question I had sent caused this reaction, and immediately wanted to talk to the coaches about it so I could fix it.

That’s what I do…I fix things.

But I couldn’t, because the girls said if I did, they’d be punished. And I typically try my best to follow rules, especially if not doing so could harm my girls. I mean, I won’t even take more Tylenol than the bottle says because I’m afraid I might die if I do.

Now for the gory details…

The email I sent to one of the coaches had gone unanswered for three days. I, being the ultimate gauge of and highly sensitive to everyone else’s feelings, was already becoming slightly paranoid that I had somehow violated the parent-coach boundary that each coach draws for themselves when they arrive at a new place.

I mentioned to #3 daughter that I had emailed the coach about ankle braces yet hadn’t received a reply, to which she responded, “So you’re the reason they gave us that speech today.” And proceeded to explain what the discussion had been and which coach had given it.

<GULP>

It was the sweet lady head coach whom I consider a good friend. Someone I can sit and talk to for hours on end when the timing is right. But she had changed jobs since we had one of those good talks. She now has a new role in my family’s life, and I wasn’t quite sure yet what her boundary looked like.

And now I couldn’t even contact her to ask her, because MY GIRLS SAID doing so would result in physical punishment and loss of playing time.

Someone explain to me why I would suddenly start listening to my girls and actually abiding by their wishes? That’s never been a real problem for me before.

So rather than go find my friend/coach and ask, “What the crap?….” I just stewed. And nursed some growing resentment. How dare someone tell me I can’t talk to my kids’ teachers?

I couldn’t go talk to her. My kids SWORE life as they knew it would end if I did.

And then the passive aggressive in me kicked in.

And the “encouraging” posts on Facebook to all my educator friends kicked in….you know…the ones that said crap like, “…build communication bridges with parents……not intimidation….” and “….do kids and parents feel safe talking to you or do they perceive you as a threat…”?

What can I say? I’m a positive passive aggressive.

And a bit of a jerk.

And a little more than slightly paranoid.

But my hands were tied, because I THOUGHT I couldn’t go ask my friend what was up even though everything inside of me wanted to march right straight into her classroom and ask, “What the heck?”

So finally, I emailed her. Subject line: Amnesty. I begged for her not to punish my girls for my intrusion into her coaching life, then proceeded to spill my paranoid guts to her.

And I waited.

And I got no response.

Of course it was after lunch when I sent it, but surely she’d had a chance to see it before leaving her classroom, and since she didn’t respond with her characteristic, “…you dork! Of course you can talk to me!”, it could only mean one horrible, terrible thing…..she….wasn’t….speaking…..to…..me!!!!!

After all….it was the new law.

After wallering in this most of the day, shedding some tears of frustration (yes, I even cried over this little incident), making a butt-head of myself on Facebook, and second guessing myself the whole time, I finally noticed her “arrival” on Facebook chat.

I clicked on her name.

Then I closed it.

Then I clicked on it again.

Then I couldn’t think of a way to non-chalantly start a conversation without being one of “THOSE” parents.

Finally I had a brilliant opening line.

Me: “Hey, Girl! How are you? I miss coming to your rescue when you have a technology question.”

Her: “I miss you, too!”

A few other pleasantries.

And then she asked if she was the mean coach being referenced in my conversation on FB.

Crap! I tried to delete that comment before anyone saw it. I had tried not to use the words coach or athletics anywhere in my stuff yesterday, but one of my commenters knew and it slipped.

Then I confessed to my dilema.

And my emotional roller coaster.

And how stupidly paranoid I was being.

And how much time and energy I had wasted worrying, stressing, and being mad over it all.

And I don’t know if she laughed, or felt betrayed that I didn’t trust her.

But she made everything okay.

And she explained the “context” of the conversation with the girls and what her purpose was in insisting the girls talk to her about any team problems before allowing a parent to get involved.

Context is everything.

Hearing it from her was SO different than hearing it through my girls.

And while I confess to being a total complete donkey-butt, it has given me SO MUCH to think about.

…things like how easily the real message can get lost in the details of the process…

….or how quickly we can unintentionally trigger someone’s defensive fight or flight response even when we have the best of intentions…

…and how important it is to me to know that I can communicate freely with the adults that are helping to shape my kids’ lives.

But mostly, I learned that my paranoia switch has a hair trigger, and I really need to get a life.

Keeping it Simple

A recent reminder to “love the sinner, hate the sin” triggered my thinking about what constitutes sin and who gets to label something a sin. After all, we’ve taken great liberties in this country (and specifically in this part of the country) to weave into our many local, state, and national laws the conservative Christian beliefs that have consumed our religious lives.

Dear Thomas Jefferson, we are butchering your constitution. Sincerely, Us.

The aforementioned reminder was in reference to a conversation in which I revealed that I no longer accept the idea that monogamous homosexual relationships are sinful. There have been a number of factors that have contributed to my change in views, not the least of which was related to my experience with a beautiful human being most would call an hermaphrodite. “She” had breasts. “She” also had a full beard complete with five o’clock shadow. My heart broke for her and the agony she must have experienced throughout her life. She was a bit more difficult than others around us to fully accept.

Even at 41 years old, I sucked at being a decent human being to her.

In the same group of very cool people was the funniest guy I think I’ve ever met. He was a bit on the goofy side with a deep love for all things related to The Little Mermaid. As everyone became closer to one another, he revealed his preference to date males rather than females. At the risk of stereotyping, I totally saw that one coming. Much about him suggested this might be the case. He was somehow created with tendencies that pushed him in that direction. I witnessed his devastated and totally broken heart when one of his relationships crumbled. His pain was no different than what I experienced during my dating years.

Towards the end of my experience with these two people, I encountered a college acquaintance on Facebook. I more or less sought him out after a mutual friend shared with me the things he was doing with his life and how similar they were to things I wanted to do with my own. She also shared with me that his significant other was male. Again, thinking back, and again risking stereotyping, I wasn’t surprised. I am so glad I sought him out. He has blessed me in ways he’ll probably never know.

There are others, too numerous to mention here. A high school classmate. A seven year old boy in my PE class. Some girls I knew growing up. Something about them suggests the programming was there all along. If that’s the case, then suggesting that following their heart and finding the perfect lifelong companion is sinful also suggests that God screwed up. REALLY screwed up.

These same people will suggest that God doesn’t make mistakes.

Or maybe it wasn’t God. Maybe it was the devil that caused these “abnormalities”.

Sorry. Not buying that one either. That would suggest that we have a God that allows people to be set up for failure and misery in this life. It would imply that God doesn’t accept two people who care deeply for one another, are committed to each other for life, and who model and demonstrate a love and compassion for other human beings in ways many heterosexuals have yet to figure out. It also messes with that theory of free will.

It also got me to thinking about who decided to make homosexuality a sin….an abomination for those who seem to passionately love that word. As Christians, we honor a deity known as God and his human form self known as Jesus Christ. Supposedly we don’t worship Moses or Peter or Paul, so their words would simply be a suggestion rather than an edict. Only the words of God and Jesus should be applicable in deciding this question.

That requires getting back to the core of our belief system. For most, those roots are in the Ten Commandments and in the words of Jesus found in the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Jesus kept it pretty simple. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

God was a little more demanding, but still stayed on the non-complex side of things: No other gods, no idols, no taking his name in vain, rest up once a week, honor your parents, don’t murder, steal, lie, be jealous of what others have, don’t take another man’s wife, and don’t be doing the adultery thing.

Pretty simple stuff.

Good advice for how to be a decent human being.

Nothing about homosexuality.

Nothing.

Which leads me to Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well who had experienced various men in her lifetime. In neither case did Jesus condemn them. He sent them on their way to live their lives peacefully. He both showed and allowed them to experience love. He didn’t demand the woman at the well leave her latest squeeze and live a life of remorseful solitude.

He loved them. Yes, he also told them not to sin. Yet he does not indicate that their relationships are their sin. Maybe I’m being too technical. The point is, he did not condemn them.

The other point is men wrote the series of texts we have bound together and called the Bible. Men chose what would go into it. Men chose what would be excluded from it. Men proclaimed a part of God’s creation to be a mistake.

Men.

Human Men.

With Human baggage and ideals.

Not God men.

It’s time to stop condemning good and beautiful people who just happen to prefer the company of those of the same sex based on the writings of angry men from three thousand years ago. It’s time to let go of the fear we have for something we don’t understand and allow them to live their lives with the same rights and freedoms available to the pious, (and sometimes murderous) religious right-wing extremists.

It’s time to just….

Allow.

Accept.

Love.

As for me? What can I say? I really like the opposite sex.

I like men….even gay men.

Magnum PI DejaVue and a Jail Break at the Farm

We had a jail break yesterday. Apparently our horses, Buddy and Shorty, both lacking anything important resembling manhood (studhood?), were quite upset when their female pasture companion for the last month had to go back to her home way out in the country.

I didn’t realize just how upset they were…..

….Until I returned from picking up HorseGirl from cheerleading camp only to find my baby girl running up and down the barditch between our farm and the football field and acting like a lunatic. Then I saw them….the big beasts that had just busted through my pathetic attempt at a horse fence. They were enjoying the munchies available on the other side of the road…..visitor’s side concession stand.

I slammed on the breaks, hollered at HorseGirl to jump out and get her horses, backed up that minivan and jumped out with her.

HorseGirl hollered at my baby to go get halters. Meanwhile HorseGirl and I did everything in our power to keep the nutless wonders contained and calm. Belly scratching was working pretty well…until Buddy decided to move and my sandal clad foot decided to be under his 25 year old hoof.

Forgive me Father…I know not what I said, but I’m pretty sure it probably wouldn’t be suitable in church…..if I ever went.

Pretty sure my mom wouldn’t approve either.

Halters arrived, horses were under control, and HorseGirl led them both back to their jail…er…uh….pasture. A little feed, and our adventure was over….I thought.

A few minutes later, my hubby calls and asks if the horses are out. I told him, “Not anymore.” He said he was listening to the police talking about horses being out and trying to find them.

I looked out the window and saw no less than two cop cars driving by. HorseGirl was trying her best to hide until they drove away. I figured they were trying desperately to find the “loose” horses and in an attempt to relieve their desperate search, I walked out to give them the scoop.

The first police car had already driven off, but the second one, unmarked yet obviously a police package car (I know this from my years of being a sheriff’s daughter—valuable and important information for life), was still driving slowly. I waved. He rolled down his window. I didn’t recognize him. Strange– because I know almost everyone of any authority around here. It makes me feel important.

I gave him the whole ugly story, including the part about the agonizing pain on the top of my foot, then stuck my hand out towards him and introduced myself. He obviously needed to know me. Had he been bald and wrinkled, I might have been less forthcoming, but this older dude was still sporting a good amount of hair that was actually still on his head, plus he had a thick salt and pepper colored ‘stache on his top lip.

Since I consider myself quite a connoisseur of attractive older men, I had dubbed him worthy of knowing me. He reciprocated the introduction, handed me his card, and we parted ways.

Five minutes later as I looked at the name on the card, I had a serious dejavue moment.

Serious dejavue.

Flashback to 1980. I was about 12. We had a fun lady coach for junior high athletics. She always commented how her husband looked like Tom Selleck/Magnum, PI. He came to a few of our trackmeets, and most of us agreed. At the ripe old age of twelve, we all helped her admire the deliciousness that was her man.

Time passed. Thirty years to be exact. As the CSI photo enhancing computer in my head did its amazing aging work, I stood there realizing that I had just had a personal encounter with Magnum. Him. That man who was once the spouse of my coach.

Poor sucker.

Next time I see him, I have to tell him. HAVE TO. It’s a desperate obsession.

Am I weird or what? Do any of the rest of you remember this?

So yeah….crazy horses and a huge dose of dejavue. Turned out to be a good day, I’d say.

Lessons Learned from a Wild and Crazy Week

This week has been full of enlightenment. Several lessons have come about as a result of my adventures.

1. Religious beliefs can really mess with a person’s ability to accept new ideas for personal improvement.

2. My home is perfect even though Martha Stewart would be appalled.

3. My children are fabulous entertainment for company. I believe the term “reality television” was used more than once this week.

4. I have emotional baggage. The Samsonite version. Without wheels. Bleah.

5. It is possible to add wheels to emotional baggage and roll it right on out. Thanks, Andrea, for helping me with this.

6. Getting a kid to the airport is easy. Getting her off the ground can be a bit more challenging.

7. Hurricanes affect more than just the coastal regions. They can also ground planes and wreak havoc with connecting flights out of the country.

8. It rocks to have family who live 15 minutes from the airport where my kid is locked in a grounded plane that is stuck on the tarmac with weather and mechanical issues.

9. Delta customer service is much better than I ever anticipated. Two hours and 15 minutes after the panicked “what do I do” call, we had a plan and a new ticket.

10. Thirty-five year old single German-speaking guys who don’t have children don’t place much urgency on notifying receiving end parents that their kid-for-a-month won’t be on the plane as expected. Note to self….just make the dang call myself.

11. The guilt of knowing said parents were probably freaking out with stress because their kid-for-a-month didn’t get off the plane as expected sucks rotten lemons. Note to self….just make the dang call myself.

12. Never allow a child to experience any place more beautiful than home if you wish to see her reside in your part of the world ever again. Just don’t do it. They tend to send you messages from abroad that say things like, “It’s beautiful here. Think I’ll find a man and stay forever.” That’s okay honey. Just be sure you build the mother-in-law quarters, b/c I’ll be coming to visit. Is that really what you want??????

13. Having everything calm down and return to quasi-normal rocks. I’m going to take a nap for a few days. Don’t bother waking me.

This is Me

Summer vacation is here, and this time, it is here in a very big way. My job with the school district is over. Ended. Done. That should mean time to relax, plan, create, enjoy, and did I mention relax?

Relaxing probably isn’t going to happen at this point. The rest of the month of June is scheduled and slotted and booked with this or that,  none of which truly lend themselves to relaxing.

The day after I left what was my job for the last time, we packed up our things and headed for New Mexico to visit relatives and get my oldest to her college orientation. It was fun, but it was stressful and tiring. I worry when I visit and stay with other people.

I worry about whether I’m helping out enough. I worry about how my kids are behaving and what rules they are breaking or how they might be corrupting someone else’s nice orderly lifestyle. I worry that they might make a mess or accidentally tear something up. Even with the reassurance of the host/hostess that everything is fine, I worry about what the hostess might be thinking…about me, my kids, and how we live our lives.

It doesn’t lend itself to much relaxing.

Now back at home, I have pretty much booked my week. I’m helping with a local foods day camp. We are having a garage sale this weekend. Guests are arriving on Sunday for a class I am teaching in my house next Monday-Wednesday.

And I worry some more.

I am worried that I haven’t promoted enough. I am worried that my house isn’t clean enough and won’t be. Actually I’m not worried about that one. I’m pretty sure on that one. I am worried that the guest bed won’t be comfortable enough. I am worried that ugly six legged creatures that love living in old neighborhoods will introduce themselves to my guests and reflect on me. I am worried that there is no way to get the bathrooms in a respectable condition and keep them that way for a week. I’m worried about what they will think of me if they see the real me. It’s just not very pretty by typical middle class standards.

And then I see Ronna’s blog post about how she’s not in charge of the damn thermostat, and once again I realize that this is me and I like my life…most of it anyway. I’d like for people to feel comfortable around me, but I will probably not ever please the Martha Stewart clan with my house keeping skills and guest accommodations.

I want to have the confidence of the beautiful lady with whom we stayed over the weekend. She has her way, she has her reasons, she’s realistic in so many ways. It is what it is and everyone else can take it or leave it, but she’s fine with it. I want that.

I want to be okay with me.

I want to be okay with whatever others think of me, of my family, of my living conditions.

I want to be able to relax and enjoy my space and my life without feeling like I have to jump through hoops to be acceptable.

Yes, folks, this is how we live. It’s not elegant. It’s not even sanitary most of the time. But it’s me. Kids are always happy and content in our space. They know they can’t mess anything up.

Why can’t adults see my world that way, too?

So now it’s time to get on the stick, so to speak. Much to do this week to get ready to impress.

Ugh! This isn’t fun at all.

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