Posts filed under ‘family’

The Garden Bug

As a child my family had a garden.  And by garden I mean at least an acre that had to be worked every week.  I remember kneeling in the hot garden, sweat rolling down my brow, sweat bees stinging me behind my knees every move I made, and swearing that I would never do that again.  I knew that once I grew up and could make those decisions, I would never garden again.  That’s it, no more, I’m done with it.

Fast forward a few years and I am a young mother who for some strange reason decides I need a little garden.  Well I do know the reason, fresh tomatoes.  There is nothing better than a fresh tomato sandwich.  So the garden bug bit me a little and I made a “small” garden.  And I would have been happy at that if only the calves didn’t escape their pens and destroy it all in one night.

So with calves a frolicking, babies crying, and all those childhood garden memories swarming in my head, I decided that the garden just wasn’t worth it.  So for a few years I resisted the garden bug and did a good job at it I must say.

Fast forward a few more years.  Not a single calf in sight, the boys are growing, and I had the great fortune to marry a wonderful lady who…. wanted a garden.

ZAP!!!!!!!  The garden bug really got me this time.  All last fall and winter we poured through garden plans and talked about what we wanted to plant.  I signed up for every seed catalog I could find and spent last Winter reading and re-reading them.  And let me tell you, with 3 feet of snow and no electricity, those catalogs really saved my sanity.

So I have officially re-entered the world of gardening and I have to admit that I love it.  I love planting the tiny little seeds and watching for them to sprout.  I really enjoy the hours spent on my knees pulling weeds and feeling the warm sun on my shoulders.  But most of all, I am enjoying the fresh tomatoes and the salads and sharing all of this with my family.

And now the garden bug has bitten my boys.  They want to plant a garden of their own next year and I can’t wait to help them.  I can’t wait to see if this bite will last just a year or two or if they will become life long gardeners.  I hope their garden experience will be a lot more pleasant than mine at that age.  I hope they feel the warm dirt and find that connection that goes deeper than just food for the table.  It is a connection of all living and breathing things.  And it is a gift I think all children should have.

July 23, 2010 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

Ignorance is bliss

Have you ever heard the expression, “Ignorance is bliss” ?  Well I guess it may be true if you are the one in blissful ignorance, but for the rest of us, it is just plain annoying.   Let me explain, a while back I had the pleasure of buying tires for the front end of my car.  It seemed like a good idea at the time,  especially since I would soon be driving to Florida and back and the cute little wires were protruding near the inner rim.  So the tires were one stop I could hardly avoid.

Not that I have some strange aversion to the tire store, in all actuality the tire store is a nice place to visit.  A nice air conditioned waiting area complete with old magazines and a television set that seems to always be stuck on one soap opera or another.  No my complaint isn’t with the tire store.  It was a particular customer that irritated me.

She was sitting in the waiting area when we walked in.  I noticed her as one of two other people who were sitting there waiting to reclaim their cars with their shinny new wheels.  I noticed the disgusted look as we entered into the room to sit on the ugly old couch, but I really didn’t think anything of it.  I figured she was tired and cranky and just wanting to get out of there.  I did take note of her leaving the area but assumed her car was done or she needed to stretch.

We finished our lunch and took a walk outside for the customary after meal smoke and I noticed the lady again.  Sitting there looking disgusted on the only bench available.  She was so obvious it was almost funny.  With one disgusted look  up she jumped and away she went.  In our defense, we didn’t stink, we weren’t dressed inappropriately, nor did we talk loudly or be obnoxious in any way.  I guess she took offense when I didn’t think and called Dot “Honey”.  Maybe she didn’t like the gay thing, ya think?

Actually she was very obvious and there was little question about it, but I did get some amusement from her obvious ignorance.  But that got me to thinking.  I want to be blissfully ignorant too.  I want to blindly hate someone for something that is just a part of who they are.  Hmmm let me think, I could hate all people with freckles….. nope that won’t work, my son has cute freckles and I love him very much, I can’t hate him.  I could hate all blonds…..oops I can’t say that, my wonderful wife is a blond and so is one of my sisters.  Maybe I could hate all short people, dang that won’t work, I am short and I don’t want to hate myself.  This is a lot harder than I thought.  Why am I having such a hard time finding a group of people to hate?

Maybe it is because I know and love people who fit into those groups.  I no longer have the option to blindly hate anyone.  Because I was blessed to have had the opportunity to meet “those people” as people first.  And that is the funny thing.  Any group of people is made up of…yes people!  I wish that lady could have looked past the “gay” thing and seen us as people.  Neither one of us are axe murderers, we don’t torment little children or abuse the elderly, and we rarely growl or bite.  We are fairly normal people.  I would have to say that we are good people.  Of course I am biased on that little fact, but it is true none the less.

Wow I just had a great idea!  What if it was a requirement that in order to blindly hate any group of people, we have to meet a few individuals first.  We have to spend 2 days meeting and getting to know the individuals that make up that group.  Maybe then ignorance would go the way of the dinosaur.  Maybe ignorance wouldn’t be bliss, but become something to be avoided at all cost!  My prayer for the future.

June 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm 2 comments

Mix together and chill

Things have been a bit up in the air around here lately. Two people that I care deeply about are facing some serious health issues and my head and heart are in a constant battle. My head tells me that they will be fine but my heart is reserving its right to worry till it knows for sure. So some moments I am very optimistic and other moments I am chewing my nails down to nubbins. I get frustrated when life doesn’t follow my plans in the timely manner that I want. But I learned a great lesson while cooking with my son the other day.

I was mixing and measuring and he was reading the recipe to me as we went along. He got to the end and said, “Mix together and relax.” Well since I have never run across that particular instruction while cooking before, I looked over his shoulder and read, “Mix together and chill.” Of course I had a good laugh at that. But he got me thinking. Life is like a recipe in some ways. We have directions given to us by our Heavenly father and our earthly parents. We get instructions from school, work, and even when we play. We decide where we want to go in life and follow the directions to get there.

And life is full of ingredients. My family, my friends, my worries, my fears, my faith, my sisterfriends who are my prayer warriors, my God, my Love, and heck, even my enemies. But as much as it irritates me at times…I am not the chef. Yes, my life is full of ingredients but that does not make me the chef, because I am an ingredient in other lives too. I could never make so many sweet dishes without messing it up and thank God I don’t have. God is the great chef, he weaves all of the ingredients together and in the process makes a beautiful banquet for all of his children. I just have to remind myself that it is God who is doing the mixing together. All I need to do is chill.

January 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm 2 comments

A winter weekend

A snowy weekend with no where to go and no one to see.  One would think it would be a quiet and restful day.  Yes, one would think.  Actually, my house is a bit of a zoo today.  My oldest had a friend stay over last night and my niece and nephew are here playing, so my house is full with five kids.  People have said that kids today can’t entertain themselves anymore, but let me tell you the scene I saw when I walked out of my bedroom.

My youngest had the beagle pup and miss jade, the cat, together in the pup’s kennel.  They get along great so it wasn’t a problem, but it was a strange sight to behold.  At this point I hear the giggles from the other four kids coming from the bathroom.  Needless to say, but the bathroom isn’t usually the social point of the house so I thought I had better go investigate.  I walked in the door and saw two kids in my dog’s kennel, two kids tying it shut with leashes, and my dog looking at the group with a confused look on her face.

Everyone was laughing and having a good time, so I just turned and walked out the door.  My only rules were that if someone wanted out of the kennel the other kids had to let them out and no one cut the leashes.  I walked out into the kitchen and laughed.  Nope, kids today can’t entertain themselves anymore.  I don’t know who they are talking about, because my kids had fun for over an hour with dog kennels.  My only concern about this weekend is the kids going back to school.

My oldest son has an old song by Tom T Hall on his mp3 and he is now going around singing, “I like beer.  It makes me a jolly good fellow.”  Add that to the tales told of being tied in dog kennels, and I wonder what the teachers may think.  Honest everyone…..it is just a song and it was THEIR idea to get in the kennels.

But I admire their sense of imagination.  I have watched as empty pop containers have been magically transformed into rockets and cars.  I have seen hours spent playing in an old box.   My table is covered with delightful water color renderings of animals and people (and a few things I’m not sure what they are).  My oldest is starting to learn wood burning and my youngest is helping me cook and plan menus.  Yes we have the proverbial PS2 and all the games, but the time they spend in creative play far outranks the time spent glued to the tube.  They entertain themselves with what ever is on hand.

Yes I do get the proverbial, “Mom I’m bored.” but rarely do I ever have to find them something to do.  They have discovered that what I find for them is never as fun as what they find themselves.  I’m not sure why, but cleaning their room or doing the dishes is never as much fun as finding two boxes and gluing them together to make a train.  Being surrounded by all this creativity has got my own going again.  I got a little burned out by the bears so now I think I shall go out and find something to work on.  Maybe another wood burning project, or maybe I’ll cook up the deer jerky that has been marinating in my fridge overnight.  So see you all later and go be creative.  It is good for the soul.

January 12, 2009 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

The Gift

I have lived a blessed life.  I know it and I am grateful.  That is not to say that my life has been easy, but whenever the hard times hit, I am surrounded by wonderful people and God.  And what has continued to amaze me time and time again, is that the things I think are curses, actually end up being my greatest blessings.

I was sexually abused from 7 years old.  I am the first to admit that that part of my past has left me with some scars…..but it has also left me with some blessings.  From my experience, I was able to understand and connect with other people who faced and dealt with or were trying to deal with the same issue.  I volunteered at a local assault hot line and I found that in my being able to say, “Yes, I was once where you are at and I not only survived but thrived,” gave hope to the people I was talking to.  My experience gave me empathy and caring, it made me more aware of those around me who may be suffering.  Maybe not from the same exact life experiences, but suffering all the same.  I learned compassion for those who act out because just maybe they were hurting like I was.  I would never wish that particular experience on anyone and I am not jumping up and down with glee that I experienced it, but I am grateful for what I learned from it.  I will never be able to say that I am glad it happened, but I am thankful for what I learned from it.

I was the odd man out in school, especially high school.  I was different from the “norm” and I paid for it.  I had girls threatening to beat me up and making fun of me.  I hated it at the time, but from it I learned that people are not always what they appear on the outside.  That punk looking girl sneaking smokes in the restroom between classes was actually a lot more like me than I wanted to admit.  That boy who smoked pot every morning was hurting just the same as I was.  It just came out in different ways.  But through those experiences, I learned that I had absolutely no right to judge how someone else lived their life.  I had no right to make judgments on someone without living their life.

As hard as High School was for me, I also learned how to love.  No I never told her I was in love with her, and to this day she doesn’t know, but I learned the bitter sweet feelings of love.  No I am not talking about lust.  I was so far in the closet at that time that I couldn’t even begin to imagine being gay, no I am talking about loving someone.  Loving her for who she was and knowing she had my back.  We could talk on the phone for hours and not run out of things to say.  I could and did tell her everything.  The pain from that first heartbreak was horrid, but the lesson learned was how to love.  A wonderful lesson to learn.

That gets me to thinking about being gay.  For most of my life I hated it, denied it, ran from it, and pleaded to be made straight.  I wanted to die, planned how to die, and was rather distraught at the whole idea of being gay.  And even today, I still have times where I question my beliefs and my place in this world.  But even in the dark times, I can’t help but believe that my being gay is a gift from God.

How many people have you met that believe exactly what they were told to believe?  How many people have you met that rely on a book and not God for their understanding?  How many people hate people they have never met because they happened to fall in love with someone of the same gender?

In writing this blog and through other avenues, I have been blasted many times just for the fact that I am gay.  I have heard horrendous things said in the name of God that I know he would frown upon.  Even if God really does hate fags like the signs carried say, he would not want that hate to be spewed out upon his children.  I actually have been told that I am not blessed, but that I am cursed.  Cursed to live a life of celibacy or rot in hell.  Now my intention is not to get into a biblical argument, yes I know Leviticus and Romans et all,  my goal is to try to explain why I think being gay is a gift and not a curse.

1.  I never had the comfort of just buying into everything I was told about God and Church.  I had to, yes I was forced, to go to God on a personal level.  I had to ask what he thought about me.  Not what I was taught from childhood on, but what he wanted for me in my life.  If I hadn’t been gay, then I would never have been forced to find my own belief system.  I could have swallowed and regurgitated everything that I was told.  I never would have had to dig deep.  And I mean deep into my own self and my beliefs and my relationship with God.  I never would have stood before God and begged him to take my life before I disgraced him.  I never would have heard God say, very loudly and clearly I might add, that I had no right to hate what he lovingly created.  If I were born straight, then I would never have had the turmoil that I faced, but then again, I wouldn’t have had this personal one on one relationship with my creator.  I never would have had to move beyond the expected to the unexpected.

2.  I never had the pleasure of just being “normal”  I had to learn how to be myself and accept myself and in that process I have learned so much.  I am gifted by the fact that I had to look at every aspect of my life.  I got to know myself intimately and on a level I would have never reached if I weren’t gay.  Yes I know, straight people do the soul searching thing too, but I was forced to.  And what I learned is a blessing beyond belief.  I learned that I am who God created me to be, I learned that God doesn’t fit into a little box that humans continuously try to put him in, and I learned that God likes it when we question.  It opens up real dialogue.  Not memorized verses or chants, but honest conversation.

3.  In accepting who I am, I am much more open to accepting others as they are.  Take my two sons for example.  The oldest is very smart in common sense and fixing things.  He is great with his hands, but he has trouble with “book learning”  He is very smart but he will never be a straight A student.  He won’t.  But I celebrate his C’s as much as an A.  Because he works his tail off and he earns every grade he gets.  I never had to work in school.  I was in the gifted program and I never had trouble until I hit high school.  We are completely different.  But I can accept him for who he is.  He doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of me.  He is who he is and that is a wonderful person with a quick wit and more common sense than I have.

My youngest is so brilliant that he is social poor.  Do you know what I mean?  He sees the world in a completely different way.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he discovers great things one day because he is willing to look at things differently than anyone else.  He was born with a great sense of self.  He doesn’t care what people think.  In his mind, he is right with the world and if they don’t agree, then the heck with them.  But in seeing my boys and how very different they are, I have to accept them.  Because I have finally accepted myself, I am able to accept them.  They both know that I love them no matter what and I know I am more accepting because I accept myself.

4.  In admitting to being gay, I have met some wonderful people who challenge me on a daily basis.  They ask the questions and state their beliefs that force me to revisit my own.  I have met some wonderful people whom I may never meet face to face, but I know in 40 years we will be in different nursing homes emailing each other because we truly love one another.  I like all of my internet friends, but I do love some of them.  And it is a real love born out of the commonality we share but I also love my straight friends.  It isn’t about being gay or straight, it is about caring, and worrying, and loving friends.  In being gay and searching my soul, I learned about agape love.  I learned about the love of friends, and I learned about what true friendship is.  Today I spent hours with a very straight friend of mine.  We worked on putting up trim and such things but what we really worked on was supporting each other.  I know she has my back and I have her’s.  Do I love her?  Yes.  Very much but I love her as my friend, nothing more.  Yes gay women can be friends with other women.  J and I are a good example of that.

5.  I have been dropped into the fire and I came out whole.  I am who God created me to be.  He didn’t create me to burn in hell.  Can I still go there?  Sure but my chances are the same as my straight friends.  If I go to hell it will not be because I am gay.  It will be because I once turned away from a homeless person in need.  Or I failed to be there for a friend.  Or I acted in hate and not love.  My being gay?  It won’t get me to hell.  My being human might.

6.  One time when I was in grade school, a teacher of mine recognized that I was different and she took me under her wing.  I can remember the day she told me that if God wanted everyone  to be alike, then all flowers would be blue.  She told me that God loved me and she was and is so instrumental in my life.  She is about 70 ish??? Maybe closer to 80’s but we have remained good friends.  One night I felt the need to come out to her.  I don’t know why,  but I did.  And her reaction stunned me,  a member of her family had just came out and she didn’t know how to react.  In talking she came to an understanding and her family member was accepted for being who he is.  And that gives me hope.  Because if this grandmother of, I don’t know, at least 10 can come to terms and deal with a gay family member than so can the rest of the world.

7.  I am going to stop at lucky 7, but I can think of a thousand reasons to be grateful that I am gay.  But #7  is I am grateful that I am gay.  It doesn’t matter if it is nature or nurture, hormones in the womb, a choice or destiny.  What matters is how I live my life.  I am very happy to be in a wonderful monogamous relationship with the woman whom I love more than life itself.  Yes we have issues, What couple doesn’t?  But she fills my days with laughter, my nights with passion, my soul with love.  I have learned to love without prejudice.  Without ulterior motives.  I have learned to love wholly and deeply.  I have learned how to live.

Being gay isn’t a curse or a punishment.  Being gay is a gift, just like being straight is a gift.  But it is a gift that we must accept to live fully and freely.

January 8, 2009 at 1:00 pm 2 comments

Winter

This time of year is always hard on me.  The leaves have fallen off the trees, the air is getting that winter bite, and the days are growing shorter.  The work outside is done or at least put on hold till next Spring.  The lawn mower has been cleaned and put away and all the animals are finishing their winter coats.

The shorter days lend themselves to lower moods.  The cold wind lends itself to thoughts of ice and snow and dangerous driving off the side of my hill to get to town or anywhere else I may need to go.  But the worst part of all, is losing the days of working outside in the warm sun.  Of course winter lends itself to plenty of back breaking snow removal, but it isn’t the same as working in the warm sunlight.

Every other season has it’s benefits.  Spring brings about the promise of new growth and rebirth.  Summer days are filled with enjoyable work and plenty of play.  Fall brings the harvest and beautiful colors of the leaves and those clear blue skies.  But what is Winter’s claim to fame?  When I was a kid it meant snow days and sleeping in for two hour delays.  Snow meant snowmen and sled riding and hot chocolate.  But now it means my fingers hurt every time they get cold, I am shoveling the snow, not playing in it, and I am the one wiping up puddles of dripping snow off the kitchen floor while heating up hot chocolate.

Not that I am complaining, I am glad my boys find the same fun in Winter that I used to.  I hope they can look for the fun for a long time to come.  And I don’t even mind the puddles or the endless cups of hot chocolate, it’s just harder now than it used to be.  It is harder to stay interested in the other areas of life.  I know the lower lighting affects my mood and the colder temps make my bones ache after 10 minutes outside.  I find myself wanting to stay curled up in bed longer and less likely to start new projects.

But this time of year also has some redeeming qualities.  My favorite holiday is fast approaching and I mean Thanksgiving.  What other holiday was formed strictly for feeling thankful and for naming all of your blessings?  Thanksgiving is the time to gather with family, tell the old stories once again, and eat until the buttons threaten to pop.  Thanksgiving is the time to slow down and look at all the faces around your table and be grateful that each of them are there.  It is a time of seeing the blessings of the last year and even mourning the faces that are absent for the first time this year.

But for me, Thanksgiving is also a time to reflect on the last year and note the growth of myself in more ways than one.  Yes it is true that my jeans size has grown over the years, but so has my compassion and understanding.  My self worth has grown and my ability to love others as myself.  My circle of friends have grown, even though I may never meet some of them face to face.  My children have grown and matured.  My family has grown with the addition of my ex’s new girlfriend (who is a welcome addition).  And I have grown in my understanding of what it means to be truly thankful.

It is easy to be thankful when you are on the mountain top looking around and seeing all the beauty that surrounds you.  It is hard to be thankful when you are in the dark dank valley looking up at the cliffs that surround you.  It is hard to be thankful when you are enveloped by the stale stagnant air and there is no end to the valley in sight.  But I think that is the lesson I am to learn this Fall and Winter.  I am to be thankful on the mountain top but also in the valley.

That doesn’t mean that this season will be any easier on me, just that I need to find thankfulness no matter where I am at.  It will still be a chore to get my lazy butt out of bed, but I need to be thankful that my feet hit the floor and I move on.  It will still be a chore to shovel the snow and freeze my fingers, but I must be thankful that I am able to do it.  It will still be an irritation to wipe up melting snow for the 10th time in one morning, but I will be grateful and thankful that I have my children to track it in.

So while I see the valley looming before me, I also am taking with me supplies, the thoughts and prayers of friends, my family, my health, my children, and my willingness to try to be thankful in all things.  Notice I said to try, I know there will be days that I fail, and days where God will just shake his head and say, “can’t you see all I have done for you?”  But I pray everyday that God will open my eyes to all of the blessings that surround me and I pray that I will remember to say, “Thank you.”

Because isn’t that what Thanksgiving is about?

November 10, 2008 at 3:30 pm 4 comments

The face of discrimination

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Cute kid huh?  Looking at her you can’t help but look into her bright future and wonder where she will go.  Unfortunately for her, she lives in a country where she will be persecuted for her beliefs.  Unfortunately, she lives in a country where it is a legal and accepted practice to discriminate.  In this picture she isn’t thinking about the future things she will face.

She isn’t aware of the jobs she may lose or the housing that won’t be available to her.  She isn’t aware that her very life may be in danger from street thugs and hate mongrels.  She isn’t aware of the personal property that may be destroyed.  She isn’t thinking of the derogatory remarks that will be shouted at her as she walks along the streets of town.  She doesn’t know that her fellow countrymen will have the right to vote her rights away.

You may be wondering about what backward, horrible country she lives in.  She lives in the United States of America.  And yesterday  her fellow countrymen took away her rights.  You see, that cute little girl grows up and just happens to be gay.  That kid will grow up and be a law abiding citizen.  She never steals or murders or even cheats on her taxes.  She will be employed and pay taxes.  She will be a loving neighbor and friend who loves and cares about her fellow man.  She will never beat her partner or her children and she will never willingly hurt another person.  She will in no way be a threat to society, she won’t be involved in domestic violence or drug running or any of the other things that truly tears down societies.  She won’t be a slum lord or line her pockets while her neighbor starves.  And yet, she is not guaranteed equal rights.

She will not be able to put her partner on her insurance, she won’t be able to adopt or foster children who needs homes, she will not be able to protect her partner because she will not be allowed to marry her partner.  And when she grows old and sick, her partner of 20-30 years will not be allowed to stay at her bedside.  She may not be allowed to hold this woman’s hand as she draws her last breath.  And she will not be entitled to inherit all of the things they spent a lifetime together obtaining.  That cracked plate from their trip out west, the gold necklace bought on their 15th anniversary, their collection of glass bells.

Their home that was shared for those many years.  The car not in the survivor’s name.  And after a lifetime of following the rules and not breaking the law, everything may be stripped away from her survivor.  Of course there will be no survivor benefits, no social security, just the same amount of bills with half the income.  Is this separate but equal?  Is this fair and acceptable to you?  Is it okay for the majority to take away rights from a minority?

Would you agree with me if the example was of any other minority group?  What if the picture was a little Latino girl or an African American?  Would you vote the right for equal marriage away from them?  Would you vote to not allow white couples to adopt children of different races?  Would you vote to not allow Jewish couples to adopt?  Are you willing to vote that inter-racial couples not be allowed to foster children?  Are you willing to vote away anyone else’s rights?

A dangerous precedence was set yesterday.  Any person who is in a minority group, now faces the possibility that the majority may vote against their rights too.  Today it is the gays, who will it be tomorrow?  God help us all.

November 5, 2008 at 5:04 pm 29 comments

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