Getting older?

First an apology, my thoughts are scrambled and I will go off on tangents.  If you can keep up with me, I will  see you at the end.

February 10, 1972…. The day the world became a better place.  The skies opened up and the birds sang….

Well okay, that never really happened, but it was the day I was born.  Actually it was cold and wintry day, but I like to pretend otherwise.

Well as you can see, I haven’t been writing much lately.  I could lie and say that I have been extremely busy, or say that since I am so much older now I can’t physically do it, but it is all a lie.  The truth is, I have just been lazy.

I could blame it on my blood pressure being up and then adjusting to the new meds., and that would be truth in part, but really I just have been having trouble finding the words.

My mom is having fun at my expense since I am now on “Old People’s Medicines” and I am younger than she was when she had to go on them.  Oh well I guess everyone has to get old sometime.

Not that I think I am old now, it is just funny to realize that I am now my mother’s age when I thought she was old.  And now I realize that my mom isn’t old at all.  When did that happen?  When did mid thirties cease to be old?  And when did 60 turn into being young?

Not that I am complaining.  I rather enjoy looking at my life like it is just begining.  It just strikes me as funny to see it that way now.  You know I remeber thinking of certain people  as old when I was a kid and now they don’t seem all that old.  How did they stay the same age while I grew up?  Who is in charge of this conspiracy?  How can I be getting older but no one else is?

Well okay, I get it.  You are only as old as you feel right?  So why do I feel 3 some days and 103 other days?  Maybe the creaks in the morning and the getting up at night are just a part of older and wiser, maybe it is just a sign of the changing times.  But whatever it is, I refuse to grow up.  I will get older because it beats the alternative….but I will not grow up.  Grown ups are boring and I have to much living to do!

P.S.  Jones I got your point and this one is for you.   😉

February 17, 2009 at 2:34 am 9 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

I believe in Angels

I do believe in Angels. I do, I do, I do, believe in Angels. Let me tell you a story. When I was 12 years old, my 7 year old nephew and I were hiking in a state park and like kids can do, we got off onto the wrong path. In our defense, the trail wasn’t marked well and we easily got diverted onto another trail. After walking for a while, the realization hit me that we were seeing new sights that we didn’t see on the way up.

That first feeling? Sheer panic would best describe it. We were lost and alone and I just knew we would be in trouble for not being were we were supposed to be. I can remember feeling like I was going to suffocate from the fear. There I was a 12 year old kid not only responsible for myself but also my 7 year old nephew. I remember feeling like my heart would explode and just as I was about to run off screaming in terror at the thought of spending the night out on the side of a mountain, I felt this calmness fill me.

I can almost remember the feel of a hand in mine, although that may be wishful thinking or a flight of fancy on my part. But just as soon as the calmness filled me, my nephew looked up at me and calmly said, “I know we are lost, but this trail leads somewhere.” So we set off to find out where we would end up. Needless to say, it all turned out right. We finally ended up on a lake about 3 or 4 miles from where we should have been. We got a ride across the lake with a nice fisherman (another Angel? He is in my mind), and called the sheriff who gave us a ride back to the car and safety. (Not to mention two extremely worried parents).

Some may argue that this experience doesn’t prove the existence of Angels, but that calm and peace I believe was a message from God that all would be well. Isn’t that what Angels are? Messengers from God? A friend of mine once told me the story of when her youngest son was very ill. It was a cold and snowy day in March and her husband was out at work with their only car. The roads were icy and the baby’s fever spiked at 104. She was alone and scared and worried about her son. Just when she thought she couldn’t take it anymore, she heard a voice say, “All will be well.” Within the hour, her sons fever went down to 102 and her husband made it home from work and they took him to the emergency room where he was treated for pneumonia.

As a child, I thought all Angels were winged creatures with halos that sat around all day talking to God. While I do not doubt their existence, I believe that definition is too limiting. Angels are everywhere around us and yes, sometimes they take the form of our fellow humans. An Angel may be the person who lends a hand to an elderly neighbor, the one who calls a friend who needs someone to talk to, or even the one who stops and lets another driver out in rush hour traffic. An Angel is the one who prays for you, even when they may not know you personally. All these actions show God’s love. All of these people are messengers from God saying that he is here and he loves us.

I have seen daily proof of the existence of Angels. Sometimes it is in the form of a friend calling to say that she felt the need to pray for me last night without knowing I was in a rough spot. Sometimes it is the prayers being said on my behalf by people I have never met. Sometimes they can be seen in the actions of others.

Yesterday while I was in town finishing up some last minute items, I noticed an elderly woman waiting to cross a busy intersection. As I sat in line at McDonald’s, I felt helpless to help her. Every time she started to cross the street, cars would be flying by. One man in a sports car even yelled some not so nice things at her. I watched as three young teenage boys approached her. They wore their pants down to their knees, were smoking cigarettes, and all in all looked like thugs. I was amazed to watch as they surrounded the woman and slowly walked across the street with her. Some rude people honked their horns but the kids paid them no mind. They slowed their steps to match the lady’s pace and got her safely delivered to the other side. I saw her reach into her purse as if to pay them for their kindness but I saw each one of those boys shake his heads no. She grabbed onto the closest boy and gave him a hug. Although he looked embarrassed at first, it warmed my heart to see him hug her back.

As I watched them swagger (you know the walk I mean) on down the sidewalk, I was filled with a mixture of shame and gratitude. I was ashamed because I was guilty of judging their character by their style, but I was filled with gratitude because I was blessed to witness that lovely exchange between God’s children. I can almost guarantee that lady thought of those boys as her Angels. And you know what? They were. They were fine examples of God’s message.

And that thought is exciting to me. We, each and everyone of us can be a messenger of God, or an Angels if you prefer. It doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside, or if people judge us by whom we love, or if we aren’t the smartest or the strongest. All that matters is if we can and will show others the love of God. It doesn’t matter if you are home bound, then pray. It doesn’t matter if you are busy, take a few seconds to let another driver ahead of you. It doesn’t matter if people question us because of our orientation, show love and mercy. The greatest gift we can give to each other is compassion. We don’t have to agree, but we are called to treat all of God’s children with common courtesy and respect.

To all of the Angels in my life, A big heart felt “Thank You!” Thank you for showing me God’s love and helping me to be an Angel to someone else. And to my special Angel friend, Thank you. You know who you are. And to all of my internet Angels; Anita, my buddy E, my little Steph, Eliz, Jo, Jones, bridgeout, Ceara, Lindsey, Lizzie,Jade, Meg, Bon, and all of the lovely ladies at sisterfriends, Thank you for being my Angels. And to all I wish a Blessed Christmas and a new year filled with love and laughter.

December 25, 2008 at 2:19 am 11 comments

Santa’s little elf

bears-003

Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth.  Santa’s little elf has been busy in the bear department the last couple of months.   The two little bears are for my 2nd grader’s teacher, the medium bear wearing the head band and dream catcher is for my 5th grader’s teacher.  The little naked bear in the back row will be dressed and wrapped for my little one by Christmas morning.  The big bear in the blue and red, has yet to find a permanent home.

Two things have slowed down my sewing adventure, 1.  Looking for employment, and 2. every stitch was done by hand.   Not that I am complaining, the sewing machine and I  really aren’t  on good speaking terms.   Oh sure for sewing curtains or big items, it is great, but the little bears are only about 8 inches tall and I am not nimble enough to sew those small seams without sewing my fingers into the mix.

And besides, I enjoy the ability to sit on my bed late at night when the house is quiet and watch television and sew.  It is almost a mindless repetitive motion that is both relaxing and challenging.  I like to say that every stitch is full of love and thoughts of the one it is being made for.  Well that is my excuse for not writing much lately.

December 22, 2008 at 10:57 pm 6 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

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