Silent Screams (and other odd sounds)

This is what I'm thinking RIGHT NOW. It may not be what I'm thinking tomorrow.


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Self Quarantine

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Such a pretty little sphere sharing so much havoc in the world right now.  How can those bright red clusters be causing sickness and disease?

Wash your hands.  Cover your mouth with your elbow when coughing.  Sneeze into a tissue.  Throw the tissue away.  Use hand sanitizer.  Don’t shake hands.  Don’t hug each other.  Don’t visit people in the hospital, especially if you aren’t feeling up to par.  Don’t bring sick children around the elderly.  Stay away from crowds if you have underlying health issues.  Don’t assume others take virus prevention precautions.

Think about self-quarantine before the government tells you to do so.  As the CDC says, use common sense.


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Love is Love

I am a heterosexual.  I have been a heterosexual for my whole life.  I was married for 40 years and was with the same man for 44 years.  I loved him, and he loved me.  I say that I’m a heterosexual because apparently it makes a difference who you love.  It’s okay to love someone of the opposite sex but not okay to love someone of the same sex.  Apparently loving someone of the same sex is offensive to some people and they have no problem shouting it from the roof top.

My youngest daughter is gay.  She has been gay her entire 37 years of life.  She has been with the same woman for 19 years and has been married to her since it became legal for same sex couples to be married.  They love each other; they just happen to be of the same sex.

I have loved watching my daughter’s love grow between her and her spouse.  Just like heterosexual couples, they have differences, but they still go to bed at night with each other (and the dogs).  They laugh, cry, and depend on each other when going through tough times.  That’s what couples who love each other do.  They are no different than heterosexual couples.  They bleed and cry the same.  Sometimes, they cry more than heterosexual couples because they are not accepted by those they love, or those that say they love them.

I’m telling you this story because once again my daughter had to endure hatred from people who professes to love her.  It was a direct attack, an attack that not only hurt her (and yes, angered her too) but hurt her spouse, her sister, and me. This attack not only was a personal attack but it was done on social media; a place not meant for airing dirty laundry.   These people came to her wedding and gave her their blessing by attending, but it was just a veiled attempt to later criticize her on her life’s choice.  Why attend?  Have their thoughts on gay marriage changed since the day my daughter got married?  I doubt it.  Maybe they just wanted to see what a “deviant” wedding looks like.  I don’t know.

The more important issue is that these people don’t say they hate “faggots” which would be a kinder thing to do; instead they insert their god’s hatred into the union of two people who clearly love each other.  Instead of standing up and saying that they don’t approve they use their god as a shield to spew their hatred.  If their god is about hatred, then I don’t want any part of their god.  I’d rather touch the robes of my God who is about love and kindness.

Love is love; not to be confused with lust.  A lustful relationship may start out with a fire but it is quickly extinguished when trouble comes along.  A loving relationship endures and grows.  A loving relationship also starts out with a fire, but that fire grows so bright with time it can illuminate the very air that we breathe.  Love is not filled with one night stands and the resulting child that may occur; love is first for God, then the spouse, then the child.

I’d like to say that I am proud of the choice my daughter made but just like heterosexuality, homosexuality is not a choice, it is innate.  I am; however, proud of the choice my daughter made in a spouse.  I am proud that she has been in a loving relationship for 19 years.  I am proud that they have stuck together when times where hard for them.  I am proud of the person she is.  Just like her sexual preference, her choice in a spouse was pre-ordained by God.

It is my belief that you can’t have love without God because God is love.  If there is love, then God is there in the midst.  I believe that my daughter’s union was blessed by God because there is so much love there.  What I can’t believe is that there are still people out there who would condemn her for being in love.  Love is love; no matter who you are in love with.

When I was a young mother the only thing that I wished for my children is that they would be happy in life.  I got my wish.


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Rivers of Polluted Water Boiling my Skin

81F83CF2-072F-4FBB-ABA0-2E52F06F88B9_1_105_c.jpeg  I was raised with a very punishing god.  He stood in line to punish me at every instance I did something wrong.  He wasn’t kind, he wasn’t benevolent, he wasn’t all caring and loving, he was punitive.  The god I knew about then had a “small g” because he wasn’t at all what I came to know about God, or my Higher Power.

In the beginning, God gave us the law to show us how to live; but we didn’t abide by that law and all of us would have been sentenced to death if God didn’t send his Son to save our souls.  God so loved us, in all our sin, he sent Jesus to take on our sins and fulfill the law in his Son.  He did not fulfill the law in a church but the church within the church; the church who really “got” what Jesus was giving out freely.

During His time on earth, he rarely set to dine with the finest of people.  He sat among the sinners.  In fact, its funny that the first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding when he turned the water into wine and gave out the best alcohol after everyone was already drunk.  Jesus “cleared out the temples” with anger when he saw the Pharisees and the Sadducees bargaining for temple goods.  “My house should be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”  His anger was always righteous.

Let’s take a brief look at how the Old Testament tells us to live:   Take one wife, don’t have sex with angels, don’t have children out of wedlock, don’t shave your face, don’t wear jewelry, don’t see your father naked, don’t commit adultery, don’t go to fortunetellers, and so many other sins in the book of Leviticus.  But let’s look at what Jesus did on the cross.  He gave us two commandments, not ten.  1.  Love your God with all your heart.  2.  Love your neighbor as you love yourself.  I think those two laws that JESUS left us say it all.  We need, as human beings, to love each other in and out of our “sinful” ways.

Now, let’s take a look at that picture of the church.  I have to say, I would not attend a church who practiced exclusion rather than inclusion.  I could not practice at a church who was filled with hatred against a specific group of people.  Is it not so long that we can not remember that it was against “the law” to have an interracial marriage and how we looked down upon bi-racial children?  How about Jews marrying Gentiles?  Has it been so long that we can not look back and see from where we have come?  Why do you want to march back down that path again?

The church depicted above raises some very strong emotions in me.  First, it’s a group of people making a judgement call on morality.  I thought Jesus made all the judgement calls for Christianity.  If you were a true Christian, you would be a follower of Christ, not some arbitrary religion that some who like to call themselves Christians entertain.  This is the same thing that gives Christians a bad name.  I for one, will follow Christ, not what the “church” has deems righteous.  Keep in mind, there is a church inside the church, you just have to be careful which church you will stand for.

If you judge in one part of the law, you must judge all.  So, if you don’t want homosexuals to be married pick up your own cross and carry it to your own judgement.  Like what you may ask?  Well, the law tells us to marry one women, don’t have children with multiple partners, don’t shave your face, don’t wear jewelry, don’t marry a Gentile (if you are a Jew), don’t eat pork, don’t be drunk with wine, don’t have children out of wedlock, don’t murder, don’t get tattoos, and don’t keep the ten commandments.  To God, one sin is the same as another.  Pick your sin and I’ll show you my sin washed by the blood of Christ.

 

 

 

 


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From a Badger to a Queen

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The picture of the big yellow head in the middle of the blankets came to this loving family 8 years ago.  They called her Sadie Badger after watching a video on the Honey Badger who wasn’t afraid of anything!  Sadie, like the Badger, wasn’t afraid of anything.

Initially the Badger came to live with the three dark-haired girls in the photo.  She came as a puppy and lived happily with Emma and Toby, the two other dogs that lived in the house.  They played with each other and had a happy life until one day when the big yellow head had an unhappy triad and tore her ACL, MCL, and LCL.  Never did the dark-haired girls think that would change the living arrangements for ever.  When Sadie came home from her surgery, she must have had a different “smell” about her because Emma, the dog that had always been so playful with Sadie, fought with her ripping open her unhappy triad surgery.  At first, the girls didn’t understand what had happened but they knew they couldn’t leave the two dogs alone again in case something like that happened again; at least without  some training.

So, to keep their family together, they hired a dog behavioralist.  As much as they worked with the two dogs, the training did not take heed and the two dogs fought again, this time landing Sadie in the hospital again.  That was it, they had to get rid of one of the dogs and the choice was devastating.  Both dogs were beloved pets and the thought of getting rid of one of them or worse yet, putting one of them down, was not a situation they cared to entertain.

They kept both of the dogs separated in cages at home until the decision could be made but luckily for them, the decision came out of “nowhere.”  Of course to me, the decision came from God.  The mother of one of the girls in the picture decided she’d take Sadie “for awhile” until they could find permanent arrangements for her.  The girls, sad but still glad that Sadie would be able to “Badger about” freely again jumped at the temporary solution.

Something happened at Dianne’s house (the mother who volunteered to take Sadie temporarily.). Dianne fell in love, and so did the Badger.  The Badger turned from the puppy who wasn’t afraid of anything to the Queen who loved the Princess Dianne.  Sadie protected her, loved her, watched over her and Dianne did the same.  But Sadie’s life was not to be smooth sailing.  She was diagnosed with a Mast cell tumor on her leg, a hard place to surgically remove but the vets got out most of it, but not all.  They were all hopeful, but the margins of the tumor did not reveal the best of outcomes.

In the meantime, another type of cancer crept its way into Sadie’s life, this one worse than the last, and terminal.  In hopes to prolong her life, they did a splenectomy but then the cancer metastasized to the liver and it was only a matter of time.  In fact, only 6 weeks after the splenectomy.  On her last day, she refused to eat, refused to get up, and she only had eyes for Dianne and Dianne poured her soul out to Sadie.  Nothing less than  heart-felt loss between the two who loved each other dearly.

Slowly, Sadie slipped into that dark night and onto that Rainbow Bridge with the 4 people who loved her most surrounding her.  “It’s an honor to be present and assist someone to the other side,” and these 4 people had the honors Sunday afternoon.

My heart bleeds for my youngest daughter and her wife who lost their Badger, my heart goes out to my oldest daughter who lost her Big Yellow Head, but I guess my heart goes out the most to the woman -Princess Dianne, who lost her constant companion.  May each of you remember Sadie in your own way that gives you the most joy.

I picture Sadie playing with Toby who left us for the Rainbow Bridge just 6 months ago.  They are joined by all our other pets who left before we had enough of them.  They are joined by the people we have loved as well, each having their own big family reunion on the bridge.

As I look at the picture one last time before leaving this post, I see the loving eyes of Sadie on her Princess.  God bless you Sadie. May you never feel pain again.

 


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Human Rights

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I woke up this morning thinking about Gay Rights which I like to call Human Rights, (since homosexuals are human).  I’d like to tell you a little story that happened to me a few years ago which I still like to refer to as a comic tragedy.

I ran into a person I hadn’t seen since I graduated high school 40 years ago.  We ran into each other at a convenient store so the conversation was light and easy.  We talked about an hour in that store talking about “you know who” and “I wonder what they are doing now.”  He told me he used to have a crush on me and I was flattered but then again that was 40 years ago.  He asked if I had a husband, I said yes.  He asked me if I was happily married, I told him, “Yes, I am.”  He asked me about my children and I told him what they did for a living.  I asked him about his wife and children.  He had one child and was in the midst of a divorce.  For some reason he made the comment about “That’s so gay.”  I can’t remember what he said that about but it set the hairs on the back of my neck standing straight up.  I said. “Hey, my daughter resembles that remark,” and he just let it slide.  I don’t know if he didn’t understand me or what but he didn’t say anything else about it.  I chalked it up to “ignorance” and let it slide too.  Before I went home, he asked me if I was on facebook and if I was could he “friend” me.  Seeing no harm in things, since I’m rarely on facebook anyway, I told him that would be fine.

It wasn’t long after he friended me on facebook that I was sorry I said he could.  This shy boy in high school, who had a crush on me, was now, at every turn, spouting off about the evils of “faggots” and “gays.”  He really didn’t have any reason he hated them except he said it was unnatural; a sin against God. He was against them getting married, he was against them having insurance from their partner, he was against adoption, he was literally against everything a homosexual might want in their life.

Most of the time I didn’t respond to his tirades but there were a few times I just had to “let go” and tell him how wrong he was.  I had to tell him that these “faggots” and “gays” were human beings just like we were.  Well, that set him off because he was in NO WAY like any faggot he knows.  I told him he had a limited view of homosexuals and he should use an open mind to find out what they are all about (knowing he’d find a person much like me and you.). He refused.

As time went on and he spewed more and more ugliness, I became less and less engaged with him.  He knew my views and up until this point hadn’t respected them so I just let the rough side drag and quit talking to him unless it was on something benign but that was rare.  His whole goal on facebook was to “rid social media” of gays, and I have to admit, I was a little surprised when people supported his platform.

Then came the day!  Yes, the day I still smile about!  I was on facebook and he was spewing his garbage to anyone who would listen and then he said it!  He said, “the next person I see with a gay flag come across my feed, I’m going to block them.”  Yep, I did it.  I changed my icon to a “gay heart” and posted to his feed.  I was called a homo-lover and then was blocked.  I probably would have blocked him long ago if I knew how, but I don’t so I suffered in semi-silence.  It was the perfect day.  A day where there was no vomiting of garbage from a man who is too ignorant to see.  I wonder what he would do if his daughter was gay.  Would he change his tune or end a relationship?  I’d like to think he would change his tune, but I’m not sure.

I will continue to pray for this man and hope he finds the real truth in God that he used to condemn homosexuals.  I pray that he finds a loving God, a non-judgmental God that delights in every man.


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Medications

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This picture is about how many pills I take during the day. (Ok, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration).   I hate it but they have kept me alive this far.  I guess I should appreciate them more.  I’m sure others take as many medications if not more than I do.  How do you cope with taking so many pills?  How do you cope with the fact that you NEED that many pills?  After all these years I can’t reconcile myself to the fact that I have health conditions that warrant this many pills.


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Budget 2020

I decided I was spending way too much money on frivolous things so I embarked on finding a budget I could live with.  The hunt was exasperating, each application telling me that they are the best in the land.  I landed on a budget application called “You need a budget” (YNAB as it is called in budget land.). The first month was frustrating as hell because I started in the middle of the month which meant I was “overdrawn” on all my budgeted accounts, compounded by the fact that all my “yearly” fees were due in January which made my budget even more out of whack.  I settled into my budget in February but it was still hard to stay within the budgeted amounts in all my categories.  I’m used to spending money when I want to spend money but this budget keeps me accountable of where my money goes.

The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is in the “Dining Out” category.  In the recent past if I wanted to go out to eat, I did.  (Which isn’t really good for the waistline).  Now, when I’ve used up my budgeted amount, I’m done eating out.  Ouch, that hurt, but I managed and lost weight in the process.  I guess that’s not a bad trade off.

In YNAB, you budget EVERY single dollar you make.  That was a tough job too because I was used to having a “stash” that I could go to if I wanted money.  Now, all my money is in the bank and if I want some, I have to go through the effort of transferring money from Point A to Point B and then put it in the category I want to spend from.  I know it sound complicated but it’s not.  It just has a learning curve and the first month (or half month as it was in my case) is when you learn to make all your mistakes.  This second month has been actually fun because I have a better idea of how much money I want to put where.  I suppose it will even be easier when I get into my third month.

The only part of YNAB I really haven’t mastered is my credit card account.  I have a credit card I use so I can get money back on everything I buy or use the card for.  Since I pay all my bills with that card, the money racks up quickly.  I pay off the card as soon as the amount appears online (which means I pay for my card almost daily).  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but, at times, YNAB tells me I’m overdrawn on my credit card amount-that I haven’t budgeted enough, but it doesn’t allow me to budget anything.  I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon, it’s only a matter of time.

Another thing I like about this program is that it tells you how “old your money is.”  The goal is to be able to pay this month’s bills with last month’s (or the month before) money.  Currently my money is 12 days old.  I’m excited about that since I’ve only really started using my budget fully on February 1st.

If you’re looking for a budget, I find YNAB the best budget I’ve tried for what I want to use it for.  I’m sure most of you don’t really “need” a budget like I did, but it has really made me more aware of where my money goes; and let me tell you it really went a lot faster before YNAB.

This has been a public service announcement.  🙂

 


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Dance in the Rain

It’s another rainy day in Ohio.  The rain is beating down on my metal roof and making soft music.  The sound is peaceful and calming; it’s soothing as it cleanses my thoughts in preparation of my morning meditation.  The rain beating on my roof somehow brings me closer to my Higher Power as I close my eyes and begin to concentrate on Him who brings me so much peace, joy, and serenity.  Slowly after watching God care for me in my meditative vision, I see all the people who love and cherish me as a family member and as a friend.  The vision makes me smile as it moves along like a movie picture to see my adult children and finally resting on the vision of my husband and I when he was healthy and healed.  This vision brings a tear to my eye before I hear the voice of my husband saying “Dance in the Rain.”

I used to love to dance in the rain.  In days of old, when other people’s vision was obscured, I would take off all my clothes and venture out in the summer rain lifting my eyes to the sky and just feel the raindrops on my face.  Most of the time, the rain is gentle as it embraces my body.  I used to smile and stretch my arms out and twirl around until I got a little dizzy and then I’d stop and stare at my husband beside me.  His face would be all blurred with the rain as it fell over his features.  Remembering it now, it was the most beautiful face I’d ever seen and I had to stand on my tip toes to kiss his lips – his soft lips.  I used to tease him that his lips were softer than mine.  His soul was softer than mine and I loved that about him.

Today, I still dance naked in the rain but it’s only in my imagination.  I don’t know when I stopped,  but I know it had to do with my children “catching” me.  I guess when you get older you get more “responsible” and begin to fear being caught with your proverbial pants down.  I miss dancing in the rain. I miss the feeling of being closer to God as I would lift my eyes to Him.  What a pure and wonderful feeling.


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Who is God?

God.  Who is He and why should we want to follow Him?  I can only tell you about what God is to me, my personal God.  I used to have a punishing God.  He held me in His hands but only because when I did something wrong He was ready to squash me.  He was only present in my life when I did something wrong.  Why would I want to follow a God like that?  I didn’t.  I disconnected myself from God in my teens because He was just too harsh.  Now I always believed in God, but I didn’t want to have anything to do with Him.

Today, I have a different conception of God.  To me, God is a loving, kind, benevolent, omnipotent, nonjudgemental, and just God; among many other righteous things.  But still I wonder.  I wonder if I am worthy to be in His presence.  The Bible says that I am worthy through Jesus Christ, but am I worthy to be in the Holy of Holies with God?  Yes, I am; but I still feel this nagging feeling that I am not worthy.  I feel that if I saw God in my presence today, I would fall on my face because His magnificence would be overwhelming.

Now I know that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that I am clean in Christ Jesus, but am I really clean?  I sin.  The plain truth is that I sin.  I have crossed lines that I said I would never cross and yet God says He loves me still?  How humbling.  Jesus abolished the law and made a “new” law that always was but he drove it done hard in the New Testament of the Bible.  His new law?  That you love one another as Jesus loves you.  I fall short.  I love others, but would I lay my life down for another?  Would I lay my life down for strangers so that they can go free.  I would lay my life down for my children — probably —  but do I know for sure?  Do I love those that deliberately go out of their way to hurt me?  Probably not.  So I can’t even fulfill the ONE law that God gave me.  And yet, He still loves me.

I don’t understand this God that I serve, but I know that He is more just than any other god that I would serve.  I know that He loves me despite my sin.  I know that He has made a place for me in heaven with Him and that I will dwell in His holiness forever, even today.  I know that I am comforted by God even when bad things happen – and bad things will happen; just as good things will happen.

Who is God?  I have taken my God out of the box that I kept Him in for so long and released Him to do for me what I can not do for myself.  He has made me a more kind and loving person and for that I am forever grateful.   I know that I have a “right” to God’s love and redemption, but I want to feel worthy.  I want to be filled with His love and have that pour out to others.  Like David, I want God to say, “this is a man after my own heart.”  I want others to know God, not through my lips, but through my actions.

Today, when I meditate on God, He is holding me in his arms like an infant in swaddling clothes and He is looking at me like a mother looks at her newborn child.  He is looking at me with the wonderment that this adult…this child, is His.