Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Christmas Friday Five

So let's make this easy, if we can: tell us five things you need to accomplish before Christmas Eve...

Well, my Christmas gifts are all wrapped and I am officially on vacation until next year. After tomorrow, my son will be, as well.

We studied different midwinter celebrations and have decided to choose a couple of ways to celebrate the winter solstice, Hanukkah and the 12 days of Christmas. Lots of candle-lighting, some saying of blessings, singing a dreidel song we found online, reading a couple of psalms, singing one verse for each of the 12 days and, of course, watching Christmas movies :).

1) Get my friend Mark's address so I can send him a card (because he sent me one).

2) Record the brief video I will send by email to friends and relatives that will have a link to my family newsletter.

3) Take gifts over to my mom's house for her and my sister and her family and place them under the tree so they will be there already when we come over on Christmas day.

4) Decide exactly what I will make for the family Christmas brunch. So far, I'm thinking apple cinnamon bread.

5) Start celebrating! The winter solstice is this Sunday.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

What Were You Thinking?

From an interview with

Rick Warren: I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

Steven Waldman: Do you think, though, that they are equivalent to having gays getting married?

Rick Warren: Oh I do. …

These comparisons really anger me!

I see them as being divisive and offensive and insulting. And if I, personally, were throwing a party to celebrate some momentous occasion in my own life, I would never invite him. I wouldn't want him anywhere near it.

What is our President-Elect thinking?

He said today that he is a "fierce advocate of equality for gay and lesbian Americans". Lovely to hear that from him and how wonderful that he has a reason to say it.

But his choice to have Rick Warren perform the invocation at his inauguration weakens the impact of that statement.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!: What I'm Grateful For...

My partner: I'm reminded every day of how deeply I am loved

My family: currently training me to be all that I can be

My healing practice: being able to witness & participate in the healing of my clients

My church: it welcomes me, affirms and strengthens my faith, and moves and inspires me

My friends: I adore them! And cherish the time I spend with them

My faith: it evolves, it grows, it sustains me and it forgives me when I ignore it.

My new president: my son now lives in a world where he can decide he wants to be president when he grows up

We're Going to the White House!

There are times when President-Elect Obama seems like an Everyman. That's certainly who he's fighting for, who he wants to help (in the pretty little house with the white picket fence on Main Street). But every once in a while, in an interview, or in footage from a rally, he'll say something, something that sounds so normal. Especially African-American normal. That it makes me excited all over again that he won!!!

Look out, we're coming to the White House!

One example was in a rally when he said, "She's talking like she's Annie Oakley!"

In another rally, he said, "How many plumbers you know make $250,000 a year?"

And then, today, he did it again. I saw a couple of clips on the View from their interviews with Barbara Walters, and in one, they were talking about the First Puppy. What kind of dog will it be? Naturally, Barbara suggested they get one like her Cha Cha (short for Cha Cha Cha).

Obama speculated that it would be a "yappy" dog, yapping all over the place and that it seems kind of like a girly dog. Then, he said, gesturing, "we're gonna get a BIG dog...". And there was just something about what he said, the way he said it and the expression on his face that made me say once again, "Oh my god, we're going to the White House!".

Moving on up to the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky...

It feels like I'm going, too, in a way. Like there will be someone there I could have seen every couple of years at a family reunion.

It's hard to find the right words to express how wonderful that feels. But it feels pretty darn wonderful, let me tell you!

FL Ban on Gay Adoptions Ruled Unconstitutional

Posted on Tue, Nov. 25, 2008
Miami Herald

Florida ban on gay adoptions ruled unconstitutional

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman Tuesday declared Florida's 50-year-old ban on gay adoptions unconstitutional -- a ruling state lawyers immediately said they would challenge.

The ruling sets the stage for Frank Gill, a gay man from North Miami, to adopt two foster children he has raised since 2004. In a 53-page ruling, Judge Lederman said, "It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent."

Two lawyers from the Florida Attorney General's Office said they would file an appeal Tuesday. ''We respect the court's decision,'' said Assistant Attorney General Valerie Martin. "Based upon the wishes of our client, the Department of Children & Families, we will file an appeal.''

Gill, who is raising the half-brothers, ages 4 and 8, said he was ''elated'' by the ruling and "I cried tears of joy for the first time in my life.''

© 2008 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

~~found on

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Letter from Alice Walker to Barack Obama

To Barack Obama from Alice Walker* *Nov. 5, 2008*

Dear Brother Obama, You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses an d furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy, Alice Walker

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Prop 8 & Other "Gay Couple" Results...

On the one hand, what a crappy blight on an otherwise wonderful election!

I am sorry for all the people who live in those states and for the rest of us who might wonder what's coming next to our states. But on the other hand, Barack Obama supports gay rights (at least up to and including civil unions) and I can only hope that things will shift during his presidency.

He supports civil unions (as McCain does) but not from the position of someone who is merely tolerant of gay relationships. He approves of them from what I can ascertain. So I am wondering what might be possible with a president who is an ally!

Hoping for positive change...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barack Obama: First African-American President

Barack Obama swept to victory as the nation's first black president Tuesday night in an electoral college landslide that overcame racial barriers as old as America itself. "Change has come," he told a jubilant hometown Chicago crowd estimated at nearly a quarter-million people.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Whole New World

Almost 40 years ago, my family and I moved into a suburban neighborhood with lots of other kids who were about my age. We all went to the same elementary school right there in that neighborhood and most of us formed friendships that continued all through high school.

As my friends and I grew up, we talked about leaving town, going to college, making our way in the world. We dreamed of who and what we'd become, sometimes, maybe even frequently, changing our minds. But not one of us, in my little circle of friends, ever said, "When I grow up, i want to be president of the United States."

In our world, we watched as the miniseries "Roots" changed the national conversation and eventually, made us seem less exotic, less strange, to the people who didn't know us.

Some of us, most of us, were alive but very young when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. We knew all about him and sang along with Stevie Wonder that there ought to be a day set aside just to celebrate him. And then there was. Martin Luther King Day became a national holiday.

Jesse Jackson decided that he wanted to be president and many of us rolled our eyes. "Keep hope alive, Jesse!" we said.

But now, in just a few short days, if my prayers are answered in the way I would like, the world will change again and my son, who is 7, will live in a world completely different from the one I grew up in. He will live in a world where he can say, "when I grow up, I want to be president of the United States," and instead of laughing, people will take him seriously.

In the past couple of months, I have felt very connected to a group of people all across the country who have voted or will vote on Tuesday. Some of them have never voted before and many of them usually don't vote but will vote this time. I have seen them in my head and felt them in my heart.

I have imagined them registering and making sure that all of their information is a perfect match. I've imagined them preparing to stand in long lines, hoping to participate in creating a miracle.

Hoping to vote not just on the issues they care about, but also hoping to help create a miracle. Hoping to create a change in the world that will make it obvious to their children, their nieces, their nephews and their grandchildren that if they want to, it might just be possible to be president when they grow up.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

We are so excited to celebrate the 2nd Annual "Party with Your Kids" event this year that celebrates entrepreneurship through home-based businesses!

What does "home-based" mean to you? It means more than an office in the spare bedroom or the kitchen table. It means a schedule that allows you rock your child as they sleep, to wipe a tear when a game has gone array, helping your teen through the rollercoaster years or taking an ailing parent to the doctor. It is the empowerment of taking control of your life, of living on your terms and moving from ordinary to extraordinary!The greatest gift we can provide our children is the gift of hope. Hope that dreams do come true, that hard work is rewarded and, yes, they too can have a happy, healthy life.

Our profession is built upon the understanding that it is not only okay to dream, it is encouraged for success!! Each of us in the direct selling profession can serve as the catalyst to build our business into a family business!

From the Party with Your Kids blog at
I am not sure how I will use this week to party with my son. I don't intend to take him to the party I have scheduled for next weekend.
But they offer a kit with family activities you can do. So I will go take a look at that.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama Bucks

The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps -- instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" -- a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."

taken from

Friday, October 10, 2008

National Coming Out Day 2008

October 11th has been celebrated as National Coming Out Day since 1988.

To celebrate it, people come out to others as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. According to a post I read on the Gay Christian Network, it began in 1988 as a commemoration of a march on Washington the year before.

So just last night my best friend from college found me on Facebook and I came out to him. Though he responded well, I think that may be enough direct coming out for this year's celebration :).

But I did set my Facebook status to reveal my queerness.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A "Business Trip" Friday Five...

From RevGalBlogPals...

So for today's Friday Five, you're invited to share your experiences with the exciting, challenging world of business travel....

1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?

Yes, it does sometimes. Especially for training.

2. How about that of your spouse or partner?

Well, it was a business trip she took that led to our wedding in Toronto, so I doubt either of us has any complaints about that trip :).

3. What was the best business trip you ever took?

The best one I ever took was the one where I first trained for certification as a healing coach-practitioner. I was SO excited to be learning the healing system I knew would completely change my life and that of my family!!

Boy, was I right!

4. ...and the worst, of course?

LOL! I was working as an addictions counselor and was on a training trip to learn how to do acu-detox.

The bad part? I had this weird stomach flu, so I have hazy memories of the actual training and vivid memories of feeling terribly nauseous and being sick quite frequently!

5. What would make your next business trip perfect?

If all my expenses were paid! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"That One"

The following is taken from ...

That One was raised by a single mother and his grandparents. They didn't have much money, but they taught him values from the Kansas heartland where they grew up. He took out loans to put himself through school. After college, he worked for Christian churches in Chicago, helping communities devastated when steel plants closed. That One turned down lucrative job offers after law school to return to Chicago, leading a successful voter registration drive. He joined a small law firm, taught constitutional law and, guided by his Christian faith, stayed active in his community. That One and his wife Michelle are proud parents of two daughters, Sasha and Malia.


That One was born in Hawaii on August 4th, 1961. His father, That One Sr., was born and raised in a small village in Kenya, where he grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British.That One's mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in small-town Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs during the Depression, and then signed up for World War II after Pearl Harbor, where he marched across Europe in Patton's army. Her mother went to work on a bomber assembly line, and after the war, they studied on the G.I. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program, and moved west to Hawaii.It was there, at the University of Hawaii, where That One's parents met. His mother was a student there, and his father had won a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya and pursue his dreams in America.That One's father eventually returned to Kenya, and That One grew up with his mother in Hawaii, and for a few years in Indonesia. Later, he moved to New York, where he graduated from Columbia University in 1983.


Remembering the values of empathy and service that his mother taught him, That One put law school and corporate life on hold after college and moved to Chicago in 1985, where he became a community organizer with a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment.The group had some success, but That One had come to realize that in order to truly improve the lives of people in that community and other communities, it would take not just a change at the local level, but a change in our laws and in our politics.He went on to earn his law degree from Harvard in 1991, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Soon after, he returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer and teach constitutional law. Finally, his advocacy work led him to run for the Illinois State Senate, where he served for eight years. In 2004, he became the third African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the U.S. Senate.


It has been the rich and varied experiences of That One's life - growing up in different places with people who had differing ideas - that have animated his political journey. Amid the partisanship and bickering of today's public debate, he still believes in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose - a politics that puts solving the challenges of everyday Americans ahead of partisan calculation and political gain.In the Illinois State Senate, this meant working with both Democrats and Republicans to help working families get ahead by creating programs like the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state. He also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator That One worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.In the U.S. Senate, he has focused on tackling the challenges of a globalized, 21st century world with fresh thinking and a politics that no longer settles for the lowest common denominator. His first law was passed with Republican Tom Coburn, a measure to rebuild trust in government by allowing every American to go online and see how and where every dime of their tax dollars is spent. He has also been the lead voice in championing ethics reform that would root out Jack Abramoff-style corruption in Congress.As a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senator That One has fought to help Illinois veterans get the disability pay they were promised, while working to prepare the VA for the return of the thousands of veterans who will need care after Iraq and Afghanistan. Recognizing the terrorist threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, he traveled to Russia with Republican Dick Lugar to begin a new generation of non-proliferation efforts designed to find and secure deadly weapons around the world. And knowing the threat we face to our economy and our security from America's addiction to oil, he's working to bring auto companies, unions, farmers, businesses and politicians of both parties together to promote the greater use of alternative fuels and higher fuel standards in our cars.Whether it's the poverty exposed by Katrina, the genocide in Darfur, or the role of faith in our politics, That One continues to speak out on the issues that will define America in the 21st century. But above all his accomplishments and experiences, he is most proud and grateful for his family. His wife, Michelle, and his two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, live on Chicago's South Side.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How Racism Works...

Not sure who wrote this, it was forwarded to me by email. But I agree...

What do you think people would be thinking and saying if the candidates positions were reversed?

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said "I do" to?

What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Princeton?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If the candidates positions were reversed like this, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does.

It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

PS: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Friday Five for Johnny Appleseed Day

First of all, I had no idea whatsoever that this was Johnny Appleseed Day!

1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.)

My favorite apple dish is apple pie a la mode with whipped cream on top. No recipe to share because I usually go out to eat it.

I think the best piece of apple pie I ever tasted was at Brutti's restaurant in downtown Portsmouth, VA! YUM!!!

2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about?

I am still having trouble keeping my plant alive (a not-so-hardy mum, thanks to me!) so no tree-planting.

3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not?

No. The farthest I roam is out to the balcony :). Not really, but I do like to stay home! I put a lot of time and energy into making sure it feels like a warm hug whenever I'm here.

4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours?

I don't think I have one.

5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he traveled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do?

I love to sing!!! If it's quiet long enough, a radio turns on inside my head and eventually, I'll be singing along.

But if I'm down-in-the-dumps, I'm more likely to turn the TV on and lose myself in a movie, or curl up on the couch and read a book.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A "Welcome to Fall" Friday Five

As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall: I love EVERYTHING about fall!!!

1) A fragrance: I love to get out the fall candles... apple cider, cinnamon stick, spiced pumpkin and more.

2) A color: My favorite colors are orange and brown, and I have already decorated for fall using both of them.

3) An item of clothing: I bought a brown button-down sweater and a brown fleece pullover. I'm not sure which one I'm most excited about wearing. I also plan to get some orange pullovers. Yum! :)

4) An activity: I love to take walks and feel the breezes, commune with the trees, but during the stifling heat of summer, can hardly stand to be outside! Same thing with hanging out on the balcony. So as the temps cool, I am looking forward to both fave activities.

5) A special day: Well, I guess that would be Thanksgiving. Sweet potato casserole, anyone? :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wade in the Water

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
Wade in the water
God's gonna trouble the water

Sigh. What an awesome, super-duper fantastic service we had today!

The themes were sacred circle, water and inclusion.

My cutie-patootie son joined the other Creative Kids to sing the introit.

There was a baby baptism and a memory jogger for the grown-ups. While we sang "Wade in the Water", there was a "remembering your baptism" experience. Our pastor and other ministers dipped feathers into water and reminded us of God's love, and grace, and forgiveness.

The sermon was about letting go of the past.

He talked about forgiveness and said...

1) Refusing to forgive is like taking poison and hoping someone else dies. I'd heard that before, but what a powerful reminder!

2) It's not the offense you forgive, it's the person! Well... I'd never quite thought of it that way before.

After the sermon, and before we actually sang the song ourselves, liturgical dancers waded into my soul with a very funky version of the song.

I loved the whole service today and even though I am feeling just a wee bit under the weather, I am so glad I went!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back-to-School Friday Five

It's time for a Back-To-School Friday Five!

1. Is anyone going back to school, as a student or teacher, at your house? How's it going so far?

Since I am homeschooling my son, I would say we both are back in school! It's going okay, but we are both still getting adjusted to the early hours. There have been more than a few naps, for both of us, in the past couple of weeks.

2. Were you glad or sad when back-to-school time came as a kid?

I was always really excited! Couldn't sleep.

3. Did your family of origin have any rituals to mark this time of year? How about now?

Well, before school started again, sometime in August, we'd go to the mall for new clothes. That was always fun!!

I think the big thing for my son and I is taking a "back to homeschool" picture on our first day of school.

4. Favorite memories of back-to-school outfits, lunchboxes, etc?

Can't remember the lunchboxes, but I do remember a "first-day" outfit or two! Those were fun.

5. What was your best year of school?

I think my best year was my first year of college. I fell in love with all my new friends, loved being away from home, and began to enjoy thinking and learning and being smart in a way I hadn't before.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Five: Being Vulnerable

So I bring you this weeks Friday 5:

1. Is vulnerability something that comes easily to you, or are you a private person?

I am pretty open and honest. Authenticity is very important to me! But I have to admit, I don't like to cry in public. I end up doing it anyway, but I usually fight it at first.

2.How important is it to keep up a professional persona in work/ ministry?

In my work as a healing practitioner, I have found that it works better when I am real, down-to-earth, accessible and connected.

3. Masks, a form of self protection discuss...

I was taught to hide as a child. Remember that commercial, "never let 'em see you sweat"? I used to tease my mom that that was written about her. She seemed to equate vulnerability with weakness so eventually, I got good at hiding my feelings, even from myself. People would comment on how peaceful I always seemed.

I'd tell them I felt anxious or upset, etc., and even those closest to me would say that they had no idea. When I was in grad school for counseling, I realized that that couldn't be healthy and decided to work on it.

Now, people tell me that what I am feeling shows on my face whether I say it or not! Mission accomplished.

4. Who knows you warts and all?

My wife. God. Me.

And one of my friends from church, I think. He apparently has taken things I have said, remembered them, mixed them all together, and come up with things I didn't say but that are nonetheless true. He surprises me regularly with that ability.

5. Share a book, a prayer, a piece of music, a poem or a person that touches the deep place in your soul, and calls you to be who you are most authentically.

There have been many books, songs, and people who have done this and I am grateful for them all!

Lately, or most recently, I have been reading Nepo's the Book of Awakening, which helps connect me to myself.

6. I thought of another bonus question: if there was a quality you wished to show to the world, that you don't think you have, what would it be?

For me, I think it's a kind of fearlessness when I am interacting with others. Think Sophia (from the Golden Girls) with wisdom.

I am an introvert who thinks before she speaks. And I am quite self-conscious at times. If I'm nervous, I will even stumble a bit over what I am trying to say.

So, at most, I can only resemble this quality. When I am at my best.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

I'm no stranger to teenage angst, or maybe I should say, to the memory of it. So I am sometimes a sucker for teen drama on TV. Dawson's Creek, Gilmore Girls, 7th Heaven...

And once again, I am completely in love!

The Secret Life of the American Teenager is exquisitely well-written. I've adored it almost from the very first episode. And hey, it's timely! It's about teenage pregnancy!!

If you are reading this, and you've never seen it, ABC Family is going to have a marathon of all the previous episodes on Monday beginning at 6pm. Then, the show's season finale will air on Tuesday night. I can't wait to see what happens!

Back 2 Homeschool

Early this morning, in pjs and robe, my son and I went back to homeschool. He was very excited to be a second-grader! And I was excited about the school year ahead. In addition to the regulars, he and I have plans for some great explorations...

yoga for kids

conversational Spanish

ballroom dancing
science club



Today, we focused on reading, art, cooking and a little about the presidential election. I've shared a little of his artwork.
We had a great day!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

I tried one the other day. It was okay, but I doubt I put in enough cheese.

I was following the recipe from last Sunday's Big Daddy's House, which seemed really simple, except he used chunky cheese and I had the shredded kind. But today, I had it again, finishing up the leftovers.

I put it in a saute pan and covered it with cheese and let it melt. Then, I added a little butter on top and that fixed it right up. So next time, I might put butter in the pan when I cook the broccoli and I will definitely add more cheese.

Second time around: yummy!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Excited About Obama!

This has been the most exciting Democratic National Convention I've witnessed since the Clintons were running!! The speeches have been spellbinding. Hillary and Obama both hit a home run as far as I'm concerned.

"With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States."

When he uttered that acceptance, making history I didn't think I'd see in my lifetime, I burst into tears!

Other favorite quotes...

Eight is enough...

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land - enough! This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

10% chance on change...

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

He just doesn't get it...

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

What is that promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now.

bin Laden...

John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

We all put our country first!

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.

The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

I get it...

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

"No turning back, no turning back"

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise - that American promise - and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

The American Promise

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Celebration of Cooking

My sweetie left very early this morning. Not much that's exciting about that! We've agreed to plan our next visit within the next 2 weeks, so we'll have something to look forward to and soon.

But I did console myself just now with a bacon and cheese dip I made myself! It was YUMMY!!

So I thought it might be fun to make a list of all the yummy things I've made since the Great Cooking Experiment began :) ...

mediterranean herb foccacia bread
apple spice cake
almond pound cake w/ strawberries & whipped cream
almond pound cake with pineapples & whipped cream
basil pesto spaghetti
basil pesto dip
cheese sauce (for pasta)
bacon and cheese dip
Parmesan bread
green beans with garlic & onion seasoning
brown rice with garlic & onion seasoning
mashed potatoes with bacon and garlic seasoning
garlic bread

And probably a few more that I haven't thought of that I just tried on the spur of the moment.

Many of these cooking successes were made with seasonings, mixes or recipes from Tastefully Simple. My consultant has been a very encouraging cooking coach.

I even bought a cooking set from Martha Stewart (on sale) which I have totally fallen in love with and use almost every day! They clean up do easily!!

I think, looking ahead, that I'd like to experiment with rice dishes, more pasta & cheese recipes, sandwiches, breads and desserts. My son and I are trying to move toward more vegetarian living, but we haven't gotten there yet. Meanwhile, I'm trying to focus more on meatless recipes.

It's much more fun than I thought it would be but that's because of all the things I discovered that have made it easier!

BTW, I made dinner for my sweetie the other night and she loved it!! I call it the night I conquered the cheese sauce.

And cooking with her this week was a blast, as well. I also like cooking with my son.

I'd say the Great Cooking Experiment is going well!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday Night Supper

My sweetie is visiting this week and tonight was my turn to host dinner for the gang from church. Since our church's Wed. night supper is on vacation for the summer, a group of us (all gay) decided to keep it going by getting together 3 Weds. each month at suppertime.

We do a movie night, a dinner night and an activity night.

Well, my sweetie and I spent the day preparing to host the dinner night tonight and we had a wonderful time, both during the preparation and during the dinner itself!!

Some of you may know that I am kind of a beginning cook, so we tried to keep it somewhat simple: spaghetti with homemade Parmesan bread, an arugula salad and a pound cake.

It was a rousing success!!!

If you are willing to overlook a few things :).

We were making so many things at once that we forgot to stir the spaghetti. The bread stuck to the stoneware loaf pan, so we lost its bottom. We didn't have as many strawberries as we'd thought, so we couldn't make the creative strawberry shortcake we'd planned to make. Instead, we decided we'd put a dollop of whipped cream on each slice and put half a strawberry in the middle as garnish.

Turned out we didn't have to do that because (we'd forgotten) it was the birthday of one of the ladies there and someone brought a birthday cake!

The spaghetti tasted great, as did the bread and the salad.

It was a great meal and the company was wonderful!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Obama Responds to Family Equality Council

Sen. Obama Responds to Jennifer Chrisler’s Questions on Family Policy
Dustin on Aug 5th 2008

Just three weeks ago, presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain said in a NYTimes interview that he does not “believe in gay adoption.” The Family Equality Council immediately responded, issuing a statement questioning McCain’s grasp on the reality of American families.

A great deal of press ensued, including this AP article that generated interest in the issue nationwide. Even though our efforts to raise the visibility of McCain’s divisive statement resulted in increased attention to LGBT family issues, we didn’t think that a press statement went far enough.

On Wednesday, July 23 Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Equality Council, issued identical letters to Sens. McCain and Obama, outlining the vast array of family types in this country and asking both candidates to explain how their administrations would work to recognize, respect, protect and celebrate all loving families in the US. One week later, Sen.

Obama issued the following statement in response to Jennifer:

Dear Jennifer,

While we live in a nation that is enriched by a vast array of diverse traditions, cultures and histories, it is our commonality that most defines us. The desire to build a life with a loved one, to provide for a family and to have children who will grow and thrive — these are desires that all people share, regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. My own experience has taught me this lesson well.

I was born to a single mother, my devoted grandparents helped raise me, and then I married the woman of my dreams and had two beautiful daughters. The love that has blessed each of those households has been strong and sure, and I know that millions of families across this nation share the same blessings.

We know that the cost of the American dream must never come at the expense of the American family. For decades we’ve had politicians in Washington who talk about family values, but we haven’t had policies that value families. Instead, it’s harder for working parents to make a living while raising their kids. It’s even harder to get a break.

That’s why I’ll double spending on quality after-school programs - so that you can know your kids are safe and secure. And that’s why I’ll expand the Family Medical Leave Act to include more businesses and millions more workers; to let parents participate in school activities with their kids; and to cover elderly care. And we’ll finally put federal support behind state efforts to provide paid family and medical leave. We’ll require employers to provide seven paid sick days each year. We’ll enforce laws that prohibit caregiver discrimination. And we’ll encourage flexible work schedules to better balance work and parenting for mothers and fathers. That’s the change that working families need.

But we also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families. Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it’s about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom. That’s why we have to repeal laws like the Defense of Marriage Act. That’s why we have to eliminate discrimination against LGBT families. And that’s why we have to extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws.

I’ll be a president that stands up for American families – all of them.

Barack Obama

The Family Equality Council applauds Sen. Obama for his timely and thoughtful response to serious questions that define the health and safety of millions of American families. As of today, we have heard nothing in return from Sen. McCain.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Stuck in Sinsinawa

It's almost always my intention to be as positive as I can. Our thoughts have power and thinking good thoughts just feels better than thinking negative ones!

And I have truly had a wonderful weekend!!It was my second training retreat weekend and I adored almost every moment of it. But the experience was not completely without stress and I think I need to share some of it one way or another. Since I have had very poor cell phone reception here, I am going to write about it.

First of all, I am stuck because of weather conditions between where I am now and home. I was rather pleased with myself this time around because I'd planned my flights so that I was only away from my son for 3 days. On day 4, I'd be on my way home and would get to see him right before he went to bed. But that won't happen because I will be here tonight, instead, hoping to take flight in the morning, after which I will be hanging out in several airports, waiting for time to pass until each upcoming flight, getting home~~if I'm lucky~~more than 12 hours after the journey begins!! Thank goodness I have a couple of books to read.

Another complaint: it seems that summer, with pollen blowing like dust in the wind, has just come to Sinsinawa and I have been coughing since I got here, rasping my way through conversations and singing and generally, annoying even myself with all that hacking.

One more: in my room, there is an undiscovered hole in the screen. Can you say gnats everywhere!

Okay, I'm done!

What was wonderful about the weekend was spending time with all these wonderful women who are sharing the training experience with me. AND everything we learned this weekend as we started our new module. There seemed to be two themes: eco spirituality (one word? two?) and the use of movement for prayer or worship or blessings.

The presentation we saw on how the world came into being was absolutely awesome!! It was very moving.

So, great weekend all things considered! :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Winner Takes It All...

All summer a group of us from my church have been getting together on Wednesday nights to replace our church's Wednesday night supper which is taking a summer break. We meet 3 times a month and we take turns going to see a movie, eating dinner at someone's house and doing an activity.

Tonight was activity night and it was my turn to host. I picked Mamma Mia because we've missed the last couple of movie nights, I wanted to see it and it was the closest I could come to getting the gang to try karaoke!

So...when I first found out about Mamma Mia, I knew immediately I wanted to see it because I love ABBA. I knew it would be fun!!!

I didn't know it would make me cry!

I teared up a little when Meryl sang about letting go of her daughter. I can already anticipate the pain of watching my son go out into the world away from Mommy.

But the real tearjerker was Meryl's take on The Winner Takes It All!! She told such a story of loss and pain that I couldn't take it. There are a few of us who can be counted on to cry in any situation that is somewhat emotional and thank god, I was sitting next to one of them!

I'm wondering now, though, if I can expect to cry at every movie from now on?

I mean, really! I sat there, bemused, thinking "I'm crying during Mamma Mia!"

Nonetheless, I had a blast! It was campy, it was goofy, it was fun. No voice lessons for Pierce? That's okay~~I just laughed even harder!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

A "Happy Family" Picture

I was glancing through Real Simple magazine yesterday in the grocery store, looking for really simple recipes while I'm on this cooking kick. And I saw an article about military families and how one military wife handles the long separations from her husband.

Since I am in a long-distance marriage at the moment, I gave it a quick look-see to find out if it would be helpful.

One idea I noticed was to find the happiest recent family picture she could and place a copy of it in every room of the house. What an awesome idea!!

I think I will adapt it. I like the idea of having a family picture or couple of some kind in every room, but not necessarily the same picture.

Great idea, though!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Inspiring Story

My pastor told this story today as part of his sermon. I love it! ...

There was a family with a three-year-old daughter, first-born, whose mommy was pregnant. And she was excited about having a little brother or sister. After the baby was born, she was thrilled to have this new baby in the house.

One day, less than a week after the baby was born, the little girl told her parents that she needed to be alone with the baby and that the door needed to be closed. The parents were a little concerned about it. They knew she was a good girl but they also knew about sibling rivalry and just weren't sure why she would need so much privacy.

But they remembered that they had had an intercom system installed and decided they would let her go into the room but would immediately turn on the intercom in a room nearby and listen to what was happening. So she went into the room and closed the door and they went straight to the intercom.

They heard her little feet as she walked across the room toward the baby. Then the sound of her feet stopped and they waited to hear what would happen next. What thehy heard next was what the little girl said to the baby.

Which was this ... "Tell me about God. I'm starting to forget!"

Friday, July 4, 2008

A 4th of July Friday Five...

From Sally, RevGalBlogPals...

From my short stay in Texas my memories of the celebrations are of fireworks and picnics, one year we went in to central Houston to watch the fireworks and hear the Symphony Orchestra play, we were welcomed and included, and that meant a lot!

So lets have a bit of fun:

1. Barbeque's or picnics ( or are they essentially the same thing?)

Barbecues! And by that I mean, someone cooks it on the grill, but I eat it inside in front of the TV.

2. The park/ the lake/ the beach or staying at home simply being?

Staying at home or hanging out with friends or family.

3. Fireworks- love 'em or hate 'em?

Used to love them, now not so much. I could be happy never seeing them again.

4. Parades- have you ever taken part- share a memory...

When I was a kid, I went to all the parades. And that's another thing I've had enough of to last a lifetime.

I think my favorite memory about childhood parades were the really fancy ones on TV with blown-up, singing and dancing representations of my favorite idolized TV show characters.

5. Time for a musical interlude- if you could sum up holidays in a piece of music what would it be?

I've been hearing two songs in my head, and occasionally on the radio, for the past several days...

One is "Coming to America" by Neil Diamond.

The other is "Proud to Be An American" by Lee Greenwood.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Summer Reading Friday Five

This week, a Summer Reading Friday Five, from RevGalBlogPals...

1) Do you think of summer as a particularly good season for reading? Why or why not?

I think the entire year is good for reading, but I tend to read more whenever there's a holiday. So summer often leads to lighter schedules, more free time, more reading.

2) Have you ever fallen asleep reading on the beach?

No, I'm more likely to fall asleep if I'm not reading.

3) Can you recall a favorite childhood book read in the summertime?

I read so many that none in particular come to mind.

4) Do you have a favorite genre for light or relaxing reading?

Romance novels, in general, but throw in time travel or some kind of magic and I'm particularly thrilled.

5) What is the next book on your reading list?

Return to Summerhouse, the sequel to the one I just finished by Jude Deveraux. I think it comes out this summer! It's so interesting that this topic came up because I just created a post about the other book and the opportunity to go back in time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Two: Turning Back Time

I'm reading a novel right now by Jude Devereaux, almost finished, about three women who meet someone who offers them the chance to go back in time for 3 weeks, knowing everything they know now, and when they come back, they can keep the new life or go back to the old one and can remember those three weeks or choose to forget them. I find the concept utterly fascinating and decided I'd use it for today's Tuesday Two...

(1) If you were given that opportunity, what situation in your life would you go back to and what would you hope to change?

(2) Afterward, do you think you'd keep the new life those changes would have created?


Here are my answers...

(1) I'm having trouble deciding, and BTW, would have to be assured that I would still have the family (wife and kids) I have now...

~~Should I go back and buy that house that had the deep garden tub and the lake view?
~~I could decide not to go out with my son's father. But if I did, then, how would my son come to me?
~~Should I go back to the time my family and I were in therapy when I was 9 or 10 and make sure I tell them that I was being abused?
~~What if I went back to the time my supervisor offered to finish the revisions on my master's thesis for me and let her do it?
~~Should I undo a relationship decision I made in my 20s?
~~Maybe I could go back to my adolescence and come out to myself and others?
~~What if I hadn't put my son's father's name on the birth certificate? Would I be living in Canada right now?
~~I could go back and change my major to creative writing or something similar.

I think I'd change my major or come out to myself sooner...

(2) Yes, I would keep the new life but with full memory of the life I'd had before.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Word Association Friday Five

Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:

1. rooftop: The very sexy Marilyn Monroe

2. gritty: "Living just enough, just enough for the city!" Stevie Wonder

3. hot town (yeah, I know, it's two words): "Summer in the city..." :)

4. night: My son is on a trip with Grandma, and this word make me debate with myself which is longer to get through while missing him, the day or the night.

5. dance: An image~~I picture myself dancing. Maybe to "Play that Funky Music" or "Boogie Shoes". But that song reminds me of car dancing, which reminds me of a Barry White song and the group from Ally McBeal dancing to it.

I can hear him now ... "We got it together, baby!..."

My bonus question: what word is likely to make you feel good whenever you hear it? Kissing!

Monday, June 16, 2008

What Same-Sex Couples Can Teach Us About Marriage

"A growing body of evidence shows that same-sex couples have a great deal to teach everyone else about marriage and relationships. Most studies show surprisingly few differences between committed gay couples and committed straight couples, but the differences that do emerge have shed light on the kinds of conflicts that can endanger heterosexual relationships.

The findings offer hope that some of the most vexing problems are not necessarily entrenched in deep-rooted biological differences between men and women. And that, in turn, offers hope that the problems can be solved.

Here's the article!

Celebrating My Birthday

Today is my birthday!

But I got two of my best presents last night. My beloved sent me an e-card and posted in the online gay Christian community we belong to, creating a birthday thread for me. And sent me an email this morning wishing me a happy birthday. It meant so much to me that she did all that because I know how tired she is with her job! And it helped make it a little easier to be here today while she's there.

My other gift last night was the moon!

I don't think I've ever seen it look so beautiful!! It had a wonderful halo/aura around it. I find the moon very comforting and soothing, and it was the last thing I saw before I got into bed. It was easier to believe that everything's going to work out the way it should, that God's got it covered.

And also, today's wonderfulness is that I have been showered with love!

So many good wishes today.

And tonight, I get to eat at Olive Garden! :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

School's Out for Summer! (Part 2)

We finished wrapping up everything we needed to this week, so our homeschooling is complete for the year! (YAY!!)

So I found this video for my son so we could celebrate.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Beachin' Friday Five

From Mother Laura, at RevGalBlogPals...

So in honor of summer, please share your own beachy memories, plans, and dreams with a "Beach Trip" Friday Five.

1. Ocean rocks, lake limps? Vice versa? Or "it's all beautiful in its own way"?

I love both! It's all beautiful.

2. Year round beach living: Heaven...or the Other Place?

Oh, I would love to live on the water year-round. A house on the beach or the lake would be heaven! That's my dream.

3. Any beach plans for this summer?

I don't think so. My wife and I have thought about going to Myrtle Beach in August, but I don't think we actually will.

4. Best beach memory ever?

I've had so many wonderful beach memories, I can't pick just one. I was just remembering as many as I could, sifting through them for the one that was most special, but they were all special.

My trip with my wife to Myrtle Beach a couple of years ago (we weren't married yet) might be my best beach memory, but that one doesn't involve the actual beach. We spent all our time at Broadway at the Beach.

5. Fantasy beach trip?

Renting a beach cottage for a week or two with my wife and kids. We'd like to go to Basin Harbor Club in Vermont sometime, but there are other places we'd like to go, as well.

Bonus: Share a piece of music/poetry/film/book that expresses something about what the beach means to you.

I love to read novels that are set on the beach or at a lake! It makes the beach one of the characters.

I actually just finished writing a story with the beach as backdrop (I write in the BBM fandom). It made it more fun to write because I got to smell the salty air, feel the caress of the ocean breezes and gaze out at the ocean, listening to the waves, right along with my characters.

"School's Out for Summer!"

Okay, well, it's not quite...

But we are finishing up this week, so I hope to be singing that line at the end of the day tomorrow! For the past few years, I have ended the year with a book full of core knowledge info for his grade to make sure we've covered most of what's essential during the year. But I think next year, I may begin with that book, so I can avoid the year-end anxiety about finishing.

I'm very proud of my son, though, and must take a moment to brag!

In part because of what happened to his "best friend" (he has several), Tristan, and partly because of other things that came up in the past few weeks, we are a little bit behind. So I told my son we might need to add on a week or so past what the public school kids are doing. Well, he would not have it and was determined to finish on time, even if it meant some intense catching up.

Well, this morning, he got up early, grabbed the book and read for two hours before taking a break and has been very enthusiastic about continuing with me once I was ready to join him!

And he plowed through a lot of material!!

Of course, we will review some of it again, to make sure he actually ingested it, but his effort and his reading ability really impressed me.

I think we just might finish on schedule!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saying Goodbye...

I've just come back from the crying extravaganza~~I mean, Tristan's funeral!

One more time for crying so hard it made my lips quiver and my face do funny things and my breath hitch. In fact, I experienced all the different levels of crying~~ tears that seem to come from nowhere, sliding suddenly down my face. The sudden scrunchy-face crying as it hits you again. The sniffly crying that can co-exist with laughter and fond memories. Etc.

It was a wonderful service!

There were bright colors, a puppet song, knock-knock jokes, affectionate and funny stories about Tristan, a performance by the kids of a song from Christmas that Tristan loved. It was hard to watch that because I kept thinking about where he would have stood.

I had deliberately chosen to sit by my favorite church friends, at the end of the row near the two who I could count on to cry, too. One of them hugged me at the end right after the procession, and we both stood there and cried. It helped!

I love my church!

Jonathan was sad after the service, but didn't want to talk to me about it. He kept saying he wanted to be alone, and sat by himself for a bit on the bench outside where we were all kinda hanging out as the limos filled. And one by one, people went over to him to check on him and ask if he was okay. Several "grown-ups" talked to him, and he later told me it helped.

I am glad they were there for him.

Well, I feel drained. I'd like to say more but I think I'm done. At least, for now...

Tristan, thank you for being kind to my son! I hope you are singing your heart out right now or laughing at a joke God made up just for you.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Losing a Friend, Remembering Tristan

We found out yesterday morning that one of the boys in the youth choir, my son's joke partner during their talent show, was killed night before last while crossing a very busy street.

"He was my best friend!" my son told me while he was crying in response to the news.

Tristan was a student at White Bluff Elementary School. His principal treasures the last picture of taken of Tristan, it was last week at a school assembly. He was singing his heart out, something his youth pastor says he loved to do. "He may be off key a couple of times, but he wanted you to know he was singing, he loved to sing," said Joe Driggers of the Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church.

My son told me he'd had a bad feeling that something was going to happen to him and that made it even more horrifying. And truth be told, I'd had a sense of foreboding myself, but it was formless. I didn't know what it meant. Jonathan said he knew he was going to die!

Last night, we went to church and along with a few of the other kids, met with the pastor, the youth minister and a school counselor who is a church member and she helped the kids talk about it. They also made cards for the family.

We don't know yet when the funeral will be but I plan for us to go so that, along with the other kids, Jonathan can say goodbye.

Liberal/Progressive Christianity

From an article I found on progressive Christianity...

While liberal Christians share a similar faith language with conservative / evangelical / orthodox Christians, many times we have different meanings attached to those words and offer a different vision of the faith than some people might realize. Unfortunately there is no cut and dried test per se that will land a believer firmly in the liberal camp. Many of them are evangelical and /or still draw strongly from the Orthodox traditions. However for the sake of identification the following will give some illumination as to the general beliefs of many (but not all) liberal, progressive and postmodern Christians:

1) We are willing to be open to all the possibilities of who Jesus was said to be, and focus more on His life than His death. We may question His divinity, believe in the Trinity, or be Unitarian.

2) We believe that the Bible contains truth but is not always literal. We believe that it is a map and not the final destination of our journey.

3) We believe other faiths contain truths as well.

4) We believe that asking questions is okay, and that there is rarely such a thing as a single black and white answer to those questions.

5) We are seeking closeness to God, not points for following certain rules which will buy our way into heaven. We take Jesus' admonitions to the Pharisees to heart and focus on the grace and compassion of God.

6) We welcome other seekers regardless of who they are as God wants us to include people rather than exclude them.

7) Many of us believe in universal salvation.

Link to the article

This article has the best collection of the things I have come to believe in the past few years that I have come across, so far. I was so happy with it, I had to share!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Celebrating My Gay-Friendly Church

As the date rolled around for this year's Blogging for LGBT Families, I sort of went blank at first about what to write! Since I am part of a lesbian family, and I frequently write about it, I wasn't sure how to make this particular blogging day special.

But then I decided to write about my church.

I found this church about 2 1/2 years ago, a few months after I had come out to myself (yes, I am quite the late bloomer!). At the time, I had been attending a charismatic church. For two reasons. I loved the worship, and was quite smitten with my friend, who attended regularly. She was unaware of this second motivation for my attendance.

Anyway, I soon realized that I would not be able to continue going to this church and decided to look for one that would be gay-friendly.

When I did, I found a list of churches and decided that the church I am now a member of would be the first I'd visit.

I have been attending ever since!

My church is about 50% gay and we are everywhere there. Directing the choir, singing in the choir, making the announcements, greeting at the door, offering communion, etc. And these may not seem like such a big deal, unless you are used to churches where that would not be the case.

My church has many married or partnered LGBT couples and several LGBT families, mine among them.

When my partner and I got married in Toronto, I did not change my name legally. But I have been using her name and my church made me a new nametag, changed my name on the address for the monthly church newsletter and congratulated me on my marriage!

Several times a year, the church holds new membership classes and after each class, the new members are introduced to the church. I amuse and delight myself each time by picking out the LGBT people and usually, they make up about half the class.

I remember the first time I saw an infant baptism where both the parents were daddies! In fact, I think it was right after that that I decided to complete the next new member class myself.

Is my church perfect? Oh no!

You might be surprised when I tell you that it is a United Methodist church. At the recent general conference, they just voted again not to ordain "practicing homosexuals" and even voted to allow pastors the freedom to decide whether or not to grant membership to LGBT people in their individual churches. Though my pastor has baptised children of LGBT parents, he could never marry them, even in a state where marriage was legal.

So are there still changes I'd like to see, even in my beloved church? Absolutely!

But I'll be there until they happen. It's the best church I've ever belonged to and some of my very best friends are there!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sex and the City

Tonight, I went to see the movie with my favorite friends from church and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

I don't want to give anything away to those who haven't seen it, but I do want to say that at one point in the movie, I burst into tears! And I mean hard crying, the kind where you sniffle and both lips are quivering and even if you bite them, it's hard to stop.

Though there also was a lot to laugh about, the movie had a powerful underlying message!

Without explaining what I mean by this, I will say that this song came to mind...

I've been tryin' to get down to the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

Don Henley

This movie made me feel good about having my wonderful friends and grateful to have found the love of my life and to be happily married!

If you are or have ever been a fan of the TV show, GO SEE IT!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fabulous 5 Meme

I picked up this Fabulous 5 Meme from the Swandive...

What were you doing five years ago?

1) I was working part-time at Michael's as a scrapbooking instructor
2) I had just moved into a Victorian duplex a few months before
3) I didn't know yet (consciously) that I was gay
4) I had been working as a healer for about a year but hardly had any clients
5) Except for occasional visits to my mom's church, I wasn't really going to church
6) I was addicted to Dawson's Creek & Ally McBeal

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?

1) Start a blog for people trying to create or build a work-from-home business
2) Talk to Shelly
3) Read the chapter of Spiritual Direction to prepare for tomorrow's Sunday School class
4) Read part or all of the Cottage Style magazine I brought home from the store
5) Work on renovating the website for my healing practice ~~ gotta add the LofA group I want to start

What are five snacks you enjoy?

1) Cookies
2) Grapes
3) Fruit Cups
4) Chips
5) Popcorn

What five things would you do if you were a billionaire(not in any particular order)?

1) Buy some stuff: a log cabin on a lake, a new car, some clothes & jewelry
2) Renovate my mom's house
3) Create a nonprofit healing ministry so I could offer healing free or on a sliding scale
4) Create an intentional community
5) Invest

What are five of your bad habits?

1) Eating comfort food
2) Drinking sweet tea (cups of caffeine, basically)
3) Staying up too late
4) Not getting enough exercise
5) Swearing

What are five places where you have lived?

1) Jefferson City, Missouri
2) Lookout Mtn., TN
3) Virginia Beach, VA
4) Chesapeake, VA
5) Georgia

What are five jobs you've had?

1) 2nd Assistant Manager at Yankee Candle
2) Scrapbooking Instructor at Michael's
3) Family Counselor for an inpatient chemical dependency unit
4) Addictions Counselor for an outpatient substance abuse treatment center
5) Healing Coach-Practitioner

If you can read this, you are officially tagged.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bedtime Moment to Remember

Just had a sweet moment with my son and wanted to be sure not to forget it!

We were saying goodnight and I said, "I love you!" and he said, "love you more!". I argued that that was not true, and he said, "the one who hugs first, wins!"

We both practically fell on each other trying to hug first and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

It was very cute!!

One of those moments of joy, an unexpected gift.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Friday Five at the Garage Sale

From Songbird & Will smama at RevGalBlogPals...

1) Are you a garage saler? Not at all

2) If so, are you an immediate buyer or a risk taker who comes back later when prices are lower?

In general, I am not an immediate buyer. I wait, I mull it over, I reconsider. But it's like every so often, I just go crazy and buy on impulse.

3) Seriously, if you're not a garage saler, you are probably not going to want to play this one.(That wasn't really #3.)3) This is the real #3: What's the best treasure you've found at a yard or garage sale?

A friend found both a TV and a vacuum cleaner for me once. Does that count?

4)If you've done one yourself, at church or at home, was it worth the effort?

I should make my son do one--geez, he has a lot of stuff for a 7-year-old!!

5) Can you bring yourself to haggle?

I have on other occasions--and have gotten good deals, too! Only seems to work when I really don't care, though.

My own bonus question: if you're not a garage saler, what would make you convert?

If I actually knew ahead of time what kinds of things might be there. Like, right now, I need a washer/dryer set and a vacuum cleaner. If I saw a garage sale sign with those items listed, I'd turn my car around to go find it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Medicine Woman

I was watching the Waltons this morning. The episode where Mary Ellen decides she wants to become a doctor so that she can help the hill people better than she had been able to as a nurse. I felt really connected to that, to the way she felt about it.

Then there was the episode where John-Boy was helping a pregnant woman in a deserted mountain cabin and when she got sick, he went to see the local African-American healer, who directed him to her shelf full of herbal blends. There, he found exactly the one she'd prescribed and it worked.

Last night, I listened to a teleclass designed to sell a weekend training in August that I won't be able to attend.

But the woman who was speaking last night was talking about finding one's authentic voice. She mentioned themes and threads that follow us, in her opinion, through many lifetimes, that will help us figure out what our message is, what our voice is. If I believed in multiple lifetimes, based on the attraction I have always had for healing, medicine people, curanderas, etc, I would be sure that I had been one of them in a previous life.

What I do believe, instead, is that we carry generational memories, some that need to be healed, some that will guide us as to who we really are. We inherit traits and maybe even life or soul missions, right alongside the blue eyes or brown skin and the tendency toward high cholesterol.

Well, my family is said to have some native American ancestry.

I never have been very interested in genealogy before now, but it suddenly occurs to me that maybe I take after some native American ancestor. If you can heal in every generational direction, can you also inherit that way, as well?

Perhaps it's a flight of fancy (I am quite the romantic sort), but I feel somehow connected to some wise woman/medicine woman/village healer/storyteller. If true, it would certainly tie a lot of things together: my interest in healing, my intuition, my connection to nature, my desire to be part of a small town/intentional community/etc. Maybe even my attraction to log cabins and country decor :)

These are all things that seem odd in comparison to the family members I know.

Another thought I had is that if this is true, I have some layers of false self that still need to be healed. For example, I have allergies!

I'm working on that, though.

And I called my mother to ask her about it. She thinks the connection is through her grandfather, but she's going to ask around and try to find out more.

But even if that turns out to be a dead end, I know I'm onto something in tying these things together. And now I know that last night's teleclass wasn't a total waste of time!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

What a great day for families!

I slept in -didn't really feel like getting up, actually- and then, had a quiet, leisurely day with Jonathan before heading to my mom's house for an early dinner. Hamburgers, baked beans, rice, sweet tea and apple pie. Wonderful!

With running, screaming children and I Love the 70s as a backdrop.

My sister was very, very tired and not inclined toward conversation.

But other than that, it was a normal family gathering, complete with leftovers.

Jonathan and I had heard on the radio that there was to be a moment of silence at 3pm this afternoon in honor of our military and we observed it.

This song came to mind and I sang a little of it. He joined in. I am not sure I'm always proud to be an American, especially when I remember things like racism, slavery and gay bashing. But one thing I know for sure, as Oprah likes to say, is that I am very proud of the people who are giving their lives and have given their lives to serve our country...

If tomorrow all the things were gone,I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars,to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American,where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,God bless the USA....

Lee Greenwood

Saturday, May 24, 2008

the Smell of Rain

I came out here on my balcony to watch, listen to and smell the rain. The trees are talking to each other, too, so there's lots to experience. I love the smell of rain!

I have had a great day at home today, hanging out with my son.

Earlier, we watched "Groundhog Day". Such an interesting premise. Living the same day over and over again. I've seen the movie several times before, but had some new thoughts today.

Being able to predict and thus, prevent, the things that would happen in your neck of the woods would be a burdensome responsibility. Remember him hurrying on the way to catch the boy who was about to fall?

On the other hand, it would be a great way to try out new ways of being and moving in the world, because none of it would stick. It would all be just an experiment you could try again and again until you liked the outcome. You would be freed from the burden of doing and could focus more easily on being, or even becoming.

You could practice transparency. No one would remember anything you'd said or done!

I would love to have that kind of time with my wife. And once the do-over day was finally over, I would know her in a way I hadn't had time for before and would have honed the skill of letting her know me and learned how she would be likely to respond. Trying it again for real would be much less risky!

Of course, I expect we will come to know each other that well anyway. And I look forward to the deepening intimacy that comes with lots of time and experience and storms weathered together!

With parenting, I'm guessing that I would learn not to sweat the small stuff and I could choose day after day after day (the same day) to spend time with my son without having to worry about things like bills or making a living.

Of course, I was just saying to a friend the other day that we can all choose to stop worrying any time we want, no matter what our circumstances are. But I think a situation like that would drive the point home even more.

The rain seems to have stopped, though its fragrance lingers.

My son is inside and has just come to check on me for the fourth time in about 15 or 20 minutes.

Guess I'll head in...

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Friday Five on Vacation

From Sally, RevGalBlogPals...

It is a holiday weekend here in the UK, and the weather forecast for much of the country is not good!!! But we can still dream and so with that in mind I bring you this Friday Five.

1. Getting ready for summer, do you use the gradual tanning moisturisers ( yes gentlemen you too can answer this!!!), or are you happy to show your winter skin to the world?

Well, I have what might be called a natural tan. So when I think of preparing for summer, I think of softening the skin I haven't been showing all winter.

2.Beach, mountains or chilling by the pool, what/ where is your favourite getaway?

You know what would be wonderful? A cottage or cabin on the beach, where you could walk right to it from the house.

3.Are you a summer lover or does the long break become wearing?

I love every season except winter. My fave thing about summer is being able to wear sandals and dresses and feel the sun and breeze on my legs and arms.

4.Active holidays; hiking swimming sailing, or lazy days?

I love the "lazy, crazy hazy days of summer"!

5.Now to the important subject of food, if you are abroad do you try the local cuisine, or do you prefer to play it safe?

I've only been to Canada. In general, I am rather cautious, so I would tend to stick to what I know.

No bonus this week unless you can think one up!!!

My bonus question: are you planning to go anywhere in particular, this summer?

I'd love to go to Myrtle Beach (I have a great time every time I go), but I'm not sure if I'll be able to go or not.

Bonus #2...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Today's Healing Gift

Someone recently asked me for healing and as always, it blessed me to do it!

But not only does it feel good to do distant healing, I am almost always reminded or inspired to work on healing something in myself that I hadn't thought of or completed. I've made a change recently and change often makes me cranky!

And I was just putting up with it. I hadn't even thought about directing healing toward it specifically. I think I was trying to ignore it! And there has been so much on my mind lately~~I'm still taking in everything I experienced during the retreat~~that it was easy to shrug it off.

But thankfully, someone reminded me that I can have help with any and everything that concerns me. Even the things that make me irritable!

I feel so much better now!

A Grand Tour Friday Five

From Songbird at RevGalBlogPals...

Name five places that fall into the following categories:

1) Favorite Destination -- someplace you've visited once or often and would gladly go again

Myrtle Beach: I especially loved hanging out at Broadway at the Beach.

Del Coronado: The hotel is right on the beach and the hotel rooms are so wonderful. They don't look or feel like hotel rooms.

2) Unfavorite Destination -- someplace you wish you had never been (and why)

I've just realized that twice, when I went to Richmond, VA, I got sick while I was there and spent most of the visit not feeling well.

Coincidence? I don't know! :)

3) Fantasy Destination -- someplace to visit if cost and/or time did not matter

Europe: I think I'd want to go just about everywhere!

4) Fictional Destination -- someplace from a book or movie or other art or media form you would love to visit, although it exists only in imagination

Farmingdale, Vermont: part of the Human Interest universe, written in the Brokeback Mountain fandom.

In this story, Jack and Ennis buy a farm in Vermont and work at creating that "sweet life" that jack always wanted. If I could, I'd move there to live with them.

Waltons Mountain, Virginia: but only if I could actually be a Walton and get to live in that house :).

5) Funny Destination -- the funniest place name you've ever visited or want to visit

I have been to some places with funny names but can't remember any of them right now!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Guru Girl Weekend Training

I just completed the first of nine weekend retreat training experiences and it was wonderful, as were all the women to whom I opened my heart. The two women who led our experience and will be our teachers created a warm, welcoming, beautiful space for us to bond and begin our journey.

And Sinsinawa Mound, where I stayed, was equally beautiful and a quiet, soul-nurturing space, as well!

I have experienced some shifts already and I'm really looking forward to every part of the rest of this journey!

Here are a few highlights...

1) Walking the labyrinth and offering every concern to God

2) Seeing the "Christmas trees" and making friends with some of the other trees in the area

3) Eating some of the wonderful meals

4) Telling one of the leaders that I was amazed that there were people like her and the other leader, and having her say, "you're people like us!"

5) Finding that a few of the women, one in particular, are willing to give themselves over to laughter just like me. I had some wonderful laughs!

6) Getting here early and finishing the story I was writing

7) Getting to re-live the emergence of spring.

It's just beginning here so there was a touch of winter still and I got to enjoy drinking hot tea and wearing long sleeves and wrapping the prayer shawl around me given by one of the other women

8) Watching Mary Poppins with one of the Sisters who lives here in the Dominican Community and getting to meet and talk to some of the others.

9) Creating and having my very own medicine drum. The creating part was less-than-thrilling, to say the least!!! But now that it's all done, I'm glad to have it. I have named it Laughing Brook.

10) Singing Trish's song, "Namaste, namaste. I greet you with my heart wide open..." to the other women.

There were many other wonderful moments, including watching "Grey's Anatomy" with the first few wonderful people who arrived and "August Rush" on the last night we were here.

In case I haven't yet made it clear, I had a fantastic time!!