Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Little Trip in October



It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but life has been pretty chaotic for a while. Now things are settling down somewhat, and I’ve been itching to write.


So, recently Megan and I went on another trip together, and I wanted to share it. I love going places with Megan because she’s always so excited about everything, and it let’s me see the world through uninhibited eyes. She takes pleasure in the simplest things, and it makes you want to enjoy all the little things too.

We went to a gathering of Mama Bears. We all belong to an online secret group of moms of LGBT children, no matter the ages of our kids. It’s a safe, private place to discuss issues, share our joys and sorrows, and be understood and encouraged. And yes, we meet in real life all around the country.

So we went to an evening gathering in North Carolina on a Saturday and stayed at a motel. The gathering was wonderful. The motel….eh, not so great. But we still had fun. 







Phil got us mocha frappes from McDonald's for the ride. What a treat!

















After hours of driving, we got to the motel room and checked in. We got a king size bed!




















And Megan wanted people to see the neat-o bathroom, lol. She loves to take showers at a motel and use the tiny shampoos and conditioners. 











After a little rest, we went to the gathering and had a great time. We all brought food to share; Megan and I made Fiesta Ranch Chicken Pasta Salad, from my food blog, The Magic Meal Fairy. And we met some new people and some we knew from last year’s gathering and loved talking with them. 














When it was time to leave the gathering, we went back to the motel where Megan quickly made herself comfortable on the bed and colored. We watched TV a little and then slept.
















In the morning, we went to the breakfast room they had advertised on the website. The pictures they showed weren’t exactly true. The reality was that there was 2 pieces of wheat bread for toast, and 4 slices of raisin bread. Oh, and half a gallon of milk. Ummm….


So we left and went to Hardee’s for Cisco breakfast sandwiches and breakfast tots. 





The drive home was long and we were tired, but happy when we crossed the border back to Virginia and saw the sign there. Love. It’s what our Mama Bear groups and gatherings are all about. We have unconditional love for our children, whether LGBT or not. And we will continue loving, supporting, and fighting for human rights for everyone.  






















Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My Birthday Blessings!


So, I had a birthday AGAIN on Monday. It’s been happening to me…..oh, about once a year. It was a good day, but towards the end it was a little shaky. But two things happened to me that really made me want to cry for the feels they gave me. I’ll tell you what happened.

Megan and I went to the schools at 1:00 to get both Ryan and Timmy out. I had called the schools and told them I needed to get them out of school because we needed to be in Roanoke at 2. I made it sound rather appontmentish. Which it was; I had told Cole and his gf Sam we’d be at their house at 2:00 to decorate Christmas cookies. ;-)

Which we did, and did we ever have fun! It was Sam’s first time ever decorating Christmas cookies and I had gotten some new gold sparkledy jimmies and sprinkles to use! I had baked the gingerbread cookies the night before, the recipe my mom always made when I was growing up and are they ever delicious!!

On the way home, the car kept making a weird noise that worried me, and I prayed the whole way home that we’d make it and the car wouldn’t fall apart on the highway. When we got home and put everything away, I really needed to just lie down for a while and rest, so we all did...the house was so quiet!

Later on, I just did not feel like cooking, so I ordered pizza from Pizza Hut to be delivered for supper. About ten minutes later, Pizza Hut called me to say their delivery driver had car problems so I’d have to either cancel the order or pick it up myself. I said I’d be there in 20 minutes, as that’s how long he said it’d be until it was ready.

On the way to Pizza Hut, the car was acting strange again, as if it were having transmission problems. I was quite frazzled the whole drive there, and at the light just seconds away from the place, Pizza Hut called me again to inform me they had no pan pizza doughs. “Seriously?” I said. “I have to pick it up myself and it’s not pan pizza?”

At the restaurant, I sat in the parking lot to get my money out and discovered I was twenty dollars short of what I had had earlier. It was just too much. I walked in and was about to cry when the young woman and man came towards me and apologized, and said there would be no charge for the meal.

What?? I told them that this was my birthday and several things had gone wrong and to top it off I was missing money. They both stared at me, wished me a happy birthday, and got my pizzas for me. I took the pizzas home and told Phil what had happened. He was as amazed as I was.

That was the first thing I wanted to share. The next took place the next day. It’s our custom to go out to eat with the birthday person, but since I was gallivanting around decorating Christmas cookies during the afternoon, we went the next day, Tuesday.

I was still smarting from the sting of the car troubles and the missing money, and as we were happily stuffing our faces with the food at the Chinese buffet, a couple came over to our table, leaned down, and said, “We want to wish you a merry Christmas. Your meal bill has been taken care of.”

What?? Megan was unaware of what that meant, but Phil and I were in awe. We said thank you and I told them this was my birthday meal, and they smiled and left. I’ve heard of this happening, but it had never happened to me before. Phil and I were still stunned as we ate our dessert of little cakes and fruit. What a blessing!!


So, as we drove home and the car behaved for Phil, we talked about these two good things, these blessings that had happened for my birthday, far outweighing the few negative things that had happened. I’m still somewhat awestruck about it, and it makes me want to do something nice for someone when I am able. What a blessing they were to me. I want to be a blessing to someone else too! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Me Too


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the “Me Too” campaign. It’s designed to bring more awareness to sexual violence against women by those affected posting “Me too” on social media. But by its very nature, it’s a very personal subject, one that many are loathe to talk about.

My thoughts automatically went to this: I can’t help but wonder how many women won’t post “me too” in such an open forum because of who it was that abused them. They might feel trapped into silence. 

I won't be silent any longer, but I will only reveal basics.

I was molested by a relative growing up. I didn’t even have words for what was happening to me, so I never told anyone until years later.

When I was seventeen I was date raped repeatedly one night, and once again I had no words for what had happened until the term “date rape” was coined years afterward and the awful memory of my experience came raining down on me.

And then as an adult, my husband from my thankfully short first marriage raped me repeatedly. Because I was married to him, I didn’t know that it was rape when I said no but he refused to respect my choice. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone that he insisted on forcing himself on me whenever he wanted.

It took me years to come to terms with the experiences I had and to recover from the shame I felt. I learned that it’s not my shame to carry, but theirs.

Forgiveness for what these men had done to me took a few years also, but I knew I had to forgive them or have no peace inside myself. I hold no ill wishes toward any of them, I freely forgave them so I could be free myself.

There is so much more I could say about each of these experiences, but I’ll leave it at what I’ve said already. I’d like to encourage women to speak out, to reach out for help when needed, to get counseling and support. We need to maintain awareness of sexual abuse, we need parents to recognize the signs and believe children who tell them they are being abused (mine did, thankfully!), and we need to be vigilant about teaching our children (boys and girls) that sexual abuse is not okay.


For help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. They are a confidential support organization and will direct you to a local support provider if you want it. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Of Locks and Keys and Car Doors


On Sunday Megan and I had ourselves a little adventure. She had gone to her sister Caitlin’s house to stay for the weekend, and we had agreed to meet halfway between Roanoke and Radford so I could get Megan and bring her home. That in itself was extraordinary because there was a backup on the highway that made my 30 minute journey take an hour and 45 minutes. Oy.

So we did eventually meet up and talked for a bit, gathering Megan’s luggage that felt like it had concrete bricks in it. And soon we left and were on our way to Walmart. That was another extraordinary event for me, because #1 I’ve never driven there from Roanoke, #2 I have driving anxiety so I usually only make short trips anywhere, and #3 I’m awful with directions, even with a GPS directing me. Have you heard of the phrase “Recalculating route?” Need I say more??

But Megan and I did arrive at Walmart, parked, and I got out of the car, standing in between the car and the door, waiting for Megan to exit. And I pressed the electric lock button to secure the car.

Click-click-slide.

The lock clicked shut but immediately slid back into the open position. Hmmmm, that’s odd. I pressed the button again.

And again the click-click-slide.

Okay, what’s going on? For a third time I pressed the button and for a third time watched the lock on my door slide shut and then slide back in the off position. It must be broken. Great, now I have a broken lock. How much is that going to cost to fix??

So the only thing I could think of to do was to manually push the lock into position and shut the door. Whereupon I checked, as I always do, to make sure my keys were in my purse.

There were no keys in my purse.

Omgoodness, I must have left them in the car! I pulled on the door, knowing I had just locked it. Then I look at Megan and started to tell her not to shut her door. Too late, she had shut it. I went around the car to her side and looked in. Sure enough, my keys were in the ignition, dangling in that carefree way that only inanimate objects do.

Ah, it was all coming together now. I’d never locked my keys in the car before, but I could now understand it: apparently my car has a feature so you can’t lock your keys in it. If they’re in the ignition and you try to lock the doors electronically, it won’t let you, thus alerting you of the problem.

Ohhhhhhh, why didn’t I ever read the car manual?? Why did I insist on my own way when the lock kept sliding back?? Why didn’t I check for my keys before I locked the door??

So, Megan and I trekked our way into Walmart to customer servive, got the non-emergency number for the police, and I made the call for help. A very nice officer came to our rescue and after about 5 minutes of fiddling and faddling, got the car unlocked, whereupon I retrieved my naughty keys and thanked him.


Then we went into the store to get the shopping done. The moral of the story: trust your car; it may just know better than you! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Special Little Trip


So, last week my sisters, who were in Florida visiting our mom’s husband Jimmy, contacted me and asked if Megan and I wanted to meet up with them on their way back to Massachusetts. They were going to stop at my niece Jessie’s house which is 2 hours from us. Of course I said yes!

They were getting a hotel room to stay at and offered to let us sleep there too, so we’d have more time together.

Megan and I packed our bags for an overnight stay and left at 3:00 Friday afternoon.

It took us 3 hours instead of 2 because I got lost towards the end and backtracked across several towns a few times. I totally panicked because I don’t have a GPS in my car, but was on the phone with Philip, him trying to calm me and guide me to Jessie’s street. 






We all met at Jessie’s and right away they took us out to eat at the Golden Corral. It was so big, like the Disney World of buffet restaurants! 










Afterwards we went to the hotel room, where Megan immediately staked her claim.


She brought some of her dollhouse people to play with, and made a growling face at me when I took another picture!










We took lots of photos and talked and laughed…Jessie and Kris...











     

Jessie and Susan…














Megan and her bestie cousin Jessie!















Megan, Susan, Kris, and me.









After Jessie’s friend took her back to her house, we watched Live PD and went to sleep. In the morning I said goodbye to Kris and Susan, who wanted to get on the road early as they had a long drive back to Mass ahead of them. Megan was too sleepy to wake up!




Megan and I ate breakfast and drove on home, tired but happy from our wonderful special trip. Back to regular everyday life, which isn’t so bad with all the little special times sprinkled in like jimmies on a sundae. :-) 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Conversation with Megan #7



As we’re in the kitchen making lunch:

Megan: Dat spidewr in my dowwhouse?

Me: Yes?

Megan: He got afwaid.

Me: He got afraid? Of what?

Megan: Of da fundewr.

Me: So what happened?

Megan: He used his long legs and wun away!

Me, trying not to laugh at the visual: What did he do after that?

Megan, shrugging: He’s stiww dawre. He’s in anovewr woom.

Me: Well what does he do in there?

Megan: I dunno. He better not pway wiv my peepoo (people)!

Me: What would you do if he did play with your people? Punch him in the nose?

Megan, giving me a withering look: Mummy! He doesn’t HAVE a nose! He’s a spidewr!

Me, getting quieter: Okay, what do I know? I’m just a mom, I don’t know anything about these spiders that might play with dollhouse people but don’t have noses….





Monday, March 6, 2017

He Knoweth Our Frame


This is an article that I wrote 2 years ago, but it is every bit as relevant still today. I hope you take it to heart.

He Knoweth Our Frame…

I turned 50 recently, not even a month ago, and I’ve been thinking of lessons I’ve learned. It’s not like I know everything; let’s face it: I’m not “there” yet and never will be. I’ll always be learning and growing, and that’s a good thing; the alternative would be stagnancy, apathy, and…death.

But in my half century of life (gulp!), I’ve had the privilege of learning a few things, and for that I am truly thankful. One thing I came to understand years ago has served me well, and I am so grateful to God for blessing me with this understanding.

It’s based on a scripture that I came across a long time ago that came to be so important to me, it had a pivotal influence on my entire life. I’ve had occasion to share it with others at times, and hopefully it made an impact on their lives too.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

We all make mistakes in life, we all mess up, make poor choices, make the wrong decisions, etc. We’ve hurt others, done wrong to them, whether deliberately or incidentally, and when that happens, we need to go to them and own up, ask for forgiveness, and seek reconciliation.

The goal is to restore relationships, through honesty, repentance, and forgiveness. I’m not really going to get into that, seeking forgiveness from others. Most people, even if they struggle with it, are willing to forgive. But even as hard as that may be for some, sometimes forgiving ourselves is the hardest part. Sometimes we just can’t get past the fact that we’ve done something wrong.

And that very fact can hinder our relationships…with God, others, and ourselves. Yes, I did say with ourselves.

Our relationships are all directly linked to how we view ourselves, and that is impacted negatively when all we can do is fret about the things we’ve done wrong, to hold those infractions against ourselves. It’s like a constant battering of our self-esteem, breaking it down little by little.

And we do it to ourselves, by not forgiving ourselves.

I happen to have been an expert at that. I spent years going through periods where I would lay awake at night, thinking in the dark, and it seemed every bad thing I’d ever done would come to mind, making me feel worthless and hopeless.

I didn’t understand at the time how this was affecting me, working against me; all I could see was that I had made so many mistakes in my life, and as time went on, there were so many more to think about and assault my sense of self-worth. I’m not going to argue about that term, deemed derogatory and un-Christ-like by some Christians.

Because from what I read in my bible, God loves us, thinks enough of us, that He sent His son to die on the cross to pay for our sins. And if the Creator, the great I Am, looks on us and loves us enough to sacrifice His own son for us, then I believe we should value ourselves enough to forgive ourselves the myriad mistakes we make in our lives.

And because that seems to be so hard for some of us, we need to look at ourselves the way God does, see ourselves through His eyes. And thus, the verse:

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

God sees our mistakes; He knows all about them. He knew every one of them before we ever thought of them or committed them. We know that from Jeremiah 1:5, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

And yet He still loves us, He still has the offer of forgiveness and salvation on the table. He still sees us as having worth. And therein lies our hope.

None of this negates the fact that we are sinful creatures in need of forgiveness from a holy God; indeed, it exemplifies the fact that “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

Why? Again, the verse:

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

Our hope is right there, wrapped up in that verse of scripture: God knows that we are dust. He recognizes our humanity. He knows and understands the frailty of our humanness, our propensity to fall and stumble in life.

And therefore, He offers forgiveness. He doesn’t hold it against us; instead, He offers us grace and mercy.

If God is willing to do that, who are we to withhold the same forgiveness from ourselves? Should we not extend that same grace towards ourselves, laying a hindrance, a stumbling block, a very trap for ourselves with our lack of forgiveness? Good gravy marie, no!

We should follow His example, and see ourselves how God sees us, as His children who He made, who have worth and value. His children, who are dust.

It isn’t a bad thing to have a healthy sense of self-worth. It allows us to move forward, to crawl out of that pit of self-loathing and despair, and keep striving towards being the people God wants us to be. To be learning, growing, each becoming who He’d have us to be.

And we can’t do that when we’re bogged down in a mire of regrets, rehashing our mistakes and failures. We can only do that by remembering how God sees us, and forgiving ourselves as He does.

Once again, I’d like to leave you with that very important verse. Please, take it to heart.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

Photo: Memo Akten