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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ummm.... I'll Just Be Random..... Kinda

Sometimes I'm loquacious on my blog and you can't shut me up. Other times? Not so much.
Are you ever moody? Are there days when you feel like you just have nothing to say? People talking all around you, while you're in your head trying to be civil reverent?
I can't think of anything to blog about so I'll just type at you. Ummmm.....
Oh! I just read a really interesting blog post about chronic tardiness. It set off quite the furor over here. Sheesh! People can be soooo sensitive.
As for me, I'm an on-time Nazi. I don't like being late to anything.
(Years Ago...)
Would you believe the "reverend" or "pastor" (it was a catholic church) presiding over my grandmother's funeral was more than a half hour late?! When he finally showed up, he apologized, his excuse being he had a cold. A cold!?! I was NOT happy.
My sister kept eyeing me nervously cause I glared at him for most of the service and then cornered him for a polite tongue lashing when the service was over. Yeah, well......he asked for it. Don't make mourners wait next time.
Anywayz, back to the blog that got so many readers in a tizzy with his post. Way to strike nerves, Middle-aged Mormon Man . His writing is insightful, entertaining and it makes you think. And apparently, he also angers some readers. My kind of blogger.
With blogging, there are always gonna be readers who get upset with a post or comments on a thread. I love the drama of real life (in the blogosphere). It's fun showing up late to a post that has like 80 comments, broken furniture and some carnage. Good times.
Anywayz, when I was growing up, attending any special events with my parents, we always had to be on time. My father was a bit of an OCD drill sergeant about it (kind of like The Great Santini which starred Robert Duvall). So that's what I'm used to.
Are you someone who tends to run late or are you an early-bird?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Am NOT My Politics, But It's Still In Me

Now's a good time to talk about my politics.
My blog tracker shows there are a number of new readers over here. Lately, I've only been blogging about my conversion and my family. So yah! There's been quite a bit religious talk around here. Groovy! However, this is not all there is over here.
For those of you reading who are new to my blog, I think it's important to say up front who I am. Just in case you haven't gone back and read any of my old posts, I need to put some things out here. Ya know? Give you a chance to make a more informed decision about sticking around. I hope you stay, but I won't be at all offended if you decide to leave.
First off, I tell the truth about Every.Single.Thing. On the surface, that may sound lovely. But it's not always. Sometimes my truth can induce fidgeting, sweating, and avoidance of eye-contact with others. My truth has also been known to make some people angry. That's my fairest warning.
One of the things I'm really good at talking about is the pink elephant of racial tension in our great country. Not the liberal-run-main-stream-media kind of racial tension blogging. I speak (write) from my heart and my personal experiences.
Second, while we're on the topic I don't like liberals. I don't hate them (unless I'm in physical pain, then I get cranky) necessarily, but I have a very low opinion about them. I don't have time to explain my dislike of liberals in this post.
Let's just say, that as a black person, I don't need anyone assuming that I need favors from the government on the taxpayers dime just because slavery of blacks was legal in America once upon a time. Liberal agendas have been pretty bad for black families. That's a fact, not just my opinion.
And I don't like liberals who feel they should bleed America's resources dry, so they can live off handouts, just because they feel entitled.
Third, don't say African-American anymore. Strike it from your vocabulary. Most blacks who live in America today have never even been to Africa. That's just a politically correct phrase that some liberal made up.
Fourth, since we're on the liberal topic, I did NOT vote for Obama. As a matter of fact, when he won, I was so devastated, I had to leave work mid-morning the day after the elections. I cried like a baby and retired to my bed for the rest of that day. You can read all about my 2012 election reaction here.
Last but not least, sometimes I'm snarky and/or sarcastic in my writing. This brings me back to my first point about telling the truth. Just because I love God and I love Jesus Christ doesn't mean I'm perfect. Sometimes I'm bratty and I need to vent.
Most of my readers have been reading my blog for a few years (I've had several blogs). So this is all old news for them. If you got to the end of the post, I'm guessing you'll probably stick around. Yay! If you got here and still want to leave, oh well. You'll miss a good party. Toodle-loo!
That's my truth and I'm sticking with it.
Yes, those are my feet. ;-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

To Whom Much Is Given......

For the last few days my emotions have been gathering like a pending storm. It's not a bad thing, I assure you. We're human, we come with emotions. We all manage them every day.
I finally turned to my hubby last Sunday to talk with him about my gathering storm of emotions. I'm recording it here for our daughters.
It's time to talk about my parents. I love my (earthly) parents very much. They provided me a kind of footing in this world that was unavailable to many of my peers.
We didn't have a lot of money, but I was well cared for. I grew up attending church. I received both voice and music lessons in my early teens. I attended a few (NYC) Broadway musicals. We dined out as a family, experiencing a variety of cuisines during my childhood years.
All of our graduation ceremonies were attended to by both of my parents. Education was a very big deal to my family. I went away to college and graduated with a BA in journalism.
Our lives looked like a perfectly shiny penny to outsiders. However, we were far from perfect. My story is not new. I have been amazed by just how common my story is. There was alcoholism, violence and pedophilia. It was traumatizing for all of us. But we lived to tell. And to forgive.
Here's the thing. Physical scars heal much quicker than emotional scars. After a few years, some physical scars are barely noticeable to the naked eye. Ah! But emotional scarring? That's a whole other ball of wax.
Like I said, I love my parents. In their own way and as best they could, they've loved me too.
One of my sister-friends recently posted a quote by Frederick Douglas on her FB wall:
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
My parents were broken. They didn't mean to, but they almost broke me too. But God had other plans, so here I am.
It's easy to forget about children who are living in non-traditional, non-ideal and/or precarious situations until something unusual occurs to make them news-worthy. Sometimes their news is good (success), sometimes it's bad (tragedies). My guess is there are probably hundreds of thousands of us.
Unlocking My Heart
I grew into a kind of stoicism as a woman. I cried so often as a young adult, that I came to hate my own tears. (I may have gone overboard with my stoic ways.) I don't even cry at funerals. But human emotions can be tricky and unpredictable.
In honor of my baptism, I recently received a few gifts from another of my sister-friends. Her kind gesture triggered a switch in my heart. I fought valiantly to hold my emotions in check for a few days and I actually did okay .... until last Sunday, while talking with my husband. I didn't bawl, okay? But I just could not stop the tears from streaming.
During my college years my parents grudgingly released their authority over me. They surprised me by being angry about my newly acquired autonomy. Though we never completely lost touch when I became an adult, I did keep a physical and emotional distance away from them.

We were indefinitely pissed off with one another, having no plan on how we might reconnect.
As time healed my wounds and as my own children grew older, my heart began to soften. One full year after I stopped drinking, just when my oldest was about to graduate from university, I invited my parents back in to my life.
Seeing that all had been forgiven, my parents were ecstatic. Me? Not so much. Our roles had changed. Now I was a grownup and expected to do better, if I knew better (yuck!). My parents would now get to act like little people in need of my patience and attention (what the ?!) They had no desire to pick up where they left off with parenting.
I had an epiphany. They didn't know how and they weren't gonna try to learn at this late date. They just wanted to be my friends. (Not brimming with love-for-me-friends, just friends).
I had to accept that. We learned to love each other gingerly, slowly and with a respectful distance.
Throughout the years Heavenly Father has sent earthly angels to replace the love I've occasionally lacked. Even when I shut Him out, God never ever stopped loving me. He blessed me with my own loving heart and the most amazing husband a girl could dream of.
And yet..... I did try to keep locked the part of my heart which still yearns, the way an infant stretches their arms, expecting to be picked up.
Consequently, when my baptism gifts came, my sealed heart began to rumble and my tears really flowed. I am reminded, to whom much is given, much is expected in return (Luke 12:48).
Thank God for discernment. Who'da thunk my pain would have come to be of any use? My heart is cleansing itself for a reopening.
Have you ever closed your heart and reopened it again?

Mama & Me at Twinkle's College Graduation
May 2011

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our Season of LOVE

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, let's talk about LOVE. In case you didn't notice, it is my favorite topic (lately).
With this being the Valentine's season, I can talk about LOVE in the company of many others in the blogosphere who are celebrating and/or recognizing the LOVE theme. Yayyy!!
Before I talk about my man, I think it's only right to recognize the LOVE that keeps bringing me here to type. Just because I am Mormon, don't think that I am negating the religious views of my fellow Christians who continue to read here. Nor am I negating the views any of you readers who do not submit to following a particular religion.
Of course I love my brothers and sisters in the Mormon faith. And I will reference my faith often, consequently referencing my Mormon family. However, I also still appreciate you who continue to read here despite any of our religious differences.
I love YOU, readers. Do you hear me? I love that you waited for me.
Huh? What are you talking about, Namaste? Waited for you?
Many of you have been here for several years watching my blogging metamorphose (for real, that's a word). You had to know if I changed once, I would change again.
Thank you thank you thank you! I love you for continuing to read here, you've helped me to find my voice and keep it growing. All of YOU reading here are awesome.
Talk about waiting for me? HA! Wowee!! How patient have you two girls been, huh? Twinkle and Moonchie, I absolutely adore you both. I am honored to be your mommy.
You probably have discerned this by now. But you need to know, I gave birth twice, both times in a hospital. And not once, on either of those occasions, before we left the hospital, did anyone hand me a manual on how to do this mommy gig. I was completely winging it the whole time. I know! Shocker!
By the time I figured this parenting thing out, you were all grown up. Whoops!
But wait....!
Between God and my own Mama's lessons, I clearly did a few things right. You girls are so beautiful and so smart and so loving, I am humbled to call you my daughters. Rock on with your sweet, loving selves!
Hubby and I don't do Valentine's Day. I know, right?! Who'da thunk that? But some of you will totally get me on this. Valentine's Day is Every.Single.Day. of our lives. Seriously. I kid you not.
I greet my husband with Christmas-like glee practically every night he comes home from work. (Of course there are the rare nights when I'm tired or cranky. And I greet him with less enthusiastic overtures. But that's rare). He gets a big hug and kiss like I haven't seen him in two weeks. I actually cheer, "Yay! You're home!" or "Welcome home baby!"
Yup. And you know what? If he was a different kind of man, he might let a bad day at work interfere with this nightly ritual by rebuffing me sometimes. But my man's awesome, all day, everyday.

Hubby loves the way I gush over him. He's told me on more than one occasion, he looks forward to coming home at the end of his work day because he's excited to see me. So it works for us both.
So for us, Valentine's Day is not that big of a deal. Our anniversary and birthdays are the biggest deal to each of us.
Well, since I'm blogging for posterity this year, I'm acknowledging the beauty of Valentine's Day. Oh yes! I have the great fortune of being a real live princess living in a wonderful dream with my McDreamy, McFabulous, BFF hubby.
Flowers? Dinner? Gifts? If you are receiving such things tomorrow, that's beautiful. You deserve to be treated so wonderfully by your significant other. Me too! Well, I probably won't have those things. In lieu of all those things, I have this wonderful marriage. A fair exchange, IMO.
I remember when I used to be awkward and unsure about my worthiness as a woman in this world. I used to agonize about not being good enough to be loved. Whew! I'm glad to be done with all that. Bye-bye went my angst. Why? Thanks to my hubby.
Hey Hubby! Thanks for making me feel like a hottie every day. Thanks for checking me out often, like you can't believe I'm truly yours. Thanks for staring. Thanks for the frequent compliments. Thanks for the long hugs and the surprise touches.
I love you hubby! Valentine's Day is our life together and I'm having the best time with you!
Happy Valentine's Day, to you all!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Does Anyone Even Talk About This?

I'm not gonna lie, I don't really want to talk about this. It's one of those Pandora's-box kind of topics wherein, once it's open, you can't gather up the contents and put it back in the box without leaving remnants of its existence.
But it keeps harping at me. It keeps scratching at my heart's door. It keeps showing up. Why?
Cuz I have this job, I have bills, I have responsibilities. Unless I hit the lotto or until my life takes a sharp turn, for the time being in this season of my life, I have to keep showing up at my workplace, every single day, five days a week, eight hours a day.
I have a potty mouth.
And even though I don't use my potty-mouth as much as I used to a year or two ago, it's there. And I'm working on cleaning it up.
I know nobody's perfect. We're ALL flawed humans and that's not going to change. We're going to make mistakes and that's okay. This post is not meant to judge, although it might be interpreted that way.
Some people reading might struggle with other human conditions of weakness that I don't struggle with. See? We all have issues. Let's not forget that.
But here's my problem..... ugh! This is not easy for me to say. Cuz I work with the some of BEST people around. They are like my family. I spend more time with them than I do with my own husband and children.
I am lucky to have such great co-workers. Seriously. Over the years, I have grown quite close to a few of them. The thing is, they all have potty-mouths.
Not in front of customers though. Just when there's downtime and they start chatting or making jokes. That's not even the real problem.
Whether in the workplace or in some other public arena, we overhear conversations all the time. Some pleasant, some offensive. No big deal. That's life.
There real problem for me is two co-workers in particular, one man, one woman. Whenever the boss(es) leaves the office they take their potty-mouth to a whole new level. It's not chatty or jokey. It's raucous and hateful. Their swearing and cussing is so overly-gratuitous, it almost feels like I'm listening to a performance.
Unfortunately, my office is closest to their chatter. Today it was so bad, I had to close my door and turn up my (easy-listening) music. I have no intention of saying anything, cuz that never ends well.
But I can't help but wonder, what am I supposed to be drawing from this situation? Patience? Tolerance? Reminders to about my own potty-mouth? Oiy! I just don't know.
Have you ever felt like someone was daring you to say something to them? What would you do?

P.S. I struggled to come up with a title. So I gave up ;-)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This Dimensional Life

Our lives unfold in multi-dimensions. Have you noticed?
For me, I'm living this life, wearing different hats: as a mother, as a wife, as an employee, as a daughter, as a friend, as a sister. And now we can add Mormon to the mix. I'm a Mormon. I'm still getting used to that hat.
Hands down, it's my favorite hat. No doubt about it. Being a Mormon makes me better in all my other roles. God has blessed me SO much, I hardly know where to begin to tell you everything He's done and is doing in my life. 
I'm experiencing my life in simultaneous dimensions. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a quickly changing kaleidoscope scene. It's beautiful, for sure. But the patterns change fast. And just when my eyes accustom themselves to one pattern, the scene melts into something even more fascinating.
Here's a for-instance. I'm at work reading spreadsheets and the next thing I know, an image of my daughters flicks on. Next, thoughts of them make their images dance and laugh across my computer screen.
My thoughts begin to leap frog, even as my desk phone rings, and I'm taking a call from a customer. All the while my heart is smiling because I love them so much and I'm thinking, what a great life I'm living.
I'm loving my work and I'm loving my daughters.
But then the pattern changes. And the customer on the phone is thanking me for the info, I'm saying my goodbyes and hanging up. Next, my cellphone dings, and a text comes in from my hubby or from a sweet friend or from one of my daughters, sometimes from two out of the three at the same time. It's a love infusion!
And I'm smiling. And a co-worker walks into my office. And I look up and it's someone I love (yes, love, cause I'm shy no longer about love, the way I used to be wondering if my kindness might be construed as weak or inappropriate or just plain loopy) and she sits-- this co-worker-- cuz she feels my love and it's welcoming.
And my life is good. But then at the same time....
I think of my daughters. My daughters are not Mormon. And it feels like I'm inside this beautiful bubble, while they are on the outside. And there's nothing I can physically do to make that pattern change. 
So I pray.
The world has them. For now. But God holds the world, in all its confusion, in His arms.
So I pray.
And you know what's amazing? That we all can exist in this world, in such chaos and such wondrous beauty and love, all at the same time. God makes it possible.
I am thankful for the pain I felt when I was a helpless little girl, when the world held my parents in its grip. The pain made me dig deeper in my heart for human understanding. I know more than I thought I could ever know. And still, I'm learning.
I'm thankful for the way my parents shamelessly follow my lead on spreading the love nowadays.
I am thankful for my job. I am thankful for my co-workers. I am thankful for my customers.
I am thankful for the kindness of strangers. Yes, strangers. There have been many people in my life lately, opening either their hearts or their homes, or both, to me and to my family. People who did not know me at all. But they showed me their love.
I am thankful for my camera. (More pictures are coming!)
I am thankful for my life, with all its hats, in all its dimensions. Yes, it's sometimes hard to watch my daughters be in this world, as they try to co-exist among peers who're living in misery of their own choosing.
Knowing they grew up in love, but watching them as they hold back. Watching them make their strides and speak in the world's tongue, tongues that don't speak love. Cuz too much love is not cool. Too much love can make them look a bit odd and out of place in the world.
It's a head-scratcher, sometimes it's scary for me to watch.
But somehow, I'm not worried. I know they will be outstanding. I used to be them. I used to be exactly where they were.
Which dimension of your life are you focused on today?