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I am in the home stretch of my 52 books in 52 weeks The God Project blog..only 4 books to go, and I have chosen to finish up with 4 children’s books.  Two of them were already on my reading list, but the other 2 I found on the shelf and found to be very important reads.

My Princess Boy is one of them!

This year we have seen so  many young men kill themselves because of anti-gay bullying.  This brought on the “It Get’s Better” YouTube channel and project.  It spurred rallies all over the country.  And it really stirred me.  As I have said before in this blog, I was bullied my whole childhood.  I know what it is like.  I watched my own children get bullied for various reasons.  I have seen it from both ends, and its ugly.  So when I saw the title of this book, I HAD to pick it up and choose it for this blog!  The message is IMPORTANT and timely.

This book is a true story written by a mom who’s 4-year-old son loves to dress in girls clothing.  Instead of forcing her hand and saying..”No!  Little boys don’t dress that way!” she has embraced his creativity and reinforced her love for him.  As a  matter of fact, his whole family has embraced him and loves him for who he is and has no plans on changing him any time soon!  This is so refreshing!

Love & self-esteem start at home!  We as parents need to nurture our children and love them for who they are.  Give them the space to figure it out for themselves.  We need to be able to let go of what we think we want for our children and give them space to be themselves.  Why do we as parents insist on living through our children instead of letting them live their own lives with our loving support?  And it goes beyond what happens at home.  I know some parents will say, “Well its okay to dress like this at home, but when you are out in public, that’s a different matter.”  No!  It’s not.  What does that tell the child?  That you have to pretend to be something you are not so others will not laugh at you and like you?  Talk about starting your child off with a complex!  And it tells your child that you don’t support them and that they can not come to you with their true feelings and issues.

I know how hard it is to watch your child being bullied.  I know how hard it is to see them come home in tears and refuse to want to go to school.  This book is such an inspiration to parents who’s children are being bullied.  It’s an inspiration to kids who just want to be themselves!  It’s such a great tool for the school to use to show the individuality we each have and should be shared and celebrated instead of bullied and put down!

I applaud Cheryl and her family for being such great parents.  And I applaud the school their child goes to for supporting this little boy in his individuality and creativity!

Please visit http://www.myprincessboy.com to learn more about this amazing book and the family behind it.  There is also an amazing interview with Cheryl and her son on YouTube that you can check out!

So I leave you with this question:  How do you support the children in your life in their individuality?  What do YOU do when you see a little boy in the store dressed up like a princess or a little girl in the store who is dressed like a boy?  Or let’s take it a step further…what do YOU do when you see ADULTS who dress like the other gender?  Be honest.  What do you think (even to yourself where no one else can hear you)?  Just some food for thought!

Blessings!

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This is a book of poems written by a selected group of Idaho 9th-12th graders who submitted and won a poetry/writing contest regarding what true love is.  It was put together by the Idaho Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Project.

To find out more about this project, please go to http://www.nomeansknow.com or call 208-384-0419 or 1-888-293-6118.

So what would YOU expect to find in a book of poems about love written by high schoolers?  Do you remember being in high school and writing “love poems”?  I do.  As a matter of fact, I still have those poems and they read a lot like this book.  However, there are some very DEEP poems in here.  Some will make you cry.  Others will make you smile.  It’s hard to tell if some of these poems were written based on what the students learned through this project or if they wrote the poems based on real life experiences.  In some cases, I prayed that they wrote their poem based on what they learned and NOT real life experience!  It was that heart breaking!  In other cases, I found myself wanting to cheer because the poems showed that these students had a good head on their shoulders and knew what they wanted when it came to a relationship!

This book was completely free. I picked it up at a booth at the St. Luke’s Women’s Fitness Celebration.  I also signed up to volunteer to teach the classes.  I checked the website and didn’t see a place where you could get the book, but I’m sure if you emailed them or called them, they could tell you where you could pick one up for your teen!

The poems are powerful and tell amazing stories of courage, grief, sadness, love, violence, redemption,  becoming parents,  standing their ground, losing the battles, over coming the odds…and so  much more.  Under most of the poems was the student’s name and what school they attended.  There were several written by teen moms who attended the alternative high school specifically meant for teen moms.  Some of the students were home schooled.  And one of the students I recognized from my own child’s school.

The following poem really gets to the heart of what this book is about:

Necessity

Respect should be there

Lack will cause pain, Suffering

Respect must be there

by Ryan Ashley

Moscow Senior High

Teacher:  Ms. Hodgin

Here’s another one that really spoke to me.  It is so very true!

A County in Texas

It had the highest rate of teen  pregnancy

In America.  the only sex education allowed in their schools

Was the saying, “Abstinence is next to Godliness.”  Still,

Purity rings shriveled off already-blistered fingers and

The STDs buzzed like pestilent-fat fleas through the school halls,

Nipping at hands that vetoed contraception.

Those few that pushed condoms like coke and kept their junkies safe

Were slaughtered financially.  Quietly.

Student warred with blindness,

Parents panicked and clutched it.

By Chloe Barnes

Moscow Senior High School

Teacher:  Ms. Hodgin

Here is one that I absolutely loved!!!  What a great metaphor!!!

Perfect Batch

Love is like a grandma’s special recipe

You need all the right ingredients to make a perfect batch

Sometimes it gets burned

or thrown in the trash

Amateur attempts to replicate the tried and true

sometimes forget the secret spice.

Each  new attempt is a learning step,

in finding that desired formula

You try so hard to make it work

until finally it’s made

The perfect batch

By Ryan Garrett

Homedale High School

Teacher:  Ms. Lathrop

This book is filled with so much more wisdom from these young people!  If you have children, check out this amazing organization and what they are teaching our Tweens and Teens!  Spread the message of self-esteem and what true love is.  Spread the message of empowerment!  Together we can educate our children and stop Teen Dating Violence!

Last week, I received an email from the VP of The Community Center (a place for the LGBT people of Boise to gather for their groups, clubs, or entertainment) saying that I had been nominated for the Willow(Community Volunteer) Award–to the LGBT individual in a non-leadership role for community service.  The actual nomination read:

Martha Spiva–Martha has been working with a.l.p.h.a. as a volunteer for several years, planning the Idaho Women’s Retreat for 2 years now, helping out with Forever Red, and bringing in new partners.  She also works with the Girl Scouts and a number of other groups as a volunteer.  she is a great representative of the queer community.

I was floored, shocked, surprised, but most of all honored!  As it turns out, Duane Quintana the Executive Director of a.l.p.h.a. (Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS) nominated me.  He later told me that he believed I was a great example of the “queer community” (as a bisexual woman) who volunteers not just in the “gay community” but in the Boise community at large.

While it is true, I do volunteer for several different organizations, I never really thought about how much I volunteer (except for on those exhausting weeks where it feels like I don’t have time for everything).  It is just what I do.  My life is dedicated to being of service.

When I was told that I was nominated, I cried.  I know that for those of you who know me, the fact that I cried is NOT a shocker.  I cry at everything.  But this was different because of where this award is coming from.  I realized that I had come full circle.

Just before we moved away from Phoenix, Arizona, I was just starting to “come out” as bisexual.  Some people accepted me like “Whats the big deal?”.  Yet other’s who accepted me at first threatened to throw it in my face later.  See, I was a volunteer for the Cub Scouts (totally homophobic organization and does NOT allow anything other than straight people to be leaders.)  I was also on the board of my child’s school Family Teacher Organization.  I was a pillar in my community and well-known.  When I finally pulled my children out of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, my “friend” took this personally and threatened to “out” me to all of the parents at our children’s school.  Shortly after that, my husband’s company moved us to Boise, Idaho.

I decided that when we moved to Boise, I was going to live my life “out of the closet”.  Yes, I’m married; yes, I’m bisexual.  The first thing I did was look for a LGBT community center, and I found it.  They were amazingly welcoming.  I started attending a group called Your Family Friends and Neighbors.  Looking to get my kids involved in something, I attended the youth group there. I also attended the women’s Halloween dance.  Everything was going great until a lesbian woman at the dance found out that I was married & bisexual, and she shunned me.  I then gave up on being part of the LGBT community.  I did find other people who loved and accepted me just the way I am, and continued on with my life.  We love it here in Boise!

Eventually, I got involved with a.l.p.h.a.  I had heard about the organization from my massage clients and from my son’s friends who volunteered there while she was in high school.  But it wasn’t until one of my husband’s friends contacted me to ask me to do massages for the Idaho Women’s Retreat (for women living with HIV/AIDS) that I really got involved.  I ended up running the retreat and getting involved with a.l.p.h.a. in other ways….like condom raids, teaching compassion classes, planning Forever Red (the Award Banquet), and KYS’s (Know You Status FREE HIV testing events).  As you might imagine, while volunteering with a.l.p.h.a. and HIV/AIDS centered organization, I started getting to know alot of the LGBT community.  Here I found acceptance as a married bisexual woman!  I was just one of the gang!  I love working with these people!

And now, here I was being nominated for this award by the community that at first shunned me…and now is awarding me as one of them volunteering FOR them as well as our community at large!  I finally felt like I was “home”!

I looked at the other nominees; they either volunteered for The  Community Center (the people hosting the award ceremony) or they were very well-known people within the LGBT community.  I didn’t think I had a chance at winning.  But it was put to a public vote.  We were encouraged to send out the email and post it on facebook….and that is exactly what I did.  Sure enough, I had enough votes, I was awarded the Willow Award for being a bisexual woman who performs community service in and outside the LGBT community!  This felt amazing!

They called my name, and I could hardly believe it.  I walked up to the stage and was given the chance to make an acceptance speech where I shared my story of contacting The Community Center first..and now I am receiving an award from them.  Everything goes full circle!

I am humbled and honored just from the nomination, and even more so with the fact that people voted for me and I won.  Volunteering is something that I do.  It is my “job”.  I am very fortunate to be able to be a stay at home  mom and volunteer my time.  I am grateful to my husband for supporting me in this and for my family being generous with their “mom time” and sharing me with our community.  I could never do what I do without my family!  I am very blessed!

And I was just told this morning that I am being nominated for another award; this time it’s a national award with the opportunity (if I win) to be awarded a significant amount of money to be donated to my volunteer organization.  For the nomination process, I was asked to gather and write a kind of resume of my community service.  I only started keeping track in 1998.  But it dawned on me that I have been volunteering since I was  12 years old.  That is 29 years of community service!!!  I am so very grateful for the opportunity to be of service to my community (where ever that is at the time).  I have touched so many lives, but in turn so many lives have touched mine in ways that I will never be able to communicate.

My life is truly blessed and not a moment goes by that I do not recognize this.

Thank you for everyone who voted for me to receive The Willow Award.  Thank you to my family for all of your support.  Thank you to a.l.p.h.a. for using my talents and pushing me to be better with them.  Thank you to the Girl Scouts of America for being inclusive and being such great examples for our girls.  Thank you to the Junior League of Boise for providing me with the leadership opportunities so that I can grow and be stronger!

If you ever have the opportunity to be of service, even if its just for one hour, please take it.  Every minute of service counts.  Remember that what you give, you will receive.  You get from life what you put into it.  What are you putting into your life?  Are you giving back?  Are you paying it forward?  I hope so; you won’t regret it!  I  never do!

As a mom, a voracious reader, and a mentor to young women I like to find books for my children that teach the same kinds of things I’m reading in my adult literature.    Some of the young women I mentor are behind in their reading, and let’s face it, some of the books I have read and blogged about are going to be over alot of elementary school kid’s heads.  So finding Wayne Dyer’s books is a true blessing!  And YES!  I’m counting each one of them towards the 52 books in 52 weeks.  Sure they are children’s books, but the lessons are just as profound…and fun to read!  So if you have children in your life, this blog is for you!!!!

I loved this book.  It reminded me of when I was a kid and I told my mom that I wanted to be a puppeteer when I grew up.  We were going to church that had a very active children’s choir that was constantly performing something.  During a couple of those performances, I got to do a huge puppet production. I loved it!  I also loved to act.  And there was a Christian college in town that actually had a degree in puppeteering!  It was perfect for me!  But my mom blessed me with her stories regarding this dream of mine.  “That won’t make you any money.  That is not a real job!”  So I dropped it.

As adults, we mean well.  All we want for our children is that they grow up and be productive citizens working in a job they love, and maybe even make alot of money doing it.  For some that means college.  For others, well it means getting a job at McDonald’s.  Any job that is legal and makes money is a good job, as long as when you are working at it, you like it :).  Liking/loving what you do is the  most important thing.  Yet, as adults, we tend to hear our children’s dreams and then give them “reasons” that it will be hard, won’t work, not acceptable.  Those really aren’t reasons, those are excuses!  And it’s just not fair to do that to a child!  I know I have been guilty of that, but I also know that I have told my children that I will support them in whatever career choice they make.

In this book, we follow a little boy on his dream to become a marine biologist.  We see most of the adults in his life discourage him with their own stories, but one adult in particular helps him overcome those excuses.  The pictures are beautiful and bright, and the story is inspirational!  There is even a quiz for the reader to take to see if the lessons sunk in!  If you have a child that says “I can’t”, then this is the book for him/her!!!!

First of all, the cover on this book just makes me want to smile!!!!!  It’s bright yellow with smiling children on it!  How can you NOT pick this book up?????  Then add the title to it, and it’s a winner in my book!  That is before I even open the book to read its pages!

As you may know I teach self-esteem classes to young women through one of my volunteer organizations.  I am constantly telling these girls how amazing and incredible they are.  We work on ways for them to feel how special they are.  This book is a natural extension of what I teach.  It gives “10 ways to let your Greatness shine through”

It talks about dealing with bullies and hurt feelings. It talks about realizing how special and different each and every person is.  It talks about visualizing what you want.  It discusses changing your perspective and your thoughts, and that you are never alone…God is always there.  It talks about so much more.  The message is beautiful, and made me smile while I read it.  The little verses are created in rhyme which makes it fun to read, and the pictures are amazing! Here is just a sample….

“There is good in you and in everyone.  sharing this good with others is fun.  You have so many ideas inside your mind.  Set them free; you are one of a kind.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have told my children that money doesn’t make you happy.  Have you lost track of how many times you have said this..not only to your children, but even adults???  That’s what I thought.

When I work with at-risk youth, often times these kids come from poverty striken homes.  Heck, even the ones who are not at-risk but come from single mom homes have this same issue.  And then they see the other kids in their schools with more money, more toys, bigger homes, and going on vacations.  Sometimes the underprivileged kids start to get down.

In today’s economy with moms and dads losing their jobs and money getting tighter, this book becomes even more relevent.  We need to teach our children, that money & possessions do not make you happy and they do not define who you are!  Dyer does just that in this book.  He helps them learn that WHO they are is about their own talents, skills, and attitudes.  He helps them realize that any job is a good job, as long as they are happy doing it.  He helps them learn to dream and reach their goals, and even shows the children using a vision board (without going into detail about that).

This book talks about what matters the most, and it certainly isn’t money and possessions!  In my humble opinion, this is a must read for every child….and adult :).

This is probably one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read.  Yes, the craft of writing is beautiful, but I am talking about the feeling I get from reading it.  I feel excited, loved, warm rapturous, enlightened, freedom, beauty, reverence, sacred…all kinds of words.  It is a beautiful thing!

It took me a little while to get into the book. I am not certain why, but as soon as I did, it had me captured.  I read for 8 hour strait the other day.  I just couldn’t put it down.  However, bedtime came and I HAD to put Her down.  Yes, I called the book Her and yes, I meant the capital “H”.  Read the book, and you will understand.

I found this book on the Pearlsong Press website.  “Pearlsong focuses on women and health at every size, celebrating the natural diversity in body size and encourages people to stop focusing on weight in favor of listening to and respecting natural appetites for food, drink , sleep, rest, movement, and recreation.”  Not all of their books are about health, but ALL of them celebrate women!  This book certainly does!

This book reawakens the Divine Feminine (Divine She) within us all.  Saracino takes the reader on a mystical journey back in time when the Divine She was revered and the Earth was sacred.  She doesn’t just take the readers there, but she also takes our heroine, Madalene there.  As a reader, we become Madalene, and take this journey to reawaken the Divine within.  We remember what it was like when our menstrual cycles were celebrated instead of cursed.  We remember what it was like to live a life where our intuition flowed and our hearts were open.  We remember what it was like to live a simple life steeped in spiritual traditions.  For some, we hear/read the stories for the first time of how the Divine Feminine changed and morphed into the Catholic Mother Mary.

While reading this book, there were times, when I felt the call to action.  I felt the call to celebrate.  I became even more excited about my daughters impending menarche and the celebration and ceremony we will hold for her.  I laughed and I cried.  I wanted to scream at the injustice of change brought on by the lust for power.  I wanted to scream at the violation of Mother Earth.  The way we have treated Mother Earth is just a physical manifestation of the way we have treated our own Divine Feminine…the way we have treated our grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters…OURSELVES.

As women, it is time to stop the abuse.  It is time to stand up for ourselves and realize that WE ARE DIVINE BEINGS OF LIGHT.  We need to learn to love ourselves..our bodies..our minds..our hearts just the way we are.  It’s time that we honor our bodies and the natural cycles it goes through.  Celebrate our menses..honor our moon time.  Remember where we come from.  We remember we are sacred!  This isn’t about US..its about our daughters.  We need to honor ourselves so that we may teach our daughters that they too are sacred.  Change starts with US..right NOW.

What is the source of our downfall..our forgetting:

“Justice and compassion pose great threats to those who seek control.  Power is a lusty mistress.  It entices and corrupts even the most courageous of hearts.”

Here is a reminder:

“All colors, all races, all languages, all levels of intelligence, all manner of creativity.  Healers and  judges, farmers and millers, slaves and soldiers, men and women, children and animals.  Freedom was everyone’s birthright.  And all were meant to prosper and thrive.”

Here is our call to action:

“Life is temporary.  This beauty and the richness you have witnessed today, the sadness and the horrors, too, will remain, but you will not.  You must prepare to do your work.  Go forth and be a healer.  Speak your truth.  Do not waste your breath on meaningless endeavors.  Be true to  your calling, before your time is over.  that is the only way to make a benefit of your life.  For yourself ad for others you encounter.”

“We must rise up, we beings of the ancient memory, when we are able, and assert our mighty authority, our collective plea, our aboriginal insistence.  Our plight must be championed by those of the human race who can heed our siren-song, dare to take up our life-sustaining battle cry.  For Nature and the Divine Mother will not long be held hostage.  On this there is no dispute.”

And what if the call to action scares us?  What if the change scares us?:

“If you’re going to live your life in fear that someone or something is going to lie to you, you’re going to be very lonely.  Life is to be grabbed by the butt and shook for the sheer, juicy joy of living…..If sometimes you squeeze too hard  and you get shit on, so be it.  The good times you gain far outweigh the bad.”

Here’s to grabbing hold of the butts in life and shaking for the sheer, juicy joy of living!!!!

Wow!  What a journey this book has been!  Three weeks to finish 243 pages!  Crazy!  What I have learned about myself and about being of service has been amazing.

Chapter 6: The Way of Social Action

I have never been a big social activist.  I have participated in a few peace rallies and a few same-sex marriage rallies, but that is about it.  What I have observed from others and from my own point of view on Social Action or Political Stands is that there always seems to be alot of passion for both sides, and sometimes those passions manifest in angry demonstrations, when in reality each side just wants to be heard and wants the world to be a better place.

This is a great quote: “There’s one thing I’ve learned in twenty-five years or so of political organizing:  People don’t like to be “should” upon.  They’d rather discover than be told.”

I think when we get really passionate about something, we yell and scream louder and louder at the people on the other side of the fence.  “If you would just think the way *I* think, we could make this world a better place!”  I can tell you, as an adult that was raised by very conservative Christian parents, being TOLD what I SHOULD believe and that what I DO believe is wrong, never helps my parents’ cause :).  So I’m certain, this kind of “yelling” over the fence doesn’t help the cause (whatever it is) either.  People tend to run the other way.

This passion that we feel that manifests in anger or a “negative” feeling may “prevent us from calling upon deeper human virtues that often move us all to act.  In anger we may lose sight of love.  In fear, we may sacrifice trust and courage.  In guilt, we may deny self-worth and obstruct inspiration.”  Is that what we really want?  Is that how true change happens?

Social action really isn’t about WHAT we do but in the spirit in which we act.  “Even the slightest bit of self-righteousness can get in the way.”  Our aim should be “to awaken together and see what follows, not to manipulate one another into this action or that.”

So how do we do this?  Long before I read this book…actually 10 years ago, while I was in storytelling school, I had a realization (all on my own).  If we all sat down and shared our stories, we would find out that we are not so different than the person sitting next to us.  We would find out that we all want the same general things…love, peace, acceptance, forgiveness….  I believed that storytelling would/could end prejudice and war.  In this same thought, sitting down and sharing our stories with one another can help us enter into Social Action with a clearer sense of what needs to be done and HOW to do it in a peaceful for effective way.

During this entire book, we have discussed the idea of separateness and unity. If we act from Unity, we will be able to provide better service.  “We’re here to awaken from the illusion of separateness……Unity has to be what’s most real in consciousness if it’s going to have full power in action.  Ultimately, it’s got to be what we ‘are’.”

This quote fills my cup to overflowing:  “The soul force is indestructible and it goes on gaining power until it transforms everyone it touches.” ~ Gandhi

Chapter 7: Burnout

I have certainly felt the burnout form all of my volunteer work.  By the time the Girl Scout year comes to an end, I am exhausted.  When this current Junior League year began, I was already feeling exhausted and was looking forward to the end of the year when I can take a year off of leadership.  Don’t even get me started on the way I felt after hosting a women’s retreat for women living with HIV/AIDS.  BURNOUT!

Okay, you don’t even have to be a community service person or have a full-time job to feel this burnout.  As a mom, you know all too well what Burnout feels like.  Moms are on call 24×7….unless by some grace of god we get to “get away” for a day or a weekend without our kids (and even then we are worried and thinking about them).  BURNOUT!

So what’s the first thing we need to learn as service providers?  BE GENTLE WITH OURSELVES!  We can’t take care of other people, if we aren’t taking care of ourselves first.  We are compassionate for others, but what about us?  So how do we do this?

Be quiet and listen.  Simply observe (never judge) how we are feeling.  Once we can be quiet and observe what we are feeling, we might actually realize that sometimes our burnout is caused because of the expectations we carry into a certain service project….our movites that we bring with us.  If those expectations are not met or our motives are self-driven, we will have a tendency to feel “slighted” or maybe like we “wasted our time”, and this leads to a feeling of burnout.  Our own Ego gets us in trouble every single time.  Until we are quiet and listen, we may not even realize how often, in the guise of service, we try to impose our values on others.  Being the person that “should upons” takes alot of our energy..really it does.

“But if we can stay grounded in the essential unjudging character of the Witness….if we can just hold on and listen…we can draw some useful conclusions and move further towards a great sense of perspective.” (and service)

Here is a great quote for all of us “sacrificial moms”….Looking further into what we bring to the  helping act, we come upon perhaps an even more fundamental cause of burnout:  the feeling of personal responsibility; the sense that we are the authors of our actions; our identification of ourselves as the final source of service. We are the “doer” and we have to keep “doing” or nothing will get “done.”      Boy have I felt like this before!  Heck, I have even stated it in a very exasperated tone of voice, “Unless I clean the house, no one else will do it!”  And I angrily go about throwing things around and cleaning the house.  Have you been there?  Well I have news for you (and for me), it’s okay.  If the house gets messy, it’s okay.  Simply take a deep breath and ASK FOR HELP!  We don’t have to be the “be all and end all” for our family.  As a matter of fact, they don’t want us to be; we just have to give them the opportunity to help :).  How freeing is that?

“It’s not always our efforts that burn us out; it’s where the mind is standing in relation to them.  the problem is not the work itself but the degree of our indentification with it.  It’s doers who burn out.”

Another reason we feel burnout?  Attachment to the outcome.  I know I have felt this way and have asked this question of myself.  “How do I know I am really making a difference?”  ‘How do I know that what I say is really helping these girls?”  Or better yet, as a mom, I have said, “What the heck did I do wrong, for my child to have made such a bad choice?”  All this worry, when all we really need to do is act from a space of love.  Provide the service, and let it go.  We can not control the actions of others and the choices that they make.  We can kids the right information.  We can give the homeless person on the street some money.  We can volunteer for an organization.  But in the end, what happens beyond that, is not up to us.  The minute we can let go of that attachment, we will feel light and free and be able to give more of ourselves.  It’s unconditional love at its finest :).  “We love eachother.  That’s enough.”

“To some degree or other, we have surrendered into service and are willing to pay the price of compassion.  But with it comes the joy of a single, caring act.  With it comes the honor of participating in a generous process in which one rises each day and does what one can.  With it comes the simple, singular grace of being an instrument of Love, in whatever form, to whatever end.”

Chapter 8:  Reprise:  Walking Each Other Home

Service is….beauty…remembering…gratitude..truth & honesty..chitchat..death (you die in service and you die into service)

“We are questions for one another.  And service is exploring them and awakening through them.”

“So service is ‘an endless series of questions,’ puzzling and insistent.  It not only raises questions, it helps to answer them.  Service is a curriculum.”

“Separateness and unity.  How interesting that these root causes, revealed in the experience of helping, turn out to be what most spiritual traditions define as the fundamental issue of life itself.  Awakening from our sense of separateness is what we are called to do in all things, not merely in service.  Whether these traditions speak of us as being cut off from God, Nature, Original Mind, True Being, the Tao, the Dharma–they call on us, in one voice, to undertake the journey back to unity.”

“Service, from this perspective, is part of that journey…..It is a vehicle through which we reach deeper understanding of life.”

I can honestly say that I have learned more about myself, my connection to God and humanity, and what is truly important to me through being of service.  It has truly been an awakening, and that feeling of unity while being of service is like none other.  I love this journey, and it is one I strive to instill into my own children.  It has been said in this book that first we work on ourselves in order to help others and then when we help others, it is a vehicle for working on ourselves.  It’s a beautiful thought..and oh so true.

I will end this blog with this thought:

This book is titled “How Can I Help?” and it starts of by saying we might feel like we don’t have anything to offer the world.  Yet it ends with this….

“Any act that can be performed in the spirit of unity can turn out to be helpful.”  “There’s no place special we have to be in order to help out.  right where we are, in whatever we’re already doing, the opportunity to be of service is almost always present.  We need only stay conscious and aware, and then gie whatever we can to whoever is right there.”

It’s that simple.

This chapter on Suffering was another HUGE chapter where I feel like every single page had something underlined and was dog-eared.   And again, it was very appropriate for what is going on in my life, and maybe even in your life.

In Western Civilization, we tend to push suffering aside.  We put it in nice neat little boxes that we can go visit when we have to, but other than that, “out of sight is out of mind.”  We put our elders in retirement homes or nursing homes.  We put our homeless in the downtown areas or “bad parts of town” away from our pretty little suburbs.

The thing is, our natural compassion jumps into action when we see suffering.  Like with Haiti.  Millions of people were affected by this earth quake.  The pictures we see are horrific.  And instantly, the world jumps into action.  Some people jump into action with the “gotta do” mentality.  It’s an instinct, a gut response.  But is this a reaction because we honestly want to help those hurting, or is it because we, ourselves, are hurting from watching this pain on TV and to  make ourselves feel better, we “gotta do” something to make it better (which helps US feel better).  I think sometimes this “gotta do” response is not really well thought and/or planned out well (like with Laura Silsby and her group who went to Haiti to rescue orphans).  I believe their heart was in the right place.  They wanted to help.  But is it possible they saw the pain and felt the pain themselves and went into “gotta do” mode and in turn made things worse or caused more harm?

My old teacher/mentor (James Arthur Ray) is in jail on 3 counts of manslaughter.  To many of us, who love/d this man, it was quite painful to see him do the “perp walk” and see his mug shot.  It’s our natural compassion at work.  No one wants to see someone they care for in pain (even if they might have done something to deserve it)….like a child who did something wrong, and you know they have to suffer the consequences.  It hurts to watch them learn their lessons, but you know they have to do it.  Well, with James and his students, it’s the same way.  I am not defending him in the slightest, yet for his students/fans/followers (even the ones who are completely against him now) there was a twinge of pain seeing him like this.  But SOME of his still avid fans and followers are talking about raising money for his bail.  Why?  James is in jail because the authorities believe they have enough evidence of wrong doing.  This is James’ process to go through.  He needs to be there to learn his lessons, at least for now.  Wanting to raise bail isn’t about freeing him, my guess is that it is about helping his followers feel better about the situation…so they wouldn’t be faced with the pain.

Then I think about being a mom.  My daughter is 10 years old, in 4th grade, and being bullied.  She has been bullied for most of her years in elementary school.  It is so painful to watch.  This year, however, it has just gotten to be entirely too much.  She doesn’t have any friends she believes she can count on (in school).  She comes home from school crying most days.  She begs me to change schools.  As a mom, seeing her suffering, it would be easy to whisk her away to another school.  Would that be the most beneficial for her?  No, but it would stop the suffering at least short term.  It would stop the pain *I* feel.  It HURTS seeing her hurting.  Yet, I know from my childhood bullying experience, that she needs to learn to stand up for herself.  And that is what I have encouraged her to do.  Today, she is working with the counselor to face her bullies in a positive, safe way.  I am scared for my daughter.  She is scared.  Yet, I know this is a lesson she needs to learn, and as a mom (as a helper), it is my job to support that (regardless of how much I want to put a band-aid on it and move her away from this.)

The thing I believe about suffering is that we are all here on this planet to learn and grow.  I believe that we agreed to certain lessons before we ever took our first breaths for this life time.  I believe that if we don’t learn these lessons, we will keep going through this suffering until we do.  And it is our job as helpers/parents/friend/community service members/health care workers to gently support those we are  helping get through these lessons of life.

It can be hard for us to sit with another human being in their time of need.  Our natural compassion kicks in, and right behind it…fear.  Our fear kicks in and wants us to walk away, or choose a certain amount of time to work AT making something better, or we start labeling the suffering as a means of separating us from the person who is doing the suffering.  Yet, if we could just allow the compassion to flow and sit with that person who is suffering and listen to them and be open to them, we will learn what they truly need and how we can make the most difference in their life during that moment in time.

For a homeless person, it may not be just handing them money.  For them, it may be looking them in the eye and asking what their name is and listening to their story..helping them to feel visible and real.  To the people in Haiti, it may not be taking their children away, but rather getting dirty and helping them clean up a disaster and build them a new home to live in (is this easy?  Is this a short time table?  No..it takes alot more of YOU than you may be willing to give, but it may be exactly what they NEED.)  For James Arthur Ray, it may be letting him sit it out in Jail until his court date (I don’t know this, but its possible.)  For my daughter, it’s about getting in touch with my pain from childhood bullying or when I was abused or raped; it’s about remembering that and what helped ME through that and what I learned.  By doing this, it opens me up and allows me to feel her pain and understand where she is coming from, and only then can I be the loving support that she needs.

By connecting with our own pain and fears, we are able to to truly be of service to the people we want to help.  That is where we need to be.  If we can’t feel our own pain and just start moving to help those who we see hurting, we are not really coming from a place of service, rather we are operating from a place that is truly about US not them.

I will leave you with a couple of quotes from this chapter:

“So I sought to be able to enter into the world of the sick, and to live with the mystery of suffering.  I saw that I had to enter into my experience of pain, and to face up to it, and to allow myself to be changed by it.”

“We discovered that the more we opened to the pain of others, the more we found ourselves in their service.”

The next time we feel that natural compassion to help someone, let’s remember to let go of our fear, sit back and feel our own pain allowing us to open up and feel theirs…this is the space from which we can make the most difference.

I woke up this morning in a pretty rotten mood, but we had decided yesterday that today we were going skiing/boarding as a family.  We got up early, and when Tracy went out to start the Suburban, the battery was dead.  Not a great start to a day where I was already in a bad mood.  We decided to try and take my car which meant Tracy would have to snowboard instead of ski (his skis don’t fit in my car and we don’t have a ski/board carrier on top).  Tracy’s board was still too long.  We weren’t sure how this was going to work.  Nate (my 17 year old son) let out a loud “I’m very unhappy” sigh, and I lost it and snapped at him.  Eventually, we figured out a way to get all the boards in the car.   Being resourceful and thinking creatively is a very valuable tool :).

Still in a foul mood, I start driving the whole family up the mountain.  I should tell you that one of the biggest reasons we “fought” so hard to go today (instead of just saying “let’s stay home and fix the burb”) was that a local Snowboard Shop was doing demo day (which meant we could ride amazing snowboards for free.  We didn’t want to miss this.)  So Up the mountain I drove.

Now it’s not very often, that we find ourselves so engrossed in a conversation with our children that we don’t even turn on a radio in the car.  But today, I didn’t turn on the radio.  What happened was amazing.  Nate started asking questions about  US History.  We had an incredible conversation about racism, economics, past presidents, discrimination as a whole, and were able to share our own personal stories of desegregation in Texas.  This allowed me to share some of the stories I read in SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME.  We also got to talk about colleges and school.  It was a great conversation all the way up the mountain.  By the time we got up there, my mood had completely turned around!  It was promising to be an amazing day with the family!

Once we made it up to the mountain, we went straight to The Board Room’s tent.  We waited a while, and were able to find enough boards for Tracy, Nate and myself to Demo.  I was blessed with this amazing $536 board.  (Let me tell you, the board I ride now is 5 years old and cost MAYBE $99 when I bought it; that should help you understand the difference in boards we got to Demo today.)  When they were transferring my bindings from my own board to the demo board, they told us that my stance/binding set up was all messed up; so they put the bindings on the demo board in the correct position.  The last time Tracy tried to put my bindings in the correct position, (I had no idea he did this at the time, until I was already on the hill to ride down) I was already in a bad mood and I ended up falling all over the place and yelling and screaming at my husband (who was just trying to help).  Can you see where this is going?????

Now that we had our demo boards, we decided to go straight for the big hill instead of starting at the bunny hill.  This might have been a mistake.  Oh well.  All for of us made it off the chair lift without incident and I went to strap in.  The minute I stood up on my board, I knew there was trouble. The stance was at least 1 1/2″ wider than my regular set up; I felt like I was doing the splits.  Immediately I fell.  I felt like I had no control over my board, and I wasn’t certain how I was going to make it down the mountain.  I looked at Tracy, and I must have had “that look” on my face.  His reply was, “Just don’t get upset and start yelling and crying.”

He was right.  I KNEW they changed my stance; I AGREED to change my stance.  *I* created this.  It’s time to let go and make the best of this.  I made it to the hill we were going to ride down (Showcase..which is my favorite run).  All I could do was fall.  I was scared, really , really scared.  Nate, who was a couple yards down the run already (and who is a snowboard instructor for the special needs kids), asked me if I wanted him to teach me a few things to help.  I sat there for a moment.  I didn’t want his help.  I know how to snow board.  Why is this so difficult?  Again, he asked me.  “Mom, I can help you, if you want me to.”

Again, I told myself, “Martha, its time to let go and allow yourself to be teachable.  Let your son hold your hand and teach you.  How many time have you held his  hand and taught him?  Trust him.”  So I agreed.  I sent Tracy down the mountain with Naomi and Nate began to teach me.  What I found out?  He is an amazing teacher!  He is patient.  He is supportive.  He is encouraging, and he let me learn at my own speed.  I know I felt frustrated at times and got confused. I felt myself beating myself up and wanting to just be able to take the run like I used to.  But when I went to ride like I used to, I would fall down.  But when I did what Nate taught me, I rode smoothly (and according to the rest of my family, my stance looked GREAT!)

What did I learn today when I let myself experience life?  I learned that control is an illusion.  I learned that its okay to be a bit off balance and fall from time to time; if I fall, it won’t kill me.  I was able to put in practical terms what I read in WHY IS GOD LAUGHING.  Fear is an illusion that gives us a false sense of protection.  I tried something new and made myself uncomfortable, and even though I fell, I didn’t get hurt or die.  I learned to trust someone else…my 17 year old son…and let him teach me.  What a gift to  myself…AND to him!

In the end, it was an amazing day with the family on the mountain..and no more foul mood!  I’m grateful for my amazing family who supported me today when I was scared wittless…thank you, Tracy, Nate and Naomi for being so amazing and encouraging me today!

The other day, at the urging of one of my friends/mentors, I watched The Shift by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Here are some of the quotes from the movie that stuck out for me..along with some insights.

• “We can not live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning for what was great in the morning will be little in the evening and what in the morning was true at evening will have become a lie”
• The real purpose of life is to just be happy where you are. Return to nature. Find your own nature.
• “All being originates in non being”~ Lao Tsu.. Jesus said “It’s the spirit that gives life. All of our purpose, everything that we are to be (physical, mental, spiritual), was all given to us from the moment of conception, but its our culture that tells us differently.
• Edge God Out (Ego) “Who you are is what you have” is what the world would like us to think. “The more that I have, the more valuable I am as a person” Not only is what I have what I am; it is what I do. It becomes achievement. We become consumed by success, my value, my worth as a human being is what I accomplished. Competition is what the Ego says. I am what other people think of me (my reputation). I have to dress the way people think or there is something wrong with me. Women: in relationship to family, the only way we can fulfill ourselves is by how we relate to our family: mother/daughter/granddaughter. This is NOT The only thing. When we have a calling to do something great. Don’t ignore that calling that says we are here to create something powerful. We have just as much of a right to do this as anyone else.
• Who I am is separate from everyone else and everything that is missing (all the things I would like to have) in my life. We think we are separate from God. I came from a source and this source is everywhere. If there is no place that it’s not, it must be in me and what I feel to be missing from my life. Then in some way that is missing from my life, I am already connected to it in spirit. Just have to find the knowing to connect with it.
• Let yourself be lived by it rather than you taking over
• TS Elliot, “We shall not cease from exploration. In the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
• Non interference: parenting is not about having children lean on you but making leaning unnecessary. They have a compass, let them follow their own compass; freeing you up to be your own person on your own time and allowing them to become who they are to become.
• If you can stop interfering in your own life and just be done, everything will be done for you.
• Enthusiasm: Greek: Enthios yasm “the god within” when you have enthusiasm/passion for something. In side of you, that is god speaking to you saying “don’t get to the end of your life and ask say “what if my whole life has been wrong’”.
• When you trust in yourself, you trust in the very wisdom that created you.
• The best way to have those doors open is to forget about yourself and serve; it’s always about service. You can’t attract what you want into your life; you attract what you are.
• Sometimes all you got to do is show up and engage and music happens…YOUR music happens
• I think you have to get to a place where you no longer focused on just yourself and the things you really want for yourself. When you begin to say “how can I want them more for someone else than I want them for me?” That’s God Realization.
• You must be like what you came from; if you came from divinity, you must be divine. If you hold your hands up and say these are the hands of god, and what does god do with his hands? God is just giving that is all God know how to do.
• Becoming the observer (step back) you begin to live in process, trusting where our source is taking you. You begin to detach from the outcome. That detachment allows you to stop fighting and allows things to just come to you; you no longer make things happen but allow them to show up. The fight is gone.
• We came here with music to play…
• When the shift happens, you begin to realize you are not here to push life and make it a struggle all the time you being to enjoy life and that is what happens in the afternoon of life.
• After all this time, the sun never said to the Earth “You owe me” Just think what a love like that can do; its lights up the whole world.
• “If you want to be like me, knowing that we are alike, I will help you. If you want to be different than me, I will wait until you change your mind; and you will change your mind” ….Jesus from A Course In Mirracles.
• No one needs to ask the question “What is my purpose. It will always be founding service. If you can just for one day put your attention on making life better for someone else, if you can focus on thinking like that. That’s how god thinks.”
• To touch someone’s life is more valuable than any amount of money
• You can run an entire business on not being attached to outcome and putting your attention on service. Your life becomes about living these virtues: how can I serve, be gentle & reverent. Thinking like this means you are living in meaning.
• The messages of the morning are about what you can and can’t do…about how society defines you but in the afternoon after the shift its about connecting to an energy that is taking care of everything and we are all just being done. Living the virtues is all we need to do.
• It’s about surrendering to something else that is bigger than you and is control of everything.
• You’re only a thought away from changing your life.

Most of these have been quotes or ideas from the movie itself. I did a lot of stopping and rewinding so I can get the words right. This was such a beautifully made movie with even more beautiful insights. The whole time I was watching this movie, I felt like I was surrounded by this loving peace…like being wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy blanket.

This is one other scene in this movie that really got to me, and I did not capture any direct quotes from it. In the scene the maintenance guy from the hotel (where most of the movie took place) thought he was alone while he played this amazing piece of music. Well one of the characters had been quietly sitting in a corner without saying anything, until the music stopped. They started up a conversation about why the maintenance guy doesn’t play piano for a living.

His reply went something like this: I used to love to play the piano. When I started playing as a young boy, I played for it for myself. Then I started playing for the audience. And I began to wonder if I failed at playing the piano, if the audience would still love me. So I began to fail on purpose. I would miss notes here and there, and the audience members noticed, and they began to treat me differently. They didn’t love me when I didn’t play perfectly. So I stopped playing all together.

This hit me like a ton of bricks. Self-sabotage: that is what he is talking about. In my eating/weight struggles, I have done exactly this. I start doing something right, and I lose weight and I get praise from my husband or my children. Then I wonder, will I still get praise from them if I eat a muffin and drink a diet soda; will they still love me? So, I start eating like crap again. And sure enough, Nate (my 17 year old son, whom I have given permission to rag on me if I eat like this) starts to rag on me and berate me for making poor choices. And to me (even though I have given him permission to do this and keep me in check) it felt like he no longer loved me. (Whether I asked for it or not, whether it’s true or not, that is the way I felt). So I would give up on eating right and exercising, and I would gain back the weight plus some. I’m not entirely certain how to correct this other than to refocus myself and do this FOR ME and no one else and to let go of my EGO….because ultimately that is what is causing such issues. Letting go of EGO can be difficult (because we make it so). Letting go of outcomes……….. whew…breaking habbits…that is what this is about.

Interestingly enough, one of my good friends also watched this movie (and neither of us knew the other was watching it). He too has a weight issue, and we have supported each other through this over the last several months. When I told him about my insights regarding this part of the movie, he said, he came to the same conclusion. Pretty cool, I think.

Anyway, it is a truly amazing movie. I have never read any of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s books. I’m not sure how they slipped under my radar, but they have. He will certainly be put on my list for the year. Along with some of the books he mentioned throughout the movie.

Also, if you are into listening to some great music, the Ethan Lipton Orchestra is the band that plays during the movie, and they are amazing!

Today has been one of those days where I have mixed in a bit of everything, and I kinda like it that way.

I have already mentioned that I am finishing up Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol.  I love this book for so many reasons.  First, I love his writing style.  I also love the subjects he chooses.  There is always something to learn historically & spiritually fro his books.  On a personal level, though, this book really gets me.  It speaks a great deal about the Masons; my dad was a Mason.  Two of  my grandfathers both died Masons in good standing.  My mom was an Eastern Star, and her mom died an Eastern Star in good standing.  Unfortunately, neither of my parents encouraged us kids to get involved with the Masons or Eastern Stars.  I wish they had.  Reading Brown’s books help me feel closer to a part of their lives I never understood and they never really talked about.

What I love about reading books is that there can always be something learned from them…well okay, at least from the books I read…even the fictional ones.  I can always find a message of some kind in the books I read.  Here are a couple of thoughts I have gained from The Lost Symbol:

* “My body is but a vessel for my most potent treasure…my mind.”  The Bible says our body is a Temple and it must be treated as such.  Of course it says it is a Temple of God…..  Divinity lives with in us..this is true (at least for me).  But if we do not treat our bodies properly, then our mind will also get sick.  We must treat our bodies with respect and keep it healthy in order for our mind to work to its fullest potential.  Of course, we also must work our mind to keep it strong.  Puzzles, reading, games, laughter..all of these will help with that.

* “Truth has power.  And if we all gravitate toward similar ideas, maybe we do so because those ideas are true..written deep within us.  And when we hear the truth, even if we don’t understand it, we feel that truth resonate within us…vibrating with our unconscious wisdom.  Perhaps the truth is not learned by us, but rather, the truth is re-called….re-membered…re-cognized…as that which is already inside us.”  I loved this quote.  It reminded me of what I learned when I went to school for storytelling and took Mythology. I learned that all cultures shared the same stories..they all had flood stories..they all had virgin births and resurrecting deities and sacrifices….they all share the same stories but share them in different religions and call them by different names.  We are all the same.  If we all learned that, then maybe there would be more peace in this world…just maybe :).

* “Only through the death experience could man fully understand his life experience.  Only through the realization that  his days on earth were finite could he grasp the importance of living those days with honor, integrity, and service to his fellow man.”  I loved this quote and this idea.  It’s not a new idea to me.  There are several experiences or rituals that simulate death so that once can grow from this experience.  “Rebirthing” and what leads up to those kinds of rituals provide this experience.  A sweat lodge does this same kind of thing….  I have always believed that something first must die before something new can grow….  Sacrifices of existing life must happen before growth can happen.  scientifically this is true.  This theme is played out in so many movies and books.  I just watched “Funny People” with Adam Sandler, and he went through this same experience; if you can get past the crude “teenage/college boy” themes, the actual lesson is very profound.

You may or  may not know, that my husband and I were students of James Arthur Ray (from The Secret).  You may recognize his name from more recent news reports from 3 deaths in a sweat lodge incident in Sedona, Arizona, on October 9, 2009.  My husband and I stopped attending  James’ events a couple of years ago, but we had friends in that sweat lodge, and one of our friends died as a result of injuries from the sweat lodge.  What I have gone through after this incident is very difficult to explain especially to people who have never worked with James so I won’t even try to explain it.  But during the event where the sweat lodge was held, he spoke about death happening and being reborn.  He even quoted one of my favorite quotes, “It’s a great day to die” (from Joseph Campbell).  When 3 people died in the sweat lodge, the media took these quotes and these ideas and turned them into something sinister..using these quotes as “intent” to harm…or at least creating the illusion of.  That is soooooo NOT what happened.  A sweat lodge is a beautiful experience when it is done properly, and obviously something went horribly wrong at James’ event.

The media also portrays James as this horrible person with bad intentions.  I don’t know if that is really true.  I totally believe that James’ heart had beautiful intentions of spreading light and love.  I wasn’t just a student of James’; I also got to be his “point person”/body guard during  several of his events.  This position allowed me to get closer to him than most people ever get.  I got to see his human side..not just his stage presence.  Please do not take this to mean that I knew him well and very personally; that is not true.  I am just saying that his average students and even some of his most recent employees have never gotten that close to him…and I have a different perspective than most people.  Anyway, I have been a mess over what has happened in Sedona, and I’m still doing alot of healing.  Investigations are going on about the event, and no charges have been made yet.  In the process so many people are talking and so many rumors and flying, yet there are so many people who are NOT talking publicly or even to fellow students or “the community”.  I feel like I have lost a big family in all of this.  I feel alot of things.  But while reading The Lost Symbol, I read something that reminded me of James and what is going on right now.  I can’t find the passage now, and I didn’t mark it in the book, but it talks about the Ancient Mysteries were hidden because with them came great knowledge and with great knowledge comes great power…These Ancient Mysteries take root in ancient Egypt and are meant for light, love, good…and when used by people with good heart, love and intentions, it is a good thing.  Though many times people who already have power, want more power..this is where greed and ego step in.  When Greed and Ego step in, then these “good powers”….can and will be manipulated based on the energy of the person using them.  And there have been many people who have said of James that he started out with love, light, and good intentions, but with power comes the want for more power (ego and greed).  When Ego and Greed step in, then things go wrong……..and the effect?  3 people died on his watch during a ritual that is very sacred and beautiful.

I do not believe Jame intentionally meant to hurt anyone.  Knowing James the way I do, I believe he, at one time, had the best of intentions.  Yet, I also know pride got in the way with him at times…and I believe greed did too.  It’s not a judgement as much as it is an observation.

There is one more quote in here I would like to point out:

“From the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to American politics–the name of Jesus had been hijacked as an ally in all kinds of power struggles.  Since the beginning of time, the ignorant had always screamed the loudest, herding the unsuspecting masses and forcing them to do their bidding.  They defended their worldly desires by citing Scripture they did not understand.  They celebrated their intolerance as proof of their convictions.  Now, after all these years, mankind had finally managed to utterly erode everything that had once been so beautiful about Jesus.”

I love that quote. In this day and age, SCRIPTURE and JESUS and GOD have been cited for reasons same-sex marriage should not be legalized.  It has been used to deem homosexuality as a disease and something that can be cured.  It has been used to kill people who believed in different religions.  It has been used to start wars.  Really?  Is that was GOD, JESUS, and THE SCRIPTURE are all about?  No.  I don’t think so.  I can say from a very personal perspective, as someone who has used these very things against her, that NO, this is NOT what these things are about.  I remember as a kid being teased and tormented and all I could say to those who bullied me was, “I’m not junk, cause God doesn’t make junk.”  My mom thought I was wise beyond my years at the time..and I was.  I was 8 years old when I said this…maybe even younger.  But when I was 11 years old and told my mom that I thought I was gay, she practically turned my words on me…”You can’t be gay because you are a good Christian young women…and good Christian young women can’t be gay!  Besides you like boys don’t you?”    She was right about one thing.  I did like boys…and therefore I could  not be gay.  That however did not stop me from liking girls as well.  She was right.  I wasn’t gay.  I was/am bisexual, and I stand by my original statement, “I’m not junk, cause God doesn’t make junk!”  The creator made me the way that I am.  No one else out there made me this way.  I was born this way.  I have always like girls for as long as I can remember…AND I have liked boys.  Go figure!  Believe me, I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to straighten me out..it didn’t work.  *laugh*  Anyway, I loved that quote from the book.  It really spoke to me and the way I believe that “good Christians” tend to think…and they quote GOD, JESUS, and THE SCRIPTURE and hide their intolerance and ignorance in their words.

So there ya go, from the sublime to the ridiculous, there is much to learn!