Giving it another go – November 6, 2013

Well here we go again, I’m going to give it another try but this time I’ve given myself a built in motivator. A quick refresher of what’s been going on with me since my last posting. We’ve moved into our place but we are still unpacking this and that. In all actuality we probably will be unpacking little things for the better part of at least another month.  In all honesty, that’s just how we roll.  Our furry children adapted to the new living arrangement very quickly, which is always a good thing. Our pup Doodlebug isn’t a fan of the entire house having only tile and linoleum flooring, but she’s coping a little bit more each day.

I also had 2 interesting and positive experiences with animals this week. I was pleased with the outcome of each so I thought I’d share those here as well. One day I was driving home from work and came upon a very soggy black poodle roaming freely and aimlessly in and out of traffic. Everyone in both lanes slowed down and cautiously navigated around the dog as he was walking around the road without knowledge of the consequences of stepping in front of cars could mean. I pulled into a nearby driveway to turn around then proceeded to drive ahead of the dog. I parked on the side of the road in an effort to get out and catch him because I could see when he walked by me originally that he was wearing a collar. I was hopeful  he would have a tag so that I could just scoop him up, drive him back home and return him to his family. Alas that was not the case. He did have a collar but NO tag. I didn’t learn that until about 20 minutes later when with the help of nice passerby I was finally able to catch him. Because it was so early in the morning I knew the local dog pound wouldn’t be open yet and I absolutely could not bring a dog into my house with cats and a live-in dog. I took her to a local retailer that works with the local animal shelter on a weekly basis and they happily took him to a pin there to feed him and make sure he made it home.

Two days later I was feeding Boo when I heard a series of repeated tiny meows.  I stepped off the patio and headed toward the sound of the little noise. In the corner of the neighboring back lawn under a roll of fencing there was a trapped little orange kitten. It was a very small kitten, about the size of my palm. Once I reached toward the kitten it started giving these little nervous hisses at me. Once I finally got it freed from beneath the fence, I carried it next door and while it wasn’t one of their kittens, she agreed to keep it and started warming milk to make sure she could get it fed and keep it warm. So both little animals got a happy ending which means so did I!

My initial reason for posting here again was dual in nature. I am very happy to announce that I was baptized on Sunday, October 27, 2013. I’ve felt God in my life for quite a while now and I wanted to share my public declaration and devotion with my church family. Any of my readers that knows me personally, well they know I’m not a person comfortable with a lot of attention or being in front of a large audience. I’ve been evaluating my life in terms of my faith practices and like everyone there are places where I need and want to improve. My primary focus will be daily devotional time.

Sunday after service I went to the bookstore in the church to see what kind of devotionals were available for my novice level and relative inexperience with the bible.  The name of the devotional is WWJD today?. I started my daily quiet time today. The assignment for today was Luke 1: 1-4.  I’m feeling great and looking very forward to furthering myself in my walk with Jesus. For anyone that reads the same verses, please feel free to message me with comments and/or discussion topics. Have a blessed day everyone!



Posted in Ang

Long time, no talk…

It’s been over 3 months since I’ve posted an entry for my blog. For any of you that enjoyed reading it, I apologize for the delay. I have added some new friends to Facebook from work that haven’t been exposed to my blog yet. If I have any first time readers, here’s a brief explanation. I enjoy writing as a way to relax so I ramble on about my personal random encounters and points of view. That’s it really – nothing exciting or particularly suspenseful.

As a few of you know we’ve been working on moving and everything that goes with it for a few months now. I had an overly long stint of unemployment and was having a hard time creating a viable budget. Fortunately I did find some resources of assistance and we are now on our way to a new home. I’ll be meeting with everyone for the final inspection a bit later this morning.

I am profoundly thankful that we found a nice little place that will accept our pets. The only downside of our new place is that it doesn’t include a fenced in backyard. That is a significant downfall as we sort of adopted a beautiful black lab (BonnieBoo) that is an outdoor dog. She’s always been an outdoor dog and is too advanced in age to attempt to train to live indoors. My happiness at finding and securing our new home is being greatly hampered by the fact that we both genuinely love Bonnie. As many of you know there are no greater animals lovers than Mari and myself. For the last couple of weeks as our new living arrangement was being finalized, I would sit in back with Bonnie a little each day. Everyday I would pet her and look into her gorgeous brown eyes as tears filled my own eyes. I don’t have the skill to accurately express how much this situation breaks our hearts. Bonnie, or Boo as we call her, is a friendly girl that gets along well with people and other dogs.Image

This picture is a few years old as she now has some white and grey sprinkled in with the black fur around her nose. She is submissive when around other dogs but has never lived with other animals. She’s a great watchdog and always lets us know when something is out of sync with our home or neighboring lots. We are both holding on to hope and faith that we’ll find a loving home for Boo.

The other thing that has been concerning me lately is that I have bouts with migraine headaches. I am on prescription medication and doctor approved OTC medications to help me handle the pain. Approximately the last two weeks I’ve been fighting off migraines on a daily basis. This type of repetitive pain is primarily brought on by stress. So I think I can safely attribute them to housing search as well. It’s time to grab a shower and get ready for the inspection. I’m hoping my motivation to write will continue and I’ll add some more here later. Until then…have a blessed day! 🙂

Posted in Ang

Wednesday – April 24, 2013

Today was a rather rough day for me. I did have the day off work. I have been distracted by the fact that I believe I’m getting a sinus infection. The worst part is that it only seems to be effecting my right eye. For the last couple of days my eye has been very sensitive to the touch near both corners. It’s been watering quite a lot and every time I wipe away the tear, under my eye is very tender. It also hurts when I blink. Alright, enough of my rambling about a potential ailment. Whenever I’m not feeling 100% I sidetrack myself by doing something creative. So I worked on an icon for my blog that is representative of myself. I finished one and put it on the blog site but when I looked at it again today, I don’t think it’s the one to use moving forward so I’m going to take a little break from rambling and work on a more accurate icon.
I’m back and that was about 40 minutes worth of work but I am much happier with this blog icon picture than my previous one. This particular one is more inclusive of pieces of me that I appreciate about myself. When I was working on this icon I was considering what elements to add that would visually represent important aspects of my person. It only took a moment for me to realize that it’s pretty much impossible to squeeze myself into a little graphic that is less then 500 square pixels. So I picked a few characteristics that suited me and went with it from there. Just in case it doesn’t come across when I post let me tell you what I put together. As I mentioned previously, I collect monkeys and have a particular fondness for sock monkeys. I also love rainbows for a variety of reasons. As a creative soul I love the depth of color theory reflected in one of nature’s most simple and marvelous occurrences. I also adore that the very same nature’s miracle has been chosen as the celebratory flag of diversity representing the LGBT community. I have also rather recently discovered and started working on improving my relationship with God. I found a rainbow striped sock monkey and placed a copy of the cross I wear every single day on it’s chest.
Moving on…this evening I wanted to talk about something that I don’t believe I’ve shared with any of you as of yet. That being said if you are a friend on my Facebook page this won’t be any surprise to you at all. Tonight one of the pages I like shared an image of a magnificent deer. The caption on the deer read, “When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.” The moment I saw the powerful image and read the accompanying words, my heart was touched with it’s absolute truth. Since I was a young kid I’ve always had a very genuine and sincere bond with animals of all kinds. I am a lover and advocate for animals, their rights and humane treatment.
In the first place we lived together which was in Ohio, that’s where we started rescuing our furry family. We rescued all 5 of our cats from 2 different facilities. Of the 5 we decided to rescue by bringing into our home. Over 9 years ago we adopted 3 adult cats and 2 kittens. Today we live with 4 of our 5 original cats and we’ve since inherited 2 dogs. I will write a bit more about the furry kiddos another day. For now – good night!Image

Tuesday – April 23, 2013

I am awake and feel like I’m ready for bed again. I was approved by an assistant manager for Sunday off work a couple of reasons. When I was hired HR told me that I’d be working 4 days and off 3 days in a row. I mistakenly thought it was the date for the ladies night event at church. I was incorrect, that will be this coming Sunday but since I had been approved already – I didn’t go in to work on Sunday night. After my first full 4 day shift, I was honestly just completely exhausted. Not only was I exhausted but I was almost in full-on zombie mode when clocking out and beginning the slow painful limp out to my car.
When I last listed for you an itemized listing of my injuries, I failed to list the random bruises, scratches and bumps that magically appear on my arms and legs. I seriously look like someone has smacked me around with a broomstick or something. I have at least 2-5 bruises or scratches on each arm and leg. I was laughing the other night when I first noticed them because I look like I’ve been beaten. Now before anyone comments on how I need to be more careful or express concern about my job being overly dangerous, let me just say relax. My job is quite safe. I have always bruised very easily. Even a motion as simple and painless as pulling a box of 12 canned corns off the shelf and sitting it on the floor can result in a couple of bruises. So after my first full shift of days I was able to limp inside my house and collapse into my favorite chair.
I still have that huge blister on the back of my heel and it’s killing me. It’s not so much that it is actually painful because it’s really not. It’s that I have this huge water tumor looking thing on my foot. It’s pretty disgusting to look at and I need it to go away so I can wear my sneakers without a big Band-Aid. The last bit about work for tonight is that I am enjoying the team I am a part of during our overnight shift. Everyone seems nice and it’s very team oriented toward the common goals of getting all team members tasks completed. Overall I’m glad I finally got a job and even though I feel a new set of aches during every shift, I’m happy to be working again.
On to more interesting subject matter. I’ve been thinking more than usual about my relationship with God. As for my promise to stay awake and make it to church, I didn’t make it this week either. After all 4 shifts in a row for the first time I was extremely tired. I came home and tried to shower later in the morning to postpone breakfast/dinner. I thought if I postponed it long enough that I’d be able to just shower, change and head right to church. After removing my shoes and socks and reclining back in my chair I started dozing off. I kept trying to wake myself and prolong my overall amount of waking hours but I was not having any success. I eventually just caved in and grabbed my shower before eating and crashing gloriously into bed. My 2 weeks of missing church in a row are weighing heavily on my mind and heart.
I am sad and disappointed about missing 2 of my pastor’s sermons. I truly do love my church and the complete loving feel of my church family. I have found a co-worker that is comfortable talking about faith. I still haven’t completely dedicated myself reading my daily devotionals and bible passages. I know I am the one in charge of managing my time and everyday I say I’m going to sit down and put the tabs in my bible to make it much easier to reference for devotional readings. I am going to make a promise to get my bible done before this time next week. On the upside I do get daily bible passages to read daily. I also subscribe to a daily message from God. The daily message is much like a real life application of basic principles of living my life through God. More on everything later. I hope everyone is having a great week. Good night and I’m off to dream of awesome opportunities!

Saturday – April 20, 2013

Well readers, it’s been a few days since I’ve written anything for you folks and for that I apologize. . . Well, I sort of apologize. I started working again on Wednesday evening and this time it’s been different. Up until this point I’ve worked a full shift then had a few days off before my next full shift. I’ve labeled them “recovery days.” As I explained before I’m having some hurdles in my initial adjustment period to getting settled into my new routine. I come home every morning and I’m exhausted and sore with muscle aches. I am also fighting a new battle. That battle is called foot pain! 
To the best of my knowledge I really need some new shoes. I’ve asked some of my friends that stand at their jobs for recommendations. Unfortunately it’s going to take a few full pay periods before I have enough extra cash to just to go purchase a brand new pair of shoes. While I do understand how that may sound silly to some folks, those folks haven’t ever really lived in very hard economic situations on a daily basis. Now don’t get me wrong as tough as my financial dealings are at the moment, I am very well aware of all my blessings.
Moving on to the physical damage that my body is enduring at the hands of my shifts of handling inventory. I got the hang of how to work the telxon almost immediately. I’m still learning how to work different area or departments on a daily basis. I’m still weeks from learning the department numbers but that’s not really all that important for the purposes of my work. Ok, I’m curious about how my body is holding up so let’s review an inventory list of my work related aches and pains.
1 – Left ankle: slightly sprained from stepping down from a ladder wrong. I wore a Velcro ankle brace and that’s helping a ton. It’s also a little extra cushion on my foot so I’ll keep it on for a few days at least!
2 – Right heel: a blister slightly over an inch long on the back base of my heel. It’s huge and so very tender and painful. I’ll wear a large band-aid over it and hope that it doesn’t pop while I’m working tonight.
3 – Left knee: long time injury from back in my youth. It always hurts most during humid weather but I’ve become accustomed to that type of pain. I am NOT however familiar with pains directly linked to climbing ladders, lifting, carrying or stacking boxes of inventory. It’s not severe just what I’d call a mildly annoying or niggling little pain.
4 – Back: the muscles that make up my shoulder blades don’t start really aching until my shift is over. The muscle pain that creeps into my back is a intense mixture of soreness, cramping and burning. I am fairly certain this pain is simply because of the large number of years it’s been since I have utilized any of my back muscles for anything other then standing, walking and unloading groceries from my car. Ah well, live and learn as they say.
This seems like a remarkably short list for how tired I feel at the end of every single shift. I am still very happy I finally found a job. I do also realize every day that I miss spending all those hours with my little niece AJ. I had the best job in the world when I was AJ’s daytime caregiver. I stopped by my sister’s house this morning on my way home to see her but I’d forgotten all about it being Saturday so everyone was asleep. On top of feeling like a big jerk for waking my sister up, AJ was still asleep so I didn’t even get to see her. I’m vowing not to go to sleep tomorrow until AFTER I go to church. I’ll let you all know if I can stay true to that vow later. Take care readers and as always – have a great night!

Posted in Ang

Monday – April 15, 2013 11:05 PM

I woke up this morning feeling sore, a little muscle stiffness and overall a bit blah. Mari said it’s probably because I had slept too much. I tend to disagree. I say that if I wasn’t meant to sleep, my body wouldn’t have done it for quite so long. Right? 
Either way I don’t like to wake up feeling that way. I prefer to wake up with a smile and a bit of happiness in my heart that allows me to thank God for blessing me with another day. Once upon a time I would’ve done something juvenile like roll my eyes if I’d seen or heard someone say anything similar to my previous sentence. Obviously that has changed. Waking up with an initial feeling of indifference to a day that was mostly uneventful with the exception of news overload. The news contained tons of repetitive information regarding the bombs that were planted en route of the Boston Marathon finish line. All I can feel when I see such nonsensical acts are an extremely strong mixture of confusion and heartbreak.
I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around any kind of legitimate desire or justification to inflict such random anger or pain on a group of people. I’m sad on a lot of different levels. I feel a sense loss in relation to the home feeling that Mari share’s with the Boston area. I kept watching the news footage and the one hour special broadcast during prime time. As they found and broadcast photos of the blast zones different noises, reactions and small details in each photo broke my heart. I will go to bed tonight after praying for peace, restful forgiveness and restorative strength for any and all people impacted by the today’s bomb attack in Boston, MA. Good night, rest well and awaken to a new day.

Posted in Ang

Sunday – April 14, 2013 8:02 PM

Well I survived my first night of work. My original plan was to write when I made it home after shift but I was a whole new level of tired. I felt icky because I had been sweating and I’d gotten dusty from roaming about the stock room. While I know that all may sound terribly negative, let me assure you that it’s not – not at all. I am super excited to have a job. When I arrived, I met my immediate manager. I was very pleased to see that I already knew him and think he’s a good guy. There are other pluses also. I can wear my baseball cap, jeans and sneakers. After a career of customer service and technical support, it’s also a nice change of pace to work pretty much alone. While I’m a member of a team, I’m mostly off on my own completing tasks. I’ve never really been much of a people person. I enjoy some people but I’m not exactly what you’d call outgoing. I don’t know if it’s just part of my personality, my heritage or a preference but I’m mostly shy and quiet until I get to know someone. So the solitude suits me just fine. Even with all these positive attributes, there are still a couple of drawbacks. Let’s just say that the prime time to start a job of loading/unloading and stocking goods for retail sale — it’s NOT 40 years old! I can honestly say that I can’t recall ever feeling so exhausted, sore and just plain old whipped. It was a busier shift than the norm. I’m not scared away or even considering any other option but to accept the challenges and excel. I think it’s just going to take some legitimate adjustment time before I’m 100% in the groove. Overall, I’m ready to accept this set of possibilities and am determined to be a success!

Posted in Ang

Saturday- April 13, 2013 12:26 AM

I’m sitting here at the laptop yawning. My body is feeling my actual age with me trying to adjust to my 3rd shift work schedule. I am tired and have been since I started trying to simulate the waking hours for my work schedule. I went over to my sister’s this evening on my way to buy food for dinner. In the back, lounging in her car seat was my little shorty pie, AJ. She smiled at me and blew me a kiss. That tiny act made my entire day. I’m extremely tired and I don’t think I’ll be able to stay up tonight. I fear if I force myself to stay awake that I’ll be tired my entire first full shift at work and I can’t have that happening. So I’m going to bid you good night and hope to write again after work. Night night!

Posted in Ang

Friday – April 12, 2013 at 2:41 am

Hello again. I hope you had a good Thursday. Mine was mostly uneventful which was exactly what I’d hoped would be the case. I don’t think I told you last night but the reason I’m writing to you at such late/early morning hours is that I’m trying to get my body adjusted to a new schedule for my job. I was recently hired by a very well known retail chain as an inventory control specialist. My hours will be from 10 pm until 7 am. I’ll be working primarily with my other team members and boxes of freight. Earlier, I updated my Facebook status to say, “I’ve been training my body to adjust to a new work/sleep schedule, let me just say wow I am feeling my age right about now. Awake all night and sleeping during the day was a very standard schedule ‘back in the day’ – today, not so much.”
I am extremely pleased with my new job opportunity. I’ve been out of work for almost 2 full years. Well perhaps that’s not technically correct. The majority of my time being unemployed was spent caring for one of my younger nieces. That is an interesting tidbit for a variety of reasons. While it seems to be a societal norm that women love babies and can’t wait to take care of, hold and play with them — that was the exact opposite of me! Don’t get my wrong, I don’t love anyone more than I love each of my niece’s. I enjoy most kids BUT I don’t feel comfortable around them until they are old enough to start verbalizing their needs and thoughts. I have always been afraid of holding a baby. I can’t really explain why so that it makes any logical sense but I’ll certainly give it a try. I have immense respect for new little people and the power of love they evoke from our hearts. I am also tremendously intimidated by the level of their dependency on adults for the majority of their basic life giving needs. The combination of respect and healthy dose of fear always motivated me to not be a caregiver of infants because I have never felt a maternal instinct.
I always tried to avoid holding any infant prior to their being about 6-9 months old at the earliest. I don’t recall how old my eldest niece was the first time I held her. I was lovingly nudged into holding AJ almost as soon as she arrived home from the hospital after her birth. Want to know the biggest shock to me? It’s that fact that not only did I not break her but I actually enjoyed holding her and feeling her sweet little warmth in my arms as her beautiful blue eyes gazed up at me!
After a while my sister got a job and the only thing better than daycare is a dedicated family member to care for your child. In conjunction with my sister and brother-in-law’s working hours, I stayed with AJ and took care of her. Actually I think it was more of a mutual deal then I could’ve ever even imagined. Just as much as I took care of AJ, she took care of me. I’m sure that may sound odd at first but let me clarify. After being unemployed and unable to find a job for so long, I was losing faith in myself and the relevance of my skills. AJ gave me a new purpose. I’d always enjoyed being an aunt but I felt pretty darn important every morning when I’d walk in and see her first smile of the day in my direction. Together I helped her graduate from baby bottles to sippy cups and eating with utensils — from diapers to “big girl” panties and using her potty chair.
I don’t think I’m going to make it through until sunrise tonight so I’m going to wrap it up and head to bed. In short, even though spending my days with AJ was by far the best job I’d ever had — I needed an actual job where I could take care of my family again. I’m finally getting happy in my life and starting to move forward in a good direction. I have no doubt that I owe a fair portion of that to AJ. For all the smiles, love and laughter she shared with me I owe her a huge debt of gratitude. I’m looking forward to my new career opportunity but I miss my days with AJ terribly. I’ll write more about her again I have no doubt but until that time. I enjoyed writing to you tonight. We’ll chat again soon. Good night!

Thursday – April 11, 2013

Since I was a teenager, I’ve always felt compelled to write. I can’t explain why nor do I have much inkling to try. I am usually an artist of the more visually expressive formats such as painting, drawing or even sculpting. This latest inspirational moment to put words to paper sparked when I was in church last Sunday. It wasn’t an immediate feeling but it only took a matter of moments. I was listening to Pastor Jeff’s message and he said “…we all have a story…” – that’s when a gear in my mind started to engage. Within a matter of seconds I was thinking, “Yes, we all have a story and we never know how similar or different our own story may be to any other individual.”
From that initial thought and still my mind has been craving some self expression in written form so I thought I’d give it a try. Now I don’t want to get your hopes up, I haven’t written anything of significance for over 15 years. The last piece of writing I’ve done had to have been for an assignment of some sort. I haven’t decided what thought, experience or point of view I’d like to share specifically so I think I’ll just take what I am naming the babbling approach. Here we go…
I live in a small town in Oklahoma named Sallisaw. I call it a small town because even though technically it’s a city. The population is only between 8,000 – 12,000. Now in this area that is considered a legitimate city. I’ve moved around and visited cities ranging in population from 100k to over 2 million, thus my inclination to label Sallisaw a town. Since I’m babbling I’ll just give some of my personal history that has taken place here in Sallisaw, Ok. I believe I was third grade when my family moved into our home here. I remember helping do some work on our home while it was being built. I can’t recall exactly where I lived prior to that (reasons for my lack of recollection are their own separate story). My family received our home through a joint agreement/contract with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Housing Authority. As I remember, part of the agreement was that we assist in the building stage of our home by putting in a set number of hours. Being in third grade, I obviously wasn’t too well skilled in carpentry skills so I remember doing things like sanding and painting some wooden trims and window sills once they were fixed into place. So back in third grade was when Sallisaw, OK officially became my hometown. I lived in Sallisaw until after I’d completed high school in 1991. I always did well in school and I think that’s in large part to a few sources. My parents always put a strong emphasis on my education. Separately, my dad was an avid reader and not only supported but encouraged my interest in reading pretty much anything. I would read magazines, library books and I had a pretty good collection of children and young adults books. I’ve always found a great sense of peace in reading. I haven’t ever really tried to pinpoint where that serenity comes from but I think I’d have to say it’s from the relaxation, imagination and learning experiences available inside any and every story.
During my senior year in high school, I applied for and received a scholarship to study fine arts at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, OK. I don’t remember any of my friend’s reactions to receiving art scholarship. I have to think that the primary reaction was surprise since I didn’t take a single art class in high school. I’ve always been sort of a nerd and I’m perfectly content with my nerdness. I didn’t take any art classes because from what I saw other students doing and heard discussed – the art classes didn’t seem like a legitimate art program. I remember as a kid thinking the stuff people did and said about the art classes was a fairly weak attempt to legitimize a blow off class. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t object to blow off classes, I had a few myself but I felt serious about my desire to study art in a variety of aspects. That’s the high points of my educational history in Sallisaw. Thinking over what I’ve written so far, I don’t suppose I’ve really told you anything about me, the person. I’m not sure how accurate my observations will be since they are all going to be from the inside looking out and in my own almost always skewed perceptions but I’ll give it a try.
Hmm, I’m not exactly sure where or how to begin. I am so many things and I don’t know which will give a clearer picture of the person writing this story. I guess I’ll just introduce myself as if we’re meeting for the first time since most of us will be doing just that. Hello reader, my name is Angela – most people call me Ang. It’s nice to meet you. I was born and raised here in Oklahoma, USA. I’m a very proud member of the Cherokee Nation. There are other aspects of my cultural background but I identify primarily as Cherokee. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m an artist. I think I’ve always been drawn to art, reading and writing is because I prefer to express myself via a means of communication other than verbal. I’ve always been quiet, it’s one of my favorite personality traits. While I enjoy my quietness, I’ve encountered a variety of mixed reactions from those that haven’t had to opportunity to know me. Some folks assume some less than desirable traits based on my lack of talking even though I’m never disrespectful or rude. I’ve learned to accept a variety of judgments from folks based on things like physical appearance, body piercing, tattoos, speaking or lack thereof. I can have a sarcastic sense of humor to my friends and people that know me. One of my other favorite character traits is my Christianity. I saved it for the end of the list because in the story of my life, it’s the most recent development. I have multiple new thoughts about my relationship with God on a daily basis.
Let me start by telling you that I moved back to Sallisaw, Oklahoma from Spring Hill, Florida shortly after my father died. My mother has called me on a regular basis since I moved away from home to attend university. For a few months I’d been receiving regular updates on my dad’s health status. I was attempting to organize some time off work to visit home and see him before he got too sick. I can’t remember exactly where I was when I received the call that informed me that he’d taken a dramatic turn for the worse. I accelerated my preparations to make my trip home but to no avail. Before I could complete the necessary arrangements, my dad died. I was left with a huge emptiness because I never got home to tell him that I love him or get closure from the intake of the reality of the situation. Anyone that has lost a parent knows that the only adjective for the feeling immediately following the notification is devastation. I put everything into full swing to make certain I would be with my family for my dad’s funeral. Part of me hurts everyday from missing my dad. I was able to stay home for a few days then I had to return to my life in Florida.
Upon return to my daily routines and realities in Florida, I was constantly worried about my mom. My mom and I have an intense history that includes friendship as part of our mother/daughter relationship. One of the things I’d known for quite a while was that my dad was “ the one” for my mom. In adulthood I became aware that when I started preparing for my life with as a spouse I wanted the love, bond, friendship and devotion that my mom and dad had shared for as long as I could remember. Don’t mistake my words and think they had a perfect marriage. I’m certain no such thing exists. I do know that I could see how much they loved each other even when they weren’t in the same area. It was that obvious. They knew each other in a way that very few people have the opportunity to know anyone. My family home was a haven of love and support. I could tell my mom was feeling lost, devastated, heartbroken and. . .well, in a way defeated. I would and will always do anything to protect or help my mom. I felt the best thing for both of us at that time was for me to move home.
Arrangements were made and back to Oklahoma I came with my entire household in tow. Mom opened her home up to us as I hadn’t had time to plan or setup much of anything here in Oklahoma before making the move back. Once I had gotten settled back into home, my mom would always invite me to come with her to church. When the invitations first started it was when she was singing in the choir or the church was putting on a special production. I would attend although very rarely was I pleased about any day requiring me to attend church or be surrounded by “Christians.” There are a few reasons for those feelings.
When I was a kid, I have memories being sent to church every Sunday. I was the only family member that went. I think I remember getting ribbons or little prizes for bible memorizations. At the time I thought it was cool because what kid doesn’t like getting rewards. I was curious why I was the only person going to church because I thought it was pretty cool. I don’t remember why but my trips to church stopped. I may have asked to quit going or someone just decided that phase was over for me. I honestly can’t recall. My next brush with church was around the time I was in middle school. By this time, I was more interested in sleeping late than rising early and going to church. I don’t really have any specific memories of this church experience so it must not have been either great or terrible. The following encounter with a religious place and people was when I left for college. One of my first room mates was a very nice Christian oriented girl. I finally accepted an invitation to go across the street from campus and hangout at the Baptist Student Union. I was shocked by how comfortable I felt and how much fun I had. There were students there of varying ages and the adults were very nice also.
Now in all fairness, who wouldn’t feel comfortable shooting pool and drinking sodas with a television going over in the corner. At least that’s what I attributed my comfort level to back at the time. When I think back now, I know it had much more to do with the genuine kindness, acceptance and interest in me as a person. As time progressed I attended more and more B.S.U. functions and meetings. They had a weekly free lunch that we all looked forward to because it wasn’t boring old cafeteria food or even the “good stuff” you had to buy from the campus grill. I wouldn’t say that I participated in the “prayer” portion of the functions but I did always bow my head and close my eyes because I have always respected individual’s right to believe and practice however they choose. It didn’t take long for me to become comfortable enough that I signed up to be part of a mission trip. The mission trip was one of the biggest events in my young life. When I look back at it now, I realize that was the first time I ever actually felt a blessing from God.
We went to St. Louis to assist with relief efforts caused by the “Great Flood of 1993.” We went for a week to help those who had their homes devoured by the vicious overflow of water. We were assigned to help demolish a family that had been ravaged by the flood waters. We were equipped with all necessary equipment, directions and sent forward on our task. From arrival to the home to this very day, my heart breaks when I remember the state of that poor family’s house. As painful as the loss of their home was for the family, upon our completion, they came to the site and thanked each one of us and we all said a prayer of gratitude.
It’s now 5:45 am and I feel like I’ve gone off the rails a bit. I’m going to attempt to reign it back in to my original point now. From my encounters with church and “christians” from middle school into adulthood I was repeatedly disappointed by people that were actually the opposite of what I’d learned Christianity to really represent. I encountered an amount of hypocrites, liars and just randomly mean or judgmental people that I considered simply unacceptable. Finding my solace in education and facts, I decided that since the theory of Christianity obviously didn’t work then why waste any more of my time. I decided then that I’d place my faith in more logical and scientific forms of study.
For at least the next 15+ years I was a self proclaimed agnostic. Once I’d moved back home and started accepting my mom’s invitations to church, I had mixed feelings. Oh wait! I have neglected to mention an important factor to you. My spouse’s name is Mari. We’ve been together for over 8 years now. At this point I’d like to ask you to take just a moment and consider how responded to the fact I just shared with you. Are you disappointed, happy, intrigued or maybe unchanged? Whatever your answer happens to be, it will tell you much more about yourself then it tells you about me because I’m the exact same as when I started typing my story.
Now back to my feelings of discontent with the experiences I’d experienced with “christians” up until this point. As some of you can imagine or even remember in certain situations, the people loudly proclaiming Christianity can be the most harshly judgmental, hurtful and mean people to encounter. I’d had several encounters with people that had unacceptable responses to me based solely on the knowledge of my sexual orientation. Some reactions have been rude, others physically threatening, condemning or just mean. All of my experiences in church or at the B.S.U. functions had always taught that Christianity was living in a way that exemplified God’s presence in you and your life. I always understood that to mean as humans we were to be loving and kind to each other. That should give you a better opportunity or at least more insight into understanding my point of view regarding Christianity.
I honestly can’t say that I recall my mother’s reaction to my coming out to her. To the best of my recollection, I got tongue-tied and she actually helped me say it to her. I keep meaning to ask her about it while I have a way to record her responses. Maybe this sharing this story will prompt me to actually do that this time.
Every time I would enter a church I always felt a touch of fear and a big side dose of judgment. Now how much of that was all just lingering in the back of mind because of previous experiences versus how much was actually being aimed at me, I guess I’ll never know for sure now. I do know that the sun is starting to peek out a bit and I am getting sleepy so I will call it a night and pick up my story writing again tomorrow night. So for now, good night reader. We’ll talk again soon.