Sunday, August 3, 2008


I've just returned from a memorial service for a 20 year old who was killed in a horrible, fiery car accident, along with her boyfriend, and another couple, who were their best friends. Our church was filled, standing room only. There were people of all ages and races and sexual orientations and a million other differences, yet we were all united by our love for this young woman, Caitlin Lee.

Parents are not supposed to bury their children. Her parents adored her, as did everyone who knew her. She was their only child. I made me recall that, were it not for a miscarriage, I would have a child her age, whose birthday would have been this month. I wanted to have children "one day", but was consciously using birth control pills at the time, because I knew I didn't want to have children with the man I was married to at the time. I later learned that I'm infertile, that that pregnancy was just a "lucky" chance.

Over the years I soothed myself with the knowledge that, because I didn't have children, I had a much freer life than someone who did. But that didn't really quell my desire to be a mother. I've always loved children, probably because I'm the oldest of four. My youngest sister is 7 years young, and she is the one of us who has had the most complex life. She is a recovering alcoholic, 1 year sober this month. She also has three kids, ages 10, 4, and 3. She's lost primary custody of her children because she attempted, and nearly succeeded at, suicide last June. Her ex is abusive (go figure) and is not someone she can be around safely. She is currently unemployed, though about to start college again to obtain a degree in something that will enable her to make some kind of a decent living for herself, and, hopefully, regain primary physical custody. In the meantime, though, she's riding the Greyhound up here tomorrow, about a 10 hour drive or a bit longer, I think. She arrives at 11pm, so I will have to go down to pick her up. Then, she and I will travel up to a midway point between my place and his (about 300 miles or so) to pick up the children from her friend, who happens to be the one he gets to keep the kids all the time. Then, we'll turn around and drive back to my house, where they'll stay for the week, I guess.

Don't get me wrong -- just seeing the children is well worth it -- but this will be the first time I've seen my sister since her sobriety began. I will have to sanitize the house, for MY sake, not hers. Then I will need to childproof. And then go buy groceries for them, and the list goes on.

But on the other hand, my little sister could have succeeded in taking herself permanently out of the picture last year, so I'm trying to view this all with gratitude for having the opportunity to do this for her, and for me.

Tell the people you love how you feel, as often as you have the opportunity. Tomorrow is in no way guaranteed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Shooting in church

Most of you are probably aware of the news story about the gunman who entered a Unitarian church in Knoxville, TN yesterday and began shooting, killing two people and injuring about seven others. Well that church is of the same denomination as the one that I belong to. So this is a big story for me, and for many of my friends. Tonight they had a special service, and there will be another special service Wednesday. Our minister, who is off during the month of July, is returning early in order to preside over this service, and the one on Sunday. Like I said, this is a big deal.

I have frequently wished our denomination received more press...that people would get to know us better. Maybe my wish has come true, though in a way I would not have chosen myself. I believe we have a unique opportunity here to show the world how we live our commitments. It's easy to hate someone who causes pain to others, and makes people afraid to be in the very place that will bring them the greatest degree of comfort. But our challenge now is to our principles. What are our principles, you ask? They are as follows:

There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
I hope we're up to the task.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's been a while!

I can't believe it was nearly a year ago that I last posted on this blog! How does time go by so quickly without my knowledge of it passing? Maybe this is what being middle-aged is all about. But hey, it could be worse, right? Time could *not* be passing...and that would be bad, m'kay?

So, to catch up:

Completely recovered from the rotator cuff surgery (YAY!!!), but hubby had to have it in January, so BOO! for that, but he's completely recovered from that now, too. However, he had to have knee surgery in early June, and it resulted in the complication of blood escaping from the surgery site and lodging in his calf muscle -- VERY painful, from what I could tell, and it caused a tremendous amount of swelling that really freaked me out at first. But now his leg/ankle/foot look pretty normal again. Still, he has to wear a compression stocking for another month, but least he can walk, and now is almost pain-free.

Lived my life-long dream last month by singing lead with a rock-n-roll band! Three words for y'all: SCARY. AS. HELL!!!!! But I got through it, and maybe will even be willing to do it again. I need some vocal coaching, but it's for things like breath control and being sure to sing from my diaphragm instead of shallowly. One of the big challenges I've had is selecting songs that work well with my voice range. I am fortunate to have a pretty decent range, but I find I do a lot better if I start off singing low notes, and work up to the highs. I guess that may be true for anyone, though.

Baby sister is out of rehab, has almost a year of sobriety under her belt, and is working through the legal system to deal with custody issues for the three children. They are, unfortunately, back with their father, who insists that she must come there to see them. This is something that is not going to happen, because this man is abusive, controlling, and dangerous. I can't understand how a court ever even allowed him visitation rights, much less anything else, but it doesn't matter whether it can be understood or not -- it just has to be dealt with. And I'm very proud of baby sister for being able to step up to the plate and work on getting her life in order. It takes a tough cookie to do that, and I'm betting on sis being able to rise up to the challenge. I am learning to distance myself somewhat from feeling like I have to do something, and have really made some significant strides toward being less swayed by difficulties, or even dysfunctional people/groups/systems.

Growing upside-down tomatoes for the first time, too! I've never grown food before, so this is all very new and exciting to me. I know -- it's crazy -- but I don't care. :) I go out every day to look at my babies. lol I water them, examine them for any problems, compare one day's size or quantity to the! It's just ridiculous how much I enjoy this. Hubby and I are talking about what we want to do with the yard in the years ahead, and trying to go ahead and make some plans. The thing is, it's a lot easier (and cheaper!) to talk about than to actually start doing. lol Oh well -- we're happy here regardless, so I guess we can just keep talking until we feel like getting around to doing something about it. :) I have lots of other things growing, too, but these are of the decorative variety. My garden contains: clematis, marigolds, coleus, bleeding hearts, astilbe, Jacob's ladder, a GINORMOUS hydrangea, calla lilies, and a tea rose bush. There's also the hanging basket of mandevilla, and the baskets of other flowers I've grown from seeds, like vinca and sweet peas. It makes for a lovely site out my front windows, and I'm so proud of having accomplished this. Mind you, hubby does all the really hard work, bless his heart, but he lets me take credit for what just happens naturally anyway. lol He's a good man, let me tell you.

Later this month we're looking forward to having his son and new girlfriend stay with us, and also will be welcoming a friend I met online probably 12 years ago. We met once, in 1999, and ended up spending 2 wonderful nights with her in Colorado Springs, when we were out there last year. It was wonderful to spend time with her and to get to know her better. Her "excuse" for coming here is to attend a concert -- Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, followed by one of my friend's favorite bands -- Def Leppard. So, hubby and I are going to the concert with her, if you can believe that. I've never been into hard rock, so this will be a real experience for me. Wish me luck! I need to remember to bring my earplugs so I don't blow out my ear drum! :D I'm going to have to find some appropriate concert attire, too. What do you imagine that would be for Joan Jett and Def Leppard? I'm thinking black.

So, anywho, that's the news from Lake Woebegone. Now, this was a nice post, right? But in the days to come, I hope to work my way toward discussing current events and matters of spirituality. If you've been reading this in times past, you know I'm a Unitarian Universalist. I find that the longer I participate in this denomination, the more deep and wide my search for meaning becomes. I feel I am now outside "Plato's cave", but does that mean I'm really outside, or am I in just an outer room of said cave? How would you know if that was the case anyway? You can really take off from there, considering how large the physical world is, and realizing there are things unseen to us, because they're too small, or because they're too far away, or maybe because they're in a form that can't be seen, like sound waves and ultraviolet rays...

And now I close this post, because I don't want to start thinking about all that again, late on a Friday afternoon & all. Thanks for reading, if you have, and I hope you'll be back soon. I have neglected this for much too long and hope to make amends for that now. :)

Peace, out -- yo. (What is the correct punctuation for that anyway?)