Monday, October 6, 2014

Wuvvvv, twoooo wuvvv

I'm married. To a man. I love him. I believe an Almighty and loving force brought us together and keeps us together through the hard work and commitment a marriage requires. Our lives are forever intertwined by our own choosing - a choice made once upon a time and every day since.

Even if we were not legally wed, we would still be married, as that is the choice we made and prayed to be blessed in the presence of our Almighty and our families and friends.

We chose to be legally bound, too, because of the many benefits afforded to married people, such as tax rates, insurance coverage, medical power of attorney, joint ownership of property and debt, and more. I am not the property of my husband, however, as would have been the case not too many centuries ago, which originated the need to make marriage a legal institution.

I fully believe, however, that the marriage of our spirits and our legal marriage are two completely separate entities. If there were no benefits to being legally wed, it would have sufficed for us to have only been married in the eyes of the church. But there ARE benefits to being legally married. Real, life-changing, right-bearing benefits. As long as those rights are reserved for two people to choose, they should be available to all pairs of people who legally agree to share those rights. Any two people. ANY.

Why shouldn't a friend be able to cover a friend on his or her insurance if the two agree to share the expense? Why can't two cousins file their income taxes jointly if each saves a little in the end? Who says two people who love each other have to surrender their individual rights to claim communal rights?

That's how our country works, though. We have antiquated ideas about marriage as a legal institution, one founded on a father's transfer of property, AKA his daughter, to another man's ownership. Humans are the ones who decided to make marriage a legal institution. We who profess to believe in a divine being, who want to follow the will of the Almighty - we are the ones who decided to make laws to regulate something we say is ordained by our God.

Huh?

We say marriage is a holy union between heterosexuals ONLY and that God blesses pairs of humans who load the Ark two-by-two. Then we hand that holiness over to legislators, attorneys, nations - scribes and Pharisees, if you will. We take our combined souls and trade them in for a document that says we can automatically inherit the other's stuff without needing a will. For real. What the what?

My point, and I have one, is that we have made marriage a legal opportunity, a civil right, if you will. We have excluded a legal right from being available to everyone based on our own religious principles. But be not mistaken: we are the ones who made it unholy. We are the ones who rendered marriage less sanctified by making it available to any Dick and Jane who sign a paper in a courthouse. But then we complain if Jane and Jane think they deserve to sign a paper, because our God-in-a-box says it's icky.

So let me be clear for those who still don't get it and likely won't:
As long as marriage is a legal institution, it must be available to any two humans of consenting age who wish to enter that contract together.

If you want to protect your perceived notion and the so-called sanctity of marriage, make it strictly a religious joining and don't offer legal advantages to those who do it.

Abolish marriage licenses.
Abolish civil unions between any two humans.
Make no legal concessions for spouses.

If you want to be greedy about love, make it only possible in your limited religious scope.

Above all, quit making love about hate.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Girl of Grace


This girl, y'all. This girl.

Ever have one of those days when you feel like every other word out of your mouth is your kid's name? I had lunch with a new friend and her daughter today and started feeling like all I could talk about was my Kori. She is heavy on my mind, I guess. With good reason, I suppose, given the broken hip and the start of high school scheduling fun and her general awesomeness...

So, yeah. My baby girl broke her hip. Running. Not falling - RUNNING. At freakin' band camp. What the living what? Oh, but it gets better. It's a fracture typically caused by overuse/hyperdevelopment of muscles/being generally awesome. (Well, maybe not the awesome part.) Essentially, the muscles attached to her iliac crest (that bony part at the top of your pelvis that sticks out in front) were strong enough (and not warm enough) to pull a bit of her bone away from the rest, thanks to the cartilaginous nature of the not-yet-fully-grown skeletal growth plates.

Dang, y'all, why don't I practice medicine? That's another post altogether, I suppose.

Anyhoo, her quads and/or her lateral obliques were not quite warmed up enough for the intensity of her morning warmup jog at band camp (Have you MET Kori? Competitive much?)and one step led to a big pop and a caving sensation. She didn't fall, but couldn't keep running. Or walking. Or much of anything. The cutest (read: oldest and fittest) boy in the band just HAPPENED to be close enough to offer to carry her to the band nurse (who is an actual nurse, thank goodness), who assessed her, iced her, called me, yadayadayada.

Now, to add a little twist, as we Hayses are subject to do: I blame theatre camp. Excuse me - theatre PROGRAM. Mostly because that makes it even funnier than band camp, because really, who thinks of those activities as anything short of innocuous? (How many points have I earned for vocab so far? cartilaginous? innocuous? Dadgum, y'all.) Allow me to 'splain.

See, Majesty spent two weeks at the South Carolina Governor's School for Arts and Humanities this June for their theatre program. Every morning began with a run, and they had African dance every day, as well. Lots of barefootin' and movin' around in the black-box-theatre all day. Oh, and just being Kori. She was already crazy fit, but toned herself even more. In hindsight, she recalls her hips hurting some then, but, in her wise words, "My EVERYTHING hurt. Everyone's everything hurt. It's Governor's School." So, the stress part of this stress fracture likely didn't originate at band camp, but either way, it's almost comical.

Now here's what I love most of all. Besides chocolate. Or fruity umbrella drinks. Or melted cheese. I digress.

I love that her name means "Girl of Grace." Yep. Korianna, a mashup we made up because we couldn't choose between Kori and Hannah and decided to squish 'em together - oh and because it's awesome and one-of-a-kind, like we knew she would be. But oh, the irony. (Yes, Alanis, this is irony. Or maybe it's sarcasm. Either way...) Everyone loves to tease a klutz by calling her Grace. I'm sure I don't know about this firsthand. (See, more examples of irony or sarcasm or plain old smartassery!)Side note - once upon a time, I could rock the toe shoes and look super graceful on stage, but walked like a male duckfrog. Now I walk like an overweight male duckfrog, but that's neither here nor there. I was prone to soft-tissue and/or bone injury from such challenging tasks as walking, sitting, kickball, and showering. (To be fair, I was thrown butt-first into the shower by my very dearest friends, but isn't it funnier when I just say "showering?" IRONY IS FUN, PEOPLE.) There I go again. Digressing.

In fairness to Kori and to any of you who love her or me enough to still be reading this hot mess stream of consciousness, I'll end with a little sincerity.

I never expected I would have a baby girl. I was created to raise boys, or at least I thought. Mostly, I wasn't sure I would ever know what to do with a girl. Girling is hard. It hasn't ever been my strong suit. Raising girls is scary - their parts and their hearts need special care from the very beginning. And they are bombarded with pink plastic marketing. Did I mention how expensive they are? I felt certain the Almighty would grant me sons, as I was not equipped for daughters.

As always, the Almighty won and I am ever grateful for the act of Grace that brought this small, perfect person home to me, to show me how to be girlie, to love girlchildren. It is no exaggeration to say that she amazes me every single day. Exhausting? YES. Frustrating? God, yes. But the most lovely gift I've ever received. She is my ever-present reminder that I am by no means in control of my circumstances and ever grateful that I was wrong as could be about raising a girl.

I love you, chunky monkey.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A girl's gotta blog what a girl's gotta blog

I love writing. I do. But, lawdhavemercy, I know how my workbabies feel when they "can't think of anything to write about!" I recently started to understand that maybe the reason they struggle (I struggle) is that there are TOO MANY topics to know where to start. The clutter of stories writers collect in their heads can prevent the average perfectionist from just getting started. This is where keeping a notebook religiously can come in handy, but that is STILL not a habit I've developed. Alas.

As summer comes to a close, I realize how many stories I want to capture before too much time interferes with my being able to access the details and emotions that make a story readable. This is always a dance for me, too - I like to have a little time to let an experience sink in, to wrap my heart and head around it before wrapping my words around it, but if I wait too long, those thoughts become less clear. Then I just decide maybe the story wasn't worth telling at all. Ridiculous.

So, in the spirit of keeping this effort alive and reminding myself of a few stories you gotta hear (or I just gotta tell, maybe?), here's a classic list of Stories I Could Tell Here. I'm pretty sure I've done this before, and I'm equally sure I've never actually gone back and written those, but maybe you people will hold me accountable, hmm?

Summer 2014 Stories Worth Writing, Possibly Worth Reading

1. Voyage2K14 - The Voyagers in Adolescence at ECSSSJ take Manhattan and the Jersey (City) Shore, learning a thing or two about each other, about ourselves, about our world, about our Savior. This could be a series of stories, including "Where the Hell is Jesus in NYC? AKA Planning a meaningful trip" and "There Are No Fat Bulldogs in the City." Might even get a little poem out of there... We'll see.

2. The Hallelujah Girls - Oh, what a disservice I've done myself not reflecting formally on this yet. I haven't felt more myself in years than when I was pretending to be Sugar Lee. THAT could be an indication of some mental illness, I suppose, but more likely, it's just evidence of how much I love performing. Always have. Really excited about future opportunities I might explore with it. Yes, I'll admit I love the attention - really, who doesn't? - but more than anything I am crazy in love with the process. It's a shame I never really pursued it, and a disappointment that the opportunities really weren't there for me beyond sixth grade, but I am learning there is a crazy strong theatre community here in the greater metro, and I might just have the courage to spend a little more time becoming part of it.

3. Social Media and other addictions - Enough said. Maybe I should just print out my excessive number of status updates and go from there. Each one of them is a mini-story, a random thought that compelled me to put words out there. I could certainly fill in the blanks behind many of them.

4. Emptier Nest - Soon enough, our nest will be empty, and this summer was our first good taste of what it feels like when one or both of our babies are gone long term. I love the people they are becoming, and I am going to miss them beyond measure, but I am eager to learn how to be a grown-up with adult children. The four of us have to learn to negotiate our way through this next part together and to appreciate what we have.

Look for one of these soon. Soonish. I mean, school starts next week and I'll be all focused on that, but whatevs. With a little BICFOK (Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard, per Lester Laminack), I can do this.


Monday, July 7, 2014

One of these days...

One of these days...

...I will live in a house that I designed, filled with fixtures and pieces that I picked out, on a lot that I chose because it is overlooking a body of water and has unusually large trees. I will hold my grandbabies on my lap in my porch rocker, sway with them and their parents in the hammock out back, toast marshmallows in the firepit, and dig for worms in the compost bin. My truelove and I will hold hands and walk nowhere in particular, singing the songs of our youth, remembering how easy love is, despite how difficult marriage can be.

...my heart will skip with joy when my children call me, their caller ID bringing instant smiles and excitement that they want time with their giving tree. They will tell me the tales of the life I wished for them, sharing their woes, simultaneously breaking my heart and filling it with pride. I will wait for them to tell me that they are coming to see me or that they want me to come see them, whether they are minutes or continents away. I will do whatever it takes to make my old body available for them, just to have one more opportunity to hold them and breathe them in.

...I will spend my days in the service of others, giving time to some young kid who needs an adult friend, to someone older who needs a young friend, to causes that heal my old wounds and expose new ones. My money will come from the work I've already done, and it will be enough. My needs will be few, my wants will be fewer, my bucket will be full. I will take time to do what I enjoy, to be myself, to discover my gifts every day.

...the number of continents I've visited will outnumber the ones I haven't. I will have the opportunity to live short-term in any of a number of countries and cities. New York, London, Toronto, San Francisco, provincial France, the Riviera - at least one of these would have been my home for weeks, or months, or a year. I will have lived the lives of the locals, developed a new perspective, and captured their essence in writing or film. And home will have always been home.

...I will capture the dreams of a middle-aged woman whose life is already better than any dream, and I will share them with other dreamers, in search of fellow travelers. Y'all come along.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Anticipation

Picked blackberries with the truelove last night. They grow wild everywhere along the roadsides out here in our little neck of the boonies. I love that he wants to do this more than I want to. I love that he talks me into it and we go off together like a couple of young lovers or old married people (is there much difference?), holding hands, toting buckets, devil-may-care.

You forget how brambly and prickly blackberries are until you are reaching for just one more juice-laden big'un and every article of clothing is pulling in a different direction because it's caught on a different vine. But that doesn't stop a die-hard, slightly OCD picker. There is such tremendous satisfaction in removing every ripe berry from any given cluster of vines before moving on, knowing that there will be more ripe ones the next day. Foraging like animals, sweating like pigs, paying careful attention that Brer Snake is nowhere near, we picked four cups or so before we gave up and trod through the woods to get back to the road.

So tonight we are making a blackberry pie with our harvest using some recipe found online that only called for ingredients we had on hand. Well, we only marginally had enough sugar, and couldn't find the cornstarch anywhere, so we sent out a mass text to the neighborwives and scored a few tablespoons. (Beauty part is that we found ours when we were cleaning up...) Who knows if it will turn out okay, but with enough ice cream, it's sure to satisfy, at least.

The hardest part is not picking the berries, although working for your food makes it so much more satisfying than buying it ready made. It's not waiting for the crust to reach a perfectly golden-brown state of flaky goodness. It's waiting for the darn thing to cool and set. I'm not at all hungry and have actually put on a couple of previously-lost pounds in the last few days of sloth, but I am READY for some dang pie. The anticipation is the struggle and the test of one's mettle. Truelove is going to want to cut into it as soon as it's out of the oven, but I'm going to try a little delayed gratification for once and see if I can wait until it reaches a reasonable temperature.

Then again, the ice cream cools it off, right?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saddle Up

Remember that scene in The Lion King when Rafiki says, "It is time" and goes all baboon-loony about Simba claiming his throne? So, that's where I am these days.

It is time to get back to the pleasure that is putting my words into a computer and seeing what comes out of them. I've neglected my writerlife for too long now. I thought about starting a few different blogs with different themes - one place for family life reflections, another for teaching perspectives, still a third for my "work" with Voyagers in Adolescence - but here's the thing: all of those are inseparable parts of this chick. So, if you're here, be prepared to never know what to expect.

It is time to assess my priorities and time expenditures. Time is so precious, and here on the first of July already, I am sensing the wasted hours so far this summer - just sitting, watching tv, thinking about getting up and doing something, and lordhavemercy the social media obsessing. The most accomplished I've felt all summer was the day I entertained myself by making a "ta-dah" list (on twitter, like a dork) instead of a "to-do" list. But it's time to make the occasional list of tasks that must be handled. It's entirely too easy to neglect my responsibilities or to pawn them off on the other people who share my life. It's even easier to neglect the responsibility to use the gifts I know I've been given. If you would, please, be patient with me and recognize that, more often than not, this blog will be random and nonsensical, very drafty, and largely unimportant. But it will exist. I will work out the kinks of making it part of my routine to share thoughts with you and let you decide if they mean anything. I know I need to develop a writing discipline. I also need to get back in touch with the other talents and/or passions that have been too long dormant. So don't expect this to be my only creative outlet!

It is time to awaken and behold all the majesty that this life holds. I can't help it that I was born a chronic optimist and that finding silver linings seems to be one of those gifts I mentioned. I don't have time for negative energy in my space, whether I create it or it surrounds me. It's high time I focus on shifting what I can and separating from what I can't shift. Mine is a charmed life, and I want to live grateful for it.

So, I'm in the saddle again, heading somewhere bound to be beautiful, hoping you'll join in the journey on occasion. I'm a glutton for attention and praise, but also a big fan of honesty. Comment, people. Interact with me. If I say something stupid, challenge me. If something here resonates, tell me your story. We all need to connect in real ways about real life. It is time.



Saturday, May 26, 2012

Oh, my blogness.

Holy cow. I popped in on my blog for the first time in foooor-eeeeeev-eeeeeerrrrrr (what movie was that? Sandlot?) and the whole stinkin' thing has changed. I don't even know or remember what I thought I was going to write about, as I am so freaked out by the new format I am seeing right now. Yikes! Learning curve alert! Woooop! wooop! I am going to a two-day workshop on google apps in early June. Maybe I'll get some super secret blogger tips then. Heck, I don't even know how to customize my layout - I just use one of the templates google gave me - so maybe at the very least I'll figure that out. But I'm guessing I'll learn more about synchronizing calendars and sharing docs and all that. Either way, I have always considered myself reasonably tech savvy, but lately I am seeing how dusty and rusty I've become. Working with kids makes me realize how easily they can comprehend and adapt to the torrent of technology that pummels their generation. I know I can count on them to help each other (and me) figure out all the tricks that make using applications easier. This is a good thing. But I marvel at how few of their parents respond to (or even check) their emails - would they ever join an edmodo board? Or comment on a blog their kid kept? Or are they also overwhelmed by all the screen-time in our lives? If I were to position myself (and grow into the practice) as a 21st Century Literacy teacher, requiring lots of digital thinking alongside story times and conversations and handwritten journals, would the parents be inspired to grow with their kids? OR would they be out of the loop? Where do I draw the line? A few Saturday morning thoughts I had no intention of having, I guess... More soon.