Born in the USA

I used to think it was a blessing to live in America. That I was one of the luckiest citizens of the planet to be born in such a country. An almost pre-ordained, God-given birthright. That I was blessed. That our nation was blessed. But I am a product of this environment. What else would I believe? Almost a century of “work hard, buy a house, use credit.” But it doesn’t work for everyone.

And what does that get you? America has become the abhorrent opposite of Christianity. Christianity is about sharing, loving, caring for the least, the poor, the fatherless, the widows. America is about securing your own property and power. And the difference between poor and rich is growing out of control.

I don’t know what it’s like to be anywhere else. Rugged individualism is only a value if you are raised in such a world. I was shown the commercial for America. I believed it. “Shut up and take my money.” I believed it was the best because that’s what we tell the world. The ideal is to live here. Immigrants pouring across the border for safety and wealth.

I don’t want to trade places, but I don’t mind sharing. I need healthcare, clean water, access to schools and freedom to move. Protection for my child. So do they.

If we can’t evolve as a society/country to accommodate those in need, then we have no business to point to our manifest destiny. We have become corrupt and require modification. Our entire country was formed on the crushing of Native Americans. There is still sentiment in this country, of those in power, that we can take what we want, benefit ourselves in the present, with no concern for the future. That should change.

We need to move/evolve from deregulated capitalism to something towards socialism. Not socialism, but at least universal healthcare. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. First one is life.

I wish I knew what to do. I’m paying attention. I’m watching the money. I’m voting. I’m participating. It’s not clear that the Dems will do any better. God help us.

I love America. Mostly the people in it. But I am growing more and more discouraged by the few in power who abuse the poor.

Born in the USA

This is America


Also. When do we drop the American dream and start living as God intended? Without borders. Without walls. Loving and caring for the world. God doesn’t care if we are safe, air-conditioned and pampered. He doesn’t care how big our house is or what we have in the cupboards if any of his people are starving. He has asked us to move into an uncomfortable place. I am still content to be comfortable. When does that change? What’s the breaking point? To move from comfort with one’s life to fighting for change for others? He’s waiting for us to be the hands and feet of his body. That’s our earthly purpose. When do we embrace that?

I can’t let my family down. Run off to South America, risk life and limb, risk my daughter’s life. My husband and daughter are counting on me. What are the little things I can do for the least of these?

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Tell Me About My Chris

My friend, Chris Churchill, filmed a documentary about his mom. It’s about his whole family, really, Tell Me About My Mother.

It’s compelling. Hard to watch in places. Private. Heartbreaking. Bare-to-the-bones revealing. Honest. Touching.

This documentary challenges my idea of what a doc should be. And that’s okay! Chris is seen, on camera, part of the story, asking questions. But, because of the subject matter, because of his inclusion in the events, because of his expertise in these realms, his participation is certainly needed and wanted.

The film is edited well and contains original music. Those elements of pictures, interviews, soundtrack and special effects all contribute to one’s understanding of Chris’ heart and mind during/after such a chaotic time.

Chris’ mother is a funny, charming, sweet, old lady. Like anyone’s mom. But we hear early evidence to contradict that initial image. Having had a parent with mental illness, I feel compassion and empathy for Mother and Chris from the first moments of the film.

It’s 3:33 am. I woke up with so many questions, Chris.

Q: It seems almost impossible that your mother would leave her small town for Chicago. She left to attend Salvation Army training. Both of your parents were officers in the Salvation Army, at one time. In the movie, we see an inattention from SA to help the very families serving them, much like the US military branches. Did that lack of sympathy from SA disturb your spiritual life? Did you struggle with Christianity and God? Where are you spiritually?

A: When I was young, I was extremely religious. At first, I was extremely and specifically into the Salvation Army because it was all I knew. But also, because it was…connecting with my parents in a way I knew they’d be constant. As I got older, I began to notice and question the less loving and accepting parts of the Bible and, in particular, our church’s interpretation of it. I wanted to love everyone as they were, but it seemed like the God I was being taught about wasn’t like that. I was also lucky enough to be able to see that what people said God was didn’t seem to match up with what they all said God did or felt. So I began that lifelong search for a spiritual truth that works for me and isn’t reliant on what authority figures insist I believe. To be fair, the Salvation Army has evolved on a lot of issues over the years, too. But I can’t see myself ever returning to…any church services regularly. I know what it’s there for and I don’t need or want that. No disrespect to those who go and are satisfied with their experience and who actively love all of humanity. I also understand that getting wrapped up in the minutiae of any religion diminishes the overriding point of it all. And if the point isn’t as simple as love thy neighbor as thyself, then it’s missing the point. All that came from being immersed in a faith that had the tendency to overlook the primary importance of love over laws. To quote The Thompson Twins, “Love IS the law”. That’s where I am now. Love is the point. Everyone is equally important, even the people who are your purported enemies. I believe in God as the fabric of the universe that connects us all. The information I was raised with that makes the most sense to me involves compassion and mercy and love. I believe God, that thing that creates, heals, teaches and connects us all, is love. And love is both a noun and a verb. To be with God, you have to love. To love more and more deeply is to be more and more deeply with God. To love less is to be less with God.

Q: Your dad seems very unsympathetic at times. He is currently a minister. Do you feel that his lack of compassion toward your mother is a Christian ideal?

A: It’s interesting that you say that about him because I’ve heard people say the opposite as well. Some people see him as a man whose calling was to lead a flock in a church his whole life. He certainly sees that. He did the best he could for us but he was always split in his duties between us and the church. And, yeah, the church will always win. It seems “un-Christian” of him but my dad was also serious about serving others which is very “Christian” of him. You could look at it both ways and you’d be right both ways.

Q: Do you think he was having an affair?

A: I believe him when he says he wasn’t at the time that this movie covers. I’m not sure, however, if during the time they were separated, but before they were divorced, that he wasn’t in a relationship with my first stepmother. I know why you’d ask and why anyone would wonder. He’s still extremely flirty. But I’ll tell you, he’s been married to my second and final stepmother for 38 years. So, I’d say that generally, in terms of flirting, his bark was always far worse than his bite.

Q: Being Salvation Army officers, your parents made some strict choices, but also, some not-so-strict choices. Some very non-SA choices, I would venture to say. It seems demanding that your father would expect your mother to attend SA training and become an officer, but also sleep with her outside of marriage. Do you resent this seemingly arbitrary thinking?

A: I see the premarital sex as a mistake or a “sin” in the eyes of that church at that time, but I don’t really see it as a “sin” in general. My dad explained to me 25 years ago when I was living with the young lady who I would ultimately marry that he didn’t consider it a “sin” because the Bible never describes any specific ceremony that determines that you’re married. It’s in your heart. The decision to be committed to another person is a marriage. That’s why you should never judge anyone. The love and the “sin” all happen in people’s hearts and minds where we can’t see it.

Q: Or do you see it simply as two young people unable to reconcile their belief system with natural, biological urges?

A: I would agree with the latter, but it’s also none of my business.

Q: Do you think your father was too demanding of your mentally-ill mother?

A: I think, like most people who have never experienced a mental illness themselves, he didn’t have a good idea of what she was going through or why. He certainly only had the tools he was raised with to help. Those tools were based on a strict sense of duty to the church.

Q: Even if his upbringing was different, do you feel a more compassionate person would have left SA and not been resentful? I personally believe your father, as a man of God, had a responsibility to put his family first. Even above SA. Not above God, but SA. Because SA is just an institution, not God. Do you think if your father could have prioritized the family and helped your mother, things would have turned out differently?

A: It seems like it, at first glimpse, but here’s the real issue. My mother’s illness would have probably manifested to this extent even if he had been the world’s most attentive husband. Part of her illness was (and still is) the compulsion to push the ones they are closest to the edge. I think that’s part of the definition of a borderline personality disorder. I think. And I’m pretty sure that’s one of her issues.

Q: Do you feel that your home life represented a contradiction or the hypocrisy of the SA lifestyle/rules? It sounded like SA swept much under the rug, er–cross.

A: Kind of. But it’s not that Dad treated us poorly or that mom was choosing to hurt us. It was Dad doing what he thought was right and mom was doing the best she could in light of her condition.

Q: How does your dad reconcile the continued family crisis under his belief system? The film doesn’t really address his deep understanding of her mental illness. Does he understand from a spiritual standpoint?

A: He understands better now than he did then. He’s a good man. He just didn’t know how to make both halves of his world work together back then.

Q: I have much anxiety about your accident. Does it concern you or cause you anxiety to think about what could have been? It was a miracle that you weren’t more seriously or gravely injured. Do you resent your siblings or mother because of the accident? Or making you wear that horrible bandage at the dinner table? (LOL)

A: I don’t remember any of it. I have anxiety about a lot of other things, but that isn’t one of them. I never think of what could have been because my earliest memories…are of me with a big scar on my head. I hold only deep appreciation of the fact that they themselves cared enough about me to be traumatized at the thought of seeing me so severely injured or of losing me.

Q: Do you think you have trust issues with people as a result of your familial relationships?

A: Yep. I only recently started internalizing the feeling that people love me. Even those closest to me. I couldn’t take it in. Which means that even when you’re surrounded by people, you’re still lonely and you don’t understand why.

Q: Do you feel that your mother’s early childhood abuse played a part in her mental illness?

A: I think it might have played the biggest part (except maybe a physiologic tendency towards mental illness).

Q: Many members of your family seemed dissociated from that time. Understandably. Do you think they are aware of that?

A: Each of them are aware to varying extents. It’s hard to be aware of your own biases and weaknesses. I was probably the least aware, though. Which is why I’m the only one who’s been hospitalized for mental illness.

Q: In light of modern day approaches to psychotherapy, it’s sad to see that your mother was treated harshly in the mental healthcare arena. It’s horrific that she was subjected to ECT and a padded cell, but that seems typical treatment of those patients from that time. How frustrating is that for you?

A: She and I have talked extensively about it. I have had plenty of time to process it so it’s not frustrating to me. It’s just a reality. I suppose it would have been more frustrating if she were to spring it on me now for the first time. But then again, it’s so long ago—I don’t know.

Q: Do you feel that most of your family holds your mother responsible for the dissolution of the marriage? Or do they see it as a complex situation? Some family members seem to point the finger mainly at your mother. Am I just being defensive of Mom? You know them more intimately.

A: l certainly appreciate anyone being defensive of my mom. So thank you. But I think we all understand it to have been a complex situation. Of course we were all kids then and incapable of seeing it that way at the time.

Q: It took me years to come to terms with my father’s mental illness. To demystify and unmonstrify (is that a word? it is now!) him. Did you ever blame your mother for her inability to care for you or hold the family together? Or were you too young to remember?

A: I always knew she had problems. I was never mad at her, but I was frequently scared by her. Again, this movie only covers up to when I start to have memories. There’s a whole bunch of stuff I dealt with later and some when it was just me in the house with her. No dad or siblings around to help.

Q: As the youngest, I think I do the most question-asking and memory-sharing with my mother. Is that true for you? Why do you think you ask the most questions? Do other family members like to forget that time?

A: I ask the most because I understood the least. Everyone else saw these things take place when they were old enough to consciously deal with them. Much of my neglect and abuse happened when I was too young to have episodic memory or an ability to understand the meaning of what was going on. Which is why I became the one with the biggest psych problems. Primitive neglect is what they call what happened to me. So I try to find out why I feel how I do or panic or get depressed the way I do. It’s because of all the stuff I should have learned about feelings as a baby and young child but I didn’t.

Did you already receive an award for the film? (He has already received two!)

Silver Spotlight Award at Spotlight Documentary Film Awards and Exceptional Merit in Human Spirit at the Docs Without Borders Film Festival


You can purchase the DVD on Amazon. Find out more at IMDB as well. It is so personal, yet a comprehensive view of what it’s like to live with someone who is trapped in severe mental illness. It’s profound, cathartic and so informative. Thanks, Chris. For answering these questions and sharing your story. It’s important!

Loser!

“I’m a loser, baby! So, why dontcha kill me…”–Beck 😉

I submitted my audio collection of poems and prose to a contest and didn’t win. Oh well! Here are the entries. Best thing about losing is–I can have my material back to post on my very own blog! Always something to be thankful for. Please listen and let me know your thoughts! Thanks, Dear Readers. Thanks for getting me. :*

Responsible 2

The families impacted by the mass shooter in Texas should sue the irresponsible gun owner who did not store his weapons carefully enough to prevent mass murder.

Sue their guns off.

The next gun owner who is careless enough to let a family member or friend gain access or possession of their firearms should be prosecuted for accessory to murder or criminal negligence.

The NRA shouldn’t have a problem with responsible gun ownership.

Responsible

What I’m about to type is a very conservative, fundamental, controversial viewpoint about the state of confusion in which we find ourselves. If you have factual evidence to contradict me, you can comment peacefully below. Thanks.


We are in the clean-up stages of yet another school shooting. The media is competing for your viewership/readership with breaking details about why this happened. We all know why this happened. A crazy person with a GUN, a crazy person without a fully developed frontal lobe shot multiple other human beings because they lost (or never had) the ability to respect life. And we are responsible. Everyone. Every single person who touched this boy’s life is responsible.

That would include: the media, video game designers, his CHURCH, parents who don’t store their guns properly, gun manufacturers, fellow students, teachers, parents of peers, social media, t-shirt manufacturers, school administration, the girl who let four months of harassment culminate in an explosive humiliation of her peer, anyone who saw something and didn’t say something, magazine manufacturers (publications and bullet-holders), pornography of all kinds, mental health counselors. The whole damn confusing world is responsible for this bullshit.

Oh. Not you?

Really?

In a culture that allows women to strip, or pretend to strip, for money? We are responsible. We allow teens, even accidentally, access to guns? Responsible. We do not love others unconditionally? Responsible. We have turned away from modesty, decency, restraint and community? Responsible. We have turned from God or love to love of money, guns or beauty? Responsible.

We teach young men to look at the height of beauty, to desire an image, but we ask them to control their biological impulses. Look, but don’t touch. Unless I want you to. #metoo Confusion!

Magazines today are the cock-tease of the world. Without modesty, we are definitely confusing those males who are underdeveloped and ill-equipped to sort out boundaries. We tease them with beauty, love and acceptance. We sell fantasy. Then reject them. Then we allow them access to a gun.

It’s easy to point to the parents, the teachers in that school district, to guns. But what are we actually doing about loving others? Not tempting our brother? Reaching out for the least of these and not humiliating them, getting them help? How can we pursue our personal freedom if someone else is being shot, struggling to eat, or threatening to end their life or the life of others? What are we teaching our young daughters? How to conduct themselves with modesty and kindness or get what they want at any cost?

Before we crucify another boy for mental illness and murder, should we not ask ourselves what needs to change in addition to stricter gun laws? How can I change what’s happening? How can I conduct myself in a safe, respectable, responsible way to impact the world? If I am continually harassed, what can I do to change that? If I don’t want to be thought of in a certain way, if I want to be honored for something other than my body am I offering the world my mind OR my tits, ass, and latest makeup tips? Am I projecting an image to the world that helps or hurts? What makes girls or women of any age think they receive love for showing their body?

Unfortunately, the people that ask these questions aren’t the ones picking up a gun to solve their problems. The world is lost. We are lost until we are loved. Who loved that boy enough to keep him and others from harm?

You can howl at the government and gun makers to reform, but what about our own God-forsaken communities that allow this shit to happen? It takes a village, right? It takes a village to humiliate a murderer. It takes a village to reject a human being. It takes a village to let another boy slip through the cracks. It takes a village to stop this insanity. It takes a village to save another batch of students from slaughter.

We have sold and sacrificed our youth on the altar of money, lust and greed. And it will keep happening until we love everyone. Even the killers. He wasn’t a killer, until he killed.

It will keep happening as long as we are confused, distracted and obsessed with things/power rather than people. God help us.

Dogs in Strollers Signal the End of Times

A repost. Because I just watched John Mulaney’s new Netflix special Kid Gorgeous and he talks about his dog stroller. I’ve lost all respect for you, John. Sigh. But you still make my whole family laugh. So. You got that goin’ for ya.


Do you suppose that at the height of any advanced civilization, pets were carted around in small chariots and worshipped? And then the civilization collapsed due to economic and political disaster? Egyptians, Romans, Mayans. America?? The sign of the end is animal worship IMO. LOL

I don’t know if it’s Florida, old people or Wal-mart, but the amount of small dogs in strollers is increasing. I just saw two Shih Tzus being walked in a stroller on our street on the way home this morning. I saw a Yorkie in a stroller at Wal-mart last week. North Korea has missile capability. The end is nigh. (Please remind me to never go to Wal-mart ever again. Even if they have the cheapest aprons for high school ceramic students in town.)

Seriously though, why stroll a dog? Isn’t the purpose of walking a dog that the dog actually gets exercise? God have mercy on our confused nation. I mean, I love dogs, but a baby stroller?? Please euthanize your dog if they are unable to walk any more. For God’s sake. If you are offended by this advice, you might be a dog-strolling Wal-mart shopper. Or from Florida.

For years I have openly laughed at neighbors standing in small, sad patches of grass behind their dog, watching said dog poop, relaxed with total apathy except for their anxious blue-gloved hand in permanent claw pose, waiting to scoop said poop. The dog always has a smirk or a smile, “I got this human to pick up my shit for free just because I lick his face when he walks in the door.” Or the dog looks totally strained or confused. “Why do I have to poop in front of everyone??”

Who’s in charge? Someone once famously said, “If aliens came to our planet, they would think dogs were in charge because we are picking up their poop!” Aliens would definitely think dogs are in charge if they saw us carting them around in a baby buggy. Gah!

Flooding in Texas. Increased earthquakes. Global climate change. Start prepping now. Actually it’s probably too late. Watch Red Dawn and buy a bottle of Tequila.

I’ll Fly Away

The state of Florida has reduced spending this year and many organizations are struggling to find funds, especially art programs. Our family gave to two organizations, Ringling Art College and Venice Theatre. We are proud to offer any amount of money to these two art-based communities.

Please consider giving. https://givingpartnerchallenge.org/
You can give to Venice Theatre or to any organization. Until noon today, your gift between $25-$100 will be matched. Thank you!

Here’s a video about why my family recently volunteered at Venice Theatre in the play Grapes of Wrath.

I’ll Fly Away is playing in the background as they are doing sound checks. How sweet. That was our ending song for Grapes.

I don’t usually do this…

I don’t usually ask questions, but I’m curious.
SEX
Need or want?

Thanks for any comments. I truly want to know what people think. Please keep it science book appropriate. Thanks! lol

If it’s a need, why? What’s ur theory or evidence?


I’m not just doing this for stats. LOL I asked my FB friends as well. I’ll share my findings. 😀

Free!!

I have 3 publications on Amazon.

Present Tense is 99 cents today. Check it out. I can’t always offer these on sale, but it is right now, so go grab it.

My game play manual is FREE!!! right now, so check that out! Updo Salon & Spa It’s cheap at $2.99, otherwise. It’s a whole night of fun with your galfriends! Fun to just read, you don’t even have to throw the party, but you’ll want to.

Then I have my newest pub, House Full of Hope, a play. 99 cents today as well! Thanks for checking me out OR just joining me in celebrating my New Addition. LOL Bad joke, I know.

Writing a book or blog article or play is very much like giving birth. There is immediate joy after the delivery and you forget how bad you felt in labor. But even in the tears, even in the pain, there is joy to be found and pleasure to be experienced.

Forgive me if I’m the mom who is making you look at all the cute pictures of my new spawn! LOL I’m just so excited to offer low prices (or FREE) on my babies!

Thoughts and Prayers

I offer my thoughts and prayers.


God, please watch over and protect our children. Every. Day.

BUT. ALSO.

God, please help us to have common sense and protect our own children by enacting reasonable gun laws to keep military-style weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill. Please, help us to love our children more than guns. Please, help us trust you more and our ability to protect ourselves less. Help us to trust love instead of fear. Please, help us see the error of our ways and practice modesty, humility and peacefulness instead of looking for a fight. Please, help us reach out for those kids who need help. Not rebuke the misfits. Please, restore our country to the great nation it can be with loving instead of arming, shouting and hating. Please, God, bless our ailing, failing country. We have forsaken the love you sacrificed on the cross for Facebook, status, celebrities and guns. Help us.

AND. PLEASE.

Keep the NRA out of Washington pockets.

A-BOLDFACE-men.

I ask all of these things in all seriousness and fervor. I ask these things in your son’s holy name. We should all sacrifice what we love the most for the sake of healing the world as you did with your son. Please, help us see that.

I don’t want to wonder what that noise was after I drop my daughter at school.