Most People

I hear all the time–“Most people are good.” There’s even a country song about it.
Most People Are Good

I don’t believe this. Most people aren’t good. Most people are selfish. Hurtful. Say the wrong thing. Do the wrong thing. THINK the wrong thing. Cut each other off in traffic. Scream at their kids. Act impatiently. Demand perfection, yet fall short in every single way a human can because…simply because we are not Jesus H. Christ. (the H stands for Herbert, betcha didn’t know that)

Most people are spiritually bankrupt. In fact, all people. In fact, me. I have no currency to enter heaven or even behave in a Godly way. Because I’m human. But thank God that he left us his Holy Spirit. To inhabit our lives so that we may be those good people we tell everyone we are.

I believe that most people wouldn’t murder someone. I believe most people wouldn’t steal. I believe that most people wouldn’t set a bag of poo on fire on their neighbor’s porch. If that’s what you mean by good. But come on. THAT’s the bare minimum. That doesn’t make you a good person.

Most people are people. Meaning–most people are human. All people are human. Except Mark Zuckerberg and Nicolas Cage.

An old woman came up to me last night, after the show, and poked my belly. She said, “That’s not you.” I don’t know what she meant, but I assured her THAT was all me.

I’ve lost so much weight. I have mucho excess skin. It still looks like I carry quite a few extra pounds. My legs are saggy. I basically have a saggy meat apron where my stomach should go. I don’t mind. I feel great. But to have someone poke your belly? Well, that’s just downright mean.

People have been saying all kinds of mean things to me lately. I try not to let it bother me. But this is exactly why, for years, I insulated myself with food. Extra fat. Isolated from community. Refused to love other people because I didn’t want to be hurt over and over. Protected my vulnerability and extra sensitivity. Avoided confrontation because I was ill-equipped to deal with people’s ignorance and arrogance. Unable to say completely what I wanted for fear of never stopping.

Where does some old woman get off poking me in the belly? Most people are dicks. But I don’t have to be. The only way I can be saved. The only way I can claim goodness. To accept the Holy Spirit each and every day and cling to his providence of fruits. Then my vine shall blossom.


God fill me with your holiness. The Spirit of your Son. So that I may love this depraved world. Let me complete your work. That is my purpose. That is my strength. That is my whole reason for living. For your sake. For our collective sake. Amen.

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Ma

I open tonight in Grapes of Wrath. I’m nervous, excited and filled with emotion. All the things you should feel right before a debut. Except. I miss my mommy.

I chose to move to Florida. I chose to risk everything and make a new life, here in paradise. But I left behind a few things to come this far. Not possessions or a home. Friends. Most of all, my mother.

We had a beautiful day before we left. It was Mother’s Day 2017. We went to her hometown and drove around for the day. It was really special. Had lunch in a small cafe. The whole day was relaxed, yet compelling. Exciting and at the same time, comfortable. Familiar.

Perfect day for pictures. Sunny, cool and countrified. I snapped a pic of my mom and daughter at the restaurant in a very comfortable moment.

belarussian two lillies
Love those smiles. My two Lillis.

I put my own mother’s picture, the picture above in black and white, in my memory box on stage. That’s the one that gets me.

I have a box of pictures and a pair of earrings. I take the earrings and leave the pictures to burn. There’s no room on the journey for papers and keepsakes. I have to summon emotion to hold back tears to leave this precious box. So the one picture that always gets me? The one of my mother and daughter.

I ask myself, when I see the long, lonely road, “Will I travel this way again?”

I ask myself, when I look at her childhood home back in Missouri, “Will I see this place again?”

I ask myself, when I look at her picture, “Will I see you again?”

And I don’t have to do anything but that.

It’s a real concern, when you stray far from home, will I see these faces? Will I return to these places?

I’m homesick. Terribly so. But honestly. I feel like I’ve found a home at theatre again.

Whenever I have been lonely. In need of care. In need of laughter. Tears. Emotion. Connection. I have found that home on stage.

It’s bizarre. I know. Most people would chalk acting up to the pinnacle of emotional cutting. It is. But I have connected with people in audiences from all walks of life.

I met a downright Marlboro Man from western Nebraska who shared his tragic life story with me after I shared my story with him on stage. He waited at the end of the receiving line after the performance of my original play Fat. He waited to be last in line, hung back, so that when everyone had left, this chiseled-and-hewn rail of a man could cry in my arms. That would have never happened without theatre.

The breeze was blowing over my legs last night as I sat on my front porch. I was relaxed and happy at the work we put in yesterday to prepare for opening night. I’ve felt the same feeling before.

Sitting outside my community college, just starting back to school in 2009, waiting for my husband to pick me up. Late at night. I looked up at the trees. The wind was swirling through the shuddering leaves. The night was cool. I was happy with my effort. And I just felt God’s overwhelming presence as I sat and meditated. It brought a smile to my face and warmness to my heart. I didn’t know where God or my feet would take me, but I had hope for what was to come. I was right to have hope.

Whenever I feel those same cool breezes, I know God is with me. I just wish my mommy was, too. Love you, Mom. This isn’t for me or for you, I’m telling this story to share God’s grace and mercy for those who have hard times and continue to rise up and labor for goodness. For simple souls who need a voice.


Thank you, God. For such an amazing opportunity to share this story. Thank you for reminding me–God is with us. Even when our loved ones are not.

hold the door open for grace

i thought i shared this already. this is from 2015, originally.


i was being the door lady at Lilli’s school this morning and a car pulled up with two kids and one irate mom. i opened the door as the van pulled up to the curb. one child got out of the back and another opened the door to the passenger side front. she didn’t get out. her mother was mad. frustrated. high-pitched. irritated. annoyed. yelling.

u could tell she felt disrespected and very taken aback. did she have a right to feel that way? who knows? maybe. probably. maybe not. maybe she’s on her period, maybe she’s super demanding, maybe nothing anybody ever does pleases her and she’s just a high-riding bitch. maybe her daughter said something really nasty to her right before she opened the door and the mother had a legitimate beef with her evil, rotten spawn of a demon child.

maybe not.

i don’t really know either one of the people i’m describing. my limited experience with this family is that the daughter was gossiping and picking on my daughter at the beginning of the school year. in choir, the girl started a rumor that Lilli was a terrible singer and that she was single-handedly ruining the choir. i’m not exaggerating this rumor. that’s what was said. funny. because Lilli just made honor choir after auditioning for only a few moments. she thought she messed up and wanted to try again. the choir teacher said, “No need. You did just fine. I gave you a 5 out of 5.” not bragging, but i don’t think she’s ruining the choir.

so this is the girl who said bad things about my kid. she purposefully tried to hurt my daughter.

do i dislike her? no. she’s just a kid. and whatever behavior she learned is directly the responsibility of her parents. do i hold a grudge against this kid? no. she’s just a kid. i’m a xian and were supposed to forgive and forget. was i wary of this kid? yeah. i felt nervous for MY kid. mama bear has her claws out. at least.

today though. today. i had deep compassion for this kid. i am this kid. she’s tall, overweight, bully-ish and uncomfortable in most situations. she doesn’t feel like she fits in and so…lashes out. her parent is riding her and she has a bad attitude. she’s probably been pushed around by parents, other kids and other adults. i was this poor kid.

and i’m the mother. ready to be offended. i don’t yell at my kid, but i sure as shit harp on my husband. i don’t wanna be the crazy lady yelling in the car in front of everyone. but i do often feel disrespected. i wish to GOD i was not so easily offended/hurt/angered/tempted. i am an easy target for Satan when it comes to my pride. so i am the daughter. i am the mother. i am the embarrassing sideshow in front of the school. so what did i do?

i recognized my own failure in these actions. i identified with these people and i gave them grace in my heart. if not a verbal acknowledgement…a mental pass at their behavior. because so often i make constant judgments about people’s ridiculous behavior and i cut them down in my mind. kill someone in your mind with words, might as well kill them IRL. that’s what the bible says.

BUT! this morning. i made a change. i prayed for them! i prayed for them on the spot because i don’t want to be judged when i find myself in the same situation. i said, “Good morning!” with a smile to the girl who hurt my daughter. and i prayed all over her as she walked by. she doesn’t deserve it, but neither do i. and i prayed for the mom to wake up, get right, calm down and have a good day. praying that for myself too. amazing things to learn when holding the door for people and volunteering ur time at school. little lessons in the smallest examples of service. it’s humbling to have to hold the door for someone the world would tell you to hate. try washing their feet.

My Jewels

In the play that I’m in right now, Grapes of Wrath (sorry, lots of blogs about Grapes, that’s at the top of my thinking right now), I take a pair of earrings with me from the house as we make way for California from Oklahoma.

We don’t have much room on the truck, but a pair of earrings has value and fit neatly in my pocket. I give the earrings to Rosasharon later.

When I came to Florida, we didn’t have much. Some household items: couch, TV, everyday odds and ends, enough crap to fill a U-haul, but not many valuables. More than some folks. Enough to be eternally grateful.

But. It could have all burned up in a fiery crash, fell down a cliff in a runaway U-haul, or ended up in the Gulf for all I cared.

My earrings were/are my husband and child. They are my precious jewels. The treasure I slip into my pocket when all is lost. The value I take with me. The items I can’t do without. The adornment God has dripped from my ears and hung around my neck. They make me feel beautiful.


Thank you for a wonderful birthday, Guy. It was so fulfilling.

I can only imagine

i imagine what it will be like when i stand before God. finally to be with him, just to be near him. that he will know all my sins and still love me.

he already does.

that he will judge me and rightly so. i will be held accountable, all will be fair, all will be balanced. all will be wiped away with one stroke if we simply bow.

what will it be like to be embraced by our father?

one by one, he will reach out for us and we will collapse in his arms. won’t that be heaven? to be known. completely. to be cherished.

we already are.

Promise

ok. take all ur hopes, dreams and wishes and.

throw them out the window.

start over and ask God what he wants for u.

ask him to show it to u. be patient. look for it. be brave.

when u put God first, u start wanting things u didn’t even know were possible, things that he’s set aside just for u.

it looks weird. it feels weird. but I promise, God promises, that it will be magical, supernatural and unbelievably good.

he has promised to prosper us and not harm us.

my husband looked at me one day and wondered, “how we can we be in such a good place right now?” (after bankruptcy and foreclosure, cancer, medical debt, heart failure)

and I think it’s because we finally straightened out our priorities. we stopped wishing for better and started being better.

he gives us good things when we put him first. u can’t wish for a boat/motorcycle/bigger house/pool/money and pretend like that’s ur prayer to God. those things won’t make it better.

u can’t ask for a better kid/spouse/life until YOU become a better kid/spouse/person.

give it up and hand it over, u’ll be surprised. promise.

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.