This is my final day of a five day staycation...and I am exhausted.  My whole body is achy and tired.  I'm a bit depleted.  In hindsight, I know that I should have paced myself better.  So today, I plan to spend the day in my pajamas and soothe my soul with some Earl Grey from my favorite cup.  My kids gave me this Christmas coffee mug years and years ago.  It's sentimental to me and so whenever I want to cocoon and take care of myself, out comes the cup.

     I fully admit that I overdid it this weekend.  It has always been my personality to go full-tilt when I get a new idea or have a new project.  However, in this new season of my life, I know that one of the lessons I am supposed to be learning is that slow and steady wins the race.  

     One of the many things I have learned in the past year is how important it is to stay balanced and to love yourself.  Self-care is crucial to be happy and peaceful.  So, although I wish I had taken a few days for taking care of myself, I will try to make the most of this day.  I plan to meditate, blog, and chill.  Life is sweet and I am so grateful for times of rest and restoration.

xoxo, V.



     I had a wonderful weekend!  See, when planning to move back home, I set a life goal to actually experience my life and the people around me.  While living in Arizona, I had a nice life, but it was a small life.  After nearly seven years there, I really didn't accomplish anything.  I only took a few small trips and made almost no friends.  Admittedly this was because I tend to bend my life and my personality to fit the desires of the partner I have at the time.  And usually, I tend to end up with people who live small lives and frankly, are usually assholes who are threatened by women who have lives of their own.  But that's a whole other story.

     When I moved home, I decided that I was actually going to do all of the things that I had been wishing I could do.  And I spent years raving about all of the things to do in Ohio and how Arizona didn't compare.  So, I vowed to live a bigger life, full of love and experiences than I ever had.  And I've really tried to do that since coming home. 

     The other part of this is that with the spiritual journey that I've been on for the past year, I've learned that one of our main missions in this life is to live without fear.  To live with abandon.  Not reckless abandon, but abandon.  I've always lived exactly the opposite of that.  Very carefully, hyper-vigilant about danger, careful, etc...and it hasn't gotten me very far.  So, in the second act of my life, I want to do the things that I always said I couldn't do because I had small children and a lot of bills.  That I didn't do because I had a partner that was a butt.  I plan to live my life instead of letting my life live me.

     Normally, when I take time off of work, I plan to stay home and do absolutely nothing.  Because that sounds like Heaven, doesn't it?  But this time, I made plans.  And I had a blast!

     Thursday, I dropped Emma and her girlfriend off at Cedar Point.  I got a haircut (which didn't turn out so well, but them's the breaks).  Allison came up for a short visit.  We got to have dinner and catch up.  I soooo miss my friends and hate that they all live so far away!  

     Friday, Courtney, Emma and Madi (Emma's girlfriend) went with me to Stan Hywet, which is the beautiful old mansion built by the owner of Goodyear Tire.  I had been there several times when I was younger, but my kids had never been there.  Unfortunately, Courtney wasn't feeling well so we couldn't explore the gardens as much as we wanted to.  But, they have  a new tour that shows all of the behind the scenes stuff and the rooms they don't normally show, so it's a good reason to go back! Plus, I want to go at Christmas because it's supposed to be beautiful.

    After we left the mansion, we met up with Jon & Allison for dinner.  We had a nice time together and getting caught up.  I love having friends that have known me for so long, I can just be.  I don't have to be "on" or sell myself (I'm sure you know what I mean).  It's just sweet to be together and have a nice meal.  

(Their Dramamine just kicked in)

    Saturday was jam-packed.  I ran Emma and Madi to Cedar Point in the morning.  I then raced home to get ready to go to the theater with some work friends.

    Now, this is a great example of how when you put your intention out there, the universe will rise up to meet you.  I've already talked about my intentions to do and see more.  I've been thinking for a few years now that I need to get my passport.  This way, it's ready when I need it, and because that will help set my intentions for travel and put that energy out into the universe.

     Well, at work, some of us created a book club that we have once a week.  At this book club, I made a friend named Lauren.  She also happens to go to the weekly meditation that they have in the  chapel.  So, Lauren starts talking one day about how she has decided to do more with her life and so she is going to get her passport this month in order to set the intention into the universe about what she wants.  *cricket, cricket*

     I was like, "Are you serious?!" and I explained my story to her.  I said excitedly that I want to do more things like go to the theater and travel.  As I was explaining this, her eyes got huge and she said, "I am going to see The Phantom of the Opera on July 3rd!  I actually have an extra ticket because I knew someone would come along that wanted to go!  Do you want to go?" I told her of course I wanted to go and that she must have bought the ticket for me!

     So, see how God conspires for your happiness when you surrender to what your soul is craving and you put the intention out to fill it?  He synchronizes people and events to help you achieve it.  God never fails to amaze me with how good He is.

     I LOVE the theater!  I have seen many shows, but not nearly enough.  I fully intend to go back as often as I can.  After the show, we went to the Haufbrau House, which is a charming German restaurant near Playhouse Square.  The food was uh-mazing.

     We had some great conversation and a lot of laughs.  I met some new friends.  It was a great time.

     When I left there, I had to race back to Cedar Point to pick up the kids so we could get ready for the fireworks.  See, in Arizona, holidays are just NOT the same.  Nothing is celebrated the same.  The fireworks are okay, but you experience them sitting on the side of the road or in a gravel parking lot.  There is nothing festive there.  And they don't have picnics or barbecues for the holiday either.  It was all just blah.  

      Because of this, I couldn't wait to go to the fireworks at the lake like we always do.  It really felt wonderful to be home.  I want to travel, but I never want this to not be my home again.  You don't appreciate this place until you leave home for a while.  Coming home, you realize just how beautiful Ohio is and how much it truly has to offer. 

xoxo v.


Original gangster...

     Today’s writing prompt is, “Are you distracted by technology.”  Ha.  Umm, yeah.  Aren’t we all in this day and age?
     Technology is a WONDERFUL thing!  I have such an appreciation for technology, particularly where it lends to long-distance communication.  I can remember not all that long ago when NONE of this was possible!
     Not being able to call a friend in the next town because it was “local long-distance”.  And if you did get to call, it had to be after 7pm because that’s when the rates were cheaper.  Because of this, my BFF Allison and I had the original blogs.  We each had a big spiral notebook that we would write letters in all day every day talking about our life and what was happening, and then we would exchange the notebooks at church.  We would go home and excitedly pour through what the other had to say and then we would start all over again.  Would that be blogging or texting?  I don’t know.  Maybe some of both.  Either way, we are totally the  OG’s of blogging.
     I remember one of us taking pictures with our 110 camera and then having to wait a week (or way more) for the drug store to develop the film.  And God-forbid if someone forgot to order doubles of the prints!  Nostalgia is the only good thing about looking back on that era.
Now, everything is instant and beautiful!  I can not only talk to, but SEE anyone I want to call!  No matter WHERE they are! 
     However, to whom much is given, much is required.  We have all of this glorious technology, but at what cost?  First of all, let’s talk about noise pollution.  Technology can be NOISY.    When there is a TV blaring in the background, phones are going off, someone has headphones in but you can still hear the music, someone else is talking on their phone…ugh.  It’s too much.  Sometimes I just turn everything off and sit in the quiet.  It is so nice.
     Secondly, we act like we are mandated to be available 24 hours a day. We have no privacy and there are no boundaries.  If someone texts, they expect an immediate (or almost) answer.  It’s ridiculous.
     Third, because our faces are always stuck in our phones, we are missing life.  Life is happening every second of every day, but most of us see it through a phone screen and a camera.  And have you ever noticed that no matter how good of a camera you are using, that nothing captures what is really happening like the human eye?  You can be watching the most glorious sunset and try to take a picture, but the picture will always pale in comparison.  Always.  There is nothing like our human eyes.  If you live your life and take it all in, you will have experiences and memories that far surpass any picture you could have taken of it.  Recorded music never sounds as good as live and the colors in a picture are never as vibrant as through the human eye.
     Because of all this, I decided a few weeks ago to take a weekly technology Sabbath.  One day a week, I choose Sunday, I put the technology down and try not to be on my phone.  I don’t totally turn it off and I may glance at Facebook once or twice in the day, but I in no way spend much time on there.  Not like I normally do.  It’s nice and I think it helps bring you into balance.  It sounds like a silly question, but seriously… What would you do or accomplish today if you were not allowed to be on technology?  Would you talk to your friend longer?  Read a book, go for a walk, take a nap, spend time with the kids… all the good stuff in life. 
     I’m excited to make this a tradition in our lives.  I have been saying for a long time now, that I bet there will be a shift in consciousness because of the over-availability of technology.  The same way that everyone used to have a home phone and now hardly anyone does, I bet the pendulum will swing the other way in the future.  Everyone is going to appreciate phones, but become sick of how intrusive the phone is into their lives and will use them less and less, going back to home phones.  I’m curious to see how that plays out.  I at least predict that people will seek a better balance than there is now.

xoxo v.


Because I know you've been wondering...

     Today someone posted a homophobic rant on my daughter’s Facebook page.  I actually think it was a stupid teenage joke because the same kid that wrote it left a comment saying, “Can you imagine if this is really how I acted?”  But it wasn’t funny to me.
     When I read those words in the early morning light, I felt that old familiar adrenaline surge that means only one thing…danger.  It is a swell of energy that starts in my stomach and rises up through my chest tells me that I need to protect someone I love, and that is a feeling I detest.  I wanted to find that kid and throat-punch him into submissive apologies.
     However, I decided to be a grown up about it.  I let a comment for him to “Delete this shit immediately” and then I reported the post to Facebook.  Can you believe that Facebook saw nothing wrong with the post?  I am still speechless.
     Today this got me thinking about this whole situation.  On the one hand, I am proud of all of the people in my life that I know (that I know that I know) are homophobic, for not lashing out at my daughter since she came out.  They have either been supportive of her, or they have been very obviously quiet and absent in the matter.  The silence speaks volumes, trust me.  We all know why you are all silent, but I appreciate that you have a silent judgmental disapproval than a vocal one. 
     I have been asked, more than once, “How do YOU feel about this?” (my daughter coming out as a lesbian).  Emphasis on the YOU because most of the people asking me this are silently wondering if I am traumatized, or trying to beat the gay out of her, or if I am mortified, or if I’m just a big worldly sinner that thinks it’s all okay.
     So, to answer that question… I am fine with it.  I love and support my daughter. Please let me explain further. 
     I grew up in an extremely legalistic, judgmental, critical church (and family).  As in most churches, the worst part of the judgment is that everyone picked and chose what would be judged, and what would be acceptable.  For example, we had several pedophiles in the church that no one would outwardly condone, but would allow in the church if they pedophile was being quiet and good…but I couldn’t teach the preschoolers in Sunday School anymore because I had been divorced.  People could stand in the parking lot and smoke cigarettes.  Oh, it might have been frowned upon, but no one would say anything.  However, let a gay person try to attend church…they would be chased out of there and probably told they were going to hell and to never come back.
     I am a Christian.  I love Christ.  However, I greatly dislike most churches and most religion because of the way I was raised.  All I think of when I think of these kinds of churches is hate, judgment, and hypocrisy.  Please don’t get me wrong, there are some truly lovely people that are very dear to me that still attend, but overall I stand by my statement.  I think the Christians in all of these old-fashioned little churches have a sincere desire to please God, but I think they are going about it all wrong.  I think they are mostly based in fear rather than love.  They are afraid of displeasing God, and they are afraid of looking as if they condone something "worldly".  Because of this, they shun anything that the mainstream church would not deem acceptable.  
     I mean, hey, if they're caught hanging out with or being friendly to a gay person, they will be the next person judged and criticized.  Who wants that?  Better to be safe and critical than to be kind and love one another.  I feel like those statements are going to hurt a lot of feelings and that isn't my intention. I think if people take a step back and with an open mind see if there could any truth to this perception, they will see how I can feel this way.
     Here is where I stand… we no longer live under the law.  We live under grace.  Of course the law is still a holy guideline for us to follow, but not even Jesus cast dispersions upon those that sinned.  He loved them and he commanded us to do the same.  We each have free will.  It is up to God and the Holy Spirit to convict us if we are doing something that does not bring him honor.  IT IS UP TO GOD.  It is not my business to condemn anyone, as long as they are not harming another human being.  It is my job to love.
     Let me say it again…
     I do not believe that any of that legalistic, critical, hatemongering garbage accomplishes anything.  When I was in college, my good friend Scott revealed to me that he was gay.  I didn’t bat an eyelash because I loved him.  He was my friend.  Months later, he revealed to me that when he came out to me, he expected me to shun him because he was gay.  Because that is what every other Christian he had ever known had done to him.  Hearing that broke my heart.  He also went on to tell me that because of my kindness and friendship, he had gotten up the nerve to go back to church.  The last time he went, he was chased out and told “God hates fags” and that he is going to hell.  This time, he tried again and found a peaceful place to seek the Lord.
     Isn’t that the most important thing?  Living in a way so that others see Jesus through you and want what you have?  How do you expect that to happen when you go mysteriously silent and absent from their lives, or even worse… you act out in hate?  That is not how Christ would act.  You know the old cliché, “What would Jesus do?”  Well, that’s a legit question.  What would Jesus do?  Jesus would love the person and encourage them to seek the Lord.  And he would tell all of the rest of us to only cast a stone if we are without sin.  And we are all full of sin…we just like to judge others who sin differently than we do.  My other kids have all started smoking in adulthood.  Should I shun them? What about all of you/us who are divorced?  Overweight?  Have had phone sex or fornicated?  Gotten drunk? You get the picture.  I mean, aren’t kids who sass their parents supposed to get stoned to death under the law?  If that was the case, there would be no teenagers left and then what would we do?
     Just to clarify, I do not think that being gay is wrong.  I believe that gay people are born that way and I believe that love is love, no matter who is doing the loving.  I do not mean to purposely lump gay people into a pile with other "sins".  I have only written this in this way and made the points I have made because I know that most of the people reading this will be hard-core Christians who do believe being gay is a sin.  Okay, moving on.
     My daughter is my heart.  She is beautiful, creative, funny, articulate, and kind.  She is also gay.  I love her and I am proud of her for being willing to be open about it rather than kill herself with shame and fear.  If this is just a phase and next year she is into boys, then okay.  And if it’s not a phase and she lives her life as a gay woman, then I pray that she finds a kind and gentle, intelligent, open-hearted woman to spend her life with.  I married two MEN from my church…one was an adulterer and the other was a woman-beater and a child molester.  My goal is to see my children in loving, happy, healthy relationships.  Period. 
     I will love my children because they are worthy of love and kindness, no matter what decisions they make about anything in life.  I will stand by them, and I will come for the throat of anyone who tries to harm them.  And, I will leave the rest to God.

 Emma and her girlfriend Madi.

xoxo v.
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