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.


Lady Snow

I love being a Grandma! :)

The only thing that would make it better is if she were closer
and I could see her more often.

But, I love her so much.
She will call me Mimi which warms my heart.

It never fails to amaze me they way babies instill love into 
people and situations without even trying.
 I truly believe God knows what he's doing (well, duh, of course He does)
when He sends a baby into a situation.

They are pure love.  Fresh from Heaven.

I'm so glad she's here and I can't wait 
to pour love into this little girls life. 

xoxo v.


The Muse

I miss writing.  I love to write and consider myself a writer, yet never find (or make) the time to write.  One day turns into thirty which turns into a year.  I’ve had enough of this.  It’s time to make a change.
But how do I do that?  You know, make that change?  I know that the only way writers write is by actually putting an ass in the chair in front of the keyboard.  But beyond that, how do I dive back into something when I’ve gotten so out of the habit? 
The Muse has gotten the hint that I’m just not that into her, and she has moved onto more artistically greener pastures.  But, as in all great relationships, I have realized that I want her back.  I want to show her that I’ve changed and that I’m ready for a serious relationship.  Now, I just hope that she will come back and give me another chance.
I can remember, years ago, when I was heavily into blogging.  It’s like the muse had a nightly date with me.  Sometimes at work (I worked nights), or sometimes on the way home from work.  It’s like I could feel her coming and I would scramble to hold onto the words she gave me.  Seriously, sometimes it was tough!  I would look for bits and scraps that I could jot notes down on, or I would try to remember them verbatim. 
Sometimes it worked and I produced a beautiful piece of writing and sometimes, not so much.  I believe that inspiration knew that if it gave me a piece of writing, that I would fulfill the contract of bringing that writing to fruition.  I had built up good Muse credit, if you will.   Over the years though, I became lazier, more private, and more preoccupied.  I stopped honoring the contracts presented to me and now I have ruined my credit with the Muse. 
You know what is so interesting is that I have started reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and she believes almost exactly as I do about the Muse and inspiration.  She believes that Inspiration is an actual entity from God (like an Angel) that has the sole charge of bringing artistic works and new ideas into the world.  Inspiration (the being) moves from person to person seeking someone that is willing to bring a given work into the world.  If they do, then great.  If they don’t, then eventually inspiration takes the given work and presents it to someone different to be birthed. 
This is why, she asserts, that there are sometimes lawsuits about “You stole my song! I recorded something similar thirty years ago but never had it finished!”  That’s because you didn’t finish it and so the idea was given to someone else.  Something similar has happened to me.  Years ago, I was working on a novel.  The idea was literally downloaded into my consciousness in one instant lump sum.  I was driving down a snowy highway when all of a sudden, I knew plot, characters, mood, etc. of this whole book.
I was kind of blown away but was so excited.  I worked hard on that book and had it at least half-way written.  However, I reneged on my contract with inspiration and put the book on the back shelf for a while.  I let life get in the way.  Now, the book is no longer mine.  One of the themes of my story was about a woman being out of her known place in time and waking up in a completely different time and how she coped with that. 
Well, those types of story lines began popping up all over the place.  My book probably would have been published and would have been successful.  I’m fairly certain of that.  But, I let it slide and now the idea is no longer mine.  First of all, it is no longer timely…the idea has been done.  Second, even when I have tried my hardest to get back into writing the book, it is gone.  Deader than a doornail.  The idea is no longer mine…the Muse took it back. 
So, what to do now?  I think I will begin by just putting my ass in the chair every day and seeing what happens.  I have found a month-long writing challenge and think I will follow those prompts and see what happens.  It feels good and feels like the right time.  Who says you can’t go home again?

xoxo v.
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