Straight up happiness photos

In the MIDDLE of our car breaking down, me breaking down, etc, we pulled over to assess the car situation and THIS happened and really and truly nothing else mattered!!! After we finally made it home and I got to look at these photos I was so proud of us for seizing the moment. My husband brought out the duck food that I mixed and we keep in the car, and sprinkled it around for them. Many ducks came. Even a cat came! These moments are why photography has simply saved my life! I hope they make you as happy as they make me.

Love/Hate of me list

A few weeks ago I was in a store and someone muttered under their breath that I was a lesbian. It took me aback a bit. Then I was like “POWER TO THE WOMEN!” Call me a lesbian!

Last week someone called me a boy. They actually thought that since I was “small” and had “short hair” I was a boy. I must say I was a bit offended. Why does short hair make me a boy? But then again I don’t always care what people think of me. Why it bothered me that that person though I was a boy I have no clue. Just one of those days I think. It got me thinking about myself though. I thought about how I look, how I dress, how others perceive me and that led me to what I think of others which then led me to my Love/Hate about myself blog. This list gets things added to it daily! Like after I wrote this I just thought “OH wait, I Love how when I see a butterfly I feel like a child! That should be on my love list!” And then I thought ” I really hate that my muscle disease makes me pee in the bed which then gives me 4 hours of laundry and I HATE that about myself for so many reasons! On the hate list!!!” So here is my original list…

The things I love about myself:

1. I don’t judge a person for what they look like. Their clothing, their make up or lack of, their hair length, their shoes, or anything physical does not make me judge them. Whether they have a limp, a wheelchair, does not make me think anything. My thoughts on a person are not reflected or based upon how they look whatsoever.

2. I don’t judge based on gender identity, sexual preference, religious beliefs or lack of, political views.

3. I try to find something positive in everyone that I meet.

4. I try to find something beautiful in nature every day.

5. I give thanks at the end of the day even if it is the worst day EVER.

6. I will spend an hour sitting with a dying cow because I love every creature on earth

7. I will spend an hour trying to get a tree frog out of the house that has jumped in.

8. I will do the right thing even if it means it could hurt me or have dangerous repercussions EX: reporting nursing home abuse and being chased out of the nursing home by the owner for taking photos of the abuse

9. I stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves

10. I know when to apologize and I do

11. I love with all of my heart

12. I will go into a house that is full of pesticide bomb just to save a cat and her kittens because their lives are worth it and I have.

13. I tell the truth

14. I have humility, integrity, and honor.

15. I am 100% faithful and devoted to my husband and always will be

16. I am 100% devoted to being a mother to my daughter and I will always fight for her and be her advocate

17. I try each day to evolve, be a better person. I have an open mind and am willing to change with new information and education.

18. I feel deep empathy for those who suffer and have been affected by tragedy and abuse and I want to make a difference to them.

19. I’ve never intentionally hurt anything or anyone. I will take great measures to help others and animals

20. I see each person for the individual that they are. What their heart and souls say matters to me. Their actions and their ability to love and have acceptance are what I want to “see.” I can look at a person and it will not cross my mind their weight, their scars, and what others may judge. I “see” what my heart feels by just being in their presence.

21. I respect others even if their views are nothing like mine.

Things I hate about myself (hate is a strong word so we will say, frustrate me about me)

1. I blindly trust

2. I forget to establish boundaries

3. I feel deeply and profoundly so that when I am hurt or even if I see someone else hurting it affects me for days.

4. I have not conquered even in the slightest % PTSD

5. I have not conquered even in the slightest % of past abuse affects

6. Physical pain in my body puts me in a foul mood and I am not as patient as I should be

7. That I still have dissociation

8. That perfume/cologne/scents affect me so intensely and ruin an entire day (ptsd)

9. That I have this muscle disease

10. That I cannot be independent because of the muscle disease

11. That I have to rely on others and they are often not there for me

12. That I feel alone even when I shoudln’t

13. That I am so hard on myself for allowing people in my life that end up hurting me

14. I hate that I have so much hate for my family. I wish I could just forget about them all together

15. The nightmares I have each night

16. That I don’t have more of a support system.

17. That society expects the “norm” to be THEIR norm and that if you don’t fit into a box then you are discarded, judged, humiliated.

18. That I feel that being me is not enough

19. That I cannot be the mom I want to be due to the PTSD and the muscle disease limits what I want to be capable of.

The tiny little things that bring me joy

*i accidentally pressed publish instead if insert picture….oops if you only got one paragraph with no title on the first go around!!!

I’ve lived in this house for 14 years now. The prairie is one mile away from my house. I have a few friends who live across the other side of the prairie. They let my daughter and me pet their sweet horses and goats. 14 years I have driven through the prairie. 14 years I have been going for walks around my neighborhood, only 2 of those years without the use of my wheelchair. My husband said on our walk today that he was amazed that after 14 years I STILL find new things that I did not see before. I seek and find moments of joy every single day. Today it was this simple leaf. I stopped. I looked at the yard empty of trees, full of grass, and one brown leaf in the middle. I have no idea why it caught my eye or why it gave me joy. It did though. I find joy in the tiniest of things.

We stopped to look at some orange berries. I see black, red, purple, pink but never orange berries until today.

Then I looked up at the clouds. I thought about how fortunate we are to live in Florida where the sun shines most days. There were mostly blue skies with some wispy while clouds. Then I looked harder and there was the moon. In the middle of the day the moon was so camouflaged with the clouds I almost didn’t notice it.

14 years in this home there have been many changes. Friends have come and moved away. Loved ones in the neighborhood have passed away. In the midst of these 14 years of changes there is something that always remains the same…the tiny acts of kindness.

It never fails.

There is always someone who comes along in my life and gives the tiniest act of kindness. But it is so big to me.

Right now I have a neighbor that leaves me cards that have owls on them. I woke up yesterday and she had left a beautiful card and a small owl. I felt so blessed! I mean just having someone like this exist on this planet gives me faith in the future. This one woman and her tiny act of kindness really does mean everything.

My owl is now sitting next to my other favorite owl which was given to me by a very special blogger friend that I will cherish forever!

It is really the things that OTHERS think are the little things that mean everything to me.

Later in the day I went to the prairie and was blessed by seeing my sweet cows and then the deer that just happen to be waiting everytime I pass. Then there are the donkey eyes!!! Just looking through the fence. So small I know. But so precious to me.

Every day at this time when I go to visit the animals and watch the sunset I run into my friend for about 2 minutes. 2 minutes every few days I see her. We stop and she reaches out her hand. She gives me a few kind words. A few prayers. Just kindness. 2 minutes of kindness. I adore that she always stops no matter where she is going just to let me know that I matter. It is a special 14 year old friendship that only requires 2 minutes of the tiniest of kindness moments to be more than enough!!!

I was just in time to watch the breathtaking sunset. Which was or may look like just a tiny thing in the grand scheme of life. To me this sunset was everything. It gave me a moment to remember that for me the tiny things are the biggest for my heart. In that sunset moment after my friend had left I just felt a minute of peace. Priceless really.

So, even if you think you have been and seen everything in your little area of your life, don’t give up. There is something just around the corner that will take your breath away and give you faith and peace if you just let it!!!

*no filters needed

So I sit. 

So here I sit in a waiting room. My daughter had a 2:30 Doctor’s appointment. I have therapy at 3:00. My husband is our only driver. So I am sitting here for 45 minutes in the waiting room until my 50 minute therapy appointment. My daughter’s Doctor appointment will most likely be 3 hours. So I plan on driving my scooter through this neighborhood behind my therapist’s office and to some restaurants to get something to eat so I don’t have to spend a total of 3 hours here in this therapy office. I’ve never just driven my motorized scooter out and about other than my neighborhood. I will take pictures along the way. I brought a towel, garbage bags to cover my scooter, a jacket, an umbrella, water, protein bar. All the things one must think of when out alone in a motorized scooter for 3 hours. I stayed up most of the night last night. I was thinking of how absolutely alone I am. I didn’t allow the tears to come. I fear if they come then I will not be able to ever stop them. There is a sob that is just sitting under the surface. Having PTSD and multiple chemical sensitivities on top of this muscle disease makes things complicated. I needed a ride. I needed a ride from someone who would respect me and not wear cologne. I needed someone without an air freshener in the car so I did not have to vomit before my 3 hour outing right now. I asked. I called. No one was available. Circumstances have led me to needing a ride every other Tuesday if I want to continue going to trauma therapy. I have offered to pay someone who is willing to simply not wear cologne or put an air freshener in their car. I have not found anyone yet…

When someone hears my story of abuse I always hear “ Let me at him! If I could only get my hands on that man.” As if someone would actually do something. Actions. I rarely see them. I hear a LOT what someone WOULD do.I lay awake last night and thought of my best friend Laura who passed away. As she was going through chemo she would call and ask if when in town I needed anything. She is gone now. No one calls and asks if I need anything. They KNOW. Everyone knows my situation. They know I am taking care of my daughter who cannot care for herself. You’d think someone, anyone, would call me and ask, “ hey do you need anything from the store?” But people don’t think like that. Laura did. I do. When I could drive and when I was ok I would call every day to anyone that was struggling and ask if they needed something. I volunteered my time 20-40 hours a week with hospice giving to someone who didn’t ask. But someone who I KNEW was in need. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?

I always hear “what would Jesus do?” Will you REALLY do what Jesus would do? Because He loved. He helped. He went OUT and He SOUGHT people in need to help them. I often wonder when people ask what would Jesus do, WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO REALLY DO. Laura always did what Jesus would do. 

I don’t feel alone for mysterious reasons. I feel alone because the people that are in my life have left me to feel alone. My husband carries the full burden. Not that I have no one. Oh I have tons of people in my life. My phone has not rung one time in 3 months though . I get texted. I visit with neighbors in the road on my walks.  Everyone is just so “busy” and I understand. I do. But I have been at home for 3 years with my daughter. To hear someone say they would take care of business when it comes to the man who abused me makes me laugh. Because those people can’t even pick up a prescription for me. 

What will happen when I break. How long can I continue with this muscle disease, this Lyme disease, this PTSD, while caring fully for another human being? What will happen when I break? It makes me hate my family so much. I sit here in this therapy waiting room and I hate them . Every one of them. They abandoned their daughter, sister, cousin, niece for WHAT? Because I told the truth? Bastards. I really could have used help in these past 3 years with my daughter. I could use help in what is to come next. They are gone though…can’t waste more time. But I would be lying if I didn’t say they didn’t cross my mind and I did not  hate them for what they have done to me. My blog is and always will be brutally honest in all ways. 

So I reached out to someone, many in the last few days, and they said “you probably need to just ask your therapist.” Heaven help the next person that tells me that! A friend is a friend. They listen. A therapist is a paid professional, and the one I chose is dealing with my trauma and PTSD. She is not being paid to be my friend, to sit with me and love me and comfort me and guide me when I am trying to find a way to GET to therapy! Am I to ask my therapist how to find a ride to see her? Am I to ask my therapist how to get the stuck tire off my damn wheelchair? That’s still on there. It’s a cop out for people who cannot be present to tell me to just ask my therapist when what I really am in need of is a friend.

So I sit here in the waiting room waiting to talk about PTSD and trauma and then I will I get to come out to all of this… I just wonder. How long until I break. When I break what will that look like. I suppose something else my husband will have to deal with as he is realistically all I have. 

So I sit here. Listening to my music on my ipad with no internet writing. Listening to michael jackson tell me “you are not alone” and maybe if I listen to it long enough I will feel I am truly not. 

I’m writing this in my notes. Oh no, I’ve started to cry. Oh no. This is not good. Crying in a waiting room is just not good… to be continued….
Part 2
I put my head down and sobbed in the waiting room. I could not stop. The room was full of people and children and sadly my tears brought tears to others. I mean we are all fragile going in to therapy. I suppose a sobbing girl with her head down on the scooter was too much for others. 

But I felt a hand on me. A very kind woman just put her arms around me and embraced me in the must nurturing loving hug I have had in YEARS. I sobbed on her shoulder. She was there at just the right time to remind me that I am not really alone. Then my therapist brought me back. I sobbed uncontrollably in therapy and got absolutely NOTHING accomplished. I left and I cried down the road (with no side walks holy crap!) and to the door of a pizza shop. I knocked on the door because I couldn’t open it. Finally someone saw me and they were SO incredibly accommodating. I could not have asked for kinder more accommodating people! I ate for the first time in days. My husband and daughter got there shortly after and picked me up. My daughter wanted to go and see my sweet sweet horse. So we drove her there. And my sweet horse did not disappoint. She loved my daughter just like she loves me. Horse love is a beautiful thing. 

I got home and needed to not be thrown right back into LIFE and left immediately on my scooter knowing well it would hurt my body to stay out but I just needed more time. I saw a flower that I HAD to take a picture of in someone’s yard. They immediately came out to tell me that they loved my new hair cut and that I could take pictures anytime of anything in their yard. I then saw a cardinal which I have been looking for to take a picture of for weeks and weeks! Today was red day so I was in search of red things. I will post a blurry red bird picture and some red flowers that I also found. More kindness found its way to me. 

I feel the tears are coming back again so I have to tell you all that I have not read any blogs in the last few days and probably won’t for a few more. It is not that I don’t want to give love and support to all of the courageous voices, I do! My brain just cannot have any input right now. I am right on the edge and hoping I don’t fall off. 

I will end this post with some important thoughts. Crying is human. I am human. I feel deeply and profoundly. I hurt equally as profoundly and deeply. I also feel joy JUST as deeply. When I was hugged in a waiting room…WHAT A GIFT WAS THAT!!!! To be loved! It is a beautiful thing. To see the horse and to see some beautiful flowers. It is a beautiful thing. I feel deeply on all levels. I am fortunate to love as deeply as I sometimes hurt. 

Here are pictures of my road trip from therapy to pizza in my scooter with no sidewalks yikes! I took you along my trek.



After being picked up we went to see my sweet(they totally aren’t mine, just visited) horse. 


And for the focus of red, here are the reds I found. FINALLY a red bird and 2 different red flowers. 


My favorite is always the sky so I will lastly put my favorites of the sky today. In the second picture there were white birds in a tree. In the last pictue, there was a faint rainbow. Rainbows will forever remind me of my sweet Laura who loved them so much, who loved me and I her, who I will look forward to embracing again in heaven.

Balance

Wheelchair tires cost $400. The battery charger costs $300. The batteries cost $500. What’s cool about this chair though is that it has lasted 12 years through countless rainstorms and a few crashes. It was given to me for free. Balance. I could complain about the cost of upkeep but it is a $20,000 wheelchair that I got for free. This does not however stop me from being human and being frustrated when something goes wrong with it. We’ve been trying to change out the tires for a number of days now. One is stuck. Rusted on. I can’t use the chemicals to get it off or I would. I can’t pay the wheelchair fix it men to get it off because they will use chemicals. These type of TINY situations send me into tailspins so I have to create balance. I just Don’t go there. Really. I walk away. 


Half off tire. So my struggle begins before I catch it and walk away. I snowball into being frustrated with myself,  and my conditions that make this a frustrating situation. I start to become hard on myself. I start to wish I were someone else who could just hire anyone to help me and not have to worry they are a man, or have cologne, or use chemicals.  Frustrated with the chemical sensitivities, the PTSD, the anxiety. That turns into me wishing I didn’t have this muscle disease, and feeing vulnerable having this disease. That leads me into feeling afraid of this disease getting worse and the loss of control. That heads me towards all of the what ifs that could happen. That makes my nervous system go into overload and smells start to be overwhelming. I think I smell something on me from going out earlier. Did I get it on the couch? The bed? I start washing things and panicking and washing more things. 

Then I stop. I recognize. I am aware. I must become mindful. Just because the wheelchair tire cannot come off does not mean I need to go to any of these other places in my mind. I did. But I am now walking away. 

So I used my scooter instead. My scooter I used around the house and for doctor appointments and dinner date kind of things. I hate taking it into restaurants because the smells soak into it and then I bring it in the house and I can’t get away from the smells. But I can’t go thinking about that. I need to focus on going for my walk. But both of my motorized devices give me freedom that I would not have otherwise. My scooter is very hard to go on walks with though.


The tires are small so they jostle me around too much. It is powered by my thumb pressing a lever and with Lyme disease and my thumb joints having so much pain, it is hard to be mindful and keep the intention of my walk. My legs are cramped as well. Balance. I have a scooter. I cannot focus on my thumb or my legs. I have to focus on the fact that the MDA bought me this scooter and because of that I have freedom to go for a walk. 

So I had a cry breakdown. Over my thumb, my wheelchair, my PTSD and all of the complications it causes, my muscle disease and my pain. I just started to cry in my scooter going around the block. Keeping the balance in my mind is very difficult but something I do not give up on.

I ran into a few people, wiped away the tears and chatted. My mind started putting things into perspective. Everyone, and I mean everyone has a struggle. Whether it is their boss, their job, their spouse, their appliances breaking, their health, their car breaking down, their best friend moving away. Everyone has something. Ok. So everyone has their own struggles. They may not be the same but we can unite in knowing we each are just trying to make it through the day. Oh the thoughts that tumble around in my mind. 

I want more though. I want to live not just survive. So I try and keep balance by being aware of not just what I am going through but what gifts are presented to me in the form of blessings.  My walks have the intention, and always will, of being in the moment and immersing myself IN the flower, IN the sunset, IN the clouds. Out of my head. 

Two days ago I went to the prairie. I had been riddled and paralyzed with anxiety all day long. I made a conscious decision to go to the prairie right at sunset and take pictures and watch the sun. I did. Nothing entered my mind what so ever. I looked at the sunset and the clouds and nothing else mattered. That sunset put a little bit of faith back into my heart. The balance shifted from all of the bad toward filling with good.


I chose that. 

I chose to go out yesterday in the scooter even though I cried I STILL found beauty and took some pictures. Flowers flowers everywhere. Raindrops on some of them still. I put on two different colored shoes which shows you that my mind was NOT mindful when I left. But I chose to try and find balance in finding the good.  Through my wheelchair tire debacle and anxiety snowball cries, I found a way, each day, to go and find something good. A sunset, a flower, watching a movie holding my husband’s hand. Balance with good.


Today it rained most of the day. I woke up and immediately felt solemn. I thought of the energy it would take to cook meals. I thought of my spirit feeling broken over my daughter’s illness. I felt utterly downhearted. But I got up anyway. As soon as the rain cleared I went out in my scooter and looked for some flowers. I found a group of yellow flowers with a new bug flying in every few seconds. I was so excited I thought of nothing else. Where my mind is filled with nature and its wonderment there is no room for anything else. Then I smelled a pink and white flower I had never seen before. It smelled like honey. And a butterfly landed right as I was taking a picture.  Their wings were flapping. They were so busy eating. I thought later, wow these were stinking little creatures and I was a few inches from them. They weren’t concerned with me though. I was absolutely in love with every moment I was watching those flowers and those little insects on them. 


On the way home I received two gifts. One was the gift of understanding. I have felt empathy, sympathy, pity, etc. I have never felt understood as I did in this moment talking to this person. He gave me a real gift. One that I will cherish. I felt completely understood. The other was a card left on my front door. It was a gift of words. These words were a gift of acceptance and appreciation for who I am as a person. A gift I will cherish. 

Yes, we each have challenges. Yes, we each have hurdles and struggles. I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. I am in it deep. I also celebrate in the simple things. I choose to go in search of beauty and good. I choose to not go there to the dark places as best as I humanly  can. It is all I can do right? Just keep on trying. Seeing that in the face of the struggle there IS good out there. We just may have to fight our way to find it and never ever give up. 

Kindness

One day when I was a volunteer chaplain for hospice I visited a patient’s home. What stood out to me in that moment was the amount of people hospice had sent. There was a social worker, a CNA, an RN, a chaplain, and one more person who I can’t remember their title. That individual had  all of her needs attended to. There were checkers and recheckers and follow ups and follow through. There was not one moment that that individual slipped through a crack. Not with her nutrition, not with her pain meds, etc. She was listened to, respected, heard, validated, valued. Every aspect of her being was advocated for. And she deserved that. There were charts with check boxes and everyone working with her was not only accountable but reliable and compassionate. Her comfort was THE priority.

That moment stayed with me because she did not go through the process of dying alone. Her not suffering was the main goal. Emotional, spiritual, mental, physical, and every other need was met willingly and unconditionally. I should know. I was one of the people there. 

And here is my question. Why does it take a person dying to get all of those needs met? When an individual experiences a loss or a trauma, they deserve every single one of those things too. Often times when I speak to people, friends, strangers, the common theme or subject is that they feel alone. That is so sad to me. A person may have one need met one day but so many other parts that make us up are neglected by others. And as I know we cannot count on other people for our happiness, I also know that others have the capability to lessen our suffering.

When a man/woman/child goes through a serious trauma, they need every aspect of their being cared for. But I know most don’t get it. 

In the last few days I have been the recipient of genuine acts of kindness. Our car broke down today and a friend stopped what he was doing pick us up and to drive us home. While waiting I got overheated and a woman brought me ice water without me having to ask. A few days ago our well broke and a very kind neighbor came over and fixed it right away for free. These things do not go unnoticed by me because I have too many times been the recipient of nothing and of no one noticing. I have called. I have reached out. But no one took my hand. But in these last few days hands were reached out.

It has been a difficult week of many appointments. I am very tired. The car breaking down could have been a far worse situation and I feel fortunate for the kindness of others. This week, after 3 appointments to try and understand my cognitive changes/confusion/ panic/ I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. The pharmacist was incredibly rude stating that I needed to just practice yoga instead of relying on a pill to help me. I carried on with my normal freeze numb mode of not speaking until I got home and felt a rage burning inside me. How dare this man judge, accuse, assume. He had no right. I wouldn’t be picking up this medication if in that moment it was not 100% necessary. It was unavoidable. So I called the pharmacist in an inraged, red faced, hands shaking, phone call. I asked if he remembered the girl who was in the wheelchair picking up her med. He did. I think told him WHY i was getting the med. I proceeded to tell him about the abuse I endured and the PTSD. He promptly gave me sympathy, understanding, and care. I realized that although I did not owe this man an explanation, it was a good teaching moment for the both of us. I got to practice speaking the truth, he got to learn not to judge. 

So today after our car broke down and the friend wanted to lift me in the car, and I said no, I chose to tell him why. I would have in the past, just watched him being perplexed at me not wanting him to touch me,  wondered what he was thinking all the way home and late into the night. Instead I told him the truth. I have PTSD. And this is why. I haven’t spoken the words but a few times. Speaking them is a harsh reminder of the severity of the things I have been through. Telling him made me feel so much better. Because my reason for not wanting to be touched was not only valid but it deserved to be spoken and heard. He ofrouse responded with deep compassion. Side note: aside from getting men’s cologne on me, it is very difficult to be driven in other people’s car. My husband knows just how to drive me gently so as not to help me. It causes great anxiety riding with others. My muscle and bone disease make me very fragile so slamming on the brakes could really hurt me. Plus I cannot get into a high vehicle so my husband had to lift me in.

I have decided to change my future dialogue with people. Instead of only telling them that I have chemical sensitivties, which I do, so please do not hug me or I will get a rash…tell them that I have PTSD and tell them why. These words, at this point in my life, need to be spoken. I don’t want to wonder what others think because of my demeanor, that I cannot help,  due to the PTSD. 

I love the understanding and kindness I have been shown in these last few days by the few people who simply made the choice to be kind. It made me think of the hospice patient, and how hard my week has been. How I wished many times this week that I was surrounded by a village of people who cared about every aspect of my being. I wished I had a CNA, an RN, a Doctor, a chaplain, all sitting around me listening and acting on my behalf to lessen my suffering. I really wish I had a hospice team this week. But,  the few individuals who step forward and remind me that I am cared for means everything to me. Some days I know my cries for help are either not heard or ignored or not understood. It is the random acts of those who have no clue what is going on inside of me that help soothe the pain. I count those blessings every day. 

Today was my husband and my….my husband and I…..I have no idea the correct grammar in that….Today was our 20th wedding anniversary. I was reminded that life can be and is very very difficult. But through it all my marriage is beautiful. Through illnesses and broken down cars and everything else that has been thrown at us, our bond becomes stronger and stronger. He is my one thing steady. And even though it is impossible for him to be 4 people attending to my spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental needs, he never stops trying. For that, I am so grateful.

Keeping the hate away.


Last night my daughter said, “Remember my friend May? She was so sweet wasn’t she? Too bad her mom told you you were going to hell!” (Followed by shaking of the head).  Apparently, if you didn’t go to her church you were going to hell. And what a shame that I was going to hell. So years ago when this mom said this I replied, “I’m confused, you are a Christian, and you think me, another Christian, is going to hell because I don’t go to your church?” The answer was yes. Cue picture of my nativity scene that stays up YEAR ROUND.


But, well, I guess I am headed for hell anyway. Guess I will hang out with my cousin who was told he was going to hell too.

Part of my family is Jewish. My dad’s side of the family are Jewish. My cousin Randy was one of my favorite people who was part of my Jewish family. He loved me unconditionally. He knew about my abuse, knew my family abandoned me, and it broke his heart and made him love me even more. Randy loved me JUST as Jesus instructed us to love. But  a Christian informed Randy he was going to hell because he was Jewish. Around a similar time my daughter had a friend, who,upon learning my family was also Jewish, informed me very bluntly that they’d all be going to hell. 

Jesus is my buddy. He and I are best buds. I talk to Him as if He were right here in front of me. I imagine Him holding my hand on days that I feel hopeless and helpless. I have his picture hanging on my wall. He and I have a relationship (you know the whole…my own personal relationship with God). I feel Him in my heart. That is just how it is with me. I don’t go to church. I haven’t in years. But according to my daughter’s friend’s mom it wouldn’t have been her church anyway so to hell I’d go either way. Being a Chaplain I learned, studied and respected all religions and each person’s personal choice. Discrimination is not part of my being. Loving is. In my 8 years of being a chaplain I prayed for everyone and whatever their religion, I respected their beliefs. In fact, I honored their beliefs. I listened to them. I found beautiful parts of each and every religion that I was exposed to and the people that practiced them. 

My writing tonight is not about religion though, believe it or not, it is about people and the things that they say. What does one gain by telling someone else they are going to hell? What does one gain by judging others? What does one gain by feeling superior, acting superior, pompous, and damning someone? What does one gain by telling someone their entire family is going to hell? NOTHING> nothing is gained. It is a direct reflection of the person who is speaking these things and how they are doing the opposite of what their religion has taught. They are those who turn people away from religion and even the idea of a relationship with God or Jesus, or whoever. 

Randy was Jewish. Randy was a good man who stood by me when no one else did. Whether someone thought he was going to hell for being Jewish or not were only hateful, hurtful, discrimatory words that caused pain. Whether my daughter’s friend’s mom thought I was going to hell for not going to her church were words that caused separation, isolation, and an end to a long friendship. I can’t really be friends with someone who is constantly damning me to hell now can I. She gained nothing. She lost a friend. And I go back to Randy. A little 16 year old twit who thought it was appropriate to tell me he was going to hell, in the name of Jesus, disgusts me. 

There is no room for hate in my life. Which is why this  isn’t about religion. This is about hateful hurtful words that don’t need to be spoken. If you feel it, keep it to yourself. If you really think someone is going to hell then that is a judgment that can stay locked behind your lips.  If you want to hate someone, hate the man who molested me. Otherwise if you feel so inclined to vocalize damning someone to hell why don’t you put a rapist in those words (although I don’t even really want to hear that either). I’ve had enough negative to last me a life time. The world is in GREAT need of kind words, kind people, and those who can show true unconditional love. I implore you to be a person of kindness and use your words to build and not break. I’m not going to hell. But if someone really feels like I am, they can keep it to themself.