Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Whatever!

My parents' denomination has a lot of byzantine icons. They used to scare me TO DEATH when I was little, but now that I'm older, I've taken a liking to them. In this one, the guy looks as though he's saying "whatever!". A lot of the saints were monastic and didn't do very much good with their lives. I was named after one, but he was just that - a monastic that didn't do much. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Consequence

I signed up for Obamacare and had my first physical. Only, when they drew my blood, something was elevated in my liver, so I had to be screened for Hepatitis A, B, and C. I did the worst thing imaginable- I came home and googled everything hepatitis. Who is at risk? People who have worked in child care, use drugs, have HIV or multiple sexual partners. None of that applies to me, except for working with childcare. And I've worked with kids from ALL backgrounds. Elevated whatever I had can also be caused by taking overdoses of acetaminophen, which I am guilty of. I pop pills for everything. So, I'm not going to do that anymore. And here's my lab results. No hepatitis, yay!
You can imagine I was thinking that I was going to die from hepatitis as a result of working with kids. I think from now on, I'll swear off being a Tylenol/excedrin junkie. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blessing





I have been wanting to make a post for a long time stating what a blessing it has been to be an independent contractor with Postmates.  I'm making great money, making my own hours, and taking a break from helping children.  It's a great thing.  I am working on my book at the same time.  My book is bringing up a lot of Shadow Work- I first heard of the concept of Shadow Work when I took psychology.  It was a term coined by Carl Jung, and some religions have adopted it as a practice.  Writing my book has gotten me to the deepest depths of why, how, what, etc, etc, of the past 17 years I spent doing different things to help kids.  I embedded the above video about Bella Bond, formerly known as baby Doe, because they are debating CPS in this video.  Did CPS fail Bella?   It's a good question.  Which side of the debate do I take?  Both, and Neither.  At the end of the day, CPS workers do not have crystal balls.  Who failed Bella?  Her mother and stepfather did.  Does the CPS worker have some of that on her hands?  Maybe.  I think it depends on her own perspective of her job. 



I do wonder, though, if I am done helping kids for good, or am I just taking a break.  I have been having dreams at night about this.  In one dream, I ask my friend Brenda who passed away- she said, heal myself first before I make the decision to jump back in or not.  In another dream, I walk into a Mormon church, knowing the answer is there, but as soon as I get there, I wake up.  In another dream, I know that the answer is at the top of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ.  I lived in Phoenix for 9 years, and as a teen, I loved Camelback.  In this dream, I went to the top of the mountain and saw the Houston skyline in the distance (Phoenix and Houston are over a thousand miles away, so that's weird).  In another dream, I go into a Muslim Mosque, but there are all men there, so I leave.  And in yet another dream, I'm back in ancient Greece consulting the Oracles of Delphi.  Someone steps out from behind a curtain and very meanly tells me to read up on "The Christianization of Greece." 



For now, I'm happy with Postmates and book writing.  I think the answer ultimately lies in my hands, although Brenda might be right- I may need to heal myself first.  There's a song I like on the Christian radio station.  "I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind- the God of Angel armies is always on my side."   I think my biggest fear is getting to the end of my life and being asked why I didn't spend the whole of it on my calling.  There was as much joy as there was sorrow, after all.   Talk about Shadow Work.....

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bible verse for my book

For my book I'm writing, I need the perfect Bible verse for when the main character is feeling lost and picks up the Bible, randomly opens it, and points. I found the perfect one. I actually remember this verse from back in the day, but I never opened the bible randomly and pointed to it.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nightmare

Today, I could not get ahold of my parents. I am in my late 30's and they are early 70's... If they don't answer the phone or a chat, I automatically think they're dead. So I got in the car and drove to their house. I unlocked the door, and there was a chair blocking it. I moved the chair and squeezed in. I yelled "Dad? Dad?" But nothing. I noticed that the house was in complete and utter disarray. I went into my parents room, and found an even bigger mess. My heart started beating fast thinking I'd find my dad dead. I looked in his bathroom and he wasn't there. I looked in the garage. The car wasn't there. Stuff was strewn everywhere. I called my mom's job knowing she was scheduled and her supervisor answered. After I told her it was me and I was looking for her everywhere, she told me that someone broke into the house. That was the last thing on my mind. I thought my dad had just gone nuts trying to find something.  The intruders didn't even steal anything. Just made a mess. A witness said they had guns. If my parents had been home at the time of the intrusion, they may have been killed. I think this witness scared them off. He works for Mexican border patrol.  My parents then came home, having bought a new door. My mom went to work late, and I helped my dad install it and clean up the mess. My parents are real paranoid this evening. My father wrapped the front bushes with invisible fishing line. The bad thing about this, now they are going to be more paranoid than they already were.

Sick in bed

Just thought.while I'm laying here sick in bed, I'd share some of my favorite pictures.












The Christian radio station has been trying to get people to leave encouraging stickynotes in their child's lunch. Well, my child eats in the cafeteria, so when I cleaned up while she was with her dad, I left all of these on the wall for her to come home to. She was super excited!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

They've identified her

i have been following the story of "Baby Doe" since her body was found on the shores of Boston in June. Her DNA matched no one in the missing child databases. It was a mystery for 3 months. 

Finally, she was identified as Bella Bond, age almost 3. Her mother's boyfriend killed her because he thought she was possessed.  I think "possessed" is such a frickin cop-out! 

Lots of fresh emotions stirred with her identity being found. A few days before this case was solved, I said to myself that working with abused children is like the joys and sorrows of parenting on steroids. No wonder I've been ill. 

RIP baby bella

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cherry picking what sins to forgive

I'm so tired of hearing about gay marriage, but I'm glad that through Kim Davis, the hypocrisy of those condemning it is being called out. My mother in law was married three times and went on a hateful tirade against gays once. I asked, "isnt divorce and remarriage also a sin?" She said God was just to forgive divorced people. Ok but not gay people? I don't get it. I'm on both sides of the issue with gay marriage. I'm for it, but I'm also sick of hearing about it. Let's focus on life and death issues. You won't die if you don't get married, but you might if you don't have equal access to health care, if you are an abused child, or bearing the effects of.climate change.  

Danielle:
Married husband #1; child fathered by husband #1; divorced husband #1; remained celibate. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Peter Pan live

We are looking at buying tickets to see Peter Pan the musical live. It's here in town. This brings back a lot of memories, because when I was in high school, the drama department did Peter Pan. I was in drama class, but not in the play. I rember when the girl who was playing Peter Pan had to cut off her long blonde hair so she could look like a boy. She did it in front of the whole drama class, and a lot of girls including me screamed!  I also remember that they were trying to do flips while practicing the flying. I'm sure Annalise will love Peter Pan. I can't wait to see it again, either

Pagan Pride

Yesterday, Annalise and I had a treat.  We went to the annual Pagan Pride event here in Houston.  I've been fascinated with neopaganism for a long time, and of course, I always look at religions with an open mind.  We participated in a ritual where we began with something called calling the quarters.  I have heard of this before, but never took part in it.  It was wonderful to me, because I believe any sort of religious ritual is beautiful.  My parents' denomination is full of rituals, and in 8th and 9th grade Baptist Christian school, we were taught that rituals of any kind were a sin.  But, that's ok.  Taking part in a calling of the quarters ritual in person was waaaayyyy different than how it was portrayed in the movie The Craft.  There was no arm raising, no ultra dramatic voices, and no lightening and thunder.  There were over 100 people in this circle, and as we called each one, we all turned to face the corresponding direction.  The wordage was different.  It was a wonderful experience. 

There were also vendors there.  And this is something I must make note of.  A woman was selling tree of life pendants for $50 each!  I used to make tree of life pendants!  Mine weren't as good as hers, but if I practiced more, I could get to where she is.  $50! 

All in all, I think the bringing back of pagan religion as "neo" paganism is a wonderful thing.  But reconstructionism, that is, doing things *exactly* how the ancients did it, is not quite possible.  Times have changed, and we adapt.  There are reconstructionists, especially in Greece, who hold disdain for neo-pagans.  A lot of things have been lost and cannot be regained.  When you look at countries like India, whose indigenous religions have gone largely untouched, it tends to get quite weird.  But, it wasn't weird for them back in the day. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Feeling Good

Today, I got my refill of klonopin.  I have not had any panic attacks since I have had them on hand. The pharmacist didn't make it hard to get at all, she just asked for my ID. I think working with children was a thorn in my side as much as it was a calling. I wrote a little of my book intro each day. There is a lot of scripture reference. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Dream about grandmother

I had a very realistic dream last night about my grandmother that died when I was almost 14. I showed her my daughter, my apartment, the journaling from my career, and she was super happy and proud of me.

Would you?

If you could exchange your college degree for a full refund, would you?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

This is really making me mad!

Isn't all we've heard the past year or so about the persecution of Christians by Isis?  What has gotten on my nerves in the past is the fact that the vast, vast majority of Christians in the middle east are of the Orthodox denomination (same as my parents) and it is mainline protestant Christians who are woo-wooing about their persecution.  The irony in that lies in that when I went to a mainstream Baptist school for middle school, I was taught that my parents' denomination was not really Christian.  So now that Isis has formed, it seems like the same people are all over social media about "The Persecution of Christians."  Ok, but I thought we weren't really Christians, so which is it?  Why u mad?

I let it go. 

Now that Syrian Christians are fleeing and becoming refugees, the dialect has changed dramatically from martyrdom rhetoric to anti-immigrant lingo.  "We don't have room for you here" and "Go back to where you came from", etc.  (They're being beheaded where they came from).  When trucks full of immigrants are found dead from extreme conditions, the comments are horrendous.  It's very similar to the attitude of people in Texas towards immigrants from Mexico.  Not just Texas is like this.  All of humanity has a dark streak that does not love their brother as themselves. 

Just a few months ago, we regarded them martyrs.  What happened?  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Start- Critique wanted

"Give me a child, or else I will die." Rachel, Genesis 30:1

Anyone who has ever been to church and heard a sermon has heard someone state that that sermon was meant just for them. Preachers don't preach with individual situations in mind, in fact in most cases, they probably don't know most of the congregants' personal situations. They just preach, and people in the pews personalize it. That's what I did when I was 20 years old and heard my pastor preach about Rachel's desperation for a child.

He condemned her for it. "Rachel was not truly committing her life to God. She wanted her way, and not God's way," I remember the preacher saying in kind of a loud voice. In the college-age ministry at my community church, we were being challenged quite a bit to put our own wills aside and seek God's will. The two were always described as mutually exclusive. It was never directly said that anything we wanted for our lives contradicted God's will, but it was always implied.

I was a lot like Rachel in many ways. In just 6 months, I would be getting married to my boyfriend Brian, and I wanted children very badly. I didn't think I would "die" if I didn't get to have kids, like Rachel in the Bible seemed to, but I did understand that desperation on a much deeper level. Lurking overhead was the question of God's will for my life. Was it like the pastor said, not God's will? Almost as quickly as those thoughts came into my mind, I would make them leave.

I didn't want to be like others in church who would excitedly exclaim, "That sermon was just for me!" I didn't want to admit that I was like crazy Rachel who wanted something more than God wanted it for her. I kept my mouth shut, but still... I knew that sermon was just for me. Even thought I was not married yet, I had names picked out for future kids, bought gender-neutral infant clothing at garage sales and stashed them away. I even contemplated the ways I would raise my kids and how many I wanted. Brian and I always talked about it, too, of course. He admired me for my ideas on child rearing which were very loving and nurturing. I was sure that our kids would have a better life than we did. We were both raised in very strict, harsh environments.

Within the next few weeks at church, our pastor decided to focus on preaching on being single, since so many in our college-age ministry were distressed about finding that special someone. Brian and I didn't have to worry about it, but we went to the college-age ministry every Tuesday night, because it was something we always did. I listened to the sermons, but I didn't take them to heart. The pastor was convinced that to be single was a gift from God and in a lot of ways, better than being married. He spoke with a silver tounge about how much better a single person could serve God than a married person could. They could give God the attention that would otherwise be given to a spouse. Marriage was preached as an earthly desire. A married person might even be late for church in the morning, having to get kids ready as well as themselves.

I didn't take it to heart, but Brian did. After the last sermon in the series my pastor called, "Better For a Man Not to Marry", Brian asked me to come over to his apartment to talk. I remember it was very dark inside of his apartment. He always kept the lights on, so this was weird. I sat on the couch and don't remember exactly what he said, but what he said was that the wedding was off. "We both need to focus on God and not each other," he explained. "It's for the best."

At first, I couldn't say anything! I was obviously heartbroken. I felt physically like parts of my inside were on the outside. I knew I was crying, but it was terrible. I kept telling Brian that I loved him and he was making a huge mistake. We had a really bright future together. No matter how hard I tried to convince him, though, Brian shook his head.

"Do you know how you look right now?" he asked me.

"How?" I asked through tears.

"Like Hannah in 1 Samuel. You look like you've been drinking."

"I don't drink!" I protested.

"But you are idolizing this idea of us getting married and having a family so much that it's making you look that way. You need to learn to put God first in your life, and then hopefully you'll find someone. But that someone is not me, and not now."

Brian drove me home, and I went in and laid in my bed. Before long, I got up and went to the bathroom. I didn't really have to go, so I just stood there. I sat on the floor and cried loudly. I think a lot of it was screaming. Then, I stood up, looked in the mirror and realized Brian was right. My hair was a mess, my face was three different colors, and my eyes were bloodshot. How did Hannah look in 1 Samuel? I decided to go back to my room and look it up.

"Once after a meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up to go and pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the tabernacle. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 'Oh Lord of Heaven's armies, if you would look upon my sorrow and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime.'" As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips move, but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. "Must you come here drunk?" He demanded." 1 Samuel 1:9-14

I closed the Bible. Hannah was like Rachel, and they were both like me. They wanted something God did not want for them. When your world and your identity is tied up in a Christian faith, how do you cope with such a polarity? Nothing you want is what God wants for you? Not what you want the most, and not what you want just a little bit? Where do you find joy? How do you set goals?

In time, I managed to stop thinking about it and fell asleep on my bedroom floor.
"Give me a child, or else I will die." Rachel, Genesis 30:1

Anyone who has ever been to church and heard a sermon has heard someone state that that sermon was meant just for them. Preachers don't preach with individual situations in mind, in fact in most cases, they probably don't know most of the congregants' personal situations. They just preach, and people in the pews personalize it. That's what I did when I was 20 years old and heard my pastor preach about Rachel's desperation for a child.

He condemned her for it. "Rachel was not truly committing her life to God. She wanted her way, and not God's way," I remember the preacher saying in kind of a loud voice. In the college-age ministry at my community church, we were being challenged quite a bit to put our own wills aside and seek God's will. The two were always described as mutually exclusive. It was never directly said that anything we wanted for our lives contradicted God's will, but it was always implied.

I was a lot like Rachel in many ways. In just 6 months, I would be getting married to my boyfriend Brian, and I wanted children very badly. I didn't think I would "die" if I didn't get to have kids, like Rachel in the Bible seemed to, but I did understand that desperation on a much deeper level. Lurking overhead was the question of God's will for my life. Was it like the pastor said, not God's will? Almost as quickly as those thoughts came into my mind, I would make them leave.

I didn't want to be like others in church who would excitedly exclaim, "That sermon was just for me!" I didn't want to admit that I was like crazy Rachel who wanted something more than God wanted it for her. I kept my mouth shut, but still... I knew that sermon was just for me. Even thought I was not married yet, I had names picked out for future kids, bought gender-neutral infant clothing at garage sales and stashed them away. I even contemplated the ways I would raise my kids and how many I wanted. Brian and I always talked about it, too, of course. He admired me for my ideas on child rearing which were very loving and nurturing. I was sure that our kids would have a better life than we did. We were both raised in very strict, harsh environments.

Within the next few weeks at church, our pastor decided to focus on preaching on being single, since so many in our college-age ministry were distressed about finding that special someone. Brian and I didn't have to worry about it, but we went to the college-age ministry every Tuesday night, because it was something we always did. I listened to the sermons, but I didn't take them to heart. The pastor was convinced that to be single was a gift from God and in a lot of ways, better than being married. He spoke with a silver tounge about how much better a single person could serve God than a married person could. They could give God the attention that would otherwise be given to a spouse. Marriage was preached as an earthly desire. A married person might even be late for church in the morning, having to get kids ready as well as themselves.

I didn't take it to heart, but Brian did. After the last sermon in the series my pastor called, "Better For a Man Not to Marry", Brian asked me to come over to his apartment to talk. I remember it was very dark inside of his apartment. He always kept the lights on, so this was weird. I sat on the couch and don't remember exactly what he said, but what he said was that the wedding was off. "We both need to focus on God and not each other," he explained. "It's for the best."

At first, I couldn't say anything! I was obviously heartbroken. I felt physically like parts of my inside were on the outside. I knew I was crying, but it was terrible. I kept telling Brian that I loved him and he was making a huge mistake. We had a really bright future together. No matter how hard I tried to convince him, though, Brian shook his head.

"Do you know how you look right now?" he asked me.

"How?" I asked through tears.

"Like Hannah in 1 Samuel. You look like you've been drinking."

"I don't drink!" I protested.

"But you are idolizing this idea of us getting married and having a family so much that it's making you look that way. You need to learn to put God first in your life, and then hopefully you'll find someone. But that someone is not me, and not now."

Brian drove me home, and I went in and laid in my bed. Before long, I got up and went to the bathroom. I didn't really have to go, so I just stood there. I sat on the floor and cried loudly. I think a lot of it was screaming. Then, I stood up, looked in the mirror and realized Brian was right. My hair was a mess, my face was three different colors, and my eyes were bloodshot. How did Hannah look in 1 Samuel? I decided to go back to my room and look it up.

"Once after a meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up to go and pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the tabernacle. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 'Oh Lord of Heaven's armies, if you would look upon my sorrow and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime.'" As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips move, but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. "Must you come here drunk?" He demanded." 1 Samuel 1:9-14

I closed the Bible. Hannah was like Rachel, and they were both like me. They wanted something God did not want for them. When your world and your identity is tied up in a Christian faith, how do you cope with such a polarity? Nothing you want is what God wants for you? Not what you want the most, and not what you want just a little bit? Where do you find joy? How do you set goals?

In time, I managed to stop thinking about it and fell asleep on my bedroom floor. 

September

I should be glad that my daughter loves school so much.  Before I had her, I did so much research on unschooling and eclectic homeschooling, that I envisioned having children that were autodidacts.  But, Annalise is really into school.  Occasionally, I bring up the topic- "What would happen if you never had to go to school again?"  And she almost always replies something to the effect of, "I'd be sad" or, "I'd cry." I guess that settles it.  Annalise is excited about third grade, because she has separate science classes on Tuesday an Thursday.  She gets to wear goggles and gloves!  At home, I showed her the baking soda and vinegar thing, and she was enamored.  The next day, I asked her if she told her teacher that I did that for her.  She said, "No, I forgot".  I was bummed.  Teachers tend to think very low of parents these days. 

I took my mom to get her haircut, and thought about how much she hates it when women over 40 have long hair, especially gray hair.  If we see one in public, I catch her giving the woman that look.   Or if we see an older woman with long, gray hair on TV, my mom will shout at the TV, "Cut that hair!" 
 
So I asked my mom in all honesty, since I am 37 now, "When I turn 40, you aren't going to make me cut my hair all butch, are you?"  She hesitated and said, "No, why would you say that?"  Because I have my personal reasons for not ever wanting a scissors to touch my hair again, even for the "dead end" myth.  The last time it was cut was when I got laid off from my Title 1 Aide job at the elementary school in January of 2014.  It's looking good now and past my shoulders.  I'll get it professionally colored, but not cut even one bit. 
 
On my to do list for September is to get the -colon tattoo.  The semi-colon tattoo is trending for people who beat depression. It's a symbol of your life pausing, but not ending.  I don't think anything possibly defiles the body more than anxiety and depression, which is why this is my personal choice.  Speaking of which, I have not had a panic attack for several weeks.  Klonopin works, and possibly so does not working with children. 
 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Beginnings

My book *could* start out quoting the biblical story of Hannah and Samuel.  I remembered a sermon from way back when, my pastor criticized Hannah for saying "give me a child or else I'll die." This big thing about God not wanting what you want followed. Then, I did my research and learned that it was Rachel, not Hannah who said, "give me a child or else I will die."

Hannah didn't threaten death, she was just so distraught that the priest who saw her praying thought she was drunk. Hannah then had Samuel and "gave him back to God" or leg him be raised by priests go become one himself. I think that somehow, the beginning of my book can contain Rachel's hysteria, Hannah's sacrificial request and extreme depression, and my pastor's old sermons in one. 
I can do this. 

Story of Your Life







Even though the guy in this video tries a little too hard to be dramatic, I really treasure this message.  He captures the NEED to write your story.  For me, writing The Child Advocate is a need.  I have a right and responsibility to do it.  Someone else out there needs to read it. 



 
I don't know how or where the story will begin, but I found this old photograph yesterday and was reminded that Maria Montessori is a part of the story.  When she was alive, she had great ideas on how to educate, but if she knew how schools using her name today operated, she'd roll over in her grave.  I worked at two Montessori daycares, one for half a day and one for a few weeks.  They were both horrible.