Too many thoughts, too little time.

A memory came to me recently. It kind of solidified in my mind that it is ok to want to change my name. Honestly, I will probably never do it legally. I don’t even know where I would begin to start changing paperwork and bank accounts, etc. Then, there are things I will probably never think about. My best friend has me down as the person who will handle her life insurance for her kids if something happens to her.

My name is Kirby. There is no story. There is no cute reason. It isn’t a nickname or short for anything. Yes, it is more common for boys. I have a bunch of siblings, they all have strange names. But, my name is the only one that never either became common, or has a shortened form that is common.

I remember when one of my siblings was going to be born. My parents wanted to name the baby Chance if it was a boy. I remember saying it was an ok name, but it was better for a girl. And they told me it wasn’t. That Chance for a girl would invite a bunch of inappropriate comments. How someday men might take it as a dare, to take a “Chance”. I thought that was stupid then, but, I didn’t really put things together until I was talking to Brad one day.

Chance was inappropriate? My name is Kirby.

You know what it means to go through life with that name?

It means grown-ass men will wink and make jokes you don’t quite understand at 16 (but look 23) about how you got that nickname.

You will work in a bar, and have to tell a group of drunk men your name, and they will nudge each other, and joke and all of a sudden pay a lot more attention to you.

You will say “Hi, I’m Kirby” and some jerk will respond with “Kirby, huh? I bet. So, you wanna come over later and give me a demonstration of your sucking abilities.”

How about “I didn’t know that’s what they were selling”

Maybe “I bet you give an amazing blow job, who nicknamed you that?”

Oh…”I don’t remember your name…hoover, dyson, kirby, you suck something.”

I have about 15 years of being reduced to little more than a sex toy to others, because of nothing more than my name.

And, my parents and siblings have the nerve to be offended that I want to change my name. I was told outright, that I would NOT be called that. That I would still be introduced as Kirby. (back when I was still speaking to them).

You know the really “funny” thing? I wasn’t allowed to wear SO many things as a teenager. Because, that might make men thing the wrong thing. Men shouldn’t be thinking of me like that. I needed to have more respect. Yeah…when I was 17 and skinny, a man may have thought “Damn! I’d do her” when I had on a pair of shorts that didn’t quite reach my fingertips. But, 1. other people’s thoughts are not my responsibility. and 2. very ,very few men think it is ok to say that sort of thing, when you can’t pretend it’s a joke and I need to just lighten up. Got it. Short shorts cause sin. But, it is ok for me to have a name that makes a  majority of men automatically think of me giving a blow job.

If my mother puts on make-up or curls her hair, there is a fight that lasts hours, about how she must want to cheat. if my dad comes home 5 minutes late, there is a huge blow up about how he must be cheating. Somehow I doubt my husband appreciates these comments about his wife.But, changing my name is just because I “think I’m better than everyone”. and because I don’t “think anything my parents do is good enough”.

I was telling this to Brad the other day, and he asked “Is that part of why you won’t meet my co-workers?” I had to admit, that yes it was. I hate introducing myself to new people. On a good day I get “That’s cute.” but that’s rare. On a normal day, I get a laugh, and a “You’re kidding, right?”, “Isn’t that a boy’s name?” or “What’s that short for?”

I was thinking about it, partially because if I want to legally change my name, I need to explain WHY. I know there are pat answers, that make it almost always get approved. But, part of me wants to say “Because I’m tired of introducing myself and then being asked for a blow job.” Seems like that would push the paperwork through quickly.

 

Blah

I had a big long post…to justify how I was feeling. But, honestly, it is irrelevant. Today I am sad. And I am lonely.I have a million reasons, things I can whine about, but my feelings are valid. Long story short, I have a huge family/extended family, and I’m invisible.

I’m pretty much used to it. Today, I took the kids ice skating when a man stood up as we were leaving. He said “You were here a couple weeks ago. I’m Dan.” And, shook my hand. And, I almost cried walking to the car…so often I feel invisible. Like, seriously, I could build a little house in the woods in the middle of no where, and never have another phone or computer, and no one would notice. I know I’m pretty generic looking, I look like someone you already know. So, the fact I was noticed, when I was feeling like a ghost, was really nice.

I’m not good at making friends, plus I’d been told for 25+ yrs I’d always have my huge family. So, I never tried very hard. But now, lines have been drawn and my side has me, Brad, the boys, my best friend and the dog. They have everyone else.

How do you make friends when people drain you? When being drained and exhausted make the disease worse? When this stupid disease has made me sound like an idiot most of the time, you know, when I can’t remember big, complicated words like “garage” or “coffee” so I stammer and stutter and point and say things like “the room with the car?”. When I don’t like to go anywhere, because I might fall down without any warning.

Can I just wear a big sign that says “I’m not drunk, I promise. And yeah, I’m pretty awkward, but I’m mostly nice. I won’t talk to you first, because I don’t want to bother or annoy anyone.”

God, I sound lame.

 

Who I am…

I wrote this awhile ago, just for me. Yesterday, I was crying to a friend, over a betrayal and a lost friendship and she said” Katie, you’re a remarkable young woman who has made a wonderful life for yourself and your immediate family. You understand that you can’t save people from themselves–that’s huge. I’m sorry you’re sad, but keep living authentically and leave them to god.”

This all came to mind yesterday as I walked my dog around the park. It was cold, and snowing. We were about a mile into our walk. The park road was marked with paint from a race that had finished months earlier. I contemplated running another 5k. I realized how strange it was that I was enjoying myself at that moment. As I thought about it, I realized how many things I truly enjoyed that I wasn’t “allowed” to, and how many things I didn’t like that I was always told I had to.

I had a long intro, but, it is mainly stuff I’ve said before. So, basically, what you need to know is I was raised with these lines, in response to everything… “It is too expensive.”, “It is a waste of time/money.” “Why? you think you are so much better than us?”, “Well, God said…”, “You aren’t strong enough to stand up to people.”, “Your family needs to be the most important thing, not friends.”, “If you don’t like America, leave.”, “2nd Amendment”, “Stupid animals”, “that’s just irresponsible”, “do something useful”. So, as you read this, know that I didn’t know before that this was me, because if I liked, or expressed an interest (or disinterest) in any of these things, I heard one of those retorts.

  •  I’m Katie. I like taking long walks. It isn’t a waste of time. I’m not “overdoing” it. It is my “me” time. I like to use it to think, and listen to music.
  •  I like the gym, and I like the classes. It isn’t a waste of money.
  •  I love my pit bull. She is a part of the family. She isn’t a dumb animal. She isn’t mean or vicious. I love dressing her up, different color bandanas for everyday. And, clothes.  And, I do not regret the purple hoodie I bought her yesterday at all.
  •  My best friend is an Atheist. Believe it or not, she hasn’t tried to make me one. But, she has brought me balloons and a milk shake after I was sick. She did come to visit me every day after work and helping her son with his homework, while I was in the hospital. She came early to help me with a party. And, gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts ever for Christmas. I have another friend, we aren’t super close, but we get along. She has mentioned praying for me, like when I was in the hospital. She prays to Allah.
  •  Speaking of, it is hard to be all “America Rocks. Suck it everybody else!” When she is from Malaysia and thinks it is amazing. When my husband has said he wouldn’t become American if it meant giving up Australian citizenship. My father-in-law has British citizenship.
  •  I like football. I like watching it with my husband, even though I don’t understand much beyond the fact a bunch of big guys try to get the ball to one end, while a different bunch of big guys in different colors try to get the ball to the other end. It isn’t a waste of time. It is time I get to spend with my guys.
  •  I like reading and hate watching most tv. I don’t think I’m “better than everyone” because I’d rather read than watch tv.
  •  I hate mossy oak and real tree camo being worn as fashion.
  •  I don’t like guns at all.
  •  I don’t like crowds, and can only tolerate them for a little while before my arm starts to go numb. And, yes, I realize how strange that sounds.
  •  I like the coffee I make at home best, but I like Starbucks for the atmosphere. Once my husband and I went there, with a bag of candy we both liked and a new crossword book. We spent a couple hours there. It was one of my favorite dates.
  •  I love taking my car to get the oil changed. I also love taking it to get washed. Once, I was sad because I had been looking forward to taking my car to the car wash, and Brad left to put gas in my car. He came back and he had gotten my car washed. I missed getting all the salt off it.I love cooking and trying new recipes. I like seeing how healthy or how colorful I can make a meal. I don’t want a chef. But, I would love someone to follow me around and wash the dishes.
  •  I love falling asleep on Brad’s chest at night while he plays shoot ‘em up video games. Contrary to popular opinion, I think putting an xbox in our bedroom was one of the best decisions we’ve made. We go to bed at the same time now, he gets his video game time, and I get my 8 hrs of sleep, in my bed. I like how he has to cuddle me to have his arms around me AND play the game. So, I don’t think the xbox is stupid, or a waste of money, or immature.
  •  I love drawing and writing. I don’t care how good I am at either.
  •  I love hiking and sitting by the river. I love new areas where I can search for waterfalls.
  •  I like playing paintball and coaching the 4th grade soccer team.
  •  I like taking my kids to the animal shelter and letting them play with the cats.
  •  I like road trips for the sake of the drive.
  •  I love quiet hotel rooms in cities I’ve never been to before and the forced down time of my husband having the rental car to get to work so all I can do is go places my legs can take me.
  •  I like waking up early, and going to sleep fairly early. I like the quiet and the darkness of being the first one up.
  •  I love school, and research and writing research papers. If I could just take a couple electives at the college every semester forever, I probably would.
  •  I homeschool my kids, not because public schools are evil or inadequate, not to keep them from learning about different ideas, not to isolate them; I homeschool them because I can’t imagine telling them “no, you need to sit in class, we can’t go to the museum.” Because, we are blessed with amazing opportunities and I don’t want them to miss it.
  •  I like looking pretty in dresses. I think however I’m happiest in a long hippie skirt and a fitted tank top. Second choice is a pair of perfectly fitting jeans, a cardigan, and fuzzy socks. If I could, I’d wear the first outfit all summer and the second all winter. Actually, I’m working on that.
  •  I actually really love the Tiffany gift card Brad gets every year from Delta. I don’t care that I just spent $200 on sunglasses while most my clothes are from Walmart. But, I also love the jewelry he brings me home sometimes that I know came out of the clearance section of the fine jewelry.
  •  I love water. It centers me. Sometimes I just need to be near it. The beach, a stream, a river, a lake, and if I can find a waterfall I can stare for hours. Whenever I feel like my world is falling apart, odds are really good you will find me sitting on a riverbank somewhere.
  •  In short, I like physical activity, intellectual pursuits, travel and animals. All things I’ve been told my whole life are a waste of time or money and/or made me snobby and only show I think I’m better than everyone.

courage

Looking Forward to a New Year

This year was exhausting. The highs were very high, and the lows were equally as low.

I’ve just been feeling very melancholy this week. I’m ready for the year to be over. How about 2015 just be calm?

I told Brad recently, I was thankful for all the traveling we’ve had this year, because that has broken up a lot of bad. I feel slightly on the edge of a mental breakdown, and I don’t even want to think of where I’d be if I wasn’t regularly running away. It has just been a very, very hectic year. With a lot of stressful stuff.

Can I whine for a few minutes? I’ve tried so hard to have a good attitude, but, I’m tired.

This year started with all the married adults in my family going on a cruise, my sister bought them for Christmas last year. Except for us. We got a board game, and a 2 week babysitting job. Oh, my sister needed the cruise, because she had reconciled with her husband after she was caught cheating. She never stopped. This was also when my mom asked me if I was willing to move in with Grandpa, because they asked everyone they thought would be a good fit and everyone else said no, so that just left me.

I had all that dental work done, and a good portion of my own teeth removed. Which makes me feel really ugly, and old.

I took my parents to Chicago, because my mom had been wanting to go for 35 years. Where I was ditched, at the Museum of Science and Industry, so they could have sex in the bathroom.

My birthday party, where my parents screamed about how I was a drug addict, in front of my neighbors, some who won’t even talk to me anymore now. Where they said hitting your kids with belts until the bruise and vacuum cords is not abuse. Where they said that there was nothing neglectful about our education. My 18 yr old brother can’t read, but damn it, he’s a Christian. Then, they went home and told everyone that they were leaving me alone for 12 yrs that way I wouldn’t get their 6 yr old taken away.

Oh, how about when my 23 yr old brother sat at dinner at our table and explained why it was ok for him to use women, because they were all worthless whores anyway if they’d been with more that X amount of people. X amount is about a third of the people I’ve been with. Then, he told us about the 14 yr old he fucked when his wife left, but it was ok, because she was a whore. I couldn’t get him to give me ANY more info about this girl, and I feel terrible about it.

My brother-in-law moved in to our already small house, for a little over a month. And, for that month I stayed up talking and comforting him until 2am, 3 am, every night. While my sister made snide remarks (and still does) implying that there is something inappropriate about our relationship. There isn’t. Never has been.

I ran into my mom. I tried to walk away. She chased me. Through the store, through the parking lot. Screaming “Why won’t you talk to me?”, “I have no idea what we ever did to you.” I got to my car and said “Well, we can start with you guys screaming I did drugs.” she screamed “We never said that. We never thought that.” When I pointed out the half dozen people who could back me up, she told me I was delusional, I was bitter, I was a bad person. I needed to get therapy and to deal with my anger issues. I needed to learn to forgive. I was a hateful, bitter woman, and she “hoped that one day I could grow enough as a person to forgive and more on.” I got in my car and drove away.

Mike told his cheating x that I was gonna change my name to Katie, and my sister called and bitched me out, and went off about how I can’t do that. This is just me trying to separate myself. This is another example of me thinking I’m better than everyone, and that’s not ok.

I had two uncles die within 2 weeks of each other in October. Nobody told me. I found out on Facebook. Luckily, in time for the funerals. At one funeral, my cousin’s wedding was brought up, I said we hadn’t gotten an invite. Apparently, to save on postage, they gave my invite to my parents, who assured him they would give it to me. Knowing they wouldn’t. At one funeral, my 9 yr old brother ran to me, hugged me, begged to come visit. I told him I love him, he could come visit with my 2 teenage brothers. That’s when his dad stomped into the doorway, and yelled at him, IN THE VIEWING ROOM, to get away from me, and not to talk to me anymore.

I found out my ex husband is engaged. which, great, he likes being in a relationship. Sometimes 2 or 3 at a time. But, the woman he is marrying is nasty, and mean to the kids. And, I can’t do anything about it.

I saw my sister, in October, not the cheating one, she was pregnant, and she was trying to pressure me into throwing her a baby shower.

Speaking of pregnancy and cheating sister, guess who is pregnant. With the married guy’s kid? Yup, her. I’d been saying for years the fall off her high horse would be incredible. I didn’t know how right I’d be.

I did not throw a baby shower, that sister had her baby a couple weeks ago, 9 weeks early. We’ve been to visit her, while praying no one else is there then.

In October my mom’s sister wrote to me, to try to tell me about my biological father. I told her I didn’t want to know anything, but she told me more than I wanted to know.

The beginning of November, my mom’s other sister, wrote to me. Telling me everything about my biological father. She started off with “You’ll probably hate me, but I think you need to know all this.” and went on. I tried not to read it, but I read too much. And, right after that I end up in the hospital, where I get diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (completely out of the blue), and my flare up was probably brought on by stress.

Which then brings with it all the medical bills for a 5 day stay in the hospital.

Before this though, I was sad and missing family, and reached out to my married cousin (on my dad’s side). Who I have always been close to. I wanted to go out for lunch, and I know he’s had a bit of a rough year as well. He lives about an hour away, so going for lunch requires a bit of a plan. We went back and forth about how to make this happen. Then he said something like “I want to see your tattoo” I said “You’ll have to wait for summer, you can’t see it in pants, only in shorts.” and he said “well, I guess I’ll have to get you out of them than.” WHAT.THE.HELL.?!?! So I told that was not ok, and haven’t spoken to him since.

Now, the end of the year. Which means Brad has time off, lots of time. The washing machine broke. My car has a headlight issue. I have to pick a medication and go to the dr again. We need to schedule service for both cars, because we have 2 Pontiacs, and 15 active recalls for each. Today is Brad’s birthday, he’s sick.

I feel sad, lonely, abandoned. I’m trying to tell myself that every interaction I’ve had this year has reinforced that walking away was the right choice, but I still can’t help but wonder why this is ok. Why it is easier to shout at me in a Dollar Tree parking lot (god I sound like white trash don’t I?) than it is to say “You are right, we probably didn’t need to hit our children with a vacuum cord.”?

I’m sad, and tired. And, upset. And, trying so hard not to be, because getting worked up will just put me back in the hospital.

Brad keep saying how he thought not having to do holidays with my family would be less stressful, but I’m still stressed. I think, since this is the first year, I’m still adjusting, and that is causing the stress. It probably will be better next year.I didn’t get out of dealing with family though, I had to explain why I won’t be places. We were invited to a couple things, along with my parents, that we won’t be attending. Oh, and my brother brought Christmas gifts over for us, from my parents. Thing 1 got a wallet, and some little toy. Thing 2 got a board game. Hubs got a really nice Starbucks travel coffee mug. I got a white ear band/warmer thing. You know what I’m talking about. They are knit, and a $1 at Walmart. Which…ok…let’s assume the best. I’m always cold? It was a gift, they were thinking of me? White would match any color coat I have? Having left over paper taped to it though…I didn’t unwrap it, so much as I was handed this white thing, with a piece of wrapping sat on it, held on with a piece of tape. It would have been nicer just to forget me. i wish that is what they would do.

And, for the record, I think I’m making huge strides in the forgiveness department. But, that doesn’t mean I need to allow these toxic people into my life any longer. I’ve been trying to run away from them since I was in grade school. I finally succeeded. But, it’s an adjustment.

And, honestly, I feel like I’ve had a really good year, oddly enough. The good has just been punctuated with some very stressful things that i had to vent out. I’ve been a lot of places, I’ve gotten to do a lot of things. I’ve made some new friends.I’ve found out which old friends I can count on.  I’ve really enjoyed the last 6 months of not having to deal with my parents. I’ve been decluttering my house. The boys are becoming so much more responsible, independent, helpful and  mature. I have a dog I love. Brad and I are great, I don’t think I’ve ever felt loved like this before, even with him. We found a church we like a lot. Like I said, we’ve been on a lot of trips.

But, I might spend January sleeping.

More Info

I finally had the follow up appointment with the neurologist. I had myself all worked up before hand, to the point of tears. They sent me information about medication. All the meds were injections. I don’t do real well with needles. When I was in the hospital I kept a blanket over the IV site. I don’t know that I can give myself a daily injection.

Plus, honestly, I was a bit pissed about the whole thing. You know one of my main reasons for losing weight? I didn’t want diabetes and to have to give myself shots! And now, I might have to?

I was reading so many stories about people who were spending $500+ a month on medication. We don’t happen to have a spare $500 a month lying around.

So, the options seemed to be, give myself a shot every day and make us bankrupt, or do nothing and end up in a wheelchair.

I went to my appointment. Can I just say I love this doctor. He said I was doing much better with balance. We sat down to talk about meds. He asked if I was leaning toward anything. I said “Well, I hate needles, so, the one with the fewest shots is the one I’m leaning toward.” He said “Ok, what about pills?” PILLS?!?!?! I said I didn’t get any info about that. He thought for a bit and said “Oh that’s right, your case is pretty severe and the injections tend to be a stronger dose of meds, that’s why I sent you that info. But, you can try pills first and see how those work for you, we can try something else later.” And then he sat down and wrote out the names of all the pills, what they did, what this meant for me (some require follow ups for awhile), the pros and cons,etc. Answered any questions. Brought up price, didn’t tell me the price, just that many of them had help to pay for them because they are very expensive.

Then, he started telling me about a brand new drug…just was approved last month. His office was one running trials. 22 of his patients have been on this since 2003. And, not one relapse. And, only one patient is on any other drug to control symptoms. He said he never even hears from the others about problems. The first dose is IV, 5 day hospital stay, monitored every month. Year 2 is a 3 day hospital stay, monitored every month. After this, you are still monitored every month for 4 yrs total. And, that’s it. Forever, hopefully. With the other drugs, a couple relapses a year is normal. They don’t stop the symptoms, just the progression (or slow it down).

I was pretty excited about this. I asked who was a good candidate for that one. He said “You. You are the perfect person. They are only using it on severe cases, and yours was pretty bad. The FDA though doesn’t want it to be the first course of action, because there are some pretty nasty possible side effects, but that is why we watch you so closely. They want you to try and fail at one or two other meds first.” I said “Well, then I guess I better pick something to start failing while I do my research on this other drug.”

The course of treatment is $160,000…so, see, plenty of time to fail at all the other drugs while we try to convince insurance to cover this. Unfortunately, that most likely means a couple relapses, because the lesions aren’t just in my brain, they are in my neck and all down my spine.

I came home in a much better mood than I left in. I started some research, I thinkI decided on what meds I’ll start out on. But, again, price is a concern. Brad started looking up the info…and it’s our regular copay. Thank God.

So, my options are (worst case scenario here)

injections with a side effect of suicide, but they work well while you are alive.

Pills that don’t work as well and make you look worse (acne, flakey skin, hair loss, weight gain)

An IV treatment that will either make the MS stop or kill me.

Or nothing, and hope for the best, with the side effects of paralysis and/or feeding tube.

More research is needed.

Who Saved Who?

IMG_9996

I love this photo.

We got Trixie on November 1. On November 9, I was in the hospital, diagnosed with MS and no idea I’d be in the hospital for 5 days.

That first week, I was happy we had her. And, considering there is a decent portion of the year, I am the only person in the house, we wanted to teach her she was my dog. That first week, I was the only person to walk her, feed her, let her out of her crate, etc. The next week I was in the hospital, and she, apparently, was miserable. Both Brad and Mike tried to take care of her. She didn’t want to eat, she didn’t want to go on walks. She would fight them on walking, on putting the harness on. When I came home, it was another week before she would get more than a foot or so away from me. The first thing I did was walk her. I was using a cane, and it was painfully slow. Brad stayed with me, moving at a snail’s pace. Ready to help me if she started pulling. And, she didn’t. She waited until I felt better to start pulling. We’d walk 1/4 mile twice a day. The next week it was a 1/2 mile. Then 3/4 of a mile. Then a mile. Today we walked 2.08 miles for our first walk. Our second walk will probably be a mile or so.

I admit to dragging my feet about getting a dog. Actually, I originally told Brad no way, ever. I told the kids no. I made fun of Brad for dressing up his old dog, and treating her like people. And, those words have come back to bite me, as I make her better food than some people eat. And, when I am trying to find her a coat to wear on our walks. (It gets cold here! And, she has short fur and shivers!) But, the kids wore me down, and I realized the reasons for my no were no longer valid. She picked us, and her name. Brad had said no pit bulls. You can see how well that worked out.

I was walking her today (it was spitting rain off and on, and about 33 degrees out.). And, I was just so thankful we had her. 1. We got her from a shelter, so, that saved her, and freed up a spot for another dog. 2. I was already walking 3-5 miles a day, before the MS thing, now I have a walking buddy. 3.She gets me up and moving in the morning, whether I like it or not. I don’t get to skip a walk because I don’t feel like it, unless I want a bored pit bull trying to entertain herself in the house all day. 4. Apparently vitamin D is good for helping fight the symptoms of MS. You get vitamin D from sunlight. And, I get sunlight on the walks, that she takes slower than I used to, because she has to smell everything. 5. We don’t have to throw out leftovers anymore. 6. Brad used to have a handgun. I’m not against guns exactly, but I don’t like them. And, I didn’t like them with so many little boys here all the time. He said we needed it for protection. But, refused to even learn how to unlock the trigger. He sold it to his dad. And, I feel so much safer with Trixie here, as a deterrent than I ever did with a gun here that nobody would know about until they were already in. And, somehow I doubt she can be turned against me as easily as a gun could.

The day before i went to the hospital, I was barely moving. I was sleeping on the sofa. I guess she sat by my side the whole day, either standing guard while I slept, or laying there. She loves to lick, but never did until I woke up. Yesterday I had overdone it at the gym, and I needed a nap. I went to lay down, she came and sat by the bed until I fell asleep. Then she jumped up and curled up behind my legs, watching everything going on.

Brad had told the boys they had to save up for her adoption fee. $40 each. I talked to him, and we told them $20 each, and I’d pay the other $40, and we’d get a dog sooner. I’m glad we did it that way, before someone else got her. And, before she’d been there too long and started to get mean, which was the case with the lab I originally went up to look at. Trixie had already been there for 8 months. They didn’t want to give her to me, because the town I live in has a zero tolerance policy for pit bulls. She makes one mistake and she’s gone. I had to reassure them, she was a pet. She would be a house dog. She wouldn’t be tied out, without supervision. We didn’t even have a fence, so there was no chance of letting her out by herself and her escaping.

We got our dog, Trixie. She is a great fit for our family. Laid back enough not to ransack the house. Sturdy enough not to mind playing with the boys. A daily walk or two and she’s happy, but she’ll run with me if I want. She is not aggressive at all, she likes to sleep and be pet. And, when the house gets too busy, which is often with as many preteen boys run in and out, she puts herself in her crate and rests. She is definitely my dog though. If they guys give her a command, she looks at me to make sure it’s ok to listen.

Saturday, I believe, I was sitting at the table. I had some treats for Trixie, I snapped my fingers, and she came running. I held my hand up, she sat and stayed, until I tossed the treat. I patted my shoulders so she knew it was ok to jump up, and she did and gave kisses. Mike laughed at us. He said “You really did get the perfect dog. But, why wouldn’t you. Everything about your life is perfect. It always is. ”

I just stared at him…I finally said “Did you seriously just say that to me? Really? This week?”

He acknowledged that he had put his foot in his mouth, but explained why my life was still so much better than his. Luckily I wasn’t trying to win the victim contest, so, I resigned and let him have the title.

Brad and I found a church we wanted to try. We’d been once before, while not impressed, we weren’t against returning. And, since I was using a cane, and we were running late, we decided to go to a church we had already been to. Mike wanted to go with us, because his soon-to-be-ex wife is still sleeping with a married guy and still going to their old church, so he’s looking. I explained the church was pretty liberal, which according to some things he had expressed, I didn’t think he’d like. But obviously, he was still welcome to come with us.

So, we went. And, we parked next to the car with the Coexist bumper sticker. We were a couple minutes late, and I sat in the back, they followed me. We sat next to two women who were holding hands. At the welcome, we shook hands with the guy in a pink ruffled shirt, orange plaid pants, and more metal in his face that I have in my computer.  People hugged me, and introduced themselves, noticed we were new. We listened to the sermon, about how people pray. That too many people raise their hands to the sky, and pray “Here I am God, bless me!”, when we should be saying “Here I am God, use me. Send me!”. They gave the call to communion, and to my shock, my husband left me on the pew (not out of jerkiness, but out of my wishes, I was feeling wobbly), and he went up. When he came back, he seemed a bit choked up. I felt a bit choked up. I asked what was up, he said he thought he found where we might belong. The closing song is always a hymn, in two different languages. This week it was English and Swahili. Mike, spilled his coffee in the sanctuary. Even though signs said no drinks. He played Star Wars games on his phone during the sermon. He texted his friends. When it was time to leave, we walked out of the sanctuary, through a side door. We got almost to the main doors, when the associate pastor came running to us. She said she was us, noticed we were new, wanted to make sure she had said hello and introduced herself. She asked about us, talked about why we were there.

We walked out, and I asked Mike, “So, what’d you think?” and he said “Well, I don’t know. I mean, I need to do a lot of research about their beliefs and everything, to make sure this is a doctrinally sound church. I don’t know. ” Which was really kind of what we thought he’d say.

Brad and I both bristled, privately, at this statement. Doctrinally sound. Mike and I are gonna have a talk. According to the Bible, my sister is supposed to be stoned for what she’s doing. Oh…but the Bible didn’t really mean that. We have been to any churches that made us feel so crappy, we almost gave up.  You know something really perverse? You go to a lot of churches, you read their websites…and they say “You are welcome, as long as you aren’t you. As long as you’ve never done XYZ. As long as you completely stop, immediately, any sin we don’t think you should struggle with, then we love you. If you don’t meet these criteria, well, sorry.” I went to this church, I felt amazingly welcome. I read up on their beliefs, and it all came down to “Come, worship, improve day by day, we love you.” and I honestly though for a second “Wait, you want me? This must not be a real church. You guys must not be real Christians if you’ll let me into the club” And, apparently, Mike agrees. How sad is that?

Just for fun, once I got home, I looked up what I think is our church. Mike’s church. my parents church.

Missions/volunteer

UCH (Ours)-serve meals at the food bank, so the staff can have time off. Has a 20 acre field that is sold off every year, the profit goes to the food bank. Works with several long term places to assist mentally ill individuals stay off the streets. Volunteers with the AIDS task force. Part of the interfaith hospitality movement.

NH (Mike)- same tab at the top. Right beside their “donate online when you can’t make it in” tab. They have a preschool, and they pick up people for church who can’t make it in on their own.

CLC (My parents)- this one, I love. Help/volunteer. Click for more info. Do you want to help out in the church? We need ushers and volunteers for parking lot duty. In a disaster, they help the red cross pack a bus of emergency supplies. and, you can donate money to Uganda. Once a year, the high school class flies to the Dominican Republic (or insert someplace else) to teach vacation bible school to poor kids.

You know part of why we looked into this denomination? Because I wanted to go to a church that DID something. That helped. That was Jesus’ hands and feet. That knew they were an answer to a prayer. I want to love you so well that you, on your own, ask me why.

 

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